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Fiction Horror Thriller

Billy Anderson has always been a fan of books. His favorites are mostly fictional thrillers or horror and some sci-fi if there are space creatures in them. He has read about every book that the Salem Public Library has to offer in these categories. The librarian, Miss Myers, will always inform him if a new book has been added to the library.

Billy can't help but wonder about Miss Myers sometimes. He's been coming to the library ever since his mother started taking him when he was five years old. He's twenty-three now, and Miss Myers has always been the librarian. The thing is that she has always been old. Not just old but the same age old. Her appearance hasn't changed one bit in the last eighteen years! Plus, Billy has noticed that there is a distinct smell about her that is hard to explain. It reminds him of a scent you might encounter if you enter a crypt-a dusty, musty old book smell. Perhaps that is it. The Salem Public Library has a lot of books for such a small library, and some are stored in the basement where the public doesn't go. Maybe that's the cause of the strange odor. Billy can't say for sure.

Miss Myers is your typical librarian, courteous and efficient but stern with children. Her rule is no loud noise or fooling around in the library. If you do, she'll make you leave and call your parents.

Today Billy is returning a book, and while he waits, he is reading a pamphlet on the counter. Thus, he is startled when he realizes the Miss Myers is standing in front of him, quietly staring "Oh! Miss Myers, you surprised me. I was just looking to return this book." Without saying a word, she takes the book and checks the inside cover to see if there is any overdue money to be collected. There is not, so she says in a drone but stern voice. "You're fine, as always." Billy thanks her and turns to leave when he is stopped in his tracks by Miss Meyers calling to him,

"William Anerson. I need to speak with you." Even though he's twenty-three, the same childhood dread sweeps over him when he hears her say, "I need to speak with you." He turns to face her and replies with the question, "Yes?"

"I'm well aware of type of literature you read, and I've found something in the archives that I think might be of interest to you. If you like, I can get it for you." She stands unemotionally and waits for his reply. Being unsure what to think, Billy stammers, "Th-that's most k-kind of you. Yes, I am interested, thank you." Miss Meyers says she'll be right back and heads off down the aisle towards the basement door. After waiting for some time, Billy wonders if Miss Meyers may have forgotten him and if he should leave. The, he hears her footsteps on the cellar stairs and sees her emerge through the cellar door. Miss Meyers approaches Billy and hands an old book to him.

"This is the book I thought you might enjoy."

Billy accepts the book and notices the old cracked black leather covering with a flaking gold leaf printed title, The Book of Conjuring Desirers. Turning the book over in his hands, Billy asks Miss Meyers, "What exactly does it mean by conjuring?"

"It means just what it says, William," Miss Meyers responds sternly. "To bring into being!" Are you interested or not?"

"Oh, yes, I am indeed interested. It's just that I don't see a book card to stamp."

"That's because it's too old. Just take it. I trust you to return it when you're through."

Billy can't wait to get home and wash his hands. The book stinks of mold and reminds him of how Miss Meyers smells. Once home, he notices that some of the gold leaf has flaked off and is stuck to his hand. Try as he might to wash it off, he can't. It seems as though it has absorbed into his skin. Frustrated by the awful smell and the stain on his hand, Billy puts the book aside. He hasn't any real interest in reading it and figures he'll return it in about a week. After a while, however, Billy becomes aware that the smell has subsided and that his interest is indeed peaked. He takes the book to his favorite chair and begins to examine it. The first thing he finds is that there isn't a publisher's page or noted author. The book only has a contents page broken down into different types of conjuring's. First, there are conjuring's for revenge, like how to make a baker allergic to flour, silly things like that. Next, there are chapters on winning love or getting out of love, wealth, health, etc. Then there's a chapter simply titled "Unimaginable Experiences of the Soul" that hasn't any explanation, just how to perform the chant. It reads, "Light a beeswax candle at midnight and wave a crow's feather over the flame three times while reciting, 'Let me experience the unimaginable."

Billy sets the book aside, thinking it is so much hogwash. But he still can't get that last chapter out of his head. What could it mean, unimaginable? So, early that evening, Billy goes to the local convenience store and buys a cheap beeswax candle. On the way back home, he finds a crow's feather in front of the library of all paces. He waits until the clock strikes twelve and, with great anticipation, lights the candle. He passes the feather around the flame three times, its shadow flickering around the room, and quotes the chant, "Oh let me experience the unimaginable!" Billy's head becomes foggy, as the room starts spinning. Billy tries to brace himself as fear fills him with dread, then he blacks out.

He finds himself bound to a chair in the library's basement when he comes too. The figure standing in front of him pushes back her hood revealing herself. It is Miss Meyers.

"I know you so well, William Anderson. I knew you couldn't resist not knowing the unimaginable. Well, I hope your soul is ready for the experience."

Miss Meyers extends her hand toward Billy's chest, and in doing so, a light of energy starts drawing his soul from his body. Billy's eyes roll up into his head as foaming saliva drips from the corners of his mouth. His body shakes so violently that the chair he is bound to lifts off the floor. Finally, the small glowing orb that is Billy's soul leaves his body and is captured by the librarian. Billy collapses and is no more.

Miss Meyers takes the small orb and places into a coin holder made of cardboard with a plastic window. It was created to hold a silver dollar but, it contains Billys soul very well. She staples it shut and, in her neat script, writes, William Anderson 23 yrs. 2022.

While this occurs, Billy's consciousness finds itself in a cramped, altogether pitch-black space. he can hear wails of despair and loss of hope all around him. All of these voices are cursing Miss Meyers by the various names they have known her by and soon Billy is gnashing and cursing her too.

Miss Meyers slides the carboard packet into a plastic slot in a coin collectors' book and returns it to the shelf with a thousand other books just like it. As she steps back, the corners of her lips curl upward. Then a dry chuckle escapes her throat, turning into a loud cackling laugh until it is a full maniacal howl, echoing from the very rafters themselves of the Salem Public Library.

April 21, 2022 18:36

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2 comments

Laura Eliz
03:15 Apr 28, 2022

This story did not end the way I thought it would. You definitely captured a librarian who is not the stereotypical librarian!

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Ralph Aldrich
17:23 Jun 20, 2022

Thank you for your kind comment Ralph

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