Library Llorona

by Banned Library in


I guess you'll know the end when it comes, she said.

    I did not know what the hell she was talking about. The end of what, I said.

    The woman in the blue dress smiled and became beautiful with that smile. Her teeth brightened, her eyes sparkled, her cheeks filled with color. Her face leaned in.

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The Call is Coming From Inside the Library

by Banned Library in


    Celeste sent the children away as the phone rang. Celeste waited like she was taught and caught it on the second ring. Thank you for calling the library. This is Celeste. How may I help you? she said.

    The person on the other end of the phone let out a gasp and then a long shuddering sigh.

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Lost and Found

by Banned Library in


She leaned over the railing and called, I think there's someone left in the building.

    Who?

    Somebody. Maybe the lady from the second floor?

    I thought she left. She was talking to a group of students and I think she left, he said looking up to where the librarian leaned over the railing with a puzzled look on her face.

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The Printer is Down

by Banned Library in


On a cold afternoon in a small town library the public printer shook and groaned and its lights went out. A smell floated in the air mixing the acrid tinge of ozone with the oily plastic grease of melting ink. A man stood over the printer, thumbs in the pockets of his jeans, and said, Well, shit.

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A Big Damn Display

by Banned Library in


The library director took in the whole thing. It loomed. Spread along a wall twenty feet long. A wall that had to be passed by patrons and staff alike. She tried to see it as one piece but could only find a section here, faces and items on display. She said, It's a really big damn display.

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That Key Doesn't Work

by Banned Library in


The two men stood in front of the door. One had the key in his hand, forcing it to the locked door with a key lock and a keypad. The other stood by with his arms crossed.

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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.

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Talking Portals (Grog the Barbarian Librarian, Part 4)

by Banned Library in


Last time, Grog and Naomi the children's librarian had a little problem with a patron. Now Grog is with his old friend Lecher, somehow aged into the elderly Old Ben.

Grog felt confused by the situation. Confusion often spawned the need for drink and food or a good fight to wash away the unease. Grog looked at his old friend who he had thought dead and said yes.

    Outside a breeze blew light across the field next to the library. Lecher and Grog followed the sidewalk around the building to a small concrete amphitheater. Each sat, Letcher with a grunt and pops and Grog with the ease of a dragon lighting on a stone wall. Grog pulled from a small pouch around his waist a stone, spit on it, and began to sharpen Metal Death.

    "I thought I'd find out who she was. But then you came. Right before, we were out here. Everybody. The eclipse came and then you came. I thought I'd find out more, though," Lecher said.

    Grog waited and let his mind calm with the motions of stone and metal.

    "This is like that time in Gocanti. Right?" Lecher said.

    Grog said nothing. He listened to the old man remember his youth, not so long ago for Grog, and the sing of the blade as the stone honed the edge.

    "It was like now. Little cold, but that could be my bones. Breeze in the air. I had a hell of a time with the fire, but I got it going with that damn iron wood. Smokeless. Still not sure how you found me in that forest," Lecher said.

    "Smell," Grog said.

    Lecher didn't know if Grog meant the campfire or Lecher himself. Could be a joke or not, for the big man rarely smiled. He said, "The Goconti, they were hiding that fella with the ax for a hand. Don't even remember his name, been so long. Time's off here. Slower. I came with nothing, in a time called the seventies. It's the tens or something now. I can't keep up. They change so much in this world. So fast. Back home, that sword or my knives solved most problems.  Here they create them. I learned how this world works just in time for them to change it with computers."

    He saw the confusion on Grog's face. He said, "The light screens. Computers. Can't seem to get them."

    Grog continued to sharpen his sword. Up and down. Stone on metal. Shining steel in the afternoon sun.

    "They followed me here," Lecher said.

    Grog stopped. "Who?" he said.

    "Some of Thorn's guards. I killed them, no matter. Some of them."

    Grog went back to sharpening with a grunt.

    "Well, followed is wrong. They seemed as surprised as me. I don't think she had control then. Not much. Those guards got caught up in the portals, same as me. One, we came in on one of the streets and this thing they got called a bus run him over." Lecher clapped his hands, laughing. "That left two, case there was three in all. At first. We came out over there by that dumpster. I ran and they chased. We went downtown. Killed one behind this restaurant, diner. They know me there. Matt's Place. Good meatloaf. I'll take you."

    "What about the others?" Grog said.

    "Oh, I killed them. There was confusion after that. Dead bodies don't happen often here, Grog. Well, they do, but not like back home. People notice if the wrong people die," Lecher said.

    "Who are the wrong people?" Grog said.

    Lecher laughed again and threw up his hands. "I don't know. But you know what?"

    Grog waited.

    "About twenty years ago, another portal opened. Portents like the sky darkening and a storm. This guy who I used to pal around with, Oscar, he told me. I was away at the time. Got a little job in the art business."

    "And?" Grog said.

    "Most of the art in this world is crap. They don't protect it. I could just walk in and grab most stuff. There's this abstract stuff I kinda like, but I have to show you this one guy who did these things. One, called Starry Night-"

    "About the portal, Lecher," Grog said.

    "Oh, yeah," Lecher said and paused. His eyes were off on a piece of art at another place in another time. Grog waited until his friend caught up and came back around to the present.

    Lecher said, "Oscar said this purple portal opened up, just popped open like some movie, and these guys came out of it all dressed in tunics with the Thorn's mark."

    Grog nodded.

    "They seemed to know more than I did, the way Oscar tells it. Scouts most likely, because they went back in the portal. Oscar said later they stayed longer."

