38: A Rescue Rope made of Nylon Stockings

Voting is still open for the Kill Someone In Chapter 40 Competition.

'John's not right.' Katerina says, 'look at him.'

Linda looks. John is still on the floor. His muscles are twitching. He can't seem to decide if he wants to keep his eyes open or closed.

'Is it that the electric shock he had, do you think?'

Bob finally rights himself and stands up. He stretches, as if he didn't fall on the floor, but was doing some special back exercise on the carpet.

'Nah,' he says. He raises a hand to clap John on the shoulder, and thinks better of it. He puts his hands in his pockets. 'He's just upset, aren't you John?'

John doesn't answer.

'I think Garry's gone downstairs,' Linda says. 'He isn't in the library. Not unless he's behind a rubber plant.'

'He won't have gone downstairs, will he? No.' Katerina says. She bites her lip and looks at Linda, 'you were the one who volunteered to do his induction.'

'I didn't volunteer,' Linda said, 'I was asked,' she raises an eyebrow and gestures at the ceiling.

'So you should have covered Forbidden and Restricted Areas!' Katerina shouts.

Bob is watching. Bob is hoping the girls are going to get into a cat-fight. He winks at Mike, and John moans slightly.

'Listen,' Mike says, 'he might not be down... there. You never know. He could have gone upstairs. We should split up. Bob's the man for figuring out how to get into the basement without a lift, aren't you Bob?'

Bob feels himself being led, being 'handled', but is too excited about the prospect of swinging down a lift-shaft on a rope made from Katerina's stockings to complain about it. He touches the brim of an imaginary hat. 'I'm onto it,' he says.

'And Linda, you can lead a second party upstairs. Maybe we'll find him there. He's new. He might have wanted to talk to The Boss.' Mike whispers the last two words.

The librarians form themselves into teams. Katerina takes off her cardigan and places it over John's knees. She pushes him backwards slightly so he is leaning against the wall. Then she joins Bob and goes through the main library and the back room where she works (that horse book seems like months ago, rather than just this morning) to examine the lift.

Linda and Mike walk slowly, with trepidation, caution and reluctance, towards the stairs that lead up to the next floor. Mike has realised that while there is no power, there is no revolving door out either. He isn't sure if Linda knows this. He decides not to tell her.

'Let's go and see if he's there,' Mike says. They leave John sitting on the floor. In the main library, someone is ringing a bell, but they ignore it.

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