Thin spiral wires bit into Charlie’s fingers as he flipped through the first pile of notebooks in the cardboard box. No green covers — he put the pile back into the box hastily, picked up the second pile, began flipping through them. And nearly dropped the pile when he saw the green cover flip past.
He tossed the other notebooks back into the box, until the only one remaining in his hands was the one with the green cover. Not just any notebook with a green cover — there was a crease in the upper left corner, running straight from about half-way along the top to just under a quarter of the way down the left side. Dammit, Mike had said as he took that notebook out of his backpack three years ago. Too many damn books, keep scrunching up the paper. Mike folded the green cover back in place, smoothed it as flat as he could before handing it to Charlie.
Go to the second subject. Charlie obeyed as swiftly now as he had in the school cafeteria three years earlier. First page. And there it was, the explanation for his experiences of the past few weeks.
“YES!” But with that outburst of joyous discovery came a recognition that nobody would believe this explanation. Nobody, except perhaps —
“Everything OK in here?” Charlie jumped as Mike’s mother walked back into the room, her eyes red and bleary but her face having regained the calm demeanor from earlier that afternoon. His instincts told him there was only one thing he could say to take her attention away from the artifact he held in his hands.
“I’ll take them all.”