    "The portals opened for a long time?" Grog went back to his sword, sharpening it.

    Lecher said, "I've seen it myself. When I came back, Oscar told me about it. Told me to stay away from the portal and the men. Seemed the men liked to ask questions and recruit if they could People went missing. And that's not the best part."

    Grog said, "She's here."

    Lecher nodded. "A big storm, another eclipse. I could feel it. What little magic I had has dwindled over the years and this world had none. I know what it feels like, though. And whoever she is playing at, she's not wearing them robes or the mask. She's be out there and I got an idea about who she and a few of her soldiers are."

    Around the front of the library came the "whoop-whoop" of a police siren. Grog, altered by the sound, stood and brought Metal Death up.

    Lecher said, "Don't worry. You haven't done anything wrong. They'll think you're a cosplayer or-"

    The old man's voice cut off and became a gasp and a gurgle. Grog turned and found an arrow sticking out of this old friend's throat.

Stay tuned on Fridays for the continuing adventures of Grog the Destroyer and how he became the Banned Library's children's librarian.

For all Grog Stories, go on this link and read from the bottom up.

Or you could wait until we collect them all and buy them from the bookstore.




Because WTF Luke Skywalker (spoilers for Last Jedi)

by Banned Library in ,


Carl took the stack of books from the lady and waited for her to hand him her library card. The lady was bent over, talking softly to something below Carl's reach. Carl waited.

    "Can you fucking believe that shit?" Pam said, coming through the door from the circulation workroom behind the desk.

    "What shit?" Carl said.

    The woman shot up with her eyes wide. "Excuse me," she said high and loud.

    "Excuse me, too. Fucking Luke Skywalker was gonna kill somebody for maybe being evil? The same Luke that got over his daddy issues and turned Vader to the light? That ain't the fucking Luke I remember," Pam said.

    The woman said, "Young lady, you can't talk that way in front of Lucy."

    Pam's face blanched and she leaned over the desk. She said, "Oh goodness, I'm so sorry little- what the fuck?"

    The patron said, "I'm going to report you."

    Carl said, "What's wrong?"

    Pam leaned back and pointed to the door. "Get that fucking alligator out of here."

    "I need the name of your supervisor," the woman said.

    "I'ma get my gun and shoot that thing," Pam said and went back through the door.

    The woman left the building, half dragging her pet alligator out the door, her stack of books on the circulation desk in front of a downtrodden Carl.

    "I don't even like Star Wars," Carl said.




Fighting over children (Grog the Barbarian Librarian)

by Banned Library in


Grog has been reunited with his old friend Lecher, now old after waiting years in the library. Seems he and Grog went through different portals which spit them out at different times. Before they could catch up, though, someone screams from the Children's department!

Grog jumped forward, swift and easy and through the doors and down the steps before the others could turn to follow him with their eyes. Chris and Naomi followed and Ben let them all go, heading toward the elevator.
     Brenda watched Grog bound down the steps and stand, his sword in his hand looking like the giant metal claw of a patient beast. The reflection of the pink summer reading shirt on the blade had a strange beauty to the woman.
     "My son is none of your business," a man yelled. The sound was followed by another child's cry.
     Grog strode with confidence toward the children's department. He saw the little ones and his heart soared. They did battle. A small child lay pinned under the body of a larger boy with sandy hair. The small boi was the quiet one from the circle, the one with the brises. Grog saw now how that must be possible. The boy was a poor fighter.
     Rosa told the man in a high voice, "Get your son and leave." 
     This annoyed Grog as he wished to see how the small one would overpower his opponent. He frowned when the child began to cry and curl into a ball The larger boy also frowned and pulled at the smaller arms, ripping from them a small book.
     "See what you been writing about me, Timmy," the sandy haired boy said, getting up.
     The man crossed the room and instead of congratulating the larger boy, yanked the smaller one from the carpet. 
     "Come on, you little cry baby," the man said.
     "He's got my book," Tim said.
     The father stopped and released his son. "Then go get it back," he said.
     When the boy lowered his head and said nothing, the father began walking away. As he passed Grog, he matched eyes with the barbarian and found the floor. The boy followed when the man bellowed from the front door.
     Naomi walked through the space with a disgusted look on her face. "Reggie," she said.
     The sandy haired boy, Reggie, rolled his eyes and thrust at the book he had taken from Tim. "He started it, Mrs. Naomi."
     Rosa spoke without being asked. "He beats that boy and you know it. All the bruises."
     Naomi took the book. She shook her head at Rosa and said, "You argued with the dad and not the boys fighting?"
     "You're not putting this on me," Rosa said.
     "Mrs. Naomi, Timmy was drawing me and the little crap was laughing. Look," Reggie said.
     "Out, Reggie. Two days," Naomi said.
     "But Mrs. Naomi."
     "Out. I'll be in my office." Naomi walked book in hand past the library assistant and the children's desk. She opened the door behind it into a dark room, leaving it open, and Grog heard another door open and shut.
     A hand fell on Grog's elbow. Ben said, "Walk an old man to the curb, Groggy?"

Stay tuned on Fridays for the continuing adventures of Grog the Destroyer and how he became the Banned Library's children's librarian.

For all Grog Stories, go on this link and read from the bottom up.

Or you could wait until we collect them all and buy them from the bookstore.




She Made a Scanner Darkly

by Banned Library in


"It won't scan, it just comes out dark," the lady said. She held up a piece of paper that was solid black. You could just make out printing.

