"How long have you had this?" The pale traveller queried with countenance half way between confusion and amusement, gazing at the dusty leather bound book, ancient writing adorning the spine, the decrepit pages running the risk of disintegrating at the touch of a human finger.
"Always, and my father and his" The elderly clerk sputtered the words underneath his grey thinning moustache, sliding his boney fingers underneath the tome, raising it to the ghostly vagrant's eye level, or at least what he could make out were his eyes from under the heavy hat and mess of raven hair, "He found it, in the rubble of an old temple, they'd used bombs and he found a hole, that lead him to a basement, that lead him to this" ,The traveller furrows his brow as he attempts to decipher the symbols emblazoned on the front cover, "Can I see the pages?".
The clerk carefully lift the leather bound cover, exposing the yellowed pages to the murky stale air surrounding them, the elderly shop owner then reaches for his tweezers, operating them with the kind of confidence and finesse acquired from a lifetime of attending to heavily sought after antiquities, he begins to turn the pages. "The book is, mainly historical, it talks of a great many things Ramesses II, Byzantine, The Vandals but all with something off, it is difficult to explain and then..."
The shopkeeper turns many pages, moving from the books infancy to somewhere near the middle "...the words become less, it becomes pictures and none that I have ever seen before". As the pages turn the historical images shift to something far more disturbing to the Vagrant, his expression shifting from routine entirely, if he could sweat every liquid that'd ever touched his chapped lips would be making a swift exit from his boney body. "...and then..."
The shopkeeper continues to turn the pages, the pages become darker, the few pages are black, they darkest shade he's every seen.
"What's your price" The Traveller barks as he speedily slams the book closed with his glove covered hand, dust squirting out the pages, startling the shopkeeper. "I don't..", The Traveller interrupts, slopping a handful of colonial golden coins on one side of the desk and a thick wad of fresh bills on the other, the shopkeeper again taken aback, "I'm not sure which one of those floats your boat but that's all I have on me so, go nuts". The Vagrant gestures his hands towards the book "Can I?", the Shopkeeper nods feebly.
The Traveller slide the book off of the seldom polished glass display table and cradles it in between his chest and left arm, before making a quick exit he turns his head to the clerk, still in a state of shock at the riches settled on his counter. "You were great by the way, can I rate you on... d'you have a 'Yelp!'?"
"...I"The clerk mutters
"You know what, if you have a 'Yelp!' I'll find you on 'Yelp!'" The Traveller throws up a 'peace sign' as he exits the through a series of dusty curtains.
The Traveller steps onto the busy tripolitan streets, shelving the tome within his worn duster coat, disappearing into one of the many crowds of this bustling metropolis.