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Something about the book gave the impression of energy. It jumped in her hand as she picked it up; jolting her rudely out of the mental shopping list, she was making. The library was almost empty now and this had prompted librarian Janice Goodwin to start replacing the intake of returned books, a task she always enjoyed because it signaled the day’s end. Turning the book over, she looked closer and gasped in surprise. Staring back at her was a picture of herself. How strange, she thought. She looks just like me. Laughing to herself, she placed the book on the correct shelf and continued her task.

Over the next few days, her thoughts wandered repeatedly to the book. Who was that woman? Why did she look like me? Unable to settle to even the most mundane tasks Janice then resolved to take the book out on her own ticket. Maybe, reading it would set her mind at rest.

Bolting the main doors after the last customer, she went to the True Crimes section to collect the troublesome book and hopefully end her disturbed thoughts. She slid the book from the shelf and turned it over again, maybe she had made a mistake or it had been a trick of the light. Janice dropped the book in horror and clung to the shelving. The room began spinning, faster and faster, she couldn’t breathe. A pulse beat wildly in her throat as she slid down the shelving into a deep black void.

“I’m sorry James, as I told you three months ago Janice could snap out of her catatonia one day, but, the likelihood is impossible to predict. You must be prepared that she might never recover,” Dr Ashford studied the distraught man with sympathy. He continued. “The trauma she suffered in 1969 was indescribable, and we know she only recovered initially by completely blocking the incident from her conscious mind.”

“But why now?” pleaded James. “What happened?”

“Ah…well… that I can tell you. You may recall when Janice was found collapsed in the library she was clutching a book and repeatedly murmuring… “No...it wasn’t me.”

James nodded mutely.

“I’m sorry James, but, we believe the book triggered her memory. It must have flooded back, the rape, the imprisonment, the beatings; everything that monster did to her. You have to remember, she has kept that terrible episode locked down tight for twenty years. It was the only way she could function properly and get on with her life.”

“You know they never caught who did it,” said James, tears trickling down his face.

“Oh… God…” spluttered Dr Ashford, “I didn’t know… I’m so sorry.”

“Well it doesn’t make much difference now, too much time gone by,” whispered James.

“No, you don’t understand James... the book…”

“How can the book help?” asked James.

“It might… if he’s the one… if we can get through to her, she might get some closure. James... the book was about the serial killer Morgan Thomas.”

 


Comments

09/23/2012 6:06am

Another wow, Carol...tight writing. Queen of Flash at it again.

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10/08/2012 9:44am

Very nicely done. I just loved it. Now that's a short story that grabs you immediately.

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Carol Wills
10/12/2012 5:29pm

Wow, a new reader, thanks for the kind comment Bill

Carol x

Carol Wills
10/12/2012 5:27pm

Thanks so much Paula, glad you liked it

Carol x

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