01 Feb I Found a Book in the Library That’s About Me. Now I’m Afraid For My Life.
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1 year ago
I Found A Book In the Library That’s About Me. Now I’m Afraid For My Life.
This is something that happened a few days ago, and I’ve been freaking out about it ever since. Being a long-time reader of this subreddit, I figured that there was no better place than here to post my story. I don’t know how long I have left.
I’ve never been good with deadlines.
That was how I found myself in the library, searching through the shelves in a Monster Energy -fuelled haze for a few credible sources to help me write the last few paragraphs of my English Literature essay before I handed it in.
I had meant to finish it a week earlier, but life had decided to throw me a few hurdles- my phone had broken, my girlfriend and I had ended things and my grandfather had died. In the grey void that had consumed my life, I somehow managed to remember my other obligations and decided that I wasn’t going to add failing grades to that.
I knew I wasn’t going to get a good grade, but all I prayed for was a passing one.
My eyes scanned along the leafy spines of the books for anything on Charles Dickens- The Biography of Charles Dickens, Charles Dickens: A Life, The Complete Compendium of Charles Dickens- and quickly added them to the towering pile in my arms. I struggled over to my empty desk and slid them onto the surface beside my laptop. It was just enough for both me to finish and to never want to look at anything related to Charles Dickens for the remainder of my life.
There was always something so calming about the silence of the library. Occasionally, I would distract myself from my work-related anxieties by watching others work on their own projects or browse through the shelves.
Still looking up, I blindly pulled the open book to memorise the page number that I’d been reading from for my bibliography. But clutched in my hands was a book that I had no memory of taking out.
It stuck out like a sore thumb amidst the assorted pile. It was one of those heavy, leather-bound books that were a staple of academia. A thin film of dust clung to its front cover, which was blank of any title or illustrations that might indicate what it was about. I assumed it was a notebook that someone had left behind while studying but it was too thick and a cursory glance inside revealed blank pages.
Of course, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to skim through it. After what seemed like twenty or more blank pages, I found my interest waning. But just as I was about to close it shut, I saw something that made my heart stop. There, in bold black print, in the form of a chapter title, was my full name.
Below the heading, at the top-right corner of the page, there was an accompanying illustration of my face, drawn in a hollow-eyed, retro-Gothic way that reminded me of Edward Gorey. There was something innocent yet unsettling about it.
I looked around at my desk, my headphone trailing out of my ear. The people around me continued with their whatever they were doing, oblivious to my shock.
My gaze fell back to the book I held in my hands. I just wanted to close it and wedge it back on whatever shelf I had found it, but my trembling fingers found themselves already turning the page.
As I read on, I realised that it was the story of my entire life- starting with my birth and continuing to my early childhood, all with accompanying illustrations in that unsettling style. I watched myself grow from a baby to a smiling child to an awkward looking preteen. The words didn’t skim away from any aspect- everything was laid bare, from my dreams to my darkest secrets, the ones I swore that I would take to my grave.
The book knew everything about me.
Nausea swelled in my throat, yet I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the story that was unfolding in front of my very eyes- my very own story.
As I read, I peered up into the spaces of the shelves, expecting someone to jump out and reveal it was just a prank. But as the minutes ticked on, no-one did and my fears seemed to grow by the second.
The book went on through my high school days, to getting my acceptance letter into college and meeting my girlfriend, right up to the point of me finding the book and reading it. At the bottom of the page, there was an illustration of me hunched over the desk while reading it, which my head throbbed even more at.
I stared at the page and wondered whether I should turn it over. I had no idea what would be on the other side. My thumb trembled over the corner, peeling it up into a dog-ear.
Unable to stand it any longer, I turned the page.
The next few pages didn’t have any words- just illustrations, larger than the ones that had come before, taking up the whole page.
They showed me on my daily routine- in lectures, riding the bus, listening to music- all the things I usually did. But there was just something off about them, that I just couldn’t put my finger on.
It took me a few glances before I realised why.
There, hidden in the background of the first drawing of me, was a shadowy figure. It was watching me as I walked down the street, my earphones tucked in my ears and back turned to it, completely unaware of it.
As I shifted through the progressing images, it seemed to be drawing closer. I could make it out more clearly- it was draped in a long, dark hood, the billowing sleeves pooling over their wrists and hood veiling their face. It went from being twenty feet away from me to just a few steps behind me while I just wore the same casual expression. I had never felt so threatened by a drawing than I had been in that moment. The thing seemed to radiate pure evil.
It was the final illustration that made my shaking joints lock into place, fusing me into my seat. It was of me, sleeping, unaware of the figure that now stood at the foot of my bed. It stretched over me, the sleeves fallen back to reveal grasping, elongated claws that were just inches from touching my face.
The next few pages after were all blank.
I sat there, my head revolving with pure animal panic as I struggled to make sense of what I had just read. I wanted to get up from my chair but knew that I would probably pass out. I just stared at the glaring white pages before tossing it away. I never wanted to see it again in my life.
The book seemed to have other plans.
When I arrived back in my dorm, I found it lying on my bedroom dresser, even though I knew I hadn’t checked it out. Even after wedging it back in the shelf where I had found it, I would come home to it find it just lying out of the corner of my sight, where I was bound to notice it.
I tore out the pages, but it would always return to the same immaculate condition I had found it in. I even tried burning it, but would find it lying amongst the ashes, not even singed by the flames.
I haven’t dared open it for fear of what else might be inside. I don’t want to post any pictures of it online, even when I know they’ll be some out there breathing down my neck for proof. The words seem to write themselves as I read it. I think that it varies from person to person. The thought of inflicting this on anyone else is worse than whatever will happen to me.
Wherever I go now, I can always feel someone watching me. They’re hidden in the passing crowds on the street, or amongst the many heads in the lecture room. It only reinforces my sudden desire to never leave my room, but I know that I’m not safe even there.
I wish I’d never picked up that book. Whatever was trapped inside it, it’s coming for me now.
And I can’t stop it.