The missing clipping

She sat reading her second-hand novella. A book that she’d picked up from on of those kitch pop-up community libraries. The story was of two young boys, only children, who were playing with the neighbours cat. The small book was in quite good condition considering it’s age. The cover was a faded red, almost thread-like fabric and the pages quite yellow, but otherwise in perfect order. It shocked here then in the last 10 pages, when there was a perfect rectangle removed from the right hand page. Flicking over, as the boys ran along with sticks in hand, she noted the absence of close to two full paragraphs. This was followed by the stories sudden turn towards morbidity as the family stood around a grave and said their words of peace. The boys who she had been following were no more the centre of focus, rather a small grave and a sense of terrible unexpected loss. The grief on the pages was all the more shocking for the ambiguity and suddenness. She turned back to page 22 of 32 and re-read each detail. Neither the children, nor the cat were ever again mentioned, which made her feel uncomfortable and unfulfilled. She poured over the book and examined the clues in the 10 pages that followed the missing clipping, but the more she turned the pages the further the story avoided giving up its truths, and at long last with frustration she put the book back into community library for the next person to stumble upon.

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