So here is the next part of my untitled and unfinished vampire story. Soon, I am going to be completely out of already written material and will have to actually finish it... Oh dear.
Anyway, on to Part II:
It had always been eerie and strange to her, the way public spaces changed at night, when all of the lights were off. During the day, there was nothing unnerving about the library. The fluorescent lights killed off flights of fancy and creepy shadows in its unflattering glare. At night, though, it was different.
In a way, it was a little exciting.
For this reason, the librarian kept the lights off for the time being. Everyone should be allowed some excitement in his or her life, however ill advised it might be. She also figured the young man could not have gotten far.
This is insanity, she thought. But, she also reasoned, he cannot be a thief. If he was, he would’ve stolen something by now. He could have stolen the one hundred dollars in the register. He could have taken some of the library’s more valuable books. But this had not happened. Everything was always exactly as it had been the night before. At least, the daytime librarian had never said anything about it.
It was silent and still inside, but she could make out the faint glow of a lamp toward the back of the store.
All she had to do was go to the front desk, pick up the phone, and call the police. It was simple. And yet, instead of doing this simple task, the librarian made her way towards the light. It was unclear what drew her back there, if anything. In one sense, she had complete control over her faculties. However, she also felt an almost imperceptible pull, coaxing her forward, one foot in front of the other, until she stood in front of the man from the street.
He was seated at a table, a book opened in front of him, his head in his hands as he stared down at the typescript pages. He didn’t know she was there, even after she cleared her throat. Finally, she stepped closer.
“What are you doing in here?” she asked.
He immediately lifted his head so his face was pointed in her direction. In his new surroundings, the man appeared a bit different. The yellow glow from the lamp gave his features a less gaunt and pale look.
“You aren’t supposed to be here,” she added, in case he wasn’t sure what she meant.
“I know,” he said. His voice was low and gravelly, as though it wasn’t used to speaking.
“You have to go,” she said.
“This is the only time when I can come here,” he said.
“I’m sorry,” she said, “But the library is closed. We might stay open later, if we can get the budget passed. Maybe that would work out better.”
“That does not make a difference,” the man said. “I still could not come during opening hours. It is just not possible.”
She crossed her arms. He wasn’t angry, but it was clear he was not happy either. She didn’t know what he was. If there was such a thing as an emotionless being, he was one. Even animals convey their emotions a little, the librarian thought. He, though, was blank. Not robotic, and not bland, but blank.
“Do you not like people?” she asked. “Is that the problem?”
“No. People do not like me,” he replied.
The librarian looked him up and down, briefly. He was a handsome man, despite his coldness. He was thin, but well dressed, as though each piece of clothing was tailor-made for his body. That was unusual: she didn’t know when she ever saw each little seam lined up perfectly with each contour and edge. His jacket was made out of faded black material, not cotton exactly, and not canvas. She wasn’t sure what it was. His shirt was odd, too. It was a brown, collared shirt, but its collar was turned up. He even had a buttoned deep maroon vest layered underneath. An undone tie hung from his neck.
How had she not noticed how meticulously dressed he had been? Perhaps it was the jacket; it was usually buttoned up. And he usually had a scarf wrapped around his thin neck.
“I’m sorry,” she said again, “But we can’t just go and make accommodations just for you. Then we’d have to do it for everyone and stay open all night.”
“I was not asking you to make any accommodations whatsoever,” he said, crisply.
This was true. There wasn’t anything she could say to that. She shifted from one leg to the other. “I’ve seen you,” she said. “I noticed you hanging around here for a week.”
The man watched her. He was very still. He was the most static person she had ever met. He was about as animated as the chair he was sitting in.
“And if you’ve been breaking into the library at night… well, you can’t do that. I noticed you doing that for a while, and you can’t do it anymore. This has to stop, right now,” she continued, wondering why any of this needed explanation.
His black eyes glinted at her confrontation. “I noticed you as well,” he said, finally. The librarian caught her breath. But he lowered his gaze back to the book. “And I may do as I like,” he added.
She had just about enough of their conversation and his haughtiness. “We’ll see about that,” she said, turning on her heel and walking towards the front desk. But before she could take another step, she felt something metal grip her arm and yank her back. At least, she had thought it was metal. When she looked down, she saw it was the man’s hand. It was cold and hard.
“Have a seat, please,” he said.
The librarian did not want to have a seat. She was startled by his strength and his speed; how had he managed to stop her that quickly? Her back had been turned to him, but he had managed to slip past her and grab her by the arm in a split second. Her throat had gone dry.
This was a mistake.
But she sat down, her body stiff and inflexible as she dropped into the wooden chair. The man took his seat again, across from her. He put one hand on the book, but he didn’t resume reading.
“You gave me no other choice,” he said. “Hasty actions lead to trouble, you know. It is better to take pause, reflect upon what consequences your actions may have, and then act.” She stared at him, dumbfounded, but he didn’t seem to notice. He just kept talking. “This may surprise you, but I am somewhat observant. I’ve noticed how people these days seem to think that decisions must be made quickly. Everything is so very hurried. Automobiles move so alarmingly fast, and yet bystanders are still dismayed by the wreckage of a collision. The human body was not meant to move in that fashion, at such speeds. But everyone moves so quickly, and everyone tends to make foolish decisions, without for a moment considering what the outcome might be. But the latter is not particular to today. Mankind has always had a hard time grasping consequence and mortality.”
This sudden monologue startled the librarian almost as much as his forcefulness. She wasn’t sure what to think. One minute, he was using his strength to stop her from doing what she legally had a right to do, the next he was lecturing her on the downfalls of civilization.
“Let me go,” she said.
“I cannot allow you to leave,” he said. “I already told you: this is not my fault, and this is not how I wanted my night to begin, but you gave me no alternative.”
“You are breaking the law,” she said. She had started to shiver, but she wasn’t cold. She was afraid. She wasn’t sure if that had ever happened to her before in her life. Perhaps he was right: she had never truly grasped her own mortality until that moment.
“No I am not,” he said.
“You broke into the library,” she said.
“I did not,” he said, looking back down at his book.
“What do you call this, then? You’re in here,” she said.
“I did not unlock any doors,” he replied.
“Yeah, that’s right. How did you do that anyway?” she asked. She wasn’t shivering anymore; her courage had come back with her curiosity.
He didn’t answer, though. He held his head again as he continued reading.
(More to come...)