“What’s happening?” Lisa nervously eyeballed the vicinity, but she couldn’t identify anything that would cause Delron to panic as much as he did, so she was left udderly addled.
“Whatever you do, never touch the Proctor Bible!” Delron vehemently stressed to Lisa.
As Delron dug through some drawers underneath a cash register, Lisa furrowed her brows over his cryptic warning. She couldn’t comprehend the motive behind this high degree of alertness until she recalled the tour she did with Melanie, and then she apologized, “Oh, I’m sorry! I forgot that the boss told me not to touch anything from the historical collection without gloves!” As she studied it, the book didn’t seem so delicate to her, but it did appear at least three hundred years old, so she thought perhaps the oil from her skin might have damaged it, which made her feel somewhat guilty about her lack of discretion.
After slipping on a pair of rubber mitts, Delron filled her in, “Yes, it’s important to handle the antiques with care, but this one is different. You couldn’t destroy it if you tried! And believe me, a lot of people did try!”
“If it’s so hard to destroy it, then why do I have to be so careful with it?” Lisa asked with her befuddlement renewed once more.
“Because…” Delron hesitated before answering. He mulled it over for a moment, and then he concluded, “Well, you’re gonna find out sooner or later, so I’ll have to tell you… That tome is cursed!”
Lisa grimaced in a slight agitation. Just when she reckoned that she finally met a normal person in this town, he sprung that on her! She skeptically questioned him, “Cursed? Really?”
Delron pulled out an ancient-looking wooden box with a lock keeping it closed, and he flipped it over to the bottom where old words were etched. “See for yourself.”
“Do not touch this vessel with thine flesh lest ye wish to unleash a deadly wraith,” Lisa read out loud. That definitely sounded ominous, but something didn’t make sense to her… “If we’re not supposed to handle it, how did it wind up in the book drop?”
“It keeps turning up in different places to try and trick us into contact with it!” Delron spelled out. “Sometimes it shows up in large piles, and other times, it appears in spots where we may lay our hands. Watch out for what you come into contact with around here- it can manifest anywhere!”
Lisa inquired, “But who’s putting it there?”
Delron replied, “A ghost. No, seriously! This building is totally haunted!” Lisa’s face remained firm in skepticism, so he elucidated, “Have you experienced any cold chills or felt something brush against you when the room was empty?”
The truth of the matter was that she had, but she didn’t want to accept that as evidence of the paranormal! “There could be a lot of explanations for that stuff!”
“Seen any orbs?” Delron probed. “Any lights in your pictures that weren’t there with you?”
“I…” Lisa did think the glare in her photo of the river was odd, but it still seemed like a coincidence to her. “It was probably the flash! Or it could have been a reflection of-.”
Delron queried, “Did you hear any weird footsteps?”
Lisa reported to him, “I heard footsteps, but it wasn’t weird! Melanie left a note when she came in this morning, and it’s not unusual to hear a librarian come in an hour prior to opening!”
“You said you heard it around eight? Melanie didn’t come in ‘til about ten to nine,” Delron let her know.
“Ugh! Why do you gotta lie like that?” Lisa grumped.
Delron insisted, “No, really! She had a parent teacher conference at nine, and she wanted me to give you the note, but I was in the bathroom. She yelled a bit, but she’s saving more for later when she can spare a few minutes. You’ll see it occur, I swear!”
Lisa found this revelation somewhat daunting, but her mind still didn’t want to accept such a ludicrous idea- there had to be another explanation for all of these events! Still, she didn’t want to drive away the one person in Melas who acted kindly towards her, so she decided not to question it any further. Instead, she promised, “Alright, I’ll make sure not to touch that book.”
“Good!” Delron breathed a sigh of relief. He put the Proctor Bible away, and then he turned his attention to the computer above the till. “After the book drop, we check our delivery requests. It’s really easy- you find the books or movies they’ve requested, and then you bring it to them. This one wants season one through four of Thackery’s Adventures. You can see the children’s DVDs at the end of the first aisle.” Lisa went to the site he indicated to, and once she found them, Delron directed her, “Perfect! Now you can take them to the Ingerturn Gable.”
“What is that? A hotel?” Lisa puzzled.
Delron illuminated her, “No, it’s just a historic home. It’s super easy to get there- you just follow the alley across from the back gate all the way up.”
Lisa grew slightly nervous due to that instruction. “You’re not going with me?”
“I’d like to, but I’d have to shut down the library in order for both of us to leave, which I’ve had to do quite a bit when Melanie is out. Thank goodness you’re here!” Delron gave her a grateful smile, and she returned the gesture as she headed out the backdoor. She couldn’t remember the last instance where she felt truly appreciated, and that elated her enough to forget her nerves over this task as well as that ghastly ghost business!
“Ah-ha! I knew I saw a bike under here!” Lisa mumbled to herself as she went to the rear yard. Beneath the staircase leading out of her studio was a somewhat antiquated bicycle with a covered wagon attached behind it. It began to rain, so she put the videos in their enclosures and then tightened the hood on her jacket preceding her departure. She opened the gate, and she beheld an alleyway directly in front of her. It didn’t seem so spooky from this angle, and as she started pedaling, she crossed her fingers that it would stay like that!
