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The Book

Story ID:3611
Written by:matt w bridgeforth (bio, contact, other stories)
Organization:none
Story type:Fiction
Location:unknown usa
Year:2007
Person:Max Grim
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Agent Max Grim had investigated many strange cases in his 15 year career with the FBI. He was assigned to special cases. He worked cases that local and state departments were at a stand still and had no leads. His current case defied the very essence of how a crime scene should appear. It involved a series of three murders over a two week period.

The first case occurred on the lower east side of town at the public library. Linda Parks had been a librarian for over 20 years and often stayed late to lock the doors and catch up on her reading, just as she had done that evening. The following morning, employees found Linda dead. The cause of death was drowning. Linda’s clothes and hair was still wet upon officer’s arrival. Linda’s friends told authorities that Linda was deathly afraid of water. The only clue left at the scene was a hardback book entitled “My Story.” The book had 325 blank pages.

The second case occurred less than a week after the first case. Brian Booker was a wealthy attorney for the Pierce, Payton, and Booker Law Firm. Brian’s wife and two children had left for the evening to visit her parents, who lived on the opposite side of town. Brian had been working on a tough case and wanted to stay at home to finish a novel he had started to read at an earlier date. Upon arriving at home less than three hours later, Brian’s family found him dead on the den floor. Nearly every bone in his body had been broken. The coroner concluded that the cause of death had more than likely been a fall from a great height. Mrs. Booker informed officers that Brian was afraid of heights and couldn’t have fallen. Once again, “My Story” had been found at the scene. This time, there were 297 blank pages.

The most recent murder happened at the local college. Andy Lennox was a senior literature major. He had stayed late in the library to study for finals. As the librarian was closing the doors for the evening, she found the scorched remains of Andy in the enclosed quiet room. Andy’s body had been burnt beyond recognition, but the immediate area surrounding Sandy had not been so much as singed. “My Story” was beside him, unscathed. There were 198 blank pages. Andy’s parents said that he had a fear of fire.

Max became involved after the second murder. The local police department was baffled and welcomed the assistance of an outside agency. Max was quickly brought up to speed on the other case. The only thread that connected the murders was the strange book that was present each time. Max examined the book and learned that the author was Lou C. Fer. There was no publishing company or record of an author by that name. The book was inspected by forensics. They found no hidden codes or words on any of the pages.

Max had failed to connect any of the murders together. The press and bureau was watching closely and he needed a break. That break came when he received a package in his mail box. He opened the brown package and observed another copy of “My Book.” He flipped through the pages and observed that there were 327 printed pages. He began to read the book.

Immediately the book pulled him in and captured his attention. He couldn’t stop reading it. The story was so strikingly similar to his life that he thought that someone had done a story about his life.

The story focused on a boy named Max who had grown up on the south side of Chicago. That boy had graduated high school and joined the Marines. After he was discharged, he attended four years at the University of Illinois for criminal justice. He soon met a woman named Sarah.

Max placed the book down on his lap and stared out the darkened window. He hadn’t remembered going home. A glance at his watch told him that it was midnight. The book enticed him to continue reading. It was like he needed to read the book, he couldn’t resist.

The book went on to describe how Max had been hired by the FBI as soon as he graduated from the U of I. Max lived a mundane life and was given mundane cases. A daughter was born and shortly after, a son. Their names were Elizabeth and Michael.

Once again he put the book down. He was in utter disbelief that someone had the audacity to write about his life without first consulting him. He tried to find a logical explanation. Someone in his family had written it, someone at the bureau was messing with him, or he was dreaming. In any case, the book called to him, like a loaded needle called a junkie. He continued to read.

A tear formed in his eyes as the story described the fatal car wreck that took his family’s lives. The story was in such detail that he felt the pain all over again. He couldn’t believe what was happening. He lowered the book and glanced at the pictures of his deceased family. The book described details about the accident that no one else knew.

He read about the depression and alcohol dependency that overtook his life shortly thereafter. He struggled for years and still wasn’t over it. He blamed himself for the accident. He should have been driving the car that evening. Maybe then, it wouldn’t have happened. He wanted to close the book, but he couldn’t.

The book continued into his involvement in three unsolved murders that had no clues. The book went into vivid detail about the case, details that had not been released to the public. The next page told how Max received a strange book in the mail and how he started reading and couldn’t put it down. The main character, Max, was deathly afraid of spiders and had night terrors about them since he was a child. The story neared the climatic end. At the bottom of the page, the final paragraph of the page read:

The climatic ending to this novel is on the next page. Reader beware, by turning this page, you must accept consequences of your actions. Turn the page, if you dare.

He jumped as the clock rang, announcing that 2:00a.m. had arrived. He looked down at the book, he laughed at the creepiness of the situation. He was convinced that he was trapped in a dream. He had been working hard on the case and his mind was starting to play tricks on him. He turned the page and read the last paragraph:

Max continued to read the book and ignored the warning of turning the final page. From every crack and crevice of the room, a horde of black spiders, of every size, flowed into the room toward Max. Max froze at the sight of the crawling creatures. The spiders swarmed onto him before he could react. He jumped to his feet and felt pain from a thousand different places. He fell to the ground as the arachnids crawled over every inch of his body. The poison raced through his body. He jerked involuntarily, and was still.

Detective Ryan Miller examined the body of Agent Max Grim. His body was swollen and covered with red sores. The coroner had mentioned that it could have possible been a reaction to an insect bite. But the number of bites would have had to have been astronomical.

Detective Miller collected a hard cover novel that lay on the floor next to Max. The book was titled, “My Story.” It had 327 blank pages.