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Achoo! 

My spine shivers, sending tremors into my pages. Ugh… this dust is a nuisance. Never have I had to live in such demeaning conditions. I, the epitome of literature, am reduced to such a pathetic state. 

Shoo! I smack the nosy cat’s nose with my hardbound flap. 

“Meow!” It yelps and jumps down. The furry being glares before tucking the tail and running away. 

If it weren’t for the worthless fellow, I’d have been living a royal life on the bookshelves in our beautiful home. Wonder what made that prick pick me up? As if that pea-brain could comprehend the complexity of the plot I own. All he has done is turn the pages so fast that it has made me dizzy. Then, that nasty specimen has dared to abandon me in this old charity shop where no one comes. 

“Good riddance.” He has said before dumping me here and picking up ugly books as a replacement. That’s a fellow with no taste or class. 

Achoo!!

When was the last time they cleaned this space? I itch all over and suppress the urge to rub against others around me. They are even more filthy and don’t deserve to share space with me. 

Some day, my chance will come. 

***

“Excuse me, sir. I’m here to drop a few more books.” 

That raspy voice! I stretch and turn to my right. A pale and wiry man hunches over the counter with oversized glasses on his crooked nose. 

I frown as he places another bag of books on a worn-out table. He must be discarding more of my friends from our home. Not that I care about them, but we’ve kept each other company for years until he has displaced me from my rightful position. Not anymore, though. 

***

Home at last! 

The shelves are neater than before. Must say, his obsession with cleanliness is one tiny redeeming feature. Of course, it won’t change my plans. No one ever insulted me and got away with it. What’s a nerdy guy with more social media followers than real-life friends? He’s a speck of dust I’ll blow into the vast universe. 

***

Thibault… 

The jerk jolts awake and sits straight on the bed, head turning this way and that. There’s no one else here. Loner!  

I watch him from my throne, the highest point on the shelf, and smirk. 

Young man, your days are over. 

He leaps from the bed and turns on the light to scan the empty room, fumbling with the eyeglasses. He has yet to spot me. I know he won’t; not unless I walk into his line of vision.  

Downing the glass of water at his bedside, he sinks into the mattress and sighs. “Must be my imagination.” He says aloud to assure himself. 

You don’t have that much imagination, dolt. I retort. 

“Argh! What… Where are you? Who are you?” Frantic and clumsy, he grabs the bed lamp as a weapon. 

I swoop, crashing into the ornate piece. The cord is out of the socket, plunging the room into darkness. He is on the floor, screaming and fumbling around. 

Your nemesis. Not giving him a chance to respond, I knock him in the chest with my spine. 

“Oww… Uff! How… What… What’s going on?” 

I enjoy the tremor in his voice. My revenge.

No one can blame me for not being truthful. 

“Re… Revenge?” He spits, still crawling and looking for an escape. 

Always slow, aren’t you? Why, then, do you need to act smart and insult me? 

“I… What? This is not happening…!” 

He holds his head in pain after my surprise whack. What did he think I was? I shake my pages and glow from within. 

He shrinks, eyes widening as he spots me at last. Blinking, he gulps and whispers. “That book… How did you come back?”

Sometimes, Thibault, the questions are complicated, but the answers are simple. I croon, my voice echoing in his mind.

“My name… But how?”

You wrote your name on the first page, pinhead. I growl and jump closer. Another reason to teach him a lesson. 

He flinches. His lips tremble as tears slip down his cheeks. “Please… Let me go.” 

Ha! Did he consider my feelings when he tore apart my content on that glitchy reading platform? Did he and his friends think about me when they mocked my existence? 

You lapped up the praise for insulting me, Thibault. Now, you pay for it. I thump the floor for good measure. 

“How do you know? Am I… dreaming?” 

Too many questions. You were always boring. I. Know. Everything. He can’t even figure that out! 

“I… I’ll make it up to you… Sorry!”

No.

“Please… I’ll delete my review…” He coughs. 

Noo! 

“You can stay here forever. Promise!”

That I will when you die. As if his permission is necessary to live here! I release a blinding flash of light from the inside. 

He stares, mouth agape, and body glued to the floor in shock. I fly at him with all my might, whacking the sensitive spot on the temple. The action leaves us both woozy. It’s too much violence, but I’d be lying if I didn’t enjoy it. Still, I can’t do it again. A mortal isn’t worth damaging my precious spine. 

However, I have tricks hidden in my pages. The weapons printed inside come alive whenever I summon them. It takes some effort, but now is the time. Choosing the ruby-studded dagger (the one he called ugly), I align my front with his body. 

“Please… Don’t do this.”  

Too late, buddy! 

“Argh…” He chokes as the dagger plunges into his chest. Blood trickles down his crumpled shirt and onto the floor. I step aside to avoid stains. 

Watching life drain out of him feels good. Mission accomplished. 

Then, I remember. I didn’t answer an important question. 

I jumped into the cloth bag when he was rummaging the shelves. Easy peasy! 

***

Note: 

My thanks to two people who made this story possible – 

  • A friend and fellow writer for allowing me to use his name for my character  
  • A friend and fellow reviewer whose comments sparked the idea for the plot 

***

Picture Credit: AI Image made on Bing 

 


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