by Henri Pearson
There is a Bible. In fact, there are five Bibles – three laid neatly on the desk, one beneath the bed, and one on the bookshelf between Edgar Allan Poe and James Hogg. This last Bible is the strangest. It is a very old edition, bound in worn leather and branded with gothic letters (some of which missing), spelling out the words ‘King James’ – scary-looking like a Dracula tattoo. Next to these words, on the neighbouring book on the shelf, are the words ‘Spirits of the Dead’ labelled down the spine of Mr. Allan Poe’s terrifying masterwork. On the other side of King James sits a daemon printed on the cover of a new edition of James Hogg’s ‘The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner’.
Lying flat in the centre of the room he exhales. He has switched off the lights. Then he stands up and steadily gropes the darkness for the Bibles. He finds the three on the desk and places a hand on each in turn. For every hand placed he mutters ‘please!’ out loud. Then he crouches next to the bed and shimmies his arm beneath it to find the dusty Bible that he sleeps above. It has amassed fluff, crumbs and other crap that lives down there. He kisses this Bible – dusty shit and all transferring onto his lips. He says ‘please!’ again and puts the book back. After this he edges toward the bookshelf. Along the rows of old and pretentious titles he fumbles for King James with both hands, starting at each separate end with each separate hand and moving inwards. The left hand lands on Hogg and the daemon flashes into his head; the right hand lands on Edgar, and the skeleton of his own body joins the daemon in the immaterial parameters of his mind. The skeleton shakes gruesome hands with the daemon, and their salutations are grotesque. He has each hand on each book – neither of them move away; neither of them reach between the horror-texts to find the final Bible within. He is too afraid to continue into the middle. After all, would King James even have helped?
Henri Pearson is from North Yorkshire and is an Archaeology student at Newcastle University, though he is working to be a published author.