Three months into her dissertation Sigyn had been sent a book.
Her uncle, a slightly eccentric collector of religious and mystical works who currently resided in his Manor House in Yorkshire, had stumbled across an almost pristine copy of a demonology book - one he had previously collected and found an earlier edition of (and it seemed, forgotten about) - and, recalling that his favourite niece, a complete innocent and just as bookish as he was, was currently studying the topic he had decided to send it to her as a gift.
The note Sigyn held in her hand was as simple as it was short:
I found this among my collection - It is probably of more use to you than it is to me, since I already have the first edition on my shelves.
The book itself was bound in rich, blood red leather, as supple as though the book had just been freshly bound - A Compendium of Demonic Hosts, as it was called, was perfect. Just what she needed for her dissertation. She leafed through it eagerly, pausing briefly on a page depicting what seemed to be a woman, completely naked with flawless alabaster skin and hair as red as the leather that made the book’s cover - the creature that started the legends of Incubi and Succubi, the caption beneath it said. She made a “hum” of interest and made to turn the page.
“Ow!” Sigyn yelped, as the page sliced through her finger and a drop of blood welled up from the wound, spilling onto the illustration before Sigyn could suck the blood away.
When she came back, her cut finger now bound in a plaster, she could have sworn the image looked more lifelike than she remembered - hadn’t it been beckoning before? She must have been imagining it - now the figure appeared to be trying to crawl from the page. Must have been a trick of the light, that and her tiredness. It was nearly 3am now.
Sigyn yawned and changed for bed, turning off the lights in her flat and curling up in the sheets - she’d look at the book again tomorrow. At least the blood didn’t seem to be there anymore, maybe it missed the page?
She closed her eyes and drifted into a deep sleep, bundled in the blankets and, she thought, safe from harm.