“What chew reading?” Ruby was pulled out of her thoughts of Finny and looked up into the petulant face of Liberty Blue (remember her, the unpleasant little girl this chapter is about?). The chair Ruby sat on groaned as if it knew a secret deep within its wood and was trying to warn someone.
The silent wall clock ticked its lost seconds as the girls duelled with their eyes, each trying to out stare the other spaghetti western style.
Ruby chewed her lip and inadvertently blinked beaten by Liberty’s overwhelming presence and the strong smell of her bad intentions. “A book,” she shrugged hoping Liberty would just go away.
“I knows it’s a book, Booby,” (Booby Poos was Liberty’s unkind nickname for Ruby) “I wants to know what’s it called, don’t I.” She stuck a hand on her hip in a gesture she had learnt from her mother and tapped an impatient patent shoe on the floor.
Ruby showed her the title. “I wants that book give it to me, now!” Liberty snapped her little fingers and held out her hand.
Ruby swallowed pulling at the sleeve of her t-shirt. “I’ve not finished it yet.” She stood her ground (or rather ‘sat’ her ground.)
“I don’t care, I wants that book. Give it to me now, Booby, or I’ll tell Miss Gupshill yous rip one of her precious books.” Liberty’s pretty little lips turned ugly with a sneer.
“But I haven’t,” Ruby answered with a puzzled frown.
Liberty used Ruby’s confusion to snatched the book from her seeing an opportunity to get Ruby into big trouble and maybe even eaten. She flicked through the book settling on page forty-four. “But you have, see?” Looking around first to see if anyone was watching her little painted fingers began to tear the page.
Now, this was not a good idea but Liberty was never full of good ideas only bad ones.
The painful sound of letters being separated from words seemed so loud that Ruby had to cover her ears.
You might think, on reflection, that tearing a page in a book is no ‘big deal’ even if it’s done with malice and intent, but, and let me stress that again, BUT, not in this case. You see Liberty only went and made the story mad and believe me, you don’t want to make a story angry because it might just swallow you up in its pages.
And of course, that’s what happened.
As Ruby looked up at Liberty, who was about to call for the Librarian, she noticed a letter ‘o’ floating as graceful as a feather between them.
As the letter fell it grew bigger and bigger until it was about the size of a small girl. ‘How odd,’ Ruby thought, captivated by the fluid fall of the ‘O’ .
“Woss that then?” asked Liberty as she too followed the tumbling letter.
“Oh,” was all Ruby could say as the ‘o’ swallowed Liberty in one big gulp and shrank back into the book and the book closed shut.
Ruby looked down at the cover a little puzzled, you see, she thought she had been reading it and then..? And then something happened but she couldn’t quite remember what. She scratched her head and then scratched it again because it felt good.
Nope, nothing came to mind. She gingerly (even though she wasn’t ginger) opened the book to the page she was reading and settled back on the hard chair that creaked a contented little creak as if the wood was smiling. As she did she noticed a pair of patent leather shoes on the carpet next to her. Ruby looked around to see who they belonged to before coming to the conclusion that the librarians must have eaten the owner.
Copyright RMC Feb 2018