Here is a glimpse of my WIP, the sequel to “Emergence collective“. This is the first draft of chapter one. I hope you enjoy! Feel free to comment! And hey, if it’s interesting consider buying the first book 😉
She watched William Freidman hunch over, Staring intently at a massive book in the silence of the dimly lit library. He was surrounded by stacks of books so high that it nearly hid him from view like a protective wall. The book he was staring into was a 3-inch-thick tome with yellow fragile-looking pages. She was patient, but this kid was looking at the page; (she glanced up at the clock on the wall) for almost five minutes now. What’s this idiot doing? Sounding out each word as slowly as he can? She thought. She cleared her throat intentionally loud and aggressive, obviously trying to get his attention.
“The bejesus!” he squealed, his knees thumping the desk as he nearly jumped out of his skin. He looked around nervously, hoping that his squeal didn’t bother the library patrons where he worked.
“I’m the only one here.” She said, looking amused. “Whatcha reading?”
He was momentarily stunned by her beauty. She had flawless obsidian black skin, long braided hair, and full, supple lips. He fumbled with the earbuds, pulling them out of his ears, smiling, and trying to look like he wasn’t looking her over. “Oh, I’m not actually; I was just picking a new audiobook.” He tilted the “Book” he was staring into up so she could see. The tablet was perfectly nestled into the pages of the book. The screen showed a long list of books that he struggled to decide on.
Her brilliant hazel, almost red eyes squinted accusingly at him. “You destroyed a book to hide your tablet?” She asked scornfully. From being startled, his face, already a shade of pink, turned to a red hue, embarrassed by the accusation. “No, no. I made it.” He said and smiled as his face returned to its natural pale color. He lifted the book with ease handing it to her to inspect. She noted that it was far lighter than it appeared as she took it into her hands, awkwardly shuffling the books she was already holding. She closed the book and examined it nodding her head in approval. The book looked old as if it belonged in an archive. The cover had a grim-looking face stretched out, with arcane runes and the word “Necronomicon” embellished in gold foil. “Nicely done,” She said with a slight wince at the gruesome face as she handed it back. “I’m impressed.”
“Thanks,” he said as he took it back from her and shrugged. “I took a bookbinding class last year.
He sat looking at her, finding himself looking into her fiery eyes, then to her lips and her chin.
She cleared her throat again, breaking the awkward silence and his eyes from wandering any farther down.
“Soooo. Can I check these books out or what?” She said, half annoyed and half-amused.
“Oh. Right, Gees, sorry.” He managed to fumble out, feeling his face turning pink again as she set a stack of books and her library card on the desk. He picked up the barcode scanner and started scanning her books. As she waited for him to scan her books out, her eyes drifted over the desk. they stopped on the earbud he pulled out after she startled him, and she squinted at it. “So, you work in a Library, but you don’t like to read?” she asked, sounding confused.
“Yup, that’s pretty much it.” He said, following her eyes to the earbud.
“But, you like books? Enough to take a bookbinding class?”
“Mmm-hmm.” He mumbled between beeps of the scanner. “But you seem to.” He remarked, looking at the last few of the six books she had picked out. “Schopenhauer, Nietzsche. Kant,” Will read the names rubbing his forehead as if he was getting a headache. “Pretty standard stuff for a Nihilist.” He said with a smirk. “Are you a nihilist?”
“I’m a Philosophy major, so pretty much, yeah.” She said deadpan. They both laughed at that. Will scanned her library card and set it on the stack of books. “Well, your all set.” He said, squinting at her card, “Alchemy.” He read aloud.
“Chemy.” She corrected, “I go by Chemy.” She said, smiling and looking him in the eyes. Will got butterflies as their eyes met. The glint of fire in her eyes against the smooth dark skin made his heart race.
He slid the stack of books to the edge of the desk where she could reach it and stood up, extending his hand.”I’m Will.” He said, introducing himself. She took his hand and shook it. “Nice to meet you, Will.”
“You too, Chemy.” He replied, smiling. She slid the books off of the desk, slipped them into a book bag and turned around, and headed for the exit. He did his best not to stare as she walked away. He made busywork of moving the stacks of books around while keeping an eye on her as she left. You’re cool, just a work-a-day Joe. Not a creeper, He thought, as she pushed through the door. Did she look back at me?
He couldn’t tell if he imagined it and hoped that she did, but if she did, it was a subtle glance his way.
