My Collection of Books
at the End of the World
Tan My Skin
and Use it for Binding
I: When the apocalypse comes, the worthy dead will be raised and re-animated to again inhabit the world. Regardless of where their bones and body parts lie scattered, they will reassemble themselves at great speed into their original forms. They will reverse all decomposition and their scattered remains will fly through the air in a mad rush, as if magnetized, and in the wake of this upheaval will be an earth repopulated by the faithful into a new Eden.
II: It was several years ago that I first learned of books made of skin. The process is called “anthrodermic binding,” and though not common, there are far more anthrodermically bound books than one would expect. If the skin of a dead man is stripped off his body and treated properly, it will take on the properties of leather and can stand in for all of leather’s traditional uses. I’ve taken to collecting these anthrodermically bound books. I own the largest collection of them in the world, and I store them in my locked metal room.
III: On Judgment Day, the covers will rend themselves from their bindings and batter themselves against the walls of their container. I know that, in their rush to reunion, the remains of the dead will break through the earth and destroy the concrete containers of their tombs. I have no illusions that my room will forever hold in its contents, but it is an extraordinarily sturdy room and will not succumb too quickly to the skins’ assault. For a time at least, my skins will batter themselves against thick steel while their bodies stand with internal organs and musculature exposed. As the newly risen embrace and kiss each other in joy at their resurrection, this handful of men will remain apart, incomplete, untouched by the rest.
Ben Segal is the author of '78 Stories' (No Record Press, 2008). His collection, Science Fiction Pornography, is forthcoming as part of Publishing Genius Press's PDF chapbook series, and his short fiction has appeared in various publications, including Lamination Colony, Eyeshot, elimae, and 3am Magazine. He is also a regular contributor to Ghost Island. He loves email and can be contacted at benbensegalATgmail.com.