Everything's fine now, more or less. I mean, it was kinda my own fault but nobody will ever get me to admit that outside of these pages. The library at Vantage Point had never really been one of my favourite places. I had worked there once when I was in high school but that was about it. However, as my tutor is always telling me, a decent library is an essential tool for any university student. I'm not saying the uni library is crap, it's just totally useless. The Vantage Point Library is just a little friendlier, but really loud! Of course if it had been just a little louder them maybe I wouldn't have fallen asleep. I definitely wouldn't have – Ah, nuts to it. I can't dwell on maybes. Not anymore.
I had some work to do that day, so I went to Vantage Point in the afternoon. They were open till 7 on Mondays so I didn't need to rush around. The essay, or the rough draft of it, was finished in about two hours. The relief was intense now that I had the bulk of it out of the way and I was suddenly in a very good mood. The clock on the wall told me it was almost five; I took my mobile out of my bag and sent a text to a few friends of mine to see if they wanted to meet for a drink. I put the phone away and rubbed my eyes, placing my cheek on the cool table top and closing my eyes. That was the biggest mistake I made.
The next thing I remember is snapping my eyes open and finding the library in darkness. I frowned as the street lights outside came on, I looked down at my watch and my heart almost leapt from my chest when I saw that it was just gone seven and the main door slammed closed downstairs.
"Wait! I'm still in here!" I cried, scooping my things into my bag and sprinting down the stairs to the entrance. Apparently nobody heard me because the door was locked tight when I finally reached it; I was trapped for the night.
After a few minutes of screaming obscenities at the locked door, I flopped against it. A slight buzzing drew my attention across the room to the desk where a vague shape was bent over the counter with a flashing light above it. A chill worked its way up my spine as the words of my roommate floated through my mind.
"You wanna watch yourself at that library, chicken. Mrs Clark is totally a robot! She doesn't go home; the other librarians just plug her in at night!" Phyl had cackled.
"Thanks for that, Phyllis" I muttered, turning away from the desk before my imagination could expand on Phyl's theory. I hoisted my bag onto my shoulder and moved through the darkness to find the way to the backdoor.
I found the stairs to the basement by falling down them, luckily it was only a few steps but it still hurt like Hell. My bag hit the tiled floor a few seconds before I did.
"Sod this for a game of frigging soldiers!" I shrieked, rubbing my throbbing arm. I stood up and grabbed my bag, swearing again as my mobile dropped out of the side pocket. I sighed and thumped the heel of my hand against my forehead.
"If I had a brain I'd be frigging dangerous" I muttered. I picked up the phone and dialled home, trying to convince myself that I was dense just in shock.
I knew my roommates would be home, Phyl James refused the night shifts at work and Dick Redpath would be slouched in front of the footie. I pressed dial and waited, Phyl picked up on the third ring.
"House of fun?"
"It's Carly. I'm locked in the sodding library; can you and Dick come get me?" There was a beat of silence before Phyl erupted into peals of laughter, I rolled my eyes and waited untill she had finished before informing her that I was deadly serious and if she didn't come and help me I would slash her tyres. Phyl cleared her throat, said she'd be there in ten minutes and hung up. She was still giggling.
Half an hour later, Phyl's grinning face appeared at the window next to the front door. My own smile faded as I realized what they were planning. Dick broke the window and used a rock to get the shards out of the way but instead of helping me out, they climbed in.
"What are you doing? I thought you were coming to help me, not indulge your fetish for breaking and entering" I cried, trying to shove them backwards. Dick grabbed my wrists and flung me to one side, smiling.
"Chill, Carly. It's all good" he said, wandering across the foyer to the store room. I suddenly realized what they were planning. Both Dick and Phyl needed books from the store room but they weren't allowed to take them from the library, my roommates were going to steal them.
Honestly, I didn't give a damn. My ankle hurt, my arm was throbbing and I'd more then had enough of the frigging library for one day. I started to pull myself up to the window when the lights came on and Phyl screamed. I swung around and nearly wet myself when I saw the slumped figure of Mrs Clark at the issues desk, there was a plug sticking out the back of her head and a red light was flashing just above the socket.
"Fuck me" said Dick.
"Not right now" I muttered, moving forward to stand beside him. Phyl was circling the desk and getting a little too close for my liking.
"I never thought she was really a robot! Holy shit! How the Hell did they - ?" Phyl yelped and jumped backwards as Mrs Clark's eyes snapped open and a thoroughly unpleasant smile appeared on her lips.
"Burglars, hmm? I'll show you what we do with burglars in my library!" Mrs Clark yanked the plug from her head and wrapped her free hand around Phyl's throat, the girl made an awful gurgling sound as she was lifted off the ground.
Luckily, Dick still had his wits about him. There was a sudden metallic crunch and Mrs Clark dropped Phyl and then slipped to the floor in a heap. Dick dropped the dented fire extinguisher and scooped Phyl over his shoulder.
"Time to boogie" he said. I turned on my heel and followed him to the stairs as Mrs Clark began to stir again.
After getting to the second floor, we bolted to the reference section and dropped to the ground behind a stack of German encyclopaedias. Phyl groaned as she came round, rubbing her eyes and trying to sit up. Dick pushed her back against the shelves.
"Did anyone get the number on that truck?" she wheezed. I gripped her hand and peered around the edge of the bookcase, the top of the stairs was still dark and empty. No sign of Mrs Clark yet, but I had a feeling that wouldn't last long. Dick slowly stood up and I did the same.
