Book one in the Hilda the Witch series.
A fairy-land witch gets transported to our world and struggles to go home.
Shielded by her invisibility spell, Hilda landed in the alleyway next to the book store. After releasing the shield she walked into the book store, one particular line from the quill's poem reverberating through her head. "The use of magic is forbidden." That worried her, and that was a bad sign. Witches of her standing never worried. This place was getting on her nerves.
She stared at the sharp sounding bell at the door. It made Bert Bantrey's head rise up from behind a stack of books.
How easy would it be to make that bell go silent, the witch thought.
"Ah, dear lady, please excuse my appearance. One moment please..." Bert scrambled to his feet. He grabbed hold of a stack of books that was on the verge of collapsing, and after steadying that part of his assets, he turned to Hilda again. "Welcome to Bert Bantrey's Book store. I am Bert Bantrey. Please state your wishes, and I will do my utmost to fullfill them." He ended his little talk with a quick bow.
"A gentleman at last," Hilda smiled benevolently. "I thought this world had seen no civilisation, but it appears I have to revise my opinion about that." She nodded regally, something that looked quite odd with her denim attire, the red and black bag slung across her shoulders and the broom in her hand. And yet, it suited her.
Bert was accustomed to strange customers, even people calling themselves witches, asking for grimoires, books of shadows and other impossible things. This was the prerogative of owning the only book store in town and its surroundings. "So, with what can I be of assistance?" There was something enticing about this woman that fed his male feelings, his urges. It was something that not many women managed to evoke.
"I am looking for a man who has a book," Hilda said.
"For a book, dear lady? In that case I am your man," Bert smiled, waving his arm around the store. "I own many of them. Therefore I assume that makes me a whole lot of man." He wiggled his eyebrows at her.
The gesture was lost on the witch. "I am looking for..." - Hilda rummaged in her bag and took the papers - "...William Connoley?"
Bert's hopes of capturing this lady's heart shattered on the floor, in front of his feet. He could almost hear the shards clatter. Bert however was not one to be thrown out of the ring that easily. "Dear lady, I am convinced that you and I can come to an agreement. Whatever it is that my friend William has, I have it too."
Hilda could smell the stream of stale pheromones that flowed from the man. It almost made her gag. "There must be something that William Connoley has that you do not have," she said. "My paper states that."
"Hah, dear lady," Bert said, leisurely stepping towards her. "William and I go back a long time. I know what he has for sale, as he obtains most of his merchandise from my store. He is, how could I put it, almost my personal travelling sales-representative."
Also free on obooko:
Hilda - Snow White Revisited
Hilda and Zelda
Hilda - Cats
Hilda - Lycadea
Hilda - Back to School