Short Story: The Phantom Atlas

The Phantom Atlas hung in the air, defying all attempts to move it, catalogue it, or even open it. Attempts to touch it were fruitless, our hands passing through it like smoke without even a ripple to note our passing.

We couldn’t be sure how long it had even been there because we only noticed something was odd when we removed the shelving it had been apparently placed on; and found it didn’t move when the furniture did.

It looked old – its cover made from a vellum map of some unknown land; and as far as we could tell, its
pages were thick and creamy. Nobody knew where it had come from, but it looked likely to be staying around longer than we were.

We called it The Phantom Atlas, but that suggests wispy incorporeal translucency. That couldn’t be further from the reality of it though. It made us feel like ghosts, more real than we were, a book of the ages that had more permanence than those of us who just worked here. Do we sound a bit hysterical? You come here; take a look, try to touch it, and see how sure of your world you are then…

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