As soon as Maggie-Carter set foot into Mr. Linden’s Library, her life was changed forever. She went in for a magazine and came out with an old and mysterious book.
“I wouldn’t take that If I were you”, warned Mr. Linden at the check-out desk.
“It’s a dusty book, what harm would it do?” she argued
“A lot”, he muttered
When she saw it, it was like a magnetic force drew her towards it, and with as many warnings as Mr. Linden gave her, she wouldn’t listen. As she walked home, Maggie Carter felt a sense of danger, but she soon forgot about the book and went on with her busy day.
Before she went to her bedroom, she remembered the book and Mr. Linden’s worrisome warnings. She pulled the book from her purse and felt peculiar feeling racing through her mind. Ignoring her conscious, she flipped the book open. Maggie-Carter noticed the green tint to the pages. As she scanned the old, smelly book, the words seemed grim and freaky.
“Why are the pages green?” she asked to no one is particular while Edward, her little brother, snuck into the room.
“I don’t know, but it smells horrible!” announced Edward.
Maggie-Carter nodded in agreement, “Well you’re right, but…Where did you come from!?” she exclaimed angrily. Edward, grinning mischievously, skipped out of the room, singing in a high, out-of-pitch voice.
Suddenly Maggie-Carter felt all her stress from her body melt away as she snuggled in the soft covers of her bed with her book. Her eye-lids started to droop and the knots in her shoulders relaxed. She never realized she had fallen asleep.
Meanwhile, the book was sprawled on her bed, wide open and pea-green. Wines slowly began to creep over her exhausted, limp form, and enclosed her in a cocoon. Then and there, her nightmare began.
She was walking in her garden, calm and happy like there was no sadness in the world. At once, her fear was aroused. Large copper garden snakes slithered out of the rose buses, slow and dangerous. Cruelty and evil was clear in the narrow slits of their eyes. Maggie-Carter backed away consciously taking slow steps backwards to the door.
“Nice snakes”, she cooed, as her voice cracked with fright.
Then they pounced. Maggie-Carter ran her fingers along the side of her neck; It was foamy and sticky with poison, yet she felt oddly calm about it.
She was standing in the busy streets, her petticoat was choking her when, out-of the-blue, a horse-drawn carriage crashed into another. It caused a chain effect on all the other carriage. Horses whined in agony as their bones broke with sickening cracks. The riders yelled, and soon the air was filled with anxious screams of alarmed passengers. Men and women escaped from their handicapped carriages, thankful that their injuries were not so severe. Then, from the corner of Maggie-Carter’s eye, a looming object was flying towards her. A flying carriage, she thought dreamily right before she was crushed.
The ocean pulled at her. The folks in the boat didn’t feel a thing, but Maggie-Carter felt it. It tugged on her. Come in, the water lured in a husky whisper, come in. Which she did. She threw her arms over her head and prepared for a lethal dive into the freezing cold depths. Cold salty waves blanketed her pale, lifeless body. Surrounding her were the other folks, victims floating with milky white eyes wide open. The ocean current dragged her body away over the black horizon to nowhere.
She was standing in the desert; her lips were parched and dry. Her eyes squinted off the blasting sands, red and strained. Gales of sand slit her skin as easily as a knife. It coursed in her wounds and burned it like a blazing fire. She screamed for help, but her voice was lost in the screeching wind of the scorching wasteland. Her knees gave in and she dropped on to the searing sand. Particles of glass opened her scratches much more. Droplets of blood stained the yellow around her. Blood, she thought, dazed, I’m going to bleed to death. Again, she wondered about her placid mood, aren’t I supposed to be terrified?
Lost. Maggie-Carter was lost. Before her was a vast white tundra, with no signs of civilization. It her, the numbing chill of icy drafts was biting her already punctured skin. Maggie-Carter watched as blood seeped from her skin, like ruby red gems, flowing like a stream off her arms and legs, only to freeze halfway.
“Why am I not dead?” she whispered through her clenched teeth, “I’m supposed to be dead, but I don’t remember dying. What did I do to deserve this? I haven’t done anything wrong to anyone to equal to this punishment”
She was hard on herself. Even though she was bleeding to death, had many gaping wounds, and had been attacked by a cluster of snakes and a carriage, it did not matter. Anything anyone said wouldn’t matter, she was just going to die in this massive, unknown steppe all alone. To her disappointment, she didn’t die.