"Where are we going?" I asked.
"You're not going anywhere. Stay here with Phyl" he said. I grabbed the front of his jacket and yanked his face close to mine, trying to keep my voice calm but failing miserably.
"Don't you dare think you can do that! Just because I'm a girl doesn't mean I can't kick your arse!" Dick stared at me for a moment before smiling; he wrapped his fingers around mine and checked that the coast was clear before they both stepped into the corridor.
Dick lifted Phyl untill she was steady enough on her feet, and then we headed off. After my little speech I was determined not to be scared but, sorry ladies, that place was too damn creepy in the dark. We couldn't see more than a few feet in front of us and Dick managed to trip over the floor a few times. All the windows on the second level were barred and locked; we didn't want to risk breaking another window because Mrs Clark was bound to hear.
"Where do you think she is?" I asked, Dick shrugged and rounded another corner, walking right into Mrs Clark. Her eyes glowed a bright red, her lips were curved in a grin and sparks were flying from the back of her head.
"You gave me quite a knock there, young man. But I'm afraid you have a fine on your card and it's quite a large one now. Naughty" said Mrs Clark, her voice was slightly deeper than before. She waggled a finger at Dick, her other arm suddenly shot out and made a grab for him. He shoved me and Phyl to one side as he ducked and tried to tackle her round the waist. Mrs Clark laughed and simply side stepped him, Dick couldn't stop in time to keep from flying head first into the wall. He slumped to the ground and didn't get up, Phyl screamed. I started to rush forward, shouting at Dick to get up. Mrs Clark grabbed me by my hair and threw me over the returns desk, my head connected with the edge and the world got darker for a while.
My next memory is of Phyl leaning over me, the bruises on her throat were turning an ugly purple and her voice was hoarse and strained.
"Be careful, chicken. You've got one Hell of a bump on your bonce." I ignored her and sat up, bright pain shot through my head and black spots danced in front of my eyes. The lump, when I found it, was huge and very tender when I prodded it. I slowly opened my eyes and blinked before looking back at Phyl.
"Mrs Clark must have dragged us here. I'm not sure where here is though and Dick's gone" she whispered. A chill settled in my chest but I refused to let it spread, I slowly climbed to my feet and waited for the world to stop spinning. When I looked up, Phyl was peering up at the ceiling, her head cocked to one side.
"I hear something up there. I think we're in the basement, there aren't any books down here." We found a set of steps and slowly climbed them, trying not to make them squeak under our weight. There was light filtering through the crack under the door, before I could stop her Phyl kicked the door and rushed into the light. Right into Mrs Clark.
Phyl didn't stop but kept going, tackling the robot and dropping them both to the floor. She snarled and pummelled Mrs Clark with both fists but the robot just laughed. She raised a hand to pull Phyl away but suddenly Dick was there, he grabbed Phyl's ankles and dragged her backwards into the darkness of the book shelves.
I followed Dick and Phyl untill they stopped behind some shelves almost opposite to where we had broken the window in the first place. Mrs Clark was still trying to get up; she was just visible through the shelves and looked like an upturned turtle. Phyl took the opportunity to bolt across the foyer and practically dive through the window, crying out as she landed awkwardly on the hard concrete outside. Dick swung a leg over the ledge and reached down to pull me up but a hand dropped onto my shoulder and I was hauled backwards.
"Time . . . To . . . Pay . . . The . . . Fine" growled Mrs Clark. She sounded weird; her voice was very deep and slow. She almost sounded like a record being played on the wrong setting as if she were winding down. A sudden realization hit me like a bolt of lightning. Mrs Clark had been plugged in when we found her, probably charging over night ready for the morning. There was no way she was even half way charged when we got there and now she'd been chasing us around the library for half the night. Her batteries were running low. I turned to Dick, winked and ran as fast as I could into the nonfiction section.
Mrs Clark followed me but she was nowhere near as fast as she had been. I took the stairs to the cooking section two at a time and spotted Dick on the fire escape outside the window. He waved his arms at me and pointed upwards; I noticed a spiral staircase and flew up it to the supernatural section.
"Carly! Over here!" I turned to the left and spotted Dick leaning through an open window; I gave a high pitched laugh and ran towards them. But I didn't make it.
Mrs Clark stepped out from the shelves and shoved me to the ground. She snarled and swung her arms towards me; I closed my eyes and turned away.
I slowly opened my eyes and gasped. Mrs Clark's face was less than an inch from mine, her hand still in a claw hovering over my chest. The light was gone from her eyes and she was deathly still. I slid out from under her and hefted one of the bibles from the shelf. I lifted it over my head and bought it down over and over again untill Mrs Clark was in pieces on the floor. I dropped the book and walked to the window, allowing Phyl and Dick to help me out.
It's been a few weeks since we got out of the library and now all three of us have decided to leave. I've only been back once, to hand in an overdue book. The new librarian took it from me, scanned it and then frowned at the screen.
"There's a large fine on here" she said, turning to face me. Her eyes glowed red and she smiled before dropping her voice to a low rumble.
"You will pay." I promised to pay the next time I was there and ran from that place like my hair was on fire and my arse was catching. Phyl, Dick and I were thinking of moving to Lampeter. I hear they have a nice university but I'll have to check the library out first.