The open pages of her paperback fluttered as she tried reading further, walking the sidewalk in absent-minded imagination. In spite of the less than ideal circumstances — the snow catching on her waving hair (and her nose too — "Achooo!") and the strutting passersby, the street lamps were glowing. She couldn't resist the opportunity.
Yomiko Readman's name seemed self-explanatory enough. She liked to read. Burying her nose in all the paperbacks and hardcovers she could get her hands on. This particular adventure she's enjoying right now was that of a suave detective, Johnny Gossamer, special issue #11 "The Christmas fairy who stole the presents." Bought it right off that street vendor a block away. It was a pity the cheap pulp the pages were printed on would shrivel like toilet paper when it got wet.
Where was she now? She gave a glance up; a sign read the 9th ave. of Mulberry St. A busy section of town this was; the commerce overflowed with people shopping last-minute for Christmas presents. Some struggled around tall stacks of boxes, and others were conniving enough to steal shopping carts for their excursions. Lucky her, she'd already bought what she'd wanted last week — in gift-wrapped bow-tied boxes, waiting to be feverishly torn open. Yay.
But first, a matter of great mystery to solve.
Amongst the junk mail sifted through this evening, Yomiko's eyes had caught upon a black box. Small enough to fit in the palm of her petite hands, and embossed atop was a silver emblem, a fleur-de-lis. After conventional methods of opening it had failed, it was only when the box slipped out onto the floor — she saw it for what it was. It automagically uprighted itself, emblem on top. Sprung open, like one of those jack-in-the-boxes. (Yomiko didn't like such shocking surprises, she'd flinched and might've let out a squeak of terror then.)
A tiny ballerina figure had danced in the arms of a gallant prince. A tune began to play. Swan Lake waltz, wasn't it? And the deep voice of a man who'd sounded constipated — inviting her to a festival hosted by one Jean Riel. His luxury mansion, at the Northern Mews. Dancing, candies, presents galore. An unforgettable experience promised, starting at midnight. Normally, Yomiko would be inclined as to skeptically question this random invitation, were it not for one thing.
The fleur-de-lis rang a half-forgotten bell in a past, something striking her as uncanny and curious.
The black box jiggled in her coat pocket as Yomiko kept on walking to the bus station, about to turn to the next page—
Someone bumped into her. Hard. Right on the shoulder, and she tripped face first onto the sidewalk slush.
The Johnny Gossamer novel tumbled onto the road. Cars ripped, ran over and defiled its pagers in every way a bookophile would cringe at. Well, there goes a cliffhanger.
edited 1st Dec '10 9:59:18 AM by QQQQQ