You couldn’t sleep without a bedtime story.
When you were small, snuggling with your blankie and teddy, a bedtime story was the final cap of your day. Hearing that tale — whether it was on a soft lap or soft mattress, read by Mom or Dad, a holiday story or an old favorite — was the best way to ease into a long nights’ sleep.
You almost wish somebody could read to you like that again. It might banish a lot of grown-up woes — unless it’s a story like the one told in “The Storyteller” by Jodi Picoult.
Everybody in town thought that Josef Weber was a kindly old man.
He’d been a fixture in so many lives: the high school German teacher, a baseball coach, the guy who walked his little dog around town and doted on her with shared treats at the local bakery.
Sage Singer often saw Josef before she went to work on her overnight shift at the bakery, just before she started the tasks that soothed her soul. She knew the recipes for bread by heart — they must’ve been in her genes — and working alone at night suited her fine. Self-conscious about the scar on her face, courtesy of an accident that killed her mother, Sage didn’t want to be noticed anyhow.
But because Mary, her boss, said she needed to talk with customers, Sage befriended Josef, who seemed to be harmless and lonely.
But then he told Sage a story, asked her for a favor, and horrified her. She didn’t want anything to do with the things Josef had said or requested. She fled to her grandmother’s side, for comfort and for wisdom.
Once upon a time, Miska had been a pampered girl with a happy life, a keen intelligence, and a dream of moving to London to become a famous writer. She’d already started a book, in fact; a horror story based on an upiór story her grandmother had told her long ago.