The email had told Debbie to be outside the library the following night, so she was. The library was still open, the shadows casting light down from the tiny windows of the trailer. Debbie still could not believe she worked in a trailer.
Nighttime or no, Debbie was getting warm. The humid air of south Mississippi had a way of weighing you down, embracing you like a blanket filled with warm water. She hated the feeling, like a constant sweat in the air.
“Miss? I need some help with a password,” a man said from the door.
Debbie waved him back inside, “I’ll be there in a minute. Just need to talk to somebody.”
The man shook his head and went back inside without closing the door.
Debbie closed it. Part of her hoped it locked behind her. At least that would give her something to do.
Times like this, when she had to wait, Debbie wished she had not given up smoking. It was time, she thought, checking her watch, the email said right at dark and the sun had been down for at least a half an hour.
“Sorry to keep you waiting,” a voice said.
Debbie turned, almost falling she moved so fast. She did not realize she had been so on edge. Fear gripped her as she looked around and could not find the source of the sound.
A heavy thud fell beside her. She screamed and jumped back from it.
“A little reading material,” the voice said again, and she realized it was above her. She looked up just in time to see a shape moving away in the darkness.
“Wait,” she said, as if that would stop whoever it was, “What the fuck is this?”
Debbie stomped a foot down on the packed dirt in frustration. She thought about running around to the other side of the trailers, but knew when she did she would find nothing. The sound of a car starting far down the block and roaring off told her she was right.
She bent down and looked at the package. Brown paper bag wrapped around a heavy book, secured with red duct tape. Whoever did the backing clearly had never worked retail during the holidays.
Debbie tore open the paper and found herself holding a 1999 Bannville High School yearbook. She opened the cover and saw hundreds of signatures. The words were meaningless, messages and drawings that were the equivalent of “We had fun, have a great summer.” Average high school congratulations and taunts. But the name, the salutation that started every note took her back.
She was holding Evan Banned’s high school yearbook.
“Ma’am,” the old man said from the door, “I really need you. This damn thing keeps asking if I’m a robot when I try to put in my password.”