Uncanny Adventures

Submitted into Contest #211 in response to: Begin your story with a librarian searching for something.... view prompt


Fantasy Suspense

“Have you seen the librarian?” Isaiah asked a fellow visitor in the library. After a brief inspection, the other guest shook his head indicating he agreed that the librarian was M.I.A. That was until a blur was seen running across the back of the library. “Wait, I think I see her,” Isaiah said as he started his way toward the anomaly. “Excuse me, are you the librarian?” he asks to the lady standing in the corner. She turns and flashes Isaiah a brilliant smile. “Why yes I am. You can call me Ana. How are you today?” “I’m great. I was wondering if I could get a suggestion on a new book. I finished this one and I needed a new adventure.” “A new adventure?” Her elevated excitement could be seen from ear to ear. “Well, this is the place to find one! What was your last adventure like?” Isaiah looked at the book in his hand to remember all the details of the book. “I know it was historical fiction. But I really loved the meticulous backgrounds of the characters.” He then hands the librarian the book.

She glances it over and then places it down on the table. “I loved that one too. Follow me. I have a few you may like.” Isaiah smiled and started walking behind the librarian. The library wasn’t too excessive, but it wasn’t minuscule either. There were two rooms in the back for private studying or meetings. Then there was one giant-sized conference room that ran along the west wall. In the middle where Isaiah and his new library friend were there was a circulation desk that only held one librarian. Or, it was supposed to hold one librarian, but she was leading Isaiah threw an aisle on the east side of the library. A slight sensation of guilt entered Isaiah's mind as he kept the solo librarian from doing her duties. “Alright we are almost there,” she says as she slows down to what appears to be her destination. “This is it! You have to check this epic section out,” the librarian said as her eyes lit up at the multitude of books. Isaiah chuckles at her excitement. “I’m sorry. I just love getting lost in a good book,” she says as she blushes in embarrassment “No, no. Don’t apologize. I want to experience the same type of excitement.” “Really?” she says as she bends down to retrieve a book. ”Well I believe this is the best story to start with.” “It’s kind of long don’t you think?” “It looks that way. But once you start reading it, I guarantee you will blow through it and be back here within a day. I’ll make a guarantee. If you don’t like it, or if you find yourself reading this longer than a few days, I’ll buy you coffee,” she says with a smile. “Ok. And if I do read it, I’ll buy you coffee,” Isaiah said as he shoots his shot. “Deal. I guess we are having coffee one way or another.” They both enjoy a mirroring smile as they shake hands.

When Isaiah returned home, he placed the book on the table. He did desire to take the cute librarian out for coffee, but it wasn’t a high priority right now. The new season of his favorite show just came out and he wanted to check out a few episodes on his day off. But, after a disappointing 30 minutes, he decided to maybe flip through a couple of pages. He did promise himself that he would strive to read more, and there was no time like the present. “Let’s see,” he says to himself as he looks at the table of contents with the intent to skip to a chapter that sounded exciting. He finally settled for the beginning since he probably needed to understand the first chapter if he was going to be talking about it on his date. At least that was his initial plan. Soon he found himself captivated by the waves of the words that detailed the thrashing sea as the boat battled the ocean and its inhabitants within. Though he had planned an engaging day, it had dissipated as he completed three-quarters of the book, only stopping for a quick snack and the bathroom. As the words started to be buried in the dark shadows, the illumination of a clock knocked at his eyelids so they could inform him of the disappearing seconds. “Oh, crap. It’s late. I’ll just finish this tomorrow,” he said as he placed the book on the table and went to bed.

After he finally relaxed enough to close the windows of his soul, he was awakened by the intense shout of the lighting that slammed outside of his door. “What the hell?” he says as he runs to the door to inspect the damage on his rented house. “What the hell?” he yells as he repeats the same phrase but with more fear as there was no rental house behind the door. Only a few wooden planks on what was perceived as a swaying boat lay in front of his door. The upset lightning provided spurts of illumination to the scene as raindrops reacted as chandeliers before shattering on the wood. His breath was snatched by the singing wind that dashed over the darkened boat and into the sea. Before Isaiah could lose his mind, it concluded that the scene had to be a dream. But the brief acceptance of the scene being unreal was heaved overboard as a silhouette was spotted at the bow of the ship. Isaiah quickly slammed the door, because even though it was a dream, nightmares are still not worth living in. He ran back to his bed like a toddler to hide under his covers. “It’s just a dream, it’s just a dream,” he said to himself as a knock came upon his door. “It’s just a dream. It’s just a dream!” he yells louder as the knock alters into a creaking door.

