Stranded

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Ehhrr...I wake to the sound of the restroom door's squeaky creak. My head buzzes as I force myself to my feet, and then I remember. I was being chased, and I'd ducked into a sixty-seven year old library to hide. I was in the restroom, and had washed my soil-stained hands from stumbling in a field where I had been pursued. Then, tiny pool had materialized out of the auburn-rusted pipe, and I'd skidded and hit my head. I stole a glimpse at my watch. 12:27 am. Seven hours later. I sprinted to the front door and yanked at the handle, but it refused to click open. The window wasn't available, either; it was padlocked at the catch. I was trapped in an ancient library past midnight.

Since a creepy, deformed library has nothing to offer but books, I flicked on a light switch and browsed. Row after row, torn and shabby book sides lined the smooth, pine shelves. I fingered through THE HOBBIT, but I shoved it back in place among its yellow-paged siblings Disinterested, I shuffled down a narrow hallway, and halted, exhaustion fogging my mind in a silvery mist. I almost allowed sleep to triumph over my eyes, but strode forward. Wait, no. I hadn't moved an inch. Someone else was in the library.

I raced down the aisles, searching frantically for the intruder. But I accidentally smashed my shoulder on the edge of a bookcase and stupidly yelped. I peeped around the corner, and saw what I wished desperately was only a nightmare I could escape by opening my eyes. But it wasn't. My stalker was there. My brother was there. He took a dangerous step forward, black in his eyes. I had to do something, even if it was my last stand. I couldn't just not do anything.
"No, Matthew! It wasn't me! Mom is gone because-" But I was cut off.
"No!" His voice was shaky, but my sibling continued. "Mom is gone, GONE! Someone is to blame. It was you, not me! It was you!" I saw all of our identical memories swirling in his eyes. How horrible we felt when our mother's death was unveiled, how we had to blame someone, how we were in a black hole, how it was dragging us down into a void of nothingness but despair. He blamed me.
"No! Don't!" I cried, but twisted away when he lunged at me wildly. I darted through the labyrinth of bookcases, and suddenly Matthew's footsteps stopped. I dared a glance behind my shoulder, and he was choking for breath. Stumbling, I grasped for sweet, wonderful air and inhaled deeply. But I glanced back again, and found that my brother was gone. Instead, there was a flame-devouring match on a pile of books.

Sprinting, I evaded aisle after aisle, but dragon's breath soon caught up and concealed a way out. But I found the window, and hurled a book at it. Please, please, I prayed. But it only cracked, and I bashed it with another one. But then, as I plummeted to the ground when I tripped over my feet, I was sure my life would end in smoke as books covered in embers toppled on me. I heard a sound, though, and hope flared inside me.

The door was open, and a confused librarian was looking around in horror. I captured his attention with sputtering wheezes, and he took my outside. "My brother, he's inside," I coughed. He dialed 911, and firemenwomen and police arrived five minutes later. I watched as snow-white bolts of water attacked the flames, relief washing over mine.





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