The Timely Adventures of Rachel Evans, Part One
November 18, 2011
In the past, one of the most popular forms of fiction was the serialized story or novel. Charles Dickens' career was launched with The Pickwick Papers published in serial form. In that tradition, the Grandview Branch is bringing you a serialized story, The Timely Adventures of Rachel Evans by our very own Sally S. in this blog.
It started, as the best things do, with a book. A perfectly ordinary book, a pocket dictionary of world history. It was not a first edition, hardly worth anything at all, even if it had been kept in mint condition. Yet, there was something about the glossy paperback with the brightly colored world map on the cover that made Rachel reach for it.
The local library was holding their annual book sale. For three dollars, you could fill a box, so Rachel was taking the opportunity to find extra gifts for her family's stockings. Christmas was steadily approaching, as every store, radio station, and ad seemed determined to remind you.
As a rule, Rachel liked Christmas. She liked buying gifts for friends and family. She liked Christmas cookies. She liked egg nog. She didn't even mind the occasional carol. It was the complete overload of everything Christmassy that made her feel as though she wanted to strangle the Santas loitering outside the grocery stores. So far, Rachel had managed to restrain from this. She limited her actions to running over the plastic reindeer her parents insisted on lining their driveway with every holiday season. It was only mid-November, but Rachel had already managed to take out three reindeer. Petty satisfaction, perhaps, but satisfaction all the same.
Rachel added the pocket dictionary to the box she was nudging down the aisle with her foot. She had already found two Agatha Christies that would do for Aunt Harriet, a collection of Neil Gaiman short stories for her younger brother, and a Nicholas Sparks paperback for the cousin with whom she had an on-going Christmas gift feud. This was not counting the miscellaneous sci-fi paperbacks she had found for herself. Rachel paid for the box of books at the counter and walked out. The pocket dictionary rested comfortably on top of the other books.
It was a dull, gray, November afternoon. The sort of day where nothing spectacular would ever happen, and nobody would ever expect it to, least of all in Ohio. Once back at her apartment, Rachel set the books on the coffee table and went to make a fresh pot of coffee. She had two hours before she had to be at work. Enough time for at least one episode.
"Don't even think about turning that on," The hand of her roommate closed firmly on the remote and moved it out of reach.
"But, Lost Girl is on," Rachel protested weakly. She tried not to look at the clock counting down her last moments of freedom before she had to be at work. Moments that Leigh was threatening to take away from her.
"It's a rerun." Leigh placed the remote on top of the TV. "We need to talk."
"But there's supposed to be a preview for the new episode." Rachel made a futile grab for the remote and gave up.
"You can find it on YouTube later." Leigh sat down on the floor beside the couch and stared at her intently. "We. Need. To. Talk."
"If we have to talk, I need coffee."
"Fine. But hurry up."
Rachel stalked into the kitchen and glared at the coffeepot, which had done absolutely nothing to deserve it. It wasn't that Rachel didn't want to talk to her best friend. It was more that she didn't want to talk about this particular subject.
When she came back with her cup of coffee, Leigh was perched on the corner of the coffee table flipping through the pocket dictionary.
"This is cool." She turned another page. "Did you know that the spire on top of the Empire State Building was originally supposed to be a place for dirigibles to land?"
"Yes," Rachel took a sip of coffee and waited.
"Of course you did." Leigh sighed. "Look, I wish that was where we were going." She tapped the page speculatively, "I wish we could go to New York, even back then."
The book in Leigh's hands made an odd hiccuping sort of sound and shook slightly. Rachel reached out a hand instinctively. Whether to take the book away for protection, or to simply poke it, she wasn't quite sure. As she touched the spine, the book shook again, and then things went hazy.
The last thing Rachel remembered was clutching her coffee cup in one hand and the book in the other, hoping desperately that she wasn't going crazy. It was starting to be a valid concern...
Keep reading this blog to find out what's in store for Rachel in The Timely Adventures of Rachel Evans, Part Two.
Image credit: Manhattan Skyline: I. South Street and Jones Lane, Manhattan.. Abbott, Berenice -- Photographer. March 26, 1936. via New York Public Library and Flickr's Commons