Strangers: The Librarian

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He was a rotten bastard, and he died too soon.

I caught wind of him when he came out of the Hollow. By the time I arrived at the stonewall, no one was on the North Road.

I could smell the stench of death and books in the air. An examination of the ground revealed ruts in the hardpacked dirt, as though a cart had carried a great weight away from the Hollow.

I followed the ruts until the road became concrete, but I had a rough idea as to where the cart was headed.

Still, I knew not who was guiding it into town.

I returned home and loaded my shotgun. There are days when the Colts alone work fine, and then there are those when the path-clearing ability of the shotgun is required.

The day was such a day.

I reached the Cross Branch of Miskatonic University shortly before sunset, and as I stood outside the watchman’s house, I looked at the school for sign of the unwelcome traveler.

Only one building had lights on, and that was the library.

The watchman did not bother to try and stop me from entering.

After several minutes, I reached the library and smashed the door open with the butt of the shotgun. As the sound reverberated off the walls, I saw a pair of men run from me. I followed them as they made their way to the back offices, where the librarian and his assistants worked and kept track of the books.

It was in the corner office that I found them. There were, all told, three of them. They were identical triplets, and as I watched, they merged into one. On the shelves around them, books moaned and wept, begging in a hundred tongues.

The thing in its man-shape sat down in a chair and grinned at me, evidently expecting me to question my sanity over what I had witnessed.

A blast of birdshot in his belly freed him of that misconception.

He opened his mouth, though whether to beg or curse, I don’t know, and I shoved the barrel of the shotgun in and pulled the trigger.

I spent a month cleaning brains off those books, but they hum and whisper to one another on my shelves, no worse for the wear.

Neither am I.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #death

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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