You have been sitting on the train to Sydney for some time already. Your backside is feeling a little sore and you can’t help shifting every so often to get comfortable in your chair. You cross your legs one way, then what feels like only a second later, though it really has been at least five minutes, you uncross your legs and cross them again, this time right leg on top, left leg on the bottom.
Some time passes and you’re really bored. You’re nervous and when you left Melbourne, you’d been alone. You have no interest in the countryside speeding passed and yet you are staring at it as though it is the most interesting thing in the world. You don’t want to listen to music in case someone talks to you, so you take out a book instead. You’ve been reading this book for a while, though it’s small, you are so close to finishing it. So you open the book.
‘Little Snow had reached the end of her journey, the burden of the book of tomorrow that she carried in front of her could at last be given to its rightful owner. She gets off her horse, wipes the sweat from her forehead and walks to the little out-of-the-way church. The book hummed in Little Snow’s hand.
‘Little Snow walked a little faster, grinning, her journey had come to an end. Praising herself for obeying instructions and refraining from reading the contents of the book, she tapped her armour, immensely pleased. She was relieved, but as she reached the door, her hand leaning forward for the knocker, she tripped. The book flew out of her arms and slammed against the door, slipping out of the pouch. The pages fluttered in the cool evening breeze, and Little Snow glimpse what was written.
‘Horrified she covered her eyes, but it was too late. The owner stood above her, dark and frightening in the sunlight afternoon. He said, ‘I’ve come for you.’ Shivering, she knew the devil had come. ’
You close the book. For only a few pages it had taken the rest of the journey to read. Now your train is sitting in Sydney. The story unnerved you, alerting the suspicions in your mind of the end of your own journey. Was that really the end? You think as you grab your bag from the top storage, there is a sudden tremor. Would something befall you at this moment?
This was a story not meant for the light hearted, named ‘The Book of Tomorrow’, with its lightweight pages and elegant mass produced leather cover. Or leather like material anyway. You can’t help but be deceived by its elegance wondering exactly what the discussion around made it so significant. It was such slim volume and its contents were so particularly mundane, you began to question the authenticity of the reviews that you had read.
But there was a feel of truth in its words that make you anxious. You’re so close to the end of your journey that you wonder if maybe, just maybe your fears will come true. You can’t help going round and round in circles, thinking about this possibility, then thinking about the story, before going back to the possibility once more. It unnerved you. And yet…
Stepping out of the train, You find that your fears are unfound. The story, you think, was just a story. Because waiting on the platform is your family, smiling and laughing, calling your name. They have been waiting forever for you. You smile, because it’s the happiest moment of your journey.
Now, you say, if you want the happy ending stop reading here. Any further and you’ll regret it. This is a story called ‘Impending doom’, and no story like this would end on such a happy note. For you say to your family, let’s go home, and you go home without a care or worry in the world. You smile happily, laugh happily, share jokes happily, smiling with your widest smile. You are happy. Nothing can touch your happiness, spoil your moment, take away your joy. Nothing. So you think.
But no, even as you walked away the first time, you felt the slightest twitch in the corner of your eye, like something dark and shadowy had been there. You turn, nothing. It was only imagination. What shadow could possibly follow you but your own?
And still you go to sleep without a care or fear. You dress in your pyjamas or your boxers or your t-shirt, whatever’s comfortable and you lie down next to your love of your life. You might talk for a bit before you sleep, or you might touch their cheek, kiss their lips, just anticipating the next moment, and not thinking about the past.
You sleep slowly, the faint traces of the days smile on your lips. But at the last minute, as your eyes drift close, you remember something faint. The story had a strange narrative. It was the journey of Little Snow, a character you had never heard of before today. It was a moral story, and ended the way it did, but there was something unusual about it. While you think about this you don’t see the shadow crawling across the dark. You don’t see it slipping up the bedside shading your lamplight. So when you go to switch it on, you think the lamp is broken.
Honey, you say, but your honey is already sleeping. You sigh and fumble about in the dark until you find the light switch. When you switch it on, you think for a moment there’s something wrong because it’s still so dark. So you flick the switch again, but the light goes and you realise the light must have been on all along, so you switch it on again. This time you see a book dangling in front of your face. Your arms and legs can’t move because their covered in darkness. On your neck, there’s a chill, and it whispers in your ear, ‘I’ve come for you!’