Although still covered with a layer of dust, John could see the book’s blood-red binding was ornately stamped with strange markings, the front cover finely tooled with a border of scrolls and flourishes. In the very center, a single word served as its title:
The doctor scooted his chair back and sat. “Are you sure, John?” Harwell asked without looking up. “Are you absolutely sure you want to know this?”
He could hear it in the doctor’s voice—a final chance to turn back, to reconsider his decision. John answered without hesitation. “Yes. Please.”
Lucius Harwell raised his glazed eyes. “Come over here and lay your hand on the book.”
As he placed his palm on the leather—if that’s what it was—John took a closer look at the extravagant design now framing his hand. What he had originally assumed to be symbols were actually bizarre and grotesque figures—creatures clearly not human. Some were portrayed in agony and suffering, while others were shown coupled with naked female forms.