The Incident

by M. A.

The Incident

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Beneath my hand the library door swung inward, revealing all those books on shelves in a way a glass door could never show. I stepped inside, crossing the threshold from white shiny laminate to soft, blue carpet. The librarian didn't bother to look up, used to my seemingly random comings and goings. (She didn't know it was because I always forgot my bookmark back in my locker, and I didn't know she gave them away for free.)

I returned to my seat, marveling once again how empty the library was compared to any other lunch break. The school that day had seemed barren as well; I hadn't needed to fight through a crowded hallway to my locker second block and that morning, riding the bus, I'd made note of the same thing. Was there no school or something? I'd asked out loud. Someone told me no, there was school. Are you sure? Yes, they were sure. Later when I arrived at school someone had mentioned something about a track meet... that had been a good enough excuse for me. Yet still, at odd times the lack of students bothered me for some reason, but I couldn't put my finger on why...

My book sat on the table, impatiently awaiting my undivided attention, clamoring to be read. me....READ ME! NOW! ... Or else. Unable to withstand the allure of three thousand hundred pages shouting at me to, "Read me or else."

I felt it prudent to read the book. Or else. I picked it up and spread it out onto my lap, soon immersing myself in un-ignorable phrases.

Time commenced to ease by, immeasurable to me lost in the pages of my book, numb, deadened to the physical world around me and the book became my world. In the narrative carefully translated into English, time choose to pass through days rather then the ten minutes it took to actually read that one paragraph. A pity, I'd known what time it had been ten minutes ago, but for the life of me I was unable to comprehend what time it was at that moment... I was far too lost in the tale.

I was still reading, when as chance had it, a single lock of hair fell over my eye, partially obscuring the page. Absently, I brushed it away, momentarily distracted and torn from the book. And my eyes, lifted from its greedy soul seizing pages, saw.

Them. OhGodthemthemthemthemthemthemthemohmyGod...them. There were two of them and they had yet to see me. I ducked out of my chair and shrank back into the corner, against the bookshelf, hugging my knees. My heart thundered in my chest. Them. If they found me... I was a goner. Or I'd wish I was. There were a few things worse then being in their clutches, but those things were very few. Suddenly, the absence of my peers made complete sense. No-one wanted to be nearby when they were aboveground. What do I do?! I am so screwed right now... Okay, okay, calm down, okay, just calm down, I have to think my way outta this one...

Escape, I need to escape before they see me... The library door was w-a-a-a-a-ay on the other side of the room of course.

However, once I got out, evading them would be a piece of cake. If I managed to cross a seemingly endless stretch of tables and chairs without making a sound or running into anything on my hands and knees before they started to search the room and then through the maze of bookshelves without being spotted, all the while eluding their methodically penetrating gazes... but after the shelves, there would be virtually no cover, nothing to hide behind for a good long walk. I'd have to think fast then. I quickly chanced a glance over the table and several chairs I hid behind, sooner or later, if I stayed there, they would catch me.

There they were, standing by the doors, effectively blocking my only exit to freedom with their lithe, six foot three tall bodies. They wore their characteristic pale cloaks, the ones that baffled one's eyes and made you want to look elsewhere, to forget that they were ever even there. The hoods they wore were pulled up over their heads, shadowing their long faces. They didn't like the light, which was why they seldom came topside, unless they were hunting someone... me.

So... they had finally caught up with me at last. I cussed, silently; someone must've sold me out... but whom? Then again, there wasn't enough time for the blame game. I had to get out of there first, blame later, when I had the chance...If there even was a later.

One of those sleek heads suddenly swiveled in my direction. Crap. That same one stepped forward, c-a-lick, c-a-lick, (The clicking sound came from their knees bending) slouching forward through its limping, hitching gait. Their legs were bent backward at the knee, like a cat's, giving their deadly walk the illusion of a slow moving creature, but they could nearly run down anything. The limping motion was also a sham, an old trick in the book, pretend you were injured, and the prey came to you because a predator was fair game once it was wounded. Something sharp and metal glinted momentarily in one of its sleeves, before the billowing cloth settled around its arm once again. Claws, the thing had claws.

An elite, they've sicked their elite on me. My hope dwindled and collapsed, nothing on the earth or below it could possibly hope to even match the elite. They were a nightmare's worst nightmare, an eclipse of all that was pleasant and pure, life breathed into darkness... I was so totally screwed.

The elite that hadn't moved, still by the door, gestured to the one that had and growled in its guttural tongue, heavily mingling hand signals with spoken sound. Their language was partly gesture, partly sound, though more of the former then the latter. The other, the one who had walked, responded. However, one of its arms was noticeably shorter then the other by several inches, probably a mark from some long forgotten battle. So, it spoke the sign language with an accent.

