Tales from the ’Script
Professor Perry rose from his chair. “Mr. EE,” he said. They shook hands. “So glad you could come.” He pointed to a vacant seat. “Please, make yourself comfortable.” The professor’s huge mahogany desk was bare but for an elaborate and expensive looking pen-holder. “It really is most gracious of you to take time from your busy tour schedule to visit us here. With your extensive experience and expertise, we feel sure you are the man to help us.”
“Your telegram suggested some concern about a book, Professor?”
“Indeed, sir, indeed.” Perry placed a volume on his desk. EE’s eyes widened. “So, you recognize it?”
“Perhaps, professor. Perhaps.” EE regained his composure.
“One of our researchers, God rest his soul, located it: South America, I believe. He was able to have it shipped to us before… Well, sir, it has the appearance of the Book of Lost Souls.”
“Really?” EE adjusted his pince-nez and leaned forward.
“So. Do you believe it is genuine?”
“Professor, the true Book of Lost Souls, is bound in human skin and written in blood; and there is only one way to verify its provenance. Read it.”
“Go on. Read a bit.”
“But the words mean certain death. No man has survived to repeat them.”
“But are you not a man of science? Read.”
Perry opened the book. The room fell cold and the lights flickered. EE smiled.
“Ahem.” The professor peered at the scrawled writing. “Si-- Since the dawn of man--”
“--authors have held a special place--”
“You know what it says!”
“Some of my finest work…”
With uncanny agility, EE drew the professor’s pen from its holder and with it pierced Perry’s jugular.
“So the curse is true,” the professor gurgled with his last breath.
“No,” EE said, “It’s piffle. I’ve got a truckload of these. It just pisses me off when people get my books second-hand from the Amazon instead of buying direct.”