It would explain all the noise and the shouting and the people coming and going out of her room at all hours. It would also explain why she stopped going to classes. She didn’t need the grades to graduate if she was running such an operation. She was probably making a killing and would walk out of Silas a millionaire without even leaving her dorm room.
Either way, I needed her to move. Whatever she was doing was keeping me up at night and interfering with my studies.
I walked past the tall bookshelves, running my fingers along the old dark wood. I loved the feel of it on my fingers. I took in a deep breath of the musty odor of aged paper and ink. The smell never failed to send a tingle of anticipation and excitement up my spine. I loved books and what was held within the confines of their pages. Knowledge was power. My grandmother had taught me that.
When I reached the farthest corner of the second floor, I made my way to the walkway that stretched across to the other side. Why the university had not built another staircase on the other side of the library never failed to baffle me. Gripping the rickety railing, I placed a foot out onto the creaky wooden bridge and swallowed. It was always a lesson in luck that a person didn’t fall from the poorly made walkway, especially since there were cracks in the wood. Basically, you just took in a breath, held it, and hoped for the best.
Without looking down, I walked as fast as I could across the bridge. When I reached the other side, I sighed in relief. My knees buckled but I couldn’t allow myself to falter. I reached for the railing and steadied myself. Now to find the charter. I walked down each row of books with my eyes closed. It was an odd way to find a book to be sure, but Igor had told me that was the best way to find it.
“You’ll feel it,” he said. “It will give off a kind of electrical current.”
I must’ve looked at him in horror because he added, “Don’t worry it won’t electrocute you or anything.” He frowned. “At least it hasn’t in about thirty years.”
I kept walking until I felt a tingle along my scalp. I opened my eyes and turned toward the shelf. I spotted the charter immediately. It was a thick, heavy-looking tome that looked like it wasn’t just bound in an odd, tan leather, but that the pages itself were made of the same almost translucent material. The other books near it seemed to have moved away, clinging to the sides of the shelf. It was as if they were scared of the ominous looking volume. Bracing for the worst, I reached for the book and picked it up. I didn’t get electrocuted. I did feel a bit of a spark though, but I chalked that up to my own static electricity. I was wearing a wool sweater.
I cradled the book in my arms and, as carefully as I could, crossed the walkway back to the other side. Once on the other side, I made my way to the staircase and returned to my private and comfy little nook. There was a guy sitting across from me at the table. I hadn’t seen him come in, or even sit down. He was just suddenly there right in front of me.
“Um, this is kind of my table.” I turned around and pointed to an empty table next to us. “You could sit there.” I smiled.
He didn’t smile back, just stared at me. A little shiver rushed down my spine. His gaze was intense. His eyes had this really somber darkness to them. He had curly black hair, thick sideburns, and he wore a white cotton blouse-type shirt that was unbuttoned to show off an impressive amount of dark chest hair. His aura was a kaleidoscope of color. I’d never seen so many vibrant hues together all once, swirling around in a Technicolor soup. It was a bit unnerving but also very beautiful.
“Look, friend, I really hope this isn’t some kind of pick up or anything. Because I am really not interested.”
He reached with his hand across the table and touched the charter. The book opened, and the pages started to flip. One by one, the pages turned on their own. I glanced up at him, wide-eyed. He was just watching me, no real emotion on his rigid face. He looked down, my gaze following his. The pages had stopped turning. I read the heading quickly.
The Haunting of Crowley Hall: How to Get Along with Ghosts
Ghosts! Of course. It all made total sense now. They were making all the noise.
I looked up at the guy to thank him, but his chair was vacant. I glanced around thinking maybe I’d see him leaving the cubby but I was still alone. All that was left was a floating vapor trail of colors. I stood and followed the sparkling path out into the main vestibule on the library. I didn’t see the guy anywhere. Igor waved at me from the front desk.
“Did you find what you were looking for?”
I nodded. “Yeah, I think I did.”
I returned to the table, sat down and began to read all about the ghosts who haunted Silas University.
YOU ARE READING
As a freshman at Silas University, Mary Ringwold is quickly getting used to the weird. If anything, she thrives on it, absorbing the university's strange traditions and rituals like a sponge and embracing them wholeheartedly. Or, at least, she was...