Mr. Linden's Library

I feel like I could kill someone right now. That was one of the thoughts running through Onya Linden's mind the day she died. Technically speaking, her death occurred in the night, but no one ever put it like that.

Evening had fallen at the time she stood waiting in line at Mr. Linden's (no relation, she hated explaining that) library and thinking these terrible, but rather common thoughts.

A kid with a drooping mouth, eyes that looked like they were half-closed behind a thick pair of glasses was in front of her.

The thought of brutally jamming a dull knife through his ribs entered her head as she waited for him to finish checking out the hundred or so books he had about fashion design.

Hmm… I did read that right. Fashion.

Well the way he looks he must be into modern styles of clothing. He is after all an idiot. Ugh, this assignment is so gay.

When she said 'gay' of course she did not mean the assignment was attracted to assignments of its own gender or that it was happy.

She had grown out of homophobia at fourteen, but she still used the word when she found something to be distasteful to her.

"Find a book you think no one else has heard of before and describe what it means to you." That was it. Not exactly. Just one that was not famous or brand new. It was still stupid.

So grudgingly at the insistence of her little sister to do her work (she could never say 'no' to her) she had walked on over to the library and checked out the first book she found at the back of the library.

About You, was the title. It did not seem to have an author. It was all black except for the silver markings which created the title.

She supposed that the title must indicate it was some kind of psychology book. She was too tired to really care. The geek in front of her moved away with his ridiculous books. Finally.

"Just this, Mr. Linden." She spoke politely, while screaming profanity and insults at the old man in her mind.

He smiled saying, hello back and then frowned as he looked down at the book. Onya felt herself growing uncomfortable. There was something nobody in town liked about Mr. Linden. Some of them did not like his slow, deep voice. Some did not like the way he was always stooped over. Her associate (she could not bring herself to call the idiots at her school 'friends') had said he was into devil worship and used animals as sacrifices. She didn't believe that but everyone felt he was rather…unsettling. Everyone including herself, agreed on that. Mr. Linden then looked up at her as though he knew what she had been thinking. She tried to keep her face blank.

"You know, Onya, I understand most people think I'm rather strange… But that's not true. Why, you could say I'm about the most normal man you'll ever meet." Yeah if being normal is being totally screwed-up. Well, actually, I guess that's true.

"Oh yeah, sir I'm kind of waiting for my book to be checked-out. And there's people waiting behind me, so… yeah thanks." She said as he unceremoniously stamped the book. He looked at her intensely and whispered softly,

"Are you sure you want this book, Ms. Linden? It's to die for really, but I should warn you, it can be quite… dangerous."

Disgusted at the old man's attempt for attention, she snapped, "That's bullshit, and," she grabbed the book and put it into her backpack. "I am never coming back. Haughtily, she walked out with a furious pace. She would never know how Mr. Linden had sighed with a disturbing smile on his face and said to himself, "All too true, young lady, all too true." He smiled politely at the next customer. He had warned her about the book. Now it was too late.

By the time she got home she basically ate dinner with her younger sister (her father was too depressed to get up again and her mother was staying with him.) She mentioned the psychology book out loud to her sister. "What exactly is the point of psychology anyway? I mean aren't we all insane?"

Calmly her sister responded,

"'Insane' is a legal term, not a psychological term. The essential point of the field is to better understand human nature and certain so-called unnatural behaviors."

"Oh," was all Onya said. She did not really believe that.

She just thought people were all pretty much smart animals and they really had no true comprehension of right and wrong. She did not see the point of trying to give things meaning that clearly had none. She sighed, patted her sister on the head and went upstairs to her bedroom. She could not sleep and at one a.m. she picked-up About You and read the first paragraph. Boring… Very boring… Your time has come… You will be given all you gave to the world. She dozed off.

She was dreaming about something that was brushing against her leg but she couldn't imagine what. It felt like vines. Vines?

She flinched, or tried to but found she was completely paralyzed, for she could not even open her eyes. What a weird dream… I want to wake-up…..

She knew all about waking-up. You just open your eyes. She couldn't. She could not even move her eyelids.

This has to be a dream… Open, open, open. In her mind she scream as she felt what she could only describe as plant-like hands clutching her toenail.

No, no, no, no, no, wake-uhhh… Her brain could barely process the pain of her toenail being ripped off and not even being able to scream. Not able to see. Not even to move.

Then it went to the next toe, the next, the next, the next…She could still hear the snap. Feel the agony and shriek without making a sound.

She felt the blood tickling her feet, soaking into the bed sheets. Flowing steadily out of her, from the throb she felt.

She felt a strange sensation of a vine brushing against her leg. It was soaked in blood she felt and made a strange hissing noise as it crept up her skirt.

She knew it was going to penetrate her before it cut through her undergarments.

And all she could think was: No. Not up there. Stop, for the love of Christ stop.

It did not. It was beyond anything possible of describing.

Somewhere in her mind she expected to pass-out or die but she did neither. She felt the vines invade her body through the anus and her most feministic part.

She did not move or flinch as it began tearing her insides. She felt another vine part her lips and go down her throat.

Her mind felt and knew she was dead before she died. The book had analyzed and given her what she had given to the world.

Nothing but pain.

Her eyes were still not open and she had not changed from the position she had fallen asleep in. Nothing she could see but darkness.

Nothing she could feel but her body being tortured. Why vines? Why use that to torture me?

She then thought about how she had slowly started hating everyone and being angry at everything.

Someone had compared her to poison ivy once.

How bit by bit she had turned herself into a very not good girl. She would be nothing soon. Just a body.

She died silently screaming.

It was eventually decided Onya Linden (1989-2006) had somehow committed suicide. No one truly knew, however. There were marks on the floor indicating something had slipped around in the room. Perhaps wild animals had gotten into her room, some said. One thing was certain; she was dead and only her family really mourned her. Her father died of a heart attack a week later and her mother and sister moved away.

The only one who seemed very unchanged in the small town was the old librarian, Mr. Linden. He greeted people with his usual strange smile and it somehow put people at ease, this familiarity. People began to think they had misjudged him and some offered to bring back the book, Onya had checked out from the library. (If they could find it in the old house.) He said it would not be necessary however. "It found its way back somehow." He told everyone, with that peculiar smile.