The Temptation of Words

Contributor: Gavin Wilson

- -

While waiting for his girlfriend he noticed the slim, nondescript volume on the library shelves. As he had little to occupy his time, or his mind, his hands made a decision for his brain and reached out for entertainment. Not really concentrating, he flicked idly through looking for pictures. He wasn’t normally much of a reader, preferring a good comic, so it was some moments before his brain, preoccupied with other thoughts, realised the pages in front of him were blank.

He stopped and, concentrating more fully now, opened the book at random, finding an earlier entry in what looked like a diary.

…Adam finished his toast, marmalade as usual, put on his red jumper and left the house, forgetting his library card which lay on the desk in the hall…

Dry mouthed, Adam looked at his jumper, checked his wallet for his library card, which was missing, and looked ahead to the most recent entry.

Words appeared on the page as he watched, magically inking themselves into literary existence. His mouth opened in amazement as he read the most recent line.

… having waited half an hour for his girlfriend, she finally turned up with an armful of books…

He shut the small volume with a snap. He’d been there for ten minutes: the book was twenty minutes ahead of time. He knew what was going to happen in the future.

Looking around, he noticed a comfy looking chair in the corner and sat heavily on the cushioned leather. Once settled he re-opened the book to look into the past. Everything written there was an exact copy of what had happened in his life, but only spanned a few weeks of time. It was a slim book after all, he thought. He shut the book again and sat, deep in thought with the book held loosely in one hand.

Did he want to know what happened in the future? Did he really want to spend his life looking twenty minutes ahead to make sure he didn’t do anything stupid; a slave to the immediate future? If it was written down, could he change it anyway?

A myriad of questions, possibilities and unknowns flashed through his brain as he sat staring into space.



He smiled as he became aware of her. She stood nearby, a large armful of books in her hands.

“You found something to read?” she said, a puzzled look on her face as he struggled for words. He took a deep breath and seemed to come to some sort of decision.

“Nah, you know I prefer a good comic,” he replied.

He stood up, kissed her and smiled wryly, making sure he slotted the book back on the shelf where he’d found it. As he pushed it back into place, he turned away, putting his arm around Anna, and so missed the fleeting appearance of a face in the leather cover of the book. The soundless scream formed in the patina went unnoticed as the book slid back between its fellows on the shelf.

The Librarian watched them leave.

Reaching up with long fingers, he pulled the book from the shelf and looked at the still screaming soul trapped in the book as it raged within the confines of the spell. He opened the rear cover and added another mark to the tally, the ink fading once he’d added the most recent line.

The humans constantly surprised him, but one day, the trap would be sprung and a second soul would be trapped inside the book, releasing the power he craved.

Until then, all he could do was wait; quietly. The Librarian was good at waiting…


- - -
Although trained as a geologist, Gavin has spent most of his life buried in the pages of other worlds. With thoughts of choosing a mid-life crisis, he has now taken a literary route and fills blank pages with worlds of his own construction.
Read more »
These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

Help keep Linguistic Erosion alive! Visit our sponsors! :)- - -