Monday, November 15, 2004

Been a half a week since i posted any of my story. here's some more... I really need to step up this week.


“ Why do libraries always have the oldest technology in the world “, Cady asked to no one in particular as she examined the desks. All the paper in the library seemed to be very well preserved.

“ I never saw enough libraries to notice, is that really the case? “ John replied.

“ The reasoning, was that they didn’t need to do much at all, their entire purpose was to keep track of what books they had and were checked in or out, later on they got much more advanced, but never as advanced as normal current technology. “ William answered, being the oldest and having learned the most over time. He continued, “ People just figured that since they didn’t need it, it was an expense that would always go to other projects that were more important. “

Robbie pulled a book off the shelf in the survival/camping section and began browsing through it with interest. As he flipped to the third or fourth page in the book he started talking, “ I could spend years in here. It’s very nice that we weren’t left unprepared when the colony ships left. Knowledge aside, have you found the periodicals yet, Will? “

William had his halogen lamp browsing the rear of the bunker and he was lost in looking around at various books and other things. He was, in fact, so absorbed that he didn’t hear a word of what Robbie was saying to him. John walked over to him and tapped him on the shoulder.

“ Hey, Will? “ He started.

“ Whatchya need? “ William responded amiably enough, his eyes still wandering over the reference shelf.

“ Have you seen the periodicals yet? “

He looked up at John, his mouth a turned in an odd matter as he pondered before leaning around the corner and yelling to Robbie. “ No! I haven’t seen any yet, I’m beginning to think they’re probably downstairs, it makes the most sense “, his voice boomed as he raised it high enough to be heard across the library.

Robbie started heading toward them both, passing up Cady as she rooted through the four desks looking for anything she could find. She had started a nice little pile of trinkets and papers next to her feet that she certainly seemed to feel were of interest, and so very well might be. But there were more important things to look for at that very moment, at least, as far as he was concerned.

“ Hey, Will, I’m going to go ahead and take a look downstairs “, he said as he walked past William and started walking carefully down the staircase. He noticed how the carpet still looked like it was in fairly good condition, aside from the dust that was rising up beneath his feet with each step, leaving footprints as he went. He remembered what had happened in the garage, and he reflected on the disaster it would have been and the great lost they would have endured if there had been a similar leak in here.

About halfway down, the stairs made an about face and continued down in the other direction coming out in another room, which he couldn’t see all of. One thing he could tell, though, was that it was definitely larger. There were various pseudo corridors made out of shelves and file cabinets up to the ceiling, near the far edge of his light, he could see conference and computer desks. He walked carefully, one step at a time down the main isle, examining the signs on the shelves, etc. The first filing cabinets had various forms of paperwork archived for office use, the bookshelves hosted the reference section of the library. As he continued, he walked past the computers into more reference books shelves. Time seemed to go so slow while as he took step by step past the dusty volumes that surrounded him. His walk, which only took a few seconds, felt like an hour.

The far side of the room was occupied by yet one more staircase. This base had to be extremely old. Robbie pondered as he started to take the staircase down. It may have been one of the more recently abandoned such buildings, but it for it to have three story buildings without elevators, it had to be old. He bet, that the information was available somewhere nearby for them to find if they were so inclined. He guessed that one of them might even be so inclined, but his interests were far more general after he’d been thinking for a few days. He knew at least a skeleton crew had manned this base until well after the migration had taken place.

As Robbie stepped down the second set of stairs, he felt the darkness swell around him in a way it hadn’t before. There were no sounds of a room behind him coming to life, only darkness behind, and darkness ahead and walls on either side. Soon he turned around at the about face and saw that the staircase ended at a door with a sign on it that read, “ Periodical Storage, Authorized Personnel Only. “

Earlier that day he had been totally worn out on finding real keys, and his fingers pulled the base master key up without hesitation, moving toward the lock. The key slid in smoothly, and his fingertips applied pressure to the edges of the key and then, nothing happened. Resistance. Robbie pushed harder, and then jiggled the key. Still, there was no give for the efforts that he put into it. He hoped that whoever had left these keys behind had been authorized personnel, because this door didn’t look like it would give way to a mere kicking, or, in fact, anything that would be safe to set off without worrying about damaging the contents of the next room.

