My mom, I knew wouldn’t sleep until my dad got home. She paced the floor nervously and then decided to go into the kitchen to make cookies—snicker doodles, my dad’s favorite. I itched to get to the library and waited for my mom to start her baking before I told her I was going to bed.
I wished I could tell her everything that has happened to me, but she wouldn’t understand and I didn’t have time to talk to her right now. I had knowledge that could save my dad.
I pretended to go upstairs, but instead, waited in the shadows until I heard the mixer whirl from the kitchen. Then, I crept back down, headed down the hallway to the glass atrium.
The pungent smell of the large, bell shaped moonflowers filled the air as the dim moonlight flowed through the few panels of stained glass overhead. It was a lush room with all sorts of plants, lights, and a small fountain my mom just added. This was my mom’s oasis and also, another way to sneak out of the house.
Off to the side and concealed by two fig trees, was a solid glass door that opened to the back yard.
“Did you come to talk to the moonflowers as well?”
I nearly jumped out of my skin as Roan held one of the blossoms delicately in his hand. He stood under the enormous vine that wound its way around not only the trellis, but was starting to wrap itself around a few neighboring plants. Roan looked like he too, could be easily entangled by the vine if he stood there long enough.
“Roan!” I whispered harshly as one of the curling vines brushed across his shoulder. “What are you doing here? I thought you were in bed.” I scolded as he gave me a confused look.
“I didn’t know you gave me a bedtime.” He then looked back at the flower and smiled. “Besides, I couldn’t sleep hearing these little beauts cry all night long.” Roan then looked down at me shaking his head. “None of the other flowers want to stay up and visit with the moonflower, so they got lonely and I came to their rescue.” He then stroked the petal of the flower. “Very passionate little darlings these are.”
I gave him a quizzical look that he ignored. “Stop fondling the flowers and help me with the car,” I demanded going outside.
“Sage?” he said following me outside. “What do you want with the car?” I didn’t answer as I quickly walked over to the detached garage that my dad kept his mustang. “Is something wrong?”
I removed the tarp that covered the cherry red vehicle that gleamed like a ruby in the pale light. It was a classic Mustang, in pristine condition and my dad rarely drove it anywhere. It was more like a trophy on a shelf rather than a car you’d actually drive.
“I have to get to the library to save my dad and I can’t let mom hear or see me,” I said to Roan over my shoulder as I stood in front of the gleaming car.
Roan crossed his arms and looked between me and the vehicle. “So, you’re going to get to the library in a cherry red sports car that sounds like a hundred troll bellies all rumbling with hunger at the same time when the motor is running and try to get to the library unnoticed?” He raised his eyebrows with a crooked smile.
“I can’t very well go into the garage and take my mom’s car. She’s in the kitchen and would hear me.” I ran my fingers through my hair and paced around trying to think how I could get to the library quickly.
“Sage,” Roan said stepping in front of me. “What’s going on?”
I took in a deep breath. “I can’t tell you everything in detail now, but I saw someone do something they shouldn’t of at the library and now it involves my dad.”
“You should tell…”
“Roan, please,” I cut him off. “I can’t tell mom…not right now.” I gazed at him. “Help me.” I pleaded.
He let out a long sigh as he looked around. “If you get caught—”
“I know, I know…I won’t involve you,” I said finishing his sentence.
“Here, take my bike. It’s fast, dependable, and doesn’t sound like hungry troll bellies.”
Roan pulled out his lime green bike complete with a large wicker basket in the back. The seat was cushy, but it didn’t look like it would go very fast.
“You know I want to get there fast,” I said looking back at him. “I think I should take the car.”
“First of all, you don’t have your license yet.” Roan clicked the gear shifter as I held onto the handle bars letting out a sigh. Librarians didn’t get to have licenses to drive vehicles until they were eighteen. “So, this will get you there and trust me, very quickly. I’ve had it modified to my specifications.”
I didn’t have time to waste and took off on the bike as Roan went on talking about his bike. I thanked him and sped off as he yelled at me to wait. Now that I was on a bike, I didn’t have a second to lose. The bike glided down the street smoothly as I pedaled as fast as I could, rounding corners wishing I would have taken the car. Suddenly, the knob of the gear shifter lit up with flickering lights.
“Destination?” A woman’s voice asked and was coming from the shifter.
“What?” I asked in disbelief.
“Destination please,” she repeated as the center light flashed with each syllable she said.
“Greenwick Library,” I replied questioningly.
Suddenly, the seat rumbled underneath me as a few more lights appeared and began to flash on the handle bars. The pedals then locked up, but the tires continued to turn and hummed against the pavement so fast, I thought I would lose control of the bike, but I wasn’t in control of it anymore.
“Arrival time in two minutes, fifteen seconds,” the woman’s pleasant voice said as I grasped onto the handlebars and watched the ground leave from under me.
