Sabotage – Sunday Photo Fiction

Photo by: Alastair Forbes


Anders Dunhill understood books better than most people. He knew that as books spent time in the loving hands of owners, they gained energy. Thus, the more a book was read and the more it changed hands, the more powerful it became. Anders believed in ensuring books always found a new home. His used bookstore became an orphanage for books waiting for a new owner. Resting on Bellamy street, the books inside protected it from riots, fire, and floods for nearly forty years. Ultimately, they couldn’t protect Dunhill from senility and that most pernicious of evils, a lawyer.

Dunhill died a week after a cleverly written lease forced him and his books out of his beloved shop.

The storms that raged during the forcible removal of Dunhill’s tomes were the worst in anyone’s memory.

Soon, a posh shop offering expensive, overly priced purses took over the space. It lasted a week until a January snowstorm clogged the streets, and, most curiously, the interior of the purse shop! To make things worse, a huge Malamute dog got in and peed on all the purses. Further, it also peed on clientele trying to get in. Their stock and reputation ruined, the shop closed down.

The expensive perfume shop that took over struggled as well. The continual moaning from within the freshly-laid brick wall forced the shop’s doom.

The ladies lingerie shop encountered the most extraordinary thing. A periscope smashed up from floorboards, sending everyone into a panic. Police never found the cause, but noted the scratched lettering on the device that read, incompletely, “Na…il…s.”

After three failures, the space was considered cursed.

Lillian Tanager didn’t worry about curses. She occupied the old building after it collected dust for three years. Lilly’s Bookstore and Cafe carried the smell of old books and fresh coffee into the street beyond. Soon beatnicks and university professors called it home. It became a breakfast nook serving poached eggs and kippers all day. Clientele flowed in and out continuously. Books found owners.

And then the most remarkable thing happened.

Nothing happened.

Somewhere, in those invisible spaces between printed lines, resting comfortably in the fibers of yellowing pages amongst old and powerful friends, an old man smiled.
Author’s Note:
Can anyone guess the books that sabotaged the stores? Should be an easy one to answer.

Each Sunday, photographer Alastair Forbes voyages to a used book store on Bellamy Street in Brighton, and sacrifices his own photos for use as writing prompts for flash fiction. Okay, it doesn’t exactly work that way, but you get the idea. The photo at the beginning of this story is Alastair’s prompt, and the following story is my answer. Look here for more stories answering the prompt:

About EagleAye

I like looking at the serious subjects in the news and seeking the lighter side of the issue. I love satire and spoofs. I see the ridiculous side of things all the time, and my goal is to share that light-hearted view.
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20 Responses to Sabotage – Sunday Photo Fiction

  1. penshift says:

    You always manage a nice twist. Revenge of the books. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. List of X says:

    I’m not sure about the first one (Jack London?), but 2 is Poe and 3 is Verne.


  3. I like your indirect book references. Sounds like a literary underground resistance movement. We had a successful bookstore in my city in Korea that was shut down because the owner wanted to redo the building. It was empty for a while until some fashion shop came in. Hopefully the books were come back there eventually too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Thank you! It’s always sad to me when a bookstore closes down. I like the smell of bookstores. I’ve spent many an hour browsing and just sitting and reading. For me, a bookstore is like a church, sacred. I would hope books fight back whenever one is closed. Thanks much for stopping by! 🙂


  4. jannatwrites says:

    Wonderful story! I like the idea of the used book store being like an orphanage, and the fact the books scared away the tenants until the right one came along 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Thanks so much, Janna! I like the idea of books personified. I’m glad you enjoyed the idea too. Once more, it’s good to see you again. I’ve missed your stories a lot. 🙂


  5. Robin says:

    I had to laugh at the destruction of the purse shop 🙂 What a great story. I love the literary references, and that the space was returned to a book shop.


    • EagleAye says:

      Thank you! The books weren’t going to be satisfied any other way. Glad you enjoyed the literary references. There’s boatloads more I could have suggested but those are some personal faves. I’m happy you got a laugh. So good to hear that. Thanks kindly! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Yay Anders Dunhill saved the bookstore. I enjoyed reading this. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. yarnspinnerr says:

    Between the lines ……..
    Beautifully crafted,

    Liked by 1 person

  8. J. Raven says:

    Always a good read with a tidy twist 😉 Thanks for sharing with us!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Good story, Eric. I wasn’t sure about the first two, but is figured out “Nautilus” for the 3rd one. I actually suspected Poe’s story for the 2nd one, but wasn’t sure. Well done. 🙂 — Suzanne


    • EagleAye says:

      “Call of the Wild” or “White Fang” from Jack London for the first. Your guess was right for the second. “A Cask Of Amantillado” by Edgar Allen Poe. “20,000 Leagues Under The Sea” by Jules Verne for the third. I hope you had fun, and thanks much!


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