Before Karlee could get the next book on the shelf, a loud thunk made her jump. Spinning around to face the disturbance, she took a slow step forward. “Hello?” At first only silence answered her and then a distant click followed by another and then the sound echoed through the disorganized mess. She took another step, but it wasn’t until the lights illuminated the hallway clicked off that she realized what the sound was.
Backing away from the approaching darkness, Karlee turned to run. The clicking of the lights going out behind her grew louder. On the other side of the basement was the door that led outside and onto the street. She ran faster as her heart started to race. As the clicking grew louder and closer, she heard heavy feet hurrying along with it.
The lights directly above Karlee started to shatter. Sparks cascaded down on her and bounced across the floor. Making a quick turn, she could see the door just a few yards away, but just as she was closing the distance, she felt something tug at her hair. Letting out a shriek, she dashed towards the steps that led away from her tormentor. As one foot touched down on the stair, the other was yanked out from under her. She crashed into the wooden steps and felt a cold solid mass wrap itself around her ankle. It began to slither up her leg and she kicked out, desperately trying to clamber away.
There was nothing but darkness behind Karlee. Even the thing that held onto her and was scratching at her skin seemed to be made of shadows. She screamed as she felt the first hard tug. Reaching up, she grabbed the edge of the top step and held on. Another hard tug jerked her, nearly ripping her away from the relative safety of the stairs. Just when she thought her leg would be torn off, the door above her burst open and she was blinded by a brilliant flash of light shooting through the darkness.
“Be gone, shadow spawn!” a deep voice boomed, and Karlee felt the thick shadows jerk franticly away. Scrambling up the steps, she saw the shining man who had saved her and ran straight into his arms. A strong arm wrapped around her and she found herself tucked against the man’s side.
From beside the stranger, Karlee could see the source of the brilliant light. It radiated from a small stone he held in the palm of his hand. Beyond him, she could also see the illuminated darkness left in the library basement. The light allowed her to see the collection of books and the wreathing shadows that had chased her. Misshapen human shadows were wriggling in the light as if it was burning them. Staring at it, she felt fear rake over her, violently sending her heart into her throat and blocking the scream she couldn’t seem to conjure.
The man slammed the door, hiding the horrid sight from Karlee and in one smooth motion, took her hand and turned towards the road. “I have to get you out of here,” he said as he started to pull her away from the library and down the sidewalk.
About the Author:
J. R. White has been telling stories for as long as she can remember. After her marriage in 2008 she found the freedom to dive headfirst into her personal world of fiction. Currently she lives in the Upstate of South Carolina with her family, where she fills her daughter’s head with fairy tales.