The howling wind enters first, followed by the screaming lighting. Isaiah tries to comfort himself with his assuring sentence, but nothing was allowed from his mouth as the screams and howls proved too much for any voice, real or unreal. He closes his eyes and attempts to scream himself awake as he feels his cover disengage. A quick coolness flows over his body, followed by complete silence. He opens his eyes and sees the legs of the silhouette standing by his bed. “I can’t believe you didn’t finish the book yet.” Isaiah quickly looks up to view a familiar smile as the dream transitions into the fog that is blown away by reality.

The raindrops were not in this version of reality, but Isaiah’s bed was still soaked with a form of water. His breath slowly returned as he viewed his room, bed, and door. Yes, he may be a grown man, but this night he decided he should sleep with the light on if he was going to sleep at all. As he sat staring at the rotating ceiling fan, he thought about the book. He had read books before, but never had they given him such vivid dreams. Maybe if he read the rest of the book he could at least calm his imagination on what could happen. After an internal vote, he decided to just read until he fall asleep. After locking his room door for some added fabricated security, he walked to his desk to pick up the book before laying back down. 

As he came upon the last chapter of the book, he started comparing the scene of his dream to the scene in the book. It wasn’t too different. There was a crazy storm with destructive winds and booming lighting. And there was also a silhouette on the bow that the captain saw that made him go crazy and kill his entire crew. But then, in the end, the silhouette was just a blind spot he had developed on the sea. Isaiah thought it was all crazy, but it was a really good ending. It was good enough to allow him to attempt to sleep. As he closed his eyes, he anticipated a possible storm brewing on the other side, but it was only sweet darkness through the night.

The library smelled like coffee as the door dinged indicating a returning patron. “I knew you would be back!” The librarian yelled once she saw Isaiah enter the room. “Aren’t libraries supposed to be quiet?” Isaiah asked while chuckling at the excited, but cute, librarian. “Maybe, but it’s just me and you this afternoon, so we're good to yell and scream all we want. And I made coffee.” “You made coffee? But I thought I’m supposed to take you to coffee if I came back?” She laughs and walks around the desk toward Isaiah with two cups in her hand. “Yeah, I know. But I rather stay indoors and go through some books.” “I guess we can do that. But next time I’m taking you out.” She hands him a cup. “I’ll consider it.” Isaiah looks at the cup. “So did you put your finger in it?” “Eww, why?” She asks. “Because I need some sweetness in it.” The librarian rolls her eyes and walks off while sipping on her drink. “I’m just playing,” Isaiah says as he follows behind her. “And if I wiped my butt before, what then?” Isaiah stopped to inspect the cup. The librarian pauses and shakes her head. “Just sit down here silly. I have to go get this book for you,” she says as she continues to walk down the aisle. 

Isaiah sat down and took the risk of drinking the coffee. It was surprisingly delectable to his tastebuds. Usually, he has to repair his concoction, but this one was perfect as is. “This coffee is pretty good,” he yells. “I know it is because it has all the right juices,” she yells back. “Umm, ok. So how come the library is so empty today?” he asks as he continues to risk it all with the coffee. She returns with two books in her hand. “I’m not sure. I usually have it all to myself. Which is fine by me because I can go on a journey through all the books without any distractions.” “That sounds like a wonderful time.” “Yep. it sure is. So tell me, what did you think about this book?” She points at the book Isaiah read the previous night. “It was actually really good. To be honest, I had a crazy dream about it, but it kind of motivated me to finish it early this morning. So it was all good.” “Crazy dream?” “Yeah. Honestly, I swear you were in it.” She smiles. “Well, a good book should stimulate your brain so much that it spawns a vivid simulation amongst every one of your senses.” “What?” Ana chuckles as she picks up one of the books. “Here, take this one tonight.” “It isn’t going to give me nightmares again is it?” “Naw. But just read it all.” “And this time, if I do, I’m taking you out.” “We’ll see,” she chuckles.

