Tuesday 2 May 2023

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 293

This week's prompt is a photograph taken in the “Livraria Lello & Irmão”, better known as Livraria Lello (Lello Bookstore), located in a beautiful neo-gothic building in the historic center of Porto, Portugal. Opened in 1906, it is one of the oldest Portuguese bookstores and has an invaluable historical and artistic value. 1995, the bookstore was restored and modernized, also creating an art gallery space. In 2013, it became a National Heritage Site, classified as a Monument of Public Interest.

This particular photo is apparently by Reinhard Görner, a German photographer. Prints are being sold for upwards of 6K which is a bit of a shock, seeing as you could visit this place and take your own picture - granted there might be people in it, but still, to me this is an indication of something wrong with a society that will pay that much for a single photo.  

As I prepare for the next Tricky Tales book, the third in this trilogy, but not the only series of Tricky books I think as more ideas manifest. The last time I visited Tricky was Week 289

The General Guidelines can be found here.

How to create a clickable link in Blogger comments can be found on lasts week's post here

There is also a Facebook group for Mid-Week Flash, if you fancy getting the prompt there.

A photo of inside Lello Bookstore in Portugal, depicting a sweeping red painted staircase up to a wooden detailed blue and gold ceiling and the back of a double staircase leading up. either side of the red stairs are rows and rows of book going all the way back into the shop. Taken by Richard Gorner


Tricky was familiar with Chestwick; she’d spent time here off and on over the years. On the whole she wasn’t a city lover, but when she walked into the book emporium she realised the value of having access to such a place. If she could come here every day and browse she’d love it.

This place was new to her; they had taken years to refurbish the old building that housed it. Both craftsmen and parts were in short supply so it was indeed a wonder to behold as you walked through the doors and came face-to-face with such an amazing staircase and ceiling. The grandeur and elegance was breath taking.

She took a moment to take in the beauty and admire the detailed workmanship. It showed trained skills were returning to the world, and that was something to be excited about. And then the books; there were rows and rows of them.

Tricky had been lucky enough to grow up with an extensive library at her fingertips; her parents had gathered many books, some literally when finding old ruined properties and combing through the remains. It had paid off and given her knowledge about a lot of things. Both her parents had been avid writers too, making sure everything was recorded.

Tricky might not have access to those books anymore, or have them in her possession, but she had an idea where they’d ended up and planned on gathering them again. She had at least salvaged the hand written tombs her parents had written. She had them neatly tucked away in one of her many time pockets. They were safer there than in any building.

This building was protected by the city and the laws that had been created by The Baron and his community to serve the people. And these books were for all to enjoy. But if things went dark again who knew what might happen to them.

Tricky ran her fingers over the covers, using her energy to pick up their contents as she searched through. Were there other books that had belonged to her family here? She hoped so. She hoped that when her parents house had been scattered among the cockroaches that brought about its downfall some of them might have travelled here. Afterall, they had managed to rid themselves of a few of those people now, and the network was getting smaller.

One book made her stall, and she paused to look at its spine. Yes, yes, it was the very book her father had used to teach her about her own energy. It had been based off Tesla’s findings and a rarity even before the shift.

She pulled it out and browsed through it, flicking through to the back. And there it was, the faint marks she had been hoping to find: her father’s coding in pencil. She snapped the book shut and tucked it under her arm. If this was here, then the other must be! The looters had no idea of the value of what they had stolen from her family if they then returned it so easily for public consumption.

She continued her search, this time with more enthusiasm and just as she was about to give up hope, she found it. Oh yes, the book that could be the undoing of her assailant, the big fat oaf! If this was here, then he didn’t have that knowledge. Had he known of its existence? Tricky didn’t think so. Her father was one to keep his findings to himself, or only sharing them with those he trusted, and Douglas Bottle was not among them. He had known Bottle, she was sure of that, so maybe there’d been a reason; maybe he had known Bottle was corrupt.

Either way, herein would lie the answer to her being able to run rings round the bloated hippy. She would dim the garishly bright clothing he saw fit to swathe his over grown body in; she would bring an end to him, if not actually, this book provided her with the know-how of doing it metaphysically. Oh yes, his time in this world would now be shortened.

But first she had to find a way to keep hold of these books. You were allowed to come and read and even to borrow, but to take permanently was more Tricky. But Tricky she was and would always be. No one would even know she’d been here – or the books either.  


  1. 451 Fahrenheit Boulevard

    He remembered the 'before' scene quite fondly. He’d always had a thing for literature and its select clientele. He’d immediately felt at home the moment he’d stepped through the doorway, his stomach feeling the cinching that had told him this would be the place. The man behind the counter had had no such feeling: he’d merely raised his head for a moment and then returned to his reading.

