There are strange beings and phenomenon that are seen and occur every single day which modern science can’t truly explain. There are other horrible worlds and eerie dimensions constantly pressing upon our own, and only a select few with rare minds that are able to see it. In this case, the one who would have an encounter with an entity from these bizarre realms would be just an ordinary student and young man with a love of learning.
The student often spent his days in his school’s library or at home, with volumes of books on folklore and mythology spread all over his desk. He’d read countless texts and take multiple pages of notes at a time. He excelled in all of his coursework and participated eagerly in class.
Despite his studious nature, the student was not a stay-at-home recluse. He’d frequently engage in discussions with fellow colleagues and classmates regarding ideas, philosophy, or their daily lives. He wasn’t the kind of person you would find attending wild parties with excessive drinking or dancing; just the person who would participate in deep conversations at a round table. Despite his calm personality and his bookish mannerisms, his life would ultimately take a turn for the absolute worst. His placid, peaceful life of pursuing his interests would come to an abrupt halt and would turn into a nightmarish descent into horrible madness.
It all started with a dream. The student envisioned himself walking down the street where he grew up in, except it would be absolutely silent. Generally, his street was a quiet one with not much going on in it. But in this case, the silence was so heavy that it almost had a loudness to it. The houses seemed decrepit and alone and there was a foreboding feeling looming about. The sky was a sick, aged grayish color without any sunlight glinting through.
The lush, green grass and the trees which were generally bespectacled with flowers and leaves were absent. The grass had turned into a withered, dry yellow and the trees were now twisted and rotted and their boughs were barren.
Everything was forlorn and destroyed. It appeared grotesque and falling apart, as if anything that even showed a vague sign of life had died or been deserted.
Despite this, he felt eyes peering at him from somewhere. The student was unable to pin-point what it was, but something instinctively told him that it was coming from somewhere above him. He was standing beside a towering, thick tree trunk and he gazed upward.
On one of the long, thin clawed branches sat an eerie, dark vulture staring down at him.
The very large, hideous bird was unlike any sort of vulture he had seen in documentaries or in books. It appeared to be hunched over, staring at him intently with its blood red eyes that seemed to be glowing menacingly. Its fleshy head was a dull, black color with its black beak shining like a polished blade in the sunlight. The tip of its beak appeared to be shaded silver. Its scaly, monstrous gray feet were clinging onto the branch with its razor-sharp talons.
Both the student and the vulture’s eyes were locked onto each other. The bird of prey’s flaming eyes burned into his. The more he stared at the unmoving creature, the more he became disturbed. He felt it analyzing him carefully, the way this type of animal does when it looks at a dying animal to claim it as its meal. The horror began to increasingly take hold of him as the wicked bird sat there observing him almost mockingly with a malignity so immense that it seemed to be crushing his soul. Finding the strength, the young man whirled around and dashed down those desolate streets to escape from that evil thing’s eyes. Even though he was not facing it, he could still feel the vulture’s eyes on him, locked on him the way a vulture can see its prey from incredible distances.
As he ran, he prayed that the vile bird wouldn’t take flight and chase him. The very thought of that filled him with utter dread, and he sprinted even quicker than before. He felt as though this entire town had become the vulture’s domain. The student felt himself becoming trapped like a desperate rat searching for a way out of an endless maze and the bird of prey was waiting for him to die of both fright and exhaustion with its sinister red eyes following him forever.
Until finally, he woke up.
He shot up in bed, sweating profusely and trembling beneath his covers. It was morning. He reached for his phone and saw that it was 7:30 AM. He had enough time to shower and leave for his classes.
He breathed a sigh of relief. It had been a strange, unsettling nightmare he had. Where it had come from, he didn’t know. The folklorist began to quietly and calmly slip out of bed, glad to return to his books, classes, and the peacefulness of his everyday life. When suddenly, his gladness shifted to horror.
