4 Corners Edge 

Thomas Turner

The Black Grimoire 

Chapter 1  

– The 4 Corners Shop – 

The youth opened his eyes. A black fog surrounded him. He glanced right and left, his footsteps echoing as he moved. He turned behind and staggered backward in fearful shock at the sight of a giant monster looming over him. The creature’s body was wrapped in darkness and its features were undiscernible.  

As the monster crept forward toward him, he stepped back until similar, but normal sized, entities jutted out of the ground and surrounding him. Three on his right and three on his left. One stood out front and another behind him. The ninth figure that stood beside him entwined its hand into his. The other eight stepped forward, forcing the creature to step back. He suddenly realized they were protecting him. 

He looked toward the monster and watched as it morphed and condensed into a small rectangular shape. It floated in midair for only a few seconds before a black claw erupted from its center and hurtled down like black lightning at the scared boy’s heart while screaming with venomous ire. “Felix!”  

And then Felix snapped awake.   

His pen etched through the notepad with a rapid blur as dawn's rays filtered through the blinds of his room. The black ink tried futilely to recall his dream. As with most people, dreams are experienced and lost with regularity. Most lost dreams are never thought about again. For the young man who had woken up long before any of his family, he struggled and reached with all of his brain power to retrieve his dream from his mental depths. Some mornings he would succeed and jot them down inside his ‘idea’ book. Other times he would fail and sigh in frustration. This instance was a mixture of both… but more the latter. A situation that frustrated him more than losing a dream entirely.   

 “A black hand and a rectangular shape wrapped in shadows?” Or was it square-shaped, he questioned himself. He grasped at the fading shards of his dream and could only capture bits and pieces. There was much more to this dream than what the written words in front of him displayed. He remembered an intense and sudden feeling of dread, which is what had awoken him from his sleep. He exhaustedly resigned himself and placed his notebook down. He almost never lost a dream that he could remember even a small amount of. A talent of his that had treated him well in recent years. This morning, that talent failed him.   

 An enthusiastic knock at his door broke his cerebral scavenger hunt. “Felix! Felix! It’s almost time to go to school! You better get ready soon, Felix! I want to meet my friends before school starts!” His little sister was aching to go meet her friends, but she couldn’t leave without him. They had opted against taking the bus since they were fairly close to their school district, so instead they walked to school together. Their mother’s orders.    

“I’ll be out in just a moment.” Felix had lost significant time that morning trying to recover his dream. School came first though, despite the fact that he already knew what kind of career he would pursue and have in life. He hurriedly dressed and gathered his school supplies. Felix almost walked out of his room but stopped. He almost forgot to bring his special black messenger bag with him. The contents of the bag were of greater importance to him than anything in his backpack. He slung it over his shoulder and left to meet his sibling.   

His sister’s blonde, curly pony tails bounced as she impatiently tapped her toes on the ground. “Well, it’s about time! What took you so long?”   

Felix chuckled at his sister’s impatience. “Sorry, Cam. I just lost track of time this morning.”   

The younger teen shrugged and rolled her eyes. “Whatever. Just c’mon. We don’t have time to eat so we’ll just grab some pop-tarts on the way out.” She took the lead toward the kitchen and Felix followed her.    

The siblings walked past their mother in the kitchen while she was eating a bowl of cereal before going to work. As the teens searched for their breakfast treats, their mother beamed brightly at her son with pride. “Felix, be sure to tell me all about what happens today.”    

Felix returned the prideful smile and added a thumbs-up. “Alright, you got it.” His sister, despite her playful harshness towards him, grinned proudly for his recent accomplishment. Not just any accomplishment either, but the fulfillment of one of his greatest dreams.    

His mother could hardly wait to come home and hear about his day. “Cammie, do you have everything you need for school?”   

“Yes, Mom.” Their mother pulled them both into a hug, smothering them in the thick milk chocolate colored hair that mirrored her son’s. She kissed both of her children on top of their heads and released them from her embrace. 

“Have a great day at school you two!” their mother said.    

Felix and Cammie waved goodbye with pop-tarts in hand. “We will,” Felix assured. “Later.” He and his sister left their home and started their morning walk toward school. As they walked, they greeted the usual acquaintances that frequented their path. The kind elderly lady who was watering her plants, the optimistic paperboy who bicycled around them to get to school after he finished his early morning route, and the other familiar faces they passed by as well. Their home of Valhollow wasn’t huge, but it also wasn’t a small country town. It was a predictable little city; a little too predictable for Felix’s tastes. There was still some excitement to be had though. While on their way, Cammie would randomly straighten out the creases in her brother’s shirt. “Cut it out, Cam! I look fine.”   

“Fat chance! I’m not letting you go to school today of all days looking like a bum.” She patted down several more creases on Felix’s shoulders. “Oh, I almost forgot!”   

