The Subversive Library
In his sleep, Jeremy dreamt about dark, cloaked figures gliding by his window, silently slipping into his room. They flowed gracefully and water-like. He wanted to warn his sleeping self as the figures approached, but he was powerless to move his body. He could not yell or speak. They stopped at the foot of his bed, unveiled their cloaks and erupted into bursts of howling bright purple light. A horrendous scream echoed in his thoughts and a hissing whisper licked at his left ear. He squirmed and shuffled in bed to get what felt like a thin wet snake tongue out of his ear. It returned repeatedly and tingled his lobe.
Dah’ni Corbin Jak’thee Fjate.
The whisper said.
It repeated itself many times, each time growing a tedious growl and rasp to its voice. Jeremy squirmed.
Dah’ni Corbin Jak’thee Fjate.
A large hunched skeletal creature raised itself up onto Jeremy’s bed. Its long, spindly arms reached out and grasped his covers. Jeremy shifted and pulled back. A mutilated, deformed, spiked backbone flowed into a hollow skeletal head of dripping, dark essence. The creature’s claws tightened on the sheets, tearing at the seams. A growl of flame licked up through the beast and clarified its offensive eye sockets and nostrils. He wanted to warn himself, but he couldn’t. It was as if he were watching a movie picture, powerless to wake up the next victim to the monster. But he awoke suddenly anway. No monster.
His eyes tingled; he felt a slight ache in his head. Light was pouring into his room. He moaned and rolled over, pulling his sheets over his head. But the heat radiating through his windows made it so he could sleep no longer. He focused on his alarm clock. 8:55 is what it read…It seemed the clouds were burned away outside. So hot and muggy…-Shit, 8:55? Carl would be here soon. Another groan, and then Jeremy got out of bed. Still drowsy.
He hopped into the shower to wake himself up. Accidentally setting the water to cold did just the trick. After, he dried himself and put on some baggy blue jeans, a white logo shirt and his favorite pair of Vans shoes. As he was making some toast, there was a knock on the front door. He quickly ran and looked through the door’s peephole. It was Carl’s freckled face and fat nose all right. He unlocked the door and opened it. Carl stepped inside and threw down his skateboard, and said “God, what took you so long?” Jeremy promptly gave him the finger and returned to the toaster to retrieve his toast. They sat at the kitchen table while Jeremy ate. Carl had found a random pen and was clicking the tip of it in and out. “So did you open the door yet?” Carl asked. Jeremy shook his head and bit into the toast. Crumbs scattered onto the table. “You told me not to without you, right?” Jeremy said through his chewing. Carl nodded and put down the pen. “Yeah, just making sure you didn’t open it without me. I like exploring old things like that. Might be dead alien bodies in there for a secret military hangar or something.”
“Dead alien bodies, eh?” Jeremy said while staring out the kitchen window into his backyard. The grass wavered in a gust of wind. Their oak tree creaked, running its long spindly fingers over the roof of the metal pool shed. “Maybe it’s not really a door, like we said earlier.” Carl returned to clicking the pen in and out. Jeremy wasn’t looking at him, but he could tell he was doing it because of that familiar annoying sound. Carl said, “It’s a real door. It leads somewhere. With this old house? I bet you have dungeons and spooky crypts filled with giant worm bones…”
“Yay. We’re going to be millionaires because we’ll be the first persons ever to find worms with bones,” Jeremy said sarcastically. He finished his toast.
“Lets open that dungeon now,” said Carl.
“But I thought it was an alien hangar,” said Jeremy with a smirk, sliding out of his chair.
“Could be vampires Jermey…vampires, remember?” said Carl.
The two ventured down the stairs and into the basement. They flickered on the lights and there sat the door behind its torn away coat of plaster and concrete. Laying eyes on the door gave Jeremy a shiver down his spine. Something was out of place, he felt it in himself, but he couldn’t place a finger on what it was. Carl twirled the heavy metal key around his hand. They stepped up to the door and stood eyeing that blackened eye socket of a keyhole. It intimidated them, staring out at them and never ceasing. An old skeleton they had found in the wall, probably ages old, just waiting to be opened, beckoning them to see what mysteries laid inside. Carl slid the key into the hole. It took a couple of prods to secure the key inside. There was a grinding metallic noise, and a click. Silence. Carl turned the key. It didn’t move. He tried again, but the key was stuck. He pulled it out, scraping off some of the rust from the metal plate. He stuck it in again and jiggled it around. There was another click and then a sharp squeal. The door heaved a breath and opened inward with a high-pitched, hard cry. Plaster fell from the edges of the door, and dust fell from the top. A musty, earthy gust of air tingled Jeremy and Carl’s nostrils. They stepped back, waving their hands in front of their faces. It was such a retched stench. As they stood silently eyeing the opened door, they felt they had uncovered some Egyptian tomb. It was just a matter of who was going to set off the booby traps first. It was dark inside, very dark. They half expected the entrance lined with enormous cobwebs, but it was too dark to see any if they were there. “I’ll get the flashlight,” Jeremy said, staring into that dark abyss that awaited them. He ambled off to retrieve the light source, and in the process, accidentally tripped over the broken hole in the ground where they had found the key. Carl swallowed the lump in his throat. “Hey, I guess it really is a door…” They were having second thoughts about entering. Now that this door on the wall was opened, it seemed to create an endless cavern that actually could be full of aliens, vampires, and giant worms; at least they thought so.
