Two Former Villainesses and Overdue Library Books

Submitted into Contest #91 in response to: Write about someone going to extreme lengths to return an overdue library book.... view prompt


Urban Fantasy Speculative Funny

"Swift!" Noble cries, a clattering of household objects heralding her careless race through the rooms. "Swift, do you know what today is?" She runs into the desk in the room where Swift lounges, a no-nonsense expression on her face. Noble's hair falls into her face as she catches herself. "It's late!"

Swift lowers the book she was reading to look at Noble. "You disturbed my reading time." Every day at this exact hour, she stretched out on her day bed and read a book. "Do I disturb your ... fire time?"

"Yes," Noble says. "Frequently." She fluffs her hair back from her face altogether. "You also criticize."

"You were burning down the garage. Of course, I criticized," she says. Swift puts her bookmark in place and sets the book aside. "What's this about today?"

Noble points at Swift's book. "It's library day!"

"... That is why you're disturbing me?" Swift sighs. "If I knew that this is what our lives would have become, I would have fought harder at being banished from that hellish dimension."

"You fought as hard as you could," Noble points out. "You almost died." She pauses. "Me, too." She shakes her head, not wanting to dwell on such serious thoughts. That kind of thinking was always so depressing. Noble chose to see the good in their new world with new opportunities and the potential for them to get back to their former glory. "It's after seven," she says. She points at the book again, more insistently this time. "Our books are overdue, Swift. Overdue!"

Swift flinches when Noble shoves a card in her face. She takes it and reads. "Or else... I wonder what that means. When I said I usually sent them to the dungeon... or simply beheaded them." She sighs. She missed the power being a queen gave her over people. "I do miss my trophy room. They were all such good conversationalists."

"You're being creepy again, Swift," Noble says casually. She takes the card back. "We were supposed to have our books back by now." She starts to pace. "We can't afford trouble. We aren't ready."

"And what do you suggest, dear Noble? The library will be closed by the time we reach it," Swift says. "You will simply have to take the punishment like the hell-blazing woman you are."

"Yes," Noble agrees. She plops down a book and opens the slip inside of it. "But this has both our names on it, so you'd suffer too."

"I'd like to see them try. I am a queen. Even without a dimension to my name." Swift's voice raises. Then she huffs.

"Here we're nothing," Noble reminds her. "We have to play by their rules until we find a way to..." she trails off. "Well, you know."

"Take over the entire world," Swift says. "I don't know why you're being careful. The only one that could ever overhear is Birkman. And, he's from our neck of the realities."

"I don't know," Noble muses. "I just feel like being cautious." She shrugs. "I guess it doesn't matter." She shakes the paper at Swift. "This, however, matters."

"Fine, fine. If it will make you feel better." Noble shakes it in her face again. Swift catches the paper. "The shaking must stop now. Go fetch your books, and we'll see about returning them."

Noble laughs, delighted and runs off without a second look back. Several minutes later, she returned with a bag of books over one shoulder and sandals.

Swift has three books in her bag. "Let's go." She gestures for Noble. "Birkman is still asleep. I think he had a late night. So we'll just disturb him when we get back." She opens the door for her second in command. She tried to get the title of "hell-raising assistant" to catch on, but Noble rejected it. No form of the word "assistant" would ever label her.  

"Oh, good!" Noble chirps, scurrying ahead. "He's so fun to wake up. Such a sour expression!" She laughs.

"That's because you stuck a snake in his bed." Swift makes her way over to his car. "He's asleep. He won't mind us using it." She goes to break the glass. "Wait... I know this." She takes the handle and yanks the door open. "See, improvement."

"Well done!" Noble applauds.

"Would you care to drive?" Swift gestures. "You need the practice. You nearly hit three citizens yesterday."

"I missed the rest," Noble argues. She carefully places the book bag in the backseat and climbs into the driver's seat. "Okay! Buckle up!"

Swift clicks the belt into place. She puts her sunglasses over her face. "You may proceed."

Noble lets out a whoop, and the car leaps the curb. The drive to the library is a short one. Noble makes a mental note to thank Birkman for the tips on shortcuts as she pulls into the library parking lot. The building, of course, was dark. This library was very punctual.

"Well, it is closed." Swift pushes her sunglasses on top of her head and checks her lipstick in the rearview mirror. "There is only one thing left to do. We wait until morning, then we take the librarian hostage until she accepts the return of our books."

"Or," Noble says, bouncing in her seat. "We track one down, slip into their home, and force them to give us their key! And kill them, of course."

"Then we could take the library as our own..." Swift says, thinking it over. "But then those pesky cops would be all up in our business. And we could take out the entire force, but really, it would just make a mess." She sighs. "We need a less.... messy solution." She stares at the building. "You know … it is made up of a lot of glass."

"We could easily break-in," Noble gasps, excited. "Oh, but what if there are pesky alarms? Birkman always handles the pesky alarms."

"We handled things perfectly well before Birkman came into our lives. I was a queen. You were my right hand. Surely we can break into a library." She pushes the door open and slings her bag out. She steps out. Her heels hit the pavement, and sunglasses went over her eyes. The light was dimming, but she created a fiercer present with them over her eyes. She picks up the bag of books.

"I like to think we were something of co-rulers," Noble says, collecting her bag and skipping around the car to Swift's side.

"Keep telling yourself that," Swift says, eyeing the building. "If it makes you feel any better, here, we're co-rulers." She leads the way up the steps and to the door, where she proceeds to yank on the handle. It doesn't budge. "Worth a shot." She runs a hand over the glass. "we just need to break the glass somewhere. Easy enough."

Noble picks up a decorative rock and knocks it against a windowpane next to the door. "Oops," she says humorlessly as the glass breaks. "So clumsy." She reaches in and unlocks the door.

"That works." Swift waits for Noble to open the door then steps through. "Well, shall we leave these on the counter for them to find?"

"That would be too obvious, I think." Noble taps her chin. "Where to put them... Oh!" She spots a slot within the desk. "Here we go!"

Swift places her books through the slot after Noble's books. "That was easy." She wipes her hands on her pants. "Shall we get ice cream?"

"Yes!" Noble grins at Swift. "We deserve the treat."

Swift loops an arm with Noble. "I think chocolate this time. I hear good things."

"Ooh, or hot fudge!" Noble beams at Swift. "We can get one each, see what we like?" She suggests as they make their way to the exit. There was nothing quite like performing the perfect crime.

April 28, 2021 20:30

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RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

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