"Sleep," she sealed her whisper with a kiss, "and dream of books."
The shelves creaked, the breath was held. Dust stirred with each muffled step off the well-trodden paths, forged by those who stock the shelves.
The shop, a curling maze of stacks, impossibly deep. The Name of the Rose made pulp, instinct seeking the end of Africa, the unknown prizes. Warriors rest here, old warhorses, their spines faded and cracked, their hinges loose, here and there the cover gives way to bare that which should remain unseen. Paper skeletons peeking through the flesh in some family crypt, afraid even to touch them.
Dewey has no place in these depths, theme and subject give way to a practicality in the stacking. Some piles are there only for support, holding up sagging shelves. Deep boxes of paperbacks to dig through, their titles and covers brought to light for consideration. Tiny scorpions, half the size of a period, crawl and claw among the pages, fearing stranger predators. An ecosystem of glue and paper, slowly digest words they cannot read. Given a billion years, what would they evolve into?
Joy of discovery hushes; the light dims. There are no windows here, all alone. A rumble as a shelf collapsed, then another. The heavy weight presses down, alone in the dark, the air grows thick and close in the little cave of books. How long, how long. What is that which scurries and shifts? It grows closer, and it does not feel like rescue. To take up the dictionary, the only weapon at hand, not to go quiet into the last abyss...
Grey dawn peaks through the curtains, the alarm blaring red runes. Glasses propped up on the evening reading at the bedside table. The touch of her kiss still lingers.