    Pam and Carl exchanged a look that said "this crazy lady is trying to photocopy a purple sheet of paper on a black and white copier and doesn't get how pants work." This look was a very normal look for them.

    Carl said, "Let's go look at the copier and see what's wrong." He was only volunteering to help because Pam had helped the last patron, a man who was looking for large print audio books.

    At the copier, Carl got a bit of a shock. Attached to the copier was a squid making sweet love to the office machine.

    "That wasn't here earlier," the woman said.

    "Squick Squick Squick," the squid said.

    "Huh," Carl said.

    The two of them waited, staring at the sea life having its way with the photocopier. The woman dreamed of being touched so gently. Carl wondered how it was lasting so long.

    Then a man came around the corner. He had on a beige uniform that fit a little snug. A patch on the shirt read "Johnson Photocopying." He said, "Sorry folks, ole Reggie's just finishing up filling the toner. He takes his time about it, but then, he's not paid so I guess I would to."

    Carl, the woman, and the copy machine man waited while Reggie the squid fucked the copy machine. Reggie said, "Squick, squick, squick." The machine remained silent.




An old friend returns (Grog the Destroyer, Children's Librarian Part 3)

by Banned Library in


Last time on Grog the Destroyer, Children's Librarian, Grog found an old friend in the library while searching for a way back to his home land.

Grog gripped the shoulders of his old friend so hard his old friend's old bones cracked a little. Ben, also known as Lecher the Thief from the land of Y'eabud, stared at his old friend and teared up a little.

    "I never gave up hope you would find me, Grog," Old Ben said.

    "Where have you been, Lecher?" Grog said.

    "Call me Ben. I have been here so long its the only name I know. And while it's good to hear it from friendly lips, it's kinda a creepy word here, so let's just be cool. A bad kind of creepy. Also, don't steal. They throw you in a box and when they can't identify you… They have a system and it is easy to get lost," Ben said.

    "When was it I last saw you? The Palace of Virginal Glory? When you sere stealing of Jem of Servant Blood?" Grog said.

    Ben said, "Our last adventure was to the Tower of Sacred Wishes. I left you with that elephant man…"

    "Yes! He said he could gran t me wishes but he only wanted to suck my cock."

    "When I left you there I found a cave near the tower. Inside I found a glowing pool of green water. Thinking something inside might be shining and making the pool glow, I leaned too far over and fell in."

    "And you found yourself here?"

    "No, no. I went back to the tower and the Thorn and her minions were there. You saw, at least I remember you there, leaning out of the window yelling 'this elephant man wants to suck my cock.' I wasn't sure you saw me, but you saw the Thorn."

    "She attacked the Tower. The elephant pervert was killed by her archers. Then she began throwing out the portals before escaping to Arathorn where I followed her. I did not know you were there."

    "I awoke, here, outside the library fifty-two years ago."

    "Fifty-two years? What have you been doing?"

    Ben shrugged. "For a while I stole things. Got locked up. Little box. It is at the same time more simple and more difficult in this world. The people are trusting and gentle, yet their weapons are complex and horrific. Hard. They call their magic technology and base it on principles of the world rather than of the gods."

    "That means little to me. I must leave this world. It smells of flowers," Grog said.

    "Yes, I imagine. But there is no magic. None. I have looked all over, worked for many governments and people claiming to be shamans and witches. Their priests, they do not even sleep with women. This world is inescapable, Grog."

    "What does this book say?" Grog said. He pointed to the illustrations and the text.

    Ben shook his head. "It's all the things i told Prim to write down about our world. I was hoping someone would see it and know."

    Grog sighed and pushed the book away.

    "There is more. They-" Ben stopped as the doors to the stairs opened.

    Naomi and Chris walked through the doors and right to the two men.

    "We need you to give up your sword, Grog," Chris said. His voice shook but he looked Grog in the eye.

    "No," Grog said.

    "We have children in the building," Naomi said.

    "Then they should not attack me," Grog said.

    "Why would they attack you?" Naomi said.

    Grog sighed and rolled his eyes at Ben. "Children often attempt to attack me. It is because I am the strongest and they test themselves. No reason to worry. I will not shed blood in this house of worship. Unless they provoke me."

    Naomi stood staring. She said, "I don't believe half of what I just heard."

    "I will teach the children pain if they attack," Grog said.

    "Give us the sword or leave," Naomi said.

    Ben stepped forward, putting his old body between the librarians and the barbarian. He said, "I can vouch for Grog. He's an honorable man, in his own way. He will not harm your weak children. Please let him stay."

    Chris said, "Sorry, Ben. We called the lawyer. He said its a liability. If it was fake, maybe with foam or whatever, but that thing's sharp as hell."

    "It's that Rosa complaining," Ben said.

    "Sorry," Chris said. He did not seem sorry. The library director seemed as if he wished to be far off in a small cabin reading about book that had a man like Grog in it rather than facing off. He had drawn strength from the earlier confrontation but reality had ensued. If the big man started waving around the sword, Chris would die.

    The four stood in silence. Grog would not yield. Ben waited to back his friend's play. Chris felt like going to the bathroom. Naomi pulled out her phone and just in case dialed nine and one and then waited.

    From downstairs, even through the stairway doors, a child screamed. Naomi dialed the final "one" and called the police.

    "It was not me," Grog said and began to move.

Thank you for reading and searching with Grog. Come back next week for some action packed action. Might change this to Grog the Children's Barbarian... I dunno. Oh, and if you wanna draw Grog, I'm tottally down.