    Jimmy had stood with his hands raised – a conductor ready to begin. He’d noted each aisle, the shelves of books rising like cliffs, their faces pock-marked by the missing volumes removed by the shop’s customers and its casual readers. He’d already noted their demography. There were no children or college students circulating between them; the people that washed against their reefs were more likely to spend hours poring through sought-after first editions than to flip the pages of novels such as those still bought at airports and railway stations, these elite wearing cotton gloves to protect the leaves of the limited editions which had been selected for them before they’d arrived. He’d been used to using the libraries in August centres of learning, his studies restricted to the obscure and the occult, his desires limited to those frowned upon by the greater public despite their affinity for Hollywood gore and the monster movies of the 80s and beyond. The books he’d sought then had usually been lettered by hand with illuminated initials and could only be read by appointment after payment of a fee.

    He saw these premises as being a time vault containing treasures, their true worth hidden from the minds of the hoi polloi by their ignorance and inbreeding.

    The twins had seen them differently. They’d had no desire to read a page of any of the books in the stacks. They regarded them as a liability, something the owners would pay to protect.

    “Oi, oi,” said Blaine, knocking over one of the piles close to the door. “Can I speak to the manager? I’ve got a proposition to make.” Travis projected a plume of flames from his flamethrower, incinerating a rack of journals as an opening move.

    “My brothers are more impetuous than I am,” Jimmy said, taking care to step away from Travis’ line of sight. “But we’re all here seeking the same thing – huge sums of readily convertible cash in large denominations.”

  2. Orioles & Shenanigans

    “I’ve a book here for everyone,” the small man said. “Every single man, woman, or child. I’ve books for the in-betweens, the neithers and boths and all those dear folk who haven’t yet decided what they are. They don’t even need to want to read; I’ve got audio, video, console games and braille. I can sink my literary hooks into almost anyone.”

    “What about my Uncle Jock,” said Jane. “He hasn’t got any time. He can’t hardly concentrate for a minute. What could you do for him? He doesn’t even read the news online.” She sat on the circular couch at the foot of the stairway leading up to the Non-Fiction department, the pillar stretching to the ceiling a thick, fluted column made from oak. There were gilt-edged silver swags and satin bows that spiralled upward into the higher reaches of the Reference department and beyond. There was far too much going on below to distract anyone but the most determined from noticing any of their details.

    “Hmm,” said the small man, sucking at his teeth. “Jake sounds like he’s a tough nut. A challenge to be cracked.” He adjusted his nametag – I’m always happy to help – and studied the polished stone floor beneath his feet. “He’s a busy man, you say,” he said, clicking his tongue. “A man with a particular type of mind. Not fussed about the news or any local current affairs. Yet, both educated and thoughtful at the same time.”

    Jane nodded, her smile broadening with each comment as the man made it. Jake was an enigma. A kind-hearted man but almost impossible to pin down. He wasn’t into shooting or fishing, nor anything she could think of. He was the last person she’d want to buy a gift for, but one of the most deserving. He’d been married so long ago, years before she’d been born, although he’d been single for as long as she could remember. He was just her Uncle Jake - gentle, caring, but a little dull – and there seemed to be nothing more to him than that.

    “How about birds? Have you ever thought about that?” The small man led her across the floor, bringing her to a shelf beside the wall. It was filled with glossy covered books covered in birds. There were orioles preened and perching and eagles in mid-flight. There were geese flown from Canada and blackbirds that could have been photographed on her street. They were small, and they were large, and they were from everywhere in the world. The only thing they had in common was that they were alive, looking vital and proud. They drew you to the books, making you want to look inside their covers and learn more. There was a wonder hidden inside the eyes of each one. They were glorious and spectacular, possessing freedom and delight. How could you not be captivated by them; you’d have to have the emotivity of a post.

    “I’ll take one of each,” said Jane, swooping them down from the shelf. “And maybe one or two, just for me, so I can see what I bought for him. I should hate it if he had all the fun.”

    And so it was; she had them in a trice, slotted sideways inside a candy-striped bag. But there was something else she’d needed, although she’d been well pleased.

    What was it she’d needed? She knew there had to be a reason she’d come here.

    “Something else for Madame,” the small man asked, bowing down before her. “Maybe you have a secret passion you’ve never shared. An affinity or a predilection: an itch that needs scratching. I should be distraught if I let you leave with a need that I’d left unsatisfied.”

    Of course, that made Jane giggle. She didn’t know why. This man was so short; she could never feel intimidated. He was very much like her uncle, the probationary ornithologist. Charming and attentive, his eyes filled with mischief; he would know what she needed if she let him know more.

    And so, they sat down together and took tea. And the future unfolded, leading to eventual shenanigans.

  3. <a href="https://lexikon.home.blog/2023/05/08/library-of-memories-a-midweekflash-short/>Library of Memories</a> Love the picure, agree no-one should pay that much though!! Tried something new with brand new characters today so hope you like it!