A Merry Dance

(1000 words) It was a dull, claustrophobic December day and flakes of grey-white snow were settling on the terrace behind King’s Antiquarian Booksellers. Maggie Swann, the matriarch of Swann’s Rare Books, crossed it to enter an annexe. Inside, in eerie silence, anonymous leather-bound volumes filled dusty bookcases. At the back was a steel cabinet, housing rows of ancient books, bound variously in leather, suede and vellum, standing incongruously on grey metal shelves. Maggie caressed cotton-rich paper, hundreds of years old, admiring the lettering, still fresh-looking, in rich black and deep red. The books were mainly in Latin, which she left to Sammy, her bearded expert on incunabula.