I held my breath looking down at the rooftop of houses go by under me. In front of me I could see the curving stream of streetlights ahead as the cool air rushed past me. I could feel a surge of frightened excitement as I skidded through the air. I smiled at the view of Greenwick and didn’t realize how different it looked from above. Roan certainly did have some sort of modification to his bike and he never told me about it. My smile widened at how fun it was to be in the air above Greenwick that I nearly forgot the urgency of everything.
“Descending,” the voice said as the bike made a steep bank and declined sharply through the trees that surrounded the library.
“Resume manual control,” the woman’s voice said as I cut through the trees to the sidewalk that led up to the front doors.
I quickly put my feet on the pedals and prepared myself to land this bike. I grasped the handlebars tightly, held my breath as the tires touched the ground, and kept my eyes focused on the front door of the library as the bike began to wobble uncontrollably. I tried to gain control over it, but I was going too fast and veered off across the lawn and into the wooded area.
The bike rolled down a slope before tipping over and throwing me into a thorny bush.
“Oww,” I cried pulling myself up quickly.
I didn’t have time to remove the thorns and could feel scrapes stinging angrily on my knees and elbows. I grabbed Roan’s bike and was going to push it up the hill, when two hands grabbed my arm pulling me back so hard, I thought they had dislocated my shoulders.
I was thrown against something hard and through the stars that filled my eyes, I could see a darkened image in front of me.
“You stupid little librarian,” said a man’s heavy accented voice. “You just can’t stay away.”
“I…” I stared to say when the man flicked off his hood and peered back furiously with nearly black eyes. He pressed me harder against the tree and that’s when I noticed the buttons on his coat embellished with the crest of the guardians. He was the same guardian I had met in the woods earlier. “You…” I croaked out as another figure came up from behind him.
I glanced between them both, but couldn’t see the other man’s face as it was covered in shadow. Before I could say anything, something hot and smelling of garlic, filled my nose as everything faded to black.
My eyes opened to the brightness of the cool light given off by the orillions that hung on the wall and the commotion of loud voices not making any sense. I sat up with a throbbing head and glanced around realizing I was in the library.
“Dad,” I said standing up and peering through the black clad men scrambling around the lobby and looking up into the portal that swirled faster than I’ve ever seen it do before.
“Here dear,” Violet, the receptionist on duty gave me a glass of water.
I took it from her as I looked around for my dad. “Violet, what’s going on and have you seen my dad? I have something to tell him.”
“Your dad went into the portal with another guardian…to check things out.” She tried to cover her concern with a smile. “We need to get you home, but first guardian Hartdale wants to check on you before I take you home.”
“Ah, our little curious librarian-in-trailing is awake,” Alec Hartdale, Dominique’s father, said peering down at me with his vivid green eyes and dark hair that was the same hue as his daughter’s.
“Is my dad coming back soon? I really need to talk to him.” I tried to stay composed as my body trembled and I craned my neck to peer into the group of guardians trying to catch a glimpse of him.
“Ms. Greene,” he said gently guiding me down the hallway to the nurse’s office. “Your father is fine and is with guardian Atwell, a new guardian-apprentice. We are simply conducting a routine inspection.”
The orilions immediately went on as he shut the door behind him and motioned for me to have a seat on the cot covered with a stiff, white sheet.
“A routine inspection,” I said with questioning voice. “But…”
“Are you hurting anywhere?” He asked talking over me. I shook my head as he peered down at me. “Are you sure, because not only am I head guardian of this district, but also a physician.” I knew that already, but I think he liked to hear it said aloud.
“No, I’m fine,” I insisted.
“That was quite a spill you took in the forest.” He sat down in a chair moving it in front of me as he pulled out a small light and flashed it in my eyes. “I know you say you’re alright, but it’s still my duty to make sure you are not hurt.”
He looked in both eyes and then grabbed my wrist taking my pulse as I could hear the guardians talking in the lobby.
“Well it seems you’ll live Ms. Greene,” Alec said as I hopped up. “Hold on,” he said with a smile. “Now as head guardian I have to ask you a couple of questions.”
He again motioned for me to sit down and reluctantly, I sat back onto the cot.
“What were you doing in the forest outside the library?” He asked curiously with folded arms.
I drew in a deep breath wishing I had time to make up a good excuse. I knew I couldn’t tell him that just a few hours ago I saw his daughter release two witches—he wouldn’t believe me anyhow.
“I—I was scared that my dad might get hurt.” I answered quickly knowing if I took too long to make something up, he’d think I was lying. And I was truly concerned my dad might get hurt considering what I know.
“Sage,” he said my name with a small laugh. “You’re almost the same age as my daughter and have known about the things your dad does since you were little and now, you feel the need to rush to the library to warn him?” He asked rhetorically as he gazed at me with his gentle eyes waiting for an answer.
A loud knock on the door postponed my answer and made me jump as Alec got up to answer it.
“They found something, guardian Hartdale,” the guardian said. “One has injuries and needs you right away.” His voice was grim.
Alec glanced back at me as I got up and pushed past them. I could feel my heart pound in my chest as I ran towards the portal surrounded by the black clad guardians. If anything happened to my dad, I’d never forgive myself.