Writing Prompt #1
“You find a note tucked between the pages of an old library book”
These writings are one-take. No edits. Written on medium and published at the time they are finished.
The train drives past the public library at precisely 3:42pm every day blowing it’s shrilling horn as it passes. It passes so close to the library that the oak bookshelves shake and the thinner books shift, mimicking a fallen domino. Sean is always sitting at the round table in the back corner of the library so as to not draw too much attention to himself as he flips a finger skateboard around on his textbook. Sean has spent the last three weeks coming to the library everyday after school as an attempt to “get back on track” academically. Otherwise known as “Mom talked to my teacher and doesn’t want me to fail again.” This was not a unfamiliar scene for Sean and today was shaping up to be just as unproductive and boring as the days before it.
As the train rolled passed today, Sean heard the horn and tilted his head towards his shoulder to dull the sound as it rang out. He looked around to see if the other people in the library were as distracted by the train as he was. Instead, he realized just how alone he was in the room because he only made eye contact with the librarian. She smiled politely at Sean and he smiled back, not because he wanted to be polite but because he knew that she would have to sign his time sheet when it was time to leave. The librarian hadn’t given him any trouble the last three weeks for doing absolutely zero work and he didn’t want her to start today.
As the tail end of the train passed by, the oak bookshelves began to shake heavily. Sean watched the usual books slide into their slanted position and began to stand up from the table with the intention to fix them. As he turned to make eye contact with the librarian, which was obviously another “nice guy” maneuver, a large book toppled off the top shelf to his left. Sean made an ill attempt to grab for the book as it sailed past his hand, making a deep thud sound when it met the floor. Sean’s head jolted up towards the librarian thinking she would take notice of the sound. Her back was turned and she was reaching for something below the desk. Sean realized she clearly didn’t hear the book fall and wasn’t going to take notice of his efforts to help keep himself in her good graces.
Sean reached down to pick up the book without looking, grabbing the book with two hands and immediately reaching for the vacant space the book came from. Before Sean placed the book back on the top shelf he felt something poke the middle of his palm. He pulled his arms back from the top shelf and in towards his chest. He glanced through the windows his fingers made around the book and noticed a small corner of white paper was sticking out from the center of the book. He thumbed the pages of the book and opened the page that contained the white paper, which read;
GET OUT NOW.
It was at this moment that time slowed down for Sean. He could feel each individual heart beat like it was pair of heels walking down an empty hallway. He felt the warm breath leave his mouth during an exhale that didn’t seem to have an end in sight. He read the words individually in his head. GET. OUT. NOW.
Three three letter words, nine letters total, third grade reading level and a complete headache for Sean. Sean closed the book with a loud clap sound and just stared at the floor thinking “why was my name on that white piece of paper?” His eyes slowly moved up from the floor to the main desk where the librarian was still seated fidgeting with something beneath the desk.
A sigh of relief washed over Sean, or at least he forced one to wash over himself. He took a step back and squatted to sit down forcing himself to act normal not realizing that not only was he now the only one in the library but the librarian was no longer at the desk.
Sean heard a low rumble coming from outside the building but didn’t really pay it any attention. He stood up slowly, with the book still in his hand and walked toward the front desk. He glanced through the window of the librarians office to see if she was inside. No luck. He turned left towards the foyer. Nothing. Just as he was turning his head in the other direction he felt a hard object connect with his jawbone, knocking him off his feet and onto the carpeted floor. His hip met the ground first and his torso followed creating a whipping motion which smacked his head ear first into the ground. A loud ring replaced the sound in Sean’s ears and although his eyes were open everything was blurry. Making the room look like a child’s watercolor painting.
Sean felt a hand grab his hair and pull his head violently up off the ground. He saw a blurry figure in front of him that he assumed was the person grabbing his head. The ringing in Sean’s ears had dulled slightly and Sean could hear like what he assumed fish heard through a tank window. Muffled, distorted voices that sounded more like thunder than anything else.
The person holding his head shook it violently, causing the ringing to return and his vision to worsen. Sean saw a black vignette start to creep its way from the corner of his vision. Sean knew the person was saying something but it sounded like his mother yelling from the basement when he was in the living room. He tried to utter something but couldn’t formulate a sentence in his mind. Another violent shake created an even larger vignette, decreasing Sean’s blurry vision to the size of a quarter.
Through the small quarter sized window of vision he had left, Sean realized the person holding his head had moved closer to his face. So close in fact that Sean thought he was only getting a glimpse of what must be the person’s forehead and hairline. Even though his vision was blurry, Sean noticed what looked like a red hairband close to his eyes since it was the only thing that had a vivid color. Just as soon as he realized what it was, it vanished from his eyesight all together. It was once again that light white color he had seen before.
Sean felt the hand let go of the hair on his head, which he quickly realized was the only thing holding him up. His head fell backwards, smacking the ground hard.
And Sean blacked out.