Friday, March 20, 2015

The Book Wyrm

So, io9 has these concept art writing prompts.  I tried my hand at one about a month ago.  It's called The Book Wyrm.  You'll have to visit the page to see the art, but here is my entry:

The book had been belching forth creatures since Damien acquired it the night before. First, the mockingbird flew out. It sang in harmony with Damien's Wagner playing on the stereo, filling his studio apartment with delightful music. That was fine. Then, the monkey came out and raided his refrigerator. Damien was amused and then, after mopping the mess off the kitchen floor, annoyed.

When the hippopotamus emerged, Ms. Watkins next door called the police. Unable to explain the hippo's provenance, the police sent animal control to visiti Damien. Of course, the cursed book simply lay still and unassuming during both official visits, making him seem like an insane man imagining creatures coming from books—or perhaps an endangered species trafficker with poor lying skills. The nice men from animal control took Sheila (for that was what he'd named the hippo) away along with George the monkey. The mockingbird they let him keep.

As soon as they left, Damien tried to shut the book, but it resisted him. It wouldn't close. After an extended session with a C-clamp and much cursing, Damien thought the problem was solved. Just to be sure, he drove spikes between the covers. Self-satisfied, Damien pulled down his Murphy bed and slipped off to sleep.

He awoke to a loud thud. Before he opened his eyes, he knew it was the book. The faint acrid smell of smoke was in the air, as if someone struck a match and let it burn out. He saw a flickering dim glow coming from the book. It wasn't enough to see by, so he turned on the lamp.

The book lay open. In addition to the scars left by his spikes, small holes were burnt in pages, the next of which was lifting. A small, reptilian head poked out and glanced around his studio. A tiny gout of flame flickered from the creature's lips.

He picked up the cuddly little reptile and opened the window onto the fire escape. He stepped out into the warm July night air. Pulling out a pack of cigarettes, Damien held the reptile in front of him and waited for the tiny flame of the reptile's breath to return. As it did, he took a long drag. "Well," thought Damien with a self-satisfied smile, "let them try to explain this as endangered species trafficking!"