|A Librarianís Idea of Heaven. (standard:Ghost stories, 1927 words)|
|Author: Oscar A Rat||Added: Jul 26 2020||Views/Reads: 736/521||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Even while dead, Ethel refused to leave her job.|
"Why do people have to leave this room in such a mess?" Ethel Hopkins muttered to herself as she picked up spilled potato chips, one by one, and carried them across the room to put into a wastebasket. Using dozens of squares of toilet paper, one at a time, she wiped up a soda spill. It took hours, with her rotating going back to the restroom of Public Library #6, then come back with one square to let it get wet, then carry it to the wastebasket. Ghosts have trouble handling physical objects. But Ethel was tenacious, even for a ghost, and took her time to do it right. To save money, the library hired a cleaning crew to come in twice a week. The rest of the time it was up to the librarians to clean the room. Them and Ethel. She paid special attention to an old-style padded chair in one corner of the room. It was her special chair and had been for many years prior to her death. In fact, she had been sitting in it when she died, a book about American Presidents dropping from her hands. Her chair had a little plaque on it with her name in gold paint. because the brass plate dug into patron's backs, the seat wasn't used very often. Mostly, it sat in the corner alone. Ethel didn't mind, since she could still use it to watch and guard the books in what she thought of as "her" room. Ethel had a choice. When she keeled over in that chair, she could have gone to heaven but preferred to remain in her favorite spot. After her husband died, she'd begun to spend her days in that room. It was more familiar to her than a lonely silent house and she refused to leave, even at death. The library and that room were her idea of heaven. Chores done for the night, Ethel perused the shelves for something to read. Over the years, she had read almost every book on the large shelves. Even some of them in locked cabinets, those for researchers. There were many such cases along one wall in the back of the large room. She didn't like those books much. Many were pornographic to her mind. Others were too technical for her brain. As well as, with all the big words, it took a long time to finish them. She would have to wait until a librarian forgot to lock a particular case, read part of the book, then put it back by morning. Then she'd wait until that case was again left unlocked. It took years to read each one of them. It was easier to pick from the open shelves. But she was tenacious and would occasionally start a restricted tome. Ethel had little strength as a ghost, but then she hadn't had much when alive. She had been a short, skinny woman all her life. Finding one of the cases unlocked, she opened it to find row after row of dusty volumes. Didn't anyone ever clean in there? Ethel thought, heading for the restroom for a damp toilet paper square. She never did read that night, taking all that time to clean the inside of the case. And she was surprised to find it still unlocked the next night. Ethel could only figure that the librarian, rarely opening that particular lock, had forgotten about it. By then, Ethel was curious. She wondered what was kept locked up like that and not opened in maybe years. The books were, of course, very old-looking. Mostly encased in real leather, some sported big buckles with brass fittings holding them closed. She tried to work one free from its fellows. That in itself was difficult. They seemed to have stuck together from disuse. Only one came out easily. It must be one a recent patron had requested, she thought, for it to be loose. It was a small volume and one of the thinnest in the cabinet. Easy for even Ethel to carry over to her chair. A faint title was visible, apparently left after many of the embossed Click here to read the rest of this story (140 more lines)
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