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The Left-Handed Sword -Chapter Two

All Rights Reserved © 2010 Will Kalif

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by
any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying,
recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system, without
the permission in writing from the author.



Softly she kissed me
Under a pane of mistletoe
Soon thereafter she left
And took my heart away with her
Never to return again

-The woman with the long brown hair


Chapter Two - Darkness Thickens

"When you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into you."
- Friedrich Nietzsche

Blackness unfolded around him like a small room. He was laying down on something - maybe a bed; and the dark was so complete he couldn't tell if his eyes were open or closed so he brought his hands up to feel. Yes his eyes were open.
Awareness slowly came and he opened his mouth and croaked weakly. It was muffled as if he really were in a small room. He put his hands back down and the coolness of sheets met his touch. Other sensations returned slowly; the pillow, the sheets, and the nearby walls all came into his awareness. There was an open window to his right and it let a light breeze blow over him. All his senses worked but his eyes saw nothing.
A cuckoo clock broke the darkness with a single chirp and he startled. Not from the sound of the clock but from the awareness of what it was. He knew this place. It was the bedroom of an old apartment he lived in. The window was at his right and in the far-left corner, past the foot of the bed, would be the door to the living room, and in the living room was where the cuckoo clock hung on the wall. He remembered the place well. It had been a cozy apartment that he had lived in and he had been happy there until he had a bad experience and moved out.

There was only one reason why he had chosen this apartment. It was close to the public library. He could see it from the window of the kitchenette. There was a comfort in that for him and every evening after work he would walk across to the big granite building and spend hours rummaging through the racks of books. He chose them almost indiscriminately. The subject of each book almost didn't matter. There was a joy in the discovery of a new subject or author. He spent hours in the reading room and when the library closed he took the books home for more reading.
The library was a hundred-year-old remnant of the times when little New England towns were powerhouses in the textile industry. All of its racks were wrought iron and all its shelves, walks and stairs were glass; a smoky hand blown glass that distorted the light that passed through the over-sized windows. A hundred years ago they went to great lengths to protect the delicate paper from the threat of fire. In just a few minutes flames could race through an entire library and destroy everything.
At the top of the library, off the stairwell that led to the clock tower, was a room. They called it the un-cataloged book room and it was where over the course of a century odd books found a home. This was the place for the books that defied the Dewey decimal system, were too large to fit into the shelves, or were somehow just forgotten about. And it was Storm's favorite room. He would often spend hours in there just sitting with his back against the racks and a book in his hands. It was in this room that he found the book.
It was a dusty old book, oversized, hand bound -and quite possibly the strangest book in a room full of strange books but it caught Storm's attention. "The Papyrus of Ani - The Egyptian book of the dead." It didn't have a catalog number so he wasn't supposed to take it home but with a little persuading he managed to get the head librarian to let him check it out. He took the book to bed with him and read it by the glow of a lamp until his eyes were too heavy to go on. He put the book down on the nightstand and fell into a restless sleep.
The cuckoo clock proclaimed four times and it startled him awake. His heart was racing and something was in the room with him. The window to his right let no light in. This was a night without a moon. In the far-left corner past the foot of his bed where the door to the living room met the corner of the bedroom something stood. It was a presence. He couldn't see anything at all there but something was there. The corner was simply blacker than the rest of the room. He lay in bed paralyzed his breathing labored, his heart racing. Time passed very slowly. It didn't move, and it didn't speak. It was just there. Storm couldn't move and he didn't dare try to speak. He just stared into the darkness and waited for daybreak. It lasted for two hours until the sun started to pour the faintest of light through the window. For these two hours Storm promised himself to never forget this and to never let the memory of it fade as time passed. This thing came to his room and it was real. He looked into it but couldn't ascertain its intent. Was it good? Was it evil? There was no hint for Storm. He was scared so maybe it was evil. But the only thing he was absolutely sure of it that it was there. As the room lightened the presence faded. And after the sun had brightened his room for an hour Storm finally climbed out of bed and slowly walked toward the dreaded corner of the room.
He fought back the impulse to stand where it stood. Instead he carefully opened the bedroom door and went through the living room and into kitchenette to make a cup of coffee.
He sat down at the window overlooking the library and took a sip of his coffee. Damn strangest thing that ever happened to him. It wasn't a dream. It really happened. There was a mystery here. While he lay in bed for a couple of hours just staring at it he swore to himself over and over that he was awake and this was real and that he wouldn't forget it.
After his cup of coffee he went back into the bedroom to dress and he spotted the tattered book on the nightstand. He wondered if that was what brought the thing to him. After work he brought the book back to the library without opening it again and by the end of the month he had moved out of the apartment. Sometimes a man faced something that was simply beyond his comprehension. This angered Storm because the most powerful drive he possessed was his need to understand everything.


Continue on to Chapter three