Congratulations to Sarah Davenport, a sophomore at Auburn High School, who is the winner of Seymour Library's first Teen Thriller short story contest. Her winning entry follows. Happy Halloween!
The three students stood in the quiet room at Seymour Library and stared up. Ornate columns reached from the floor almost to the ceiling, and through the glass roof they could see the sky was pitch black -or it was until a bolt of lightning flashed.
"Are you guys ready? We'd better hurry up," one of them said.
"I'm just going to grab one more book. The history books are up here." said another, dashing towards the stairs.
"You don't have time," said the third. "The library is going to close soon.” They listened as their friend ran up the metal stairs. They decided to follow, hoping it wouldn’t take too long to find just one book.
They had no more than reached the top of the stairs when the building went black. Had the storm caused a power outage? But almost as soon as they heard another sound - the click of a bolt - they realized the reason for the darkness. The lights had been turned off, and they were locked in the library for the night.
They froze in their steps and their eyes widened with fear at the next sound they heard; footsteps that sounded like they were from downstairs. They looked at each other to see if they heard the same thing. When their suspicions were confirmed, the two ran to the other friend.
“Dude! We just heard footsteps down stairs and we’re locked in!” one of them said, his words were fast and frantic. The whole library was silent and dark, and he could barely make out his friends. If it weren’t for the clash of lighting every now and again they wouldn’t be able to see each other.
“Calm down. You both are hearing things.” He stepped down from the stool he was standing on to retrieve his book. “There is nobody in here but us.” he said walking past them to go who knew where.
The two looked at each other, still freaked out. They knew that there was no one downstairs with them when they were down there minutes ago but they also know they heard convincing footsteps. They turned on their heels and walked towards their friend. He sat down and put his bookbag on the table. He got his school work out, opened the book, and started writing.
“What are you doing?” One of the boys stormed over to him. “I don’t think you understand the situation we’re in, so let me spell it out for you. We are stuck in the library, on a Friday night, no cellphones and we just heard footsteps!” He breathed heavily, trying to control. He was already terrified, let alone angry that his friend could care less about being stuck in the library for a night.
“One, you guys did not hear footsteps. You’re hearing things because the lights went out and two, who cares if we’re locked in? Either we wait until morning, or more likely our parents will notice we haven’t come back yet and they’ll rescue us. So stop complaining, sit down, and do your homework.” He explained his theory without even looking up. He continued to look up information and write it down. This angered the other boy, who screamed so loudly it echoed off the walls. Both of his friends stared at him in disbelief.
“THIS IS YOUR FAULT; TAKE SOME RESPONSIBILITY! IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO GRAB THE STUPID BOOK FOR YOUR STUPID HOMEWORK AND JUST WAITED UNTIL TOMORROW TO GET IT, WE WOULDN’T BE IN THIS SITUATION. WE COULD BE SITTING AT HOME PLAYING VIDEO GAMES AND EATING NACHOS! BUT NO! YOU...”
There was a faint giggle, “Silly child, no yelling in the library.” It ended with another giggle. That was a female voice, which it did not come out of any of the boys’ mouth. They looked around with wide eyes. The boy at the table stood up and started packing -no, shoving- everything into his bag he could.
“Okay, let’s find a phone, now!” He ran over to the desk with the other two on his heels.
“I told you that there was someone in...”
“No!” The boy screamed slamming the phone on to the holder.
“What!?” the other two said in unison.
“The storm must have struck the power lines; the power is out.” he said. It sounded more like a cry for help.
They looked up from the desk and saw a flash of white walk by. It almost looked liked a lady from the beginning of the nineteenth century. What they could make out was just her hair in a bun on her head, and her long dress. This freaked the boys out even more. They turned to look at each other, and bolted towards the door. They shook the door and tried to get out but it was no use; the door was locked tightly.
They turned around when they heard the giggle again. The lady was now standing right in front of them. She looked to be in her early 30’s. She smiled sweetly at them, but that didn’t make them less scared. What they couldn’t take their eyes off was that she was transparent. They could see right past her and at the shelves behind her.
One of them screamed, turned around, and banged on the door, as if it would magically open. “My dear child, that will not open the door, nor summon someone to come,” she said sweetly, putting her hands behind her back.
“What do you want? I’m sorry we’re in the library after hours, but we were locked in here. Please don’t hurt us!” one boy pleaded.
“I’m not going to hurt you!” she laughed, “That was never my intention at all.”
“Then what do you want?” another asked, not as terrified as the other was.
“Nothing. I just wanted you to stop screaming! I am the librarian, of course.”
“You are?” The three asked at the same time. This was not how they had planned their night; not at all. Another bolt of lightning lit up the sky and the library for a quick second. When their eyes adjusted to the black again the lady was no where to be seen.
“Hello?” No answer. The boys looked at each other, quite confused.
“We need to get out of here.” One spoke their thoughts.
“Under the keyboard is a spare key.” It was the lady’s voice.
“YOU COULDN’T HAVE TOLD US THAT WHEN THE LIGHTS WENT OUT?!”
She laughed, “Silly child, no yelling in the library.” And that was the last time they heard the voice. One ran over and collected the keys. He unlocked the door and threw the keys on the desk. They ran out, jumping on their bikes in a matter of seconds. They pedaled home in the dark and rain.
They never talked about what happened at the library, but they will never forget what happened that night. They will never forget the lady who protects the library.