THE HAROLD WASHINGTON LIBRARY CENTER, SOUTH STATE STREET, CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, U.S.A.
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Stilan paced the great library hall. Wearily leafing through the heavy, moldering book in his hand. Scanning the words, and silently moving his lips to the complex rhythm patterns of the words on the time-yellowed page.
He could sense the girl behind him. In the throng of people around him, the young girl was the only one that was really paying any attention to him. Her eyes followed his back, watching him. He could sense her heartbeat, could hear it as if it was his own. So load, in fact, that he found it to be vaguely irritating.
He turned to face the fat little girl.
She’s no more than 14 years old, he mused. A smile crept across his elderly face, and she smiled back as he approached her.
“Excuse me, could you help me with something?” he asked.
“Sure. What do you need?” she replied.
“Could you help me get a book from the shelf over there.” he pointed behind her, down a narrow stretch between shelves.
“Maybe one of the library people could help you with that…” she looked around, but couldn’t see any librarians, as Stilan well knew.
“Oh, but would only take a moment. I already know which one I’m looking for. I just can’t get it myself. Arthritis, you know.” he showed her his knarled hands, half-clenched and apparently usesless.
Stilan smiled and made to stumble forward so she would take his arm. He leaned on her, taking in the smell of a real person for the first time in what seemed forever. He was excited now, and sweat formed on his head and hands.
They walked a ways down the aisle and he stopped near the end. By this time he could sense that she was feeling at ease if a little perturbed. But he could also feel that there was no one watching them. No one to see them.
“It’s right there.” he pointed to a big book, bound in red fabric that frayed at the edges showed its title in faded gold letters, though in a language that the girl doubtlessly didn’t understand.
She reached up for the book but couldn’t quite reach it. So she stepped up on the first shelf and hoisted herself up to get it, pulled it from the shelf only for it to fall to the floor as Stilan grabbed her throat and squeezed, trapping any scream she might make and puncturing her wind pipe with his long curving fingernails. Then he deftly lifted up the back of her shirt and jabbed his blade like finger nails into her back, under her ribcage. He wrenched her head up and forced her to look at him. Her eyes teared and she looked like she was about to go into shock.
“Can’t have you leaving me now, dear little one.” he twisted his hand inside her and her face contorted as she let out a breathy, stiffled wheeze.
“Where is it? That precious gift, hmm?” he asked, his hand squirming up into her chest, reaching and cutting her insides to shreds. She didn’t pass out. He wouldn’t let her.
He found what he was looking for.
“Ah, there it is.” he sighed, his eyes fluttered with pleasure as he wrapped his hand around her beating heart, looked into her crying, pleading eyes, and squeezed it violently.
He head snapped back and her left hand quivered as he ripped and squeezed her annoying heart from its place until he ripped it right out of her, spraying hot blood over the shelves and books. No one came. No one noticed. That was just the way it went. Hardly anyone ever noticed him, unless he made himself known. A gift, the Prince had said. To help him in this new weird world. He didn’t really appreciate this gift; he had always loved it when he heard the gasps of horror and cries of people who saw his newest work of flesh and blood and he found the escape that always ensued exilerating.
But none of that now. This was a time for secrecy, the Prince had said, a time for quiet.
He kissed her then, and put his hand under her shirt and cupped her small breast, tasted the blood in her mouth and savoured it as he dipped his fingers in her ragged wound licking them one after the other. He left her there, dead now, and no longer amusing. His eyes flashed with exuberance as he took her heart in his hands and it began to turn a yellow-brown as he watched, until finally it collapsed to ash in his hands under the wilting power of his will.
He took more blood and began to smear it on the wall behind the table. He scrawled symbols and imagery that few knew and licked the rest off his fingers, like a housewife would with grease from a roasted fowl.
He took more blood from the corpse and smeared it over his eyelids and mixed it with the ashes of her heart. He murmured a short, harsh incantation and threw the bloody ashes into his own face.
"And so we see this so-called Daughter of God."
ALL MATERIAL CONTAINED WITHIN THIS BRANCH OF LIT.ORG ARE INTELLECTUAL COPYRIGHT TO ME (Ryan Burpee).
"From the Void Between Worlds", the Gods made both Mortal and Immortal. Who is the better has yet to be decided. So far, Mortals aren't winning."