Fiction that explores the monsters and strangers among us.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Mrs. Appleburger Sleeps, But the Books Wake Up

To read the beginning of this story, please click here.

Episode 2 of Jude Nerdworthy, Teenage Monster Fighter, in The Silence of the Books

The evil books locked away in the basement of the Warrenville Pubic Library have long fangs they use to suck your blood. Don’t worry, the books sit on the shelves hidden away behind a door marked “Furnace Room” in the library basement. The ancient tomes sleep during normal library hours.

Did you ever wonder why the library closes at nine o’clock every night? It gives the staff three hours to clear the place out before the volumes go on a blood-lust rampage at midnight.

Mrs. Appleburger, our high school English teacher, found out about the blood thirsty books one night this past summer. She worked late doing research on her doctoral thesis on the use of the supernatural in books that otherwise would have been considered classical literature rather than mere pulp fiction.

Mrs. Appleburger fell asleep amidst the stacks in the furnace room at eight-thirty-eight in the evening. The time is important because Madeline Inglebock checked the furnace room at eight-thirty-two to announce the library would be closing soon. No way was she or any other staff member returning to the “furnace room” before sunrise. You never know when a book might wake up early with an appetite for fresh blood.

When Mrs. Appleburger woke up, she spotted Bleak House flapping its pages near the ceiling. A giant pair of fangs hung down from this Dickens classic much the same way you would spot legs on a bat. She told me later she swatted the book away before it could attach itself to her neck.

Huckleberry Finn hissed at her with a Mississippi accent. Mrs. Appleburger enjoyed reading Twain so she snagged it out of the air and began perusing it. The more she read, the more the book purred. Mrs. Appleburger soon recognized that the best way to keep old books from sucking your blood is to read them.

Mrs. Appleburger read as fast as she could, but she was no speed reader despite her advanced degree. She called me for help. I rushed over with a broom and swatted the books out of the way until Mrs. Appleburger could make her way to the exit. I slammed the door as Shakespeare’s complete works banged against the other side, making a clanking noise against the door metal.

“I thought you had to read books to bring them to life,” said Mrs. Appleburger.

I swatted at a fanged Moby Dick that had escaped the furnace room. “These books may have been cursed by Mordacai Blount. I’ll check into it.”

“Good idea,” said Mrs. Appleburger. She ran out of the library leaving me to deal with Moby Dick and the police officer assigned to check out the reason the silent alarm went off at the library.

To continue, please click here.

Today's novel quote
"She placed her left hand on my right cheek, the one on my face."
Steel Pennies
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