Old Coffee

by Banned Library in

She poured the dark liquid from the pot to the cup. Tasted it. Bitter and broken in her mouth, cool but not cold as if she put a snake that wormed and pooled and bit. The coffee had been in the pot for a while.

    She poured out the pot and ran the water. It ran brown and the faucet shuddered. She turned it off and back on, more shudder and no water.

    Walking out to the circulation desk from the workroom, coffee pot with brown water in one hand and phone in the other. No messages about water issues for the building.

    She said did you have any problem with the water this morning?

    The other librarian at the desk turned and pulled one earbud from her ear. She shook her head and said no, she hadn't. That looks gross, though. I'll check the city website.

    Clicking and humming and searching and the city website said nothing. That's weird, I'll call the sheriff and see if there's a boil water notice.

    The other librarian picked up the phone and put it to her ear and her body went rigid and her hand went slack and her mouth opened and brown water fell out. The woman with the pot stepped back, a pit in her stomach opening and sucking in air. The air tasted cold and acidic and foul.

    As the woman at the desk screamed foul water and dropped in her seat and to the floor, head hitting the circulation desk on the way down, the walls began to shake and shudder. The pipes inside banged against the walls and the water inside flowed in pulsing waves bang bang bang that made the plaster crack and fall in small chunks. The library shook and cried brown tears from broken pipes inside.

    The coffee pot landed with a crash. Shattered little glass shards that mixed with the librarian scream. Water poured around her, brown coffee diseased and cold and pouring in rivers. The librarian ran and the walls closed in. The walls moved with dark intent and cracking breaking torture.

    In the end, if these things do end, the librarian was found dying. The floor was cold as her skin. The other librarian called her name, a lost word that swirled down a drain with the brown water from the broken coffee pot. The taste in the air was old and death.