Another Bookstore (A Newt Run Module)
By Chad Inglis
Copyright 2012 Chad Inglis
He was already middle-aged by the time he took possession of the store. Before that he'd made his living as a school teacher, but when his wife died (of a rare form of cancer that swept through her body so quickly he'd barely had time to understand what was happening before she was dead) he found he no longer had the energy to teach. The truth was that even before his wife's illness he'd felt himself on the verge of burning out. He moved through his lessons mechanically, and when he attempted to bring to mind the faces of his students, even a month after they graduated, all that was left was a collection of flesh-toned masks, as if all this time he'd been teaching mannequins rather than children.
The store belonged to a friend, a man several years older than himself who had been running it more or less successfully for the better part of two decades, but who was now hoping to retire. The two of them reached an agreement that left them both relatively satisfied and included the small apartment above the store. Elliot put his house up for sale and moved in the following week.
The store occupied the first floor of a converted house on Nascent Street, just two blocks from the university. The location ensured a more or less steady pool of customers, for the most part undergraduate students looking to save a little money on used course books. The interior was long and narrow, with book cases that stretched to the ceiling, the top shelves of which could only be reached by a pair of wooden ladders that ran on tracks along the floor. The counter and register were in the back, and behind that was a small store-room filled with overflow and out-of-date magazines that would never be sold, but which Elliot's friend had kept for nebulous reasons and Elliot himself never got around to clearing out.