Credit for Christmas

by Banned Library in


Pam sat at her circulation desk going over her email on the staff computer. Someone wanted her to babysit. Another person wanted her to "like" something online. Several companies were looking for her to join their ranks as a member of an elite credit order.

    "This one wants me to join up and I get bonus miles," she said.

    Carl, her fellow library assistant, grunted. He had before him a brick-building display project for the children's department, the shape of which was very brickish.

    "Miles of what?" Pam asked.

    "Probably flights," Carl said. He stuck one brick on another brick and the bricks became more than what they were before.

    "I can't afford any flights," Pam said.

    "Can you afford the debt?"

    "I gotta buy Christmas presents."

    Carl picked up another brick, this one red and longer than the other two. "Tell everyone you got them your own piece of mind."

    "Or I could bake things," Pam said.

    "Everyone did ignore your chocolate chip cookies enthusiastically."

    "Oh! This one says no interest until next year! Do you think they mean 2018 or 2019? Cause if they're not interested, I am."




Grog searches the library (Grog the Destroyer, Children's Librarian Part 2)

by Banned Library in


For the first part of this story, here ya go. But really, a barbarian guy invaded a city and a witch sent him into our world. 

Grog the Destroyer kicked in the doors to the library. He scanned the interior of the building. A desk with a woman behind it. The sound of children in the distance. Books all around.

    To his right were older men and women in comfortable looking chairs reading large papers. Elders, Grog thought. He approached a small man wearing a black and gold round hat with a symbol of the Flower of the Saints. The man sunk into a red chair as Grog approached.

    "Elder scholar, I am in need. I seem to have been sent here by a witch of Arathorn and must get back to destroy her. Can you help me?" Grog said.

    The man said, "Ain't you a thing to see. Sorry, sonny. I ain't even gonna try. Talk to Brenda."

   The old man pointed to the desk with woman behind it. She wore a smile.

    "Can we help you, sir?" she said.

    Grog stomped over to the desk and said, "Where is the witch of Arathorn?"

    The woman behind the desk said, "I'm sorry, but you can't use that language in here."

    Grog pounded a large fist on the circulation desk. "I don't have time for your nonsense. Tell me where the half naked witch is. Does she reside in this land?"

    The woman said, "Yeah, I have no idea what you're talking about. Maybe she's in the phone books?"

    Grog nodded. "She would be written about. Witches are notorious for recording their spells and actions and wizards record the actions of all known witches for breeding purposes. Where is this phone book?"

    The woman smiled and pointed to the stairs. "Second floor. Or you could use the elevator."

    Grog climbed the stairs, taking them two at a time. The second floor had many signs telling patrons where things were located. Computer lab on the left and reference desk to the right. Nonfiction books stretched into the distance on over a dozen eight-foot shelves. Grog ignored the signs and grabbed the first person he saw.

    The man's cane fell to the ground as Grog shook his arm. His milky eyes behind giant black glasses swirled in their sockets. A slight smile formed on his lips.

    The blind man said, "Thank you, sir, but I don't need help getting about."

    Grog let the man loose. "I crave only your attention. Where are the Books of Phone?"

    "Can I help you?" a voice said.

    A young woman with flaming red hair sat behind a desk. Her expression said I'm worried about the man in the loin cloth.

    Grog left the blind man who left the scene. He walked over to the reference desk where Felecia sat. Felicia took in the man and cursed Brenda, knowing the circulation librarian had sent this crazy man up to her. On the other hand, the tall, dark man was made of muscle and may just be a cosplayer or something playing an elaborate joke.

    "I seek knowledge about the Witch of Arathorn. The woman downstairs sent me after the Book of Phones," Grog said.

    Felecia cursed Brenda and nodded, "We have phone books up here. Is the… Is what you're looking for a place? Like a shop or something? I've never heard of it."

    "She is the most vile creature. I did not expect her when she attacked. Red hair, not like yours which is a fetching shade of flame but a smoldering red, a dark ember of being that matches the robes she wears about her person, open to expose her breasts and crotch, which is also the same shade of red. I came upon her in the city of… I did not get the name of the city, but I was tired," Grog said.

    "Wow," Felicia said. She putting her hands together slow, clapping. "I've hear of commitment to a bit but that's an amazing speech. Tone it down, though. Kids are around here."

    Grog leaned over and slapped the desk, "I cannot tone anything, I am busy. Show me the Books of Phone."

    Felecia said, "Woah, okay. Back up."

    Grog flexed and his eyes raged for a moment, then he found himself. He told himself these were innocents around him, yet his sense of danger was all over. Then an idea occurred to him. He turned without thanks and left Felicia to wonder what was happening.

    Back on the first floor, he listened and heard the sounds he knew he should have followed from the beginning. Chanting, laughter, stories being shared. Innocent voices raising up tales.

     Right now the voices were singing something about wheels on a bus going round and round.

    The large man approached the story time circle and sat with the children. Naomi stopped singing as she watched this happen, her grip on the book slipping. Her first thought was, holy hell, that's a real sword on his back.

    The children continued to sing as the wheels on the bus went round and round. Then more and more of them noticed Grog. Some stopped singing and stared. Others smiled and giggled at the large man sitting with them like a child.

    Naomi said, "Um, sir, can we help you?"

    "Continue," Grog said.

    "Do you have a child here, sir?" Naomi said.

    "While I have bedded many women, none have told me of children I care to accept as my own," Grog said.

