Writing Prompt #36 — Reading From Below

Prompt: When looking through the local library, you accidentally flip a switch and a book pops up. You grab it. It has no title, but you grab it and take it home. Little did you know, there was a title: The Soul Trap. When you get home, you open the book. 

It’s blank—

A sharp pain shot up my fingers, and I yanked them away from the book. The cream, yellowed pages began to fill with red, thick words. I leaned forward to read them, but even closer I couldn’t understand what was written.

Must be some kind of dead language… Looks like Latin, but not. Wonder if the other pages are like this?

Gently, my fingers no longer hurting, I pinched the top corner of the page to turn it, to find that it wouldn’t budge, and when I tried to pull my hand away, my fingers refused to move.

“What the hell?”

I stood, toppling the chair over, and pushed off the floor to wrench my fingers free but they were cemented to the book.

The sharp pain returned in fiery waves, washing up my arms, settling over my chest, filling my stomach and blossoming over my lower body. Sweat stood out on my forehead, and I could feel it stream down my sides from under my arms.

What is happening?

The yellowed pages became white, the cream sinking away. The words became fuller, livelier, shaded with softer blacks and reds. Symbols and shapes appeared in the margins, twisting, turning, weaving into one another to form a tapestry of lines that reminded me of a Celtic design. But these ones were off, different, as if their aesthetic weren’t meant for me, meant for someone or something else.

The book, the room, grew hazy. The hair in my eyes was a silvery blur, no longer brown, dark. Veins enlarged, raised under my skin like piping under my skin.

I slumped forward against the table, hanging by my fingers attached to the book. My lungs flittered when I inhaled; hacking, coughing when I exhaled. The pounding inside my now shallow chest slowed. A numbness ran over my limbs, cooling the fire within. I took one last gulp of air, and my fingers were released as I crumbled onto the floor.

I awake in a wet, pinkish, endless place.

It’s like swimming in a pool of vaseline. Everything is slick, warm, oddly soothing but yet uncomfortable, oily, unable to see or feel or be clean. The holes in the sky are words, letters in which I can peer through like enormous sinkholes. Beyond is— was my room. The world trembles, there is thunder clashing somewhere in the distance. A giant eye appears in one of the holes.

The giant says something. Guttural, choking words. The eye gleams, then the world is slammed shut, filled with an absolute darkness. There is pinpricks running up my feet, thin, webbed claws scratching up my legs.

Here, I understand the words.

Read my previous prompt, “Daily Part of Life.”

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