You Just Had to Have the Book This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

March 30, 2017
By , Overland Park, KS

“Yes mom I will remember to - yeah I know - okay I love you bye,” I said as I ended the call stowing my phone back into my pocket. I almost missed the door that was sunken into the building for a small bookshop.
The bell rang out a greeting as I stepped inside the musty smelling store. Someone was whistling an eerie tune in the back of the store as I picked an aisle randomly. Glancing at the titles hidden in the haze of dust as I passed, I scanned the wall of paper and hard bound books. Subconsciously I began muttering the title I was searching for under my breath. It was an unpopular book from a few decades ago that I was interested in and the public library didn’t have any copies so I was left to scour local discount book shops.
My concentration was broken by the sound of a book thudding against the floor behind me. I whipped around and was met with a thin book titled Advanced Doll Making.
“Well that was odd,” I said to myself picking up the book and searching for the spot it belonged in. I saw the empty slot just a shelf to high for me to reach. As I stretched on my toes I nudged the book back in place and caught a glimpse of gray eyes staring at me from behind the shelf. As I began to walk away I did a double-take but the shelf behind the row the doll book was in was filled with nothing but books.
Confused and a little disturbed, I turned back to the row of books I was searching. After I had gone through a few more rows of shelves unsuccessfully each row seemed to be darker and even darker than the next, I turned the corner to the next aisle of shelves. My breath caught in my throat. Sitting there was a glass case and inside were four oddly human porcelain dolls with white blonde hair strikingly similar to my own hair. In fact, if not for their dull gray eyes that were glazed over I would have said these dolls were modeled after me. I shuddered, wondering why anyone would have those never less display them, before turning to the next row of bookshelves, resuming my search.
I finally found the title I was looking for at almost the last set of shelves in poorly light store. I grabbed it hastily with an uneasy feeling in my stomach and walked to the front of the store. The dark well worn checkout desk was empty but a grimy, silver bell sat on the counter. I rang it once and immediately an old man appeared almost out of nowhere behind me. He was tall and thin and had beady grey eyes, like the china dolls, that made me uncomfortable as he stared me down. He cleared his throat, licked his lips, and said kindly, “Did you find what you were looking for?”
“Yeah,” I said quickly looking at the floor trying to ignoring his watchful gaze as I handed him the book. His voice sent shivers down my spine.
"Is this your first time here?" He asked.
"Yup," I said shorty, not wanting to draw this out any longer than necessary.
"I hope you saw my advanced copy section in the back," he said putting an emphasis on ‘advanced’. My heart rate accelerated as I reached for my back pocket pulling out cash to pay for the item. I just wanted to get the book and leave this place. The smell of moldy books was killing me and his incessant licking of his lips was just adding onto the discomfort of this situation. He slowly flipped over the book and began pecking in the number on the back of the book into the ancient looking computer sitting atop the desk. He whistled the same uncanny tune I heard when I enter the store. At this point I just wanted to run out of the store. Forget the book I was willing to sacrifice it at this point. Nearly an hour and a half wasted in this store that made me squirm. Ages had passed before he finally turned from the computer to face me again.
"Seven dollars and ninety five cents," he said licking his lips and putting out a hand. I pushed a ten dollar bill over the counter not wanting to touch his leathery hands. He opened the cash register and pulled out each bill and coin counting out loud.
"One, two . . . dollar bills . . .  and . . . ,” he droned on in his monotone voice.
He finally handed me the correct change but as he handed me the book and I try to pull it away he held on to it. His other hand came from nowhere and clamped onto my upper arm pulling me towards him. I was so close to his face I could feel his breath on my neck. His eye had a malicious glint to the them and a smirk grew on his thin lips. All I want to do was scream and run but at the moment I couldn’t get out a single word my throat was so dry. He placed a white cloth over my mouth and nose and . . .

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HereSheIsThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Apr. 14 at 10:23 am
Very descriptive, creepy and suspenseful. A few sentences are a bit unclear, so you might need to do some editing. Overall, though, it was amazing and I loved your ideas with the dolls and the man :)
anotheruser replied...
Apr. 17 at 10:58 am
Thanks so much! I am rewriting a few parts and will try to update it soon.
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