THERE WAS A PENTAGRAM stamped onto the book's spine, but that's not why you stopped to stare at it. Nor was it the leather binding that caught your eye. You're barely interested in the stuff inside of books, let alone the stuff they're made out of.
No, it was the book's lustrous colors—the blood-scarlet of the cover and the gleaming gold of the pentagram—that stopped you in your tracks. Even then, it was only because red and gold are your high school colors. Mr. Walberg has everyone out collecting a lot of junk for the school time capsule, and you were shopping for something to throw onto the pile.
And if the book had nothing to do with your high school, your home town, or the current year? So what? Time capsules are stupid.
It was in the special collections cabinet of Arnholm's Used Books with a bunch of other rare and expensive items. But the glass door was ajar, so you quietly pulled the book out for a closer look.
Intricate designs of golden thread were woven throughout the cover; the same anarchic, subtly shifting designs covered the title page and facing papers when you opened it, and they made you dizzy just to look at them. Whoever created them had masterfully conveyed the illusion of movement and alteration with his pen strokes. This was especially true of the stylized faces that gazed out serenely along the bottom of the title page: an old man, a young woman, a hale warrior, and a child. As you studied them, they seemed to shift ages and attitudes, so that the old man from a different angle became a double of the young woman, and the child aged into a crone.
Without even looking through the rest of the book you took it up to the front to ask about the price ...