Forthcoming, Chapter Eleven: Library Time

I couldn’t sleep that night. It wasn’t even a sleep interrupted my nightmares: I didn’t sleep– period. I stayed awake, tossing and turning, afraid that someone was looking in my window.

When I woke up, I was glad it was Saturday because I wouldn’t have been able to go to school. Virgil wasn’t there when I woke up. Mom was very quiet. She kept looking at the smashed television as we ate breakfast.

I knew she’d figured out where I’d gotten the bruises. She didn’t say anything though, and I was glad. I wouldn’t have known how to respond.

I spent most of the morning in my room, glaring at the corner where my record player had been. Then, I caved and walked to the library. (I’d forgotten my bike in the alley. When I’d stopped by to get it, I’d seen that it was gone–my luck, of course.)

When I got to the library, I tried to convince myself that I’d come to do research for school. But I couldn’t lie to myself. Before I knew it, I had sat at a table in the corner, surrounded by books about the paranormal.

As if I hadn’t felt like enough of a freak, now I was reading books with titles like: The Inner Eye and You! or Psychics and How to Become One.

I hoped no one from school saw me. I reached for the first book, and opened it to the index, looking for anything that had to do with the future.

I sighed; it was going to be a long afternoon.

#

I’d scratched a few notes–rather haphazardly–in the notebook beside me by the end of an hour. Between attempting to reread what I had written and the anxiety that had increased with each word that I read, I’d gotten quite a headache. It was throbbing numbly against my skull, my eyes aching slightly, yet I couldn’t bring myself to look away from the books that I’d sprawled across the table.

I’d just set one tome to the side, and was now looking rather skeptically towards a thinner book that claimed to “enlighten the powers of the unconscious mind.” It sounded strangely like a commercial, and–if it wasn’t for the strange prickling of my neck–I normally would have laughed.

But not today, unfortunately.

Really not today.

I decided against that book. According to Chay, I already was having these “visions.” I fingered back through my notes, and frowned.

I’d located the names of three other so-called “prophets.” There was Nostradamus, from the 1500’s. Then Edgar Cayce, followed by Jeane Dixon. Nostradamus had preferred a process called scrying and astrology to predict the future. Cayce had gone into trances. And Dixon had used a crystal ball.

I still didn’t see what any of those had to do with my writing. But I couldn’t help but feel a strange sense of– familiarity?–as I read each of their stories.

And Chay’s words… his words had sounded so certain–

I’d acquired quite an annoying habit of tapping my fingers. When the librarian tossed a stern look my way, I immediately stopped, mouthing an apology.

Now, however, my leg had begun to bounce–an effect of the nervousness that I’d been feeling since yesterday. I felt as though I was being watched.

Which I probably was.

I glanced over my shoulder, looking for the man who had introduced himself as Chay-No-Last-Name-Necessary. I couldn’t see him, but I also couldn’t help but think he was there.

I breathed deeply through my nose in a futile attempt to calm my nerves, trying to turn my attention back to reading: there had to be an answer in these books somewhere.

“Todd?”

I looked up. Reb was walking towards me, a book in hand.

“Hey, Reb,” I gave a smile, but–from the look on Reb’s face–you would have thought I’d flipped him the bird.

“What?” I asked.

“What happened to you?”

I paused. I’d forgotten how I looked.

“It’s nothing.”

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah, what are you here for?”

“I always come to the library on Saturday,” Reb responded, taking a seat beside me. I was glad he didn’t ask any more questions.

“I don’t always come in here on Saturday,” I responded.

“Really?”

“Yeah, I’m not that much of a dork.”

Reb laughed. “What’ve you got here?” He picked up a book, then put it back down, eyes narrowed. “I didn’t realize you were into the supernatural.”

“I’m not.”

“Then–” He motioned to the books.

“Long story.” I decided it would be best to change the subject. “What’ve you got?”

“Poe.”

“Always good.”

Reb nodded. He looked again at the books. “So, why this particular reading list?”

Great, I was going to have to answer. I didn’t want to lie to Reb, but the truth was so unbelievable that I didn’t see any other option. “Just interested. I mean, have you ever really thought what it would be like to see the future?”

“No. I don’t think I would like it.”

I was surprised. Seeing the future was one of those things that most people fantasized about. “You wouldn’t?”

He shook his head. “It would ruin the surprise.”

“But what if something bad was going to happen? You could stop it.”

Reb seemed to think about it. “Yeah, but then you’d know about all the good things, too. I’d rather be surprised.”

We were both silent as I began to collect the books.

“You checking all of these out?”

“No, I’ve got what I needed. I’m gonna put them back.”

“I’ll give ya’ a hand.”

I thanked him, and after Reb had checked out his book of poetry, we walked out of the library. It was sunny today. Birds were chirping, and the only clouds in the sky were white and puffy.

“Wanna ride? We could stuff your bike in the back again.”

“Nah, I lost my bike.”

Reb backed up. “How’d you lose it between now and yesterday?”

“Don’t ask. Long story.”

“Do I wanna know?”

I shook my head. “No, trust me, you don’t.”

“Okay, ride then.” Reb walked so eagerly to his car that I didn’t have the chance to say no. He settled into his seat, waiting for me to buckle up.

“You like music?”

“Yeah.”

“Sweet,” he said, turning on the radio:

Can you see the real me,

Can ya’?

Can ya’?”

I sat straighter. “I didn’t know you liked The Who.”

“Who doesn’t like The Who?” Reb responded, turning onto Main Street.

“I just… didn’t think that was your kind of music, that’s all.”

Reb pursed his lips slightly. “You thought that since I’m gothic, I listened to suicidal heavy metal or something, didn’t you?”

When I didn’t respond, he continued talking. “Stereotyping, Todd? Honestly, I thought you were better than that. First, you call me a vampire, then the music–”

“Hey, you called me a camel!”

Reb laughed. “Right, then I guess we’re even?”

“Yeah.” We were silent for a second. “I just thought goths didn’t listen to that stuff.”

“Goth is a state of mind,” Reb said, stopping at the light.

“State of mind?”

“Yeah. It’s, like, letting your art encompass you. My art includes the color black and The Who. It’s a way to feel different, like you can fall into your own little world whenever you want to, you know?”

“Yeah, I guess.”

Reb shook his head. “Most people don’t.”

We had pulled into my driveway.

“Thanks for the ride,” I said, getting out.

“Not a problem,” Reb waved. “Hope you find your bike.”

“Thanks. Have fun with Poe.”

“Always do!” He grinned, and began to pull out of the driveway.

Virgil’s car and Mom’s van weren’t there, so I knew I’d have the house to myself.

Good.

There were some questions that I wanted answered.

(“Take your writing. Compare it to things that have happened.”)

And I knew exactly where to look.


Copyright Sarah Davidson 2020

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