The sun was shining brightly in an endless blue sky while Evaness and Verna were in front of their house giving away free books to anyone who walked by. Faun stood at the door keeping a watchful eye. She preferred that they sell the books to make some money, but her daughters were more of a donate type. As Evaness spoke to a lovely couple that stopped by to pick up some books for their children, Verna kneeled to pet their dog. Faun smiled at the young couple then was momentarily distracted by what seemed to be a homeless man approaching the small stand. Instead of stopping to look at the books the homeless man went directly to Faun.
“Hi, can I help you?” asked Faun.
The man approached with a rather large book in his hands. He extended the book towards Faun and said, “I would like to bless you with this book,” but under his breath he said, “or curse you.”
“Oh, if you want to donate that book you can put it on the table,” replied Faun.
“But I want to give this book as a gift to you. I want to bless you,” he said as he approached Faun at the steps to her house.
He extended the book even further and, feeling a bit uncomfortable but not wanting to embarrass the man, Faun extended her hands and grabbed the book. Both Faun and the homeless man were holding the book as the man asked, “Do you accept the book?”
As Faun answered yes, she felt a tingling sensation run up from the book and into her hands. The man released the book and smiled before walking away. Faun looked down at the book, its black cover not revealing the title. From the side where the pages were exposed Faun could see that the page
cut was rugged, the spine of the book was sturdy, and given the size of the book it felt very light. Faun looked after the distancing homeless man, but what she saw confused her. As the homeless man walked away opposite in the direction
he approached, he seemed to be shedding his homeless look and from behind a well-dressed man manifested. No longer did he look hunched over, but he was walking straight. At one point he looked to his left and Faun could see a shaved face very different from his disheveled look when he had initially
As the man disappeared into the distance, a curious Faun opened the book and was faced with a rectangular cut out filled with several hundred-dollar bills. She immediately closed it.
“Mom!” said Gunner.
“Sorry, what is it?”
“What are you staring at?
Gunner went to pass by his mom and go help his sisters with the book drive when Faun stopped him.
“Hey, can you take a look inside this book?” His hands dipped a little after she handed him the book, as though it were very heavy.
“Wow mom, don't tell me you want to donate this ancient book? No one will read it.”
“Just look inside.”
“It’s so heavy, jeez,” Gunner opened the book and to Faun’s
surprise she saw pages—no cut-out center. Gunner flipped through the pages then asked his mother, “what is it that you wanted me to see?” He looked at his mom’s confused face and just handed her the book before heading to his sisters.
Faun just stood at the entrance to her city row house in disbelief. She entered her living room and pulled the pocket doors shut so she could once again look into the book in private. Again, when she opened it there it was, several hundred-dollar bills.
Being a single mom of three had its ups and downs, especially when it came to money. Bills were past due, the pantry was nearly void of food, the fridge and freezer were completely empty and forever waiting to be filled. Both Evaness and Verna shared clothes to lessen the financial burden on their mother. Gunner had picked up a job to help ends meet, but still what really killed Faun’s pocket was the mortgage and car payment. Both of which she couldn’t do without. In the car she drove her girls to school and Gunner to work and
university. Faun worked as a cashier at the local supermarket. Her university plans were put on hold until all her children had a chance to attend themselves. Faun loved her children, but after her husband died one tragic stormy night coming home from work, she felt the world was on her shoulders. At
one point she was working three jobs just to support the family through the holidays, but then the holidays ended and so did two of her jobs. With this newfound money she could definitely get back on track. Faun grabbed the money out of the book and placed it in her back pocket. She exited the living room and went up to her second-floor bedroom to hide the book in her dresser drawer. She ran back downstairs and straight outside.
“Hey, guys bring in the stuff, I want us to go out shopping for
Everyone looked at her bewildered. They all knew that money was tight and there wasn’t any extra cash for “shopping for food” trips.
“Come on, come on, let’s go.”
They brought in the books and placed them in the living room to continue their donation efforts later. While the children were getting ready, Faun went out to the car to get a bit of privacy to count the money.
One thousand dollars.
