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Halloween Writting Contest Entry

The following story was submitted as an entry in The Wanderer's third annual Halloween Writing Contest.

"Vanished" by Michael Kassabian

Ten people have vanished over the past decade. No one knows how.

You could say that all of the disappearances started when the town voted to have the library rebuilt. There had been disagreements of course, but they officially decided to have the library rebuilt on Halloween. One year later, they tore down the old library.

When?

Halloween.

They couldn't have chosen a worse day. A full-fledged storm was brewing when the wrecking ball arrived to attack the old library. All that could be heard was the crash of the waves two blocks away, the crack of lightning in the stormy gray sky, and the howl of the wind.

The architect and his most trusted advisors had done a final sweep through the old library, looking for any mislaid objects or books. They found nothing except a small book hidden away in the far corner of the basement on the west wing. It looked like a foreign language book, except none of the advisors could decipher it. The last person to handle the book, the architect, thought the book looked old and eerie, as if it contained some kind of dark magic. The architect decided the book was of no importance, and dropped it back into the corner where he had found it. Then they tore the building down, until all that was left was a large monument of dust and dirt.

The library was finished in exactly one year. It was a beautiful library, with hundreds of books lined up in perfect order. The library had already been officially opened, and the architect of the building had been hanging around there every day, seeing the look on people's faces as they walked into the fabulous building. He loved seeing enthusiastic kids look at picture books, seeing people find information on the new computers, and just seeing the smiles and awe on the faces of passersby.

On Halloween night, there was a celebration at the library honoring the fine job the architect had done. After greeting several visitors, the architect wandered off into the west wing of the library, where the adult mystery section was now located. He browsed the wide selections of books, when one book caught his attention. It was the same old, eerie book he tossed aside one year ago before the library was torn down. He was astonished and held the book in his hands in disbelief. Suddenly, he heard whispering voices. He whirled around, looking in all directions. There was no one there. He shook off the feeling of uneasiness and quickly put the book back on the shelf. The voices sounded again, and this time, the architect felt more vulnerable and scared. Something came upon him. He screamed.

A man was walking through the adult sections when he heard the scream. He ran to the aisle where the architect was standing, only to see the architect's body twist in the air and fade into oblivion. The man was stunned and dumbfounded. He quickly ran to the local police station and reported what he had seen and heard.

For the next few days, investigators looked for clues that might have led to the architect's disappearance. They found no evidence whatsoever, and abandoned the case. The architect was never seen again.

For the next nine years, identical situations occurred on the very same day, in the same part of the library. It had become a topic of discussion in the town when gossip was slow, and the secrets of the disappearances had yet to be revealed. Although some people say the whole thing is a hoax, the man who saw the architect disappear knows better.

And if you go into the adult mystery section on the west wing of the library, some people say you can still hear the screams and whispers of the spirits that lurk in the aisles when they all disappeared on those fatal days.