The Director checked the basement and the books. The animals were in their cages. Nothing has been disturbed. Whatever had happened, it had not come for his basement collection. He had felt something enter the library. He had suspicions Brenda had something to do with whatever it was.
The back stairs echoed under his feet. He placed them with deliberation. Most people thought if you stomped around you made people aware of your presence. It's true, but stomping around causes first annoyance and then dismissal. You become someone else's problem. Reorganized in the collective unconscious as unthreatening.
Moving with quick tapping steps caused others to view you as important. They pay attention. They become aware. The Director took the steps one at a time, tap tap tap of his shoes, pushing off a step before the foot fell to increase the sound of his arrival. His normal steps would have pushed off after the shoe landed causing little to no noise at all. If Chris was at his post at the reference desk on the second floor, he would know The Director was on his way.
But Chris was not ready for anything.
"Brenda okay?" Chris said.
The Diretor took his time. "She's headed home. Not feeling well I think."
"Is Freddy up here?"
"Sure. I think he had a cart over around the cook books."
The Director resisted the urge to hit the weak bastard. Chris had done his part. The first part anyway. If he could, The Director would pity the reference librarian. "Fine. Just making sure the circulation desk has coverage tonight."
Chris said something as The Director walked away. He found the boy shelving books. A grass stain covered the back of the boy's sweater. Freddy winced as he reached up to place a book on the shelf.
The boy turned. "Hey. Sir."
"I heard you did okay during the chant."
The boy grinned. "I think so."
"Good. I might have something else for you to do."
"Anything. Whatever you need, sir."
"Thank you. I need you to talk to Brenda."
"Is she ready?"
"Not about the journey. She's not ready. But I want to know more about her. Talk to her about the library and her health."
"Yes. I am worried about her. If she begins to have troubles at her job, you and I will not have time to do our good work," The Director said.
"Yeah. That makes sense."
"Then you will talk to her. See what she knows. Find out what happened this afternoon. She had an episode. I'm sure you've heard."
"Saw her leave. Yes, sir," Freddy said.
The Director turned to go but paused. "And Freddy?"
"Because she left, I need you to be on the circ desk. Kiera leaves at six, so finish up that cart and work it until close."
"Yes, sir," Freddy said.
"Good. That's my boy." The Director continued on past Chris at the reference desk. A clear thought danced in The Director's mind about Chris overhearing the conversation. The Director dismissed the thought as he dismissed the man. Neither mattered.
To Be Continued…