Monday, December 10, 2012


David sighed as he leaned back in his stiff-backed chair, stretching his aching muscles and popping his back in a series of sigh-inducing cracks. He’d been studying for his Mythological Creatures class for the last two hours now, a dismal flickering light barely keeping his small study room lit enough to read the numerous books by.
He’d signed up for the elective after hearing the class was essentially an easy A. This was before Professor Stocking retired and Doctor Vicks came on staff to take her place. The surly old polish professor was one of short stature and even shorter temper, demanding the utmost attention to detail in his class. Between the long and sundry list of books David was expected to read, he was told he had to research in the Miskatonic Library a minimum of three hours a week. The old coot had even left a sign in the roster at the front desk for his students to check in and out throughout their studies.

David had approached the wild-haired man one day after a lecture, voicing his fears over his grade point average and the amount of time this elective was taking, and  his grades in his other classes were beginning to suffer.
The minuscule man had listened attentively enough, his eyes mere slits as he seemed to stare into David’s very soul. When David had finished, the tiny professor had seemed to swell in size before going off on a rather confusing series of rants, the culmination of which seemed to revolve around the need for David to read one book in particular.
“You seem to have trouble grasping the knowledge and keeping it within your mind, yes? What a question, what a question!” He’d proclaimed to David, hopping from foot to foot excitedly. “Then I have a book for you. And this book you can read, yes! Go, go during study hours and request the book from the front desk, request the book held by Doctor Vicks. Then you will see what I want you to see, know what I want you to know!”
Despite the odd man’s ramblings, David had done as he’d instructed, asking for the book the good Doctor had put on reserve. The front desk staff had seemed wary at first, asking him what class he was in and what the Doctor had precisely said. When pressed, David merely answered as best he could. Finally, a young intern had taken mercy upon him and pushed a release form before him, telling him to sign off on the book and to wait in study room five for them to bring it up.
That’d been five hours ago, three hours before he’d begun studying for his Mythological Creatures course, an hour before he was finished with his various other assignments from his other classes. And yet he still waited for whatever book they supposedly had for him.
David was just about to give up hope when the door burst open, the bare bulb dangling from its chain wobbling back and forth from the sudden movement. In the doorway stood the intern and another young man, each carrying the side of great leather bound tome into the room, moving with utmost care.
“Here it is.” The intern said solemnly, carefully arranging the great book across the wooden table, which groaned in protest at the sudden weight. “The Book.”
“The book?” David repeated, not truly understanding why the intern was acting so serious about all of this.
“The Book of the Dead. That Release of Liability you signed said you agreed to not speak the Book’s name, so if you must, just call it that.”
“Wait, that release was for liability? I thought it was so I could look at an old book!” David said incredulously as he looked upon the great book before him, propped up partially by the sizable stack of books David had been perusing beforehand. “What the hell could I be liable for?”
“Not you,” the intern said as he turned to leave, grasping the doorknob tightly in a white-knuckled grip. “Us.”
And with that he was gone.
David read long into the night from the strange book, fascinated by the strange creatures and locales described between the waxy pages. Great beasts from beyond the stars that slept beneath the churning waves, forgotten cities within mountains most mad populated by creatures so alien that merely looking upon them could cause a man to lose his mind. Parasitic creatures that rooted into the minds of the unwilling, forcing them to commit acts most foul while other beings came from beyond the bounds of space and time to merely observe.
Truly fascinating lore, but lore nonetheless.
Why had Doctor Vicks told him to read this particular book?
“Because it has the answers… answers long since sought.” Came Doctor Vicks voice, though from where David couldn’t say.
Looking around, all he could see were the four blank walls of the room and the great black book before him. “What in the world… oh god, I fell asleep didn’t I?”
“What a question! Should I tell him?” Doctor Vicks said aloud from his place unseen. “Perhaps I should, but only if I could, yes? I planted a teeny tiny seed within your mind, not that you’d mind I figure, or figured… possibly will figure.”
“Now I know this is a dream…” David mutters, rubbing at his eyes. He stands up from his seat before being roughly shoved back down.
“Here’s something to contemplate! Maybe we have two lives. One when asleep, and one when awake! What fun that would be, by golly and gee.” Doctor Vicks voice echoed from around David, the walls seemingly fading away into nothingness, leaving him in a vast black expanse. “Doctor Vicks faced the same thoughts that you think, or will thing… perhaps thought… some time ago, far in the future.”
“That doesn’t make any sense!” David exclaimed, slamming his hands down onto the pages of the book in front of him as it began to slide off the table, the floor tilting.
 Doesn't it, though?” The voice replied, this time in a far brighter voice than the diminutive professor. “What a question, what a question! Do you know the definition, of real life?”
“Wait… yes, real life is what’s real and true. What kind of question is that?” David asks, looking around, trying to find the source of the voice.
“An excellent answer for those stuck looking backward! But what of those that can look forward like me?” The voice asked, growing darker by the second. A faint fishy scent filled the air as a salty breeze blew past, fluttering the pages of the ancient tome wildly as David fought to keep the book stable.
“I don’t even know who you are!” David cried, toppling forward as the desk slipped forward on the floor, tumbling away into the darkness, leaving him in a pile of books.
“Nor do I you!” The voice replied, the darkness breaking away to a brilliant crimson, a silhouette standing sharply against the newfound all-encompassing light. “But I intend to find out!”
             The intern’s face was heavy with lines from all the scowling he had been forced to do that day: first when the young medical student had come forward requesting the Necronomicon, then when he delivered it and discovered the stupid boy hadn't the faintest idea what he was about to read.
            Now he merely frowned as the paramedics wheeled him out on a gurney, the struggling form held down tight by buckles and belts as he fought for freedom, speaking in a tongue rarely heard save for within the halls of Miskatonic University. Turning slowly, the intern made his way to the back room where a green chalkboard hung from the wall, seven dusty chalk-drawn lines marking the otherwise unobtrusive piece of decoration. The intern picked up the short white stick and carefully drew another line next to the faded seventh slash, marking the tally to eight.
He’d have to get the boy’s release photocopied for when the police came by and did their standard round of questioning. Checking the wall calendar he smiled.
“Four years since the last time this happened.” The intern said with a growing smile, a small chuckle breaking past his stoic face. “Only two more to go and I’ll be free from the ebb and the flow… but will I be happy? What a question, what a question!”

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