Locked In

Submitted into Contest #91 in response to: Set your story in a library, after hours.... view prompt

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Black Fiction Friendship

“Hurry up, the library closes in five minutes” I heard a girl whisper-scream at her friend. They were in the aisle next to my table, our existences separated by a shelf packed with adventure.


“I cant find the perfect romance novel!” the other girl whined


The first girl groaned, “then maybe if you hadn’t taken forever to get ready you would’ve had more time, you know how the head librarian gets about closing time.”


I sighed in satisfaction at the silence that followed, eager to read as much off the pages in my hand as possible.

I never got the concept of books in the library that can’t be borrowed and taken out of the building but they were the only interesting looking books I hadn’t read so far. Yeah I judge a book by it’s cover, and synopsis. It’s a rewarding habit.


“Tick tock! It’s time to go!” The head librarian screeched from her spot at the front desk and stood up. She was a mean middle-aged lady who always looked like she had better things to do. And maybe she did, what with her impossibly constant closing time punctuality.


I groaned in pure agony, sorrow over-taking my senses at the prospect of leaving the mystery filled novel behind. I was half way through, with a new character added to my suspect list who I was so sure was the murderer. I wouldn’t be able to sleep knowing this culprit was on the loose.

I looked up as people went to sign out books while others simply left through the screening doors. I sighed.

There was no way I was leaving without finishing this novel.


“Hey you! Tick tock, I haven’t got all day!” The mean lady said to a man who was still seated a few tables from me, “Go sign out or leave”


I stood up immediately and left my precious novel on a shelf, not wanting to interact with the librarian. I squeezed through the shelves to escape to the next isle and looked to my left and right, no one was paying any particular attention to me.

Satisfied, I walked to the far end of the building, away from the front desk, to where the shelves were horizontal with the walls and tried to subtly move one shelf so I could fit in-between it and the wall. Blend in.


After what felt like forever, the lights were turned off and I was engulfed by the sudden darkness. Adrenaline was coursing through my veins and to say I was excited would be an understatement. This is probably the most daring thing I’ve done since coming to college. Heck! This is probably the most daring thing I’ve done in my life!


I chuckled as I maneuvered myself out of my little prison, and switched on my phone’s flashlight. The library was so quiet, much quieter than it is during open hours, and it’s like a ghost town in here even then.


I made a beeline for the shelf housing my novel and let out a quiet maniacal laugh when I held the book.

Yeah, good literature gets me high.

I sat down on my table and switched on the table lamp on it. I always thought these were useless since the library has awesome lighting but I guess that ‘don’t take a fence down’ phrase is really on to something.


After a couple pages I felt my skin crawl as my new suspect broke into the house of my favorite character. He was very quiet as he searched for whatever but then purposefully broke a vase and I just knew my favorite character would be killed. The man had a gun and retrieved it from it’s latch, ready to shoot at-


“You’re new”


I let out a non-recognizable sound, threw my book into space and almost fell out of my chair but someone caught me in time.

Heart racing, I sent a silent sorry to my mom who’s always warned me to be in safe places at night. She’ll be devastated to hear of my avoidable death.


“And jumpy too.”


I chanced a look at the speaker and let out a sigh of relief upon seeing it was a guy my age, probably from my school.


“I’m Micheal”


“I… you… it’s…” I coughed to buy time, clearly my mind is still in shambles, “Micheal?”


He raised an eyebrow in surprise, “You know me?”


“...uhm, no. I was just uhm… I’m Ru- Bertha.”


“RuBertha?”


My real name is Ruth, but I wasn’t about to tell this stranger that. He could be a werewolf who only eats girls he knows the names of for all I know. “Unique name, I know”


He looked at me suspiciously, “Yeah… So you might be interested in joining the After-hours”


“After-hours?”


“Yeah, the bad-asses who sneak into this library to read the books we can’t borrow.” he said with a smirk


I chuckled, “bad-asses?”


He laughed, “Do not mock! I see you’ve got excellent taste to mock.” he wiggled my book in his hand


When did he even catch it? Is he really a werewolf? I should probably get into fantasy novels if I make it out of here.


“Sinking souls” he read the title, “I like this book a lot, read it a couple times.”


“You have?”


“Yep... You’ll fit right in with us.” he said and motioned for me to stand so I did. “Follow me to the wonderful world of-”


“For goodness’ sake Mike, just bring them over here!” an exasperated voice said from our left


He laughed, “Come on”


He lead me to a table with a group of people that seemed to be in an age range of 18 to 22 and they all looked at me as we approached.


