Cyprus flipped to the end. The very last Aristide Vitale in the book was a stuffy old collector, who indexed his own daughter’s name in a list of his rare and imported novelties. His son went on to propagate their line, and was well-documented, but his daughter was only mentioned on the back of the last page—Prisca Vitale, scribed in precise ink that could not possibly have come from a five-hundred-year-old inkwell.
A thin lump protruded from beneath a glued sheet over the book’s inside cover. Feeling his nails around the edges, Cyprus peeled the paper away from the leather. Wisps tore away in a greenish residue. Underneath sat a sheaf of folded papers, all neatly tied and signed in the same slant: A Friend.
Cyprus unwound the string. “I think these are letters,” he said. “To Prisca Vitale.”
Shay crowded closer. “From who?”
“It doesn’t say.”
Cyprus flipped one over to the folded edge and found a broken seal—a small golden rose.
–Elyan White, “Lost and Found”
Signed, A Friend.