Evening chatter

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



Beacham corners was a small town which most people drove straight through. They only had one stop light, one firehouse a police station and one school. In the center of town nestled between the coffee shop and the copy shop stood the library. It stood tall and proud. The building was an old school house.. Tall and white, the entrance lead you many different ways..The first section was all best sellers All, you would have to go downstairs to see the children's section, classics were upstairs behind the librarians desk.. All walks of life come to the library. Children loved coming because they had a reading every afternoon. One of the seniors would come down and read from the many choices that made up the children's section.. People stood in line to use the computers which they were allowed for use for 30 minutes. Students, seniors and many more would line up they had 5 computers. A few writers rounded out the customers who found inspiration just by surrounding themselves with all the books.. Clara Berk joined the staff last month. She was a student and always did the morning shift but this week she was scheduled to be the closer.. She came in at noon and closed the library at five o'clock. "This is mandatory according to the rather severe librarian. Vivienne Snard was strict and her rules were simple. The doors must close at 5 pm no matter what. The staff must leave at five o'clock. People have intrigued Clara by saying that magic happened in the library. Clara believed in magic and always found the library to be a special place. She enjoyed each book and lovel to find new books, as well as read the classics. She had her favorites and was happy to point these out to patrons. Clara, lived about 500 yards from the library. She walked to work and she would dine at the cafe but many nights she would, see the lights in the library. Clara was a no nonsense woman and thought perhaps Vivienne was working late or perhaps she forgot to turn off the lights. Ever mindful of the rules but never understood why the lights blazed at night. Night after night the lights turned back on. This made no sense what so ever. Noone could explain this. It was 445 pm today her first night shift. Clara was unnerved the room had a dozen people lingering. She had to clear the room but there were Children sitting on the floor downstairs and seniors on the computers even a few engrossed on their laptops. Clara eyed the cart there were so many books to return that would take her a half hour or more. She made the announcement that they were closing a little frantic now the clock ticked away.. A few started to pack up but Clara was feeling anxious she knew Vivienne was adamant doors close at 5 pm. She shut the last patron out at 458 pm. After locking the doors she decided to put the books away. Knowing the morning person would expect this.. Surely Vivienne would not know she was late. She would just stay long enough to put the books away. She knew she was breaking the rules but just this once.. She would finish and sneak out. Noone need know she was still there after 5 pm. She just wished that she would of put away these books earlier. Maybe if there weren't so many. She grabbed the books on the counter and put them on the cart.

As she moved the cart putting back the books she began to hear a hum. A slight hum coming from the shelves. Slight, but definitely a hum. Feeling nervous she began to slam the books back into their slots. The hum began to turn into a buzz it was louder this time. Clara could swear she heard the last book she put on the shelf whistle. She must be working her imagination overtime. As she looked at the shelves she was positive she heard whispering. Gathering her courage she pulled the nearest book down and bravely opened it. Lights flashed and banged and then a deep voice began to say "Call me Ishmael". Clara slammed the book shut it was a copy of Moby Dick. The book was actually reading itself. She was more curious then scared. She pulled down another book at random. The flash then a distinct voice said "it was the best of times..." she slammed the book and traveled to another section it was the very same no matter what book. The books were reading themselves. Feeling like a intruder Clara decided she must come clean with Vivienne. She needed to tell somebody.. She picked up the phone and punched out a number. Vivienne's voice was reassuring. She explained she was still at work but was hesitant to say more suddenly she didn't know what to say, would she be believable? She hardly believed it herself as she cowardly stood behind the desk. The whispering came into focus she was not losing it. Vivienne broke the silence. "So you've learned the secret of the books." You are not crazy! Every night they came to life and no matter what book you pull down it will read itself. I find there is a magic on our shelves but I never told another soul. I was afraid that the magic would disappear.. " she was not angry at Clara, she sounded relieved.. Clara left that evening as she slowly walked away. Then suddenly the lights switched on and now she understood. Noone was there, the books took on a life of their own. She understood for the magic to continue it had to remain a secret.. it was truly magic and that needed to be cherished.. Clara never told another person she preserved the magic but when she walked by to go to the Cafe she knew why the lights were on. She made sure she always left at 5 o'clock. She never heard the hum the buzz or the whispering again. Somethings are sacred.

April 24, 2021 02:44

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.