Minutes of searching proved fruitless as he continued to try key after key. Each one failing as he tried them. It was too early to be frustrated, but he couldn’t help feelings of mild dismay creeping up his spine as he started trying keys at a faster pace, coming ever closer to the last one. There was still an entire base to search and the key could be anywhere, and worst case scenario they could pick the lock, but the more Robbie thought about it, the more urgent opening the door felt.

The dark felt like it was closing around him as he tried key after key, there were only five left. He imagined all the things he would find behind this door, obituaries, the chronicles of lives, the world moving on a colony ship at a time. The heat was beginning to overwhelm him as he felt sweat beading on his forehead and his hands growing slippery till the keys finally fell from his grasp. There were only two keys left.

He set his lamp down and kneeled down, palming all over the ground till his fingers grasped the keys, he stood up and quickly panicked, he started thumbing through the keys striving to find the two that were left. After only a second he found them between his fingers. He tried the first one and it didn’t budge. He tried the second one, and once again nothing. Irritation and bother surged through him and he jiggled and struggled with the key just as he had the master key. It was the last one, if this wasn’t it, he didn’t have it he thought as he gave the door a solid kick, his attention focused on jiggling the doorknob and looking at that stupid authorized personnel only sign as he finally pulled the last key from the lock.

Robbie let out a disappointed sigh as he slowly pocketed the keys without looking away from the sign. He was hot and irritated, but more disappointed than anything else at the moment that he was standing there. Slowly sinking to his knees, his hands picked up his halogen lamp and then stood back up, made one last sigh, and turned back towards the staircase and let out a terrified scream.

Chapter 7:

Cady almost fell on her ass laughing as Robbie slammed into the wall behind him as he turned and almost walked quite unexpectedly right into her. She reached down and turned her halogen light back on while he was still panting and letting his legs give out beneath him as his back slid down against the wall. Heart attacks were not his thing and this was two in as many days. Adrenaline made his whole body quiver as it coursed through him.

“ A little jumpy? “ Cady giggled as her light flooded the hall doubling the light and making it feel slightly less cramped. At the very least, another human being near him made the air feel more alive and less stale.

“ Good god, I did not need this today. “
She reached out her hand to him as she asked, “ Are you okay? “

“ I’ll live. “

“ Well, I was looking through the desks upstairs and I came across the library keys locked up in one of the drawers. Thought you might need them down here “, she grunted as she used her weight to lever him off the ground, pulling on his hand. After he was up, she reached into her pocket and pulled out a loose set of keys and tossed it into his waiting hands. His eyes were blank for a moment before he handed the other set of keys to her to hold.

“ Thanks, I was really starting to get pretty frustrated. “

“ Just in the nick of time then, huh? “ Cady giggled as she leaned till her shoulder was against the door. “ I’m kinda like super girl like that, always in the nick of time. “

“ Yeah, just in the nick of time “, Robbie’s heart was still thudding audibly to him in his chest, he could feel it in his forehead’s veins.

Cady giggled as she watched him fumbling with the keys. “ It’s really fascinating, the sorts of things that could be behind this door if William is right about how recently this base was abandoned. I can almost smell the history. “

“ Yeah? And what exactly does history smell like? “

“ Kinda like moldy cheese. “

Robbie chuckled at that. He wasn’t in a state of mind to talk much as his fingers checked key after key. He had actually just started to notice how nice the clothes he found in the base felt, even in the heat. He was lost in the thought while Cady watched him when the right key slipped into the knob and turned a full turn giving off a satisfying click. His head snapped up and he looked at her, where her eyes met hers as her own attention was summoned.

“ That was it “, he said, followed by a long pause.

Cady didn’t respond verbally, she just gestured with her head to go ahead and open the door and have a look. The anxiety on her face was palpable and his hand was trembling as he broke the gaze they shared and turned the doorknob, giving the door a quick push. It didn’t budge. He pushed a little harder and felt it give a little before he nudged his shoulder against it and knocked it in, breaking the age-old seal.

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