    The children started laughing and Naomi's face went white then red as the summer reading shirt she wore. The children's librarian had many issues with strange men over the years in her department, but this took the cake. She swallowed and tried to think of something to say when Rosa spoke up.

    "You can't be here," Rosa said.

    Naomi sighed. This would be the day that Rosa worked. The library assistant often caused problems with patrons. Just last week a father and normal patron had commented on the beautiful ruby earrings Rosa wore daily and the whole affair had to be documented.

    "I seek knowledge of the Thorn of Arathorn. Please, continue with your musics of the wheels on this bus creature. If need be, I shall share stories and songs of my own for stories of your travels, teacher," Grog said.

    The children's librarian digested that information and stood. "I'll be right back," she said.

    Rosa said, "I'm not leaving him with the children."

    "I'm going to call Chris," Naomi said.

    "Are you a barbarian?" one little boy asked. He was small and dark haired and reminded Grog of himself at the age had he not been a slave in the Pits of Isaacson and made strong and scarred with fighting and rock breaking. Looking at the boy closer, Grog saw scars, though.

    "I am, of a sort. I am Grog the Destroyer. That is what they call me, although I dislike the name. Maimer, killer, attacker, conqueror from time to time, but destroying is for madmen. I am not mad, little one. I leave things intact or able to rebuild. Remember that. Always leave them able to tell your story and able to rebuild. Then they are stronger when you attack again," Grog said.

    "My name's Teddy," the little boy said.

    "Yes, I'm sure," Grog said.

    "I'm Billy and I"m not supposed to talk to you," A little boy in a red shirt said.

    "Billy," Rosa said.

    The boy cut his eyes to the woman and lost some fire in his eyes. Then he looked up again and Grog saw a smile. Grog smiled back.

    "You need to leave," Rosa said.

    "Why? I seek answers," Grog said.

    Naomi came back to the story circle. She said, "Sir, can I talk to you over here?"

    Grog lifted himself up with his powerful legs. Naomi found herself looking at the strap of his sword on his powerful chest. She thrust her hand forward. In it was a red summer reading shirt, triple extra large.

    "Put this on while in the library, please," Naomi said.

    "I do not wear red. It is the color of the Thorn of Arathorn. Are you members of the Cult of Arathorn, here?" Grog said.

    "I don't know what that is. Put this on or leave," Naomi said.

    "I do not wear red," Grog said.

    "Then leave. It's the same shirt I'm wearing."

    "With the colorful duck in pants reading to children?"

    "Yes."

    "Fine. As long as the garment is not pure red," Grog said.

    Grog unbuckled the sword from his back and leaned it against a table. He had some difficulty pulling the shirt over his head, but in a moment wore the same summer reading shirt.

    "It's tight," Grog said, buckling the sword back on.

    "It sure is," said Brenda.

    Naomi waved a hand at the circulation librarian. "What?" she said.

    "Chris wants to know if he should call the cops," Brenda said.

    "No, just tell him to come down here," Naomi said.

    Moments passed and the librarians and the barbarian waited.

    An older man in blue slacks and a yellow vest came down the stairs and headed towards the children's department. Chris Davies stopped short when he saw the large man towering over Naomi, Brenda, and Rosa. He almost ran. Peed his pants and ran. It was akin to seeing a tiger or bear running around the library. Chris's first thoughs was to call the cops, right away. Tell someone else to deal with this animal, as if the man in the tight red shirt was a stray dog or snake.

    Except they saw him. Brenda smiled and got herself away. Naomi's face was a mix of amusement and exasperation. Whatever the half naked man had done was both interesting and distressing to the children's librarian. Or the distressing part could be Rosa, a constant thorn in Naomi's side as the bossy library assistant often equated library practices to her own familial concerns.

    "Chris, this gentleman is Grog. He's sitting in story time," Naomi said.

    "I am no gentle man," Grog said.

    Rosa crossed in front of Naomi and Grog. "Mr. Davies, this man came into the story circle and sent away the children. He has no child of his own and I want him thrown out of the building," she said.

    "No man throws me," Grog said and reached for his sword.

    Chris held up a hand. "Why don't we talk first?"

    With a graceful motion, Grog side-stepped around Rosa and drew Metal Death, holding the sword against the library director's throat. Grog growled, "I am no gentle man. I came to seek information about the Thorn of Arathorn. This land is strange but the law of the sword are baked into all lands."

    "I'm gonna call the cops," Rosa said.

    "No," Chris said. At times in a man's life, he finds resilience within himself. Tests arise and the man can meet them or be defeated. Grog knew this well and instinctively. The eyes of the barbarian narrowed and met the eyes of Chris. Chris, in his part, felt calem for the first time in years. Political bullshit from the library , loud patrons threatening to go to the newspaper, old men saying the paid his salary with all them taxes. All abstract fears that lived in the dark. Now, here, for the first time in decades, Chris was confronted with an immediate danger and his heart slowed and his eyes unfocused and his mind centered. If the library's problems lived in the dark of abstraction, the sword was a bright light that cut through the bullshit.

    Naomi and Rosa saw the change in the library director. The stuttering and shaking presenter at library conferences straightened. A good man, intelligent and able to somehow always find funding, a meek and mild man until this moment.

    Gros saw and equal and grinned. He lowered the sword.

    If need be, Grog would kill the man. But the resolve he swa in Chris's eye made him sure the man would be an ally. He had seen the look before in others. Bowman the Archer. Lecher the Thief of Ten Rings. The Pyromancer Tim. Now this library man Chris. He put away Metal Death.

