Keep Away

Elizabeth took the book from the shelf and flipped through. She was in her friend’s aunt’s converted garage adjacent to the big house, and the books were a bit moldy and uninviting. Even in books, though, Elizabeth often found things: unnoticed bookmarks of some kind—a fragile leaf, a yellowed flyer advertising a local parade. She also had luck finding things hidden in motel rooms: dirty magazines tucked under the mattress (what everybody looked for who knew about traveling salesmen and the way they always requested the same room), but she’d also found bedbug residue once and checked out immediately. More happily, she’d found, hidden in the folds of the plastic insert of a wastebasket, a mermaid swizzle stick that she used to prop up the stem of her orchid and another time, tangled in the cord of the blinds, a little horse charm she’d tried to convince herself brought good luck.

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