Image: Steve Cadman (Flickr)
“Once forgotten, let it be unwritten…” the drone continued, like the gusting of the wind across rocks. “Let what is unwritten be forgotten ever, cast into the eternal void.”
Robed figures stood about the burnt body of the librarian, grimly intoning the words of an ancient secret, now newly re-enacted. An acrid smell filled the air, but no one moved – hands held steadily clasped one upon the other, they continued their chant, under the floors of the New York Public Library.
“Let it be forgotten…” The Elder lifted up his hood, and gazed around at the congregants. Madness danced in his eyes for a brief second, before the flame went out, and the dapper features of the head librarian looked affably at the host of murderers. He held up a placard: That concludes the meeting of this month’s book club. Safe travels everyone.
A smile passed across all the faces of those assembled, as though a great secret, one they were trying not to face, was shunted down out of sight and out of mind. They became the butcher, the baker, the newspaper boy again. All casually slipped off their robes and dropped them into the laundry basket by the door as they continued their post-book club days.
The head librarian himself looked down and tsk-ed at the charred corpse on the ceremonial sheet.
“Kids,” he muttered, “lighting their fires, and indoors even! Gotta keep the books and people safe.” With a broom, and lots of effort, he dumped the remains into black trash bags, and carelessly, almost forgetfully, scrawled a weird convoluted symbol on each with a gray marker.
Left behind and forgotten in a corner was the dead librarian’s phone, with a message he had typed but failed to send: “Breaking thru.”