Bare Bones

Posted: December 9, 2010 in Short stories

Ena Cambell wandered slowly into the bookstore. She was biting her bottom lip and her plump cheeks were flushed. As she walked down the aisles, she let her fingers stroke the old, wooden shelves. The sound of her black leather clogs made a muffled thump thump as she made her way to the back of the store. A large, black plastic sign that said “Self Help” in white letters hung over a single shelf.
For a brief second, Ena stood in front of the shelf, her breath becoming shaky and her hands beginning to sweat. She tucked a strand of rust colored hair behind her ear. She quickly glanced over her shoulder, her eyes wide and scared. Satisfied that no one she knew was around to see her, Ena turned down the aisle. While most people skim shelves to find a book that intrigues them, Ena knew exactly where to go. She had already picked up this particular book seven times before.
“You Are Beautiful” by Skye Greene. Ena clenched her teeth as she tucked the book between her arm and her side. As she turned out of the aisle, she silently prayed that this time, she would pull through. She would actually read this book, cover to cover, instead of throwing it in the fireplace like she had to the seven other copies she had previously bought. Making her way to the counter, she could already smell the pages burning. The crinkly, popping sound of the flames engulfing the paper. The sickly sweet smell of parchment and ink, devoured by fire.
Ena’s knees trembled. She didn’t want to have to come back again. She wanted today to be the last day she ever buys “You Are Beautiful” by Skye Greene. She placed the book in the hand of the woman working the register than grasped the marble counter top to keep herself steady. The clerk, whose nametag read “Ashley”, looked down at the book then back at Ena, giving her a sympathetic smile. A pang of hot jealousy and anger surged through Ena. This woman was beautiful. She didn’t know what it was like to be in Ena’s place.
“$12.99,” the woman said.
Ena angrily shoved a $20 bill in her hand, snatched the book back, and stormed out of the store.

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