Monster Book

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Joy wasn’t sure how she’d found the book, it must have been fate! She had known the minute her fingers had touched the skin cover and the scent of two hundred year old pages filled her lungs. She had looked closely just be sure then with a quick glance around the storeroom, put the book into her bag.

Hurrying home as a storm ripped across the sky, Joy was glad she only lived streets away from where she worked at Rare Eager, Secondhand and Antiques shop. She stumbled into the hallway of the two bedroom terrace house, dripping wet like she had just got out of a swimming pool.

She turned the lights on, locked the front door then took off her soaked shoes and coat. Going upstairs, she took the rest of her clothes off- blue blouse and black trousers- and changed into fleece PJs. She dried her short blonde hair and took her makeup off.

Pausing, Joy listened but the house was almost silent; just the hum of the fridge and heaters. Outside, rain and wind battered everything, Thunder rumbled and lightening forked across the sky like the bolts of an angry God.

‘Autumn weather for sure,’ Joy said aloud and closed the curtains.

Having all ready eaten before and feeling fine that she was now dry, Joy got into bed. She glanced at the alarm clock and saw the hands were on quarter to nine. She sighed, tiredness sinking in. She had worked late tonight with the re-stocking of the shop and was ready to sleep but first….

Joy pulled the book from her bag.

The skin cover was like worn leather, paled and roughed over the years and there were no markers anywhere upon it to say what the contains were or who by. Joy ran her fingers over it and thought she could just feel were letter might once have been.

Without opening the book, she looked at the hand cut pages. They were not straight but jagged and hard against her fingers. They were a dark yellow colour and tempted a reader in.

Joy went to open the book but her boss, the shop’s owner, Mr. Eager, came into her head. He was old, mid-sixties with a bald head, wrinkles like a walnut and strange odd colored eyes.  From his mouth came the words, ‘…it’s a book full of such disturbing horror stories it was banned! Most of the copies were burnt back then….There’s one around here somewhere. I brought it years ago in London.’

‘Have you ever read it?’ Joy had asked.

‘The first page and that was enough for me!’

‘And where is it now?’

Mr. Eager shrugged and answered, ‘lost in here someplace!’

Joy had taken in the stuffed shop which one could barely move around in let alone find anything they actually wanted! But wasn’t that the look and draw of secondhand and antique places?

With a shake of her head, Joy told herself, ‘I’ll return it tomorrow and show Mr Eager. Pretend I ‘just’ found it and ask if I can have it.’

Letting her fingers rest on the cover about to open it and began reading, Joy wondered why she had taken it in the first place.

She had stole before, little things, like; her childhood friend’s pencil case, a poster from school, a pot horse from her aunt’s house and once in desperate need after a night out, clothes from a washing line.

‘Why did I take this book?’ Joy wondered.

She looked down and felt drawn to forget everything and just open the cover. Were the stories inside as scary as Mr. Eager had said?

Opening the book, Joy saw there were no other publisher and introduction pages like at the start of other books, there was the begin of the first story instead. Shrugging and deciding she didn’t care, Joy curled up and began reading.

It seemed standard 1800s’ horror story telling, a little gross in parts but an interesting read. The stories were short and Joy read three or four of them before she started to doze off.

Putting the book under her bed, she vowed to take it back in the morning and fell asleep.

 

A soft thud and scraping noise disturbed her. Joy rolled over and still half-asleep listened. The noise didn’t come again and she drifted off.

Three more thuds, louder this time and more scraping like something was being dragged echoed through the house. Joy woke almost fully, she turned on the light and looked around. The storm had died down now and it was just a rain tapping against the window.

The noises didn’t come again as she wondered what they were; perhaps, it was an animal or a neighbour. Maybe, apart of my dream! What was that about anyway?

Joy turned off the light and settled back down. A creeping feeling came over her and sleep didn’t want to come back. She lay in the darkness, thinking and listening.

The sounds stared again. Someone was dragging something on a carpet and thumping it about. Then there was a different sound, like a chomp and a heave as if the person doing the dragging before was now trying to pull something up whilst eating an apple.

Joy almost giggled at that thought but realised the noise was too close, all most like it’s in my bedroom!  

She turned on the light, scowled herself for being silly, it’s just something outside….What’s that on my bedside table? 

It was the book!

Confused because she knew she had put it under her bed, Joy went to pick it up. Before her hands could touch it the book began to open!

The cover raised slowly. The pages had become long sharp triangle teeth. They moved, opening like they were in a mouth and a long, two forked tongue began to reel out, sensing the air like a snake’s.

Joy moved backwards across the bed and put her hands to her mouth to cover a scream.

‘It’s just a dream!’ she cried.

