I've never understood men that don't abide by the law. Laws were written for a reason, to keep society from collapsing; to help every man have a good life.
Because of this, I could not understand why the Bookseller was taking such a big risk. Everyone knows books were banned after the war of '44 and everyone understands why and how dangerous they can be for the health of our great country.
"I am a seller of freedom." The Bookseller told me as I interrogated him at the dim lit room in the police station. "I wish I could give it for free, but I need to eat."
"But you just lost your own freedom." I replied, amazed at how ironic this whole thing was.
I felt bad for the guy. It was clear he barely ate, with that brown suit too big for him.
He had a sad face, but something told me he always carried it, even before I arrested him. I offered him a cigarette, but he declined.
I had been the one to find him, after receiving an anonymous tip about a man walking around with an old suitcase packed with books. We got tips like this all the time, but I needed to do something right after mistakenly shooting at m partner two months ago. He was still in the rehabilitation and I needed to prove I was a good police officer, so I decided to follow the lead.
I caught him in the act. He was delivering a book to the widow on twenty-seventh street. She had ordered a collection of fairy stories to read to her children.
That's why books were so dangerous. The children had now lost their mother, and would be sent to an orphanage, all because their stupid mother wanted to read them tales of kings and knights and those hideous creatures they call elves.
She had been convicted to forty years in prison and would likely never see her children again.
I escorted the Bookseller to the court. I had confiscated the old suitcase where he carried twenty books. He would likely get ten years for each book. I smiled in satisfaction at the thought. He would never be seen again wandering the streets of this city and spreading dangerous ideas.
I notices the Bookseller remained calm as his lawyer attempted to get him a shorter sentence on the premise that the children had never gotten the books and the lack of evidence that other books had been sold. But it was to no avail.
The judge sentenced him to two hundred years in prison for the possession of twenty books, and another hundred for the attempt of polluting young minds.
It made me uneasy to see him there, sitting on the wooden chair with a hint of a smile. Why was he so calm? Didn't he realize he would never be a free man again? Didn't he have family somewhere. Didn't he dream of a future?
After his sentence was dictated, the judge ordered for the confiscated books to be burnt that same night. I was appointed to make the necessary arrangements for this.
I couldn't help for grin in satisfaction as I drove back to the station to collect the books. I had done well. Slowly but surely we would get rid of all the books in the city and soon after that in our whole country. I thought about the Bookseller calling himself a seller of freedom. Well, soon enough we would stop that as well. Freedom was something you earned by being a good citizen, not something you could buy from a thin man with a ragged suit.
When I arrived at the station, I was greeted by chaos. The other officers had gathered around my office, and I couldn't help but feel the gaze and murmurs of the people as I walked pas them towards the group at the end of the floor.
"Did you take the books?" One of them snapped. "We heard the judge wants them burnt by tonight so we came to find them, but they're not here. You know you're not allowed to take evidence outside."
I had not. I had carefully placed the books inside the safe in my office. As I walked past them I noticed it wide open. Nothing else seemed disturbed. They had known where I had them.
The books were out there again.
She had been born one hundred and eight years ago, on a cold and windy day in March. She barely got to know her mother and siblings, as she was almost immediately taken away by a greedy man looking to make a profit off her beautiful gray coat and her bright blue eyes.
To the greedy man's delight, she was adopted in record time and in record price. A nobleman had seen her inside her cage, by the side of the road, where the man had stopped to rest.
The nobleman paid one hundred silver coins for her and took her home to his wife who had always adored cats. His wife had been sick for many months, and he knew this beautiful cat would cheer her up.
He was right, the cat and the lady immediately fell in love with each other. The cat was delighted to have found a home, and the woman developed a new glow, to her husband's delight.
But soon enough, the disease was stronger than their friendship and it finally took the lady's life.
Both cat an husband grieved for many days. The cat found refuge hunting for birds on the grounds and gardens outside and the man retrieved to his work in the laboratory. Sometimes the cat would join him there, curious as to what the strong scent was. The man didn't mind her company, in fact, quite enjoyed it.
