Estimated reading time — 10 minutes
The furious scribblings of an aspiring writer can be heard throughout the almost vacant library. A lone entity, in a blissful state of ink to paper, processes a masterpiece.
James was dying to finalize his thought, but he could not wrap his consciousness around the perfect ending for his story. Frustratingly, he threw his utensil to the ground – happy in the thought that no one was around to see his embarrassing reaction to a seemingly trivial predicament. He had been working on the tale for months now trying to perfect his creation, but he did not care about temporal matters. He only wanted to be proud of his accomplishment – to be content in his first effort at an original writing. He laughed at the silly thought of just never finishing his work; that he would be doomed to endlessly staring at his incomplete narrative.
Earlier in life, James was often shunned for his interest in writing. He was labeled as an outcast for dabbling in the arts, but he cared not for the opinions of others. Now that he was in college, the notion of someone devoting their life to writing was not as ridiculous – he felt pleased in that fact. He no longer had to defend his love and he could finally focus on it. Writing, however, was harder work then he was willing to admit. Every idea was taken and written in better manner than he could ever hope to achieve. That wouldn’t stop him though, he had decided long ago that he would bring forth his true passion to tangible fruit regardless of the odds against him. He had read countless books on all manner of subjects, longing to be inspired – but never held his breath when delving into a new genre. All too often, he would sigh in disapproval at his choice of material, but one category never displeased him.
Horror was an emotion James felt was neglected in modern society, it was a feeling most people wanted to forget as unnecessary to the human condition. James was saddened in the thought that he could not remember a time when he was truly terrified. What annals of his mind were untapped simply because he had not experienced the full range of natural stigmas? The question depressed James. He wanted to live these sensations and found much solace in the solution to his problem. Reading. By reading, James could react to scenarios he could never truly experience – he adjudicated that horror was the only genus of writings that would satisfy his emotional cravings. Stories of ancient artifacts, of evil entities, of rituals and murders all circled his dorm-room, but his favorite story dealt with a demon-like persona named Yendismai who prevents a scientist from discovering hidden truths about the universe. James enjoyed this particular read wholly because it made him feel like there was more to the world than just reality. These books transported him to another thread on the clothe of existence and he was enthralled in the escapist mentality of submerging oneself.
James jumped up in cognizance of his trailing thought. “Damn it! I have to focus if I ever want to finish this,” he thought to himself. He picked up his favorite pen from the ground and situated his paper to begin working again. Something bothered him though. He looked around the area he was sitting remembering that he choose a corner of the library on the third floor specifically so that he would be left alone. It was dark and the eerie silence was not completely known to James until now that he was observing his surroundings. He started to sweat, but ignored his uncomfortable state in light of the fact that he needed to finish his story. He quickly dismissed any premonitions and began to…
“What are you doing here all alone?” said the friendly voice coming from the new figure sitting across from him in the once-empty chair.
“How did you get here without me noticing?” James replied, somewhat unsteadily, fearing the response.
“I guess I have alway been quiet,” said the girl with a certain charm about her.
“What is your name?”
James pondered the surreal nature of what was happening. He didn’t know why, but he felt sick and disturbed at the occurrence presenting itself. The dark musty corner of the library thickened and he felt unable to breath steadily. James suddenly panicked inside of himself, he felt as though he wasn’t supposed to be here. As if he was breaking some unwritten code in life; he found himself unable to stare directly at Sidney and he was trying to distance himself from the situation.
“What’s wrong?” The simple question lingered in the air and bellowed an aroma of confusion that permeated the stagnant positioning of the seemingly lighthearted encounter.
“Nothing, I just feel sick all of a sudden.” James was unsure of what to say next. He wanted to finish his story, but he knew that he had to deal with whatever was bothering him first.
“Okay…maybe you should put your work away? You seem rather stressed out.” Sidney was noticeably confused at James’s reactions, but she was agitated at his lack of interest more-so.
“Yeah, that is a good idea. Sorry for all of this, I just am having a bad reaction to the dust in here.” James lied, but he didn’t want to hurt the girls feelings even though he didn’t know the first thing about her. He decided that he would humor her acquaintance and would make up this awkward introduction by talking to her elsewhere. James cringed internally when he put the incomplete story into his backpack. Why did he feel like he was making a mistake?
