• Madeline Walz

Day 29: “Smoke hung so thick in the library’s rafters that she could read words in it.”

Smoke hung so thick in the library’s rafters that she could read words in it. She didn’t have time to read them now, though. She had to finish her book.

In hindsight, maybe a trash can fire wasn’t the best distraction to get into the library after hours. Especially when that trash can was blown over by the wind and started the whole building on fire.

That had happened after she got in, of course. She’d grabbed the book she wanted and had sat down to read when she’d heard the crash. Moments later, flames had begun creeping inside. She’d gone to the second floor, then the third, over the next few hours as the fire spread.

Another person might have left, with or without the book, but not her. She didn’t have a library card, and she refused to remove the book without borrowing it legally. She may have been willing to break in, but she was no thief.

As for just leaving without the book, that wasn’t an option either. She was so close to finishing, and she had to know how it ended! She’d already checked every bookstore, library, and private collection in the area. No one had the book, except this library.

That meant, if she ever wanted to read it, she had to brave the fire. That, in turn, meant going all the way up, to the rafters.

She’d been up here for over an hour, at least. She wasn’t sure. The flames were getting close, though. Soon she’d have to leave the book and go up to the roof so she could try to escape.

She started the last chapter. Just a few pages left! She waved the smoke away and bent over the page: Smoke hung so thick in the library’s rafters that she could read words in it.

Cover photo by Yuri Efremov on Unsplash.

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