Once the ash settled from the explosion, the book store was still intact. I scrambled past the corpses of book spines, opened the door, which fell off its hinges, and ran to the back of the store where my grandfather was. At least, that’s where he was before. In the back room, where the special books were.
The special books. That’s the reason all of this happened. If I didn’t open my mouth and speak to the stranger about the special books, the store wouldn’t have smoke damage. The store would be open for another day of sales. I would be working the counter or re-shelving books, even if I dreamed of bigger things.
Maybe that’s why I told the stranger of the special books.
I climbed over a few fallen bookshelves. Their battle wounds were no more than small cracks in their sides. Nothing some wood glue couldn’t fix. The door was slightly ajar, as if it hadn’t been touched by the explosion. I pushed it open to see if grandfather was alive, maybe just lying on the floor?
I should’ve known. He was gone.