Two girls obsessed with books walk into a used bookstore called “Dickson St. Bookshop.” The younger of the two is quite familiar with this bookstore, but the older is only visiting for Spring Break, so she’s never been here. She takes a moment to take in the overwhelming awe that overcomes her at the sight of multiple rooms full of bookshelves stacked to the brim up to the ceiling. “Well, this is intimidating,” the older girl comments.
“What, why,” the younger girl asks.
“Because,” she explains. “This is like in the movies where the unsuspecting soul gets attacked because she’s so into what she’s doing that she doesn’t know someone’s standing right behind her.”
“Hello,” a bookkeeper says behind the younger girl. She jumps. “So terribly sorry about that,” he apologizes. “I just wanted to see if you needed help finding anything today.”
“No, thanks,” she answers when she’s collected herself. “Just browsing.”
“Alright, dearie, well, let me know if you need anything,” he urges before disappearing.
The older girl, who kept her laughter in while the man was with them, lets it out. “Wow,” the younger girl says. “Thanks, Britt.”
“What,” she asks innocently. “I told you that’s what happens in these kinds of bookstores.”
The younger girl rolls her eyes and turns away to look at the books closest to her. They spend the next while browsing together. “You know you can browse somewhere else if you want,” the younger offers. “You don’t have to sit here and watch me fangirl about books you don’t care about.”
“Nah,” Brittany answers. “I’m good here.” The younger girl shrugs and keeps exclaiming with joy over every other poetry book she finds.
Brittany stops to look at a book that interests her. When she turns around her friend is gone. “Anna-Marie, where’d you go? Oh,” she says moments later when she turns the corner and sees the younger girl looking at more poetry.
Brittany wants to be interested in the books they’re looking at, but the only one that interests her are on the very top shelf and neither girl likes to ask for help, so she decides to look at them later. As they turn a new corner, Brittany finds a section of books that interests her. “Anna-Marie,” she exclaims. “It’s the song of my people!” Both girls laugh as they read the sign above the room with sci-fi, fantasy, and supernatural fiction.
“Of course,” Anna-Marie laughs. Brittany is obsessed with two types of stories—dystopian and vampires. Of course, both can be found in this room. Anna-Marie stays in the poetry section, but Brittany goes to look at the books that truly interest her.
Before they know it, hours have past and they’ve quite literally gotten lost amongst the books. Neither of them know where the other is, nor where they themselves are, their cellphones don’t have signals, and it seems that every time they turn, they’re led to a new dead end they hadn’t realized was there.
Suddenly, the lights shut off and they hear a strange cackling noise, almost like a warlock, with its deep witchy laughter, but more evil sounding. Chills run down each girl’s body. They don’t know what’s happening, but they do know that they need to find each other and fast. Each girl starts hyperventilating, but they can’t scream, even if they wanted to. They know better than to scream in a scenario like this. “I’m coming to get you,” a ghostly voice tells them. Now. Now is the time for screaming. And they do. They scream and turn away running.
“What the hell,” Anna-Marie thinks aloud to herself. “This can’t be happening. This is just my anxiety acting up or something after Britt’s dumb comments.”
“I’m dreaming right,” Brittany vocalizes. “This is a dream where I ended up stuck in an episode of one of my favorite shows. It happens all the time. This has to be one of those times!” Distracted by her own rambling, she trips over something. “Ow!” Definitely not a dream. She’s normally more graceful in her dreams. After catching her balance, she looks down at whatever she tripped over. A body. “Of course, it’s a body. It’s always a freaking body!”
Meanwhile, Anna-Marie has found herself trapped in a room with a door that has seemed to disappear. There’s no apparent way out. She’s freaking out. “Why are you running away, Anna-Marie,” a voice asks. “Don’t you want to play?”
She doesn’t answer. A child appears out of nowhere in front of her. She screams. “Don’t be afraid,” the child says. “I just want to play.” Her eyes widen in terror.
“What the hell is going on here,” Brittany asks nervously. “I’m totally wigging out here and I just can’t!” There’s no way this is real, but how could it possibly be fake? She trips again, this time up the steps and falls over screaming in agonizing pain. She’s bleeding. She’s gonna die.
Then, suddenly, the lights come back on. Both girls are still trembling in fear, but the child, the dead body, and the blood are all gone. They don’t know what happened. They may never know, but they do know that they’re never going into a bookstore like that again.