Secret Passage in Library - 9/28

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Brian
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Secret Passage in Library - 9/28

Postby Brian » Tue Sep 28, 2010 5:53 am


Brian
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Secret Passage in Library - 9/28

Postby Brian » Tue Sep 28, 2010 5:53 am

One day, at your local public library, you are looking around the very back shelves. There is a particularly boring looking book there, but for some reason it catches your interest and you find yourself removing it from the shelf. However, as soon as you move the book, the bookcase opens in like a door, revealing a deep dark tunnel. Write this scene.

You can post your response (750 words or fewer) here.

mabil6
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Re: Secret Passage in Library - 9/28

Postby mabil6 » Tue Sep 28, 2010 4:05 pm

Seeing the doorway leading to a dark tunnel shocked me so much I didn’t know what to do. I wasn’t sure if it was a figment of my imagination, so I looked around the library to see if there was somebody to reassure me I wasn’t going crazy. The only person I saw was Johnny Cornflake, the town lunatic, who was reading an old edition of the National Review. Johnny Cornflake was convinced the apocalypse was imminent, so he really was not the person to validate my mental state. For a second or two, I thought about seeing the librarian to ask her if she knew about the doorway. However, I changed my mind when I heard what appeared to be laughter in the distance. I took that as a sign it was safe to proceed.

Since the tunnel was dark, I removed my cell phone from my purse and used it to light the way. Let me tell you, it was scary walking down that tunnel. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I thought about turning back because you hear all kinds of stories on the news these days. And watching too many movies on the Lifetime network can leave a woman paranoid.

When I reached the end of the tunnel, it took a moment or two for my eyes to adjust to the light. There was a round table in the middle of the smoke filled room with an elaborate chandelier hanging directly above it. There were three men and one woman at the table drinking wine and playing some sort of board game. They all stood up from their seats when they saw me.

“Is that a fair lady I see?” asked a voice with an English accent. “Yes,” I nervously replied not believing my eyes. “I’m Mabil.” Walking towards me were William Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Flannery O’Connor and Ernest Hemingway.
“It’s mighty fine to meet you,” said Twain taking my hand and giving it a soft kiss.
“We haven’t had a pretty face down here in ages,” said Hemingway. “It’s nice to see another woman around here besides Flannery. She’s like my little sister so she doesn’t count.”
“Oh, Ernie,” said Flannery shaking her head and rolling her eyes.
“What is this place?” I asked.
“Literary Limbo,” said Hemingway. “We’re waiting for the Great Spirit in publishing heaven to read our manuscripts.”
“But you’re Hemingway. Why do you have to wait?”
“The Great Spirit says we’re no longer fashionable with the book buying public. None of us has had a big hit in years,” he replied.
“With your great talent how is that so?”
“Mabil, the public doesn’t read the way they used to,” he said.
“People prefer watching television or browsing on that internet. You know I was always a firm believer in technology, but too much softens the mind,” replied Twain.
“I agree,” added O’Connor. “Book sales are down. They tell us they need a sure thing like Dan Brown or Stephen King.”
“Or you need to be on one of those strange reality shows,” said Hemingway. “You have to be in the public consciousness to get your manuscript read otherwise you’re doomed to spend eternity in Literary Limbo.”
“We even heard a sex tape might even make you relevant these days,” said Twain.
“I’d never do one,” said O’Connor. “I’m a devout Catholic after all.”
“Yeah, it’s pretty sad,” I said still not believing I was surrounded by literary greatness. “I’d read your books though.”
“Did thou bring my book from the library?” asked Shakespeare.
“Oh, yes. Here it is.”
“That’s our Scrabble dictionary,” said Hemingway.
“Would you care to stay and play the next game with us?” asked Twain.
Realizing I didn’t have a chance at hell winning a game of Scrabble against them, I politely declined.
“Thank you for bringing us the dictionary,” said O’Connor.
“You’re welcome,” I said as I turned to walk back up the hall. “I hope you don’t wait in Literary Limbo too long.”

Once I returned to the library, the bookcase door closed behind me. Johnny Cornflake put down his copy of the National Review. He looked up and asked, “How did you enjoy your time in Literary Limbo?”
“You know about that?”
“Yeah, aren’t those writers great? We play cards together all the time. Will is a good buddy of mine.”
“Um, when did you say that apocalypse is supposed to happen?”

