Debbie watched with disgust as the children played. She did not dislike the children, exactly, but hated the adults they would be. All liars.
She had been in this town, in the South for a few months, and wanted to burn the whole thing down. Sure, they had been nice at first, they were always nice at first, until they found out the truth.
Debbie wanted her mother. Mother knew what to do.
“Can I get a library card?”
Debbie looked around herself. She had drifted again. A woman stood in front of her, blonde hair and blue eyes and stomach bulging as if she had eaten a bad taco. Debbie wanted to throw up.
“Sure,” Debbie said, picking up a form from the desk.
“And one for each of my children.”
Debbie looked around. The oldest child held a toddler by the arm as the drool machine slimed over a copy of Curious George. Another, middle child lay on the floor, tongue extended and just licking the ground. A baby slept quietly in a carrier at the woman’s feet.
“Five?” Debbie asked.
The woman’s arm extended around her belly, “Due in February.”
“No, I don’t think so,” Debbie lay five forms down, mother and four children.
The woman’s face went sour, “Excuse me?”
“I’m not giving a library card to something that can’t even hear yet.”
“That’s just absurd. My baby-”
“Is a worm. Don’t kid yourself.”
“I want to talk to someone.”
“I’m right here.”
“I’ve heard about you, someone important.”
“Can I help?” a high voice said.
Debbie watch Lyra appear out of the stacks and sighed, “This woman wants to give her fetus a library card.”
The reference librarian smiled and walked around the circulation desk, “Well, they start them younger and younger, don’t they? Can we get your name?”
“MacKenzie.. Joan,” The pregnant lady said, “You look familiar…”
“That wouldn’t be of McKenzie Auto, would it?” Lyra said, writing down the woman’s name, “I just had a Jack McKenzie fix up my car.”
Joan nodded, “My husband. His daddy’s business.”
“Well, I thought that was right…”
And the endless chatter continued as Debbie stepped back and away. She hated that, the small talk and the lies. She thought Lyra would be different, coming from Washington, D.C. and being a real librarian. But she fit in just as easy as the rest with the lies. Guess you don’t need an accent to speak the same language.
Debbie grabbed a few books of the carts and walked to the back room. Caleb was staring at the small television. He saw Debbie and pointed.
“They think they might have found Jessie,” he said, and the image became a panning shot of a car wreck in the woods.