The Library

Some libraries are tame.
This is not one of those libraries.
Do not wander here.

Not all those who wander are lost & not all those who are lost are wandering.

***
“Welcome to the Library. Is there anything I can help you with?”
“What do you do here?” she asked.
“We take care of the books and find the ones our visitors most need.”

A stone corridor lead to the high wooden desk.
A middle-aged man peered down at the teenager standing before him.
Tangled hair fell down her back in a mess of waves and braids. Jeans and a men’s dress shirt covered lanky limbs that had missed too many meals. A messenger bag patched with duck-tape and a coat that looked as worn as the girl before him hung from one arm. It was her eyes that drew him away from the tattooed forearms and small rings that filled each ear. They were old, the eyes of a person who lived through centuries of pain and yet somehow was still moving.

“What do you need?” he asked, watching the tense shoulder and nervous hands, now twisting a button, now pulling a strand of hair.
“Need? Nothing.” she said suspiciously, shifting in the scuffed black boots she wore, scraping them along the stone floor.
“Everyone needs something, no matter how small it may be.”
“What I need, old man, is a few hours sleep. Can you give me that?” she asked with a brittle laugh.
“Sleep? No, I cannot give you that. However I can give you a quiet corner with a good book for the day. The sleep you will have to find for yourself. This way.” he said as he left the desk and opened a door hidden to one side.

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