The library loomed in front of her in the gloom of the wet evening. Anika felt the rain splashing on her cheeks as she climbed the ancient cement stairs into the dark building. She had been on campus for almost two months, but this was her first time going to the library. Why hadn’t she chosen to go during the day? Anika shook her head and the nervous feeling in her stomach from her mind and pushed on the heavy doors.
The doors opened first onto a foyer and a second set of dark wooden doors led into the main hall of the massive library. When Anika stepped through, her breath caught in her throat and the tiny sound coming from her mouth echoed up towards a ceiling at least ten floors away.
The library had been the first building erected on the campus, and many legends surrounded the ancient structure. Anika’s roommate, Chloe, had told her that at least two ghosts resided among the dusty tomes. The rumors said that a young coed, Tricia was her name, had jumped from the top floor and fell to her death, her blood staining the marble floors of the entryway. Anika shivered thinking about it as her feet stepped over the center medallion in the circular mosaic floor.
She picked up her pace and quickly slipped through the security gates and into the musty library. Anika had come because one of her biggest exams happened to be tomorrow, and she had been so busy fawning over Tim, a guy she met at the first football game of the year, that she had forgotten to study. Well, that wasn’t true. She had remembered, but kissing Tim’s full lips had been much more interesting.
At the moment, Anika was cursing herself for allowing a boy to get in between her and her studies. She hurried over to the elevator and rode to the top floor. The doors opened onto the school’s special collection of medical reference books, and she hurried over to one of the dimly lit tables. Her goal was to become a doctor, not a nurse, but a doctor. Her father had always wanted the best for her, so she didn’t want to disappoint him. The test was in her first year Anatomy class, one which would set the course of her college and future career. Anika opened the book and got to work.
A chill climbed up her spine, and Anika spun around, her eyes searching for a clue of where she was. Her eyes took in the books, the tables with small lamps shaded in green glass, the comfortable but hard chairs rimming each long table. The library. Anika wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and realized that she must have fallen asleep because the vast room of books was utterly empty.
“Hello?” Anika said, her voice just above a whisper. She heard her word echo through the empty room and wind its way back to her ears. She realized that no one was there to answer her, and her mind immediately shifted to Chloe’s ghosts. Was this place really haunted? Images of hanging corpses and flattened bodies splayed in a puddle of blood raced behind her eyelids which she had just realized were closed.
“It’s ok. It’s all just stories,” she whispered to herself as her fingers moved quickly and adeptly, placing all of her books into her bag and swinging it to her shoulder. “I’ll just go to the door and leave.” Anika’s voice kept echoing back to her despite the low decibel of her words. Her feet were suddenly carrying her down the stairs and towards the marble entryway where Tricia had apparently fallen to her bloody demise.
As Anika turned the corner, a figure lay, prone, centered on the marble stone that marked the middle of the decorative mosaic on the floor. A dark pool had formed around the body, but the lights were too dim to determine if it was a man or a woman. Anika didn’t care; her heart had sped up to a blinding pounding, each beat banging against her ribcage, and a scream was trying to rip its way through her body in an attempt to escape through her tightly clenched lips. The doors just beyond the corpse were the only way out, so Anika had to walk by. Her mind raced to how the person had gotten there, if the fall was what woke her up. She kept wondering where everyone was, why they had closed the library with her still sitting at the tables.
She stepped through the security gate, absently wondering where the man with the wand might be hiding and why he wasn’t dealing with the body in front of her. Without her full consent, her feet carried her closer to the figure on the floor. Anika noticed now that it was a woman, a girl really, with long dark hair not unlike her own. Anika moved a bit faster, attempting to hedge her way around the expanding crimson puddle that had formed around the woman’s head.
The door was within her grasp, and Anika gripped the bronze handles and yanked. The door didn’t budge, and Anika’s fists began to beat on the glass, her lungs bellowing for help. Why had she come to the stupid, creepy library? Anika sunk to the floor, tears streaming down her face and sobs hiccupping through her body, her hands red from her attack on the door. Her eyes wandered to the dark haired woman who carried a tan messenger bag just like Anika’s. The tears clouded her vision and threatened to overcome her, but her interest in the dead woman suddenly became more enticing than escaping the dark hold of the library. Anika inched closer to the body and reached for the bag, her own dragging on the floor next to her.
She hooked the long strap of the bag and slid it towards her. Inside, Anika fished out a dark pink wallet, and her heart began to beat faster. She reached up and scratched at a spot on the back of her neck that had been irritating her since she woke up, her head plastered to the wooden table. Sleeping had always been a chore for her, and using a table for a pillow was going to do a number on her neck. Anika realized that she was stalling. She didn’t want to open that wallet and find out the identity of the bloody mess of a human that lay a few feet from her own trembling hands.
Anika took a deep breath and flipped open the small wallet. Staring back at her was the campus I.D. for one Tricia Anika Chambers. A scream ripped through the dark air and both girls disappeared.
This was written in response to a friendly challenge with The Clock Tower Sunset. Check him out if you haven’t already. He is amazing!
The Clocktower Sunset found this pic recently and was reminded of this story. He suggested I add the pic and repost. So, I hope you enjoy! 🙂