All the kids got into the car and Faun drove straight to the
supermarket. She filled the car to capacity, there was even food on the laps of each of the children.
“Mom, can we even afford this?” asked Gunner.
“Yes, we can. Don’t worry, we are okay.”
They drove home, everyone laughing and telling jokes. Once at the house everyone helped to take food to the pantry, freezer and fridge. Finally, the freezer in the basement was filled to capacity. Faun had also bought a frozen meal to cook when they returned. While the food was in the oven everyone
dipped into some of the food they had bought. Faun found Gunner in the basement eating chips and laughed. Then she found Verna in the kitchen eating an ice cream. It both pleased and hurt Faun to see her children like that.
They ate to their heart's content then decided to leave the book giving for another day. As each of Faun’s children headed to bed Faun went to her room and counted the money she had left over. She had five hundred and forty-two
dollars left without counting the change, which she put in a jar. The next day everyone ate a hearty breakfast made by Faun, the first in a long time. She then took her children to their respective places and headed to work. At work she went over to the bill payment section of the supermarket and paid all her past due bills. She was left with forty-four dollars.
The day went smoothly and soon it was time to pick up her girls from high school. Gunner always walked to his job from the university then Faun would pick him up from work once he was done.
That night Faun felt as though the book called to her or was it her curiosity? Faun went to her dresser drawer and grabbed the book then sat on her bedroom sofa which was from a local second-hand store. Faun opened the book and once again there was one thousand dollars. She put the book back into its hiding spot and placed the money in her purse.
Bright and early Faun made breakfast once again, it was the
weekend so her girls prepared the outside to give books away. Gunner had taken an extra shift at his job which fell on the weekend. Faun was fine with it because it gave her time to go and pay some bills after she drove him to his
job. Faun paid the mortgage to date then went and bought Verna and Evaness some summer clothes since it was fastly approaching. She returned home and showed the girls all the stuff she had bought them from the mall.
“Mom, did you rob a bank?” asked Evaness.
“Sweety, now why would you say that?”
“We barely had any money for food and now you’re buying us a summer wardrobe?”
“I got a raise at work and since all the bills are paid, I figured
I’d buy you both some summer clothes.”
Verna went in to put the clothes in their shared room on the third floor then went back out to help distribute the books. Faun had gone up to her room to retrieve the book and sit outside with her girls. She asked Evaness to
open the book and the same thing happened. The book was only filled with pages, but no hollowed-out center nor money. Evaness gave the book back to Faun –open. Faun noticed that the book had writings in it. She started to read to see if the
book gave an explanation for the money and to Faun’s surprise it did –to some extent. The page that the book was opened to said that the money found in the book was to be used in good deeds and not for sin. Sin would increase the
money but good deeds would keep the money at one thousand. The book could not be transferred nor given to anyone unless the person agreed to have the book.
Unconsciously, Faun closed the book and entered into deep thought as the girls continued to give books away to passing strangers.
The day was another beautiful day. Winter was slowly leaving the city and spring was fastly approaching. At times Faun felt that winter and spring were battling it out for the day's spot. At a moment's notice it was 32 °F then suddenly it would sky
rocket to 85 °F. None of this fazed Faun, she was too busy wondering how to spend the money.
Faun decided to pay-off her mortgage then pay-off the car, but she wasn’t going to misuse it like she did her husband's insurance. That money she blew in one week, after his death, with her former friends. Once the money was gone, so were her friends and she was left with three kids and a mounting debt. She reopened the book and found more money. Faun went up to her room and counted the money. There was one thousand five hundred dollars. She was confused, “Why did more appear?” Did she sin? she thought. Nonetheless she took the money and put it away in her purse. That night Faun cooked a meal that only fancy restaurants could have served. All her children were amazed and complimented her. After dinner they all huddled into the living room and watched a movie. At one point in their lives, she had Taco Tuesdays, Movie nights, and game nights, but all had vanished when her husband died. He was the life of the party, once the life was
gone her lights turned off and she was left with a reality she never had signed up for. She drank her nights into a stupor and awoke to a reality she only wished was in her nightmares. After the money was gone and she realized what she had done she decided to stop drinking and become the mother she once was. By that point Gunner had two jobs and school and her girls were selling toys to have lunch money –that broke her heart. Now she was “blessed” with a chance to
make up for her mistakes.
