I Took Over As My Town's Librarian For A Week And Discovered Something Fucked Up In The Basement

I Took Over As My Town’s Librarian For A Week And Discovered Something Fucked Up In The Basement

She was rarely so harsh with me, so I agreed, making a big show of writing it down. She relaxed.

“Make sure you lock the doors before you leave, but leave one light on, the one by the front desk. If you remember, leave some candy behind, too.” She must have seen the look I was giving her, because she said, “I know this all seems like an odd thing to ask, but it’s very important to me. Alright?”

I couldn’t say I was sure that my mother was completely sane, or that she hadn’t conked her head hard enough to drive logic out the window. But she was looking at me as though this was the most important part of my job so I gave a resigned nod and said, “Alright.”

The practice, however, was much easier than the theory. Mostly because I really fucking hated going into that basement.

The first night I went down, I grabbed my copy of Wuthering Heights – one of my favorite books – and descended the stairs, flicking on the light as I went. There was only one functioning light in the basement, a bare bulb hung from the ceiling that illuminated a tiny circular spot on the floor. I felt like I was stepping into the spotlight as I sat down in the chair my mother must have placed there.

I sat in the total silence and cleared my throat. It was strange being down here alone. I really didn’t like it. But I had a job to do, so I set a timer on my phone for thirty minutes and started reading.

I stumbled a little at the beginning, the words jumbling together on their way out my mouth, but soon I had found my groove and the narrative flowed just fine, my voice carrying throughout the damp basement. It made me nervous, the way I broke the silence. It seemed wrong. I could feel my pulse hammering hard in my throat and I began to wish that I had just ignored my mother’s instructions.I’m stupid. This is stupid. And I’m stupid for doing the stupid thing. Stupid.

As I kept reading, I gradually became aware of the feeling of somebody watching me. Of course I’d feel that way. I mean, I was sitting in this creepy old basement, all alone with barely even a light to keep me company, my voice echoing off the cement walls in total solitude. It’s completely normal that I’d begin to feel creeped out, as though I wasn’t really alone.

Normal, but that didn’t mean that I liked it.

I was startled when my phone roared to life, its jingle signaling the end of my thirty minutes. Swallowing hard, I silenced the offending object and raced up the stairs, suddenly feeling that something was going to slither out and drag me back down if I wasn’t careful.

Rona Vaselaar is a graduate from the University of Notre Dame and currently attending Johns Hopkins as a graduate student.

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