66: The Lingering Smell Of Sellotape

This chapter was submitted by Michael Frearson. Good work, Michael.

Rosalyn has a plan. She abandoned Garry up there, up there alone to fight their battle. Alone with Bob and Katerina and John. But Rosalyn knows what it’s like to be abandoned, rejected, left behind. She knows how that feels, and it feels like trying to play table tennis with only one player. And Rosalyn won’t do that to Garry. She’s going to be his hero, just as Garry is hers.

The basement holds no sanctuary anymore. Under the cold fluorescent strip lights everything looks plastic and lifeless. It used to be a living, breathing world, with green hair ribbons and red leather gloves. Now it’s just a poorly ventilated storage room with broken glass all over the floor.

Rosalyn shunts a wasted monitor off a wheeled computer desk and pulls it out from the wall. She drags it over to the book maze. The walls of the book maze are over six feet high. There must be enough ammunition down here to hold out for an entire weekend – perhaps even a bank holiday. There are some really flimsy volumes at the top, like individual Shakespeare plays, but down at the foundation lie the behemoths like The Complete Works, the original 1606 King James Bible and The Complete Illustrated Lord of the Rings. Rosalyn topples the wall and begins to load the desk.

She doesn’t hear the lift chime. She doesn’t hear the whine of the doors as they slide open. She doesn’t hear Bob’s tentative footstep on the concrete floor.

She hears Bob say ‘Rosalyn?’ in a long forgotten sort of way and she pauses mid-stack. ‘Rosalyn, I –’

She resumes her task. Heroes remain calm under pressure. Heroes maintain focus.
‘Rosalyn, I – will you stop what you’re doing and listen to me?’ Bob reaches out for her shoulders, but Rosalyn shrugs him off with a grunt. The computer desk is almost full.

‘Rosalyn, please, I…I came down here to apologise…I mean I should have done it years ago, I know, I just…I’m not very good at this…’

Rosalyn looks up and grips the edge of the computer desk. She begins to wheel it towards Bob, who takes a couple of steps back. Then a couple more.

‘Rosalyn, what on earth are you doing? Don’t you understand, I’m trying to…I’m trying to –’ Bob takes another step back and is in the lift, with its unfamiliar hum and mysterious lingering odour of sellotape. Rosalyn continues wheeling the book-laden computer desk into the lift, forcing Bob against the back wall.

‘Bob,’ she says, ‘that’s ancient history. Forget about that now, and help me win this war.’

‘Right,’ says Bob, as the lift doors shudder closed. Then, ‘That’s pigging right, m’lady,’ he says, tipping an imaginary hat.

A faint growl begins to sound just before the lift doors open. Bob springs astride the computer trolley, gripping onto the edge with his left hand and brandishing The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Second Edition in his right. Rosalyn is poised behind, ready to charge.

The lift chimes as the doors open.

The growl becomes a roar.

2 comments:

In Blue and Green said...

I would like to submit an entry?

emma said...

Excellent!

Send 800 words max to
sh.librarynovel [at] gmail.com

Looking forward to it.