I still remember that day. It feels like it's been forever since then, though it couldn't have been more than a few months ago. The day I first laid eyes on that accursed book.
There was a storm that night and a heavy one too. I was sitting in my living room, enjoying a cup of tea and watching the rain outside as the thunder cracked and the lightning split the night sky.
The fire crackled in the background, spreading its warmth throughout the room. Suddenly, there came a knock at the front door. Wondering who could be calling on me at such a late hour, and for what purpose, I slowly rose from my chair, walked to the front door, and opened it.
A man stood on the outside. No, man is not the right word to describe it, the thing that stood before me. He had the shape of a man, true, but there was something... wrong about him.
Something unsettling. He was about six feet tall, yet seemed taller, dressed in a long black hooded robe that fell over the top of his face and cast a shadow that obscured the rest of his features.
"Who are you?" I asked nervously. "What do you want from me?"
From the folds of his robe, he produced a small black book, bound in black leather with some kind of strange writing on the cover.
"Take this and see The Truth," he said, before turning and calmly walking away. I closed the door shakily behind him. I didn't know why, but the strange 'man' unnerved me. Looking down at the book, I found myself with an inexplicable desire to read it, so I brought it to my study and placed it on the desk.
Upon closer inspection, the book seemed extremely old and worn, as if it could come apart at any moment. The writing was clearly some kind of ancient language, but it was like nothing I had ever seen. I've spent my entire life studying this kind of thing, but the writing was completely new to me, almost as if it was from another world. The truly strange thing about this book was the way it made me feel.
Just looking at it induced a nigh-irresistible desire to read it, yet at the same time I wanted to run away, to put as much distance between myself and it as I could. It seemed unnatural, like there was something deeply violating about its presence, and yet also deeply intriguing. As an academic, I felt it was my duty to unravel the mysteries of this text, so I took a moment to steel myself before sitting down and opening the book.
The first page had the same writing that was inscribed on the cover, but as I looked, the most extraordinary thing happened: the strange writing rearranged itself into English, right before my eyes! It showed the book's title, which simply read 'The Truth'. There was no credited author and no other information, just 'The Truth'. All my reservations vanished - I had to know what was written in this book! I turned the page, and to this day I still regret my decision.
The moment I laid eyes on the second page, I knew something was wrong. I heard strange, incomprehensible whispers that seemed to emanate from the very pages of the book, and felt a chill run down my spine at the sound of the voices.
I found myself unable to look away, unable to stop reading. For hours I read against my will, the book describing such terrible things in such vivid detail as to make me physically sick.
It spoke of ancient monsters, of horrors and beings beyond the most terrible nightmares, of perversions of nature too gruesome and evil to speak of. With every word I read, the whispers grew louder, and by the end they were a deafening cacophony of screams in a language I could not understand.
Finally, I reached the last chapter, and the voices were suddenly silenced. I still could not stop reading, however. This final section proved to be the worst. It described to me, in excruciating detail, the fate of those who read the book, and the ancient demon that guards its pages. I do not wish to recount such horrors myself.
It would only damage your sanity and hasten my own inevitable demise, if it has not yet been sped close enough. Suffice to say that I am tormented every night by the worst nightmares the mortal mind can produce. I may be safe for now, but upon my death the book's guardian will claim my soul as his property for all time.
Of course, the book did provide one positive outcome: I know The Truth now. I understand the very nature of existence, the laws that govern reality itself. With this new-found knowledge, I have discovered a way to save my soul. If, during my lifetime, someone else reads the book, then I will be free.
My immortal soul will be allowed to pass on to the next world after my death, and the new reader will take my place as the guardian's property.
You may be wondering why I'm posting this online instead of just handing someone the book and hoping they read it. Simple really. I already know it will work. I know that someone, somewhere, will read this and desire The Truth for themselves. I know that person will seek me out, and that they will gladly accept the book. I know that person's fate too, but I won't spoil it for you. After all, you'll know for yourself soon enough.
I'll be waiting.