Dhaka, Bangladesh
Ghost writer

Ghost writer

Going to the library was the highlight of our day. It was close to our house and as of an evening we would take a walk, carrying the books we had to return. The library itself was in an old, stately building. The Reading Room was large and airy, with great bay windows that gave you an enchanting view of the hills in the distance and the park below it. Classic old ones The books rested a floor below and we had to descend a carpeted wooden staircase to enter the library. It was like a colossal cavern filled with innumerable shelves of books. They were not the usual paperback ones with brightly coloured covers, instead, they were hardback in bleak, sombre colours of black, grey or maroon. A lone bulb hung desolately in the centre casting a lacklustre yellow light over the room. An old librarian sat hunched up at his desk near the window, disinterested in the members. We loved the room and the minute we entered we would rush to the shelves scanning them for books we could read. Because the title of the book was not visible on the cover, every book had to be taken down and opened to read the title. It was an engrossing task and we would spend a lot of time in this way among the books. One evening, we packed up our library books and walked off to the library. There was that usual sense of excitement as we got down the steps into the library. Ahead of us was an old man climbing down, and he was taking his own time over it. We hovered impatiently over him, our fingers tapping the banisters and our feet hopping. Finally, we made it down and into the book-filled room. The familiar smell of old books and damp hit us afresh as we entered. Soon, we were engrossed in the books. All of a sudden I found myself in front of the same shelf as the old man. He turned towards me and I was overcome with a sense of dread and foreboding. Just then, one book caught my attention. It was a blue hardback and on the spine was an etched picture of a clover. I opened the book and looked at the title page. As I read, I saw a hand writing on the page. I gasped in shock, almost dropping the book. The old man looked at me, walked over and saw the page. I thought he might faint, but instead he smiled and reaching out, he grabbed the book out of my hand. "Hey! That's my book!" I shouted. "Well, not any more!" said the man, grim faced and sneering. He set off at a fast pace, taking the stairs two at a time. Gone was the doddering old man we had seen earlier. My siblings rushed up when they heard me shout. Quickly, I told them about the man and how he had snatched away the book that wrote by itself. We rushed out of the library and saw him a distance away. We ran to catch up with him. As we drew close we heard him muttering to himself. He was heading to the park. He found a bench and sat down. Hurriedly, he opened the book and stared down at the page. "See, it's writing the page!" I said. All of a sudden, he began to shiver and shudder. In an abrupt movement he shut the book. Then a gust of wind blew in and swallowed him up. We just about heard a scream before he disappeared. When the wind subsided, the book lay on the grass and as we looked at it, it seemed to call out to us to pick it up. We turned tail and ran, as if the devil himself was behind us!

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