The Librarian of Destiny
by Merita King
© Merita King – December 2012
I met Darnslaw quite by chance when I was searching for a shortcut to the library. I’d just moved to the area and, being an avid reader, one of the first things I did was to find the nearest library. It turned out to be a couple of miles away but I was sure there must be a shortcut down some alleyways that would cut it down to just over a mile. A couple of dead ends later, I found the shortcut I knew must exist and happily made my way between a rather rundown old warehouse and a grubby rooming house. As I made my way past the faded sign advertising rooms for rent, the door suddenly opened and a man appeared.
To all outward appearances he was a very ordinary elderly man; the slightly too large shabby overcoat was the same as could be seen on many men of a similar age and social standing, the flat cap pulled well down doing nothing to raise my suspicions. No, he seemed perfectly normal apart from those eyes. His arresting gaze held me and I knew instantly that I was being mentally scanned in some way, like in those science fiction movies I like to watch on TV. It was just a fleeting moment and was then gone; his nod and smile as he touched the brim of his cap and allowed me to pass a reminder of an age of chivalry long since passed into history. I smiled in return and carried on my way, that odd feeling of having been scanned still fresh in my mind.
As I sat in the library with my copy of an overview of eastern esoteric practices by some unknown, and frankly crazy European author from the 1940’s I heard whispers behind me and looked around. The man with the arresting gaze had just entered and was being greeted by the librarian, who handed him a key with a smile. I watched as the man wandered over to a small door in the far corner, unlocked it and disappeared from view. The pendant lights that hung from the ceiling were obscuring my view of the sign above the door so I stood and stepped to my right so as to read it.
Secured Reading Section – Passes must be shown, was emblazoned across the rough, unpainted panelled door and my curiosity was piqued. I wondered what sort of books were kept there and assumed that rare first editions and ancients texts were held there where they could be handled with care by those knowledgeable about such things. My curiosity demanded that I ask the librarian about it one day.
And so it continued, three times a week I visited the library and each time, the curious man with the arresting eyes would enter a few minutes after me, greet the librarian and enter the secure reading area. After a month I couldn’t stand it any longer and decided to ask about it.
“Excuse me,” I smiled at the librarian who looked up at me and smiled in return.
“Yes Madam, how can I help?”
“Umm, just out of curiosity, what is the Secured Reading Section through that door over there?”
He looked towards the door and I was sure he hesitated for a moment before answering me. “That is where we keep our most special texts and documents.”
“Ahh okay,” I nodded. “I guessed it was something like that. How would I gain access to that section? It says passes must be shown. Can I get a pass?”
“I thought you’d never ask,” a voice behind me made me nearly jump out of my skin. I turned to find myself staring into that same pair of mesmerising eyes and being scanned again. “I was beginning to think maybe I was wrong about you.” He smiled as those eyes continued to bore into my soul.
“Umm,” I began but didn’t know how to continue.
He took my hand. “My name is Darnslaw and I’ve been waiting for you for a very long time my dear.”
“You have?” I asked, convinced I’d got myself mixed up with some weirdo and instantly decided I ought to find another library with all haste.
“Don’t worry, I’m not crazy,” he half laughed and I blushed, “but you’re right, I can read your mind.”
“Look I umm,” I began but he cut me off before I could extricate my hand and dash for the door.
“Do not be afraid. I am not a crazy person and I will never harm you. I have waited for you to ask the question for so long that when you finally did, I was so delighted I forgot my manners.”
“Ask the question?” I frowned.
“For entry into the secured reading section,” he smiled and pointed towards the door in the far corner.
“Oh, yeah,” I nodded.
“Do you still wish to see?” he asked.
“Yes please,” I replied without hesitation as those mesmerising eyes still held me prisoner.
“Wonderful,” he smiled. “Come.” He led me towards the door and handed me the key. “Go on,” he urged, “open and enter a wonderful new world.”
The key turned silently and I gingerly pushed the door open. It was dark inside as I stepped through and a frisson of fear coursed through me until that now familiar voice came to my ears.
“Go on my dear. Your destiny has waited patiently for this moment. All you need is to open your mind and be willing to embrace wonders you have never dared dream of.”
I heard the door click shut behind me and instantly a light went on above me, illuminating a small desk on which stood a small gadget of some kind that I didn’t recognise. It looked like a rather large mobile phone with a pair of antenna sticking out of the top. Another light went on, slightly further back from the first and revealed a row of seats. One by one the lights went on, each one revealing another row of seats, ten rows in all until the final light revealed a raised dais surrounded by blue light emanating from the floor. A thing that looked like a rather too large showerhead hung from the ceiling above this raised dais and from it too, emanated blue light.
“What the heck?” I whispered as I looked around the room. “Where are the special texts and documents the librarian said were kept here?”
Darnslaw smiled and looked into my eyes. “They are here,” he said as he touched a finger to my temple. I frowned. “You have yet to write them,” he said. I was about to reply when movement in corner of my eye distracted us both. I turned to see the ghostly figure of a boy sitting on the first seat in the first row of chairs. He was about six years old and smiled as he swung his legs back and forth. I looked back at Darnslaw and frowned again. “Your first customer has arrived,” he smiled.
“What the hell is this?” I exclaimed. Darnslaw was about to reply when again, our attention was drawn to the seating area. I looked and saw what I can only describe as an alien of some kind. It was basically humanoid, with two arms and two legs but its head was way too big to be normal and its eyes were huge. A short tail hung down from its backside and swayed from side to side.
“You see my dear,” Darnslaw smiled at me, “you are the new librarian of destiny.”
“Librarian of destiny?” I repeated. “What the hell is that?”
“These souls are here to await their next incarnation and it is you who will write their destiny. That is why I told you that the special texts are still inside your mind and that you have yet to write them.”
“You’re crazy,” I gaped at him, “and I’m crazy for being here.”
“You were born on February tenth, nineteen sixty two to Margaret and Eric, were you not?” Darnslaw asked and I nodded. He then continued to tell me my entire life story up to this moment, all three decades of it and I listened and nodded without muttering a sound. By the time he finished he had told me every single detail of every moment of my life so far and the room was now filled with beings, some human, others very obviously not and I now believed and stared at him in wonder.
“You know my whole life? Every single moment of it. How?”
“Because I wrote it,” he smiled as I gaped. “Last time you sat in one of these seats waiting for your next incarnation, I knew as I wrote your destiny that you would grow up and take my place as librarian of destiny.”
“But how do I? I mean what?”
Darnslaw laughed as he sat me down at the desk and handed me the gadget. He motioned to the small boy who got up and stood before me. “Now my dear, just look into his eyes and clear your mind. It’s very easy. I have seven days before the end of my life and I promise you I’ll teach you everything you need to know.”
He was right too, it is very easy and when, as I approached my eighty fifth birthday, I saw a small boy appear in the room awaiting his new destiny, I looked into those arresting eyes and smiled.
“Welcome back my friend,” I smiled.