This story begins with Globe Without Goodbye – The Shore (1). To access installments in narrative sequence, click on an entry title, then click on “Next” at the end of that installment.
Jeffrey found a flat rock of comfortable height nestled up near the cave’s entrance. He sat down to read. He had the idea that this book contained the answers he needed to solve his current situation. Books had always held answers for him. He’d grown up a reader; books had proven better friends to him than his peers several times. More times than he cared to recall. This particular book had no visible title. The dark leather stripe of its spine, while reinforced compared to the suede cover, had still been flexible enough to get it away from the corpse. He wondered how old the book was. He looked at the first page –
A headache split into him as soon as he tried to read it. The text looked splintered, like a broken mirror, and the words slithered along the cracks. They moved! Very quickly, cramped in diagonal lines that swirled around a central point. Yes, the text was moving; was it alive, like the doll? He felt dizzy. He dropped the book. As soon as he could no longer see the moving text, the headache subsided.
Jeffrey looked down at the book near his feet. From this distance, the text looked more like a spiderweb than a broken mirror. The letters had become tiny, but he could still see their motion on the page. It reminded him of heat rising from pavement in another world, another lifetime. The headache slammed into his brain again as he tried to read the page a second time. Not as strong of a headache, but still vicious.
He tried to flip the pages of the book with his toes. Difficult; the book was so small, and the paper so waxy. On each page, he saw a slightly different spiderweb. He could not read any of them through the relentless headache. He would get no answers from this book. Bile rose in the back of his throat.
“You.” The unearthly voice assailed him, sounding just as loud as it had when the doll had rested in his hands. “You with your ruddy face. You with your brown whiskers. You with your long hair, with your brown eyes missing their glasses. You with your blue pants that people from your time always wear. You with your potbelly but your thin arms and legs. You look like a frog I would have happily eaten once. You leave my book alone.”
Thank you for reading! Coming up next week: Jeffrey learns more about the doll’s past.
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