poet. writer. imposter.
Mook is nowhere to be seen. He’s locked himself away and hasn’t responded except to push a note under his door that says ‘I’m okay’.
Spiggy just rolled his eyes, as he does.
“He’ll come out when he’s ready,” he said.
I worried about Mook not having any food or drink and Spiggy said that the chances are he’s been squirrelling food away for days.
“It’s a habit we started at the home,” he explained, “He didn’t like spending time with the other kids. He was picked on a lot. We’d stash food so we didn’t have to be near the little shits.”
I understood, but was a little annoyed that he had decided to go AWOL just when we needed some help.
It was a much bigger job than I had anticipated. Rich and Miggs had made those barricades incredibly secure. Spiggy was unperturbed, but I had forgotten that the barricade between the living space and the stairwell was not the only one. There’s was another on the first floor, securing the stairwell further, and then another one securing the library doors. It took us until lunchtime to get the final door unbarricaded and by that time, we just dropped the tools and went for something to eat. We hadn’t even stopped for a drink since we started.
We had both noticed that the atmosphere was a little tense and tried to cheer each other up with stupid jokes. It hadn’t really worked and everything we said seemed stilted. I think this was the first uncomfortable day we’d had. Before we went back to work, I played the Greig again. I’m not sure it helped the situation, but it made me feel good.
After eating, we climbed the stairs in silence and stood in front of the Library door. I look at Spiggy.
“You’re making a meal of this,” he said, “It’s only a bloody library.”
“Maybe,” I gave a grim smile, “but there’s more than just books in here. There’s history.”
He frowned, “Yours?”
“Mine. The Commune. Stuff.”
The atmosphere thickened again and I explained that there were remnants and relics from before Spig and Mook arrived. There was nothing suspicious or harmful in there, just . . . I was uncomfortably about being confronted with my past when it had been so neatly packed away.
He grunted, “Just open the fucking door.”
When I was at school, the library was my sanctuary. I went there for peace and for learning. I would revel in the smell of aged books and the special frisson of dust motes dancing in the sun that streamed through the slatted windows. Jesus. Did I just write that? As poetry it sucked, but . . . I always viewed this place as my personal Narnia, or at least my personal “Wood Between the Worlds.” I just had to reach out and another world showed itself; a world I could lose myself in; somewhere I could live and retreat from the real world.
And then the real world crashed in a killed it. One of the older members of the community, had been ill for sometime. Erik thought it was probably cancer, but lacking the diagnostic tools to confirm, all he could do was make him comfortable. I’m reluctant to speak his name, or even write it. Completely irrational, but I fear that it might bring them back.
Anyway, It took him a while to realise that his condition was terminal. Rather than a long and protracted death, he opted for suicide. He decided that the beams in the library would be the best place to do it. His wife joined him. I found them around 9:00am. Erik said that they had been hanging for a good six hours. We cut them down and buried them. My sanctuary was forever tainted by the sight of them hanging, leering, tongues protruding and black.
Before the deaths, even though we used this space as a meeting room, coming into it gave me a sense of calm. Now, I just felt fear and a strange sense of defeat.
We pretty much emptied the Library. We thought we’d just take what we needed, but not knowing what most of it was, it was easier just to remove everything. We left most of the sculptures though. One or two of them would look nice in the greenhouse and there are a couple of spaces that could be filled with some art, but there is a tang of regret and loss that comes with seeing them again. I’m not sure I’d be able to cope with that every time I turned round. We pulled some out anyway. They may get left between defences, though.
I was pleased to get out of there. I was fairly sure there would never be a need to go back in there again. Closing it off again was like saying goodbye to a part of my past.
Putting the barricades back up was much easier work and the first was back up by sundown. Mook was still a no-show (we had hoped he might make some food for us, but he was still too busy being a hermit) so instead of eating, we ploughed on and shut the second and third barricade before falling, exhausted, onto the sofa.
“We can look through that lot tomorrow,” I said, “I don’t want it cluttering the place up for days.”
“What are you hoping to find,” Spiggy asked.
I told him that Mook wanted the architectural plans and a chess set.
“Aw, not chess . . .” he groaned.
We had sandwiches, sank a few shots of Jura and went to bed.