The man did the one thing he didn’t expect:
He woke up.
He could tell there was something wrong immediately. His neck ached. He felt sick. He struggled to his feet, and nearly collapsed on the way up.
Something was wrong.
He wondered if he was injured. Aside from...
The man’s hand drifted up towards his neck, but he felt nothing amiss.
No. He felt nothing.
His hand slipped through his neck entirely. His eyes widened. His hands convulsed.
His hands weren’t there.
He looked at himself. His hands, his arms, his legs, his body. Nothing there. Just wisps, mist gathered in the shape of a human.
The specter shook.
The specter made sure to stay away from the librarians.
He wasn’t sure how long he’d been in the library. He’d spent so long counting the hours in the forest, but since he’d arrived in the library he’d lost track, delirious in the wake of his...
His body was gone. Except... not entirely. He still had a face. He could still see, he could hear, he could form words -- not that he’d done much of that.
He kept a wide berth from the librarians, in the wake of his last encounter.
But one day he peeked out of his nook, and saw none of the librarians.
There was a sense of caution in him. But his curiosity eventually won out.
The specter left his hiding spot. He started to traverse the library. Maybe he’d find the entrance and leave entirely.
Maybe the librarians would catch him, but--
(--What could they do? Kill him again?)
He found the librarians, after some time. All of them, clustered together in one big group.
They were watching something.
There were people. Not in the library itself, but up on some sort of screen. The librarians were watching them.
There were a lot of them. One large group. But there weren’t only people.
Arrayed against them was a monster. A bizarre amalgamation. Loosely humanoid. Bloody red. An odd amount of limbs.
The group battled against the monster. It was like something out of a story. The librarians were enraptured enough they failed to notice the specter.
The monster was receiving wounds more than it dealt them out. It changed. Bloody skin gave way to dark chitin.
The librarians seemed excited. Some of them began to chatter to each other.
The specter watched. It squinted at the group.
Despite itself, it couldn’t help but hope for the monster to win.
Its hands burned red.