Stray (One)

The man was dying.

He knew it to be fact. He’d known it was bound to happen since he’d first entered the cursed forest.

He hadn’t eaten in days.

His stride had been confident entering the forest. He'd had a solid plan in his mind. First that had eroded to a simple walk, and now he was nearly crawling, weakly dragging his way through bushes.

The man didn’t want to die.

And, almost bidden by his stray thought, the man spotted a building.

Tall and proud, the doors wide open. Inviting.

The man smiled -- weakly, but in response to his first sign of hope since he’d entered the forest.

He crawled towards the library.

Stray (Two)

The library was safe. It was safe and warm and even if the librarians seemed to look at him like a piece of trash dragged in from the street, they let him stay.

They’d even given him food. Scraps, so little that two weeks ago he would have felt insulted. Now he only felt indebted.

The librarians traveled about the library with purpose, always. The man tried his best to stay out of their way.

They didn’t seem like the forgiving type. The man still thanked them, whenever any of them stopped to look at him.

But in staying out of their way, he’d dragged himself into some nook in the corner of the library. And here, something caught his attention.

A book.

One like many others in the library, but the title stopped him short.

It was familiar.

His hands shook from nerves and exhaustion, but he pulled the book off the shelf.

A shadow draped itself over him. The man looked up. A librarian stood tall above him, staring down.


The man blinked. It took him a second to register the librarian’s words. In that second, the librarian drifted over to him.

“I-I apologize,” the man croaked out. HIs voice was weak, and his throat hurt at his attempt at words. “I... did not realize--”

The librarian planted a hand on his shoulder. The gesture was almost comforting.

The man felt himself relax.


The librarian moved its hand up and snapped the man’s neck.