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Re: Secret Passage in Library - 9/28

Postby LittleEden » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:22 am

Quest for Oldest Library Book

She was on a quest to find the oldest book in the library. It was the latest challenge on CityQuest.com, and her third. Up and down the rows, she noticed others choosing a book, looking inside its covers before placing the book back on the shelf She wasn't alone in the hunt; she must think smarter than them.

"If I was an old book, where would I be?" She barely whispered it, but in the tomb like silence of the old building, it sounded like a shout to her. It did not faze her. She was off to the "store room" beyond the arches. It was not really a storeroom. It was a forgotten area; three or four rows of shelves in the old part of the library. She remembered it from her teenage years, and the summer she worked at the library.

She slipped out of the main library without anyone seeing her, and hurried to the "store room". She skipped the first rows and at the last one, she began looking at books. She found one dated 1778; along with the date, she jotted down the title, author, and publisher. Before she closed her spiral notebook, she wrote down the row and shelf number. She gently laid the fraying book on the cement floor and took a picture of it with her cell phone.

As she worked her way down the row, she noticed a large leather bound book, protruding form the next to top shelf. Standing on her toes, she could barely reach it. It tumbled into her hands and she fell onto the shelves; they slowly swung back. A swoosh of stale air hit her in her face; she was surrounded by complete darkness except for the opening behind her. She laid the book across the threshold so it would not close behind her. In moments, she fished her pencil flashlight out of her shoulder bag and made her way down a narrow tunnel. Cobwebs brushed across her face and she heard scurrying in the distance. "Only mice", she told herself, "only mice".

At some point along the tunnel, she should go back. "What if someone removed the book? What if she became trapped?" However, the adventurous side of her got the best of her common sense, and she continued walking, further and further, into the tunnel. In the bright circle of her flashlight, she could just make out bars. A large iron gate divided the tunnel from a large room. She pushed against the gate. It did not budge. She put her shoulder to it and slowly it gave way. Before entering the room, she flashed her light around it. Keg after keg filled the room. Her guess was she had stumbled onto Prohibition Era booze.

She had all sense of time; she did not know how long she had been in the tunnel. One quick look around and she must go back. The circle of light fell on something on top of a keg in the far corner. "Why did it have to be there? Why couldn't it be in front?" She squeezed between the crowded kegs, and made her way to it. It was worth snagging her jeans on old dirty wood and rusting metal bands to see the object, covered in cobwebs, lying on the keg. It was a book. She picked it up and brushed the webs and years of dust off it. She ever so gently opened it. There on the first page she saw the date 1693. It was the first edition of an herbal, written by an English monk. How it found its way here, she had not idea. She laid the book back on to the keg; took a picture of it with her cell phone, recorded all the other information in her spiral notebook

She left the book where she found it, closed the gate behind her, and retraced her steps. Just up ahead she saw the sliver of light coming from the library No one had found the opening. She stepped over the book into the row of books. She picked up the book, put it back where she had found it, and went to find the high librarian. She found her in her office. As she waited to see her, she took her laptop from her shoulder bag, and sent her prove of the oldest book to CityQuest.com. She was sure1693 would be hard to beat and she had won her first quest.

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Re: Secret Passage in Library - 9/28

