The librarian leaned her whole upper half over the front desk, her arms outstretched and finger entwined like prayer. Her face, however faced impiously side-ways, eyes gasping with boredom. Even her mouth hung open slightly to add to the overall discarded fish persona she appeared to emulate. Yet there appeared no bowl at hand from which she had been thrown or where to place her back in order to revive her.
From somewhere a bang issued and the librarian’s legs kicked and flailed in surprise, signaling that however dried out she had become, she was still in the throes of survival. Footsteps tapped in the deep ceiling overhead. The librarian looked up to the cobwebby height half-expecting to see someone walking directly across it. Not seeing anyone up there, she finally flopped over and pushed herself away from the front desk.
She found herself feeling a little frightened. All those books, ready to ignite at any moment. The young librarian had only taken on the position, now more concerned with watching the books than reading or organizing. There was really no organizing to do at this point. Not one book had been moved since her grandmother’s aunt had placed them, supposedly back in their proper space.
So she crouched. Her neck crooked up to make a question-mark with her body, her head making up the point at the bottom. She peered around the edge of the desk, hunched even more uncomfortably by the lower height of what had been the handicapped accessible desk. Unconsciously her fingertips gripped the sides of the desk and turned pale and warm with the exercise. As she did so, she began to draw the dome of her head past the side.
The footsteps paced themselves, taking their time to reach the front desk. For that at least the librarian was thankful. Yet it only seemed to increase the tightening of her stomach and something else was rising from her belly which she couldn’t name as it was not unpleasant.
A long dark shadow now extended past the edge of the bookshelf one over from the edge of the desk and stopped. The pointed cone of the head seemed to turn and in doing so seemed to bore into the solid wood wall of the front desk which had just a moment ago so solidly supported the half-weight of the librarian’s torpid body. There was a soft whisper the librarian strained to hear and she leaned over. Unused to the exercise of bending without the support of a strong surface on which to fall, her whole body went curling forward and she crumpled into a ball at the side of the front desk with a rousing shriek.
From upside down, she heard the sharp squeals followed shortly by two children who now towered over her. Their mouths were open too and she could tell they were dismayed and wowed all at once by her surprising appearance. The little girl reached out a hand and held on tight around her fingers (which was all she could get her hand wholly around) and pulled. Mostly she just managed to crack the librarian’s knuckles in a fluid pop, pop, pop, but the librarian was grateful for the attempt to help since it drastically calmed the fear that had mounted at their approach just a few moments before.
The little boy however seemed to flinch slightly before her and clutched his arms to himself defensively.
“It’s alright,” the librarian said, “What are you two doing in here anyway?”