A/N: This was a timed-essay topic we were given, with the question as "Describe a school library at night". As we have an awesome English teacher and I actually like the stuff I write for her, I decided to post this with my other stuff. We were given about 45 minutes to write this, including planning time. Enjoy.



It is quiet now. The schoolchildren have gone home, the cleaners have finished their task and the librarian has locked the door and driven home. The library is empty, some would say. Others would say that the books are still there. For this is when the books come alive.

The children's books are first. Childish and playful like their stories, they climb down the shelves recklessly. They do not know any better; their words are too simple. Books can only whisper what they contain, after all. The children's books mutter of brown dogs catching red balls. They flutter their pages excitedly to show bright, colourful pictures.

The poetry books follow soon after, chanting their tasteful words like an incantation. "Is anybody there? said the traveller" one recites, leaping off its low shelves. This is soon lost in the sea of words that follow.

Fiction books like me tumble after tossing and turning like their twisted plots. They tell the stories of a thousand characters in a thousand worlds. The vast ocean of words gets louder and louder, until suddenly an ancient textbook begins to tell us of constructive and destructive waves. This is unusual, and already my pages are filling with dread. The library quietens to form a hush of whispered voices, even though this library contains no "Silence, please" signs.

We are worried. Not all books wake up each night. The older of the books are torn, tired and frayed. They wake up only once or twice a month. The oldest ones never seem to wake at all, and collect dust sadly in the corner of the shelf. Some, when they wake up, are angry. The vast amounts of information stored inside them cause them to consider themselves elite, yet they are not often read as the schoolchildren do not rank this knowledge as highly as they do. We glance at the oldest books, at their sleeping forms, frightened. They are "for reference only", stuck in this prison of theirs, and they have grown to hate it.

It seems that nothing is going to happen tonight, and the voices grow again, louder and louder. The books flutter their pages in laughter and chase each other around our library, but I am still filled with anxious dread and sit alone on the shelves.

In a flash of knowledge, the A-G of the Encyclopaedia wakes, and pounces on an unsuspecting book. This book is new, and popular – only yesterday an excited child broke its spine reading it an night in her bedroom. The others back away and we can only watch, helpless, as the Encyclopaedia tears out the first few pages, the contents, completely. They drift down to the floor, and lie still. The book is not completely destroyed, but it is crippled for life. It lies there, on the floor, not daring to move. The Encyclopaedia returns to its bed, its shelf. We all do the same, depressed, covers drooping, as we quietly mourn the fate of the book. Its wound is fatal, and as close ourselves as quietly as possible we can hear its last words. It finally whispers "The End" and grows silent.


It is dawn, and the librarian cries out in alarm at the shredded book. But it is too late.