Lurking out of his closed window on a lone tree branch, sitting there gazing at him with those devilish red eyes, was the same vulture of his dreams. The student of folklore cried out in fear and immediately buried his head beneath his blankets. How could it be? He had never known a single vulture to be out in the wild around these parts. The only place where he had observed vultures there was at the zoo. What made it even weirder was that the species of vultures that were housed there did not at all resemble the one he dreamed of and was spotted outside of his window. Quaking with terror, he began to slowly lower the blankets he was holding. His breathing picked up as his line of sight slowly came into view of his room and he could see the glass of his window. He sighed with the greatest relief when he peered out into the blue sky and an empty tree branch.
There was no nightmarish vulture perched there. It was either his imagination or there was a bird there that he mistook for a vulture but it had left. Either way, there was nothing to fear. The rest of that morning, so far, went without any sort of disruption.
Later in the day, while the student was sitting at a lecture in one of his classes, he was diligently taking notes as he always did. The bizarre nightmare and the insidious bird of prey were nothing more than a dying memory now. Everything seemed normal at first.
The teacher was discussing Norse mythology. The old scholarly man was discussing how Huginn and Muninn, two ravens that were under the direct command of mighty Odin and would bring him information from all over the world. As the teacher spoke, the young man’s mind went back to the vulture, thinking how ravens and vultures are both affiliated with death, tragedy, and destruction.
The student then turned to gaze outside the window for a moment, and to his utter dismay, there it was again. The devilish vulture from his nightmare stood on the other side of the window sill. It appeared like a terrible blotch of evil black and red shadow in contrast to the sunshine and brightness of the day.
Its ember-like fiery eyes shined hungrily and menacingly. The young man dropped his pencil and a cold hand ran down his spine. He felt his heart accelerate a bit as he stared at the bird perched there on the sill, eyeing him like an animal on its last breath.
He turned his eyes towards the textbook in front of him and tried his hardest to ignore it. He knew he couldn’t make a scene in the classroom. But he couldn’t but help but wonder if anyone else noticed. Trying his best to avoid his eyes looking in the direction of the window, he scanned the classroom and shot a glance at his teacher to see if any of them saw the evil bird staring at him. It appeared that none of them did. But how could that even be? It was impossible to miss. That vile entity was partially blocking the sun, casting an enormous shadow into the classroom.
For an agonizing sixty minutes, the folklorist tried his hardest not to look around. He couldn’t stand that fiend sitting there in front of him, almost demanding that his eyes land on it.
After his session ended, he immediately stood up and scurried out of the classroom as quickly as he could. He quickly made his way to a place which he knew entirely lacked windows; the library. The library was a comfortable spot where he often spent hours reading on numerous subjects that interested him. In this case, he knew he would need something to completely banish those terrible thoughts. He couldn’t let that damned thing grab hold of his mind.
He reached for book after book; from literary fiction to historical textbooks. Absolutely none of them did anything to rid him of the vulture’s hideous silhouette lurking in his thoughts.
He considered the school’s library to be his sanctuary. It was his place to gather his thoughts and where he satisfied his love of learning. If this place wouldn’t give him comfort, there are few other places that would. His home reminded him of that nightmare and the menacing vulture he saw at his window. He sat at one of the desks in one of the farthest corners of the room, his hands pressed against his lowered head tightly in duress.
Then, suddenly, something came into his mind. He would do something a little bold, something he’d never done before and was completely out of his nature. Notably, only a handful of students gain access to what he was thinking of, but he was a student that was well-liked and who had made good friends with the library staff and had a clean record of returning books in a timely manner and being responsible. He wasn’t expecting to get it, but nonetheless, it was better than just discarding the notion and never truly knowing.
The student was going to check out a very rare, little-known but highly intriguing book that his school happened to own a copy of. Only a handful of prestigious schools around the globe had a copy of it; Norway, Mexico, France, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The rules of the libraries at those schools regarding this literature were the same in each country: Students were allowed to check the book out only for a certain length of time.