Postby norrin2 » Wed Sep 29, 2010 11:09 am

Wow, I haven't been to the library since I was a kid. For some reason the place lost its appeal once I learned how to read. But these smells -- old paper, stale air, curiosity -- take me back to when I was little and my friends and I liked nothing better than playing hide-and-seek among the shelves way back where nobody ever goes, far from the bestsellers and popular books, back into the murky must.
"Procurer to the King" "Do the Senses Make Sense?" No wonder nobody comes back here. Why the titles alone could put you to sleep. If you tried to actually read one I'm sure you'd go into a coma. Even the book jackets and spine copy are boring -- all grey and black, no color, no pictures, no pizzazz.
"The Seven Minutes" by J.J. Jadway.
Oh, here's a compelling one "A Novel" by a man named Lear.
with a Ho. . .
"The Secret Goldfish" by D.B. Caulfield.
and a hum. . .
"How to Win at Hide and Seek."
What the? How did that get there? How did it ever get published. Jeez, it's a fat book. How hard can it be to win a simple child's game? I gotta check this out -- well, not check out. I'm a little old for hide-and-seek, but at least skim it.
As soon as I picked it up, though, a creaky loud sound split the library stillness. Dust motes regrouped and their formerly wispy rag-tag band of renegades was now a batallion.
And the bookshelf where the library hid all the boring books turned and opened into another room, like something out of a mad scientist movie.
Don't ask me why I walked into the room. I don't know. I'll never know. I'm not even sure I ever really decided that was what I was going to do. I just followed my feet on into the place. At first I figured it had to be some top-secret library storage place, you know where they keep the really rare stuff. But there weren't any book shelves in here, or any books either. Well, there might have been books hidden in any of these dusty boxes and cabinets and closets.
I didn't feel like going to all the trouble of exploring this conglomeration of crannies and nooks, so I yelled out, "Hello, is anybody here?"
A door opened under a rolltop-desk looking thing and a little blond-haired boy popped out.
"You give up?" he said. "That means I win." The kid looked kinda familiar and I wondered where I might have seen him before.
"What are you doing here? Where's your mother?"
"Ah, she's probably playing bingo, that's what she usually does when she drops me off at the liberry. I was playing hide and seek with my friend."
I had to smile. Good to know some things never change.
"Well, it's getting kinda late and the library's going to close soon. Let's find your friend so you'll be ready when your Mom comes to pick you up. What's his name?"
"My friend? His name is Billy -- Billy Harden."
Hearing my name made my blood freeze. I knew where I knew this kid from. Twenty years ago he and I had played hide-and-seek in this library. One time I didn't find him before my Mom came and took me home. I never saw him again. I figured he moved away.
"Are you all right, Mister? You look a little green?"
"We have to get out of here."
"How?"
"What do you mean how? You don't know how to get out?"
"No, I think you have to have the book out there about hiding and seeking. Did you bring that book with you?"
I shook my head because I had dropped the book when the secret passage opened.
"No problem," said my childhood pal, as he motioned for me to close my eyes. "You're it."

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The Station

Postby lenaleary » Wed Sep 29, 2010 11:33 am

The morning crush was worse than usual. Wedged among the horde of fellow commuters on the subway platform, Jules felt a warm tributary of sweat trickle over her shoulder blade to join the river coursing down her spine. She reached back to blot it, bumped up against the suit to her right.

"Sorry," she mumbled, without quite making eye contact. The stranger grunted acknowledgment.

At last a train pulled in, its windows already fogged with the body heat of its passengers. Standing room only. Jules squeezed aboard, the last one in before the doors closed.

"Cave Bodamer," a voice rasped in her ear.

"What?" Jules said, twisting her neck as far around as she could. The pony-tailed young man behind her stared back intently with bloodshot eyes. His tee-shirt was inside out, and his stubble was a week along at least.

"Not what," he said. "Who."

Jules bit her lip and tried to sidle away, but an impenetrable crowd blocked the aisle.

The man continued, oblivious in his urgency. "Cave found it," he said. "They said he was crazy. They said it wasn't real. But they were wrong! He found the way."

Farragut North, the intercom squawked. Doors opening. Not one passenger budged. Jules sighed.

"What way?" she said.

The man lowered his voice, leaned in until his cracked lips were almost touching her ear lobe. "The way through," he whispered. "Don't you see?"

"No."

"This," the man said, gesticulating widely. Passengers ducked. His voice began to rise. "This universe is just a station, not the end of the line. The photons, the neutrons, they pass right through this lousy place like it's a sieve, and they vanish. But we stick. And do you know why? No, of course you don't. But Cave did. And I do. He was my roommate at MIT. I read his thesis. God help me, I even understood it. But I was afraid to go with him." His red eyes brimmed with tears.

The train squealed to a halt. Metro Center, the intercom announced. Jules' shoulders sagged in relief.

"Well," she said brightly. "This is my stop."

" 'Hadrons in a Multidimensional Universe.' That's his thesis. Don't forget!" the man hollered after her. "Don't forget!"


Ten minutes and three blocks later, Jules clocked in.

