The Librarian

Kylie Rae
5 min readAug 15, 2023

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Lauren Fields waved goodbye to the last patron of the library and then locked the door behind him. It was well past the technical closing time, but Lauren didn’t enjoy kicking people out. Especially when she wasn’t planning on going home any time soon. So, if there were a few people lingering in the stacks until the sun went down, who was really bothered? Not her.

But now with the library empty, she could dedicate her entire focus to finding the missing delivery. She stood in the entry hall with her hands on her hips and tried to think of all the places she hadn’t checked yet.

This morning Steffy told her the driver had stopped in. “Big George said there was a box for you. He put it behind the counter.”

And Big George had said hello to her before he left, just as he always did. But when Lauren had gotten back to the front counter, there hadn’t been a box. Steffy didn’t know where it had gone.

Then Dennis said he had put it down in the basement. “Sorry, Ms. Fields. I thought you’d already processed it. I put it down there so the books could be tagged and entered into the system. I was just trying to help.”

And it had been nice of him to carry a heavy box down all those stairs because she wouldn’t have liked to do it. But the box wasn’t there either.

It wasn’t in her office, or in the returns room, or anywhere she’d looked. But it had to be somewhere. No one could have just walked out with an entire box of books without her or someone else noticing.

Lauren walked around the library, picking up any books she found along the way. Maybe if she went about her normal business, she’d come across it. So, she re-shelved books, wiped down tables, put the chairs up, and collected trash.

It was about an hour into her nightly routine that the power went out.

Lauren straightened up, the emergency light in the corner the only thing illuminating the small study room she was in. She walked out into the larger reading area where the streetlight streamed in through the large windows.

“Hmph.” Lauren carefully made her way back through the tables to the desk so she could grab a flashlight.

On the way, she heard a distinct creak of the floorboards and a door swinging shut.

“Hello?” She clamped her mouth shut, wishing the word hadn’t escaped. She’d gone from feeling mildly inconvenienced to creeped out in a split second. No one else was supposed to be in here. She’d locked the doors.

Further away, there was the sound of another door closing and Lauren knew whoever had gotten into the library was heading for the basement. She patted her dress pocket to check for her cell phone, located the flashlight under the desk, and went after them. No one broke into her library and got away with it.

Lauren stepped carefully over the floor, missing the ones she knew creaked, and slid through the door to the stairwell. She made sure not to let the door close all the way so no one below would hear her approach. And then she hurried down the stairs to the basement.

When she reached the landing, she saw the flicker of someone’s flashlight further down the hall. Lauren tucked her flashlight into her pocket with her phone and crept forward.

Whoever was in here was in the last room on the right. The door was open only a bit, and the light flashed back and forth across the gap. Lauren took a deep breath, then lunged forward to slam the door shut. Then she locked it, the deadbolt sliding home with a satisfying click.

There was a scream on the other side of the door and then they punched it. A woman’s scream. And for a moment, Lauren thought about opening the door to let them out. But they’d broken in, so it wasn’t an innocent woman trapped in there.

Lauren went across the hall to the next room where the circuit breaker happened to be. She’d get the lights back on, and then she’d call the police to deal with the woman.

As soon as the overhead bulb flickered to life, Lauren spotted a box in the corner and gasped.

“Now, how did the delivery get down here?” She pulled the box up onto the table and opened it. And sure enough, there were the books she’d ordered for the library.

Except for one. A plain covered book was tucked in a gap between books and cardboard and Lauren pulled it out.

“What could this be?” She flipped the cover open and saw neat and precise handwriting covering nearly every inch of space on every page. As she read, her eyes grew wider and wider and she had an inkling who the woman across the might be.

There was a lot of pounding on the other side of the door and Lauren suspected the woman was trying to break out.

“Excuse me?” Lauren called through the door and knocked lightly.

The pounding stopped. “Let me out.”

“Sure, as soon as the police get here. I just wanted to ask…is this your journal in my box of books?”

“Don’t read it!”

“Too late for that. But could you tell me how it ended up in my delivery?”

The woman on the other side of the door groaned. “I packed the box. It fell out of my pocket.”

“I see. And have you… uh… is this book full of true stories?”

The woman didn’t answer.

“Because if you really did everything you’ve written about in this book… you’re going to be in a whole lot of trouble when the police arrive. This is quite a collection of criminal activity.”

“Don’t give them the book. Please.”

Lauren heard a knock from upstairs, and then her phone buzzed from in her pocket.

“Sorry, too late to ask for my help now.”

And then Lauren returned to the lobby to let the officers in.

No one broke into her library and got away with it.

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Kylie Rae

Independant author | Book lover | Whiskey Drinker | Mother of two crazy boys | www.kylieraewriter.com