The Strange Book Of Mortimer DeSilva

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a story that belongs in a whole collection of stories all revolving around the mysterious town of Chadam.

Enjoy.

Submitted: June 03, 2008

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Submitted: June 03, 2008

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  I moved the Chadam with full knowledge of the purported things that had happened there over the course of its seemingly endless existence. Cursed they say is that town nestled in the heart of the Chadam forest in eastern Vermont (hence the town’s name). Several other towns dotted that landscape of the dense forest and they too had their share of strange happenings, or at least I was told before I ventured to move to Chadam. I never believed the hocus pocus hubbub that surround that quaint little town. At least I didn’t until I had the strangest experience with one Mortimer DeSilva.

DeSilva came to me after I had first moved to Chadam and opened up my medical practice. Things were as well as could be expected for a student fresh out of medical school. I had attended Trinity Cross University prior to my residence in Chadam and did fairly well in school. DeSilva claimed to be from the same graduating class as mine but I do not remember him. Perhaps it was oversight or perhaps he was flatly lying to me. Whatever the case, it seemed irrelevant because he was a phenomenal surgeon. I was a dentist and he was a general surgeon though he seemed to know a great deal about teeth. Naturally I let him sign as a partner with me. Our clients ranged from the average childish cavity to far more difficult root canals. I had very unsteady hands and so I could not do the more complex procedures. That is where DeSilva stepped in for me. His hands moved with the grace of a ballroom dancer. Never did his hands flinch or shake or even quiver in the slightest sense when he was operating on our patients. To be quite frank I was damned jealous of him.

Most do not understand why I decided to move to Chadam. I had never even heard of it until recently. But there is something about small towns that has always attracted me. Perhaps it was because I grew up in the City. The Big City. So many people busying themselves with self-important tasks and because of such tasks were so unbearably rude. It was enough to drive me mad. My family believes that I am mad for moving to a town with a population no bigger than a couple of thousand but I enjoyed it. The quaintness of the town is what made it appeal to me so much. DeSilva was born and raised here he said. Although the house in which he was raised has long since been demolished and in its place a general store put in place. DeSilva was so interesting to talk to because he seemed to know everything about Chadam, all the way back to its foundations in the late 1500’s. He acted more of a historian than a surgeon at times but I was still enthralled with his tales.

He told me fantastical tales of witch-hunts, cursed people and homes, vicious slayings-things I could find no official record of-and of the town’s slow progress to advance in the world (which I could tell was undoubtedly true). Many of the roads were still old cobblestone and dirt. Pavement was a word that few even knew in and around Chadam. He told me of the nearby town’s of Dosren and Gothren and of the same strange happenings there. I gathered that the towns and communities that dotted the landscape of the Chadam forest, which stretched for hundreds of miles, all had at least one thing in common.

I found it odd that none of the residents of Chadam liked to chime in on DeSilva’s history lessons and bizarre stories. He did not just save his weird tales for me; he would expound them during surgery even if I was not in the operating room with him. The walls were thin and so is deep thunderous voice boomed throughout the office. What was odder than the residents not speaking up about his stories to either confirm or debunk them was the fact that they were expressionless even when they did hear them. I do not know if they though DeSilva was completely mad or that the stories were in fact true and they could not bring themselves to admit the hideous truth of their small town. If the stories were indeed true, I dare not blame them for not speaking up. Such horrific tales that DeSilva spewed from his gaunt lips would make even the most evil of men quiver in terror. To this day I cannot utter some of the stories he told for they are too horrible and too disturbing for me to conjure up.

I will say that despite his penchant for ghastly stories of old business never slowed down at the office. Of course I was the only dentist in town so that may have had something to do with it but I liked to believe the people of Chadam appreciated my business and my ethics, even if they disagreed with those of DeSilva. As much as I wanted to, I could never bring myself to stop DeSilva from telling his strange tales to the patient and to myself. Even on the few occasions we went to dinner together to celebrate a successful surgery or just because we felt like it, the conversation always turned to the history of Chadam and various assortments of things surrounding Chadam. To say I was upset with him for only talking about Chadam would’ve been a lie. Despite the fact that this quaint town and it’s purported grizzly history is all that ever crossed DeSilva’s mind (aside from breathing and surgery) I was always infatuated with his tales no matter what the hour or day.

Months passed and DeSilva never ran out of things to discuss about the town and its history. I was beginning to think that this town had been here since the dawn of time and that seemingly everything bad or grim had happened within the confines of Chadam forest. At last after hearing day after day of Chadam’s history and tales surrounding it I spoke up to DeSilva and asked him what else could there possibly be to tell me? His words were ones I soon won’t forget: “There is more history in this town than I could tell you in my entire lifetime friend.”

Things went on as usual in Chadam and money kept flowing in. For the first time in my life I had a regular routine and not one iota of it ever changed. Some would find that rather boring but when everything you have ever done has been sporadic and spontaneous, a form fitting schedule is like heaven. DeSilva and I were to celebrate the three year anniversary of our (it was now a joint effort in running the business) practice in Chadam. We were to have dinner at his new house which he had just finished moving into the week before. It was a beautiful Victorian styled house with glistening white columns that lined the brick pathway to its door step, blooming flowers around the house and in several small gardens that dotted the rest of the landscape. The interior was just has lovely as the exterior. Many boxes were still stacked against walls and rooms but DeSilva had at least cleared his kitchen and dining room of any hazards.