"I have been pursuing alchemy for many years now. I have developed different potions and remedies that do trivial things like make you feel calm or very happy." The man explained. "But my real goal has always been to produce a potion that will preserve one's life. I was hoping to do it in time to save my dear wife's life."
The cat was saddened by this. There had been a chance for her mistress to have been saved.
"I wonder," the man said with his eyes on the beautiful and soft coat of the cat. "It is a well known fact that cats have seven lives. Perhaps with the right ingredients, I can develop what I seek."
The cat gladly gave him some of her hairs. She knew this would not bring her mistress back, but it might save someone else's life.
And so, for many years, both man and cat worked together on the potion. She would travel far to collect several herbs and flowers, and every now and then pluck another of her hairs. One day, the potion was finalized.
"I dare not take it myself." The man said. "The thought of many more years without my wife is unbearable. I want to take it to the hospitals to be given to sick children. They deserve a chance to live more than a few years."
The man, however, was never able to do so. He went to sleep that night, exhausted after many years of hard work, satisfied that he had finally achieved his goal, and he never work up again.
The cat was left alone, grieving for the loss of her master. She overheard the staff of the house whispering about the estate being sold to some other nobleman, but there was no mention as to what would happen to the cat.
She decided she would fulfill her master's purpose herself. Nobody knew that the potion had been developed, so she decided to take it to the sick children herself.
She carefully packed the many vials her master had filled out, and hid them where no one else would. The process left her exhausted and she knew that if she would take on this endeavor, she would need strength, so she broke on of the vials and sipped the contents. It tasted sweetly of peaches and ice cream. But, little did she know that, her being a cat and already having seven lives, many more would be added to her.
When she understood this, she decided she would use it for the good, and so she brewed more of the potion, carefully following her master's notes.
One hundred and eight years later, the cat still brings vials to sick children, whose life is immediately renewed and they go on to live for many more years.
She senses the effects of the potion fading, but now she wonders if she should take more, to carry on with her work.
He rose early in the morning. The sun shone only slightly as he put on his uniform. The TV had the news on, but he didn't pay any attention. He needed to get ready for the important day ahead.
He was a delivery man and on that day, he had the task of delivering the invitations to the Princess' wedding, a very important task he took pride on. So he left his house, kissing his wife goodbye and taking the beautiful golden envelopes with him.
Had he seen the news, he would have known about the great traffic jam on the highway. He didn't like relying on modern technology either, so he just followed old roads that curved around the highway and would still take him to his destination.
The roads went through farmland and they were badly paved. Some potholes were overflowing with water from the previous night's rain. His old car barely made it through. When he thought he'd passed the worst part of the road, he encountered a group of sheep, slowly walking across the road. It took him about twenty minutes for them to scatter and clear the way.
He finally was on his way to deliver the first invitation, and the most important one, to the Princess' first cousin, the Duke.
His phone was out of signal in the country, and he didn't dare go back to the highway as the traffic seen pretty bad.
So he continued his journey, humming songs to himself and feeling proud of the work he had at hand. He was so distracted with his singing and enjoying the beautiful landscapes around him that he missed a turn and it was well over an hour until he finally realized it and had to turn back.
He felt hungry and tired by then, but he could not waste more time, so he didn't stop at the small town. If he had done so, and had stopped for a bite, he would have heard the news and perhaps he would have gone back home.
The snow came when he thought he was finally close to his destination. It came with such force and abundance, his whole car shook violently and no matter how hard his windshields wiped, he still could not see a thing in front of him. He couldn't stop now, not when he was dreadfully late.
The sun was setting when he finally arrived to the Duke's country manor. He felt relieved when he saw the big structure rising over a hill. He parked outside, checked his reflection on the mirror and quickly combed his hair with his hands, then stepped out of the car, taking one of the golden envelopes with him.
He walked up the door, where the Butler greeted him.
"I bring the wedding invitation to Her Royal Highness, the Princess's wedding." He said in his proudest voice.
The Butler stared in surprise for a second, before finally saying "My dear man, but haven't you heard? It's all over the news!