Secondly, students could not read it in the general reading area. They were required to read it in a certain room which was under surveillance by security cameras and they could not have their phones or any other device capable of recording inside of it. Third, and although this rule was relative to the student, they were encouraged to have a written request from a teacher to gain access to it. The book itself was nameless for many years and the author or authors were completely unknown when it was first discovered in the 1700s in Mexico owned by a wealthy landowner who was likely unaware of what they had in their possession.
Various chapters, or books as they were known in the texts themselves in the most recent English translation, were written in various languages from all over history. The languages ranged from Old Spanish, to Old English, to Latin, Sanskrit, to even ancient Egyptian and Mesoamerican hieroglyphics and hieroglyphs respectively. Scholars from all over the globe have met together to rigorously compare notes and translations with each other. This particular text was so bizarre that it even challenged the mystery of the Voynich manuscripts.
They couldn’t agree on what sort of book it was. Some considered it a grimoire of sorts and others believed it was a scientific text. The actual contents of the nameless book were supposedly very dark and eerie, mentioning folklore that was unheard of, lost realms and unknown dimensions, and hideous, undocumented creatures. By dint of these topics, the nameless book came to be known as The Book of Lost Secrets.
Despite knowing all of this, the student never had access to the book or even seen any images of it online or in photographs. He was fortunate enough to be attending a school in which they had one of the few copies of it in the world.
The librarian smiled warmly when they saw the all-too-familiar student. The librarian was surprised to see that the folklorist student did not have any literature to check out. They also noticed their slightly pale visage and the mildly concerned look in their eyes. The student generally appeared with a calm disposition. It was very strange to see them appear troubled and uneasy.
When asked if he could have access to The Book of Lost Secrets, the librarian’s amicable smile faded, stood up and quietly said, “Please follow me.”
Without any words being spoken, the student followed the elderly librarian into the back where there were numerous other bookshelves filled with old classical works. It was miraculous that this student was going to have access to a book that only scholars and experts had access to.
After turning through a small maze of corridors, the librarian turned to the student and requested that he hand over his phone and any other electronic device. He was informed that he would get them back when he was finished with the text. The young man politely handed over his phone and the librarian entered a code into a numerical keypad embedded on the wall at the side of the door. They then reached for the doorknob and turned it, and stepped aside for the student to enter. “You have five hours with the text,” the librarian reminded him. “Please be very careful with it, and I’m sure you will be.”
The young folklorist nodded his head once and proceeded inside into the white, rectangular room with a large gray table in the center and only a single seat at the southern end of it. Right behind the opened door, there was a single red button. It was to be pressed as soon as the occupant of the room was finished looking over the bizarre book to notify the librarian on duty to let them out.
In between the table and the white wall there was a small stand on which the endlessly mysterious yet little-known piece of literature rested on. Right next to it was a small translation booklet authored by the scholars who had translated what they could.
As the student stepped forward, the librarian quietly added, “Be very careful reading that book. Often, students who read even a small handful of pages are hardly ever the same, and it’s often not for the better.”
Before the student was able to turn around and inquire about the elder’s peculiar and unnerving remark, the door was sealed. His eyes gazed forward and he made his way over to the book. When he approached it, he immediately felt a strange sort of ethereal energy emitting from it.
It was extremely thick, a tome, without a doubt. The cover was very chilling; it had strange, eerie markings around the edges of the book’s borders. There appeared to be strange flower-like designs on some of the sections, along with mysterious bug-eyed figurines with tentacles for arms. There was also a large eye-like shape in the center of it, seemingly staring into the soul of the person who was going to pick it up. There were also unusual star constellations designed on some of it along with unknown runes (or at least they gave the impression that that is what they were) on the book.
He carried it back to the table and carefully placed it back on the table. The young student didn’t open it right away. For a moment, he examined the cover. There was something so strangely unique about it.
