Excerpt – The Traveler

Feet Under Books! (2)

EXCERPT:

Savannah, Georgia
Present Day

Katie opened the door of the small corner Book Store Gone are the Pages the smell of old books and paper resonated throughout the store, and Katie smiled as she walked in. Scanning the small shop books as far back as she could see and all carefully stacked to the ceiling. She had dreamed of coming to this shop since she had first heard about it from her friend Jessica Littleton who had visited while on vacation in Savannah, Georgia. 

Katie had made a special trip to Savannah to go to this book store; she had finally gotten some leave and would make the best of it. She had quickly gotten through her last surgery before leave started so that she could make the drive and spend the week in the oldest hotel in Savannah. It wasn’t a long trip, but she wanted to have some time to be able to flip through some of the old books Jessica had told her about. The hotel she was staying at was dated back from before the war and stood still; she loved the south and everything that came with it. Katie often planned to make her life the old Savannah, but life and the Army had instead made plans for her. What made this trip even better was that The Lee House, rumored as haunted. 

Katie had looked forward to this trip for some time. She had recently gone through a bitter breakup after returning from her last deployment so two weeks away from the hospital and everyone she knew was just what she needed. She could be Katie and not Major Butler.
She was standing just inside the shop still mesmerized by the stacks of books both new as well as very old. Her excitement overwhelmed her thoughts; she wanted to pick up and open every one of the books. Her trance, finally broken when a voice behind a tall stack of old books sounded and an older woman of advanced years popped her head to the side of the pile.  

“May I help you, my child?” the woman asked as she scuffled along the wood floor from behind the stack. Her southern twang made Katie smile. 

“Oh no, ma’am I am just browsing. My friend Jessica visited here last year and told me if I made it to Savannah, this was the one place I needed to stop.”

“Well, my dear if you need anything, I will be over here in the rare book section give me a yell- I am Edith by the way, Edith Baxter. I own Gone with the Pages, so I have a keen knowledge of every single book in this shop.”
Katie’s eyes grew round as saucers when she heard Edith mention Rare Books. “May I see your rare books? Katie moved closer to the older woman; her excitement must have been apparent because Edith quickly agreed, and they headed off towards the back of the store near an old fireplace that still smelled of burnt wood and soot. 

“Right this way, my dear, and when you find something you like, there are chairs right near the fireplace that you can sit and browse your choices. I will be just over here doing some binding repairs.” 

Katie thanked Edith then headed right to the aisles of rare first edition books past the pile of books that appeared needed lots of love. These looked to be the pile of books Edith was pulling from to repair bindings.  

Running her fingers along the binding of the books all stacked neatly in their shelves Katie found one that interested her a rare first edition of Jane Austin’s Sense and Sensibility Katie’s heart skipped, and she felt she might pass out. I must be dreaming! Carefully she pulled the book out from between the other two rare books. She held the book in both her hands and gingerly walked to the stuffed chair by the fireplace and sat down. Her heart pounding as she opened the hardcover to reveal the beautiful yellowing of the pages and 
the smell of old paper enveloped her senses. 

Settling into the chair, she flipped through the brittle pages as carefully as she could. The condition of the book is pristine and would go great with my first edition of GWTW. I could spend hours, no days in this shop and never go through all these books. Jess was right; this is a gold mine of book finds. I could die right now and would die with a smile. 

Katie continued to thumb through the pages when the sound of an old coo-coo clock sounded. Looking down at her watch, she realized it was getting close to closing time. She had noticed on the glass on the front door that closing time at five o’clock, and it was five now. 
Katie got up, approached a small counter in the middle of the store where Edith was still working on the binding of some of the books. Placing the book on the table, “I would like to get this one ma’am how much is it?”

Edith looked up from her work and picked up the book. “Oh, this is one of my favorites, my dear. Are you a lover of romance books?”

“Oh yes, ma’am. But I do love all the classics, and when I saw this one, it spoke to me.”

“Well then my dear, you must see more of our collection. I have many many rare books. This one, for you dear, I will make you a deal. If you promise to come back tomorrow and let me show you more of my collection, you may have the book for two-hundred dollars.”

Katie’s eyes grew round, and the shriek she had been holding in since she had walked through the glass door finally overwhelmed her, and she let out a howl of excitement. 

“Its a deal. I will be here first thing in the morning.” 

“Perfect, I will have some of my better finds ready for you to gander through.” Edith wrapped the book in brown paper and placed it in a bag for Katie to carry back to her room. 

Grabbing the bag, Katie couldn’t help but be excited, but as she opened the door to leave her stomach growled and told her it was time to eat. As she walked out, she gave Edith a wave and stepped out into the fresh Savannah evening air. It was April in Savannah.

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