“Please stop?” I scream. Ten minutes ago, I had the most devastating news one could ever imagine. Everything became worse two minutes ago. A wall of fire is devouring the room that contains diaries and handmade books of children. The enormous room will take time to burn, but once finished the librarian will move to the next book section. “Why,” I bawled.
“You are only mortal.”
“Really, the same words you have spoken over and over for the last thirty-five years?”
“When a planet dies, its library dies.” The shelves themselves came to her one by one so she could light it with the torch that once stood center of the mystical library. I never knew what it was for until now.
“You told me that these are the exact quantum copies of all the books ever made. Please tell me there’s a galaxy library that does the same. A universe one?”
“I do not know.”
“I thought you were immortal.”
“Immortalities are not all equal. Once the supernova blast hits your world in five hours, this library must cease to exist.”
“No, isn’t your job to preserve knowledge?”
“The library came into being when the first words were written on the planet. It will no longer be when no more words can be written.”
Blinded by tears, I run away. I eventually find myself in the main reading room. I drop to my knees staring down at the place that gave birth to me. My insides are crying out in agony as I pound the floor to demand a miracle. I won’t let it end like this. I won’t.
I race toward the classics and I get a cart to fill. This would be the last place to be destroyed but what to select? Luckily, as the assistant, the shelves come to me when I ask. I’m nowhere close to being finished, but I realize nearly five hours have passed by. I rush toward the escape pod and stuff it with the books. There’s almost no room for me. I must be forgetting something, but there’s no time to reflect. Just before I squeeze in the pod, I freeze in terror. I see the librarian. No, she caught me. She has finished burning the last of the books and the library itself is on fire except for the room we’re in.
“You can’t stop me,” I scream.
But she just smiles gently. How odd to pick this moment to radiate warmth and kindness. “Goodbye Zo-Nia Tii. Goodbye librarian.”
Her words sent a shockwave through my gut. I find my voice to ask her to come with me, but within seconds she turns to dust leaving no trace of an eons-old existence. I have to leave now. I have no idea how to use this pod, but somehow I find that my instincts are enough to operate it. So much death and loss to fully comprehend right now. There’s no time to mourn. I’m sure it will hit me fully in the days ahead. Right now, I leave to bless a new world with the best of my civilization.
365tomorrows launched August 1st, 2005 with the lofty goal of providing a new story every day for a year. We’ve been on the wire ever since. Our stories are a mix of those lovingly hand crafted by a talented pool of staff writers, and select stories received by submission.
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