Students' Work;    By Students,  For Students

MIHS Pegasus Creative Arts Magazine

MIHS Pegasus Creative Arts Magazine

Students' Work; By Students, For Students

MIHS Pegasus Creative Arts Magazine

MIHS Pegasus Creative Arts Magazine

It Knows

I’ve always been afraid of writing a novel. I’m a published author – I have two anthology stories published! – but I only write short stories.ot out of a hate for the novel medium, no, I just don’t have the commitment I’d need to write a novel. But a few days ago, (a week, maybe?), my editor suggested I should just try, and to start by writing a rough outline for a hypothetical novel.

I… can’t focus on things easily. I get distracted, and that’s why most things I write have to be short. It’s stressful! I needed to write, though, I needed something. So, um. Three days ago, I began to look for some inspiration. I had zero ideas for this novel. I was walking around downtown, music in my ears, watching the world around me go. I love people watching. It sounds creepy, but there’s a delight and joy in watching people do their everyday thing. Watching them talk about things I could never know, or seeing their reactions when they get a text, or watching them cry and break down. There’s something curious about watching humans, disconnected from their reality. I can write their story! Do you know, do you understand, just how great that is?

While walking down an alley, I stopped at this door. It was ancient, old, his bookstore was an odd one in the back alley of downtown. it was kind of… how do I put it? It looked shitty. The sign was so weathered away I couldn’t make out the name. The door was what got me, it was wooden, antique and ancient. This dark shade of red that seemed darker than blood. The weirdest, most peculiar part, was the large spider web engraving. Woven intricately into the grains of wood– it caught my eyes. The door handle was rusty and- well. You see a mysterious, creepy door with a sign that looks older than the building itself? You have to enter it. At the very least, you have to look inside.

I think part of me wanted to be a character in my very own short story.

Just a door, a door between me and what could be one of the best stories I could very write. My hand wrapped around the handle, rust flaking off the metal. Turning the doorknob, I felt chills up my spine. I was being watched by someone, I knew I was. Pushing open the door…

It was just a bookstore. A perfectly normal bookstore.

The floor was linoleum, black and white tiles, diamond shaped. It was a large room, and in the middle was this tree. Dead, withering, and around it, lines and lines and lines of bookshelves. I felt like I was in some storybook, like a fantasy novel I had read when I was young, where I would be the chosen one destined to save… something. I walked inside, the scent of books and mold filling my nose. It was almost pitch black, except where I was looking, just lit enough to see where I was going. Fucking creepy. I began to browse the books. Reading the spines, I couldn’t recognize a single author. I’m telling you! I’ve read thousands of books, I know so many authors, but no matter how much I searched, not a single author rang a bell. You don’t realize how abnormal that is, especially for a modern day book store! Well… abandoned?

Augustus Finch? Oliver Wilson? Gregory Weston? Not only do these names sound fake, but their books were empty. No words, just empty, crisp, pages of nothingness. Except one- reading the spine made me stop. Something deep inside me told me I had to take it off the shelf. I had to read it.

Opening it, it was filled with text, no margins, no padding… just words. Not a single centimeter of page left empty. I needed this book.

So I left with it.

From the walk home, to riding the train, I felt like I was being watched again. I got home, sat down, and looked at the book in my hands. I stared at the cover, the swirling kaleidoscope of spider web hues. It was golden against a dark red background. I traced the design with my finger, felt the curves and lines, then I opened it

“Wendy opened the book-” the book read. “Wendy opened the book and began to read. They tilted their head a bit, squinting at the small text of the book. ‘How did it know?” they asked, ‘How did the book know what I’m thinking? Even as I’m reading this- NO! NO! Stop it!’ they cried, opening their mouth in shock. They began to read the next lines out loud: ‘How do you know this?’ they asked again. This wasn’t right, no. A book, written who knows how long ago, should not have all their actions on paper!

This is wrong, this is bad, this isn’t right! They wanted to put it down, but something magnetic kept them in place.”

I flipped ahead in the book. I thought, hey! Maybe I could tell my future. Ha! No- this book…

“Wendy flipped ahead in the book, wondering what exactly this book could do.” It said. It knew I would flip ahead to that one page, and I would read that specific line and it would listen to me. LISTEN TO ME. HOW DID IT KNOW THIS!? HOW DOES IT KNOW MY EVERY MOVE? Do you know the horror that’s your every action being written down on paper in this random book without an author, without a title, without any fucking margins! No! No you don’t! Except maybe you do now, because you’re written in that book now! I know it because I read it! I continued to read, I don’t know why I did, but I did! I couldn’t put it down, it was magnetic. It forced me to! God, and all it did was taunt me! It TAUNTED ME, LAUGHED AT ME. It told me how I was going to die, how my entire future would play out! I- I become nothing, I become nothing! I don’t have a future, no- this book. This book TOLD me how I would go insane, go mad, at the fact this book exists! That I would become nothing, that I am nothing, that I would quit my job and become a hermit. How does IT KNOW?

I’ve become a character- I’ve become a character and I don’t know what to do. I’m a character in a novel! And the words I’m saying now, and I’m talking to you reader, are being read by a monster. By this person who KNOWS. By you reading this, I am hurting. I surely hope you are entertained by this! I hope it’s worth it.

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