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The Book
By: Melanie Gutierrez and Jordi Salgado

You walk down the empty street where you spend most of your nights walking without a purpose. You stop at a deserted street corner. The light is red so you press the button repeatedly and wait for it to turn green, even though you know each press won’t make a difference.

On the opposite side of the road, there is a black figure. You stare long enough for It to take notice of you. When the light changes, you try to walk slowly to catch a glimpse of the face. Only the figure doesn’t move.

It simply stands in place and like It, you freeze in the middle of the road. You make intense eye contact. Staring at It sends shivers down your spine.

As if you were cast out of your own world, you jump at the sound of a car horn. An angry driver yells at you to move. You turn to look back at the figure when you notice It has disappeared, so you begin to walk, hoping that what you just saw was merely your imagination.

But you feel uneasy. Something is tugging at your shirt and you suddenly feel the urge to turn around. Nothing is there. As you turn back to continue walking home, there It stands. Frightened, you ask, “Who are you?” barely able to keep your voice steady, but It remains silent.

You take one step backward, prepared to run but as soon as you do, you feel a cold grasp crushing your wrist. You scream for help but no one hears you. It pushes a hand towards your mouth while whispering, “Shhhh,” ever so softly.

Your fight or flight senses start to kick in. It turns around and as you glance to the right, you notice It is about to grab something. You begin to feel a burning sensation and you ask yourself, “Am I going to die tonight?”

As It turns back, with utter rage you swing your right fist into what you believe is Its face. You feel a cold droplet of blood dripping from your knuckles. Everything goes silent and you know that death is imminent.

Suddenly, It falls into a fit of laughter. You begin to struggle, to pull away from the clutching hand. When It finally lets go, you are backhanded with such unimaginable force that you fall back, holding your burning cheek.

It stands before you as you cower in fear, wondering what is to come. It points off into the distance and when you turn to look, nothing is there. You don’t want to turn back, expecting something even more terrifying than what you have just experienced.

Mustering up enough courage as possible, you turn back and see nothing. You wonder in terror how someone, no something can disappear so fast. There is a brown leather bound book on the ground. The cover has your name embroidered onto it.

You slowly reach for this book and when you know it’s safe to touch, you flip to a random page. The pages look old and wrinkled as if they had been stored away for centuries in a pile of dust. You start reading and recognize this story. You recognize it because you have lived it.

You turn to the first few pages and read about your birth in much more detail than you can recall. You become curious and explore the last page, hoping to catch a glimpse into your future. Maybe you will have the job you’ve always dreamed of or maybe you will meet your soul mate unexpectedly.

With the book in hand, you stand up and walk toward the corner where you wait for the light to change. You flip through the middle trying to find this exact moment but something is wrong. The middle talks about some events that happened just a few years ago.

Getting closer and closer to the end, you count how many pages are left. Three. Only three pages left. In a state of shock, you freeze. Flipping to the next page, you read about the figure you saw not too long ago.

And the last page leaves you forgetting how to breathe all together. “Death will meet you in the crossroad,” and the last thing you hear is your gasp over the honks a car you haven’t noticed.