Owl’s mother dropped him off at the library on her way to work.
“It’ll just be an hour or two,” she said. “I got to go in and help the new girl. She’s about to have a breakdown.”
Owl pretended to smile at her joke but noticed how red her lips were. And how she smelled nicer than usual. His mother waved out the half-open window as the tires crunched against the stones and sand in library’s parking lot.
He turned and walked up the five concrete steps. Pulled open the heavy glass door and walked into a cool, quiet world. The librarian looked up from behind her desk and from behind the spectacles slipping halfway down her nose.
“Morning, Mrs. Leblanc,” Owl whispered. She murmured good morning and smiled. Owl figured she was trying to be matronly. Older ladies always acted that way around him, fussing and smiling. But with something behind it all. Like they all had some secret. He pretended he didn’t notice and turned the corner.
“Don’t let me catch you in the adult section again,” Mrs Leblanc said, in her freshly baked cookies voice.
He nodded politely and turned down an aisle. It transformed into a narrow, dusty cavern. Owl stepped forward slowly. Spider webs thick as sheets hung from the ceiling. His toe caught on an edge and he fell. Poison darts whizzed by, just over his head. He scrambled along, turned the corner and then stood and walked towards the torch-lit opening.
Back in the library, he picked up an armful of books. He turned into another aisle, after peeking out and making sure no one was following him.
Owl walked to the end and pulled on the fourth book in the third shelf. The bookcase swivelled and a stone spiral staircase opened, leading down to his secret reading room.