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library gothic

by b.r.r.b

You climb the cold gray steps and enter the cold gray library.  There are two men of indistinguishable age sitting at a desk of indistinguishable color.  You have never been especially trustful of men, but you’ve always had a ragged notion that librarians are different somehow.  These men aren’t.

You pass the men (who appear to have seen you and yet seen through you) and begin walking down the first hallway you come across.  It is an unremarkable hallway, but the room it leads to is remarkably large. All of the books are labelled with the letter B, although you thought you had turned down the hallway with an A above the archway.  You do not regard this as being notably strange. You are new here. You are bound to get lost.

You see a single young girl, a hair older than you, sitting among the books labelled with the letter B.  She doesn’t look up from her book, and you do not wish to trouble her by asking where the books labelled with the letter A are.  The library is not so large, all things considered. You will find them on your own.

You turn down the next hallway you come across, thinking that you’ll stumble upon the shelves with the letter A on them sooner or later if you just keep walking.  You can see the men working on the roof from the large window in the hallway. You think, in a detached sort of way, about how they are so close, but the glass between you makes them seem almost like ghosts.  You shiver, but only from the cold. You keep walking. The library is only so big, after all.

You stop seeing people, after a while.  There are no more men at counters, no more girls among books, no more men on the roof.  Your breathing begins to sound rather loud to your own ears. The fact that you are lost starts to feel less and less like an amusing adventure.  You decide to abandon your quest for the books labeled with the letter A and turn back the way you came.

It does not look the same when you begin walking back, but it is such a bland gray building that you cannot be quite sure, and you are such a bland gray soul that you cannot quite feel any wonder at this.

You have been walking for a very long time now.  You are not sure how you know this, but you are aware that it is true.  Sometimes you almost hope to see the lonely, horny, disinterested men at the desk.  You wonder if they sometimes hope to see you.

"This piece was inspired by one of my worst days this fall when I somehow managed to get hopelessly lost in my school's library.  Getting lost wasn't a big deal in and of itself, but it made me feel totally confused and helpless about my transition to college, so I decided to write a cheesy and overdramatic story about it. I've since gotten much more adjusted (and have found my way around the library)."

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