Jeremy returned and clicked on the flashlight. That luminous cone of light crawled against the newly uncovered walls behind the doorframe. They were made of stacked rocky bricks, stony, hard, and they looked wet. The walls seemed to curve a bit to the right, the pattern of stones spiraling into the unknown. They stepped through the door together. Actually, it was Jeremy first, and Carl skittered along behind him. There was little room now once through the door, and they could not walk side by side. Carl clenched a heavy tire iron he had picked up randomly. The ground was hard, but smooth…Jeremy inattentively thought it might be some kind of marble. The floor became steps, which spiraled down with the walls. It was underground. They slowly crept down the stairs, a little less afraid of what might be down there with the power of the flashlight, which revealed their ambling path. It seemed to take hours for them to go down those steps, when in fact they only spiraled once below them and came to the ground. It was that last step where the flashlight only revealed flat, smooth marble floor. They could not see any walls. It was a very large area. They felt a little unsettled. The light darted across the ground repeated times, finding nothing but void…until Jeremy stepped forward more and it caught the leg of a wooden table. The small amount of bravery returned to them. They had found an object in which to go to, and that was good enough to them. Both agreed to themselves that neither could have gone down here without the other. And as they stepped to the table, they were completely startled by the sudden eruption of flame…all around them. Balls of whirling fire erupted from nothingness, roaring large, but dispersing just as quickly as they appeared, only leaving a single bright burning flame. After rotating around in confusion and seeing these appearing flames, Jeremy and Carl followed the sound of eruption in front of them and found that there were rows of tall metal candleholders lining this large room. The flames ceased to erupt only after the whole room was visible from candlelight. The holders had become lit and burned brightly with an almost white flame.
Their mouths gaping, their eyes wide, they looked awed at the many rows of lit candles and what they had exposed. The candleholders were a dark, charcoal metal, embellished with crafty metalwork, long thing spirals and curly-q’s wrapped around the holders. The design looked ancient, and it reminded Jeremy of some Celtic designs he had seen. But they had a very gothic feel to them, the design did seem a little dark. The flame burned on a wick attached to the holder, gaining its fuel from an odd oily substance cupped in a puddle beneath the flame. The light was like none Jeremy nor Carl had ever seen…such a bright white flame from candles. The room was illuminated almost as if by florescent lighting; instead of the usual orange light accompanying candles, the room was lit with a clean light. Yet long dark shadows still crept in the corners, because the tall candleholders only lined about a ten-foot wide stretching pathway on each side. The pathway was so long. The other side of the room must have been a yard or so. The corners of the room were not as well lit at all except by the ember-like glow from potted candles lining the walls. And what was on the sides of the pathway was even more amazing… there were many dusty fat bookcases lined up by twos, and breaking the pattern was the occasional antique table, cluttered with random books and curious items, all layered in a coat of dust. Or perhaps it was a chest with carved, mysterious symbols and pictures meaning absolutely nothing to the two. And there was that gleaming metal suit of armor along side one of the many bookcases. The walls of the room flickered occasionally in various places due to hanging candles, while the ceiling remained dark, large and probably very heavy beams of wood crisscrossing each other, worn, chipped, rat-gnawed…and strings of moss hung from above, and grime covered the edges of the ceiling, wet, musty, aged.
What they had discovered was some sort of underground library, filled with ancient articles, countless antiques, and of course books; not to mention the fact it had those numerous candles, which magically lit when they entered. Taking all of this in was a hard task for the two. Imagine seeing such a sight, high walls extending towards the ceiling, rows of candles, bookshelves…and who really knew how old they were? They seemed from a different time that neither could comprehend. They could be hundreds of years old. Even more curious was the fact that though that musty smell had tingled their nostrils before, a cool, and light breeze eerily flowed through the room. They saw no door on the other side. There were no windows at all.