They were arguing, "I don't smell a thing, she's not here." The first snorted, responded, "Yeses she is! She must be, the short on said so." (This wasn't much of a hint as to who had ratted me out, when you were six foot three and a half, everyone was shorter then you) The second snarled back, pointed to the other's cloak, "Part of you is showing idiot. What are you trying to flash the humans?" The first hissed, pulling its cloak tighter around it, "As if they can see us... Let's just search the area; if we don't find her, then we go. But I don't want to be the one to tell the Prince that we didn't find her because someone was too lazy to search the library." The second grunted grudging agreement. The two began to fan out from the door, heads swiveling back and forth as they swept the room for her scent. H-o-l-y crap.

I pulled my head down and hugged low to the ground on my hands ad knees. I gave a swift glance to my bulging backpack. My English homework remained undone. Leave it! My mind ordered, Better your life then your grammars skills. I clutched the book in my clammy hand as if my life depended on it, which it did. Fear-sweat engulfed my palms and made the book difficult to grasp, I tightened my grip to compensate and quietly crept among the labyrinth of backpacks and metal table and chair legs as fast as I could.

Weaving around and between chair legs I ignored the odd looks directed my way and even went so far as to not respond when someone haughtily asked me if I dropped my pencil or something.

No-one saw them quickly and efficiently comb the room, then again, no-one ever saw them until it was already far too late. I hoped not to make the same mistake and kept glancing all around me.

I was close, only a few lazy feet away from the first bookcase. My lungs were on fire, my legs throbbed, and my arms felt like two heavy lead pipes. I really gotta get out more. Still, I clung desperately to the book, it was the key.

C-a-lick, c-a-lick... A pair of cloaked legs suddenly swung into my view, obstructed my path, but not completely. There was still room, still time... So, it was a race then. Only one of us could make it to the bookcase first. The other would either report failure to a seething prince... or... I hoped I wouldn't be around to find that out.

I "ran," rocketing under, between chairs, banging my head and knees, heedless of the ruckus I was causing. I only had one shot. Just. Get. To. The. Bookcase. I rushed those cloaked legs with a single-minded focus, ignorant of my cover being blown. C-a-lick, c-a-lick...

The legs suddenly stopped, hesitating, cloak swirling around a pair of shadowed ankles, the owner sensing the frantic beating of a heart racing toward it. I was close enough then to hear its breath whistling down its long throat, to sense the emotions it literally threw around itself like a barrier. I hit the barricade, felt what it felt, and thought.

Surprise. Confusion. What is happening...? Attack! I'm being attacked! Retreat- It leapt backwards, bewildered and under the impression that its life was threatened. The elite's logical mind assumed that prey fled away from the predator, a predator rushed the prey. Thus a predator was charging him. But he was the predator! How...? No time. Danger. Confounded and frightened about something it didn't understand, the elite backed away, stumbled over a chair and knocked it over, crashing to the floor with it. People screamed, finally saw the monster in their midst. The confusion in the room escalated, to fear.

I made it, threw myself behind the bookcase, and sat there, leaning against the shelves, winded. I breathed a sign of relief. Slowly, my pounding heart stilled, I regained my breath, listening for that tell-tale click above the clamoring students. But if it moved, I couldn't hear it. But then again, it probably couldn't hear me either. I peered around the corner.

The elite still lay on the ground where it had fallen, though it was hardly still. It thrashed amongst its own robe, shredding it in an effort to fight off its invisible attacker. Suddenly, it screeched in triumph. A dark red stain began to spread slowly across the carpet. The elite continued to thrash, piercing its enemy again and again. The red puddle grew. The thrashing subsided into a small fit of twitching and finally stilled. Elite could not feel pain, was not even able tell if it was stabbing itself, or an enemy.

The other elite was nowhere to be seen. Alerted to my presence, and its cover now blown, it must've ducked behind a table and dropped to the ground. I could've made a run for the door and among all those other fleeing students, the elite would be unable to discern my scent, and all humans looked the same to it. But I had no clue where it was. The thing could be just around the corner, waiting for me to try and escape. I wasn't going to run blindly into the bloody things clawed hands, what could I do? You understand, of course, just how dire the situation was. Yet still, I wouldn't let go of that book. That book was my life, had saved my life and I wasn't about to just drop it and run.

I could see the door from where I was, temptingly close. But there was a table in between me and freedom. I remembered how easily I had hid behind one, how simple would it be for an elite to do so? An elite, if I remembered correctly, could effortlessly collapse its six foot three skeleton into only two, like a rat. I suddenly thought to myself, that if I ever got out of this alive, I must remember to avoid bumps on the ground... Hey!