To her surprise, the alley didn’t contain anything too sinister! The road was rather muddy in some parts, but otherwise, it was very peaceful! There were a lot of fences and walls to people’s properties, but it didn’t show signs of the people themselves. Its stillness made her feel at ease! At least it did until the path curved and went up a small hill! Lisa’s asthma kicked in, and as she huffed and puffed tremendously, she was glad no one was around to see her struggle! She pushed through this arduous feat though because she grew excited about meeting a new neighbor, and she envisioned herself making a friend on the other side of this ordeal!
At the exit of this avenue, she espied a house that was as dark as coffee with several triangular eaves on it, and she presumed it to be old enough to identify it as the structure Delron referred to. She parked the bike by the stony driveway, and she opened up a rickety fence to get to the porch. She marveled at her surroundings- it bore the facade of a stereotypical haunted hovel, and yet, its form somehow inspired an iota of comfort to her! It was strange- it emitted an aura of familiarity as though she had been here previously…
Lisa could hear children loudly playing inside of the abode, and she hoped the customer would hear the doorbell when she rang it! The archaic chime boomed throughout the facility, and while it caused Lisa to jump, it didn’t seem to bother the youths at all! The entrance became ajar with unexpected speed, and a fairly disheveled woman approached her. “Is this the order for Marilyn Bell?”
“Yeah,” Lisa confirmed without total certainty. Delron didn’t give her the name of the patron, but based on his description, she assumed that she found the right individual. “Forgive me if I was slow! You see, I’m brand-.”
“Marcy! Get down from there!” Marilyn hollered. Without making eye contact with Lisa, she grabbed her cartoons and curtly stated, “Excuse me!” She slammed the door, and Lisa overheard her scolding her daughter in a severe fashion. Lisa backed away, and as she vacated the premises, she absorbed the sting of disappointment from not earning a fresh acquaintance!
When Lisa returned to Brigfell, she beheld Delron on a ladder putting books onto a shelf. He swiveled his head around and checked in with her, “How did it go?”
She didn’t know how to summarize her odd interaction with Marilyn, but she wanted to assure him that she could handle the job, so she shrugged as casually as could. “It went fine I guess.”
“Were the kids super noisy?” Delron catechized.
“The noisiest! I can see why she got such a loud doorbell!” Lisa laughed.
Delron chuckled, “You’ll get to know our regulars fairly soon! They… have their quirks…”
Lisa tittered, but then his comment jogged her memory of a statement her cousin made to her. “So… like… Is the whole city sorta… quirky like that?”
“Pretty much! I think you have to have a penchant for the peculiar to live in an area like this!” Delron joked.
“Hey! I’m a new resident here, and… I can’t really defend myself against that!” Lisa chortled.
After they shared in some mirth, Delron informed her, “I’m gonna make the next delivery. You can finish shelving these. Don’t worry, it’s simple- fiction is shelved alphabetically.”
As he prepared to take off, Lisa grew slightly anxious. “What if someone comes in to borrow a book?”
Delron responded, “Oh! I suppose it’s possible! Well, if that happens, call me! I’m two on the speed dial.” He waved goodbye and embarked on his errand. Lisa gathered that in-person clients were rare before commencing in her assignment.
Lisa found this project uncomplicated and reasonably enjoyable. She initially fretted about not interacting with the public, but she found that she relished the silence! It had a soothing effect, and she savored the chance to detox from all of the stress she endured lately! In the midst of her requiescence, she heard her phone sound off. She chose to ignore it as well as the next one, but soon, her device pinged her more and more! When it got to the point of ridiculousness, she irately paused her pursuit and glanced at her cell. When she learned what was causing the heightened activity, her jaw dropped…
She got tagged in several social media posts, and none of them were very flattering towards her! They labeled as crazy and a liar, and Lisa couldn’t comprehend their motivation for doing so until somebody mentioned her monstrous behavior towards Tommy Dane… She readily located an article about his recent comments, and apparently, a reporter pressed Tommy about the outburst at his proposal concert, which prompted Tommy to characterize her as a jealous fan attempting to ruin his shot at happiness! Blinding rage flowed through her veins and coursed throughout her entire body! How could he? She was leaving him alone, why couldn’t he have given her the same courtesy? He had so many fortunate assets around him, so why did he have to focus on her instead of them? Why did he have to continue to humiliate her?
Once she switched off the notifications for these apps, she returned to her original agenda but with far more venom in this instance! Lisa seriously weighed whether or not to post pictures of them doing romantic activities together, but then she theorized that his followers likely accuse her of faking those photos. She felt so powerless to stop him, and she desperately wished for the means to get even with him! He needed to get punished for his cruelty! All of a sudden, she felt warmth below the publication in her hand! She gazed at it curiously, and her eyes went wide with terror when she recognized how gravely she messed up…