The Book

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: July 24, 2016

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Submitted: July 24, 2016

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A A A


It was the most beautiful thing she'd ever seen. 

 
It sat there, surrounded by a miscellany of bric-a-brac and tat that would make a boot sale blush; it was a jewel in the dirt. The cover was bound in decadent red leather, a glistening strip of gilded fabric trailed upwards from its spine. And at the midpoint, a polished gold panel held the pages in place, gleaming. Beautiful. 
 
She pressed her face to the glass, hopelessly determined to get as close to it as possible. She knew there and then she'd buy it. No matter how much it would cost, the book would be hers. 
 
As the book was moved from the window display to the counter, she couldn't take her eyes off of it. As her hand dug into her pocket and pulled out the handful of money, she couldn't take her eyes off of it. As she placed the book into her fervent grip, she couldn't take her eyes off of it. 
 
The moment she left the shop, she clicked open the seal and started to read. Cars, people, animals all roared past, but she failed to notice them. They faded into a blur of noise that soon itself lost all distinction. Ahead of her people swerved and swore, forging new paths and routes for her to pass through, all of which went unnoticed. 
 
Each page crinkled under her fingers, so aged through years and use that they'd yellowed to a cool tan. Instead of the ardent straight of most books, the pages were crooked and uneven; whenever she turned the page, she did so with the delicacy of a mother and precision of a surgeon. 
 
Each sentence inscribed on the paper drove her onto the next, each word more alluring than the last. Entranced she turned the page over and over and over and over, terrified of missing so much as a single syllable. 
 
It was dark. Somehow she had reached her home. She should probably go inside. Without her realising her hand reached into her pocket and pulled out a set of keys. It unlocked the door and pushed it open. 
 
Her stomach frantically cried out for food, having spent the entire day being starved. Her mouth begged for water, entirely devoid of moisture. Her limbs pled for respite, for release, any release from the book that had entrapped her. 
 
She ignored them. To satisfy any of these demands would mean time away, however brief, from the book; that was unbearable. 
 
At the back of her mind, a small voice begged for mercy, urging her to put the book down, to save herself, to listen. She didn't. No matter how hard the voice tried, her arms wouldn't extend and her eyes wouldn't so much as blink. 
 
Slowly, the life was sucked out of her. When she finished the book, she would immediately return to front cover and start again, the brief gap in-between like holding her breath underwater and the first word like the grateful gasp of air that follows. Soon, she didn't even feel the pain, the hunger, the thirst, the fatigue, the sobbing of her whole body. 
 
They found her body three days later, curled into a ball of cathartic freedom. Her meagre belongings were donated to shops, including the crimson and gold book found mere inches away from her body. 
 
Winston walked down the street, his eyes checking all of the windows and stalls for any good. He reached a second hand shop; in particular, one item in the window display. He stared at it. 
 
It was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. 


© Copyright 2017 Ben Ramsey. All rights reserved.

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