Wednesday 8 September 2010

Never Judge A Book By Its Cover . . .

Our theme last night was 'never judge a book by its cover'. Each brought a book with them, we chose one, and then wrote a short piece inspired by the front cover, regardless of what the actual book was about.

The book I chose was 'According To Bella' by Sally Murrer. The actual story is along the themes of a detective novel, but with a journalist doing all the interrogations and fine tooth combing around the murder before the detective could get there.
Strange how my imagination works.

Exercise: Never Judge A Book By Its Cover . . .

The hieroglyphs on the letter didn't make much sense to me - in fact they made little sense at all. To me it looked like a child had grabbed a pen and a piece of paper, and then scribbled something that vaguely looked like one of mummy's letters. Each symbol looked unfinished and unmeaning.

I studied it harder.

Something struck me as wrong with it. The note paper didn't have any creases in it. It was smooth and flawless - except for the precise crease down the middle where it had been folded in half and slipped in the envelope. A child would have creased the paper in its careless attempt to write the letter. This had none of those characteristics.

Something didn't fit.

I studied it even harder.

Working in the spy industry, I'm faced with many conundrums, and it's my job to figure it all out and turn it so it all makes sense. But this one had me baffled. The letter had arrived this morning, opened, and then passed straight to me. "What is it?" they had kept asking. I didn't know. They had to give me time.

And time I had.

I studied.

I studied each hieroglyph carefully. I turned the sheet of paper one way then another, but they all looked the same. Unfinished. After a while something flickered in my head, like a light flickering to life. I wondered what I would find if I held the note under a black light. Heading into another office, I grabbed one and shone it down. The paper glowed blue, but that wasn't the only thing that glowed.

The hieroglyphs completed themselves with white streaks of light. I felt elated with my success at deciphering the note - but then I read it.

It stated that there was a bomb placed somewhere in the building, that there was no use in looking for it because we didn't have time. The rest was a countdown. Five - four - three -

The person who sent this must have known me, must have known that it would be me deciphering it, and must have known how fast my mind works. As I counted down I became the clock, ticking ever closer to the explosive end.

Two -

They couldn't cut any wires in me. They couldn't defuse me. I knew exactly what would happen once I continued, and there was not a single thing I do about it.

One -

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