• Daniela Silva

Book of Shadow


The time it took me to run up the sly stairs to the other side of the library is enough to hear a banging scream from someone’s lungs.


I can´t see but I most definitely can hear panting, breathless whispering and running away. From what I have no idea.

I work in the Ancient Library, the only one that specific political figures or random celebrities can visit. The place is said to have more than five hundred years worth of dust and for sure is haunted to the ground by more than friendly ghosts, or at least that is the tale we must sell. But even if sometimes I do catch a glimpse of moving shadows in the dark corner I never felt a chilling vibe like today.

Nala and I have been dating for a month and known each other since last May when we started spending afternoons in the company of dusty books and old conversations. When I saw the passion that she somehow has for words on a page. It is truly magical to see her talk about ancient stories. . She never screams, she says it disturbs the books.And she has catch glimpses of way more that moving shadows in the ceiling of this place. She is cool with it, like its meant to be. She says if she ignores it, it will eventually be resumed to nothingness and she doesn’t have to worry about it. But I heard a scream. Right now. It was a weird scream, a weird breath , a weird sound all together not even fitting with the library spirit. . My scared eyes settle into the darkness and as I scan the magnolia bookshelves I spot a gap between the oldest tombs in the reserved section, the only thing is that it is impossible to get to the inside without passing the alarm system and the glass dome. What the fuck? A book is missing. A rather rare and expensive book. Some pages amidst in the bottom of its stall, ripped.

I start running to the behind of the showcase when black blood droplets paint the ground where I walk. I stop, not looking down, which would make it reality. My heart is in my brain and I can´t hear anymore. I remain unmoving with fear crawling up my face, my eyes shot with blood and my mouth fills with terror. I cannot walk because if I do I can see blond hair tainted with mushed redness. The same orange tan that stood out on the white sheets this very morning. Or worse I could not find anything at all. And she would be gone from my life all the same-like she was just a year before. .

. I step back controlled by the fear in my veins and the loudness of my blood rushing to my head. And then I step ahead, because nothing keeps me from it. And only I see a stained wood, not read anymore but black. And there is a doll body by the corner with no more breath, glass eyes and an opened mouth, too wide like an inhuman thing. Nala is dead. I am sure of this by the emptiness of her eyes. There is no trace of pain even if her body is slightly angled the wrong way. Half-pushed against the floor and half elevated by the one step.

I cry in help. A nothing comes out. Her smile and her strong voice steps in my mind and makes it a memory that I can no longer hold. She was love for me. . People rush in to meet me, ready for a fight or torment and all I hear are loud mouths of shock. Gasp out loud and fool’s mouth snapping away the word “murder”. Someone calls the cops and they flood the library and close the door. No one is allowed in or out. Which is funny because I could spend my eternity here looking at her gray eyes that used to be amber. Smelling the berry perfume I gave her mixed with a oil-filled blood scent. I hear something through the blurry zing sound that rings in my ears and I see something through the blurry filter of my fears. All I see is wet and sticky and bloody strands of blonde hair that are now a pretty pink or a light yellow. . I pretty sure someone asks me stuff. Yells at me a little and pushes me into an almost moving car. Someone shouts my name to the wind. . I am found in a tight room where two men are standing up and sitting down in the most utter manner. They wear black hair and baggy eyes with them - Nala's is bent the wrong way- they talk to me. Slowly. And then quickly. Losing their patience. I say what I know. I am not guilty. I don´t know. I don´t know. Just please take away the smell of her sweet blood. . I am rushed into a cell and finally I feel some tension falling away at my shoulders. I may have seen things wrong. Is there something I am missing? . I woke up in a sun-bathed bed, the curtains were rose gold because it was not my bed but Nala's bed and she has this weird obsession with the colour rose. . Everything she wears is that colour and it makes her stunning. She says she feels the most beautiful woman in it. We woke up and we smiled and we got up for work. We had moonlight conversations in the night and we had a fancy clam dinner and we drank red wine like the colour of her almost red blood in my clothes. We had breakfast

- Nala's is bent the wrong way. Her blonde hair is rose pink-

and we went to work at 3 p.m. but what did we do until the afternoon? I end up catching some sleep in the cell they put me in, with its large empty feeling granting me the peace of loneliness. I see the tears flowing but I don’t feel them. I hear whispers from the guards about the murderer on the library. I sleep away. I dream. I don´t remember. . . I wake up to the roar of the sleeping man in the next cell, some homeless they let sleep inside. It is the dead of the night as for the angle of the moon tells me that. I worked in a library all my life and I do know the most random facts any can know. The books are my work of art and I like to read them despite most people just skipping past them hoping to catch only an information without getting the rest. . Most people only visit the library for the big book in the end room of the building. It is said to be a cursed item and celebrities have a found curiosity for this kind of stuff. Of course, that we get too many requests to view it or historians travelling to just lays eyes on the thing.It is all bullshit. It is nothing but an old paged novel written by some dude on the 15th century that used a feather pen to write it after killing his family with it. Fun. They call it the BOOK of SHADOWS and they say if you ever find yourself in the same room with it OBSESSION and death will most definitely come to your life. I have been in that room countless times. I am the one who goes in there when some smart-ass decides we wants to play with the future. and I am fine . Nala's is bent the wrong way. Her blonde hair is rose pink. Her eyes are made of glass-

The book is an old legend. It never got to me. Probably never got to anyone. . The men from yesterday come to the iron box and take me with them to the same room as before. They go at it with stupid questions about me and about Nala and about us. I tell them everything.

