On Our Way Back


Chloe Wang and Anoushka Ksheersagar

        It was a bright, pleasant day and two students had decided to stay after school to finish their project, it was due the next day and they were far from done. As they were reviewing their notes, they realized how little information they had gathered. Deciding that they needed much more information to finish their project, they walked over to their teacher and asked, “May we please go to the library?” Their teacher nodded slowly and quickly wrote them a library pass. As they were backing out of the door, the teacher paused and said, “Wait–” She paused and inhaled slowly as her voice quavered, “Just–please, make sure both of you come back together.” 

        “Okay,” The young students answered in unison, not understanding why their teacher was acting in this odd manner. 

        They set off in search of the library, and being new to the school it took a while. They wandered through hallways, chatting absentmindedly as they strolled past dozens of doors. Soon they came across large double doors labeled ‘Library’ with a caption underneath reading: “A room without a book is like a human without a soul.” One of the students gasped as a shiver ran down their spine, but the other, seemingly oblivious to this sudden movement, pointed their finger at the door. “I think we found it,” they said, breathlessly. Their companion nodded, and both walked slowly through the large wooden doors. 

        The library, despite the slightly unnerving sign on the doors, was a hushed but tranquil room. There was a rosy glow cast upon the many dark-colored bookshelves and dozens of armchairs and stools. The room felt rather homely, the students thought. As they were marveling at this scene a rasping, hollow voice from behind them called “Need anything?” in an oddly expressionless tone. Nevertheless both students jumped, and found themselves face-to-face with an old, hunch-backed, balding man. Reading their alarmed faces he replied “Excuse me for startling you, I am Mr. Brown, your librarian. Is there anything in particular that you two are searching for?”

         “Yes actually,’’ the students replied, feeling almost relieved. “You don’t happen to have anything on rain forest biomes?”

         The librarian nodded, “As a matter of fact I do, right this way” He said shuffling awkwardly towards a large bookshelf in the corner of the spacious room. “Try checking here, and–remember, let me know if you can’t find anything.” As both the students nodded once again he backed away, still staring at them unblinkingly through his large, thick, round glasses.

              The students spent the next hour after school copying down information. This project was due the next day, and after all, they still had so much work to do. They yawned, and one of the students checked the time. “I guess it’s time to leave now, we are such procrastinators,” they said nonchalantly, feeling that they deserved a rest. The students packed their bags and gathered up their books, hoping to check them out so they could continue their research at home. 

            They crossed over to the small, cluttered desk over on the other side of the room, and called, “Excuse me,” quietly. There was a harsh “Ahem,” behind them followed by “Anything you need?” The students turned to find the hunched old man staring unblinkingly at their round faces.

        “Uh, we were hoping to check these out” one of the students said.

        “Yeah” echoed the other, but as they blinked the old man disappeared and reappeared at the front desk of the library. After they checked it out, they walked out the door.

To be continued…