“No! You have to leave! The commotion you’ve caused is unacceptable!”
We snicker at her, keeping up the act. Right now, we need the librarian to believe we are just some delinquent teens here to cause trouble. I whisper something into Mae’s ear, nonsense words really, but enough to keep the librarian’s attention.
“Stop that!” She demands, her voice raised higher than what would be expected of her.
“You’re being rather loud.” My sister responds in the most demeaning voice she can muster. “It’s making it incredibly hard to focus, don’t you know that libraries are supposed to be quiet?”
“Besides,” I add, “I was only whispering. That is the polite thing to do in this setting.”
“Just moments ago you two were yelling about and knocking over books!” She says, even louder now. “I would say you are hardly in the place to preach politeness to me.”
Her words give me an idea. I turn and walk towards the nearest bookshelf, before spinning dramatically to lock eyes with the woman. I lift my hand, and in one quick motion I swat a collection of books to the ground. A small part of me feels some semblance of guilt, but a stronger part of me is having too much fun to care.
“That’s it!” She begins to walk towards me and I realize it’s time to run.
I grab Mae’s hand and we sprint up the first set of stairs, the librarian following soon after.
“Parker…” Mae gasps out between panting. “Do… do you think we took it too far?”
I shrug. “No clue, Peter just told me that we need to distract her. He never clarified how big the distraction has to be.”
“Go big or go home?”
“Go big or go home.”
I look over my shoulder and realize the librarian has nearly reached us.
“Okay, let’s go.” I whisper.
We run to the second set of stairs and rush up it, a little slower this time. We have to stay close enough that she doesn’t give up, otherwise there’d be no point to this.
“How many floors does this library have exactly?” Mae questions as we reach the top of the second staircase.
We pause for a moment and I pull out my phone to check.
“According to the official website, 5 floors.”
“I’m assuming that wouldn’t include…?”
“Definitely not including that. People aren’t supposed to know about that.”
She nods, and I feel a hand wrap around my wrist.
“Got you.” The voice of the librarian sounds almost silly, and the threatening tone she has attempted to take on does not suit her.
“With that feeble grip?” I laugh, pulling my hand away with less ease than I show. “Hardly.”
I run, not up another flight of stairs but to the opposite end of the room. Mae splits off from me to go to the third floor. I can see the librarian grumbling inaudibly, and decide to taunt her.
“Which of us are you gonna go after now, huh? There’s only one of you. You can’t catch us both.”
Peter, a childhood friend of ours, let me know there would only be one librarian today. He created a false event, or something of the sort, and invited the whole library staff save for one. The one with the keys. The library needs to be open for this to work. He never told us what he was after, never explained why we’re doing this, but he’s always had a good reason in the past for this sort of thing, so I must trust him now.
The librarian chooses to go after me, probably because I’m closer. That’s her first mistake, Mae would’ve caused way less chaos. I climb on a nearby chair to jump up to the top of one of the bookshelves, knocking over some of the decorations lining the top. Once I’m up, I scoot to the center of the bookshelf, pulling my legs up in criss-cross applesauce.
She glares at me from below. “Get down from there!”
“What are you gonna do?” I taunt. “I mean sure, you could pull me down, but the whole bookshelf might just come falling down with me, and we wouldn’t want that, would we?”
She scowls at me, before running away and up the stairs, presumably to find Mae.
My phone buzzes in my pocket, and I hop down gracefully before checking it.
“I got it, meet me back at my place.” Reads a text sent from Peter in the group chat.
“Understood, on my way.” I respond.
A few seconds later I see a response from Mae. “Cool.” It says. “I might be a bit late, gotta shake this crazy librarian lady.”
I laugh, and decide to take the elevator this time. No need using the stairs considering I’m not trying to be a distraction anymore. Once in the elevator, I push the button for level 1. No basement. What a simple lie, but I suppose it works for the most part.
It doesn’t take long to be out the door and on my way to Peter’s house, it’s only a mile away, so I opt to jog it. No need to take a bus for such a short way, though I start to notice the heat by about halfway there, and am drenched in sweat when I walk through the door.
“Mae managed to make it here before you.” Peter jokes.
“And even after you left me to fend for myself with that horrible woman.” Mae adds with a smile.
“Oh please.” I respond. “That’s only because she bikes everywhere. Now what was all this for? You ought to tell us after the trouble you put us through.”
“Well as you know I had to steal a file from the secret basement of the library.”
“Yes, but I’m asking for what we don’t already know.”
“Patience, Parker, I’m getting there. The files in that basement are all regarding assassins, and their kills. I had to be sure before I said anything, otherwise I’m not sure if you’d have been able to properly do your part in the operation.”
“What do you mean?”
He hands me the file, and Mae peers over my shoulder as I open it.
It reads “Kaeson Johnson, Assassin.”
He found my mother’s file.