I listen to the voicemail left on my phone. It is a gruff scratchy voice, “Miss Geller, we will give you until the end of the week to give back what you have taken.” That’s it. The voicemail ends. That’s my name, Beth Geller, but I have not taken anything from anyone, let alone anyone who sounds as intimidating as him. I go to redial the number, and my phone dies again. “Shotty ass phone!” I yank open the middle desk drawer, and sitting right on top is my phone charger. I plug my phone in

Oscar, the shop cat, jumps up onto the counter. “Can I help you?” I ask, as I give his long orange fur a quick scratch. Refusing to accept that as his only pets, he rubs his head on my arm, trying to coax out more. I pull him off the counter into my arms. “Come on you, let’s go sit by the window.” We make our way back to the front of the shop; I expect each step to bring more light, but am disappointed. I look out the window and see dark clouds quickly rolling in. “Looks like we are in for a storm Oscar,” I say as lightning strikes, painting the dark sky in bright spider webs.

I put my hand on the door to go out, but hesitate when the memory of the icy finger drawn up my spine flashes in my mind. “You’ll protect me right Oscar?” he purrs with the renewal of attention. I push open the door and I am greeted with powerful winds that nearly topple me. The concrete is speckled with dark blotches from where the rain has kissed it. “This storm isn’t messing around, it’s coming in fast. Let us go back in.” When I turn to go back in, the sky lets loose a clap of thunder and Oscar leaps from my arms. “Where are you going! Oscar! Oscar, come back!” he takes off down the street, and so do I. “Oscar you dumb cat! Come back here!” I chase him behind a restaurant, and grab at him He wiggles out of my hands, darts up the fence and disappears. I try to climb up the fence, but I don’t quite have the upper body strength. I kick a trash can, “Damn it!” I curse. A rat scurries out, from behind the trashcan, making me scream, and the rat scurries even faster.

I head back to the shop two blocks over. The storm is in full swing. The rain is coming down on me like someone dumping water from buckets out of the windows. The water drenches me. My whole body is soaked and my converse squirt out water as I walk. I don’t care. I sulk all the way back to the shop.

When I get back inside, I sit down in my chair. Directly in front of me, there is a pile of books, completely soaking wet. A stream of water slowly makes its way to another pile. “What the hell?” I jump up, push the books out of the way, and grab the rug from the front of the door to soak up the water. Where is this coming from?

I look up at the window and see a hole in it, and sitting on the concrete outside is a book.

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