Joe Limbert stared at himself on the mirror, and the image didn't please him at all. His dull black hair rebelled against any attempt to comb it properly. The purple bags under his eyes reminded him of how little sleep he'd had.
He wasn't tired, though, he was too nervous for that. Had been nervous for three days, since the last time he had met Emma, since the incident. A thought had been stuck in his mind since that night half a week ago, refusing to leave, forcing him to doubt everything he saw, heard, and knew. For his sense of reality had been crushed by the truth.
Turning away from his room's mirror, Joe Limbert sat down at his bed. From his window he could see sun slowly starting to hide behind the tallest buildings of the city. Time was not going for wait him, but his doubt was fighting with tooth and nails to make him change his mind. His gaze unconsciously drifted toward the ancient and thick hard-covered book lying on his desk. The golden letters of its cover, shining with the reflected light of twilight, read: The Book of Eleven Hours: Tome I.
He could remember everything so clearly. He and Emma arguing over some triviality, the fight escalating beyond their control, the horrible things she said and the worse ones he replied with until… it happened. The flash of light coming from her eyes. The burst of heat coming from her hands. The nightmarish laugh coming from behind her…
Thinking about that gave him shudders, but also made him think of Emma, the Emma of before, the one he thought he knew. Her smart impish smile, her short pitch black hair, her sparkling amber eyes, her vanilla perfume. He couldn't deny it, even if she made him doubt his sanity, he loved her.
They had met for first time in the science history museum, at the main street, and after a little chat and shared chuckles Joe realized she was perfect. Attractive, clever and funny. She was so full of knowledge about long dead civilizations and religions. She had the same interests in literature and ancient myths as him.
Except not quite. She was also a bit too much involved with the occult. Joe always found intriguing the rituals and beliefs of the old times, but for Emma it was an obsession. She was passionate about it. She believed in legends and fairy tales.
For Joe it wasn't much of a trouble. Even if he was open minded, he was skeptical about the idea of spirits and monsters and magic. For him they were just very entertaining stories, not deeper than a novel or a children's book. He liked to think he was a man of science, after all.
But he had been wrong. Because the world was not ruled by the laws of nature, at least not the ones he recognized. Everything he knew was a lie, a false pretension based a series of axioms he could not trust anymore. His reality had crumbled under the weight of a bigger, stranger one. In Lovecraft terms, he had escaped from the cave of ignorance and stared into the sea of the infinite, and now his mind was shattered as he thought how reconcile what he saw and felt with the world he knew.
Emma wanted to help. She offered to show him, to explain him, to teach him about that secret arts. Gave him the book that now where closed on the desk and instructed him to read it and, once he finished it, to call her.
He did read it, and what he found was in equal terms fascinating and shocking, magic, fantastic creatures, and more, everything explained using the scientific method. He, deep inside, wanted to learn more from that hidden world. But if he were to do so, he could never go back. His mind would never return to the peace of unawareness and the veil that keeps what creeps in the darkness away from him would be ripped to pieces.
'You know you can't just forget this' Joe Limbert muttered to the silence.
A bitter smile formed on his face. Getting up from the bed, he picked up his phone and sent Emma a text, telling her that he had read the ancient tome and was eager to lift the veil.
The answer was almost immediate:
Really? Oh Joe this so great! Can you meet me at the old factory? The one next to the church? Bring the book with you. I've got to return it soon so, why not today? :)
Oh, and bring your glasses too. We are going to the Library.
The cold wind of winter licked Joe Limbert's cheeks as he walked down the empty sidewalk. Lifting the collar of the jacket to protect him from the cold, he passed in front of the buildings feeling like he was slowly going back it time, the houses looked older and older as he approached the two titans of concrete and brick that loomed over the area. The church belfry and the factory chimney, staring each other from opposite sides of the street, like gods of different ideologies, fighting a cold war for the faith of the people.
But for first time Joe didn't looked at them in impressed awe or romantic nostalgia, but with a taste of the irony and arrogance of knowledge in his mouth. The belfry was covered in moss and spiderwebs, while the factory hadn't seen a single human worker in years. The two ignorant gods, thinking the world of the man meant something in the greater world.
He held the book tightly against his chest, as if it were to escape in any moment, and for all he knew, it was quite a possibility. With his peripheral vision he scanned every shadow, awaiting for any movement. Now that he was starting to put his mind's pieces together, he slowly started to realize what kind of world he was living in. Wraths, ghosts and supernatural abominations stalking mankind from every shadow, from every nook.
Joe Limbert gazed at the stone tablet in front of him with empty eyes. The sunset colored surface, eroded by the time, displayed symbols as old as the art of writing itself, a legacy of ancient times. Memories of people already vanished in history.
- Wanderers Library's magazine: Planasthai
[Tale about a guy who kills stuff, very Witcher-like, minus the grimdark]
Wanderers Library's preys:
- Wraths (elementals of gasses and liquids)
- Golems (elementals of solids)
- Vampires (drinking blood humans immune to non-holy weapons)
- Add more…
A long time ago, beyond the farthest of seas and beyond the highest of mountains, there was a magical land. A land of castles, monsters and heroes. A land where brave knights in shining armor rode snowy white horses through hills and valleys, slaying the vile creatures that ate children and maidens. A land where cities were made of gold, silver and marble, where the nobility enjoyed their balls of fancy dresses and sensual masks, where the common folk spent nights in the company of friends, family and alcohol, where the streets at night were filled by romantic serenades and conspiracies of madmen and revolutionaries.
It was a land of fantasies, a land of epics, a land of tales.