“The Hopeful Hour”, a Friday Fiction Story

The Hopeful Hour

Used Bookstore by mhowardbooks on Pixabay

In any used bookstore, the hour that carries the most anticipation is the hour before the store opens.

That is when the books hope the most.

* * * * *

“Maybe today will be my day,” said a L’Engle paperback, so new its spine bore no wrinkle. A whisper rolled down the shelf as the other books considered the possibility.

“Maybe,” replied a slightly tattered early-career Clancy thriller. “School is about to start. I heard a rumor from the Blume’s that arrived in the Spring that the schools might assign you soon.”

“Hey! You know I might not come back!” The young paperback sighed. “Wouldn’t that be great”, she said, her voice wistful. Equally wistful sighs wafted from books up and down the aisle.

The Clancy would have shrugged if he had shoulders. Instead, he said, “You never know.” Secretly, though, he knew. Used books almost always came back unless they were very lucky. Most of here were not. He, himself, had been out and back seven times. People did not much love books anymore. Not like the better times he’d heard about from the older Jameses and Tolkeins, Blumes and Hugheses.

“Oy!” A fancy Christie hardback shouted from the crowded mystery section. “Keep hope, luv!”

“Indeed,” echoed a pair of Marsh mysteries loudly one shelf below. “Chin up!”

The L’Engle straightened itself just a little bit. Next to it, a well-loved Rowling gave it a motherly forward nudge toward better visibility.

From outside came a familiar jingle of keys. The bookstore trembled eagerly.


Sometimes, the concept of a story comes to me all at once and the only difficulty lies in how I can shape the concept into an actual story. When I picked the story for the weekly prompt, I knew I’d be writing about books waiting to be “rescued”, if you will. I just didn’t know how it would turn out.

Now I do and I rather like it!

(Photo Credit: mhowardbooks in Pixabay)

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