8:10 AM January 1, 1931


Their books betrayed them.

Lawrence and Rebecca Archer took a job they shouldn’t have. They became book buyers for Miskatonic. They were aggressive in their quest to obtain certain volumes, and soon they were unwelcome in the book world.

They heard rumor of my collection, but neither was foolish enough to approach me. The couple knew what fate lay in store for those who did.

Because of this, I thought I would need to pay only the slightest bit of attention to their activities.

I was wrong.

They didn’t enjoy taking ‘no’ for an answer. So much so that they ended up breaking into the home of Oscar Lorde. Oscar had gone off to visit his daughter in Providence and had a bad fall and died a few days later. When word reached Cross, Lawrence and Rebecca forced their way into Oscar’s home and stole his fine collection of books on arcane lore.

It was a poor decision.

Oscar had been a fair hand at magick. He’d had a bit of natural ability and an affinity for the fey, so they had taught him that which he didn’t have at birth.

Oscar had put spells of protection on his books. When Lawrence and Rebecca kept several for themselves, the spells were triggered.

From what I’ve been able to gather – and what the fey have told me about those books of Oscar’s which are now in my collection – Lawrence and Rebecca sat down to enjoy some of their own books.

As they settled in and enjoyed the evening, Oscar’s magick awoke.

The Archers’ prized books, kept in a nearby secretary, slowly shed their bindings. Leather and coarse string slipped down and made their way across the rug. The leather and the string curled up and around the legs of the chairs, stitched themselves together, and then bound the thieves in their seats.

Legs to legs and arms to arms, the husband and wife struggled to free themselves, but to no avail.

Leather wrapped around their heads, binding their chins as the cloth had for old Jacob Marley. The couple could moan and whimper, but naught else.

String stitched eyes closed, lips shut, and nostrils tight.

Husband and wife suffocated in their seats, as all book thieves should.

#books #horrorstories #supernatural

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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