The Devil’s Library
Something I have enjoyed about the Lovecraft style stories and such I have read in the past have been the overall feeling within the story. They don’t always hit you over the head with “here’s the monster and now it eats you” if you know what I mean. There is a palpable feeling to the stories that becomes as much a part of the narrative as the creatures contained inside.
Of course, the fun came when you didn’t always see the creatures themselves. Instead the stories caused the reader to question what was around them at any given time. When you don’t really know what is after you, your sanity will be in question. Questions of sanity are a common theme in the Cthulhu mythos even now. How much of the old ones can we see directly before we lose our minds?
This story came out a while back in an older version of this blog (I think it might have actually been shared when the blog was still on blogger even). The idea came from a prompt within the game Elder Sign. You kinda gotta love stuff like that.
The Devil’s Library
They had spent hours digging through old magazines and news articles, but came out with next to nothing pertinent for their troubles. Other than time spent in the archives the day had been fruitless.
Dave found the article that had everything they were looking for in a stack of rolled parchments. Titled ”How to Stuff an Olive,” the article had nothing to do with olives or even stuffing anything for that matter. It was an old piece dated June 4, 1785. Faded and torn, the pages were not quite illegible.
He took the article to the photocopier and placed it on the glass. Light blasted across the page but the copies were clear. “Did you find anything else?”
Sarah blew the dust off an old magazine, read the title then put it on one of the piles next to her knee. “Not really. Seems most of the stuff in here is everything but what we’re looking for.”
“Let’s call it a day and get some dinner.” He checked the time on his watch. “We have been in here way too long today. Leave your piles; we’ll get back at it again tomorrow.”
She stood up careful not to disrupt the stacks of magazines around her. She stepped over a stack to get onto the clear walkway.
He took her hand and with one last look he shut the lights off, and then stepped out the door. He locked the door from the outside and they followed the main hall to the parking garage.
The parking garage was darker than he had expected. The few lights that worked cast dancing shadows along the walls. Worse, one of the lights flickered in its last stages of life. Theirs was the only car still in the garage. This gave them a nice open area where nothing could hide on the way to their car. That didn’t really help with the surreal quality of the lighting.
The soft scrape of their shoes echoed in the empty garage. Sarah latched onto Dave’s arm with her free hand, her other hand, the one already in his, squeezed his tight. It wasn’t like they had never been the last ones to their car, but time in the archives did something to you. Maybe it was all the dust. Inhaling that much dust while doing research, was never a good thing.
They stopped at her side of the car first. He unlocked the door then held it for her, closed it after she was safely inside.
Sarah sat inside the car in silence and waited for him to come around and join her in the driver’s seat. Buckled and settled in, she was ready to leave. As she leaned over to unlock his door she glanced out the window, he wasn’t there. Out the back window, he wasn’t there either. She sighed in exasperation; this game was getting old. The parking garage lights flickered. There was a knock at her window.A red smear dotted the window’s surface. There was a price to pay for using the archives. They had spent too long inside this time, and he had the car keys.