Will put his earbud back in and finished choosing his next book to listen to. Mechanically started scanning the returned books put them on the return carts, all the while replaying the last few minutes in his mind. Damn, she was cute. He knew he was lying to himself. She was more than pretty. Hot? No, that’s trashy. She was more. She was, well, captivating. Satisfied with that thought, he continued scanning in the returned book pile. He played the encounter over again in his head and cringed at himself in embarrassment. Then he thought about their introduction again, thinking about the softness of her hand, its comforting warmth. Suddenly self-conscious, he wondered if she felt an attraction. He ran his hand through his shaggy blonde hair in a surge of nervous energy. I’m an idiot nerd. Of course, she’s not into me; I just had to play show and tell with my homemade tablet case.
He sat there, daydreaming for a while longer before he realized that he had gotten himself worked up for nothing. He likely would never see her again anyway. With the size of the stack of books she had and their content, who knows when she will return them to the library. He sighed in defeat. Well, it was a fun thought while it lasted, He said to himself. The rumble in his stomach reminded him that his shift was over soon, and he should actually get some work done. He stood up and started pushing the book cart down the isle of bookcases with renewed vigor. He had to chuckle at himself for slacking off; he had been staring at the book list for too long in the first place before Alchemy derailed him. Will stopped in the middle of the aisle as he realized two things, one, that he was just wandering up and down the isles daydreaming and not even putting shelving the books on his cart, and two, that he had not even been listening to his audiobook and had to start it over. He chuckled again and slapped his face to break himself out of his daze. I get it. She was hot, I am into her, but I need to snap out of it and get some work done. He gave himself another few slaps in the face and shook it off, clearing his head and began to work in earnest.
Will made short work of shelving the books, now that he was no longer distracted. He pushed the cart back to its home by his desk and started the last of his duties. He tossed his tablet that looked like an old spellbook into his backpack. Remembering how Chemy had said she was impressed with it made him wince with regret. I should have at least asked for her number; he scolded himself. He glanced at the computer and thought he could, you know, just accidentally look at her membership file and accidentally memorize her phone number. Then what? Text her, “Hey, I’m that guy from the library, wanna go for coffee or something? He rubbed his hand down his face in frustration. Yeah, starting off as a stalker is going to get you far. He quickly shut down the computer before he got himself in trouble, then grabbed his backpack and jacket and headed out. His stomach rumbled again, this time more aggressively urging him to find the nearest fast food on the way home.
He kicked the door with his heel as he came inside his tiny apartment. There was a faint click as the door latched shut behind him. There was just enough light in the apartment to see as the evening darkened the skies and street lights turned on outside. He slid his backpack on the couch and plopped down next to it, and opened the paper sack that held his dinner, Chowmein noodles. He leaned back, slid his laptop on his lap, powered it up, then clicked the remote, and turned his T.V. on. Just in time for “Horrorfest.” He thought and took a big messy bite of noodles. “House,” the nineteen eighty-four classic starring William Katt, played softly in the background as his laptop glowed to life. He did need to watch it, and it was really there for background noise. He had seen it half a dozen times, but it was still on his favorites list.
He opened his email: spam, spam, spam. About what I was expecting closed it and then clicked on an icon on his desktop. The Icon was a black handprint on a white background. His favorite blog, “Hand-prints of Darkness.” It is a blog about the eighties and nineties horror classics. He took another bite, slurping up a stray noodle with a whooshing sound, and started reading. Today’s blog post was about “Phantasm.” Technically, it was made in nineteen seventy-nine, not the eighties or nineties, but one of the things he liked about this blog was that if it was a good horror movie, they blogged about it, no matter when it was made. He wasn’t a big fan of Phantasm. Its dreamlike, surreal imagery made it hard to follow the plot, and Will thought it was better if you watched the first three movies in reverse order. He read the blog, mostly agreeing with some of the commentary, surprised by a new insight that never occurred to him, smiled, and nodded to himself. Aside from the topic itself, being horror movies, the blogger “Serenity Gates” was what made him enjoy this blog the most. Whoever she was in real life, he didn’t have a clue. Her bio was non-descript, and there was no photo of her. But she had phenomenal content, deep insight, and wit, which kept him reading. He ordinarily hated reading, but this wasn’t a podcast, and he was addicted to the content. The memory of explaining why he listened to audiobooks in the library instead of reading to, Alchemy… er Chemy sent a flurry of butterflies through his belly. His face flushed red, and butterflies danced around as that memory washed over him. Might as well stop thinking of her, your never going to see her again. He had been distracted by grabbing noodles and reading the blog; he had thought he had forgotten the strange, exciting encounter. He shook his head to clear away thoughts of her, then leaned back and put his feet on the coffee table as he closed his laptop. The scene in “House” where Richard Moll, playing “Big Ben” stalking Roger Cobb in the swamps of Vietnam, was playing now. My favorite part! He thought as he finished his noodles. The movie played out, his eyelids grew heavy, and he faded away to sleep.