Chapter 5: Existence Of The Non-existing
She’d walked straight into the library to find what she was looking for, only to find that what she was looking for had never been found.
“What do you mean the book isn’t on the system?”
The librarian sat behind her desk comfortably, pencil resting between her lips and fingers tapping away at the keyboard. She frowned and scanned the screen with her hazel eyes, strands of charcoal black hair escaping her ponytail and hanging messily at either side.
She was young, but not young enough to be stupid. She couldn’t find the book and neither could I, but the fact that she seemed so calm about this whole situation was what irritated me.
“Look darlin’ I’ve never heard of that book,” her words were almost incoherent for as long as she had that pencil in her mouth, “and it’s not in this library.”
I sighed, exasperated.
It didn’t make any sense. Only yesterday had I been reading that book, and I’d put it back in a place where I was certain I could find it again. So why was it that now, it was nowhere to be seen?
I didn’t even know what the book was called, but I’d done my best at describing it.
“It has an oak brown cover, with faded, cream coloured paper inside,” the woman looked at me as if I was crazy, “Smudged black ink? Handwritten?”
“We don’t display handwritten books,” she tried to explain, “maybe you picked up someone’s diary and they took it back?”
“Maybe,” I shook my head and blinked twice, “Thank you.”
I turned around and walked away from the desk, eyes scanning over each table and shelf that I passed. I was determined to find the book, desperate to finish it. But she was probably right. I had picked up something that someone had written, read something that wasn’t meant for my eyes. Yet the one thing that didn’t make any sense to me was how they’d found it, tucked away behind countless other books in the very corner of the library where no one went.
“I have such a love-hate relationship with coincidences.” I mumbled as I made my way towards the exit.
The sky had grown dark, and I had only gotten more agitated as it went on. So it only made matters worse when I saw Austin Myers’ car, parked perfectly outside the doors of the library, engine running and music on full blast.
I felt as uneasy as the night when his brown eyes met mine, and he drew down the window.
After earlier’s mishap, I hadn’t really wanted to see Austin unless it was entirely necessary; so I just stood bewildered, strands of hair tickling my cheeks and hands shoved into the pockets of my hoodie. The same green hoodie I wore at every chance I got, the one that brought out my emerald eyes and made them seem almost unnatural.
I loved the colour green.
Just as Austin was about to open his mouth to speak, a blonde haired girl hopped out of the passenger side, a look of bright anticipation on her make-up painted face.
“Alice.” her name escaped my lips.
“Get in!” she practically sang, eyes like jewels.
The car journey was tense, but as always Alice seemed oblivious to any emotion except from excitement, for nothing in particular yet everything at once. Austin had shut off the radio as soon as I stepped inside the car, but he’d cleared his throat and kept his eyes to himself as we drew away from the library.
It took awhile for Alice to finally recognise the mood, and when she did, she gave her twin a look of confusion.
“So where are we going?” her blonde hair bounced against her shoulders as she clapped her hands together.
Austin kept his mouth shut and his body frigid, and Alice looked towards me in desperation.
“The Highway Cafe?” I offered.
“Great idea!” Alice nodded in approval and I smiled.
Reality boy didn’t make a sound.
“Hey, why did you guys pick me up?”
Austin hadn’t mentioned going out, and Alice hadn’t even messaged me to say that she was coming. They’d just...showed up. Alice was never one for rash decision making, she always planned things in advance. The twins had never just showed up like that.
Austin looked towards Alice in a moments hesitation, and I saw him nod gently before she turned back to me.
“Well, it’s quite exciting really,” she began, “there’s this boy and he-”
“It’s not safe,” Austin interrupted, voice cold. “And it’s far from exciting.” He added.
Alice flinched and looked away.
“Can you remember what I said to you yesterday?” Alice kept her voice low.
“You say a lot of things, Alice.” I gave a nervous laugh.
In the corner of my eye, I could see Austin looking at me through the mirror. My heartbeat quickened as I tried to ignore his burning stare, but it was almost impossible. There was something in his eyes, something burning like the flames of a fire. It seemed to lick at his pupils and swim in the dark brown, sinking further and further until they seemed like a bottomless pit.
It was a look of hatred, and I didn’t understand why.
Me and Austin had been best friends since he had moved, along with Alice, to Valley High and we hadn’t once had an argument. It was only after what happened earlier when he dropped me off at the library, had he seemed to of changed towards me. But something told me not to take it personally.
“The missing got found Kirsten,” the words sliced through the silence like a knife.
“The missing got found...”