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The Switch   Leave a comment

Janice knew that Sam liked magic.  He had shared in circle that morning his desire to learn how to make a coin appear and disappear, and his dopey face grew all excited as he gesticulated and pantomimed a trick he had no idea how it worked.  The other students watched, transfixed by the energy and enthusiasm–if he learned how to do it he’d have a day or two of popularity, Janice thought.

And Sam knew this, too.  When he had begun the share, he simply wanted to know how the trick worked.  Pulling an imaginary dime from his ear, he realized that all eyes where on him.  Yanking a non-existent hanky from his hand, his peers, looking at his empty palm, had, for a moment, forgotten that there had never been a coin there.

They were his.

Only the trick would replicate this level of attention: No more falling off of chairs for a laugh.

So when Janice put another book into the Night Librarian tote bag she had a sense of the transgression she was making.  It had been a momentary lapse of librarian code.  Coming to the library from circle, she had browsed the sparce magic section–793.8–and had found one with that very trick in it.  Placing it on the counter, Janice had gone about her other duties and collected a few books for the Night Librarian tote bag.  With a small pile, she proceeded to place small notes on each so they would find their owners.

And then she slipped.

Taking the note for Isabelle, she slipped it into the book of magic.  Isabelle had sat next to Sam–he was sure to see the book and go into one of his rages.  For a moment, Janice chuckled and then the thought was gone.  Isabelle had always been destined for the magic book, and Sam…


Posted September 6, 2011 by Tom Triumph in The Night Librarian

The Night Librarian Revealed!   Leave a comment

As with much of the Night Librarian stories, few of the original materials still exist.  Instead, her existence is captured more in the influence she offers others instead of being the star.   This is an excerpt of “The Night Librarian: Her Beginning” from Tom Darling’s novel “The Attic Notebooks”.

Playing field hockey in gym class, Lillian was struck from behind.

“Ow!” she cried.

Pain.  Shooting pain in her left wing.

She looked up.  Standing over her was Sam.  He was clumsy, but also mean.  In his hand was a field hockey stick.

“Ow,” she cried again.  This time she kept much of her cry inside.

“Let’s see,” Ms. Mulligan said.

Bending on one knee, she felt Lillian’s back.  Through Lillian’s shirt she felt the brace.

“What’s that?” Ms. Mulligan asked.

“It’s my brace,” Lillian said through gritted teeth and pain.  “You have my note.”

Ms. Mulligan pulled up the bottom of Lillian’s shirt.  The brace did not cover the wings, but only held them down.  The last three inches of the wing were exposed.

Ms. Mulligan was shocked.  She pulled down the shirt.

Lillian looked up.

Sam was smiling, in a mean way.

Convinced it was not a back injury, Ms. Mulligan helped Lillian up from the field.  They went to the nurse.  There the brace was revealed.  Taking it off, the nurse backed away as Lillian spread the wings.  Still sensitive, Lillian felt better.

She felt free.

That soon ended.  Ms. Mulligan and the nurse argued over contacting Lillian’s doctor or calling a veterinarian to examine the injured wing.  Meanwhile, Sam told everyone what he saw.  By the time Lillian had returned to her classes, she did not fit in.

“Hey, Sally,” she said to her friend.

But Sally was no longer her friend.  Sally looked at her, slightly afraid, and said nothing.

That night Lillian cried.  Her parents had told her that if her secret was revealed, people would treat her differently.  Sally did.  Others did.  Even the teachers did not look at her, but seemed to be peering over her shoulder at the wings they had heard were there.

The next day, the comments started.



Go lay an egg.

They were said softly.  Only Lillian heard them, but everyone knew what was being said.

There was one boy, Owen, who wanted to say something.  Not to Lillian, but to Sam and the other boys and girls.  Owen had been picked on.  His teeth were crooked, and he was taller than the other kids.  They called him beanpole.  Owen knew how Lillian felt.  He wanted to tell them to stop.

He did not say a word.

There were others like Owen.  Some kids were fat.  Others were poor.  A few had trouble reading.  Sam and the other boys and girls made fun of them, too.  Each wanted to say something.

None said a word.

Soon, Lillian no longer wanted to go to school.

She hated school.

Lillian, Owen and all of the other kids who did not fit in kept getting picked on.  None said a word.  Had just one spoken up, the cruel words would have stopped.

But they were silent.