Red Herring

She entered the park at her usual time. It was 4.30 PM. A time where the sun was less harsh and the kids were yet to fill the park with theirĀ pandemonium. There were the usual suspects present though. A couple who worked at a nearby office came here regularly to spend time with each other. She had grown quite fond of them. And then there was Sheela, a modern age mother, who wanted her kids to play in the fresh air before they were packed off to one activity or other. There was also a group of cooks and maids who had a daily gossip session around this time before they got loaded with work again, once their employers returned from work.

She spotted a new entrant in the park today. There was an old lady on a wheelchair, who was moved around the park by a 15 year old girl. She would talk to them once she got settled on her regular bench. She loved to talk to strangers and listen to their stories. They fascinated more than books. Not that she loved books any less. Stories were her world. Whether in her books or outside of them. Maybe because God had forgotten to give her a story of her own!

With all this thoughts running in her mind, she approached her usual bench. From here she could see the entire park and their inhabitants. They were at a comfortable distance. She could observe them without making them seem intrusive. Her eyes glimpsed a red object on the bench. It was a picture of a gorgeous Red Herring over a white background. The contrast made the cover more attractive. The title of the book as well as the cover tempted her like a beautiful girl tempts a man. She couldn’t wait to take that book in her hands. Touch it, feel it, smell it (it did look brand new & she loved the smell of new books) She hesitated for a moment though. Looking for someone who looked like they might have kept their book here. Forgotten maybe. Suddenly she remembered an article she had read about an international book club. They were in town to place books for the book lovers. Playing Santa for the bibliophiles! She was ecstatic with joy! She sat on the bench, kept her purse aside and took the book in her hand. She caressed the spine and felt the cover with her soft hands. She smelled the book but it felt weird. It wasn’t the typical new book smell. Confused, she opened the book. As soon as she opened the book, a blast shook the whole park. People in the vicinity, including the old lady, flew in the air. When they reached the ground, they had turned into dead bodies.

She had died what she loved doing. Smelling new books. Sadly, she died without knowing it.