Greetings, friends of the truth. I understand how you may feel. Strangers do not converse cringing anecdotes from a blind old haggard man begging for pencil donations with the word, ‘BE’ …etched in the sides.
Hunkering this cardboard on the ground recalls me approaching tables in the malls as the entropy within humans forms hypocritical judgments:
What the hell does this bum want?
I’m sorry, I don’t have any change.
I don’t need a pencil, I have my cell phone.
Why don’t you just go to a shelter?
Words are powerful magical spells and thoughts are creational. I can still hear the resistance of heartless thoughts they express. It cost nothing to show compassion to others. I will accept a warming hug or a sweet song from a child in exchange for a pencil. The experience of living only becomes less enjoyable when you choose not to express your love.
Surviving pandemics, natural disasters, greed, and tyranny is horrible---verily not having anything to scribe. In no structural order, my array of pencils drape a bespattered tribal cloth on a paper brown congruent makeshift display table. The State Library Victoria is the main library of the Australian state of Victoria. The athenaeum in the story I am referring to is many miles and ghastly conjurations away.
“Please explain to me why the only person who uses this library needs help cleaning it and now hearing the library has not been open in several years…” he angrily rips the paper from his probation officer and signs Bruce, “what is the point to this?”
“You can stay for the weekend instead of the motel,” The probation officer yanks the paperwork. “Do you want to go back?”
“Why the hell me?” Bruce picks up a pen and skims a cleaning chart to do his community service.
In total darkness, I feel the world turn as I tug both tassel ends of the heavy velvet drapes apart for sunlight warming my crown. As I overhear the conversation this is the only natural light---banished for life by way of a curse to a glorious end of a library. Let me explain a bit more in detail…
There is a little cursed black book. Not a fable or fictional event and is the reason why I lost my vision. It is said a powerful Benandanti Italian Wizard from the 1500s conjured a curse that was set in motion and still functional today. The individual who begins to read a specific passage in the book must continue to read the passage every day. If a single day is skipped then the person will suffer immense pain until the passage is read again. If one decides to withstand the pain, not read the passage, or attempt to leave they will go blind within a week, yet still suffer unbearable pain.
Your plethora of questions proceeds the ignorance as to why a soul would produce such a vicious curse?
How did I get out of the library and break the curse?
What happened to the man who replaced me?
I was released from my crime sentence 20 years ago. I needed a job and a place to stay. On the first day at the job, Ms. Apollonia Madizza scheduled me to the part of the library no one occupied for months. “The job you are hired to do is simple. You are a janitor assigned to a section of the library scheduled to open next year. Here is how to reach me.” She hands me her card.
Ms. Madizza, a middle-aged widow, is an Italian librarian who inherited a portion of the library to oversee operations. She was direct and purposeful.
“I guess,” I shrug my head grabbing the cleaning list. “It may take me a while to come to work. I have to find a place.”
Without turning around she says, “Well, that is just perfect.”
“No one told you why I am here?” I mention, closing my eyes.
“It is to no avail,” She insists as she exits. “There is plenty of room and amenities for you to use in the wing. Pay is $19k annually. The $1k bonus will go to pay for the nights you stay until you find a place.” She finishes her last words and shuts the door.
“She is crazy.” I thought.
There is nothing to do while trapped inside a library for the weekend except one thing---try not to read. To be honest, preparing the library for use by next year is a joke. Until the first Sunday night alone in the library, bored of throwing paper planes down the second level past the theology section.
“A full moon ritual is sufficing,” I say jokingly heading to the lower level. I began taking elongated superhero steps down the staircase to retrieve my Boeing 57 and slipped along the polished edge, tumbling downstairs to a bookcase end. Either my back or the back of my head hit the bookcase causing the shelves to collapse.
“Ouch!” I yell out with laughter. “Well, now I have something to clean.”
I replenish the bookshelves in order with jolting tones that echo a whistle up the corridors. The entire section had similar content and authors in the subject except for a little black book I turn to see lying on the staircase behind me. For the next two minutes, I sit still, puzzled as to how this book appeared. I throw my head back to look up to see where this book had fallen.