Later, at the coffee shop just outside campus, James became increasingly intrigued at Sidney. She had explained that she could not really give him an answer for why she had ventured to the third floor of the library nor could she elaborate on the reasonings for saying hello. All that she could reveal was that she liked to do things on a whim and that James should not be concerned with things that didn’t matter. The weariness in the library was wearing off and James felt much better now that he was thrusted back into normalcy. They talked for hours about each other’s lives; James couldn’t help but feel like Sidney exaggerated on a few instances, but he was much too polite to point any inconsistencies in her tales. He was just glad that someone was taking an interest in him, he was so used to being ignored.
At the conversation’s end, James got Sidney’s number and felt quiet accomplished in the strange turn of events that occurred. Perhaps Sidney could become a possible love interest for James; the thought was surely pleasing to his mind, but he felt as though he was getting ahead of himself. Back at his dorm, James reclined and began to recount the memories made that day. He pulled out his story from his back-pack to see how much work he still needed to get done and noticed something odd. All of the corrections and ideas he had scribbled during his stay at the library were erased as if he had not altered his story at all. James’s heart stopped and he became very at-edge. There was no one in the library able to access his bag besides himself and Sidney and he had kept his back-pack on the entire time at the coffee shop. How could anyone have possibly taken it out of his person and why would anyone do such a thing? James could feel beads of sweat forming on his forehead and he was getting extremely anxious. “This is impossible,” he thought to himself. James decided to take a nap, perhaps he would feel more comfortable after resting a bit.
James’s dreams were plagued by nightmarish figures pulling at him and questioning him about his knowledge. These figures eventually converged into one being with aberrant proportions; it stared directly into James’s eyes as if demanding him of something.
When he awoke, James was feeling more ill than when he had absolved to sleep. He immediately pulled his story out of his bag to find that it was still showing that he had made no alterations since the beginning of the day. James sighed and let the facts dwindle in significance until he no longer cared about the harsh reality. He rejected the disturbing thoughts and began to re-mark his story as best he could to what it looked before Sidney had made her appearance. “Sidney. Had she taken my story?” James was thinking clearer than he ever had before trying to recall each and every detail of her uncanny visit. “There is no way. Besides, what reason would she have for such an action?” James went back to working on his story, but he didn’t even have time to write a single word before his phone rang.
It was Sidney’s number. He was surprised that she had called him so soon, she must have really been interested in him. He answered without hesitation.
“Hey James! Look, I have been thinking and I would love it if I could see you tomorrow. There are a few things I want to tell you.”
“Well…okay, but where?”
“Back at our spot at the library. Be there for ten ok?”
“Yeah sure, I was planning on being there late tomorrow anyways.”
“Sounds great! See you then.”
She hung up without saying goodbye and James’s phone produced that familiar tone letting him know that the conversation was over – in case it wasn’t obvious. James placed the phone on his desk and smiled to himself. He was happy that he was seeing her again because he had secretly longed for someone to care about for a long time. Maybe this would be the beginning of something beautiful. After a while of childish jubilation, James began to think once more of his story. He started to piece-together how he could conclude the story, but he felt great hesitation in his mind. James got the uncontrollable feeling that he was discovering something forbidden. He began to jerk and spasm every time he put pen to paper and was becoming enraged at himself; he wanted nothing more than to finish his story, but he could not ignore the vibrations in his skull. Tears started to form in the corners of his eyes. James was screaming in pain at the idea of firming-up his work as if he was unlocking potential in his brain that was forcibly shut-off. Revelations passed over his eyes, but he was seeing nothing as he blankly stare into another dimension. James agonizingly pushed his eyes to a closed position as if it would stop the perfected madness coursing through his veins. James was losing consciousness and his mind went void as he slammed his head on the cold hard ground of his dorm.
