(continues from Brave Enough)

 I turned the page while concentrating hard on my transparent fingers, keeping them solid. The page now lying face up displays a knight, helm-less but wearing full plate. She looks at me and I at her.  Our gazes cross, catch,  hold.  She is me and at the same time,  not me. By some strange miracle, she and I shared one existence, one viewpoint for a time.

Now we’re separate. It means something but i have no idea what. A car speeds by breaking my fascination with the book and the woman done up in silver gilt. Gavin DeGraw croons something about meaning.

Yeah right,  if this existence of mine has a point,  I’ve yet to find it. Maybe we’re all just searching for what’ll get us through this hour,  this day,  this year.  Maybe.

I can’t accept such hollow logic. For a while, I was content to drift. But I’m no longer a parasite latching onto passing stories. I need answers and for the afterlife to quit shuttling me around without my consent.  Once again,  I’m somewhere other than where I was a moment before with no reason provided. Death should find another plaything and leave me alone.

I’m back in the park where I first encountered this book.  Across from me yawns the alley where I found a corpse and a bejeweled dagger. The two repeat on me worse than any heartburn. I ignored this book then, but now I take a moment to study it. Maybe there’s meaning somewhere between the cover and the book’s end.

Death of a King,  what a pretentious title and no help since the book could be about any king. I mark the page where the female knight is and check the front flap and back cover for some clue to the plot.

Even better,  this book’s about a fictional king named ‘Mirivin.’ He sounds like a wuss. The sissy king rules a fantasy land called Shayari and runs with his merry band of Guardians. The lady knight must be one of them. She looked the heroic type.  Fan-frickin-tastic, I’m stuck in someone’s epic fantasy nightmare. Why me?

I open the book to her image expecting her to leap off the page and explain where I fit into this mess. But no, she stays trapped by the vellum page, caged by words written in a gothic hand. Wait a minute,  this book was a print-on-demand affront to good taste before.  Now it’s transformed into a handwritten masterpiece. Each page is a work of art, patience and careful penmanship.  I marvel, then I do what I must.

I turn the page and see a tattered ghost in a duster, a guy dead before finishing his 30s. I touch his—no—my face. I never had a midlife crisis. Death seized me before I could.

My hand shakes as it lifts from the traterous page and my gaze slides to the shadowed slice of alley visible from across the street. I know whose body’s lying dead there. Dear God, it’s mine. I was murdered.

And I drift, maybe I dream.
All seems lost now, with this gift
this meaning beaming at me as I lift,
rise over the cars teeming in this rift 
ignorant life’s given me short shrift.

 Find the earlier parts of this series here.

If you missed a part, worry not. This will be available from Amazon in 2017.
The adventure continues tomorrow.

For the November Notes Writing Challenge hosted by  Sarah Doughty of Heartstring Eulogies and Rosema of A Reading Writer.

Click to Get Curse Breaker: Enchanted for $0.99

In a world where enchanted trees kill, nothing is what it seems. Can Sarn protect his son, keep his masters happy and solve a mystery? When secrets threaten, murder is only the beginning.