So I wrote this for the lit contest but I think I was a bit too late. I had completely forgotten about it due to Uni. But I decided it would be a waste of time to delete it so here it is. I would like to thank Blood Lord for help with the editing.
Jack walked the dark, lonely streets late that night of Halloween. He was returning home after a particularly stressful shift at the library where he had worked with the old Mrs. Davis for many years.
He crossed over empty streets and headed down deserted back alleyways on the way to his apartment. The only sounds to be heard was the echo of his footsteps and his own heavy breathing. To any onlooker he would seem completely alone.
But Jack knew otherwise.
For some time now Jack had been aware that he was being followed. He did not know by whom or what, he was only aware of a shadowy presence, a faceless figure just out of the corner of his eye. He was aware of its silent steps keeping pace with his own. He was aware of its eyes watching him like a hungry animal, tracing his every movement, and its icy cold breath crawling down the back of his neck. Its very existence drove him to the brink of insanity.
But he had to bear with it, he knew there was nothing he could do. Break into a sprint and alert the follower that he knew he was being followed? No. He had to act like everything was fine. Unless the dark presence appeared before him and proved to all the world that it was more than just a paranoid delusion, all he could do was to continue counting the steps to safety.
Jack steadied his breathing as he replayed the events from that night over in his mind.
His thoughts took him back to the library where he worked diligently into the night, reordering shelves and making sure that all the old leather bound books in the decaying north wing were recorded in the new filing system. It was all up to him to make sure that the library kept up with the times. Mrs. Davis, the original owner, was just too old to understand barcodes or scanners or to even know how to switch on a computer. So it was up to him. Of course it did not matter, He was not about to let the towns oldest library fall into ruin.
He had just come to the end of the tall black book case that loomed over all others and was about to call it a day when he noticed it. Something strange wedged down behind the book case. He reached behind the shelf and picked it up. It was a small black book, leather bound like the rest, but marred with a strange text Jack had never seen before. The thing that stood out more than the writing though, was the engravings on the font. Depictions of strange creatures like the kind you might see in fantasy or science fiction films, he thought. The longer he looked at it, the more he felt captivated by this strange little book. “Who knows how long it has been lying there” he thought. “How could anyone be careless enough to let it go unnoticed for so long?” and he thought immediately of Mrs. Davis.
He had not held the book for long before he noticed something. Something so obvious he could not believe he had not realized sooner. This book belonged to him. It did not matter that he had never seen or held it before today, he knew without a doubt in his mind that this small leather bound book was meant to be his. It had been lying in the dust just waiting for him to come along and rescue it. And no one would separate them.
He finished up quickly and made for the exit.
“That you Jack?”
He turned to see old Mrs. Davis smiling back at him.
“Staying back this late, you’re such a hard worker, I don’t know what I would do without you."
Jack smiled and nodded, the last thing he wanted was to get stuck talking to her.
“See you tomorrow Mrs. Davis” he responded quickly as he reached for the door, but stopped dead.
There was something not quite right. He turned to look directly at Mrs. Davis and saw her gaze had fallen the book clenched in his fist.
“What’s that you've got there dear? A new book? You do love your books, don’t you?”
He had been in such a hurry to get home he had almost missed it, but now that he was looking directly at the old woman, it was painfully obvious. This was not Mrs. Davis. She still smiled at him with the same bloodless lips, still looked up at his face through the same half-moon spectacles but her eyes, her eyes were black as coal and held the hungry look one would see in a predator. And Jack knew exactly what it was that this creature, this creature that had stolen the form of an old woman, was after. It had given itself away when it inquired about the book, allowed her gaze to fall on it for just a moment too long.
“Something wrong dear?” It asked.
But it was far too late to try and play innocent now. He knew what it was after, and would not have. He quickly reached out his hand to smother its breath and stifle its screams. She tried to fight back of course.
“but honestly” Jack mused to himself
“How much of a fight could an old lady give?”
Finally Jack was home. Finally he was safe from whatever else would come to try and claw his treasure from him. Just as he let out a sigh of relief, prize in hand…
KNOCK. KNOCK. KNOCK.
“Trick or Treat!” called the small child from beyond his door.
“Of course on Halloween a child would claim to want sweets” he rationalized to himself as he opened the door with a hollow smile.
“But I know what they are really after.”
So that's it. Now I really do need to get back to work or my tutor will yell at me. He is one of those people who is nice to everyone all the time, so when he is even a little angry it is really unsettling. And it scares me.