The Library #2
“And finally this is the library,” Mary said as the trio stopped in front of the marbled, collegiate monstrosity.
“Finally,” Gladys sighed, rolling her eyes and twisting a bit on one of her high heels, that upon closer inspection, Johnny decided was probably not regulation height..
“Well, Well, Hell on Heels, I’d expected you to be as interested in the library as I am?” Johnny said to Gladys, surprised for the first time during the tour..
“I’m glad cuz it’s the end you dolt,” She answered, the disdain in her voice as loud as the constant smacking of gum.
“Oh,” Johnny said and turned to Mary, “In that case, I’m with Gladys, no offense.”
“None taken, but we aren’t quite done yet. There’s still this,” From under her life preserver of books, Mary pulled a large cardback flyer and handed it to Johnny.. “It’s the dance this evening followed by the bonfire. We hope you guys will all be there. we were hoping you could play something at the bonfire after?”
“I’m sure that we can oblige. That is what we’re paid for,” Johnny said taking the flyer from her. He looked at it. In big letters it said the word “Pyram”. The flyer was modern, obviously designed by some graphic design student. It had all the bells and whistles, bold lettering, poppy color contrasts, and Johnny? Johnny was a little shocked. Was it a man playing with fire in one picture? In the other, what Johnny was sure might have been a naked woman.
“What is Pyram?” Johnny asked.
“Well it looks like a lot of fun,” Johnny said with a skeptical tone verging on sarcastic.
“We better get back, would you like to walk with us?” Mary asked, inadvertently changing the subject.
“Oh um, no,” Johnny said, wanting to get away from the snoozefest as fast as possible. “Maybe i’ll step into the library here and use one of those awesome restrooms you told me about on the tour.” He gave them a wink and strolled off to the front entrance, immediately breaking into a whistle as he did. The two girls watched him as we went, their expressions unchanged.
Reaching the entrance, Johnny threw the door open to freedom from his capture while literally whistling dixie. As the massive metal and glass door came slamming shut with a high squeak and a crash he made eye contact with the librarian, here piercing eyes like lasers burning whatever scarlet letter represents rulebreaker into his forehead. Johnny assumed it to be an “R”. She was a gaunt, pale older woman. One of those old ladies that one might still use the word marm to describe. She wore a dated black pantsuit atop stereotypical black buckled puritian shoes. With her glare unbroken, she brought up two fingers and pointed at her own eyes, and then at his. Johnny put his hands up and smiled.
Behind the main desk was the massive reading floor of the library with scores of desks. At each desk sat a student holding a book, but none were reading, they were just all looking at him.
Johnny alternated between mouthing and whispering the word “Sorry” as he slinked off to the side and down a row of books where the obviously irritated glares couldn’t catch him.
Johnny wandered the stacks looking for the restroom, or even an exit at this point, nothing more natural than pissing outside. At the end of a particularly long row of books he turned to see yet another long row of books. The further he delved into the stacks, the dimmer and less natural the light became, the gabled roof of the library pinching the atmosphere in closer and closer at the edges. He stopped, turning front then back then front again, not able to make up his mind to go forward or to head back at this point. He wasn’t dying to ask the bookworms up front for help, but nature called and he really needed to answer that call.
“Fuck,” he said outloud to himself as the sound cut though the silence, echoless, it’s reverberations absorbed by the varied surface of endless books.
What felt like a drip of freezing cold water ran down the ridge of his back as he heard the silence respond with an angry shush sound.
“Oh, hell no,” Johnny either said aloud or thought to himself, he wasn’t sure. He looked back the way he came, back toward the entrance, toward the students, toward the librarian. “Are you there?” He asked the silence. Again, he was audibly shushed by the nothingness.
“And, I’m out,” He thought, as the moment decided for him to move, and move quickly away from the shushing. He picked up his pace down the halls, through the stacks, weaving through books. The shelving that was once perfectly organized was now scattered, the halls becoming more and more littered with taller and taller piles of books on the floor. Behind he thought he heard footsteps. He ran. He ran in a panic, half looking back, half not wanting to look forward.
He finally stopped himself at a four way intersection. Behind him, the garbled stacks and piles of tattered books, to his right another row that quickly slipped into darkness, ahead of him more of the same, and to his left, a long hallway.
The hallway was empty of books and of doors, just a tiled floor, institutional walls and lighting. Far away, at the end was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen, at least recently. At the end was a glowing pearlescent sight that read “Restrooms”.
Next on Of Eons and Stars: The Sundowners #1
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