Zdzisław Beksiński

The Dangers of One-Click Shopping

“I didn’t order this,” Salwa mumbled to herself. Her face scrunched into a little knot of confusion as she looked at the title that appeared on her old Kindle. She hadn’t connected it to the Internet in months. But, a new book showed up in the little bookshelf thing as if she had bought it. But she hadn’t. She couldn’t have. She left the thing at the office, with no WiFi, for months while she read on lunch at her desk (fucking deadlines). Today’s reading choice was unfortunately The Corrections. (Terrible book, she thought. Still going to finish the piece of pretentious crap.)

She recognized the title of the new book, of course. Necronomicon. She was a Muslim from the Chicago ‘burbs, she wasn’t a hermit. She also read some Lovecraft and was annoyed by it. She read those stories when she was a 17 year-old boy named Muhammad. Some of the nice “Christian” boys tried to use the book to scare her. They tried to mock her saying they would curse her with passages. She didn’t believe them. They were just fools. One even sent her a flirty message on-line not too long ago. She didn’t respond. Wanted to, though.

On the other hand, she saw Evil Dead and loved it.

But why was this book here now?

She tapped the icon. Unlike the hundreds of other books she had read on it, this one flashed black. Words appeared and slowly came into focus. They did not appear as if they were part of the kindle, but they rose as if they were letters let loose from the bottom of a well.

The words were not English. It wasn’t Arabic (so much for the Mad Arab, no?). It was no script she recognized.

“Salwa,” someone knocked on her office door. She jumped a little and looked around. Jim. From shipping.

“Hey, I left that paperwork in your mailbox,” he said. Then he looked at her closer, she looked pale. “You OK?”

“Yeah. Scary book. Thanks.”

“Okay,” he shrugged and walked away. She turned back to the screen and it had become black again. Blacker than if the screen were merely off. She swiped her finger over the screen; as she did her finger went numb. From a mental distance, she watched as it turned blue in front of her, the color slowly rising up one knuckle, then two, and she finally realized it was not numbness but freezing. She left her finger at the edge of the screen, completely lost.

“What is going on?” she said to nobody.

The woman in the office across the hall said, “What?”

The screen shimmered again. A greasy tube of reddened and bright blue flesh, not a tentacle but something more amorphous and alien reached out of the device and stroked gently on her wrist.

Then came the scream, the Kindle falling, plastic and glass shattering. The woman in the next office ran to see. She looked at Salwa standing there, hands at her mouth, breathing heavily and starting to weep as the Kindle moved across the ground toward the door.

Core idea via writing prompt.

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