No. 604

Sophie Fraser was covering the overnight security shift at the library. Although she was making overtime pay, and was now owed a favor by her co-worker, Don, Sophie couldn’t figure out why a library needed security. As such, securing was not her highest priority for the evening. There was a couch in the children’s reading room, and Sophie decided to investigate further.

She woke up 45 minutes later. She swung her leg down onto the floor and almost slipped on a book. She read the title as she picked it up. “The Living Garden”.

Feeling that it belonged a long way from the children’s section, she looked around for its proper place. The Dewey Decimal System proved impenetrable, so Sophie left the book on a cart next to the animal section. She made another cursory loop of the stacks, for security purposes, and, finding nothing suspicious, returned to the couch.

After another brief nap later, she awoke feeling groggy. She sat up and her foot hit something on the floor.

“’The Living Garden’,” she gasped. Sophie reached for her pepper spray and shouted into the cavernous building. “Who’s there?”

There was no reply. Sophie threw the book across the room and curled into a nervous ball on the couch. Don had better not be messing with her. He’d claimed to have concert tickets. “Don, if that’s you, I’m going to stab you,” she yelled.

Then, there was a noise. Sophie couldn’t tell if it was a book hitting the ground, or muffled thunder from outside. It did nothing to improve her mood. “If I can get the check-out desk, there’s an office with a lock,” she told herself. “I’ll just stay there until morning.”

She carefully stepped down off the couch, and slowly crept toward the front of the building, keeping one hand on her pepper spray the entire time. Nothing jumped out at her, and as she approached the sanctuary of the locking office, she recognized that the strange noise had, in fact, been thunder. Still, she took no chances, and locked both the button on the door handle, and the chain at the top.

Breathing hard, Sophie checked her watch. In just over two hours, the librarians would arrive and she could go home. She pulled a rolling chair out from under a desk and sat down, in an attempt to relax. She began to think that perhaps Don owed her more than one favor.

An hour passed without incident. The dark, warm room, and comfortable chair began to have almost the same effect as the couch. Sophie, despite the nerves from earlier, began to grow sleepy. When her chin hit her chest, her eyes snapped wide open, as she fought the sensation. She sat up and yawned. Just as she finished, she noticed that there was something on the previously-clear floor. She leaned forward, afraid of what she knew the object was.

“The Living Garden”.

Sophie screamed and screamed.