Even Death May Die (flash fiction)

Here’s a piece of horror flash fiction inspired by the tales and mythos of H.P. Lovecraft. It’s about 600 words and has an estimated reading time of 2 and a half minutes. Let me know what you think!

It was a disturbing book.

Jade found the dusty tome at the bottom of a cardboard box in the used bookstore. A heavy, summer rainstorm had quickly developed outside, and she swears she heard thunder crack in the distance the second she picked the book up.

It was called, simply, The Necronomicon. The chilling title was written in gold in a plain font across the black cover. She paged through it, curious and strangely drawn to the enormous book, which was well over one thousand pages.

Inside the book’s covers were illustrations of ghastly monsters and creatures and what appeared to be spells or incantations. Much of the writing was cursive, and some of the writing also appeared to be in Arabic.

She took the book to the cashier, along with a few paperbacks.

“What the hell is this?” the cashier asked, checking The Necronomicon.

“I found it on the second floor in a box,” Jade replied.

“Hm. I don’t remember seeing this come in. Seems … creepy.”

“Yeah. It’s interesting.”

The cashier eyed her suspiciously. “Whatever you say. Do you need a bag?”

“Yes, please.”

Jade spent that night with a bottle of wine and the disturbing book, skimming through it. She got bored with it eventually and jumped on Tinder. She was half-drunk by then and feeling flirtatious. She left The Necronomicon on her bedside table, where it sat for the next few days, collecting dust.

That weekend, she went out to the bars with her girlfriends. Late on Saturday night, a man with black eyeliner approached her, whispering something in her ear.

“That is not dead which can eternal lie. And with strange aeons, even death may die,” he said.

“What? What the fuck?” Jade was pissed. Before she could throw her drink in his face, the man had vanished.

“Who was that?” her friend, Clarissa, asked.

“I don’t know. Some creep, I guess.”

“What did he say?”

“It sounded like … poetry. I don’t know. Weird.”

Jade stumbled home that night, her friends helping her into her apartment. She had a bit too much to drink, as usual. Clarissa said to call her in the morning to make sure she was alright. Then she locked the door and went to bed.

“Hello, Jade.”

In the darkness of her bedroom came the voice. The same voice from the bar – the creepy man with black eyeliner who whispered the couplet of poetry.

Jade froze, scared stiff.

“I’ve been looking for this book for a while now.”

“What book?”

He emerged from the shadows, holding The Necronomicon. She hadn’t noticed in the bar, but in the light, she saw his long, yellow fingernails. She also saw he was holding a long blade in his right hand.

“You can have it,” Jade pleaded. “Just leave me alone.”

He moved closer. “I’m afraid I can’t. Did you know only five copies of this book still exist? Most of them are under lock and key.”

She moved back, slowly, shaking. “Just leave. Please.”

“It’s illegal to own this book. And once you read it, you’re in on terrible secrets. Terrible, ancient secrets. The minute you opened the pages, you signed your own death warrant.”

Jade screamed, but it was too late. The man with the black eyeliner slashed her to the ground, left the blade on the floor. He walked out with The Necronomicon and vanished into the night.

When the police arrived the next day, they found a blood-stained note on the kitchen table. Scrawled in cursive handwriting, it said:

“That is not dead which can eternal lie.
And with strange aeons, even death may die.”

The End

Author’s Note: The Necronomicon, also referred to as the Book of the Dead, is a fictional book from the work of H.P. Lovecraft. Like much of Lovecraft’s mythos, the book appears in several of his short stories, including “The Call of Cthulhu” and “The Dunwich Horror”. The quote I use in this story (“That is not dead which can eternal lie …”) also appears in a couple of Lovecraft stories. The quote is ascribed to Abdul Alhazred and is a supposed quotation from The Necronomicon.

(Photo from Wikimedia Commons – First page of the manuscript History of the Necronomicon – Source: Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library)

7 responses to “Even Death May Die (flash fiction)”

  1. Lovecraft came up with some really creepy stories — and your story follows that mood well. If I ever saw that book, I don’t know if I’d open it out of curiosity or run away!

  2. […] Specks of dust, winding roadsMurdering fathers in dim country lightsTimes for mourning & sheltering facesTimes to pull starlight from chest cavitiesAnd drop it into chasms in the fieldListen to the bursting of the earthSweet jasmine smell of decayAnd bloodied bed sheetsSoaking with animal lustI told you things would never be the sameBut you kept driving anywayAnd now we’re going to die here […]

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