Watch Your Step

By
Rebecca was a relatively shy girl. She liked to go to the library to look for good books in her spare time. Once her English teacher—Mr. Roberts assigned a new independent reading project and Rebecca was fresh out of unread books. There had been rumors that a new high tech library had opened up, so she decided to hunting for a new novel there.

Rebecca arrived at this new mysterious building. Mystical looking light was coming from the glossy windows and as the doors slip open to welcome her, she took an uneasy step into this new world. Inside were flat screen monitors glowing with “Welcome” signs. As Rebecca took one more step forward - an electronic, futuristic sounding voice ran out from behind her.

“Please enter your full name and address on one of our screens.”

Startled, Rebecca turned around and whispered—

“Who said that?”

The voice, sounding a bit friendlier this time responded.

“I am a programmed voice designed by the library technicians to help you journey through our new, revolutionary library. Now please enter your full name and address on one of the screens beside you.”

Hesitating, Rebecca came up to a screen which then turned from the “Welcome” sign to an online form. Slowly she completed it, even though she thought the form was way too personal. Just as she pressed “Complete” the screen morphed into a “Thank You” sign. At the same time, the electronic voice reappeared—

“Thank you for your patience. To continue please proceed through the doors ahead.”

The open doors revealed another chamber. It was packed with people in white coats wearing rubber gloves. They were sitting on chairs alongside the wall but as soon as they saw Rebecca they leapt to their feet, snapped their gloves, and cracked their knuckles. Even though fear was overcoming her, she decided to be brave. But before she could even think of taking a step forward, a woman who appeared to be in charge marched up to her and started talking.

“Here’s the breakdown. You cannot enter this sacred building looking like that. All hair must be tied back at all times. Your skin mustn’t be exposed. The oils from the hair and skin can be very damaging to the books’ pages if they were to come to contact. You may not breathe on any of the books, or touch them, even if your skin is covered up. Got it?”

“Uh-huh” was the only thing Rebecca could utter at the time, along with the nodding of her head.

“The consequences for rule breaking are severe, so I suggest you stay out of trouble.”

With that the woman raised her over plucked eyebrows which emphasized her eyes, twinkling with eerie pinpoints of light.

Just as the woman finished her little “talk” the rest of the white coated people approached and started making over Rebecca. By the time they were finished she looked like ghost. She had on: a respirator, so she couldn’t breathe on the books, goggles, so she couldn’t cry on the books, rubber gloves on her hands and a rubber shower cap on her head so no oils would evade from her skin, along with a surgeon’s coat down to her ankles.

Another set of doors opened and finally she was in this “sacred building” as woman in charge called it. It was exactly like the dark room in her photo class. Only red lights glowed, to slow the aging process of the written works. Few people lingered amongst the glass rows, flipping the plastic wrapped novels carefully with tongs. Mostly it was just the library personnel standing along the walls with government like ear pieces and infra red heat goggles attached to their faces, searching for trouble makers and waiting to pounce.

When Rebecca discovered what she had gotten herself into she backed, backed, and backed all the way home where it was safe to breathe. She went straight to bed in attempt to forget this bizarre experience.

This luck only lasted until dawn. At 6:00am sharp the same strange woman showed up at the Bonjour doorstep and she did not look pleased.

“Rebecca Bonjour—you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can be used against you in the court of law. You are hereby under arrest on the ground of mistreating books. There has been evidence found in your records that now will be taken to court. You have a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, one will be provided for you by the government.”

So ended the story of a fifteen year old girl, who once loved books. Rebecca Bonjour was handcuffed and hauled of to prison at 6:06 am on February 18th, 2007, in her pajamas, and was never seen again.





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