When Isaiah returned home, he was kind of excited to read the new book Ana suggested. This book was set in a dystopian future. Isaiah hadn’t read many science fiction books, but the excerpt of this one seemed fascinating. And since Ana’s last suggestion was pretty good, this one had to be at least decent. And as the pages flipped back to back, he had to acknowledge Ana knew her books. This one was filled with multiple twists that had Isaiah constantly guessing and debating. He didn’t stop until the last page was turned. “Wow,” he said as he stood up and walked to his bed pondering on the lesson of the book. He couldn’t wait to discuss this book with Ana. There was plenty to debate. Maybe he could debate it over coffee.

As he closed his eyes, he wondered if he would be transported to another world like the previous night. But he did finish this one, so maybe he wouldn’t. But as his eyes re-opened, he received his answer. “Aw, crap.” He was in his room, but the wall with his window was not present. He could see across the war-torn landscape. “I guess I can’t hide this time. But it’s just a dream.” “Yes. Just a dream.” The sound of another person behind him startled him greater than the armageddon in front. He tried to turn and look, but his body did not respond like in reality. A blurred figure entered his peripheral as they both stared at the destruction. “What a crazy thing your senses have simulated.” “Ana?” The sound that he heard was familiar, but without being able to turn his head, the identity couldn’t be confirmed. “Ana? Tell me that is you.” The figure walked forward where Isaiah could at least make out an intricate figure of a lady. “Or, is it just time in the middle of a ripple effect, and we just happen to be in the perfect spot to see a refraction of the future.” “What is happening?” Isaiah yells. Ana turns around. “Exactly!” 

Isaiah sat up in his bed, once again dripping in sweat. His sheets weren’t wet this time, but they did discharge a scent of smoke. “What the hell?”

The next day, Isaiah was supposed to head to work, but he needed answers for the second vivid dream. As he entered the library, he noticed a different person at the desk. He started to walk toward it until he heard someone trying to get his attention down one of the aisles. “Ana?” he asked as she ushered him to her. “What are doing?” “Sorry? I can’t talk too much this morning because my co-worker likes to snitch.” “I have to ask you about these books you keep giving me. That’s twice I had an extremely vivid dream. And I swear you were in both of them.” “That’s crazy,” she whispers. “But take this one, and we can talk about both of them tomorrow.” She takes the book Isaiah brought and hands him another. “Is this about to be another?” “I promise we’ll talk,” she says as she walks to the back of the library.

Isaiah, who had already called in sick, goes back to his house with the new book. He contemplates if he should really read it, or just ignore it. He sighs as he picks up the book and opens it. This setting was in ancient Egypt. The descriptions of the city are what really stood out to Isaiah. He would have absolutely loved to see it in all its glory. He closes the book and wonders if maybe he could. He closes his eyes, and just like the day before, he was transferred to a different place. “I have to see the city before this turns crazy.” He says to himself as he opens the door to the splendor of ancient Memphis. “Wow. Amazing!” Isaiah said as he stood in awe. “It really is.” The same figure from the previous dreams said. But this time, Ana’s beauty stood clearly in front of Isaiah. She was dressed like she was from the time period, but it was her. “So are you really here, or are you a figment of my imagination?” Isaiah asks as he was allowed to view her this time. She smiles. “I’ll let you figure that out. But how about we just explore before you determine that.” She offers her hand to Isaiah. He smiles. “Okay. I did say I would take you out.”

After what seemed like a few days of exploring, Isaiah woke up. It was a few hours later, but he was still in his house, sitting in the same chair. He had to know if Ana was somehow playing tricks on him, or if books could be that powerful. So he traveled back to the library. When he arrived, he couldn’t find Ana anywhere, but the librarian he saw earlier was still sitting at the desk. “Excuse me, I was wondering if Ana was in?” She looked over her glasses. “Who?” “Ana? She was working earlier.” The lady shook her head. “Oh, Anansi. I thought I saw her walking around here again.” She then looked at the book in Isaiah’s hand. “It looks like you already found her.”

August 19, 2023 03:54

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