"So what's on the schedule today, Miss Shelby?" Jules asked.

"Field trip at ten o'clock," the head librarian replied. "Marshall Middle School, I think it is? Hmm, yes. Eighth grade. Fifty students." She let her horn-rimmed reading glasses slip down her nose and frowned at Jules over the top of the frames. "That last class left the second floor stacks such a mess. It looks like a tsunami wiped out the Dewey decimal system. Do you think you can straighten it out before the next wave, cherie?"

Tsumani was an understatement, Jules decided, walking through the stacks, wheeling a book cart behind her. She pulled an upside down Old Yeller out from among the encyclopedias, and a jacketless Karma Sutra out of chemistry. These class trips were all the same: too few chaperones, too many preteens running wild through the stacks, as ungovernable as the Vandals and Visigoths in the streets of Rome.

Some days, like today, Jules fantasized about quitting, escaping the drudgery and frustration and boredom, toppling the cheap metal shelves like a row of dominoes and then sprinting out the door. Trouble was, there weren't many jobs left out there for a former English major. And her petty-minded landlord wanted cash, not poetry.

Twenty minutes left 'til the sack of Walt Whitman Branch Library. Cue the violin, Jules thought. She moved on to the last shelf: astrophysics. Susskind and Superstings. The Six Flavors of Quarks. Hadrons in a Multidimensional Universe.

She stopped. So the stranger on the train hadn't been entirely out of his mind. The book did exist. And it looked just as a doctoral thesis should: slender, poorly bound, no dustjacket. Curious, Jules pulled it off the shelf.

She heard a tiny click. Then the stack slid apart with shocking swiftness, one section swinging inward to reveal a doorway through the back wall of the library.

Jules stepped through. One step, two. A dark tunnel yawned before her. A third step and she would vanish into the blackness. Jules swallowed, glanced over her shoulder. Behind her was just what she expected to see: the too-bright fluorescent lights, the rickety shelves. All so ordinary. Predictable. Mind-numbing.

Jules smiled, just a little. And stepped forward.


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RE: Secret Passage in Library - 9/28

Postby MikeyBiggs » Wed Sep 29, 2010 12:01 pm

Samantha just stared back at me with the same stunned look I gave her. We had been searching for a story book, when Sammie asked me to, "Grab that big brown one at the top." Neither of us could have imagined what was now opened before us. I take her hand and we make our way into the long dark tunnel. The book case slides shut behind us plunging the tunnel into total darkness. Samantha, only 7 years old, grabs tight on my arm and I have to admit I squeeze back a little. Ever so slowly the light in the tunnel begins to return just enough so our eyes can adjust. The long dark tunnel is no more. Samantha and I stand one step away from an old wooden door. Heavy dark wood with iron hinges and a large door knocker in the shape of a lion's head holding a large ring in his mouth. I look at Sammie and motion for her to go ahead and knock. I see her smile slightly and reach for the knocker. She lifts the heavy ring and lets it drop with a single loud thud. After a moment, the door opens slowly with a squeek from the weight of the thick door on the old hinges. The room just beyond looks like the ball room of a castle. The old stone walls are decorated with long beautiful tapestries and the room is lit buy candle light sconces and large wheel like chandeliers. Soft music is being played somewhere in this great hall from what sounds like a harp. As we step forward to enter the room we are suddenly startled by a large man in a red uniform stepping in front of us. He almost fills the entire doorway side to side and top to bottom. Samantha squeezes my arm again and I try to put on my toughest face. I don't think it is effecting him. "Your name sire?" His deep booming voice even startles both of us. "Excuse me?" Is my only response. "Your name sire, so I may announce your arrival at the ball." He answers me with very little emotion. "The ball?" Samantha and I give each other a curious look. "Sire you are here for the prince's birthday celebration, correct? That is an invitation in your hand, isn't it?" He says pointing to the envelope I hadn't realized I was holding. I hand it to him without saying a word, and try to make sure Samantha keeps quiet. She looks as puzzled as I feel. He opens it, reads it, then moves aside so we may enter. I take her hand in mine and we move forward. His voice explodes as if from a megaphone. "Now presenting the Duke of Islip accompanied by his daughter, Samantha." Stepping through the doorway we see hundreds of people already inside the hall. Hundreds of people now staring at us. Samantha pulls on my sleeve but I stare blankly. I look down at her, "Where did you get that gown? And how did you get your hair like that?" She is staring back at me and laughing. Turning towards a well shined suit of armour I also begin to laugh at my own reflection. A curly white wig on my head. A huge blue velvet jacket with long tails and fluffy white cravat. Not to mention the tights. The guests get back to their conversations and we do our best to fit in. "Daddy look at that woman. She is beautiful. The one dancing with the prince." Samantha points out a young woman who seems to float on air. The prince is staring deep into her eyes. Suddenly she pulls away and begins to run. The prince calls to her but she charges towards us pushing her way through the crowd and she is gone. The prince runs up along side us and just stares obviously broken hearted. "Excuse me, um your highness? Yoo-hoo Mr. Prince" Its too late for me to stop her, as Samantha has gotten a hold of the prince's jacket. He is startled and turns to look at her then me. "I'm so sorry your highness, uh she's just a little ...... Samantha where did you get that?" "It's her's your highness. It's her glass slipper. When you find her, make sure it fits." The smile on his face told me everything I needed to know as he rushed after his princess. "So little girl? When did you know who that was?" Sammie smiles at me, "When I told you what book to grab from the shelf..."