    Chris said, "Rosa, don't call the cops. Naomi, you and Rosa finish up story time. I'll take this warrior up to reference and will see what we can find."

    Naomi said okay. She went with this turn of events because it got the children out of danger and sent the large half-naked man away. Rosa's cheeks flushed. Rosa in her capacity of a library assistant, was used to being heard and in front of her son she did not like to be ignored. If the man was not out of the building in a few minutes, she would take action. What form that action would take, she had not decided.

    "You remind me of an old friend," Grog said on the way up to reference.

    Chris said, "In what way?"

    "Lecher was small and colorful man as well. HIs clothes and his hair were bright, like your yellow and blue. No one could deal like Lecher, should he begin to bargain," Grog said.

    "Where is he now?" Chris said.

    "Dead. In that way, you two are different."

    "I'm sorry to hear that."

    "He died fighting the sorcerer Thom, the teacher of the Thorn of Arathorn."

    "That sounds… interesting." Chris held the door as Grog continued.

    "Indeed," Grog said.

    IN the reference area, two men Grog had dismissed earlier stood watching. One held himself tall and straight, a white cane gripped in an old and spotted hand with a gray overcoat draped over his shoulders. The other stood back, holding himself away from the world as if guarding from attack. He wore a faded yellow scarf that hung limp and for a moment Grog felt a twinge in his memory, yet could not place anyone as old as this man.

    "Dave, Ben, what can I do for you?" Chris said.

    "We heard the excitement," Blind Dave said.

    "I was looking for the paper," Ben said, his hands pulling at his scarf.

    "Nothing much," said Chris. "Just some excitement at story time. I'm going to help my friend grog here with some research, but maybe, Ben they've got the paper with the mail downstairs. I'll call in a minute."

    The blind man grumbled something and continued past the stairway doors to the elevator. Old Ben met Grog's eyes as if looking for something. Grog wondered about the old man but Chirls started walking away, so he followed.

    "Now, who was this Thorn of… Arabia?" Chris said. He circled a desk and sat down in front of a computer.

    "Arathorn," Grog said, watching the monitor glow blue then have text appear. He had seen something like this when battling the Sorcerer Longman, tablets that told two truths for every lie.

    Chris typed but shook his head. "Nothing on Arathorn. Could be obscure or ancient?"

    Grog said, "No. I was just there. The witch opened a way and sent me here."

    "Witch? Well, maybe in mythology or folklore," Chris said. He stood and went to the 099 and 390 sections. When they were done, Grog held a large stack of books. The two men sat at a table and began to scan the books, Chris running his finger along the words and Grog the pictures. Chris left the large man looking and went to see if Ben had found the paper. Chris found Naomi at the desk.

    "Is he still here?" she said.

    "Yeah. I got him looking at books. You know, I'm not sure he can read," Chris said.

    "What are you going to do?"

    "He hasn't done anything wrong."

    Naomi put her hands on her hips. "At least take the sword."

    "Yeah, well, the shirt you gave him matches it nicely," Chris said.

    "You should call Andy."

    From the back of the library came a shout, a booming whoop like that of a bear with a salmon in its mouth that did not wish to die that day. Naomi and Chris set off running.

    They found Grog pointing at a map in a book entitled "My Journey into the Bad Bad Lands." The map showed a desert world of Y'eabud. Grog had a thick finger on a symbol, over which read the word "Arathorn."

    "I have found the witch's symbol. The Thorn. She raised it at the gates of Arathron after her soldiers took the city. This book of maps should tell me how to return," Grog said.

    Chris picked up the book. He'd grabbed it on a whim, a donated tome from a long ago board member. He opened to the title page to see the book plate: "A pack of lies hiding a great truth. - Prim Roswell, 1954."

    "Grog, I'm not sure this book is totally accurate," Chris said. An old hand held his wrist.

    Old Ben said, "Why don't you folks go do your library stuff, like finding today's paper. I can help our friend Grog here with this old book of stories. I knew Prim back in the day. Can tell him all about it."

    "If you're sure," Chris said. Naomi shrugged.

    "I can tell him all about it. Plus I can talk lower than you librarians. That'll keep Blind Dave from complaining so much," Old Ben said with a yellow smile.

    "Okay," Chris said.

    "Finding the paper," Old Ben said.

    Chris and Naomi walked away, each casting glances back. Old Ben waved them on. The men stood together, the old and the powerful.

    "Ben a while, Groggy," Old Ben said.

    Grog turned slow to the man. He saw the old man then, small, stooped , lines that were not there the last time he saw the face. Blue eyes, though, gone to gray but still dancing.

    "Lecher?" Grog said.

    "Been a hell of a while," Lecher said.

Stay tuned on Fridays for the continuing adventures of Grog the Destroyer and how he became the Banned Library's children's librarian. 

For all Grog Stories, go on this link and read from the bottom up.

Or you could wait until we collect them all and buy them from the bookstore.




Talking Dahmer at the Circ Desk

by Banned Library in ,


The cart was filled with books from the book drop. The library assistant wheeled it to the circulation desk and watched the stack teeter.

    The second library assistant, Carl, watched Pam and the books. He said, "I saw that movie, the one about Dahmer?"

    Pam pulled a few books from the middle of the stack as if playing a giant game of Jenga. "Yeah?"

    "Yeah. It had this scene in it where Jeffrey Dahmer starts making noise in the library, like acting out to be funny, and I wondered how many of our patrons are gonna become serial killers," Carl said.

    "I could name one or two," Pam said.

