37: When the Music's Over, Turn Out The Lights

Rosalyn steps forward. Garry can see by the light of the observation monitors that she is holding a pair of red leather gloves. She is ignoring him. She seems to be searching the ground for something. She is making strange noises under her breath. They are squeaking, foxy, animal noises. He thinks she is saying 'lemon' but that would be silly.

'Are you all right?' Garry asks. 'Bit dark down here, isn't it?'

Garry looks towards the observation monitors. There are lots of electrical panels and little flashing LED lights over there. He is thinking logically. He is problem solving. In his interview for the library job he claimed that logical thinking and problem solving were the main assets he could bring to the Library. Now, he thinks, is the time to prove it. There is a puzzle here, and he is the man to sort it out. But first he needs to turn on the lights. Using logic, he thinks the best place to look for the light switch is near the observation monitors.

The observation monitors are flickering. He can see the main library area in one of them. He can see Complaining Borrower ringing the bell at the counter. He slaps it with the palm of his hand, over and over. There is no sound, but Garry can see how hard he is pressing the bell. Nobody comes. Lots of books have spilled from the shelves and are scattered onto the floor.

In another of the observation monitors Garry can see into the computer room. He can see Bob pick himself up from the floor. He can see Mike stand up. He can see John crouching in a corner. He can see Linda and Katerina. None of them seem to hear the bell. Perhaps, Garry thinks, the other librarians think it is part of the music - perhaps they haven't noticed that the music is over.

Rosalyn crouches on the floor and starts to sweep her hands across the concrete. She looks like a woman who has lost a contact lens. Her noises are howly, but quiet. The sound is quite like a baby who has been ignored for a very long time, and has almost no energy left for attracting attention. Where is that light switch?

'I'll be over in a tick,' Garry says, and then the observation monitors explode. There is a crackling noise, and in the dark Garry hears glass and plastic hit the floor. He can feel shards bouncing off his jumper. Something scratches the side of his face, but he isn't hurt.

Now he can see nothing. He is completely in the dark. When he turns all he can see is Rosalyn's eyes, low down because she is kneeling on the floor. It is quite like, he thinks, The Silence of The Lambs. Gary saw that film once, when he was quite young. His mother had told him not to, but he had crept downstairs after she went to bed and did it anyway. He was more adventurous back then. Now he comes to think of it, the thing with the cling-film started after he watched that film. It probably wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that The Silence of The Lambs made Garry into the man he is today. The timid, 86% anxiety man he was on the brink of abandoning.

Garry wonders where his antibacterial hand gel is. Garry clutches the Staff Manual to his chest.

'Hello?' he says, 'seems like there's been a power cut. Is there a fuse box down here? Or a button. For an emergency generator. Type of thing. You know. Hello?'

There is no answer. No noise but the snuffling sound of breath through clogged up nostrils, and dry hands sweeping a rough floor. Garry realises that the lift back up to the library won't work if there is no power. The darkness expands around him.

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