It's one book.
It weighs eight pounds.
Two inches thick, it's eleven by six, not the usual size for a book. One quarter of an inch thick, the covers are painted wood. So is the spine. The back cover and spine are black. The front cover is white. You assume it's the front cover because the spine and back cover are black so that assumption seems most reasonable.
The pages' exposed edges shimmer emerald green. Touching the green edges, electricity arcs out and strikes you. You draw back, wary of touching it again.
There's no writing on the covers or spine.
As you turn the book in your explorations, you see that the spine changes. You become careful not to touch the green edges. Whatever side is turned to the left side becomes the spine, alternating between white and black. You try turning the book so the spine aligns on the right but no matter how you turn the book, the spine is always to your left. You confirm this by putting it on the table and walking around it. As you pass it on each side, the spine becomes the edge to your left.
You can't see when it changes. The moment is instantaneous, beyond your ability to discern. You think about recording it with your phone. Maybe you will, but not now.
Testing, you carefully left the cover and discover that you can only open the book when the spine is black and on the left.
That puzzles you. There must be a reason for why the spine changes. Since there are no other outward changes, the reasons must be within the book's pages. You need to open the book and see what's inside it. For that matter, you wonder whether the spine will change once you open the book. Having the spine change color by your orientation to it also throws open the question as whether the cover is white. Turning the book over, you discover the spine still turns black and white, remaining on your left, as your turn it.
You must open the book to learn more. Tenderly you lift the white wooden cover, careful not to touch the shimmering emerald green edges. White sparks flash up, jabbing your hands and fingers. They're not deep shocks but there are many of them. You bite your lip against pain and irritation as you wonder what kind of book is it that shocks you when you open it. Not many books would get read if they shock you when you turn the pages, you joke to yourself with a small, nervous smile. Imagine reading it in the bath.
The first page inside is off white and smooth as glass. You touch it with your forefinger. It gives slightly. Bewildered, you stare into the page and prepare to turn to the next page. As you do, you see your face emerging in the page's center. Trippy, you think. How the hell was it doing that? It's not a mirror or a photograph but a drawing in color. There is only your face. You mug, smiling, grinning and frowning, confirming that the drawing changes with your expression.
Leaning down, you visually confirm that other pages exist beneath this page. Braving the shock, you reach out and lift the page, verifying, yes, it will lift and expose another page. You're surprised to see the page's thinness, like a piece of vellum. It doesn't sag like vellum.
Your hands are sweating. You feel warm. You let the page drop without looking at at the next one. You want to know if the spine will change if you turn the book when it's open. You turn the book. The spine doesn't change. Neither does your portrait.
You're a little disappointed. Closing the book, you turn it, check that the spine changes, and then open the book again. Again there are sparks and again, there is your portrait.
This, you think, is surreal. Wishing someone else was there with you, that you were not alone to test this book, you get up for a glass of water to cool your throat and wet your lips, which are hard and dry, smacking together. While you're up, you pour a glass of wine to fortify yourself. Leaning back against the kitchen counter, you sip the wine and study the book from a greater distance.
This is something unusual.
You feel threatened, nervous, and excited.
You're also unsure. Perhaps you should wait until someone else is present to investigate more. That's silly, you think, because it's just a book. You ponder the things that might happen to you. You can think of many things that seem absurd because it is only a book. However, this book has not been like other books. Even the manner that you received it is not like any other.
You search your mental index of friends and companions, seeking the right person to call. It would need to be someone who is brave and intelligent, who can understand and accept your strange story of how you came to have this book, if you explain that part. You ponder whether you would need to explain it and the questions that might arise from your explanation. You insert yourself as the person coming over and looking at the book with someone else. You will need to explain how you came to possess the book.
You would have questions.
You may need to call more than one friend. You may need more than one glass of wine for this, perhaps even more than one bottle.
Who are you going to call?
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com