Short Story | ‘The Book’ by Sylvia Van Peebles, Illustration by Adam Kolanski
There it was. The book had always intrigued the girl. It was large and ornately decorated. How could a book be dangerous? It was an absurd thought but that’s what she had always been told. Anyone who read the book disappeared and was never heard from again. As the girl pulled the book down from the shelf, she looked over her shoulder to see if anyone was watching. With her heart pounding, she quickly tiptoed back to her room and jumped into her bed. Reaching over, the girl turned on the lamp and opened the book.
The book appeared to be written in a strange, unfamiliar language, yet the girl was able to understand it. It was as if she was someone else and the book needed her. At once she became both intrigued and frightened by the book’s effect on her but she couldn’t stop reading. She read on and on, and as she read she became drowsy and sleep, eventually, overcame her. The atmosphere of the room became warm and humid, like a greenhouse and started to take on a sinister appearance. Once she was in a deep sleep, vines appeared from the book’s pages. They multiplied at an alarming rate. Quickly the vines engulfed the girl and she never woke up or cried out for help.
The next morning the girl never came down for breakfast. When they went up to her room she was nowhere to be found. Then they saw the book on the floor and knew that they would never see the girl again. They exchanged knowing looks, picked up the book and returned it to its shelf to await its next unsuspecting reader.
Illustration by: Adam Kolanski