When he moved his head to stare at it from other angles, he swore that he saw images shift, change, or disappear. He thought sometimes he saw new patterns or images randomly appear and others vanish. Despite this unsettling thing, he opened up the first page, and he began to study the age-old rotted pages of the book.
Lines upon lines of extraordinary text flowed before him. He carefully studied their bizarre appearance. He noticed strange illustrations going along with the text, showing eerie gorgon-like creatures with long snake-like bodies, creatures that looked like a grotesque hybrid between a crow or raven, a snake, and a bat. There were what appeared to be mathematical formulas or something resembling numbers. Images of star constellations, chilling drawings of blotchy, shadowy beings and strange circular objects that appeared like portals were scattered across the pages. The artist who made these illustrations also drew strange lines or roads connecting them all together.
It was difficult to explain just how many ghastly and nightmare-inducing images and illustrations there were in this book. Page after page had strange, unexplainable and hauntingly menacing pictures and drawings in them. The student constantly pondered in his mind what sort of sick, depraved individual took the time to create these horrifically unspeakable things into this book? Each page filled his soul with dread as he nervously turned each one.
Nameless creatures and figures, diligently painted and drawn, seemed to be crawling out of the pages and out at him. The student could almost hear the hissing, clicking, and gruesome dry rustling noises as the centipedes and devil-esque beings seemingly writhed and danced madly from the pages. After he had his terrible fill of the monsters, beings, and entities in the book, he turned back to the first page and opened the professionally-compiled translation book. He knew that, although the scholars did their best to crack the coding of this mysterious and horrible text, it ultimately was guessing at best. He read the first few paragraphs, occasionally glancing at the morbid illustrations as he paused briefly to envision it.
This is what it said:
There are worlds and realms beyond ours that cannot be observed by the ordinary human eye. These other dimensions and worlds were written and spoken of by people since ancient days. Very few men were ever granted the opportunity to behold the beings and entities that lurked in the worlds and universes beyond our own.
There is the damned Realm of Shadows in which evil shadow beings born from darkness dwell and feed off of the essence of the shadows in our world and take over it, forming a wicked doppelganger that will cause deliberate destruction and chaos. Often, they attempt to abduct individuals into their lair to torture and later drain them of their life energy.
There is also the Illusion Masters, which are enormous, hideously indescribable giant beings that abduct individuals and absorb their knowledge and memories. They project these mental components that they stole onto an artificial environment they create to study the behavior and patterns of their subject. The Illusion Masters purposefully add small differences to the false environments to slowly drive the subject into madness from the subtle changes of the world they once knew.
The wicked and mischievous Dream Elves lurk within the horrible Realm of Nightmares, which, although less sinister than the Realm of Fear which gives birth to the terrible entities of the Realm of Nightmares, it still harbors many terrible things. While there, they grow very powerful and travel through the dreams of people upon the Earth. Once they enter a dream, they absorb the fears that reside in the mind of the dreamer and exploit them for their own amusement. Other times they merely weave their own original, terrible twists and create unpleasant dreams. If the dreamer has a mind that is sensitive enough, they will capture the dreamer’s soul and take it to the Realm of Nightmares to wander among hideous monsters and terrible beings for all eternity.
An overwhelming feeling of terror and resentment began to grow inside of the student. His tender, fragile mind normally dedicated to studying and learning now grew weak with horrifying images and a ghastly mythology, blinding him. He felt it becoming more difficult to breathe and his hands shivered as he turned the pages of this evil book.
At times, the hideous beings and creatures that live in these dimensions and realms can break through the gates of time and space and appear before those who are sensitive enough to perceive their presence. They cannot be seen or heard by those around them often. The ancients frequently told elaborate tales and myths of fantastic beasts and beings that are considered to exist only in the minds of humans. In truth, the beings they observed were real but are invisible and untouchable to many.