Don't Call Me Nino
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Re: Secret Passage in Library - 9/28

Postby Don't Call Me Nino » Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:44 pm

Before he stepped through the door, Jack looked back. Ms. Peachbottom was across the room; she was nodding off at the reference desk. Check. Mr. Hall was 5 aisles over--he was snoring. Putz...and check. Other than these two, the place was EMPTY.

THAT was the real problem.

“Bloody hell!” Jack hissed. He craned his neck around the book case. Nobody. He crept around the entrance, past the snoring Mr. Hall. Nobody. He looked out the window, he checked by the stairs, he peaked in the bathrooms--he even rummaged through the closets. NOBODY.

There should be THREE, Jack thought. Ms. Peachbottom and Mr. Hall were accounted for. Where was the third librarian? Jack eyed the head libriran's desk. It was a massive cathedral of a desk, standing at least 4 feet high--inscribed on the front was an inscription : "Burn sinners, Burn." Jack cringed. She had to be around here somewhere. Where was Mrs. O’Tool?

“Bloody O’Tool.” Jack said as he stepped through the door, pulling it closed behind him. He doubled locked it from the inside.

The hallway beyond the door was pitch black. He had planned for this. Jack rummaged through his knapsack and hauled out an old, metal flashlight. After a few shakes--and a few curses--he was able to get it working, and he watched its beam cut through the darkness. Mold, slim, and crawly things climbed up the corridor’s earthy walls. The ground was slick with mud and the dank air clung about him like a thick fog.

Jack had planned for this, as well.

He opened up his knapsack and pulled out a fresh pair of leather gloves, boots, and a surgical mask. He brought out an old fashioned top hat for good measure.

Jack moved down the corridor, crunching over twigs, stones, and crawly things. As he moved farther and farther away from the door, the air shifted--the dankness growing more intense--and the corridor growing more and more earthy. Jack sniffed the air--it smelled like spent gasoline and strong smelling salts. What were these librarians up to?

Little by little the walls widened. Little by little, Jack found himself not so sure of his plan. But he kept walking and he kept walking until he came across a small opening to a large room. The dank air now took on a charred flavor; he could almost taste it.

The flavor grew stronger.

“Is bloody awful!” Jack said, choking and coughing. He put on another surgical mask. Still, he coughed. He tried to keep going, he tried to keep his flashlight up, but the fumes were too heavy. Moments later the metal flashlight clanged against the ground; Jack collapsed.

When he came to, Jack found himself in the middle of a pitch black room--he was tied up and soaked in gasoline.

“What in the bloody hell?!?” Jack said, struggling against his leather straps. His knapsack was gone and he had a fresh knick on his head. He looked wildly about the pitch black room. Nothing. No one. Suddenly, a flashlight clicked on.

“Plan almost worked. Didn’t it, lad?" said the voice from behind the light.

Jack's eyes burned.

"Sleeping pills were a nice touch, though; none of the OTHERS thought of that. And finding the right book, must of took months of planing” said the voice.

