A young woman wandered through the shelves that seemed to go on and on for an eternity. Now and then, sliding a volume into the rows. It was slow business. Finding the home of each soft leather or crinkled paper binding. She had been walking for hours, but time never seemed to move. The soft carpet and reams of paper dampered any and all sounds. It was peaceful.
The books never seemed to run out, and the silence never seemed to end. The monotony began to make her feel uncomfortable, she hummed quietly.
She walked on, humming and sliding books into place. There was a creak behind her, like the sound of paper being compressed and then quickly released. She whirled around, only to find a single large book lying open on the floor several yards behind her. Curious, she slowly made her way back to it. There had been no sound of it dropping. She looked at the pages. There were few words and a place were a picture had once been, but was recently erased. Carefully closing the book, she slipped it back into position and carried on with her stack.
On and on, row after row. All was silent for what felt like hours. Then, a rustle of pages, but nothing to see. She started walking faster. A quiet footfall. She looked, the sound was gone. Faster. A brush of fibers on a shelf. Running. Another creak. She stopped, but didn’t turn around. Warm, moist air puffed against the back of her neck. Heart racing, immobile, she stood with her eyes shut. Her armload of books tumbled to the ground, and her knees sank to the floor.
The breathing stopped as she turned to face her tormentor. Behind her lay the large book, again, lying open on the floor. She crawled to it, hoping for an answer, but only finding the same few words and missing picture. As she looked at the words, they swam around the page. Never holding still long enough to be read. Slowly leaning in to get a better view and trying to make sense of the markings. She found her hands attempting to grasp the words. A tear dripped onto the page. The words flocked to the drop, and were still just long enough for her to read them. “Beware the empty page.”
A rustle of paper. A suppressed scream. The page was no longer empty.