One Strange Evening at the Library
June 07, 2012
"Attention everyone! The time is now 8:45 p.m. and the library will be closing in 15 minutes. Please bring all items for check out to the front desk at this time," Caitlin called over the intercom in a stern and clear voice. It was a typical night at the library or mostly so—staff at the front eagerly waiting to check out books, library go-ers carefully thumbing between the covers of books seeking imaginative stories, and the quiet whispers of customers who remembered all too well the librarians of their childhood shushing them with indiscriminate haste—nothing too strange. It was a quiet night. There weren’t even the normal summertime piles of picture books from storytime or manga's from anime night waiting to be shelved—even though it was definitely summer break and the Summer Reading Program was well underway. That was the only oddity of the night.
That is until a scream pierced through the new-book section, and old-book smell filled air. It had come from outside. The stacks went silent, the books fell quiet. There was a rapping at the front door—and then a guttural moan. Silence, and then shuffling and banging against the glass doors.
Brian, a library clerk about mid-twenties with short brown hair spiked in a careful-to-be-careless style, picked up a copy of World War Z from the check-in station. He didn’t know why he picked it up. It just seemed like the right thing to do at the time. His senses were tingling trying to warn him that something creepy awaited him just outside the front door.
It's summertime, not Halloween. Get a grip, Brian, man. It's probably just some poor mindless squirrel thinking there's an invisible force field.
He walked cautiously through the two glass doors leading into the foyer. His heart pounded—ThumpThump, ThumpThump, Bam against his ribs. The sky was fading from a fiery orange to a burning red. Night had come to the library.
The tile and the air in the foyer were still warm and smelled clean—thanks to the new, green, chemical-free products the library had started to use. This was unfortunate for Brian because the smell of clean floors made him feel better. He was a bit of a germophobiac. The fresh smell only subdued his fears slightly. With the hairs on his forearms raised up, his instincts burned, screaming, back inside—RUN!
"Please, just go away, whatever you are" he whispered to himself, the darkness just beyond the glass doors taunting his already wild heartbeat. His eyes searched through every transparent window, but the night beyond stood thick and veiling. Brian was a regular high school kid. He loved video games, chips, ice cream, energy drinks, anime nights at the library, and a love for zombies; but all too often he let himself indulge too much on zombie stories during his summers off from school.
He always pictured himself the cool, calm, collected leader, fearless and, of course, leading everyone to safety. He even dreamed of zombies. In fact, he might as well have already been living in a world of zombies with all of the books he had read and movies he had watched from the library. He day dreamed of this happening, but never thought it would. His fear was mixed with a little excitement, but mostly fear.
His eyes kept searching for the person knocking on the glass.
It took only a few moments and a few heartbeats more for his brown eyes to zero in on the gruesome guest, and by then, it was too late. Due to half-curiosity and half dumb-luck, the zombie’s rotten left arm hit the automatic door switch! The door slowly began to open. It would have been hilarious in a movie, but seeing that this was Brian's life, it was all too terrifying. Soon, if the door would finish opening, nothing could keep the zombie out.
Brian’s legs were locked. He couldn’t move. His mind screamed, "Go! Go! Run now!" But the wheezing breath of his zombie dream come true held him frozen to the clean, polished floor. It saw him and eagerly shambled his way; he couldn't move…
To be continued…