A 'traditional' black notebook with rounded corners and ivory-colored paper. After catching my breath for several moments I approach the small dense book covered with symbols and sigils. Sticky dust cobwebs clear chipped off gold flaky coloring that remains on the font. The makeshift lounge area to my far right and a few ounces of coffee on the table in front direct me towards the answers within my curiosity.
To make myself as comfortable as possible I had to apprehend a few of Ms. Madizza's items such as this coffee mug, a blanket, and food left in her office. I am not sure if she had meant to lock me inside, however, I did find a note mentioning the keys were in the facility. I must have walked around in circles for half an hour before I had realized the tight grip of my nails digging into the black book with anticipation. I decide to read.
The first few pages are symbols and a language of sorts that I do not understand. I find myself fascinated with the information inside the book and complete instructions on where to look inside the sections of the library to decode each page. Before I could finish my thoughts I hear a noise outside the library doors. I had stayed up all night and it was early Monday morning.
I wake up after dosing to realize that half the day was over. I stumble over to the bathroom and witness the windows open at the top. The windows can only be opened with a pole. Ms. Madizza, I presumed had entered while I went to sleep earlier and did not disturb me.
The fresh air was nice and pleasant as the note she left on her desk. There was also an envelope with my first pay and food in the icebox.
The note stated:
‘I hope you had a good weekend. I left your first pay and food for a few days. Call to order from the town’s general store 7 miles away. I do not suggest leaving to go to the store yourself. If you need anything write it down. I will come by during the week. There is plenty to do and read.
‘I noticed in your hands while you slept you had found, il libro degli incantesimi. I never got into that book. If you get through the book I hear you can achieve enlightenment. In any event, there should be no reason to leave. One thing I must say, If you do read the book it will be most difficult to put down. Call me or the manager at the general store with any issues. Madizza.’
“Truthfully. How does she know what I eat?” I take a piece of salami and crackers into my mouth. The entire day is mysteriously eerie. I realized that I still had the book in my hand the entire time.
If I haven’t lost you yet then you must want to know about Bruce and the book. You must want to know how on earth did I lose my sight and who the hell is Ms. Madizza. Fair enough. As far as I know, Bruce is dead, and Madizza is the most-wicked woman I ever met. Listen, as I may continue…
A month passed and I hardly see Madizza. I do not even see her because she only comes when I am asleep. She takes out money from my pay so I can continue to stay within the surroundings of the library. I do not have any family or friends calling to care for me. Only myself and the literature. Contractors may stop by at any given time, but not in this wing.
I found myself mesmerized by all the knowledge deciphering the pages of the little black book until I came upon one section. The Great Truth is what I translated. The language was uncommon, coded, and the words were euphoric. I memorized a passage helping to rebalance my chakra alignment over time. However, it is a gateway to the truth with a tremendous price.
After translating the text I came to the end of the passage which stated that the last person to read the passage must continue to read the words each day or suffer. The text was so pure all I did was read until one day I decided to test the ramification. I wanted to tell the world what I know. I ran to speak to anyone heading to the general store and it had just closed so I could not find my way back to the library.
I rented a room for the night and returned to the library the next day. Nearly 24 hours had passed and the book was in my hand. I fell asleep after some time and woke with a salty bitterness on my tongue. As I wake to wipe my face I feel a sticky paste along my wrist.
Running halfway to the bathroom bewildered and exhausted I faint. I do not recall how much time had passed when I came to, but the book was still in my hands. A piercing pain attacks my head as a vibrating dissonance and the goriest image appears in total darkness. I can feel a monstrous spirit and see a pitch-black outline of a demon that seems to be screaming a language or a distorted frequency at me. I immediately run to turn on the lights while frozen in the mirror desperately remembering to read the passage.
The knowledge exchange keeps my plight inside of me. I had suspected that someone else, possibly Madizza, knew about this spell. There was no point in attempting to leave. The further I attempted to go away from the library the worst my vision became until one day, 15 years later.
“Welcome. I thought I heard someone while I was opening the drapes. You must be Bruce, the new worker,” I state as I enter from Madizza’s office. “I have taken over for the overseer and I will be giving you the work assignments. Make yourself at home.”
“Thanks. What about you?” He said. “What’s your name?”
“Call me Mr. B and I will stop by through the week to check on you,” I mentioned, stretching out my hand. “You can start by finding the section where this Little Black Book belongs. One more thing. There should not be any reason for you to leave.”