Chapter 2: Roll the Credits
To tell you the truth, I always hated this world and my life, but I always wished for something to happen. I wanted my life to be turned into something valuable and great. I wanted to see the good of this world. I felt that this letter will do the opposite. Yet, my curiosity helped tell my legs to move. Franklin library is just three blocks away from my school so the walk was short, but misfortune still came my way. As soon as I left my house, a black cat was running across the street. Walking on my way to school I saw seven crows glaring down at me like I was already dead and ready to be eaten. Just before approaching the library, five policemen were standing around their cars. When I got close to them, they all turned a cold stare straight towards me.
"Just my luck. There were exactly thirteen bad omens along my walk. Thirteen!"
Franklin library is the biggest library in the city. This is my seventh time visiting the library, which gave a sliver of hope that my luck will be with me. Entering the library has been repeatedly a different experience. Our city boasts an abundant amount of volunteers, especially for the library. Because of this, the volunteers are able to decorate this enormous hunk of junk to pertain to the nearest holiday. Today is March 11 and St. Patrick's Day is March 17 this year. Guess what color I hate the most?
Without the decorations the library may have been a perfect place for me. Its quiet, it has a big open space, and best of all no one bothers you except the librarian, though she tends to ignore me anyways. The books are shelved neatly in each bookshelf and are easy to find accordingly to the call number system. Everything here is perfect without the decorations.
Though I said that the Franklin library is the biggest library in the city, it is also one of the biggest libraries in our state. It has five floors and each floor is about three acres in size. The center of library has a huge pendulum swinging under a dome. The pendulum swings with the rotation of the earth, which means it rotates like a clock as the day go on. When I was young, I used to just watch it swing back and forth all day. Today, there wasn't any time for that.
I headed towards the young adult section on third floor. It turns out that the section surrounds the center in a circle. This made perfect sense, as it is very easy for the Blank Roster to see if I was actually here. They could be either above or below me looking for a strange boy who is wandering around aimlessly. Today it seemed there were a lot of people just spectating the pendulum from all the floors. It was hard to avoid interacting with anyone.
"Well since I'm here, I might as well try to find them," I said to myself.
"Find what?" asked a mysterious voice.
Frightened I turned around to see a girl wearing a green librarian volunteer jacket. She had short straight black hair and a small ponytail. She had a light tan and her eyes… were purple. Quite a rare sight to see, but even more rare to meet someone else who has the same eye color as me. Her expression could be called cute, but my senses returned to me.
"Oh just some books, I replied.
She laughed a little and said, "I am pretty sure everyone here are looking for books."
"Well what kind of books are you looking for?"
"Young adult books."
"I know that. You're in the young adult section."
"This conversation is already awkward. Why can't she take a hint?" I thought. Her smile bothered me. I just wanted to get as far as possible away from her.
"Well it looks like you don't really need any help. I'll just go somewhere else," she said still with a smile. With that she left to go help someone else while leaving me behind. This is a very common scene to me, yet I still wondered what kind of impression I left.
After a while, I just sat there waiting for some kind of signal. Then I realized that maybe that girl was part of the Blank Roster and confirmed I was Michael. My reasonable thinking was, of course, wrong. At that moment, something caught my eye. A red dot appeared in front of me on a book titled The Story of Oddjob. I picked the book out from the bookshelf instinctively and opened it. There I found a piece of paper that said "Look up". Immediately, I turned my head towards the ceiling, and there was a small mechanical spider with a red light spying on me. The spider started to skitter across the ceiling, and like anyone who sees a mechanical spider in a library I chased after it. Luckily no one was around to witness a young man rushing around the bookshelves.
The spider stopped at the economic/business section of the library and had its red light on a book called Roll the Credits. I pulled the book out of the shelf and found a note inside. It said, "Congratulations on finding this book. Now try to find the secret code. Here is a hint; the spider will explode in five seconds. You have one day to figure this out. Good Luck." Immediately I looked up to see the mechanical spider flickering its red light faster and faster. The moment came. The spider simply fell down and broke into small pieces. In the end, it was an ordinary day at the library.
I walked out holding two books in my hand and a bunch of metal pieces in my pocket. I was able to arrive home safely. I decided to skip my nighttime "job" and start to figure this secret code of theirs. I first read The Story of Oddjob as this was the first book the spider had pointed to. After the spending the whole night reading, I found that the book was completely useless. It was about the backstory of an assassin who throws hats and at the end fails to kill a man named 007, which is a strange name. To continue my efforts, I decided to skip school, an extremely hard and agonizing choice for sure.
Roll the Credits began explaining that movies and other types of media roll the credits with the title appearing at the end. It then somehow connected this to the looming crisis of the economy and theories how the government is involved. The last sentence of the book was "Roll the credits!", a quite fitting end to a horrible conspiracy theory dealing with the economy. Needless to say, I didn't figure out anything.
I took out the note to read the hint again and tried to change my thinking. I thought of page numbers and the hint has one number, five. I looked at page 5 in Roll the Credits as the hint was found in that book. I couldn't find anything. Then I thought of a spider having eight legs. Since the spider came before "five", I put the numbers together and turned to page 85. I found the word explosion, referring to the spider exploding in the hint. The author wrote about the government exploding warehouses to lower competition in certain industries. The word warehouse was probably an indication where The Blank Roster are meeting. Our city has two warehouses and the hint said "seconds", meaning I have to go to the second warehouse. I had figured this out. I threw everything in air as I expressed my way of joy by sleeping in my bed.
I woke up just as the sun said its good bye. I got up to find the books and the paper with hint on the ground. But then I saw something that made me not want to live anymore. On the opposite side of hint, there was another message written on the paper. "Congratulations for flipping the paper. Come meet us at the second warehouse of the city at 9:00 p.m. sharp. Once you are inside the warehouse you will be escorted to our hidden base."
It was exactly one minute before 9 o'clock when I arrived at the warehouse. Inside the warehouse, there were some boxes stacked in pile in one corner and there were big machines used for construction in another. One thing struck my mind. No one was there. Typical. People always say that they would talk to me again, but most don't even see me at all. I felt that the world was against me in everything I did and now was not an exception. I received a letter enticing me to do things I have never done before. Now they are probably ignore me, seeing who I truly was. They were able to tell who I was in the letter and they saw me in person through the spider. Who knows what they think of me.
A big fan started to spin inside the warehouse. I don't know how, but the force from the fan was able move anything that wasn't heavy enough. This included myself. I felt the ground below me disappear. My body was in the air moving in every direction. Nothing was holding me back. The experience was quite unusual and scary, but for the first time, I finally felt free from the earth.
The wind led me into a vent going down. Inside was dark, but the darkness gave me excitement. I was in the unknown, but the ride was breathtaking. This experience made me realize something. The darkness of the world wasn't against me, but it was I. I was holding myself back because… I was afraid. Afraid of what people would think of me; afraid of people ignoring me; afraid of people not caring for me. All of my worst fears came true. Now, here I am falling in the darkness smiling.
At the end of the vent, I landed in a big conference room with lots of screens. There were four others looking at me. The light was too dark for me to tell what they looked like. But my mind already knew I was dancing in a field of infinite possibilities.