“’Almost forgot’ what?”   

“I’m walking home with my friends today. We’re going to a birthday party after school.”   

He placed a curious eye on her. “Does Mom know?”   

Cammie nodded, “Yeah. I told her yesterday. I tried telling you but you were hiding out in your room again. You do realize that you don’t listen to anything on the other side of that door of yours, don’t you?”   

Felix scratched his cheek apprehensively. “Yeah, I guess I do have that kind of bad habit. You have your cell phone with you, right?”  

She laughed and waved it at him.  “Fully charged.” As Cammie waved her phone, the two of them could see their school district over the horizon. Cammie’s middle school was closer, so she started to break away from her big brother. “See you later, Felix. Have a great day!”   

“You too, Cam. Be sure to call Mom when you get to that party.”   

“I’ll send her a text,” she called back. Cam left Felix and went to join her friends, who were waiting outside the school’s entrance.    

The older sibling stood a little ways from Robin High School and took a deep breath, not sure what was going to happen that day. Felix reigned in his nervousness and walked through his school’s doors. Before he could react, a posse had formed behind him after he made his presence known. A banner hung a little high up from the ceiling with the words ‘Congratulations Felix!’ decorated in gold sequins and multicolored markers. Each person that surrounded him offered their own congrats to show their appreciation for Felix’s success, teachers as well as other students. This was the kind of attention that Felix had only imagined. His normally introverted self couldn’t imagine ever experiencing this much attention. He had more or less gone to school as if he was phantom. Hardly anyone noticed him and he was usually too shy to step outside his comfort zone and be social. Droves of teachers and students came up to him and offered a ‘congratulations’ or shook his hand while giving him words of encouragement. The whirlwind of peers that surrounded him was shocking to his mind.   

While in his flabbergasted state, a black and white stripe clad arm wrapped around his shoulder. “Hey, Felix!” The owner of the arm pulled Felix close to them and away from his surrounding peers.   

“Mercedes!” His childhood friend strode away with him as they navigated through the crowded lobby. Her long, wild, raven hair pressed against his chocolate mane. “How are you?”   

She was taken aback at his greeting. “How am I? The real question is how are you, Mr. Author? I mean, seriously, being able to write and publish a book, that’s been your dream for as long as I’ve known you. All while in high school, no less.” She removed her arm and playfully punched his shoulder. “Not bad, for a kid.”   

Felix narrowed his eyes at his best friend. “If I recall correctly, you’re only a year older than me,” he pointed out as he feigned rubbing the area she punched.    

“Details, details,” she sang with a dismissive wave as she stepped out in front of him. “Seriously though, I really am glad for you. So what do you plan on doing with the money for your book?” she said with a grin.   

“Nothing exciting to be honest. The money is basically going straight to my college fund. It’ll probably take writing another book before I can really enjoy any money of that kind.” Mercedes sighed with sarcastic disappointment.   

“Too bad. Would’ve been nice to bum some of it off of ya.”   

“Tell me about it.” After Felix spoke, he heard a male voice call out to Mercedes from the end of the hall.    

Mercedes turned around to confirm who called out to her and turned back to Felix. “Looks like we’ll have to continue this conversation another time. Jet’s calling. See you later, Mr. Author.” Felix exchanged his goodbye and watched Mercedes skip off to join Jet. The two quickly pecked each other on the lips and disappeared around the corner. It felt a little weird for Felix to watch the display. He couldn’t help the mixture of jealousy and envy that he felt.   

“Yeah… later.” By himself once more, Felix turned back around and went to rejoin his new fans and thank them for their support.    

For the remainder of the day, Felix received a word of congrats here and there, but the school day continued on as normal. As a student, Felix was above average as far as his studies went. With no surprise, Felix tended to ace his English courses with little to no effort, this day being no exception. Writing came naturally to him. As the final school bell rang to release the students from their daily prison, Felix examined his latest A+ essay grade with boredom. Writing was his bread and butter and his English classes posed no challenge to him. On the other hand, writing a full novel was different. It was creating from scratch and each new story that took form posed its own unique challenges during creation.   

Felix stuffed the graded assignment into his backpack and followed his fellow students outside the school building. As he began his trip home, several other students he had classes with joined him to ask what his first book was about. Felix humored them and summarized his book’s premise as if he was pitching a movie trailer. “In a world of both magic and technology, a young man will discover the dark connection between the two, all while trying to discover its connection to the death of his family and the mysterious voice that had called to him as a frightened child.”   

“And what else?” asked Sally, one of Felix’s classmates from his last period English class.    

