Donna Eberhart, Staff Writer
OCTOBER 18th, 2013 – 1:23 A.M.
Operator: 911 Emergency – what seems to be the problem?
Operator: Hello? Do you need help?
Operator: Okay, I’m gonna send…
OCTOBER 17th, 2013 – 11:02 P.M.
“I can’t believe you’re doing this.”
Robin ignored her roommate and downed the last excruciating cherry drop of her Five-Hour Energy. She tossed the empty bottle into the trash can and grabbed her laptop from the desk, slipping it into its case.
“This is insane. No one hides in the library all night after it closes.”
Robin sighed, hauling her tote bag over her shoulder. “And no one waits ‘till the night before to start a research paper either. I gotta do what I gotta do, Ang.”
Angie shook her head, giving her roommate the “Your level of dumbass has
once again surpassed my expectations” look. “When are you ever gonna learn, Rob?”
Robin let out an empty chuckle, standing in the doorway for a second as she
zipped her coat. “Who knows? Maybe tonight will change me.”
The World Books in Robin’s field of view instantly vanished under a cloak of black as the fluorescent lights were flicked off. Eager to crawl out from under the table and escape her cramped crouch between pushed-in chairs, she listened for footsteps, hoping that the last routine check had been made. The final closing announcement had been given almost fifteen minutes before.
After a few minutes passed with no sign of anyone, Robin moved out on all fours and stood up, glancing around at the dark, shelf-filled room to which her eyes were adjusting. Pulling her flashlight from her bag, she pressed the on-button and followed the pale beam toward the biography section, conscious of her thundering footsteps in the dead-silent atmosphere. She’d found all the medical and psychology books that there were on being mute; a real person’s story would strengthen her paper.
Robin froze and gasped a little when the sound of her footsteps was suddenly joined by a loud thud from somewhere behind her. She whirled around, only to cast her flashlight on a fallen hardcover lying open on the floor. A bit unnerved, Robin absentmindedly stared at the book’s black-print title, “The American Colonies’ Struggle for a Voice,” contemplating what could have provoked the book’s fall. Decidedly disregarding the matter, she turned back around to pursue the biography section again.
Robin had barely advanced five feet before she felt something brush her shoulder and she nearly jumped out of her skin. She looked down at the sign that had fallen from the wall: “QUIET FLOOR – ABSOLUTELY NO TALKING.” It was then that she heard a whirring sound from behind her, and turned, her stomach plummeting, to see a globe spinning on its axis in the corner, just in front of a “Cat Got Your Tongue? Research Old Sayings” poster. Her thoughts frantic, a clouded mess, she instinctively bolted for the door and froze when she turned the knob to no avail.
And that was when she felt the barren little click in her throat, with her mouth wide open and her scream boiling within her.
Robin’s hand, shaking like chattering teeth, reached clumsily for the phone in
her pocket and was scarcely able to dial. Amidst the monotone ringing, there was only one other sound as books fell to the floor.