“I’m going to have a slow and painful death”, she said gloomily, “I have to keep going to the end”. Against her will, Maggie-Carter continued her perilous journey of suffering.
The rainforest was clogged with bugs and mosquito’s all of whom bit her. Soon she was cloaked in red, blistering boils and infected rashes. She wobbled stiffly over to a tree of lush fruit that tempted her to eat it.
“If I’m going to die anyways, I might as well eat poisoned fruit”.
She reached for an exotic fruit and took a large chunk off of it. Juice trickled down her lips and chin: it was spapy and sugary, the most delicious fruit she had ever eaten. The effect she predicted occurred, her body jolted and her mind flashed “Danger! Danger!” Yet deep inside, Maggie-Carter didn’t feel any danger. It doesn’t matter if I’m suicidal, she declared to herself, afraid to part her lips in the swarm of fruit flies, I’m trapped in this godforsaken place, why not just do what I want to?
She was high in the sky, floating on heavy gray clouds. The bottoms of her pants were soaked her hair was stiff with frost. Beads of tiny, crystallized water clung to her and cascaded into her cuts and froze them sealed. The apple-red blood on her arms and legs were now coated in a thin layer of ice.
The ghostly book, green with leaves sprouting from its spine, hovered in front of her, taunting and mocking.
“Get me out of here!” shouted Maggie-Carter ferociously, all the pain and anger from the day pouring out of her mouth, “Why am I here?! What have I done?”
The book started to shake, as if it were laughing at her.
“Stop it!” she shrieked, “STOP IT!!!”
The long stems snaked away, creeping off the cloud. Maggie-Carter punched the storm cloud beneath her, like she used to do at home to her pillows. The knuckles turned white as the came in contact with the stinging water. The cloud thinned and dissolved and she fell. Dizziness overwhelmed her; it was like she had spin and around and around in the same spot a hundred times.
In the spiraling despair of darkness, Maggie-Carter peered at the rapidly approaching figure.
“Curse you!” she cursed. Mr. Linden’s words tantalized her, echoing in her head”
“I wouldn’t take that if I were you”
It’s a dusty book, what harm would it do”
It was doing a lot of harm now, Why didn’t Mr. Linden take it away from me? Why didn’t he tell me what it could do? She was puzzled and angry, but her anger was pointless. It was too late now.
The book wobbled tottered over on its thin plant-legs, still managing to make itself intimidating and superior.
“What do you want?” Maggie-Carter asked warily, wrapping her arms around her knees like a tiny, scared child.
The book paused and tilted it’s head inquiringly before bowing dramatically.
It unsealed itself and its pages flapped wildly. Puffs of dust caused Maggie-Carter to cough weakly. The book offered no apologies as it turned.
At first the page was blank and green, then colors washed over it and painted a picture. There was a lady with long, stringy dirty blonde hair and wide, horrified brown eyes. A small cherubic little boy by her side was a miniature copy of the woman, and was trembled beside her.
“Mom!” shrilled Maggie-Carter, “Mom! Edward!” Mrs. Smith and Edward were oblivious to her shouts, and were surrounded by advancing flames. She turned on the book, “You evil, foul scum-bag! Why are you tortured them like this!? They didn’t do ANYTHING to you! I haven’t done anything to you!”
The book appeared piteous for a moment, but then turned obnoxious and atrocious. She broke into helpless tears, and eventually cried herself to sleep.
Edward was on fire, and Mrs. Smith was doused in flames. They were howling with terror and fervent screams. No! cried Maggie-Carter, No, don’t die! Don’t leave me! MOM! EDWARD!
She bolted upright. White was the first thought that occurred to her, she was confined in a white room. There were cots in neat rows beside her, and four large windows streaming in sunlight. Being as reasonable as she was, Maggie-Carter guessed she was in the hospital. On her arms were bandaged and on her right arm was a cast, and her legs were smothered in gauze. Her neck was stitched up, so the snake bite must’ve been cured.
“Wait!” she said, “If I’m still injured, then all of this really happened! I was really in a desert, a tundra, a rainforest, and was I really crushed by a carriage, which explains the cast!”
“No” she parried, “It’s all in my imagination! How is it possible?”