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Ssshhh

In the presence of books … one always whispers

story and images by Myron Ropp
© Myron Ropp

© Myron Ropp

The vampire-hunting duo found themselves at the front of the business. A lead from The Order had led them here. Christian Gielen, Dealer of Rare Books. The door was ajar, so Uriah and Leo entered freely. “What is it looking for? The rare book How to Get Blood From a Turnip?” asked Leo. “Ssshhh”, Uriah fired back. Years of conditioning: In the presence of books… One always whispers. Uriah recalled the librarian from his childhood. Mrs. Wildman. Seriously, Wildman. Uriah believed her to be over one hundred years old at that time. She even carried a thick wooden yardstick, like St. Michael carried his spear. Inside the door, Leo came out with Capote’s In Cold Blood? “Ssshhh”, again Uriah reminded him.

© Myron Ropp

© Myron Ropp

Halfway into the shop, they saw the legs of Mr. Gielen (they presumed). His face frozen with surprise and death. His neck (what was left of it) was clean sinew and muscle, with very little blood. Uriah spoke under his breathe, “Kill and fill, the creature has fed. He will be strong”.

No sooner had Uriah spoken, when the creature stepped from a row of books. It still had Mr. Gielen on its chin and one corner of its lips. Leo gave the ole ‘clearing throat’ sound and touched his own face with a cleaning motion. The creature caught the gesture. Using a handkerchief to wipe his chin and lips. For some unknown reason, Uriah threw a huge copy of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, hitting the creature in the forehead. It phased it… zilch… but Uriah obviously got much joy from it. He giggled.

Leo, still facing the thing, said “Ssshhh”. “Looking for anything in particular?” Uriah asked. “Do you work here? Yes, thank you. I have found the edition I came for. Mother Goose? No, I retract. You are more of a Grimm Brothers kind of fellow.” Leo remarked. Literally, faster then what the eye can capture, it was on Leo and hitting him fully in the chest, sending him hurling back and into a rolling, four wheeled cart. Uriah pounced upon the creatures back in true ‘piggy back’ fashion. Forcing the creature to spin and spin in an effort to get Uriah off. In those split seconds, Uriah’s thoughts went to that infamous Kansas twister. Uriah verbally yelling, “Auntie Em. Auntie Em”.

© Myron Ropp

© Myron Ropp

Leo regained his ground and came to the front of it and with sheer brute force knocked it, and the piggy backing Uriah, across the book dealer’s desk. Uriah grabbed the first thing his hand felt and brought it up and over the shoulder of the creature. Plunging it into its chest… and heart. A wooden letter opener, with the top carved into the figure of St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of writers. The creature emitted the most horrendous cry, the sound of it reverberating the very walls themselves. It even gave the duo the willies. Then it was over. It lay dead upon the desk. Uriah worked his way from under its weight and stood. Reaching down, he picked up the book that had dropped from the creature’s hand during the ‘spin cycle’.

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The old book cover read simply: Dracula by Bram Stoker. Opening the front, Uriah read aloud, “Archibald Constable and Company, 2 Whitehall Gardens, Westminster, England – 1897”. Written in script and with the telltale rust color of blood, was the inscription: ‘To Caitlin, A dearer friend is unknown to me. Affectionately, Bram’. Leo looked down at the creature and said “Ssshhh, if you cannot keep your voice down, I am going to have to ask you to leave… people are trying to read”.

 

4 Responses to “Ssshhh”

  1. Miguez says:

    Love it dear Myron! Once again you spun a winner! Complete delight to read, love the humor!

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