Rupert was a curious teenager. At age 14, words like "don't" or "can't" seemed to only further instigate his curiosity about what he should or could do. One day, as a bored Rupert wondered around his house's attic he was strongly reprimanded by his father when found.
"This is my stuff, you have no business being here and snooping around," his father told him while strongly grabbing to his shoulder.
Rupert had never seen such a reaction from his dad. And as much as he tried to, he could not stop his mind from wondering about what could possibly exist within the boundaries of that attic to cause his father to get so mad.
The next day Rupert waited until his parents left the house for dinner with their friends and, without a shadow of a doubt, again made his way into the attic. His younger sister, Kathy, tried to protest, saying she would tell dad about his disobeying his father's explicit orders. A master sweet-talker however, Rupert was quickly able to not only convince his sister not to say anything, but also got her to join his "adventurous exploration into the realm of the unknown."
Rupert and Kathy had already spent a good 20 minutes wondering around the attic but nothing unusual was found. Surely there were some old pictures of his father with what must have been some old girlfriend of his and a few private family letters, but nothing which Rupert thought could have justified his father's reaction.
"Hey Rup, look, an old story book," said Kathy, interrupting Rupert's thought process.
Rupert turned to his sister and quickly took the old book off of his sister's hand, in the way that only older brothers can do.
"Let me see this..." said Rupert more to himself than to Kathy.
Rupert started glancing at the first few pages of that strange book. To his amusement the first chapter described the tragic story of one Philip Taylor - in fact the name of the chapter was Philip.
"Hey, look sis, the main character has our last name!" said Rupert, hearing a "cool" back from Kathy.
The first few pages had nothing interesting in them - they just described Philip's life from the time he first arrived to America, how he had met his wife, his children, bla bla bla. Boring stuff, thought Rupert. But on page 5, the main character, Philip, discovered an ancient book which he instantly became intrigued by. According to the book, what Philip had found was a cursed book which drove the lives of those who read it into tragedy and misery. Surely enough, soon after Philip found the book, his life was never the same. His wife had died a few months later from a mysterious disease, and believing the book had been the root of such incident, Philip tried, in vain, to destroy it.
Philip's failure to destroy the book had led him into madness: believing his family had been cursed by God, Philip tried to kill all of his family, and himself, by setting fire to their house. Philip and four of his five children perished that day, but his eldest, John, was able to survive.
"What a horrible story," said Kathy. "I don't think we should read anymore."
Rupert glanced at Kathy while still holding the book, and though he was not easily impressed by horror stories, something within him told him he should do as his sister said. Nevertheless he kept turning the pages.
The next chapter told about John's life, which also had seemed to end in tragedy. The next chapter told of John's only daughter, who had suffered a similar tragic fate as the rest of her family had so many years before her. And the book always seemed to play a pivotal role. It was unclear how the same book kept appearing in these people's lives, but it did.
Rupert could now feel his heart racing, the voice in his head telling him to close that book immediately. But he couldn't help but keep turning the pages, even if now he was just quickly glancing over the pages. Until finally he reached a chapter about one Lloyd Taylor - the same name as the grandfather he never got to know.
According to the book, Lloyd had been a prestigious college professor at a local university, where he led the Department of Religion. In fact Lloyd seem to be somewhat of an expert in ancient cults and witchery, and had discovered that the best way to deal with the book that had brought upon so much tragedy to his ancestors was not to try to get rid of it or destroy it, but to keep it and control the impulse to read it. And that seemed to have been working until Lloyd's girlfriend, a former student of his some twenty years his junior, found the book and begun reading it. She was seven months pregnant when a bus hit her car and killed her instantly - though the unborn child she carried was apparently saved by doctors. Unable to cope with such tragedy, Lloyd turned to a couple he was close with to raise his child Robert, and was never seen again.
Robert was Rupert's father's name.
As Rupert turned the page to the next chapter, he saw the name Robert written on the top of a blank page. He turned one more page and saw the name Rupert, also on top of a blank page. He quickly went through the rest of the pages in the book, but they were all blank, without any further names written on them.
But when Rupert turned back to the page which had his name written on top, he could now see a detailed text of what his life had been until the day he adventured himself into that attic and found an ancient book hidden in the middle of his father's things.
Alarmed, he turned a few pages back to see that the chapter belonging to Robert had also been filled with text. And the text ended when Robert, arriving alone at his house after feeling ill at a dinner with friends, found his son Rupert and his daughter Kathy reading from an old book in the attic.
The pages beyond that remained blank.
But could anything be done to prevent history from repeating itself?
© Carlos Frederico Rosenwald, 2018. All rights reserved.