When I look back, I wish I could have had the option of just throwing the book away, so that nothing would have changed. But how could I not be curious? Also, throwing the book away would not have stopped the change. What was going to happen would have happened nevertheless, and I would have been in much greater danger, unprepared.
I really thought at first that it was a book about dream interpretation.
I had no idea how the book had ended up in my duffel bag. It could have dropped into the open bag from the shelf when I fell against it, I supposed. The only flaw in this scenario was that the bookstore only sold new books. There was no second hand stock at all. Anything this old wasn't available there.
But somewhere, someone had placed it in my bag. I had a bad habit of not closing my bag securely, because where I lived felt safe. Our little town was so old fashioned that anyone caught pick-pocketing would have been dragged off to the local church, where he (or she) would have been put on the gallows, or made to write a thousand times "Thou shalt not steal" on a blackboard in front of the whole congregation. Or possibly both. Something along those lines, anyway. It was hard to tell, because it was the kind of thing that never, ever happened. If you dropped a penny in the street, someone would be sure to point it out to you and hand it back.
I suspected the young man at the bookstore had a hand in it. Of course he might have dropped the book in my bag by accident. Or even deliberately. If I ever saw him again, I would ask straight out, I decided, not admitting I was hoping I might actually see him again. Whatever it was in this case, I had no way of knowing to whom the book belonged, and as it was, I could not return it to its rightful owner.
So, when the evening came and everyone went to bed, I propped my pillows comfortably against the headboard, put on the reading light, took my notebook and pencil, and started interpreting the dream written inside the cover, all snug under my lightweight summer blanket. I thought I'd probably fall asleep pretty soon,
I didn't. I had no idea that this dream book would change my whole life, and nothing in my world was going to be normal ever again.
I took a chocolate (yes, I confess that I'd actually placed a box of strawberry chocolates on the bed to truly enjoy the book, which I still thought was about dreams).
"Now let's see what the book says about angels..." I took the first word from the hand-written dream and started leafing through the pages. "Amputation... anchor...andirons... anecdote... angels!"
I expected to read something about divine intervention or some such thing, considering when the book had been printed. But what I read was all gibberish, at least the first part.
"To You dream of hold in angels is prophetic your hands a of book disturbing influences about the in the soul gates between our It human brings a world and changed condition of the Unseen Worlds the person's lot. If the dream is unusually pleasing, you will hear of the health of friends, and receive a legacy from unknown relatives.
"If the dream comes as a token of warning, the dreamer may expect threats of scandal about love or money matters. To wicked people, it is a demand to repent; to good people it should be a consolation."
"What on earth are they trying to say?" I said out loud, making Nugget lift his sleepy head and glance at me.
I decided to try a random word. Nugget. Cats. I would see what the book said about cats.
"To dream of a cat, denotes ill luck, if you do not succeed in killing it or driving it from your sight. If the cat attacks you, you will have enemies who will go to any extreme to blacken your reputation and to cause you loss of property. But if you succeed in banishing it, you will overcome great obstacles and rise in fortune and fame..." I read to Nugget. "Hmm, someone did not like cats, it seems... but at least that is coherent. Something must have gone wrong at the printing company when it came to angels... Oh well, maybe I should just go to sleep and see if I have a dream I could try and interpret with this book."
I placed the book on my bedside table and switched the light off. Instead of sleeping, my mind started nagging about something. One two three, one two three... I was repeating the numbers in my mind over and over again. And then I realized, why. 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 1-1... The numbers written in the cover of the book. They had to be meaningful. What if...
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