    "I'm serious," Carl said.

    Pam reached for more books from the pile, but they fell on her, crushing her under the weight. She gasped and the weight bore down and pushed the breath from her lungs. Carl watched as the life drifted from Pam's eyes. He waited, seeing the inner light fade to a distinct nothing. Then, per the library handbook, he began collecting the books lest they become haunted by Pam's eternal soul.

    "Anyway, it was a good movie," Carl said.




Entering the City to Travel

by Banned Library in


In the fourth moon of the year of the Sizeable Serpent, Grog the Destroyer came forth. He walked across the Desert of the Moon. His feet were torn and broken, his throat near sandpaper with thirst. The sword on his back heavy and its leather strap digging into his bare chest.

    Upon finding the city of Arathorn in the kingdom of Y'eabud, he greeted the guard at the gate. Walls of pale brick stretched from horizon to horizon.

    "Yo, dickhead. Let me in," Grog said. Despite his thirst his voice held a commanding thunder.

    "Who calls me a dickhead?" the guard said.

    Grog pulled from its sheathe the sword Metal Death and planted his feet. The sword, forged by Grog's mother on his second birthday, glinted in the noon day's light.

    "Me and my sword, dickhead," Grog said.

    The guard pulled his own sword and hefted his shield. The shield bore the insignia of the house of Thornwood, the leaders of the Arathornian. Grog understood at once by threatening this man he had threatened the city itself. He set his feet in the ground and prepared to raze the world.

    The guard said little above a grunt as he gathered himself, feet apart and eyes bright like a panther. Grog would not draw first blood and patiently waited, rolling his dark shoulders. He lifted his head and felt the sun on his dark hair and allowed the sweat to trickle down his neck.

    The guard slashed right to left, coming at Grog low. Grog bellowed a roar and met sword with sword. A shower of improbable sparks fell between them. The guard backed up on nimble feet and Grog charged after him.

    "Meet your death, fucker," Grog yelled and brought down his sword.

    The sword sliced the thin wooden sheild as the guard attemped to block the blow. Metal Death sliced throught the man's arm and into his shoulder. The smell of blood found its way to Grog's nose and pushed him further into a rage. Red flew as the man screamed.

    Beyond the walls, other guards and citizens heard the screams. A dozen men with spears gathered at the gate. Above, half a dozen archers looked down, expecting to see a beast such as the Teethmaw or the Sentalac or an invading army. What they saw was a large hairy man with a giant sword screaming and chopping at a hunk of meat.

    "Jerry," the captain of the spearmen said to the captain of the archers.

    "Yo, Frank, this is messed up," Jerry called down to Frank, the captain of he spearman.

    "What's up? Another Sentalac?" Frank said.

    "Naw. Just a guy," Jerry said.

    "All that noise?"

    "Yup."

    "You think we should open the gate?" Frank said.

    "Naw, we're gonna shoot the fucker," Jerry said.

    Jerry turned to his fellow archers and pointed to Archie. "You, kill that shit," Jerry said.

    Archie the Archer knotched an arrow and took aim at the man beyond the wall hacking at the pile of meat that had once been Olaf the Guard. He let the arrow fly.

    Grog heard the twang of the bow and raised Metal Death. The arrow clanged off the metal of the sword. Grog followed the path of the arrow to Archie the Archer and met the man's gaze. From the distance of thirty feet straight, Archie felt the gaze of Grog fall on his man understood his death.

    Grog ran to the wall, sheathing his sword. Launching himself up, his fingers found purchased in the mortor and Grog began to climb. Archie pissed himself.

    Jerry the archer captain looked from his frightened bowman to the madman climbing the city wall. To the other archers he said, "Well, shoot the bastard."

    Jerry knotched his own arrow and everyone but Archie began firing at the barbarian. Some missed. Some glanced off the large sword on Grog's back. One archer, Fraser, managed to get Grog along the shoulder blade in a long stripe, a near hit. Grog paused and looked up, finding Fraser and giving him the same stare Archie had recieved moments before.

    More arrows flew but none found Grog.

    "Hey Jerry, what's up?" Frank yelled from down in the gate courtyard with the rest of his men.

    "Not now, Frank. Fucker's a climber," Jerry yelled.

    Grog bellowed and grabbed at Jerry as he reached the top of the wall. Jerry jumped back and swung with his bow. It cracked on the large man's head.

    "Come here," Grog said.

    "No," Jerry said.

    Archie and Fraser turned and ran as Grog pulled Metal Death from his back. Grog chased them, passing the other archers. Fraser had stubbed his toe the night before making him slow. The lumbering beast that was Grog caught up to the limping man and cut him down with a single swipe.

    Archie had a great big dinner the night before. His wife, Penelope, made the best beans in Arathorn. This was widly known. Archie had eaten a great many beans, enough to spend the rest of the night giving enthusiastic praise to Penlope with his gas, even as they made slow and erotic love. While running from Grog the Destroyer, he farted in panic.

    This made Grog enjoy the chase even more. A farting prey held great amusement to the large man. "Come back, gassy one. You felt brave enough to loose your arrow at me then feel bravery as I shove Metal Death into your open anus," Grog said.

    Archie continued to run, visions of his wife and beautiful children passing through his head. He wished to see them again, to hold them one more time, to laugh over the farts from his wife's beans as they lay naked in the moonlight.

    "Please," Archie said and reached the ladder to the courtyard.

    "Do not beg for your place in hell," Grog said. He swung his sword and missed Archie's head as the small archer slid down the ladder. Grog sent out a frustrated roar and leaped down after him.

