The next story from the cache…

7 02 2008

Here is yet another story from the same group of my last post. Enjoy!

                It was a rainy day and the shop was crowded. There was something about this town that made everyone suddenly want to buy books on rainy days. People were either standing, walking or sitting on every available piece of floor space.

            Karl was picking his way between bodies, muttering under his breath in frustration. As he wandered by the front desk he saw Mr. Waters pouring over one of his new acquisitions. Karl didn’t even recognize the language and the book looked ancient. He’d never seen Mr. Waters so completely absorbed. Weird, he thought. 

            The day seemed longer than normal and Karl could hardly wait to close up. He had better places to be and he was tired out. He began tidying up the espresso bar; occasionally being interrupted to help Miranda with the cash register duties. Mr. Waters was too wrapped up to be of any help. In fact, it didn’t seem that he had even noticed the other two closing up.

            Miranda finished her chores and went to check on Mr. Waters. When he didn’t look up at her approach she coughed loudly. When that failed to get his attention she shook him. She yelled for Karl, this didn’t look good.

            When Karl came up behind her Mr. Waters raised his head, his eyes were filmy white and he seemed to be gasping for breathe. All at once he crumpled and fell onto the floor behind the counter.

            Miranda screamed and Karl jumped over the counter in his haste to reach their employer.

            “Miranda stop shrieking! It’s not helping anybody and it’s unnerving me.” Karl glared at her over Mr. Waters’ body and she tried valiantly to control herself.

            “Is he breathing?” She asked, her voice shaking.

            “Yes, but he doesn’t look good. We should get him to the hospital. Come here and help me lift him.” The two heaved mightily but Mr. Waters’ body seemed to be made of lead; they couldn’t move him.

            “I’ll have to go for help, you stay here.” Karl told Miranda sternly. “Come and lock the door behind me.” 

            The two moved to the door and tried to open it, but somehow it wouldn’t budge. As they turned away in frustration a breeze seemed to ruffle their hair and they heard a low, rumbling noise.

            “Is it just me, or is it the book making that noise?” Miranda moved backward warily.

            “No, it’s worse. It’s Mr. Waters!” Karl pushed Miranda behind him.

            The books pages were flipping back and forth, ruffling in a wind that the two young people could no longer feel.

            Something that looked vaguely like Bill Waters stood up from behind the counter. This thing, however, had a ridge of spines down its’ face and spine, and completely white eyes. 

            Panicking, Karl grabbed Miranda and ran for the espresso bar in the back of the store, hitting the light switches as he did so.

            “Are you insane?!” Miranda hissed. ”Now we can’t even see if it’s coming for us.”

            “Well of course it’s coming for us! It didn’t look like it was interested in a friendly chat. Anything with eyes like that shouldn’t be able to see very well in the dark. Maybe this way we have a chance of escaping.” Karl hissed back.

            Unfortunately, Karl had seen too many horror movies and his prediction was wrong. The thing seemed to have heightened senses and they could hear it approach. Stomp, stomp, stomp the footsteps drew nearer. Then, suddenly, they ceased.

            Miranda breathed a sigh of relief and bent her neck backwards to release some of the tension. That’s when she saw it. Leaning over the counter, looking down at them was the thing. It saw her looking and shrieked loudly; Miranda’s ears felt like they were bleeding as she grabbed Karl and sprinted.

            Somehow they evaded the thing, it was slow to move and they made it back to the front counter. The book’s pages were still flipping ominously and in the darkness it seemed to be glowing. They could hear the monster approaching again.

            “Quick, we have to get rid of it! The book’s what caused this in the first place, I’m sure of it.” Miranda was close to hysterics.

            “Ok, got any bright ideas Einstein?” Karl’s sarcasm was back with a vengeance.

            “Burn it, stupid!”

            “Oh.” Karl got out his lighter just as the thing attacked again.

            Grabbing the book the two ran, but not before one of its’ claws raked Miranda’s back from right shoulder to left hip. She screamed in pain and ran close to Karl, trying to keep up.

            Crouching behind one of the book cases Karl took out his lighter and began burning pages. As one by one they fell to ash, they could hear the monster screams escalate.

            “You’re hurting it.” Miranda whispered through clenched teeth.

            “That’s the point.”

            Eventually Karl burned through every single page, and then he ripped up and burned the cover for good measure.

            The two collapsed, Miranda’s blood soaked through her shirt, and then Karl’s. Once they had bandaged her effectively the two went out to see if there was anything left of Mr. Waters.

            Miranda cried out when they came around the corner. Mr. Waters body was there, he looked alive but was bleeding from cuts all down his spine and face and from underneath his fingernails.

            Karl bent down and felt for a pulse. “He’s alive. Go call 911.”

            Miranda limped to the phone and called, hoping she would not have to explain what happened. Then, turning she walked slowly back and sat down next to Karl. Leaning her head against his shoulder she tried to breathe normally. Karl grabbed one of her hands tightly and the two sat together, waiting for help to come. 





One response

7 02 2008
Jennifer James

I like the idea of doing a bunch of different genre stories with the same set up of people and place
You could expand these into little novels if you wanted to, and I bet a short story magazine would be all over them.

you are indeed a talented little sister.

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