Day after day Faun tapped into the book to pay-off her mortgage. Once it was paid off, she started paying off the car. In two months, she was done with her highest bills. She then decided to pay-off Gunner’s college bill so he could have a clean slate and attend school without the worry of having to
work so much.
“Mom!” screamed Gunner as he ran into the kitchen where his mother was preparing another fabulous meal.
“What happened?” Faun, worried that something had happened to her girls or him, froze.
His face looked flush, sweat beaming down his cheeks reminded Faun of when he was little and would come running to his father for any little things the girls did. As the older brother, by three years, he felt responsible for them.
“Mom, someone paid my school bill for the rest of my years there and paid up to a Master’s degree,” he looked as though he was holding back tears.
“Oh, my goodness! That’s great news,” said Faun with tears
streaming down her face. Faun and her husband, Fred, were always planning on paying the children’s college expenses so they could only focus on school and not be tempted to quit school for a job. That day had finally arrived and she knew that Fred would have been happy at the news.
Spring had arrived with many storms, but summer made up for it. As the money continued to appear Faun felt courageous to apply for a higher paying job downtown. She applied for a secretary job then continued walking around downtown looking for more jobs. Tired as she was and hungry, she entered a little restaurant in a cul-de-sac. Since it was so enclosed, they had seating outside and were shielded from the sun by the expanse of the buildings on either side. The little alley was lined with flower pots and bright street
lights. The smell from the restaurant was amazing, it made her stomach rumble even louder. In her five-inch heels she made her way down the brick alleyway until she reached the restaurant. The restaurant was impressive to say the
least. The smell was captivating and what was more eye-catching was the sign that read “help wanted.”
Not only did Faun order, but she also asked for a job application. Once her meal was served the restaurant owner came out to greet her.
“Do you have any experience working at a restaurant?” asked Emily the owner.
“Well, I am a mom and one of my jobs is to feed my children. So, you could call my dining room a mini restaurant,” answered Faun, smiling. She noticed that Emily was not only the owner, but the cashier, the hostess, and the chef.
“I like that answer,” said Emily smiling, “I get a large amount of
traffic here and at times it’s overwhelming. I’m still trying to recuperate from the pandemic. Several of my employees died from covid and the rest I had to let go because customers were just not coming in. Now that I am pretty much back, the employees that used to work here have other jobs.”
“If you give me a chance, I can help out in anything you need. I can cook and I can work a register.”
Faun had quit her job and only devoted her time to looking for a better job. The restaurant didn’t seem like an upgrade at the time, but Faun loved to cook and Fred always said, “If you find what you love you will never work a day in your life.”
She was hired on the spot. Emily gave Faun a tour of the kitchen and how to use the register if she was called to do so, but for the moment she would be tested out in the kitchen since it was a slow day. Her pay would be much higher than her job at the supermarket, which she decided she would save
for her college degree at some point. When Faun returned home, she told her children of the new job she
had downtown. She told her girls that if they wanted, they could accompany her downtown and explore while she worked.
Three years passed from the moment Faun was given the book, her life was very different. From the book she learned that previous owners had received as much as ten thousand dollars a day from all the bad decisions they had made. At first Faun lied her way through her fortune, but eventually she learned that all disappears if she commits a sin --according to the book. She slowly started trying to do good to friends, family and even strangers. Through her efforts she found out that her neighbor had no money to pay their bills and the wife and her crippled husband had five children. Faun paid off their bills anonymously then took them a truck load of groceries.
Gunner had graduated from college and was now on his way to a master’s degree in pharmaceutical studies. As a graduation gift Faun gave him a truck.
To find out more about the book Faun asked her children once in a while to open the book so she could read more of the mystery. In the very back of the book was a list of all the previous owners of the book and how long they stayed with the book. It was dated back to the 1100’s where the book just
mysteriously appeared to a poor family in south east Asia.
Now it was Faun’s turn to find a recipient of “The Book”.