The Mystery Book (Part 1)

The Mystery Book is an ongoing story about a strange book found by me – Rissa. This is based on a true story, but fictionalized for my blog. Enjoy!

The Mystery Book
Part 1

 I’ll admit, summertime is nice but being able to sleep in has its downsides, too. It’s ten at night and I’ve been awake for only seven hours. Well, I’m wide awake without a soul to talk to. I had better find something useful to do.

I rise up out of the armchair where I’ve camped out all day and begin to  make my way down a hall and into a far bedroom. I pause and see something inviting to my left. I slowly turn and walk toward an eight-foot-tall bookshelf, piled high with page after page of magazines, songbooks, old homework, bibles, dictionaries and portfolios. And this is just the first opening on the shelf. The other levels contain extra contents. There’s a small tin bucket filled with Crayola markers. It’s the only item that doesn’t belong. Behind the tin bucket lies a long row of books. All kinds of different books! There’s a collector’s book filled with small openings to insert state quarters. It’s nearly full and I admired the work that must have gone into its near-completion. Next to this was a small section of thin books with strange names; those that don’t give away what they are about in the title. Hue and Cry. Men of Iron. Youth Questions. The next section holds what I could best describe as a very classy lady’s  favorite collection to give her granddaughter. This contains American Girl books about Samantha. The granddaughter must be a look-alike, or at least have brown hair. Then some aged books about cats and singing are strewn amongst the section as well. I move the tin bucket and find some Christian reading material. One talks of living abundantly and others describe bible characters. In the middle there’s a thick book about the Titanic. Then there’s an ancient-looking textbook entitled Major Bible Themes. It’s frayed and taped in several places. Someone had a long and brutal course with that one. But a beneficial course, no doubt. I push the tin bucket farther away from me. I see an ending section of books. The various shades of blue, green, gray and black covers are all somewhat related. They are all dark and almost scary-looking. I check the genre and find out why. This is the only somewhat organized section of the shelf: fiction. Thrillers and suspense novels, at that! Just my kind of reading. I like the dark and spooky, the crazy and adventurous. I guess it’s just who I am. Well, maybe minus the dark and spooky. Honestly, I am too much of a country hick to spend my time trying to sophisticate myself reading lines of poetry or sucking up the jumbled letters and numbers of math and science magazines. Yep, this was the section that was meant for me. Go straight for what’s gonna rattle your cage.

I love thrillers. And most any kind of fiction, really. Even if it has no point at all, I’ll pick up a book and read through what someone’s creative mind thought was worth it enough to put on paper. You never know how good a crazy idea can be once it’s written out over three-hundred or so pages! I think of the Hunger Games. What idea was that? I can imagine the author whispering to her best friend, “I want to write a book about an alternative reality to America where teenagers either kill each other or starve to death for sport.” Wonderful. I can then see the best friend laughing in the authors face before the words “I’m serious.” create some sort of awkward tension. But the idea had not yet taken form. It was later transformed into a three-book series about the hardships those teenagers faced in the Hunger Games and how they will ultimately rise above the… wait. I’m getting ahead of myself. Back to the reason I love fiction, especially thrillers. It always leaves you guessing and wondering what will happen on the next page, and the next page, and the next page, and you get the idea. It’s like an exercise for the mind. I often find myself analyzing a situation when I’m only about fifty pages in as the real problem is thrust into my understanding. But of course, I’ll make assumptions and accusations without any idea of what is really going to happen. And the best books are the ones that surprise you right at the end. Books like that leave you hoping that there’s a sequel. And tonight I am staring down a long line of them on this shelf.

I grab a thick green one from the very end and sit down to inspect it closer. I open to the dedication page. It reads, “to come.” Odd. I turn the page and find several words in some sort of foreign language with their English translation below. It’s the title. The Boy in the Suitcase. This book not only shot me an intriguing title, but somewhat of a real-world mystery as there was but a mere sign of a coming dedication. Who doesn’t dedicate a book? It certainly had the page. But only “to come” was my clue. I turned the book over and opened the back flap of the jacket. It was stamped with a label that read “Future publish date:” and mentioned a date that had not yet reached the present time. Very odd. First, the dedication was to come, and now the book is telling me that the very printed and bound copy I held in my hands was not even published yet! How can a book be published and not published at the same time? I held the book a little tighter, as if this new piece of knowledge would cause the book to fly from my grasp and disappear. It was a complete book, save the dedication. It even had an eerie cover design splattered with fancy letters in the title and one graphically-enhanced image. I set the book square on my lap and slowly opened it directly in the center. I almost expected a dramatic score of music to suddenly begin playing or an epic scenario like magic pulling a person into the game Jumanji to take place. This book was giving me enough strange messages. It wouldn’t have surprised me. But nothing happened.

Not right away.

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