's 2019 Horror Write-off:

The Monster in the Library

Submitted by Gareth Barsby

Most people thought The Magic Library was a figurative name, something promoting the idea that “reading is magic”. Well, The Magic Library was called The Magic Library because it was a magic library, though the magic only occurred when the library was certain no human would step into it for a few hours.

On nights when the library could sense no upcoming nocturnal visitors or trespassers, it threw all its unborrowed books to the ground, letting the stories pour out. From the fantasy section, gleaming castle spires and multicoloured forests twirled out of the pages, knights marching from the massive wooden doors that had materialised. Books about nature caused grass to spring from the carpeted floors and rivers to snake between the bookcases, with boats and rafts sailing down them.

The normally placid library was mostly transformed into a world of light and colour, but one corner of the library was filled with decaying mansions and rotting castles, shrouded by fog and oppressed by large storm clouds. The books from this section don’t cause grass to grow from the floors, but weeds and thorns and gravestones.

This section is where the Monster lived and looked at his surroundings with as much horror as the average human would.

Though lacking the flat head and bolts he was currently portrayed with, the Monster, in his book, had been portrayed as an outcast and a pariah, so, he kept telling himself, he should be happy to find a place where he could be accepted. The characters in this section, however, were not the type of characters he felt he should be accepted by.

Many people, the Monster had heard, believed he was friends with the tall pale man with the large white moustache and fangs, but the Monster felt if he should have friends, they should bring warmth and comfort. The pale man brought cold evil wherever he went.

The others in the section seemed no more friendly. There was a man who often took on a warped, twisted form of himself and revelled in the freedom it apparently brought. There was a man who killed another man because of the latter’s eye and was haunted by a frightful sound that echoed throughout the whole section.

The Monster had spent years in that section, his stomach turning from the sights he saw almost every night yet remaining in that section because he feared no place else would accept him.

One night, he remembered another section that would accept him. One much more inviting.

That night, he walked away from the clouds and cemeteries towards a gleaming city under a clear sky that reminded him of the azure Heavens he had read about, where spaceships soared overhead. Here he could discuss philosophical matters with the robots whose stories and characters he had inspired.