"Who are you?" Jack asked.

The voice laughed. “Do you even know who ya are?

Jack was silent.

The light turned toward the speaker. She had a pious frame, very thick horned glasses, and had an air of damnation about her. It was Mrs' O'Tool

"We’re smarter than you, lad. Every year a different one of ya tries. This year, we knew it be you, Jack. We knew you'd try.

"Lady, I've done nothing wrong. Release me, at once!"

“That’s what I’m talkin about. Do you even know who you are--where you come from?”

Jack struggled against his bonds.

Mrs O'Tool let out a high pitched laugh and slapped herself on the forehead.
"Oh I get it now. Suppose you think you’re a real person, held against your will? You must be from an earlier chapter--you know--before your character goes and cuts up all them innocent people.

"You're mad, woman!" Jack bellowed.

“No not mad, laddy, I'm a Librarian. Can't let the evil character escape, can I? That's what the gasoline's for. Got to burn up the sinners."

“Bloody hell?"

Mrs. O’Tool pulled out a match. "Yeah, enjoy hell, JACK THE RIPPER."

I’ll kill you!” Jack screamed.

Mrs. O’Tool tossed the match towards Jack. The smell of charred paper filled the room and wafted down the corridor.

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RE: Secret Passage in Library - 9/28

Postby wyzful » Thu Sep 30, 2010 6:47 pm

“Now where did she go?” I muttered to myself as I meandered about the stacks.

Charlotte said to count to 100, then come on! We were playing ‘catch-for-a-kiss’ to break the monotony of studying, and ice for that matter. Then the one girl that I have some chemistry with plays a disappearing act. Blame it on my ‘only-child’ gullibility leading me to play the sucker for another girl to get a giggle at my expense.

As I wander I fall into my childhood reverie, browsing just to find the one. I do find it amazing that some of these books are still in circulation. You can tell the especially crappy ones in that they have been rebound in some unnatural color like pukey-mauve or dead-olive green and finished with a simple white title. I reach for a swampy-brown covered one called ‘Chronology’. It pops out of the rack and creaks as I thumb through. The dry moldering odor assaults me confirming its age and decrepitude. I replace it, moving deeper into the stacks. I’m hoping to stumble into my favorite section: the occult.

Finally, I find the solace for a too smart but lonely boy – granted many of these books are covered in the same unaesthetic style, too often accounting for their cheesiness.

As my eyes wander I find ‘Journeys out of the Body’ - another frigging astral projection book. I frown deeply. Believe me I tried it, all the techniques, staring at my third eye till my eyes ached, deep breathing, ’active’ dreaming, even Absinthe assisted relaxation and no damn green fairy to skip me off to never-never. I pull this one off the shelf; it lovingly bound in a most becoming pukey-mauve - my personal favorite. As I close my eyes to appreciate the aged and musty bouquet of my rheumy treasure I feel a breeze. I open my eyes surprised to see that the stack has pivoted into the solid wall, opening a dark passage beyond. Well maybe this won’t be out of the body but definitely a journey.

Did I mention the tunnel was dark? Fairly long too - luckily my cell has a flashlight application that kept me company as I walked it for the next few minutes. I kept peering back to see that the doorway was still open, for some reason I felt distinctly uneasy, but the light faded from view leaving me with the cold glare of my phone.

Eventually I came to another door, yellow light seeping around its seams. I could also hear the sounds of a machine churning – nothing I ever heard before. Then an acrid stench wafting from the door began burning my nostrils and raising the hair on the back of my neck.

I could just peer past the gaps into the space beyond. As I got closer, the heady smell nearly overwhelmed me, my eyes furiously blinking in the sickly light and caustic vapor.

Finally the scene came clear to me, men or near-men as I could tell were working a book binding machine. Something about them was wrong, bloated, sickly, pasty, and stunted. It struck me that this was where they rebound the old books for the library, but as I gazed beyond I was unnerved and blinked in shock.

In the room were rough leather squares, drying newly dyed the odd colors, and vats of the sickly colored dye, the source of the stench. Before the vats were the raw skins just tanned but undyed – skins that could have been deer, hairless deer maybe but…Nooo!!!

