"Yes. Do you know what a library is? Or, should I say, was?"
"Well, yes. It's a place where the ancients would store books and let others borrow them."
"Wow. Not very many people know that. Well, come on. You know how I told you about how I used to have to cut through someone's backyard to get here?"
"Um, well, they don't really care for me that much, so let's get inside before the wife comes out." Azriel began walking to the door.
Jen begsn coughing the second she entered the building. "Oh, sorry," Azriel said as he began wiping dust off some windows in the back wall with his hand, "It's a little dusty."
"Alright, a lot. Mind you, I might be the first person to be here ever since the Town was established."
"Hmm." Jen began to look around. She was standing in what used to be the, lobby, she thought was the correct term. There was a desk against one wall. When she walked forward, she could see that tall metal bookshelves covered reached from one wall to the next. Jen walked down every aisle, but there were no books anywhere. "Yeah. I've searched every inch of this building, but haven't found a single book." Azriel said once Jen joined him in one of the old cushioned chairs at the back of the library. They were moth-bitten and smelled wierd, but they were comfy. "It's true. All the books must have been burned."
There was an old tale that every child practically memorized by the time they were five. It spoke of when the Town had been ruled by the ancients. They had the right to choose who to marry, what job they wanted,and basically could do whatever they wanted. The story said there was a lot of heartbreak and pain in those days because, as everyone knows, humans make stupid decisions. So one day, a group of people decided to take over. They overthrew the old government, and set up a new one. A one where there would be no stupid decisions, because the government would decide everything for you. You never had to worry about anything. Some people loved this , and followed the new idea. Those who didn't agree were punished. At one point, the new leaders noticed a problem. Books. Books had tales of freedom, of imagination, of pain and suffering. Which were not allowed. So, the Great Book Burning began. They took every book they could find, and burned them. If you hid books in your house, you were killed. It was rumored that some books remained unnacounted for. Then, the government told the masses that some guilty of book keeping had decided to burn their books themselves, when they had a moment of clarity, and turned themselves in. Of course, Jen realized that they probably hid the books and locked them up. Then they turned themselves in. These martyrs, as Jen thought of them, wanted to save the books for a time when people could enjoy them once again.
"Yeah, I guess they were." Jen faked a smile.
"So, Jen, tell me a little about yourself."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, I find it a little odd that a girl like you would know what a library was."
"What do you mean 'a girl like me'?"
"Nothing, you just seem to have a normal family." That's true. Most families were like Jen's.
"Well, yeah, I guess. Why? Don't tell me you're mother and father actually wanted to be with each other? And, how do you know what a library is?"
"No, but...Listen. I am going to tell you something that you have to promise me you'll never tell anyone. It's my family's darkest secret."
"Okay, I promise."
"My father's job is to be the manager of one of the clubs. He drinks. A lot."
"Oh." It was illegal for anyone who wasn't a teenager to drink alcohol. And even then, they could only have two drinks a day. It was considered one of the most dangerous laws to break. Violating it meant definite banishment.
"Yeah, so often times, my father would be passed out, so I had to read the Book. You know how there's a part in the back with all the old, out-dated rules first created?"
"One night, I snuck downstairs, and I read it. The whole thing. It mentioned libraries a lot. And I can tell you right now, I learned a lot about the Town. In fact, and I trust that you won't mention this to anyone, I hate the Town, and everything about it."
"Oh! So do I!" Jen clamped her hand over her mouth. She had the greatest plan ever.
"Have you read it?"
"No." But now she wanted to. "But, listen, do you know where House 6 on Road S would be?"
"Good, that's my place. Can you sneak out of your house tonight?"
"I've done it before."
"Good. Come around midnight. Go to the backyard, and there is a trellis there." Her house was one of the few that still had one. And her's wasn't broken, it reached up to the attic window. "I'll be waiting in the attic. I have something to show you."
They sat and talked for a few more hours, then went home. Jen couldn't wait for Azriel. She was jumpy all night.She was thankful that her parents slept so well, they might hear him when he came up to the attic.
That night, Jen went to the attic at 11:30. She had to make sure she got the right books. True, she wanted him to read every book there, but she had to start him out with the best. It was a good thing she kept them in the same spot, the bottom right corner. The best three books she had read. The only books she had read more than five times, each time learning something new. She checked them. Yes all three were there: 1984, Fahreheit 451 , and Brave New World . All of them written long before the time of the Town. These were works of the ancients. The works of those more free than Jen and anyone else in the Town. Yet, they spoke of tales so similiar to the time people were in now. Yes, these would be perfect for Azriel to read. Now, she just had to sit and wait.