Felix waved his finger, “That’s it. Sorry, but you’ll just have to find out the rest when the book actually comes out.” His audience made a collective ‘Aww’ out of disappointment. “Sorry, I just don’t want to ruin the story.” Felix paused for a moment to think to himself about his contract with his publisher. “I also don’t think I can really talk about it, legally,” Felix mentioned as an afterthought. His companions understood his secrecy, but they were still a little disappointed all the same.   

As the group traveled and chatted amongst each other, one would leave the group to go home every so often. Felix had purposely taken the scenic route to his house to prolong his time with the company he currently had. All too soon, the last member of his entourage left and Felix was alone again. Unlike before, he felt strangely vulnerable. His little sister was usually with him at that time, mostly so he could protect her on their walks together. At that moment, Felix felt like he was the one who needed protection. He ignored the feeling as best he could and continued on his alternate path.    

He shuffled his feet forward slower than normal, almost tripping over them on a couple of occasions. Before long, while he walked past a group of small businesses, Felix noticed something in the corner of his eye. He turned slowly to see what his eyes had caught. It was a building. A little white shop nestled between a clothing outlet and an insurance office. Unlike the well-kept businesses to its sides, the mysterious white shop before him was crooked, almost by design. From the cracking concrete foundation up to the loosely shingled roof, nothing about the shop’s exterior seemed straightened. Dust caked the chipping white siding and looked as if it had never been touched by a wash rag.  

“Strange,” Felix said to himself. “Never noticed a place like this here?” Felix didn’t frequent this travel path very often, but he was almost certain this small store wasn’t there before. The only thing he could ever remember occupying that space was nothing except a dingy ally. The sign above the door read ‘4 Corners Shop’ on a large, warped metal name plate. Despite the thoughts in his head screaming for him to turn tail and run, Felix’s curiosity got the best of him and he stepped inside the small building.   

A welcome bell chimed as the door shut behind Felix. The store was empty, for the most part. Shelves were eerily bare and no one stood at the old timey register to greet his arrival. As Felix timidly stepped across the floorboards, the blackened wood planks creaked with a nerve wracking echo. It seemed like the building had been abandoned for ages, yet there weren’t any cob webs in sight. Despite the building’s exterior and the look of the store, the interior was pristine. Cold air slid beneath his skin and sent chills through his bones. Felix walked past several empty display cases until a glimmer of light from one case demanded his attention. The display case contained the only piece of merchandise Felix could find throughout the small shop. A book.   

Felix noticed that the case was unlocked and opened the wood and glass lid. He ran his finger across the shiny black leather that bound the book together. Two latches kept the book sealed shut. Decorative violet silk stitching on the cover formed triangular patterns from each point of the central triangle. What caught his eye was the jewel encrusted into the center of the book’s cover. A hexagonal amethyst jewel stone embedded inside the innermost triangle, an upside-down triangle at that. When Felix saw jewels of this caliber, they were almost always plastic, glass, or full of inclusions. This gem shone pristinely. For a split second, Felix could have sworn the gem flashed with a violet light. He carefully lifted the book and opened it to reveal… nothing. Each page he turned to was blank. Felix guessed it was a notebook. The strangest notebook he had ever seen, but a notebook none the less.    

“A fine eye you have there,” a scratchy female voice startled Felix and nearly gave him a heart attack. “Oh, I’m sorry for scaring you. We don’t get too many customers.” Felix turned around to be met with the bulging lazy eye of a creepy old woman. Her long wiry hair and plain blue frock together just screamed ‘witch’. He did notice her name tag said “Vee”. Felix’s heart pounded against his rib cage and he gasped in breaths of air to calm himself.   


“Well, of course. This is an antique shop after all.”    

Felix rolled his eyes around the room to confirm that every shelf and display case in the shop was indeed empty. “I’ll take your word on that.”   

The elderly woman turned around and motioned to him with a skeletal finger to follow her to the register. “Come now, I’ll ring you up.”   

Felix stammered. He noticed that he had been clutching the book as if it was his only means of protection. “Ring up? I’m sorry, but I just sort of wandered in here and I saw this book. I also don’t even see a tag on it and I don’t really have much money on me.”    

“Nonsense,” she scoffed. “I can assure you, that book is quite affordable. A mere dollar.” The price she gave Felix floored him. She was willing to sell him the extravagant antique notebook he clutched for only a dollar?! Luckily for him, a dollar was all he had from what was left of that day’s lunch money.    

“Only a dollar?” he repeated just to make sure he heard right. She nodded with a scary grin. Felix felt a shiver up his spine and was quick to reach into his pocket for the dollar. He wanted to get away from this dreadful store as soon as he could. He quickly handed it to her and she chuckled with strange delight.   

“Good luck,” she cackled. Felix maneuvered to the door and broke out into a run towards the safety of home. 

Click the link to purchase a copy of the book. https://thoturne.wixsite.com/writer


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