Friday, February 10, 2017

The Book Was Hungry

The Book Was Hungry
Bobby Derie

The book growled in her bag. It was hungry.

Julia scoured the library, the book growling all the time. She haunted anthropology and folklore, mostly - looking for scraps of curse tablet inscriptions, examples of cannibalism, necrophilia, vampires. She knew what it liked.

In a quiet corner, she picked through a stack of bound folklore magazines from the 1930s - the last gasp of British vicars, with education but not much else, poking over any ancient legend or ruin in their precinct. Bits and pieces of lore on fairy bottles, witch trials, ghost stories. Good stuff. Making sure no-one else was around, she took out the book and laid it out flat on the study desk.
The pen still had a few feathery scales on it, though the tip was hooked with steel. With a practiced move she rolled up the sleeve on her right arm and pricked at her skin near the elbow, leaving a small red welt next to the other scabs and scars.

To write in the book was more than just dull copying. Julia knew she had to find the right place for it, work the bits and pieces in. The book was still a long way from unfinished, but some pages were dark with ink and drawings, the columns filled with marginalia and fine additions in between the lines, while others were blank. The book's growling ceased as she found a good spot and began writing about the fairy bottle, and the witch with the pipes made from the bones of little children that called up a dark horse... Her arm was almost numb by the time she was done, but Julia was satisfied as she sat back and let the blood dry...


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