That I think that I might love her if she gives me a chance. That her smile made me blush and that she was the only woman to make me want to live ahead. And that I am at that age where I need to find love. And that she was maybe it. She is. She was


-Nala´s is bent the wrong way. Her blond hair is rose pink. Her eyes are made of glass. A shadow is in the corner of my eye-

She is.

They put me in cold cuffs and drag me along the leafy winter. They put me in a car, black seats, black eyes. We get to a big building. With cameras flashing behind manicured hands. People in suits and microphones standing at the door. The court is open for the season. I am its victim. I am assigned a lawyer that looks at me once and finds me, as his gaze tells, guilty. . I spent the next five days in a tiny box with two guys that wish they could beat me up or kill me. They say they can wait for me in prison. They say that my crime is the worse crime and even criminals will make me pay.

The blurred lines of my days pass me by. I find peace in sleep. Or the night. Or Nala´s scent in my memories. She made these amazing waffles that morning. With blueberries on top and a glaze of honey. I remember thinking that I could make that into a habit.

I have two sessions with my lawyer before the trial. He tells me to plead guilty because he knows that I did it. I do not. I am not guilty


-Nala´s body is bent the wrong way. Her blonde hair is rose pink. Her eyes are made of glass. A shadow is in the corner of my eye. Blood in my lips-

I did not murder the supposed love of my life.

The trial approached and they tell me to sit in a crowded room. And wait for twelve jurors to tell me what I did wrong. If I took the book they disclosed to be the weapon of murder and to hit my lovely girlfriend in the head repeatedly. If I chase her down like an animal and did it. And then went back, coldly. Go front and screamed. . After breakfast, I turned up to the library to look for Nala´s favourite book.

I had worked in the library forever and never found my book but she found hers very quickly. It was a black covered novel about how this guy solved a mystery and got the girl while being the bravest man alive. It was written in the 18th century and that was reflected in the writing style.

For some it was purely boring. But she loved it and I might had loved her. So, I went and got it for her. Payed full for the decrepit gem and took it to her. For our one month anniversary. They gave me the key to take it out of the reserved section since I worked there so many hours. And she loved it so much.

When we had sex in the sofa it felt like more. It felt full and intact. Like no-one could make a break for our relationship. That is was just meant to be. That she was brought into my life for this day. . We had lunch on her apartment floor. Pizza and hot chocolate. We talked until it was time for a shower and work.

She was a history university student. I remember that she skipped class. She was "intoxicated but my romantic act" she put it. And I by her. When we got to work he went our parted ways. I spent my time doing my tasks and she hers. And I didn't see her anymore


- Nala´s is bent the wrong way. Her blonde hair is rose pink. Her eyes are made of glass. A shadow is in the corner of my eye. Blood in my lips. Guilty in me-

until I got to her. On the floor and all went to shit. My day was so better than tomorrow would've been. And now I am being transported to a final verdict. I am put on the stand for a final appeal. My lawyer says to appeal guilty. I am not guilty. As drool pours into my mouth I disappear.



*AS ANOTHER VOICE. DEEPER AND RUSKED*

- "Nala is bent the wrong way. Her hair is rose pink. A shadow in the corner of my eye. Blood in my lips. Guilty on me. For I am not who you think. And he is not who he thinks. Blood was spilled by me".



As the light comes into my eyes I see a chaos around me. The judge is running way just as every single person in the room. I see no blood or no change.


Or nothing. I am me. I am me. I feel light-weighted, dizzy. And confusion haunts me. Guards bent me the wrong way into the chilled cement. They held me at gun point. I am not guilty. I am me.

I might love Nala. Her brown skin against mine is all I ever wanted. I saw her today, at work. After I cleaned the shadow of books glass vitrine. I gave her something else- I am me- and she didn't react to it. I am found guilty. Taken to a prison.


Asked to stand naked and cough in a squat position. I am freed into a cage. I am beaten the first day- I am me- by five men.


The guards watch as I bleed. And it suddenly comes to me how the book was in my hand. How it demanded blood. And I don´t remember of how it got it. I am not guilty. I am me.

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© 2019 by Daniela Sofia Silva.