“Hey… I know you! You’re Michelle’s roommate, Ruth” the girl sitting on the large table said with a beaming smile. “I’m Sarah”


I gave Micheal a sheepish smile at the questioning glance he threw me


“Uhm… nice to meet you Sarah” I said


The rest of the group introduced themselves, and only Dave, Sarah and I go to the same school.


“How did you get in?” Sarah asked, “We just came in through the doors”


“The locked doors?” Are they ghosts? How did they get in without even making a sound?


“Yeah… well not exactly locked,” she shrugged, “David has a key”


“The head librarian is my mom.”


“Oh.” I nodded, “I… uhm… I never left?”


“Hid behind the shelves huh?” the girl named Susanne laughed, “same thing I did before I met these losers.”


“She thought we were vampires” Micheal chuckled


“In my defense, who meets in a library in the dead of night?”


“It’s only ten-”


“The dead of night Sarah… Dead… Dead. Of. Night.”


“You should read something other than supernatural fiction.” George, I assume, said


“Whatever, I wanna get to my books now” Susanne stood up


“Yeah, me too.”


Everyone left save for Dave and I


“Aren’t you gonna get a book?” I asked


He shrugged, “I’ll read whatever Sarah’s reading”


“The secret love of his life” Micheal appeared out of no where and sat down, “tsk tsk tsk”


“Would you like to say that louder so Mars can hear it too?”


I smiled, I felt right at home with these people.


“So you come in here every night?” I asked after a moment


“Only on weekdays, we meet for supper and then come over” Micheal said, “also, aren’t you hungry?”


“What is hunger when a plot this enchanting exists” I opened my book, “I’ll just lose myself in it again”


“I’ve got a doughnut” he offered


I looked at him, not knowing how to put my thoughts delicately


“You should take a bite out of it so she knows it isn’t poisonous” Dave laughed and stood, “I’ll just go look for Sarah now.”


“Aha! You must really read a lot of mystery novels with the level of suspicion you're packing” he got a crumbled paper bag from his jean jacket’s pocket and took a bite from the doughnut inside


“What else is there apart from brutal chain murders and discovering who committed them?” I received the doughnut with unmasked glee.

I am extremely hungry


He shrugged, “Nothing indeed.”


We got into a comfortable silence as we read our books. When I finished reading mine, I was in a daze.


“Same look I had when I finished reading Sinking souls.” Micheal whispered so he wouldn’t disturb Dave from his book and Sarah from her quiet slumber.


“I am… like… oh my gosh.”


He laughed and offered to walk me to the novels section so I could put it back. It was probably around 2 or 3 am.


“Who would have guessed?!” I whisper yelled


He wore a smile and silently watched my frustration unmask itself


“How could she even…how was she even able to… oh my gosh!”


“Freaky huh?”


“Freaky? Try impossibly scarring!”


“Makes you feel like a terrible judge of character right?”


“Mrs. Lisa was your favorite character too?”


He nodded


“Talk about blind-sighted.”


“At least these things don’t happen in real life, most times what you see is what you get.”


I shrugged, “But then the few times when it’s not…”


He smirked, “You think we’re a nice crowd,” he wiggled his fingers in my face then made ghost noises, “What if we’re zombies ready to eat your brainnn?”


“Oh my goodness,” I laughed, “Seriously? Then you should’ve made zombie noises”


“Damn it! It’s not my fault zombies have no unique noise”


I raised an eyebrow


“They do?”


“We should probably ask Susanne”


We proceeded to talk about how all of them became friends and started their weird book club. Turns out it was for a simple reason, they’re all bookworms.


“So when do you sleep?” I asked


“Sleep is for the weak” he said but a yawn betrayed him


He chuckled at my raised eyebrow


“We leave at four and I sleep roughly till ten which is when my classes start except for Monday when they start at eight, but we don’t come here weekend nights cause of church so..”


“Oh.”


“We should get going” he said after a peek at his wrist watch


We found the guys getting ready to leave and Dave smiling at a coming to Sarah


“Damn he’s got it bad.” Mike tsked


I smiled, my rebellious act had introduced me to a new pack of friends and I finally have a ‘book club.’ Who knew this is what you get for being in the library during after hours?

April 27, 2021 18:01

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