The book’s ‘tongue’ went back in and the covers opened further like a shark’s jaw. The book let out a monstrous growl and jumped at Joy’s face.

The scream erupted out of her and Joy threw her hands upwards to defend her face and fight off the book, but the book had grown so wide that it just swallowed her whole.

With the scratching and ruffling sounds of tumbling pages, the book fell closed on Joy’s bed, right were she’d been a few seconds ago.

 

 

(Based in part on a dream I had).

Wrong Glasses #FridayFictioneers

The book’s words blurred, Rosemary wondered what was going on. She took her glasses off, wiped them on her loose cream nightie. Her gnarled hands began shaking as she put the glasses on.

‘What is wrong with these things?’ Rosemary muttered.

Taking the glasses off, she held them to the page and used them like a magnifying glass. That helped a little, she carried on reading.

When she grew tried, Rosemary set the book aside and noticed that there was another pair of glasses on the table.

‘Oh! My new glasses!’ Rosemary cried, ‘No wonder I couldn’t see!’

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2019/09/11/13-september-2019/ with thanks).

Read

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I opened my book, slipped the leather marker out of the pages and looked at the chapter heading. Straight away I remembered where I was up to and eagerly began reading.

The phone rang. I looked up and listened to the shrill tone. Abandoned my book with a sign, I got up to answer it.

‘Hello?’ a man’s voice with an Indian accent asked, ‘I’m calling from your internet provider. We are going to cut your internet off.’

‘I don’t have the internet,’ I answered.

‘You don’t?’

‘I’m eighty-eight! I’ve no interested in such things!’

He hung up.

I put the phone down and went back to my favourite armchair. I curled up again and picked up my book. Where was I? Even without my bookmark jammed in between the pages, I could easily tell.

I begin reading again. I got through a few pages but then the door bell rang.

I rolled my eyes and got up. It was a delivery man asking me to take a parcel in for next door. That all sorted, I got back to my book.

I only had a few chapters to go and I really wanted to know if the soon to be married young lovers would discover they were actually brother and sister!

The sound of crows crying loudly, brought my head up. I looked out the window and saw two crows fighting over the bird food I had put out yesterday. They were having a right go at each other.

I wasn’t a fan of big birds, so I went out and scared them off. I waved one of the walking sticks at them and the crows got the message. Black wings beat loudly and flew over the fence. I looked at the darkening sky. It was going to rain soon and it was getting colder.

I went back in, heard the clock chime and realised it was almost time for something to eat. I put one of the frozen ready meals in the oven and whilst it cooked I made and lit the fire.

The crackling of the flames on the logs and the smell of fragrant smoke were comforting.

I eased back into the armchair and began reading again.

The timer went off and I had my meal. After I got a cup of tea and tried once again to finish my book.

The door bell went – next door come to get their parcel.

The phone rang – my daughter checking up on me. Reminding me about the trip to the garden centre tomorrow.

The fire needed other few logs.

I drank my tea, read my book and finally relaxed as it was night now and nobody would disturb me. I could finally finish!

Or not….two chapter to go and lulled by the fire, I fell sleep.

Friday 13th

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It was one of the days Henry dreaded most; a Friday thirteenth, the unluckiest day of the year. He debated if it was even worth getting out of bed. He could call in work sick and just stay here where it was safest. 

No, the boss will know I’m lying, Henry thought, he overhead me talking about today for sure. 

Henry got up and avoided doing anything that might trigger the bad luck. He didn’t look into the mirror, he didn’t walk on any cracks as he headed to work, he didn’t go under any ladders or scaffolding and he prayed no black cats crossed his path.

At work he didn’t speak much and just got on with his accounting spreadsheets. He didn’t take his breaks or stop of lunch, Henry just wanted the day to be over. He ignored his colleagues asking him to come out for drinks or food or dancing. He mumbled he was busy tonight or he wasn’t feeling well.

He left work on time, a rarity for him, and hurried home. Once there, he undressed and got straight into bed even though he was hungry and his favourite quiz show was on TV.

If I can sleep through the rest of the day, everything will be fine, Henry thought.

However, he couldn’t sleep and within an hour had got up and was making something to eat. He had soup and crusty bread whilst watching the end of the news. Seems a few bad things had happened today; but then didn’t they everyday?

As soon as he had finished and tided up, Henry went back to bed and read for a few hours. He felt safer in his bed, nothing could happen here.

He heard it start to rain outside and a cat begin meowing loudly. He tried ignoring the child like crying yowls but the noise was cutting through his concentration.

Henry got up, went to the window and looked out. At the house across the way, he saw an outside lamp on and underneath, on the front door step was a black cat!

