Mr. Linden's Library

Bells rung as a young women stepped into his shop. "She looks like she's new in town," Mr. Linden thought as he continued to dust his many books. "She must be. Who else would come in here for a book?" Indeed, Mr. Linden's library wasn't known for its great books. It was more know for its old, historical past and crazy old owner.

"The owner," people would say around town, "wouldn't let you buy or borrow a book without giving you a warning. A warning that said you shouldn't read the book out loud for any reason. "His mine was gone," the people commented. "With no family or wife, he had nothing to live for."

But Mr. Linden wasn't crazy. He was trying to protect them. The people in town didn't know how important listening to him was. After all, he had the knowledge of all his ancestors. They had come before him and past the family secret onto their sons. Those sons would then help to uphold the secret of the library. But now, it was just him. He was alone. He had no sons or daughters. No wife or family. The secret would die with him.

"Excuse me, but how much is this book?" the young women asked. Mr. Linden, upon getting up from his creaky brown desk chair, walked over to her and took the book.

"Ah," he said with a sly grin, for this was one of his favorites. When he was younger and his father owned the shop, he used to curl up on a rainy Saturday afternoon and read it to himself. Not aloud, of course, because that was forbidden. No, he would simply read it in his mind, immersing himself in to mystery of the church.

"The Old Church Passage. A tale of wonder, mystery, murder, kings, robbers, and romance, " he read of the back cover. "An excellent choice. One of my personal favorites."

The young women smiled. "I do find reading old books delightful. And this author," she said, pointing to the cover, "is one of my favorites. I took a class in college on him."

"Yes, his writing does seem to put you in the story. I found that out myself," Mr. Linden commented.

"Especially if you read it out loud," she gushed. "My friends always said that I had a knack voices."

At this, Mr. Linden looked troubled. She could not read these books out loud. If she did, terrible things would happen. There was once a town in Canada called Arrow. They had a similar library like his. Now, of course, that town was no more. One night, a foolish boy decided to read it to his little sister. Let's just say that nobody heard from that town again. He had to warn her.

"You can't read this book aloud. If you do, terrible things will happen to this town," he warned.

The young women just looked away. "I'm sure that that won't be a problem. But if it frightens you that much, I guess I can find something else to read aloud tonight."

"Good," Mr. Linden replied, ringing up her purchase. "It is for your own safety."

With that, the young women handed him the amount due. Taking back her book, she glanced around the store once more, eyeing the other dusty books on the rotting shelves. "You really should clean up this place more. You could get a lot more customers that way."

Mr. Linden just smiled and nodded. He didn't want more customers. The more people buying his books, the more chance there was that someone would read out loud. That was a chance he was not willing to take.

Sami Keller was as happy as a clam this afternoon. She had just moved to town that week and had already begun to fit in. People around the neighborhood had already started to greet her by name, and she began to recognize some neighbors. Sami met more people as each day went by. In fact, just earlier in that same day, she had met someone new.

She wasn't sure if that was Mr. Linden himself, but he, or someone he worked for, had the most promising library ever. Though he seemed a little queer, she could sense that he had a big heart. You could not only take out books but you could also but them. Indeed, Sami had found the most interesting book in his store.

Even after she promised not to read it aloud, she was still going to. After all, she needed to get her practice in. She had gone to college to become an actress. Every night, she would read different genera of books to keep her skills sharp. This murder mystery seemed liked just the book for her.

Upon getting home, Sami went to light a fire in the fire place. Checking up on it every so often, she began to make her pizza dinner. After the pizza was taken out of the oven, Sami went to go and sit by the fire. She picked up her bag that was lying in the entrance of her home and preceded to sit and rest by the fire.

Around eleven o'clock, she grew weary. Sighing, Sami reached into her bag and took out The Old Church Passage. Standing up, she went to stand by the fireside to read it. In the bask of the firelight, Sami began to read.

It was on a cold winter's night and he had just walked out of the pub where he was drowning his sorrows. His wife and children, earlier that day, had been part of a horrible carriage accident. The driver had seemed to have lost control of the horses when they pasted by messy vines by the side of the road. But the diver, having survived the crash, was no help at all. He said that the vines had seemed to come up from nowhere and grabbed the side of the carriage. There was nothing he could do to help it. The only reason why he had survived was because no a moment after this timely accident, an old man had come and dragged him aside.

Sami stopped there. "Wow," she said to herself. "What a depressing beginning. But, I suppose, that was the murder." Looking at the clock, Sami noticed that it was half pasted eleven. "Time for bed. I have a busy day tomorrow."

After getting ready for bed, she once again picked up the book. "I'll just read a few pages in. That won't do any harm." Settling back into her covers, Sami began to read in her head. Minuets later, she was fast asleep. He had warned her, but now it was too late.

Dong. Dong. Dong. Dong. Sami's clock went off. Dong. Dong. Dong. Dong. It was now twelve. Dong. Dong. Dong. Dong. Then, the clock was silent.

Sami was fast asleep with the book laying next to her. At the twelfth stroke, something strange seemed to have happened. The book began to move. Not in a way like people move, but in a way like animals would move if they were trying to creep up and catch their pry.

Then, out of the book grew vines. Very thick and very green vines. Thick enough to hold a person still indefinitely. So green that it looked like an evergreen forest. Out of the book they creped, tying up Sami and her bed. Silently, they moved along so that her entire room could not be seen.

Slowly they crawled down her banister and into her living room. Quietly they wrapped themselves around all the furniture and decor. Next, they moved into the kitchen. There, they found it amusing to surround each cooking utensil until you could hardly see its shape. From there, the vines made there way out the kitchen door and into the front hall. Out the front door, they slyly moved, and into the street, taking over every lamppost, street sign, and mail box. Then, the broke apart and went their separate way. Into all the houses in the town they creped. Into every building and business they crawled.

The next morning, no one in that town woke up. Every building seemed to be deserted. Every yard seemed like a ghost town. Every place looked as bare as a clean sheet of paper. Every bed was empty. Every house looked vacant. It was as if no one had ever lived there.

Yet, life goes on. In other towns, in other cities, in other countries, people woke up. That day was filled with laughter, fun, and joy. Children, being born and played with. Teenagers, going out on dates without a care in the world. Adults, not worrying about taxes or payments due. The world went on, even if that town didn't. It had to, because that town, with all the people in it, was never heard from again.