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Chapter 4- Shadowlands

Strange how one word could suddenly haunt you so much. More so the fact that it wasn’t there before, and I didn’t write it. I felt dumbstruck and to make it worse, I had absolutely no idea what dumbstruck was.

I grabbed the journal and looked at the cover again; maybe the designs of leafs and stars were some sort of symbolism.

I quickly grabbed my laptop to see if I could find what these symbols were. Now I have done research before for articles so I had fairly good idea what I was doing and nothing was showing up in my results.  The more I looked the more I was starting to believe they were just random patterns. For some reason I wasn’t convinced that they were. I would have to wait until tomorrow but I needed to go on a little trip to see an old friend.

First thing Monday morning I called into the office to let them know I was working from home doing research; which is something that I did frequently .  And my next article “blah blah blah” seriously that s what it was called, and it was 99% already written.

I was a chilly wet morning. I was in the old part of the downtown market area far from the neon and steel of the malls. This is the part of the city where the buildings had character.

Shadowlands was your basic antique book store, as in just books; no flavored coffees, no seasonal decorations or crap; just books. The shelves were lined with books mostly old and some new. There were  few tables and chairs placed around and on each one there was a small desk lamp. The lighting in wasn’t the best, bright enough to read but not bright enough to cast a shadow; thus the name Shadowlands. This would be the place where one would find books on conspiracy theories, UFO’s, clues about Area 51, the JFK assignation and well just about everything in between. Needless to say there were a lot of self published and rare publications and you wouldn’t find too many New York Times best sellers here or books with a love triangles involving sparkling vampires or horny teenaged werewolves .

One would think a place like this wouldn’t be doing too well, surprisingly it was thriving.

Behind the counter was Emily; she had worked there part-time while she went to University, and when she couldn’t get a job in her field of choice: English literature she chose to stay on full-time

Emily was only a few years younger than I, and for some reason Shadowlands seemed to suit her, anywhere else and she would seem out-of-place. She definitely had the bookish-geek-girl look going on for her; glasses and hair tied back in a pony tail. Maybe it was me but she seems to kinda dress like she fell out of the 50’s, as she always wore a skirt with a long-sleeved sweater.  The only thing missing from it was a poodle.  Regardless though, she knew her stuff.

Jaz!” she exclaimed with a big grin on her face as soon as she saw me walk though the door. She ran over from behind the counter and gave me a hug “I haven’t seen you here in months, I was starting to think you’ve forgotten about us”.

“No, never” I replied as she pulled away ” I just been busy with writing about normal stuff”

“Ah so the bland and the beautiful is paying the bills now, hope you’re not becoming a sell out?”

“Nope never, just writing what the boss wants me to and what the people want to read”

“So are still writing your great american novel?” She asked quizzically.

” Well is kinda been on the back burner the last couple years” I replied. I wasn’t facing her but looking down and away. When Kate passed away I kinda lost the desire to write for my own. Looking back up Emily was looking at me, and from the look in her eyes, I knew she knew the reason why I stopped.

Quickly changing the subject “Hey, is Marcus around? I kinda have something that I want him to look at” setting my bag with the journal inside on the counter.

“Oh, Doc?” Emily replied ( he likes to be called Doc as he think its hip) “I think he’s nose deep in research up in his office; did you want me to call him down for you?”   I knew she was staring at the book bag, and knew her well enough that her curiosity was piqued.

To call Doc or should I say Dr Marcus Rhemus eccentric, was an understatement. He had the whole balding white-haired mad scientist look down pat. Of course he was a brilliant man. He used to do research for the government and knows a lot of things most people don’t and shouldn’t know. When he  retired (I heard he was forced to retire) he purchased this little book shop to fill his intellectual needs.

I had first interviewed Dr. Rhemus a few years back when I was asking him about  the whole Vampire and Werewolf phenomenon and we had some how hit it off (after he stopped laughing about it) , since then I had dropped by every now and then; sometimes based on something I was writing, research on someone I was interviewing or just for my own curiosity based on something I had seen or read about: and no, not Vampire or Werewolves.

As if on cue Doc showed up, strolling down the aisle from the back, cane in hand walking to the front. Between you and me, the cane was just for show. When there was no one else around I had seen him waltz around with absolutely no need for it at all.

“Mr. Klassen, my boy” he cheerful greeted me extending his hand for a friendly but firm handshake “And just what gives me the honour for this impromptu visit on a Monday morning ? Late for a deadline?”  He chuckled out loud  while he firm fully shook my hand.

“Nope, not business today” I said grabbing my bag off the counter. “I came into possession of something on the weekend and well, it’s really starting to freak me out.”  I placed it on the counter. I proceeded to tell Doc what had happened with the journal. Both Doc and Emily both listened intently. I knew that they would not be looking at me strange or laughing about it later behind my back or anything.

Dr. Rhemus leaned down and peered at the book, from the top and the sides, he took his bifocals out of his pocket and put them on and again he moved around the counter to the side to examine it this time it looked like he was doing so more carefully; he didn’t make a move to touch the book at all. Emily and I watched on as the Doc made some hmm’s and hah’s sounds quietly to himself and skewed his head as he again looked at the cover. Finally taking a pen from the counter he lifted the cover of the book and peered inside the cover’

“Did you bleed much?”  Doc asked.

“No, not at all, not even enough to get any one the book”

Crossing his arms and looking between me and the book he spoke something that I thought was really strange; “You’ve bonded with the book”

“Excuse me?” I asked

“Well, based on what you told me and what I see here, this is a Posha Wishing Book” and from the tone of his voice, the Doc was positive with his deduction.

I wasn’t sure what to make of that and not really sure what to say except “A what?”

The doctor continued “it’s a rare book and supposedly possesses magic powers. Possibly 10th -11th century; supposedly made by gypsies. Some say the books can make dreams, desires come true, provides its master insight, but at the same time others say it’s cursed. But for either to happen, the book has to ‘bond’ with its owner.  And for that bond to be created the book has to somehow draw and absorb blood, which it appears to have done”

I was looking at my hand where it poked me. Of course there was no mark left at all .

” I do have to ask” the Doc continued “How did this book come to you?”

I told the doctor about the Pier and about the gypsy lady, then about how the blonde with the dreadlocks had seems to have grabbed her, and that was the last I saw of her.

The doctor look at me with the most serious look I have ever seen on his face.

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