SEED: The Open Book

The book rested in my arms, so much dead weight with the smell of old leather and the bite of hard corners against my skin. It was heavier than I thought it should be, even if it did fill my arms. Maybe it was the way they made paper and ink back then. So much heavier. My thumb rubbed along the spine as I held it, feeling the ridges in the leather where the thread bunched underneath.

I knelt on the floor, setting it in front of me with reverent care. Old things were awesome, and old books were double awesome. I ran a hand down the leather cover to feel the rough under my fingertips and it made me sigh a little. The corners were capped with hammered metal protectors, tarnished and lifting away from the surface in places. I reached forward and lifted the cover.

A voice shouted in front of me and drew my attention. Kelvin was sprinting toward me, his face pale and terrified, his hand reaching out.

“No! Don’t open it!”

I frowned and sat back on my heels as he skidded to his knees on the other side of the book. “Why no-“

He rocked forward as he slid to a stop and glanced down with wide eyes. A light pulsed between us and for an instant everything seemed frozen. Kelvin had his arms flung out for balance, staring down at the book. His face was still full of shock and dread. The light enveloped him, shimmering across his pale cheeks.

Then he… faded… into the book. It wasn’t so wet as melting, but was like he turned into dust and fell into the light coming from the book.

Everything was quiet and the light flickered out.

I blinked at the place where he’d been, afraid to drop my eyes to the open pages. Reaching out a shaking hand, I groped for the edge of the book and flipped it shut. I swallowed the lump in my throat.

“That’s… probably not good.”