Henry clutched his chest and stumbled backwards. Was it okay that he had only glanced the cat? The creature hadn’t crossed his path or touched him or even looked up at him. Perhaps, the cat wasn’t all black?

Henry clung to that thought and got back into bed.

Everything is going to be okay, he started repeating.

He checked the time and saw it was almost ten o’clock. Three hours to go till Friday thirteenth was over.

Henry picked up his book again and tried to get back into it but his mind kept wondering. He got up again and looked out the window but the cat had gone.

‘I don’t know if it was all black or not,’ Henry said aloud, ‘but if it lives in that opposite house then I must have seen that cat before and I know there’s no black ones around here! Unless…they got it recently….’

Trying to get rid of his thoughts, Henry got back into bed again and pulled the duvet over his head. He tried to convince himself nothing was going to happen and somehow he fell asleep.

In the morning, he awoke to his alarm going off. Henry struggled out of a deep sleep and turned it off. Sleepy, he looked at the date and saw that he had made it through the unluckiest day of the year.

Missing Page

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Courtney turned the page, ready to find out how the novel ended but there was nothing but blankness. Turning back, she re-read the last lines which were not the finish. Flipping the page, she found it still blank. She cried out and tossed the book away, never to know what had happened.

Glimmer #WritePhoto

The last of the sunset was a glimmer in the sky, the final hint of color disappearing into the night. Darkness rolled in fast then, bring with it heavy rain which the blustery wind used to hit everything it could with. A rumble of thunder echoed in the distance, sounding like cannon fire.

Looking out on to my empty street, I saw windows of light from nearby houses, flashing  car headlights down the road and leaves tumbling past. I looked for the lightening, craning my head up to search the sky, but none came.

I closed the curtains on this scene and went to stir the flames which were gaining strength in the fireplace. Waves of heat were beginning to roll off and the logs were blazing.

Settling on the sofa with a heavy woolen blanket over me, the weather and fire became  background noises. I sipped hot chocolate from a polar bear face shaped mug which steam was still curling off of. Placing that down, I picked up the heavy book and opened the anthology of ghost stories into my lap.

Tonight was the perfect night for little a scare.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/10/18/thursday-photo-prompt-glimmer-writephoto/ with thanks).

Postcard #50

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Dear Hana,

Thank you for the book of spells you sent me last week. I have so far cast two of them – A Ward Against Evil and A Good Luck Charm, both seem to have work. I am still little nervous about trying something bigger – I guess all those movies were spells go wrong sticks in my head too much!

I would very much like to join your circle on Monday nights. Perhaps, seeing some real witches would improve my confidence? I hope it wouldn’t be too much of a bother. I shall keep practicing!

Best regards, Morgan.

 

One Shot

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When she picked up the email her heart leaped. This was her chance to prove she could do it and move on from being a plain old receptionist. This job interview was her ticket through a new door and only goodness lay at the other side.

She spent the rest of the day preparing; getting her clothes sorted, reminding herself of what she wrote in her job application, writing down questions and answers and even internet researching things. She felt so ready and like the job was her’s no matter what.

Laying in bed that night though, she couldn’t sleep. Her stomach churned like fish heads in a mincing machine, her back ached as if she was laying on a wooden board and her head swim like a whirlpool. She plucked thoughts out of the air as they whizzed passed; what if they asked a really weird question? what if she messed up a big answer? What if someone else was stronger then her?

She saw the job slipping away from her, like ice melting and trickling out of her hands. Sitting up in bed, she turned on the light and reached for one of the self-help books by her bed. She had recently shuffled them so the one about succeeding in interviews and a new job was at the top. Finding her place, she read for awhile. That give her some comfort.

Sleeping well afterwards, she arose in the morning and went about everything as normal. There were large, scratching butterflies in her stomach and her back was still twinging, but she got by. Then it was finally time to get ready and leave. Reminding herself that the job was as good as her’s already, She give it her all and walked out afterwards on a new path.

The Cook Book

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The witch took her favourite cook book out and began turning the heavy yellow pages. She wasn’t sure what to make, something to poison the neighbourhood kids or a light snack for herself?

‘Ah, mashed monster stew!’ she crackled, ‘that’s perfect for this stormy night!’

 

(Inspired from; https://first50.wordpress.com/2017/10/16/the-cookbook/ with thanks).

The Lost Page

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She went to turn the page over, breath held in, eager to know how the novel ended. Her heart beat so loudly she could hear it echoing in her ears. Her eyes dropped to the page and there was nothing.

Frowning, she looked harder at the blank page then turned back to the previous one. Re-reading the last few lines, she flipped over again but still nothing. Bending the spine slightly, she saw that someone had ripped the last page of the book out.