What was that bit of cloth showing behind the table? A piece of someone's backpack... or the pale cloak of an elite! How about that suspicious flicker of light I suddenly glimpsed between the legs of the people running by? A reflection of the door...? Or... the quick flash of an elite's deadly scythe-like claw? Everywhere I looked, I saw an enemy in hiding. To make matters worse, the library was beginning to empty fast; I would soon lose my only advantage. I had to act.

Dare I chance it? Chance so far, had been on my side. But luck was fickle, and more then likely to support the loser until the very last moment, when they pushed it too far and lost. To heck with luck. I got up and ran.

I almost slowed just before the table, to possibly veer around it, but suddenly realized that the elite would just be expecting that. So, I doubled my speed instead. However, to my immense surprise and relief, no wickedly sharp blade of a claw swept out to slice the tendons in my leg as I brushed by. No elite. My luck had held. I was just about to breathe a sigh of relief- when I saw that hooded head rise up before me, just to my left.

I stopped dead. Someone ran into me, slammed into my back, stumbled, swore, and then ran past. To freedom. The elite hissed, flexed its claws with the horrible sound of slicing metal. It stood on the other side of the librarian's now vacant desk, head swaying side to side, well over five feet away. But we both knew that an elite could easily clear twice that distance in a single bound an instant before I even thought to run. But I knew you never run from an elite unless you have a death wish. The book had warned me that they can move incredibly fast over long distances. I was trapped, well, and truly trapped.

The elite suddenly reached out, backwards bending arm twisted so that its palm faced up, like a human's hand. And with a single, silvery claw, it pointed. The book. It wanted the book. Abruptly, its emotions hit me like a semi rushing a brick wall.

Give me the book! Just pass it over-and you can go free. The prince thinking you died defending it... yes, just hand over-

The book was the key, my key. My life depended on the knowledge locked away within those pages. Let it go now and all was lost... I was lost. The second I handed the book over, there would be nothing but an empty promise stopping the elite from spitting me on those violent, glittering claws. And we both knew it. The prince would be laughing in his grave-cold underground lair, laughing at me, the mortal fool who gave up the chance of a lifetime, so that there would be a time of life...

Very well... perhaps he will not believe that you are gone. But as far as he knows, you just dropped it as you escaped... And don't even think for a second that I can't just take it from you if you refuse to hand it over. So... take my offer, just drop it and run, just drop it and run...

There was a slight chance that if I hurled the book away from me, the elite would go for it and not me... The thought became a chant in my mind, just drop it and run, just drop... it... and... run!

I burst into motion before the elite could pick up the thought, before it could react, desperation lending my cause speed as I clung firmly to the book. The elite hissed angrily and leapt onto the desk a second to late, sending the pencils on it skittering in all directions, gouging deep, angry grooves into the wood with its clawed bare feet, knocking over a cup of cold coffee in a heedless manner, striking over a stand of

bookmarks and shredding them out of sheer rage. Bits of multicolored paper decorated the air like oversized confetti.

I quickly ducked as I tried to dash past the desk. I felt the wind of something sharp suddenly scythe past my ear, a cage of steel trying to clamp down on my shoulder in its bone shattering vise-like grip. I felt the barest touch of something icy cold almost brush the nape of my neck, sending a shiver down my spine. In a second the elite would make another swipe and a second was all I had- But then the door swung open toward me and I lunged for the opening. For freedom... I was out.

A terrible, bloodcurdling howl of anguish raked my ears, a scream of inhuman frustration; it was a cry of utter loathing, despair, and insane, uncontrollable fury. No doubt that yell had been heard by the rest of them down below too. I suddenly laughed. Imagine, just imagine what the news would say about this... "...six foot tall werewolf-like creatures attacked a school today..."

Werewolf-like creatures...because everyone knew that mole-people wouldn't be six feet tall, they were short, stubby, harmless, they didn't have elite, let alone those that looked like fairy tale nightmares with long silver claws, nor narrow, dog-like heads, long snouts, nor a powerful sense of smell, they were slow moving and certainly never came aboveground, even if they did exist... because wouldn't someone see them?

From far behind me, the elite of the mole people shrieked again, no doubt cursing every missing inch of the arm that had nearly caught me by the back of the neck. I couldn't help but look back, and seeing that livid hooded face framed by the library door, knew that all those books on shelves would never look the same though glass again...

And teacher, that is why I didn't do my English homework last night.

Rate this submission


You must be logged in to rate submissions

Loading Comments