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Fader couldn’t help glancing toward the library during the day. The sun dropped low in the sky, and the crowds dispersed as he helped put the stalls away. Before slipping down the side alley, Fader checked to make sure no one watched him. The wad of paper worked well; the side door opened when he pulled the handle.
He hadn’t reached his hiding place when he heard a shout behind him. He looked quickly from side to side, desperate to find somewhere to hide. Two bookshelves stood against the wall. They didn’t quite butt up against each other, so he slid into the narrow space between them.
“What’s this?” Fader recognised the bull roaring tone of the man from the previous day. “Why is this door unlocked? Who stuck this paper in the lock? Get it out immediately and make sure the door is locked before you go home each night. We don’t want riff raff getting into the library.”
Fader’s heart sank.
The silly old fool’s found out how I got in. I’ll have to find another way, some place he won’t discover. He cheered up. I’ve got all night to work on that.
Fader spent the beginning of the night searching the building, looking for another way into the library. He searched the main entry and laughed as he sat in the Chief Librarian’s chair and twirled round.
I’ve got to find some way to get in. His gaze roamed the space before the front doors. Somewhere the pompous old fool wouldn’t even think to check.
Fader looked toward a small door on one side of the main desk.
Please let there be something to help me in here, he prayed as he opened the door.
The room held books neatly stacked on the floor and shelves. A bookcase hid the bottom half of a small window, but it only took a moment for Fader to fiddle with the catch. When he finished, it appeared to be locked, though it didn’t shut completely. He pulled the shelving further across until it hid the catch, but left enough room above for him to climb the shelves and slip out through the window.
The window entrance proved to be safer than the alley door. He didn’t have to worry someone might see him, or the window would be found and locked. He arrived after the library closed and left before it opened—too early and late for the librarians, lessening the chance of capture. Half his nights he spent reading and the other half sleeping. Weeks passed, and his nocturnal visits remained undiscovered. Fader began to think of the nighttime library as his very own place.
Then the noises started
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