Original Fiction: AUTO-FRANKOLOGY

PrintE-mail Written by J. D. Lee

Frank wondered, Who hears the things I'm saying when no one is listening? as he wandered the dusty back halls of the campus library. His nose but inches away from his Personal Electronic Library Log. The device was nested firmly in his hand, bathing his face in artificial light, accentuating his high, knobby cheekbones, bumpy, red chin, and long, thin nose. The black and white text from the screen of his PELL scrolled rapidly across his pale blue eyes as he wandered deeper into the bowels of the library.

Frank was a curious fellow, not in his actions, but in a more literal sense of the word; not a moment would pass in which Frank wasn't daydreaming about this or that. His interests, ever changing as they were, typically resided in the realm of cognitive sciences, his prospective major. It was a thought that Frank most enjoyed thinking. Thought was definitely his favourite thought.

And so Frank moved along the rows of towering bookshelves while thinking intently about thought. His eyes were buried in the scrolling text of available literature on his PELL, but he wasn't reading. He was thinking.

Finally, Frank looked up. Nothing in particular caught his attention, not at first. It was the hanging lantern that dredged up the first feelings of concern in Frank. As he looked around, he realized he didn't recognize this part of the library. He had never been here before, and it was definitely different.

The plastic-faced, florescent domes of beaming, white light had been replaced by hanging lanterns full of inconsistent, flickering flames. Their erratic dances cast fleeting, temperamental shadows that loomed over Frank, moving all around him. The floor was suddenly cracked and tarnished and made of centuries-old, unfinished timber. A complete contrast to the well-installed, short, grey carpet upon which he had been previously been dragging his feet. High above Frank's head swung dozens of chandeliers, each gripping hundreds of small, unlit wax candles. It appeared as if they had all burned out over the years.

How many years? he asked himself as he continued to look around this strange, new, old place.

An enormous bookshelf lined the walls from floor to ceiling, breaking only at the door in which Frank had entered.

Then he noticed the pedestal before him. He approached it cautiously. It stood chest-height and appeared to be made from animal-hide and bones and cedar. Atop it was a large, hand-bound book. Wax in mid-flow, like frozen honey, clung to the pedestal's edges and a handful of tiny, burnt-down wicks neatly surrounded the book. Its cover was made from the same animal skin as the pillar that held it and upon its face were the words, 

Index of Frank

A baffling discovery indeed. Frank jumped back.

Then he moved towards it again, reading the words carefully.

Frank jumped back again. This time his PELL fell loudly from his hand. It didn't faze him.

Frank moved toward the book one more time, this time carefully peeling open the front cover while inhaling in a quiet hiss through his clenched teeth, preparing as if he were about to be bit or burned or prodded or beaten. But none of these things occurred upon its opening.

Each page was ordered in matching columns. In the first column could be found a range of dates and times, and in the second was a number. A strange index.

On the very first page, in the very first line, in the first column was Frank’s birth date and time with only a range of about thirty minutes. As he ran his finger down the page, he saw that it went on like this, in thirty-minute increments, throughout the book, the number in the second column growing linearly, one after the other, consistently up into the hundreds of thousands.

Frank looked at the rows of books surrounding him upon the walls. He saw the same set of growing numbers etched into the shelves all around him. He looked back at the Index of Frank, flipping through the pages until he found what he was looking for; the moment he got lost in the library. It wasn't at the end of the book, it was somewhere toward the middle, something that deeply unsettled Frank. His stomach turned, realizing it wasn't just a record of the past. Or maybe those books were empty, maybe they were all empty and Frank had nothing to worry about. Either way, the thought of it made Frank sick. He stuck with his original goal, refusing to look at the future - written or not - and found the number associated with his most recent thirty-minute increment.

It didn't take him long to find the small hand-bound journal on the wall. The organisation of the books was amazingly simple to traverse. He slowly slid the volume off the shelf and held it tightly in both hands. He took in a deep breath and, while hissing through his clenched teeth, preparing for the worst yet again, opened the cover of the book.

It read,

"Frank wondered, Who hears the things I'm saying when no one is listening? as he wandered the dusty back halls of the campus library. His nose but inches away from his Personal Electronic Library Log." ...

The book fell from Frank's shaking hands. His heart was pounding. His stomach turned over and over. He lowered himself to the floor, perching uncomfortably with his elbows on his knees. Slowly he gathered himself, taking deep breaths as he stared at the open book.

After a moment, he picked it up again and read on, skipping ahead,

... "Frank jumped back.

Then he moved toward it again, reading the words carefully.

Frank jumped back again. This time his PELL fell loudly from his hand. It didn't faze him." ...

Which reminded him. Frank placed his index finger on the page and clasped the book firmly in his hand as he went over to the centre of the room to pick up his PELL. He placed it in his pocket and read on,

... "He took in a deep breath and, while hissing through his clenched teeth, opened the cover of the book.

It read, "Frank wondered, Who hears the things I'm saying when no one is listening? as he wandered the dusty back halls of the campus library. His nose was inches away from his Personal Electronic Library Log."

The book fell from Frank's shaking hands. His heart was pounding. His stomach turned over and over. He lowered himself to the floor, perching uncomfortably with his elbows on his knees. Slowly he gathered himself, taking deep breaths as he stared at the open book.

After a moment, he picked it up again and read on, skipping ahead...

He realised it was an exact log of him, down to his inner most thoughts. He continued reading, absolutely and entirely intrigued,

... "Frank jumped back.

Then he moved toward it again, reading the words carefully.

Frank jumped back again. This time his PELL fell loudly from his hand. It didn't faze him."

Which reminded him. Frank placed his index finger on the page and clasped the book firmly in his hand as he went over to the centre of the room to pick up his PELL. Frank read on,

"He took in a deep breath and, while hissing through his clenched teeth, opened the cover of the book."

Finally, tired of the convoluted loops and self-imbedded actions and thoughts, Frank skipped to the end of the small journal,

... Finally, tired of the convoluted loops and self-imbedded actions and thoughts, Frank skipped to the final page of the small journal. Which read,

...Frank noticed an image running the length of the pedestal in the centre of the room. He recognized it and his stomach sank. It was his tattoo; the one he had reluctantly gotten on his eighteenth birthday...


Frank wondered if he'd find his way out, and the book, it wondered with him.


scroll back to top

Comments  

 
0 #3 Crystle 2013-10-04 00:48
Different.... Very intriguing.
Quote
 
 
0 #2 Crystle 2013-10-04 00:48
Different.... Very intriguing.
Quote
 
 
0 #1 Crystle 2013-10-04 00:48
Different.... Very intriguing.
Quote
 

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner