Those were the only four letters sewn into the leather binding of the book in my hands. The skin was poorly maintained and flaky. Bits and pieces of ancient cow hide came off in my hands. It was strange, the tome was so dry, it seemed to suck the moisture from my hands.
"Xavier, I want you to promise me something." I remembered back years to that fateful day, when I first spied the book high atop the fireplace. The memory seemed fuzzy, it had been so long.
"What?" I had asked. I was only a lad of nine years at the time, blissfully unaware of the horrors of the world outside of my parents' arms.
"I want you to promise me that you'll never ever open this book." He said.
"But why?" I asked, "What kind of book is it?"
He never answered me properly. "Just don't ever open it." He had told me, as he had repeated every time I had questioned him about it as I matured.
Almost eight years later, and I held the book in my hands once again. The covers were held together with a leather strap, tied into a messy bow under the title. My father had been absent ever since the accident, after which he was bound to the hospital by way of an iron lung. Now, only I remained in the house, alone for what had felt like a month, but in reality, only two weeks. My father had still managed to pay the bills from the hospital, bleeding the needed funds from my great uncle's inheritence. Otherwise, I had been fully trusted to keep after the house.
"Perhaps not his brightest move, believing I could be trusted not to read this." I said out loud. I suppose he just assumed I had forgotten about it, or maybe he had forgotten, himself. Regardless of the circumstances, I now held the crumbling tome in my hands. I tugged lightly on the rotting leather strap binding the covers together. It tore in pieces and fell off.
The four white letters stiched into the leather almost seemed to pulsate as I laid my hand upon them. I could feel their pulse against my own in my fingertips. How curious to think that a book could have a heartbeat. I laid the book upon the table and drew open the cover.
The first page blank, stained yellow with the age of eons spent forgotten on the bookshelves. I flipped it over. The pages also seemed to have a pulse to them. My fingers felt very dry as I turned to the next page.
Upon the second page was a picture drawn in such a way that it took up the whole page. It looked like it was drawn by a child, purple and a dark blue along the top half of the page and brown and black along the bottom. The stick figure scrawled in black, buried among the colors was holding a small brown square. The figure seemed to be standing over a grave, excavated and a coffin, open and in pieces upon the ground nearby.
That page had a small red speck on the back, opposite the next picture. It showed the figure sitting in a chair, under the light of a lamp set against an otherwise ebony background, holding the small square out in front of it's face, reading.
This page also had a spack of red on the back, although somewhat larger. The pages still seemed to be pulsating. The next picture showed a large metal drum with a stick figure's head poking out of it. Beside the person in the tin can was another figure with a small white circle on its head and a coat on, a doctor.
I turned the page again, again finding another, larger red stain on the back of the picture. The picture itself showed another character, the same brown square in its hands, standing over a table. It was surrounded by a ebony ring encroaching from the edges of the page.
I turned to the next page. The back of the drawing had a large red stain on it. The paged beated audiably now, with the sonft thumping of a heartbeat. The next picture showed a copy of the previous one, with the black ring circling the scene drawing closer.
Next page. Bigger stain. The black drew closer. it became harder to read, as if the light was dying.
Next page. More of the same. It got darker.
Next page. More red and black. Rubbing my eyes, I could barely see anything.
On the final page, the drawing was completely black. The page opposite it was completely stained red. The thumping was loud now, and as fast and frightened as my own. The book itself was beating so hard, it felt like it was ready to jump off the table. One more page!
I turned it to see a drawing of a human heart, the picture itself moving like a ghostly animation. It kept beating, harder and faster. One of the arteries connected to it ruptured. Blood spurted from the page onto the table. More and more of it spattered into the darkness as the heart kept beating faster and harder. I started to lose my sight, everything was going black!
I lost all sense of sight and all I could hear was my own scared breathing, overpowered by the heartbeat, in sync with my own, pounding in my ears. I couldn't bear it! I tried to let out a scream, but no sound came.
I screamed again, but the last thing I ever heard, as my death rattle escaped my throat, was the beating of the drawing suddenly stop following a POP!
Written by Biocalyplse.