The circle expanded over the words: “Leave now.”
“Leave now?” she questioned. Her voice felt blunted. She was seated at a cherry wood desk, which had the words “Halloween 1867” carved onto it. Next to her was a grandfather clock bearing only the numbers twelve and nine. The second hand was stuck in a loop, ticking one movement forwards and then one back: tick-tick-tick-tick.
Surrounding her were bookshelves: dusty, white, with no cover. She had no recollection of entering the library, selecting this book, or choosing that desk. Between her fingers the pages felt like parchment, and she had no memory of reading a single word. “Leave now” were the only words within its pages, which were bound with tough ligaments.
She read the spine: “The Final Hour of Eleanor Watson”. The words were barely readable—they were in bleeding, black, chicken scratch. Eleanor Watson? That name held nostalgic, unknown origins.
“My name?” she asked herself. Scared, she stood and slammed the book down. Her eyes welled up. “Leave now” cycled through her head, emerging with every tick of that clock.
A sudden coldness crawled into her body. She ran down the shelves of books. On either side, the view was identical rows of books, with a cherry wood desk at the end, and a grandfather clock.
Her heart in her throat, that checker floor with its erratic color pattern made her green. Sound was absent, besides that ticking. She snatched all the books she could hold—she pelted them at the clock. Each book was an exact copy of the last. On the final page the words “leave now” were circled by a round, wetted spot. “The Final Hour of Eleanor Watson” was etched into each spine… bleeding, black, chicken scratch.
“Why!?” she bayed. She raced down dozens, possibly fifty aisles, until she found her. A woman, at a desk, with a white book in her hand. A tear fell from the woman’s eyes onto the page. She looked scared. She stood before slamming the book.
“Leave now!” She screamed.
The woman stepped through her and shivered.