Battle of the Books: A Memoir


Ayla Wize

Two weeks ago I informed everyone about the current… issues with Battle of the Books. And despite absolutely nobody asking me to write an update on the B.O.B club (who is experiencing aforementioned issues), I feel obligated to do so anyway.

There was a B.O.B meeting that had already taken place at the time of writing this article, which was more unsettling than the first one. I mean, it didn’t include Aaron turning his head into a human merry-go-round, but it still freaked me out nonetheless. 

The First Meeting.

  I walked into a silent library after school on a Wednesday. Silent, not quiet. That made me feel uneasy, as there were at least ten people still in the library, but not one sound was being uttered from any of them. The ten people- all of whom are not members of B.O.B, swung their heads in my direction. And I mean literally swung them. Have you ever had someone decapitate their own head and then throw it at you? It’s terrifying. What makes it even worse is that the heads were screaming the entire time, but the library was still silent. It seemed like the screams were being put directly into my brain.

I stood in the library doorway, muttering a low “uhhhh-” before blinking. The heads flying at me were gone, the people in the library were paying no attention to me, and a B.O.B member, Grace, was right in front of me. 


“Hi. Uh, did you see-”

“We’re meeting in the side room by the printers!”

“Cool.” I felt them grab my wrist and start leading me into the B.O.B meeting room. “Uh, did you see what just happened-”

“Nope! I saw no such things.”

“I didn’t say what happened-”

“That’s weird!”

I decided not to follow up on that. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from dealing with B.O.B kids, is that nothing makes sense until the final moment- when everything comes together.


We walked into the meeting room, where they led me to a table with the other new B.O.B members. Grace waved at me before walking to a table with the other original members of B.O.B. Curiously enough, Aaron was not with them.

Noting his absence, I turned on my phone to record the meeting. I edged it towards where the original B.O.B members were talking quietly. While I could not hear what they were saying at the time, I noticed that they would look towards the door every so often. Upon reviewing the recording, I found that my phone had only caught bits and pieces of their conversation: “What do you mean he isn’t… He isn’t here?… I’m not too happy about this… he better show up soon… We can’t let that happen again…”.

While I was recording the meeting, one of the original members of B.O.B, Karina ( Who is on average known for their extremely cheerful disposition that’s mixed with a bit of salt, is shown right by an artist’s rendition of what they look like), looked at me. They told the other old members something before leaving the group and walking over to me. My fight or flight response was on high at that point, not only because of what happened in the library, but also because the lack of Aarons’s presence was even more disturbing than when he was there. 

“L’appel du vide.” They whispered.

“I don’t speak French.”

“You’re taking a French class.”

“I know. I still can’t speak it though.”

Karina gave me a look that was a cross between a scowl and genuine disappointment. “You’re screaming into the void.”

“Nah, we’re in a library. We aren’t allowed to do that.”

Karina gave me another scowl before returning to the original B.O.B members. The truth is, I can’t speak French, but I do know what “L’appel du vide” means. The literal translation of it is “the call of the void”, and is used to describe the phenomenon of a person standing on a tall building, and thinking, even for the briefest of seconds, “I should jump.”. In writing terms, this phrase is used to describe a character knowingly doing something unnecessarily dangerous, but being surprised at the result anyways. For Karina to tell me that, and then talk about how I am now screaming into a metaphorical void, is frankly, very scary. 

While I was pondering this thought, Aaron burst into the room. “I MADE IT!”

He stomped over towards the other B.O.B members, out of breath and looking slightly uneasy. The meeting ended twenty minutes later, with nothing more unusual (well, unusual for B.O.B) happening afterward.

When I later asked Karina about the whole “L’appel du vide” thing outside of B.O.B, they said that they didn’t remember speaking French to me. In fact, they can’t even speak French. Weird.

. . .


 Once I got home that day I began to do some digging into everything B.O.B has done over the past year and a half. I figured that if the next B.O.B meeting was in two weeks, then I would be able to research its members, then I would be at least prepared for the next meeting. Mostly, I wanted to do research on why Aaron could turn his head into a merry-go-round, and why the library turned into a hellscape when I went into it. 

