Kara paced the aisles of towers in the warm and ambient library she called home. The dusty, forgotten corner came into view. She cast a scornful glare to the corner, the dirty window glowing in the innocence of sunlight.
“Not today, Ahab,” she dismissed in a whisper, then walked past and up to the Religion section on the next level. She shifted the books on the third shelf of the Cult section, returning ‘The Lost Book of Enki’ to its place when something fell to the ground beside her with a loud thud. She startled at the sound, and the tower of books in her right arm threatened an avalanche. She lowered the tower to the ground once they stabled their balance, then looked over to where the sound came from.
A few steps away lay a tome with a thickly textured cover and a belt and buckle sealing in a bridge over the pages inside. A fog of dust hovered over and around from its abruptly ended descent. From where?! She puzzled at the ancient artefact of lost literature. She scanned the shelves above but could not find where it may have fallen from. She studied the tome’s exterior, a deformed image of stretched leather formed into a grotesque face rested on its front. The buckle refused to open. She needed a key. She recognised the book, its cover was in an old book of collected artworks in the Non-Fiction section. With the tome in her arm, she back-tracked her memory and led herself to the collection. She sat on the carpet and pulled out the book. She sifted through its pages.
“Aha!” she exclaimed out loud. On page sixty-six was a photo of the tome she held under the arm. The description identified the ancient book as the third-edition Necronomicon, 1228. Below the photo was another, of a fragment of parchment. It had strange symbols of horizontal word-bars, with letters that hung down. The description below the photo identified the language as Lthuvian. She whipped out her com-device and typed the language into the browser’s search bar. She opened up a site and bookmarked it. She slipped the collection back into its slot and hugged the tome against her side. She sat down in front of her computer on top of the desk that faced the centre of the paper labyrinth and typed in the name of the book. ‘No Reference’ read the bold white letters highlighted by a blue background.
“That’s odd,” she murmured, “someone must’ve forgotten their book here.” She slipped the tome into her backpack and continued with her day. With Lost & Found put away it was safer in her possession. She felt a strong sense of possession toward the haunting book. She paused and turned around. She let out a huff of jest and shook it off. Her imagination had a knack for running off with anything slightly interesting or mysterious. She walked to the tower of returned books across the hall. The eve came and she headed to her apartment a couple of blocks down from the library. Traffic was heavy, as usual at six o’clock. She entered the building’s foyer and headed to the wall of post boxes. She opened number sixty-six and pulled out the mail. She walked up to the first floor, to her apartment. She paused at the door; the black on the beige sign read ‘unit six’.
The coincidence sparked scenarios in her mind. She knew how psychology could trick someone into seeing patterns after reading something metaphysical, but she didn’t expect her mind would be susceptible to the irrationality. She needed something new and stimulating before she turned into the crazy-paranoid she feared of becoming. She looked at the tome; it would serve well to keep her excited. The cause of the lapse of the rationale was the weapon to fight it. She flopped down onto her large, soft couch and kicked off her shoes. She sifted through the scramble of mail in her right hand. Envelope after envelope was tossed to the cushion beside her. She held the last in her hand.
There was no postage stamp or ink from the post office. Handwritten symbols adorned the front. She flipped it over as she took a sip of the wine in the glass on the table to her left. No return address. The blood fled from her cheeks and her feet suddenly went cold: she recognised those symbols! She slid her finger under the loose corner of the seal and ripped the envelope open. Inside was a letter written in the same symbols. She pulled her phone out from her jeans’ back pocket, opened the bookmark from earlier, and began to decipher the letter. ‘The key of six is within your grasp’ it translated.
Puzzled by this obscure message, Kara shifted her leg out from under her to get more comfortable. Her keys fell to the floor and she bent to pick them up. She placed them on top of her backpack. A corner of the tome poked out from the partially open zip. It was glowing, and her post box key was, too.
“The key of six…” she muttered out loud. Kara picked up her keys by the key ring, unzipped her backpack and slid the book out onto her lap. She gripped the end of her post box key and compared it to the keyhole in the buckle. It appeared to be the same size, so she inserted her key and paused as she tried to figure out which way to turn. ‘Righty tighty’ she hummed in remembrance of a childhood trick. She turned it once to the right. The glowing of both the book and her key stopped. A mechanism clogged free and the buckle sprung back, almost smacking her on the cheek, and taking the front cover with it as it hit against the cushion and rebound.
The tome opened its cryptic secrets to her. Her vision went dark, and silence flooded her room. It seemed hours had passed and she was trapped, somewhere. A deep, ancient voice whispered through the dark. Kara’s breathing halted as she listened intently to the whisper. The words swam in repeating chant through her mind and she was soon chanting it in a whisper as well. She understood it, she knew it. She loved it.
“In his house, dead but dreaming, he waits,” she whispered, and the silence returned. Then there was light. She opened her eyes to the darkness of her apartment, the full and crescent moonlight shone through her blinds and onto her face. The stars were out in full glory this eve. “How long has it been?” She pondered aloud and shifted herself upright against the couch. A rattle of metal sounded at her feet. Kara leant over and picked up her keys, recalling somewhat of herself doing a similar action earlier. She crawled to the end of the couch and pulled on her lamp’s lever.
Her backpack remained where she had placed it, but the tome with the face was nowhere to be found. Was it a dream again? After so many, she was not sure what reality was anymore. Dawn broke while she sat there, lost in her thoughts. She hadn’t slept this well in many months. She got up, straightened her blouse and slipped on her shoes. She had might as well go to work early, she didn’t have anything to stay home for in any case. The walk to the library was peaceful; too peaceful. Traffic and the bustle of life usually greeted her the minute she opened her door. Not today. The streets were void of life and carriage.