It was very quiet in this area of the stacks, so quiet that if you listened carefully enough you could hear the books breathing. This portentous silence was broken by a rhythmic squeak as a trolley loaded with grimoires and magical texts was pushed firmly towards the dark corner wherein such resided.
“It’s no good you being like that,” a determined voice said. “It doesn’t hurt being shelved. It’s not as if any of you are chained. Although if some of you keep misbehaving…”
The rhythmic squeal stopped and the trolley rounded a corner, being pushed by a dumpy girl with a determined looking chin. As it neared the shelves where arcane and magical volumes were shelved the squeal started up again.
“Does somebody want to be shelved on 99b?”
The dumpy girl began shelving volumes with practiced efficiency. She handled the books with care and respect, but would brook no resistance nor any other tricks. One of the grimoires snapped its covers at her and she slapped it firmly.
“Start that with me and I’ll chain you.”
If it was possible for a book to look abashed it did so, coming quietly to hand to be slipped into its accustomed place.
Once the grimoires were tidily placed in their proper positions, the Night Librarian closed the steel doors around their stack and locked them with a hugely ornate key.
On her way back to the centre desk, she paused briefly at travel and pointed an imperious finger. There was a bit of scrabbling as the books reshelved themselves in their proper order, followed by an embarrassed silence.
“Papua New Guinea, since when have you lived between Jersey and Guernsey?”
A dog eared volume leapt from a shelf and scuttled off. The girl regarded the now tidy stack for a moment before permitting herself a small smile.
She turned on her heel pushing the now empty trolley to the store room where it would be filled by the day staff who were far too busy to ever shelve books.
Cover by Ian Bristow of Bristow Design.