There was only one other room in the house that he had made sure was entirely and completely unpacked and settled in: his library. After our dinner he bade me welcome into ‘humble library’ as he called it. The room was enormous and the ceilings seemed to stretch on into eternity as I craned my neck to see if there was in fact any end to them at all. The bookshelves which brimmed the room wall to wall on all sides spare the gaping window and doorway were just as tall as the ceilings it seemed. Two extremely tall ladders lay connected to the shelves, one on each side of the room. The shelves themselves were filled to capacity with tomes and tomes of ancient and modern texts on everything from simple poetry to metaphysics and bizarre religious studies. Under the window was a fireplace, dimly burning and casting our shadows on the oak floor making us look as tall as giants and in front of it was a large leather chair. Beside it was a small table whose soul purpose it seemed was to hold DeSilva’s reading glasses or the book that he was currently reading.

My mouth gaped at the tomes on the shelves as I ran my eyes to and fro across the great room. I saw in the corner of my eye DeSilva’s wide and hearty smile. I was beside myself in his ‘humble library’. Every book seemed to be a first edition. Every book. Some of the books that I pulled from the shelves were centuries old and yet they seemed as if they were only bound hours before. Texts of Aristotle and Plato in their original Grecian language, the works of Cicero in Latin, handwritten; so many precious tomes and volumes of knowledge in one room. I turned to DeSilva and asked him if all these books were how he knew so much about everything, especially Chadam.

He nodded casually but spoke a few words about Chadam. He told me that there was only one book that a man ever needed to know everything about Chadam and the towns and forest that surrounded it. He told me that it was just a picture book with old engravings and ancient words scrawled beneath them to describe what had happened and where. I asked him where such book was and he obliged me. It was a book that I somehow overlooked, though I am not quite sure how. It was the biggest book in the entire library. Thicker than the width of DeSilva’s hand and thousands of pages long, it had a black spine and cover and there was no title on it at all. A simple black bound book. He smiled and nodded at me and beckoned me forward.  To say that I was scared somewhat would not be a lie for a man who tells you that everything you could ever want to know rested within a single tome is much to digest at any point in time. He said nothing to me and simply handed me the book. It was extremely heavy but not only on my arms and body but on my heart and mind. It seemed that as soon as he handed the tome to me my soul was ripped from me. He told me that I could borrow for an evening. When I asked him why just for a single evening he smirked and told me that that was all the time I would need to understand everything. But he stressed to me that I could not open it and peruse until I got to the safety of my home. I did not question why. I was too afraid to.

No more words were spoken between DeSilva and I and perhaps three minutes after he handed me the book I was on my way home in the back of a carriage that he had sent for an hour earlier. The whole ride back to my abode the black tome sat beside me. I did not dare to look it at or even let it touch my leg as the carriage slowly crept through the roughly worn cobblestone streets of Chadam. Once the driver of the carriage pulled the curb of my residence I hesitantly got out and handed him the fee, which he refused saying that DeSilva had paid him before hand.

I entered my home with a speed which I couldn’t repeat even if I tired. I did not even bother to take my coat off. I ran into my private study and locked the door for fear of being watched by some overpowering presence. I sat down slowly however and placed the book in front of me and hesitantly opened it. It was just as DeSilva had said. There were only pictures and ancient words which I could not make out to describe the scenes. However I did notice something that he failed to mention. In every engraving and crudely drawn image there was a character that looked sinisterly like DeSilva. As I flipped through page after page of engravings and drawings they began to become more clear and understandable. Everything that DeSilva had ever told me was here. Engravings of witch-hunts, mass slayings, daemonic possession, all of it was here. And so was he. It did not matter how old the engravings were. The oldest that I recall was at least 600 years old. And yet a sinister image of what looked like DeSilva was still there. And than at last I came to them. Painted pictures of more recent events in history. When I say recent I mean in contrast with the book. These paintings were at least 150 years old. But there on the page was the same smile that DeSilva had given minutes earlier. There he was. Standing in a courtroom in judges garb passing sentence on a large group of men and women. Witches. I turned the page quickly and there he was again. This new picture was only about 75 years old but again DeSilva was there. But what horrified me the most is that he was not presiding over anybody or passing judgment or even just a curious bystander. He was one of the dead bodies hanging from an oak. The caption read “Traitors of the Great Cause”.  And at last I came to final page of that terrible old tome. It was a painted picture of me and DeSilva handing me the book in his library. The horror that came over me did not fully strike until I reached my hand to touch to picture that was there. The paint was still wet. DeSilva did not have time to paint such an intricate picture in the book before he handed to me. The book was alive! I slammed it shut and as quickly as I could I tossed it into the fireplace but it would not burn. The flames simply moved around the tome and did not scorch its daemonic pages.

I left my home and the entire town of Chadam the very next morning. I left everything in my home as it was. I only packed the clothes I would need to get back the City. I made sure I locked the study and did not even glance at the hideous tome which DeSilva had given to me.  I went to say my goodbyes to DeSilva but his house was as empty as it was before he had bought it. I went to the office and none of his things were there either. It was as if DeSilva had simply vanished into thin air. I said nothing to any of the residents of that hellish town and I never went back either or mentioned my experience to anyone.  I never heard the name Mortimer DeSilva again either. And for that I am glad.


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