day 1Haley's eyes glazed over as she watched the river of letters and numbers flow upward behind the glass on her outdated monitor. Her gaze bounced around like a pinball, looking for subtle visual cues of inaccuracies. Suddenly, the flow stopped and she furrowed her brow.
Something was amiss. She scrolled back a few lines and scrolled forward again.
There was a missing serial number. Not just a gap in the data, a complete disregard for it. After scribbling down the number that should be in that particular spot, Haley thought for a moment and realized she would have to cross-reference the physical records to see-
A water droplet notification sound broke Haley's concentration and she fumbled with her phone trying to see the update.
See, Haley was a closet feedist. She got off on the idea of relatively average-weight people becoming extremely fat, and extremely fat people becoming even fatter. And lately, there had been a sort of urban legend going around about a serial feeder that fascinated Haley to no end.
They were calling her, "Madame Bigger."
Haley set up her notifications to alert her to any updates on the story, and there had been a development.
It was a tumblr post from a feedee blog Haley followed. He was a fat dude that had yet to reveal his face, but his body pictures were always incredible. They told the story of a chubby guy that had completely given in to his desire to grow into a series of rolling fleshy hills, and as a result, clocked in at somewhere in the upper 400's on most days.
But not today.
Today's picture, the first in months, was a familiar body, but blown up to be twice as large as it was the last time Haley had seen him post. He was obviously bed bound, with an exquisitely manicured woman's arm laid across his field of flesh.
The caption read only: "Courtesy, Madame B-"
A stack of books slammed into the counter by Haley; a system shock that caused her to yelp and jump in her chair.
From behind the stack peeked a set of the most beautiful eyes Haley had ever seen.
"Hi, m-may I help you?" Haley asked, her voice shaking.
The eyes squinted and the rest of the woman's face was revealed when she slid the stack of books aside.
"Hello," the woman spoke, her words massaging Haley's ears as they slithered their way in. "I'm here to return these and was hoping you would be able to help me out."
"Call me Moira," the gorgeous femme fatale replied, her voice simmering with vocal fry, as she extended her hand, palm down.
Haley gently took her hand in a brief, yet intimate shake. "Haley."
"It's a pleasure, Haley," Moira said with a Cheshire Cat grin.
Haley shifted in her chair uncomfortably and returned her focus to the monitor. A sudden chill had come over her and she took a low-key deep breath before she spoke again. "How'd those cookbooks work out?" she asked, noticing the stack Moira had brought were all of the culinary variety.
"Delightfully," Moira said, smiling inwardly, reflecting. "But I've been searching for a very particular tome that you may yet hide somewhere among your racks. It's called 'Biblos di Adephagia.'"
"Umm, could you spell that?" Haley asked, prepping her fingertips over her keyboard.
Moira handed her a card with it scribbled on the back in pen. Haley typed in the book title and came up empty. She hit enter a couple of times, strangely eager to impress this interesting lady. But still, nothing.
"Hmm, nothing's coming up," Haley said, looking up to Moria's intense gaze of disappointment. She was quick to create a false hope to save the moment. "But if you leave me your contact info, I'll happily let you know when I come across it!"
The woman smiled at Haley, as if she was trying to figure her out, but Haley was pretty sure Moira could see straight to her soul.
After a beat, Moira nodded her head towards the card. "It's all there," she said as she turned and left.
Haley let out a slight gasp as if she had been holding her breath the entire time. She turned the card over. It read: "Moira Beckett" with a phone number underneath. She bit her bottom lip as she closed her eyes and reflected on the moment she just shared with this "Moira" person.
When she opened her eyes, she was ready to work again, so she started gathering the cookbooks to scan back into the system.
Haley was downstairs, slotting the last cookbook in its proper place. It was a more obscure text, so she found herself in the lower level archives. The light was low to conserve energy, a few hanging lamps illuminating their immediate areas, gulfs of shadow in between. She glanced around and in the darkness, as her eyes adjusted, she noticed a gate with a padlock.
An entire section of the archives, rows and rows of books, were being kept behind lock and key for some reason. Haley glanced down at the serial number she had scribbled and wondered if her mystery book was in there.
Only one way to find out.
Plucking a bobby pin from her hair, Haley hurried over to the gate. She bent the pin and slid one end into the padlock. After some fidgeting, there was a click and the padlock released the latch. Haley put the padlock in her pocket and slowly opened the creaky gate.
Stepping through, she was immediately hit with the smell of old paper. What kind of untold rarities did this section hide? And was her missing book among them? For what reason would any of these books be secured away as they were?
Realizing she had to get back upstairs before people started looking for her, Haley acted quickly in scanning the spines. She leapt entire segments, piecing together the organization. Until finally, having deduced the serial number was nearby, she found herself moving down a row, her finger grazing each spine until...stop.
She found it. And it had a familiar title: 'Biblos di Adephagia.'
Moira's book! Haley felt a rush of success and suddenly couldn't wait to tell Moira the good news. After latching the gate back, she flew upstairs, book firmly clutched under arm.
Reaching the desk, Haley grabbed the phone and whipped out Moira's card. She hit the numbers she saw printed and waited as the line trilled.
It rang. And rang. And rang. No voicemail, no error message. Just ringing.
Haley hung up and tried again.
She then wondered if she had any other contact info in the system as a library member. Haley entered "Beckett" into the search field of the library member database.
Antoine Beckett, Jana Beckett, and Moira Beckett.
Unfortunately, the only available contact info was an address. Haley was crestfallen. After all, she couldn't just waltz up to her front door unannounced and expect to be welcomed like a hero.