    The archers had recovered and began firing down at Grog as he sprinted toward Archie. Jerry screamed at them to stop. "Let the spearmen do their job with that beastly motherfucker, boys," he said.

    Frank the spearman captain had his men lined in a row. He saw the archer run across the courtyard in front of them.

    "Isn't that Archie?" he asked.

    His second responded, "Yes, sir. You can tell by the farts."

    Grog lumbered in front of them, chasing Archie.

    Frank said to his men, "Spearman."

    The spearmen answered together, "Ha, lord."

    Frank said, "Let's kill the dumpy bastard."

    "Ha, lord," the spearmen said and began to advance as one with sheilds locked.

    Grog heard the shouts and the man call him a dumpy bastard. He gave up his pursuit of a single gassy archer to challenged the dozen spearman. Red filled his vision as he spun on his heel and charged.

    The city of Arathorn in the kingdom of Y'eabud retains a long memory. For centuries they have told of Orthon the Great who skinned the pack of man-eating wolves. They have told of Tubs the Crock Killer who killed crocks on the Day of Gift and Men. For centuries after, they tell of the assault of Grog the Destroyer and how he took on the city of Arathorn and vanished forever.

    Grog slipped between the poking spears and met the sheilds with a heavy thud. His large body met the wood as a ram might, splintering the sheilds. He thrust Metal Death between them and felt flesh split and reveled in the dying gutteral sounds of a spearman.

    Reeling back again, Grog prepared to push forward again. The spearman had no preparation, not understanding the violence they met this day. When violent men find violence uncomfortable, the violence has trancended itself and become a simple hope for survivial. This hope found itself in the spearman's hearts and the hearts of the archers above who could only watch as their comrads found death.

    Then the woman shouted.

    Grog stopped and looked over his shoulder. The spearman relaxed as the weight of Grog's glare relieved itself from them.

    She stood at the opposite end of the courtyard. Known as the Thorn of Arathorn, she wore black robes open in the front exposing pale round flesh. In her hands she held a glass orb as red as her hair. Her mouth opened in a dark oval and she said words no one understood.

    Grog saw her flesh and her shiny bobble and felt a stirring from within the red violence of his mind. Surrounded by shields and spears, he was not turned by her. He gripped one spear and pushed Metal Death into another man's chest.

    The sound of bees began. The sound came from within. The sound came from the Thorn woman and her red sphere. Men screamed and Grog continued his assault but the sound of bees increased.

    Her words took form as a cloud, an angry cloud of small creatures that resembled bees. She directed the cloud at Grog, the sound in his mind.

    The spearmen found themselves trapped between the gate and Grog. They died slow as Grog slowed, the sound of insects in him grew.

    Five men fell to him before he turned to the Thorn. The red had released itself from his vision. The woman stood before him.

    "Go beast. Go and be gone from here and his world. You have killed what is ours and are no longer welcome," Thorn said.

   "That what you think, witch?" Grog said and lunged at her.

    She dropped the orb to the stone courtyard. The cloud of red insects swarmed toward Grog and the sound in his mind. Her words in the strange language fell hard on him as he stomped toward her. The orb crashed and split and the world went dark for Grog the Destroyer.

    Pain centered his being. Grog had known pain, great pain from his childhood in the Pits of Isaacson to his learning of the sword on the Sea of Wicket Delight. Grog felt this pain not only in his flesh but in his soul, a loneliness of forgotten love or emptiness of hopes dashed.

    Grog opened his eyes on a new sun on a blue sky. The grass under his body was soft instead of itchy and coarse. Rising, he found himself next to a building of dark brick.

    Grog the Destroyer had reached the Banned Library.

This post is part of NaNoWriMo 2017. All this November, the blog will be select entries of Grog's journey to becoming the library's children's librarian. If you want to read it early, in its entirety, join the Friends of the Library on Patreon.




Nursing in Study Room B

by Banned Library in


Study Room B holds many secrets. People say that if walls could talk, they would tell all our stories. The walls of Study Room B would scream.

I've been the librarian here for six years, since the building came to be and that goddamn study room is evil. Damn evil.

But I can only tell you what I've seen. The blood leaking from small bodies. Intestines spooling out and roping on the coarse carpet. Pizza stains from a delivery gone wrong.

We have to keep the room open. When we close it, a parent or a student complains. This time we got it closed down for an entire week before Nancy Travis complained.

A nursing student, Nancy complained to her father who then complained to a member of the board that there was a study room nobody ever used. The mean librarian, that's me, had told Nancy she could not be in there alone. The last time someone was alone in there the screams interupted story time downstairs.

Nancy smiled a little smile of as I unlocked the door and let her in. Red hair done up tight in a braid that fell to her shoulder.

Please, I said to her again. I can let you use the quiet study area.

I need to be on the phone, she said and closed the door. We looked at one another through the window. I had an idea of reaching out, touching the glass, but she would think it was a joke.

I was helping Mrs. Kemper find a newspaper article when the glass broke. A hard shattering of a chair and the breaking of wood. Screaming. Nancy screaming.

She made it halfway through the window. They found her braid nailed to the ceiling. Her nursing books torn apart. The pages spread all over, falling like snow.

I called the proper people. Authorities. Not very authoritative. The cop threw up and the ambulance driver kept wondering where the thing went to. The thing that got poor Nancy Travis.

When the reporter came around asking, I said there were no witnesses. I didn't tell him about the other times. He wouldn't write about them. He never did.