Kevin escaped from Roosevelt Middle school. Just like he had done for the past week. When crossing the street, he always pretended to be an action star. His favorites were from the black and white tapes his father had left. Today, he was Steve McQueen. From his hiding spot in the bushes along the front of school, he could see his freedom. Across the street, a flag pole stood tall and proud in front of a large building. The American flag flapped bravely in the wind. He just had to get to the embassy and he’d be safe.
Either side of Park Avenue was clear and checking behind him showed that he hadn’t been followed. It was as good a time as any. Kevin broke from the bushes and ran with all his might toward the building. His over stuffed back pack bounced erratically, forcing him to hold the shoulder straps tight. He was close. Freedom was his!
“There’s the booger!”
Caught! Kevin looked back over his shoulder. It was her. Brenda, the seventh grade giant. Her five-foot-two frame allowed her to tower over Kevin. Which she often did when she would trap him in a corner. The top half of her face was covered in a mass of freckles that made her look like she was wearing some kind of mask. Her fiery red hair was pulled back into wild pigtails and her green eyes spelled murder. She ran after Kevin, followed by a gang of relatively smaller boys.
Kevin picked up the pace.
It had been like this ever since he had started the sixth grade. He didn’t know what he had done to get Brenda’s attention. But he had done it. From the first day of class she would corner him during lunch, charlie horse every limb into numbness, then take his lunch. This week had been different. Mrs. Wzeljock, his teacher, informed him that the school doesn’t mind if the children spend their lunch hour at the university library across the street. Armed with the knowledge, Kevin had given Brenda the slip every day. Until today. And it was clear she was not OK with it.
The University of Vermont’s library, his embassy, shone as a beacon of safety. His lead on Brenda was good. Kevin looked back once again and fear struck him. Her long, spindly legs were a blur of motion. She had left her gang behind and her face was red. Kevin hit the lawn of the library, but his shoes weren’t ready for the slick grass. His feet flew out from beneath him and he tumbled over, his heavy backpack drove him hard into the ground.
Bits of rock in the dirt scraped along his knee and elbow as he rolled over the ground onto his back. His leg cried out in pain. But his brain screamed at him to keep moving. Brenda would catch him if he stayed on the ground. Straining against his heavy pack, Kevin lifted himself off the ground with a mighty grunt. Well, mighty for a seventy pound short stack. He got to his feet and stole a glance over his shoulder — Brenda was barreling down. Her fierce red hair looked like a mane of fire. Keven bolted for the steps leading up to the doors.
He could hear Brenda’s boots slapping the pavement of the parking lot behind him. Running up the steps proved to be too much. Lugging the backpack up the stairs slowed him to a crawl. Brenda reached out a clawed hand, her multitude of colored bangles rattled together like a snakes tail. She latched onto the hand strap of Kevin’s bag.
Which was exactly what Kevin had planned on. He felt her fingers wrap around the strap and that was when he slipped out from the backpack. Brenda pulled down hard, expecting to pull Kevin down with it. Instead the now lighter bag rocketed to the steps, causing Breada to stumble over it.
“You little twirp!” Brenda scrambled over the bag and swiped another clawed hand at Kevin’s ankle.
After a few more steps and one flung door, Kevin was inside the library. Resting his back against the door, he breathed hard to catch his breath. He could hear Brenda yelling after him and getting closer.
Inside, the library was cool and dark compared to the warm spring day. The librarian was shooting daggers at Kevin over her thick rimmed glasses. Her deep red lips pursed together. “Excuse me,” Kevin said. He gave her a weak smile then made a brisk retreat into the safety of the library. Just as he turned down a long row of bookcases, he heard the doors fly open.
“Yow owe me big, Baxter!” Brenda yelled out. Her voice shook the books surrounding Kevin. He pressed himself against them, willing that he could be absorbed by them.
“Young lady! That is unacceptable.”
Kevin swore he heard a small, eep, escape Brenda’s lips.
“Another out burst like that and I’ll make sure your teachers know how you’ve been behaving. Do you understand?”
“Yes ma’am.” Brenda’s rubber soles squeaked on the marble floors.
It was time to find a better hiding place. Kevin slunk along the bookcase, deeper into the sprawling library.
The University of Vermont’s library was old and oppressive. Rows upon rows of bookcases sat like sentries in the aging building. The ceiling was tall, which made Kevin feel more like a runt than ever. He slipped between the “Mm – Np” cases for Natural History and headed toward the back side of the building. As he wove in and out of the aisles, the darker his surroundings became. The bookcases in the back corner were spaced closer together, causing Kevin to feel squeezed.
Stopping in the row marked, “Ancient Civilizations”, Kevin leaned back and tried to calm himself. He strained to listen out for Brenda’s squeaking shoes over the thud of his heart beat in his ears. Nothing. Another close call, but he gave her the slip. Kevin continued down the row of books and came out by the far wall. The lights were so dim that Kevin could barely make out the small plaque in front of him, pointing out that the exit was to his right.
Out of the corner of his left eye, Kevin caught a light flick on. At the very corner of the building, was a door. The soft glow of a lamp could be seen through the crack along the door jam. A green glass square had been set into the middle of the door, casting an eerie glow dancing along the floor. Kevin approached with growing apprehension. But there was something special about the room that drew him in.
A large brass doorknob, in the shape of a lions head mid roar, jutted out. Kevin placed his small, trembling hand on top of the lion’s mane and marveled at how cold it was. Closer now, he could read the peeling letters across the glass.
Office of Whipple Van Buren Phillips, P.H.D. Paranormal Studies
Kevin turned the knob, and with a soft click the door popped open a few inches. A hand slammed down on his shoulder and spun him around. Kevin let out a not so manly yelp.
Brenda’s smallish nose was just inches from his. She squinted a green eye at him and her lips snarled in anger.
“You’re in for it now, twirp.”
This little exercise has taken on a little life of its own. I’m stopping there because I’m really enjoying where this is going. Maybe this is exactly what I need for NaNoWriMo…