The student closed his eyes to let this unsettling information sink in. Every creature he’d ever read about that he considered just regional folklore, whether it be a goblin lurking deep within the woodlands or a hideous abomination like the Mothman of West Virginia, could possibly be a real entity. Could it be that, what experts labeled mental disorders or experiences such as Schizophrenia and hypnagogia, were just gateways to other lost, sinister dream worlds and realms? Even if it was just for a brief second?
When the student’s eyes opened, he screamed out in absolute terror at what stood before him. He fell backwards and the book went flying out of his grasp. It was difficult to say whether he shrieked due to what he saw or if the contents of The Book of Lost Secrets awakened an even more powerful fear inside of him that was already brooding.
The hideous vulture, which he had tried to escape all day, stood perched on top of the stand where the book originally had been. Now, without the sunlight obscuring its appearance, it was even more horrible to look at than before.
It had a mixture of purple and black feathers that appeared burnt and ruffled and a sharp, silvery beak. Its fleshy head was completely black and it did not have two eyes. Instead it had three, one in the center, each one glowing crimson red with a lurid, fiery malice. It merely sat there, observing with those circular, unblinking eyes like an otherworldly sentinel.
As the mysterious text went flying towards the strange vulture, it did not move. It appeared unfazed, mindlessly burning into his soul. The student stood up, wobbling from weakness and fear, and pressed his back towards the door. As he stared at it, images of his nightmare flashed before him. The vulture perched in that decayed old tree, and now there it was before him; the same demonic creature.
More and more he felt a sort of terrible loathing and resentment growing towards the fiendish bird of prey. It was no longer something to just be feared. It was an object of extreme loathing and horror. The longer he stared at it, the more the young folklorist felt his sanity slipping away from him. The very thought of this being shattering out of the gates of dream-worlds and unknown dimensions just to mock and torture him was madness.
The student whirled around and began pounding and scratching at the door, begging to be let out. The sound of absolute dread and desperation in his voice was enough to send chills down even the bravest person’s spine. Froth spewed from his lips as he screamed to be freed from this room with that terrible book and the evil vulture. He completely both ignored and had forgotten the red button.
That horrible creature… was it truly there? Was he just imagining it? No, it was sitting there silently, peering into his thoughts. He was unable to escape from it. No matter where he went, it was watching him.
After what seemed like an eternity, the good librarian came rapidly and let out the poor student, who was as pale as death and sweating profusely. For about five minutes, the young folklorist could not speak. He merely sat there, staring dumbly into space and trembling uncontrollably, letting out small gasps with unintelligible words. The librarian contacted an ambulance and they picked up the student. They were unable to discern what made him suffer such an overwhelming nervous shock to his system.
Soon after, the student was discharged from the hospital after “recovering” from his severe mental breakdown. But he wouldn’t dare let the medical staff know about what he still saw on a daily basis; a horrible vulture still perched outside his window, seemingly taking delight in his breakdowns and fits of insanity as he spotted it in the corner of his eye or standing at the end of his bed in the dead hours of the night.
He would frequently have nightmares of it, scenes of madness and bizarre extra-dimensional portals being torn open through space with the large, grotesque vulture flying through it silently but swiftly, chasing him through a shadowy realm with the skies filled with unknown star constellations and unusual rock formations hovering in mid-air. His dreams strongly resembled passages and descriptions he had found in the Book of Lost Secrets, which still sits in that same room, awaiting its next reader.
Everywhere he turned to he’d see that Hellish vulture gazing at him from school, his home, or in his dreams. He knew it was the same vulture, even though staring at it for too long was enough to make him delirious with horror and he’d feel faintness coming on. Those three hideous red eyes were unmistakable, even if they were seen for only a moment.
From that day forth until his untimely suicide three years later, the student continuously saw the vulture plaguing him and growing increasingly worse. Eventually, it never left his sight. No matter where he turned to, the bird of prey would be standing nearby, endlessly staring at him. That horrible vulture in the dream…