His only joy, his only break in this monotonous routine, was in the escape of his books. As he sat soaking in his tub each night, he would curl up with his latest tome. It was fiction, mostly. He had considered, for a while, improving his education in the hopes of one day escaping his trash cart and his daily routes, but each time he would start, he would find himself drawn back into his worlds of fiction. It wasn’t that he was stupid, really, but no matter the promise such dreams gave him, he could not convince himself that they were anything more than just that: just dreams. And because he was not able to believe that the knowledge he sought would set him free, he found it very difficult to focus on the strange words and taxing texts. So he gave up, and instead found escape in escapism.

In the lighter, more fanciful books he found true solace. These stories and tales of days gone by and days that had never been gave him real hope and real relief. In those words and worlds he could be anything he wanted: he could be free. Roaming through the untamed forests of Nuberon, he could find adventure and excitement. In the days right after the First Crisis, he could show his resolve and heroism standing up to the marauding savages. Each night he would transport himself into the stories and in this way he found his contentment. At least enough to get him through another street, another day.

This day was different. This day had started with great promise. He had just finished an excellent tale of daring do in the days of the first kings, and as luck would have it, his bookstore was on today’s route. He had a good relationship with the proprietor, an elderly man that called himself Tooth for reasons as yet unexplained. Tooth was always happy to welcome such an avid reader, and knowing that Wilson’s job, despite its long hours and harsh conditions, paid almost enough to get by, he had arranged a deal with the garbage man. Wilson had purchased exactly one book from the man, years ago, and when he had finished with it, he brought it back and replaced it with a new one. He’d been doing it ever since, always just one book. The day started with promise. And then Wilson reached Tooth’s shop.

Tooth was one of the few people that actually welcomed Wilson, one of the few people that he thought might genuinely miss him if he went missing. He wasn’t a friend, exactly, but on consideration, he was probably the closest thing that Wilson had. So he found it very distressing to see the Peace hanging around the front of the bookshop. Even more concerning was the broken window, it’s shattered panes now littering the sidewalk.  The door had been cordoned off as well. Wilson felt his distress morph into full worry. There was no sign of Tooth.


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