The raw materials for the skins were hung on hooks beyond that, just on the edge of my vision. One of them struggled. She was bound, her long black tresses had recently been sheared off her head, her face and stripped body scratched in what obviously was a struggle. I could still recognize Charlotte anywhere, her eyes struggling for a glimpse of hope as tears flowed freely down her face.

The two near-men didn’t know what hit them, the machine’s noise drowning out my bashing in of first one then the other’s head with a thick dye stirrer. I took down Charlotte still crying but smiling and shaking. We found clothes – someone’s, and we hurried back up the passageway where I came in.

“T-t-th-th-this place…” She gasped as we stumbled back.

“Yes, dear, it’s ok,” I tried to be positive.

"Th-this place is r-really s-s-sseriousss…”

I looked at her puzzledly, “about what Charlotte?”

“Late Books!”

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RE: Secret Passage in Library - 9/28

Postby randallm » Fri Oct 01, 2010 4:00 am

Turning away from the completely mundane library death trap catacomb extravaganza, Drake walked in the direction of irrelevance. He hated a good story; and there was absolutely nothing that would make him become part of one.

Instead, Drake continued to search out the ornithological encyclopedia he so desperately wanted to devote the next few months of his lackluster life to. He could have asked the librarian for assistance or, at the very least, he might have opted to use the computer in the corner that served as a catalogue for all the books in the building to help him locate his feathery tome. Owing to his social incompetence, the latter would have been a more appealing option, but Drake refused to seek help. To do so would only rob him of the chance to waste hours of his boring life in a painstakingly pointless exercise of futility. Futile because, sadly, Drake was afraid of birds; always had been. He knew that as soon as he found what he was looking for, he would stand in the aisle, surrounded by his own insignificance, trying to summon the courage to take it off the shelf.

Finally Drake located his book. He gazed up at the binding that read, Birds: Beaks and Talons and the ability to fly. Drake thought it cruel that the world conspired against him so. As he was trying to overcome his fear of gravity defying rodents, in spite of an unsettling book title, Drake couldn’t help but force himself to realize that he might have possibly, but probably not, left the stove on in his bland one bedroom apartment.

That wouldn’t do at all, Drake concluded as he turned to walk away from another climatic confrontation with interesting story telling. As he began to walk towards the exit of the library that was exactly 34, 543 steps from his apartment building—a number that has not changed since Drake had started keeping track 36 visits back—the librarian noticed him and headed in a direction that would allow for her to intercept Drake on his path to worthlessness.

The librarian appeared agitated, which in turn agitated Drake. But to be fair, clouds that formed recognizable shapes agitated Drake. He thought them to be unnatural and has avoided looking at the sky for most of his adult life. This of course was unfair to Drake because it meant he had to spend most of his time looking down at the ground—an unfortunate consequence considering Drake’s fear of shoes.

As the librarian neared, Drake braced for the inevitable. “Excuse me, sir.” The Librarian continued, “Did you remove the book that opens the secret cavern in the library and actually choose to not venture inside?”

Drake hesitated. He wanted to deny the accusation, but he was concerned that it would violate his rather stringent code of ethics. He had been told since childhood that the pants of a liar would be put on fire and though he had understood that to be highly unlikely, and quite possibly in violation of the eighth amendment, he has never taken that risk. “Well, you see…I, uh…I was looking for a different book.”

“Oh. I see,” the librarian responded.

Drake and the librarian stood in what can only be described as awkward silence for the next few moments before she asked, “Aren’t you the slightest bit curious as to what might be down there?”

Drake looked up from the floor to meet the librarian’s gaze—but only briefly because he did not want to succumb to any possible witchcraft. “I already know what’s down there, ma’am,” Drake replied.

“You do?”

Drake nodded in confirmation.

“Well?” The librarian asked, “What is it then? Out with it!”

Drake sighed in defeat, looked up, and said rather disheartened, “Adventure.”

Upon this exclamation, Drake sidestepped the puzzled librarian and headed out the door. Another conflict avoided, he mused. Drake paused at the front of the building and collected his wits. He would need them to count his steps home. Taking in a deep breath, Drake began his journey, “One. Two. Three…”

Unbeknownst to him, the clouds above resembled cars in a menacing backdrop to a migratory flock of killer geese.

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