Amelia ran her fingers along the ornate shelves in her father’s library. She noted the colours as she traced the curve of each spine. Green. Red. Blue. Green…
The sound of chatter floated softly through the door. Her father was hosting a party, mainly to appear keen to a handful of MPs he had endeavoured to make sure showed up. Amelia found the whole thing stultifying, especially as she was repeatedly paraded as the ‘model child’ of the family to various business associates with sons about her age.
In the hand unoccupied by the bookshelf, Amelia twirled a flower. She remembered her astonished grin when the gardener told her, some years ago, that the large purple thing was actually a daisy and that was just how they looked in some parts of the world. It was one of the many greenhouse plants that her mother would proudly show off to her friends, spewing forth stories of finding them in the deepest regions of Africa or Asia and shipping them back. In truth, she never even set foot in the greenhouse outside of these tours, let alone journeyed through the plains of Africa. Amelia on the other hand spent hours of her childhood trailing after the string of gardeners that tended the greenhouse; learning Latin names, watering habits, theories on pruning and hybrids.
A vulgar guffaw from the party pulled her back from daydreaming. Her hand had fallen still on a thick leather-bound album. The title read Guide to the Contents of the Public Record Office Volume 3 in gold lettering. Amelia imagined it to be dull beyond belief. She slid her finger over the top of the book and pulled it gently off the shelf. It was a heavy tome with cream pages. The whole thing smelled faintly of charcoal. Placing it on the window sill, she opened the cover and flipped through the pages. All rules and bylaws and lists. She paused when she reached the middle. Holding the corner of the page between thumb and forefinger, she slowly tore from top to bottom. The now loose page wafted gently in an imperceptible draft. The rasp of the tearing paper pleased Amelia immensely and she felt a ripple of sadness as it ended.
She lay the sheet flat, placed the daisy on it and folded the page over. The vivid purple could still be seen as a glow through the cream and black of the page. The enveloped flower sat boldly on the paper and with a careful movement Amelia pushed it in towards spine and closed the book. Back on the shelf it looked like nothing had changed at all. Amelia strode to the door and rejoined the party.