For two straight weeks, I poured over my resources- getting past articles on B.O.B, addresses of the original members (don’t put your home address in your facebook bio, folks’), and various posts from their collective social media. What I found was very troubling.

For two straight weeks, I poured over my resources- getting past articles on B.O.B, addresses of the original members (don’t put your home address in your Facebook bio, folks), and various posts from their collective social media. What I found was very troubling.

Aaron was obviously the first member I researched. To put it frankly, I was curious if Aaron was even human. Because let’s face it, Aaron should not be able to do some of the things I’ve seen him do. Any average person should not be able to twist their head 360 degrees and survive, nor should they be able to exude such a threatening presence every time they walk into a room. Aaron wasn’t like that before B.O.B started this year- I mean, sure, he was always a little threatening, but he was not supernaturally threatening. 

According to Aaron’s various Facebook posts, he had something he cared about- some family member that showed up in all of his pictures, until mid-April in 2021. The family member appeared to be a small child, with dark hair and a face akin to Aaron (shown left). He stopped posting for a little over six months, and once he did post again, it was without that child. After the hiatus, he began to post photos of himself with B.O.B books, including one titled “Callback est ‘Quam ad fac Citera.’”. This spiked my interest, as I never heard of the B.O.B members reading anything in Latin.

I pulled up last year’s B.O.B reading list trying to find where the Latin book was. When I couldn’t find it in the list, I used the “control f” keyboard function and typed the book title into the search box. There was one result, but it didn’t show up on the page. I went into the website functions and found that the book was included in the B.O.B list- but it was hidden in the website. 

 I was making a note about the book and weird website functions when my computer screen flashes white, red, and yellow. Then it went black. 

I shut my computer screen and then opened it again, hoping for the computer to have fixed itself (look, I don’t understand how Chromebooks work, okay?). The computer didn’t fix itself. I shut it back down and picked up the computer. It was hotter than it should be, to the point where it burned my hands when I went to touch the backside of it.  

“Oh god,” I thought. “My computer just experienced heat-death.”.

I refused to let anything like a dead computer or possible supernatural threat stop my research. I searched up the book’s title on my phone and found some obscure Reddit thread talking about weird Latin books. 

“I swear to God, I’m going crazy. This book showed up in my house last week, and now everyone around me is acting weird. I looked through the pages a bit ago and they all seem to contain amature writing translated into Latin. I mean, I’m not sure if my family is just trying to act edgy or something, but I’m getting worried. Does anybody have any advice on what to do?” (This came from a deleted Reddit user; despite my use of the Wayback Machine, I found nothing that had been archived.).

Another user responded with an Amazon link, which was on how to order the book. It costs about thirty dollars, and its reviews are non-existent. I decided to buy it for my research. The shipping date keeps on getting pushed back, despite it being over a month since I bought it. I think I may have gotten scammed, or Amazon just sucks. 

Continuing with my research, I found B.O.B’s receipts from last year. As far as I could tell, each club must submit their expenses to the school, so that way (if they were then supported by the school) they would be able to get a budget for the next year. Within those receipts, I found that there was a large charge of about $250.00, labeled as miscellaneous. I noted this, then checked for the other B.O.B receipts. Each one described the books they bought and how many, but curiously enough did not include  “Callback est ‘Quam ad fac Citera.’”. I did the math, and now I can fully say that I have a small lead on what may have been responsible for B.O.B’s behavior.

 Other than that, everything else about B.O.B’s background checks out. My computer turned back on after I finished ordering the book, so that’s worrying. But in all, I have nothing else to report until the next B.O.B meeting. But I will say this- if anything else turns into some weird analog-horror scenario, I will be very annoyed.


Thank you to B.O.B for their contributions to this article.

     All photos used in this article are property of the Journalism department and B.O.B of Horizon High School.

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