Luckily, when James awoke it was still time enough for him to get ready for his first class. His head was still throbbing, but he could not tell if it was from physical pain or mental adumbration. He realized that his eyes turned to tunnel-vision as they glanced over his story on the ground beside him. He quickly shoved the papers into his back-pack and reorganized his disheveled appearance because after his final class of the day was over, he would have no time to return to his dorm in preparation for meeting Sidney. He left his dwelling with the determination to keep his mind from numbing him, but he knew he would be unable to prevent another apocalypse in the machinations of his cerebral-being if the emergence was on-setting.
Throughout the classes of the day, James could not keep focus. He was constantly losing his center of attention to the night before and his story, but he made sure to not strain too hard on the subject. He laughed to himself with the notion that he did not want to be driven insane before he met Sidney again. With each passing hour, James felt less worried about his mental fits of past and more concerned about that night with Sidney. “What does she want to tell me exactly?” James thought to himself as he lost interest in his professor. He couldn’t shake the feeling that something was not right. The world seemed tilted at a wrong angle, the hue of the sky was discolored ever-so-slightly and the voices of passing students around him were all at a frequency he was not familiar with. James was unbalanced and he needed to put his paranoia to rest. As he sat up to leave his final class, James discovered he was quite tired despite having taken his nap and being knocked unconscious in close succession. All the thoughts racing inside of him were draining his lifeblood from him. James started to feel anticipation as he stepped outside feeling the cold air inviting him towards his destination. He could feel the paleness of his face even though he could not see anything in the darkness of the night.
James walked into the library with the sudden inkling that he was forgetting something. His mind was processing the facts of his life in the last day. “What am I missing?” James questioned himself rigorously as he took caution in each movement to the third floor of the library. The veins on his head were enlarging and James felt like he was absorbing the knowledge from his surroundings. He could not pinpoint the source of the discomposure in his internal being, but he could not help but feel that another apex was approaching. He turned the corner of the final book-shelf and saw that Sidney was already at the table waiting for him. She looked more beautiful than he remembered and she had a certain graceful solemnity about her.
“Hey, I came up here to finish my story so I hope you don’t mind if I work while we talk.” The words left James mouth with a newfound confidence. His aliments were no longer affecting him in a disabling manner and he was feeling much better now that he was in good company.
“I knew you were going to be working on that silly story. Just put it away for right now, I won’t be long.”
James’s heart stopped. Did he hear her correctly? Did she just say what he thought she said? There was no way Sidney could know that he was writing a story because he had never mentioned it to her. Something was not right and James instantly knew he was in danger. He quickly remembered that the library was practically empty on his way up; no one would know that he was up there and no one would be able to hear anything happening that high up from ground level. James’s pulse was deadening and he felt his clinging to the tangible world was weakening. He couldn’t bare the gnawing of his insatiable curiosity.
“Who are you?!” James screamed with a wild abandon of all decorum.
The lights in the library flickered and James realized that he had not made actual conversation with another human being besides Sidney since he had met her. The bizarre qualities of the day finally shed their cocoon of pseudo-realism to expose the truth. James’s revelation opened his eyes for the first time since the aforementioned day’s experience and he observed Sidney for what she really was. She was now contorting in a seizure-like twisting of limbs and flesh. She grew in stature and her hair receded into her skull so that she was just a gray husk of the girl James’s mind tricked him into seeing. Her arms grew five feet long each; her hands became wrinkled and her fingernails lengthened into talons. Sidney’s legs bent backwards to a beast like appearance and her clothes were absorbed in a mass of tendrils surrounding her body. Her face elongated to hold a new set of black boney protrusions and here eyes delved into her globulous visage. Her mouth was made cavernous and opened to a morbid extension that left her lower jaw hanging at about her mid-body. She was emitting no sound from her crevice other than the sickening noise of a “call-waiting” tone.
“I am Sidney,” the creature screeched. It positioned itself directly in front of James before squealing: “There are some things in this universe that are better left unfinished. We could not afford for you to complete your story lest your kind would have discovered us prematurely.”
Sidney inched its way forward as James held onto his breath, waiting for the end to encompass his being. He spent a split second planning an escape only to discern that it would be to no avail. James felt at ease knowing his mind would no longer have to strain. The search was over. He had found Sidney.
I found the remnants of this story outside the old condemned library on campus. I was terrified reading it, but I just couldn’t put it down.
It feels like it isn’t finished though…
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