‘It’s happened again,’ Jade said.
David frowned and viewed her over the top of his glasses. ‘Show me.’
He marched her up the stairs, along the corridor and into the main hall of the gothic church, fitted with rows of shelves and stacked to the gables with thousands of second-hand books. The place reeked of decaying pages, now mingled with a smoky tang.
Jade pointed to the seventh shelf up; halfway along the row was a blackened, smouldering patch. The books either side were untouched.
‘Titles?’ he said.
Jade’s cheeks flushed. ‘Same as before, Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking…vampires,’ she finished, her eyes round, her voice a whisper.
David removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes. ‘It’s not funny,’ he said.
He rolled his eyes. ‘I have a key.’ He paused. ‘You have a key. That’s it.’ He let his words trail in the air, curdling the atmosphere.
Jade left in tears.
David changed the locks in case she had duplicate keys. He ordered same day delivery from his supplier and replaced the copies before the close of business.
It was after midnight when vapour appeared through the cracks in the door. It morphed into a gaunt figure with translucent skin, metallic eyes and tusk-long teeth.
His gaze fixed upon the series of books, re-materialised. He took a step back and shook his head. These tomes affronted his genius but the volumes had powers beyond his imaginings. Thrice he had burned them, thrice they had returned.
His claw hand covered his mouth, and he stifled a scream at the horror of it.