Innocent Heart: Evening Reading

DA Library 1

Black mist rolled across the floor. Cold crept up her ankles like a snake, and the rhythmic knocking grew louder . . . and louder . . . . 

Heart pounding in her ears, she had just taken hold of the door knob when —

“Feira?”

Nooo!” shrieked the girl, curling up into a trembling ball and hiding her face behind her book. “Wha — Oh . . . I-I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to shout.”

The Librarian walked into the exceptionally well-lit reading space, several books tucked under one arm. “Dear, you know you can sit at a desk, right?”

Feira looked down at the cushioned bench she’d commandeered from the corridor. “I-I know,” she muttered, cheeks flushed from fright and embarrassment. “I just — I didn’t want to have my back to the room as I read.”

“You never did like horror stories, Feira,” said the Librarian with concern as she approached. “Why in Arda are you reading them now?”

“Well . . . I-I have a friend who told me a frightening tale the other night. I didn’t get a chance to ask, but it seemed important. I wanted to see if there was more to the story.”

The kindly, scholarly looking woman chuckled softly and set down the stack of five volumes next to the girl. “It seems to me you are only torturing yourself. It really must be important. You’ve been here for hours. Have you had any progress?”

“Not a bit,” Feira huffed, looking down with a frown at the open volume in her lap. “It’s all just terror, loss, and dead ends.”  

Reaching over to give the girl’s hand an encouraging pat, the Librarian turned and moved to walk out of the reading nook. “Well I found you four more novels about being trapped on islands, and a history book.”

Feira smiled gratefully up at the woman. “Thank you. Whatever I don’t get through, might I leave them on a desk till I have time to come back?”

“Why don’t you take them home with you?”

“Oh, noooo,” said Feira. “I am already having trouble sleeping. I don’t think I could get a wink of shut-eye with these in my room.”

The Librarian chuckled softly. “You poor dear. I hope you give up this venture. You’re too sweet a thing to be reading books like those. You jumped straight to the worst ones, too. There is a little book of fairy stories at the bottom of that stack. Read a few happy endings before you leave, all right? We don’t want you getting nightmares.”

Feira managed to maintain a smile as the kindly woman walked away. Lighting another candle she looked up at the star-lit sky for a minute before going back to her book. “No, we wouldn’t want that.”

 

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