Different Weapon

Written by George Sanders

The gardens and paths wound around the library's towers. It was such a pleasant walk between rows of Olive trees. Being in this space made you feel important and near to the knowledge of the world. On a bench a woman tapped her pen to scroll down some words. The words inked out of the pen like magic. She must have had intense but happy thoughts judging by her wide eyes and the way her tongue stuck out. Triumphantly, she finished and packed up her supplies. She walked to the nearest tower.

 

She looked up at the towering construct guarding the door. It did not move. It was only designed to respond to certain requests. "I'm no trouble. May I go in?"

 

The library was an ancient place. Tower after tower built on the flat land by the beach. A spiral stone staircase wound up to a door 20 feet of the ground. At the top of the staircase was a landing that had a metal guard blocking a polished iron door. A gold plate with a fancy script provided a description of the purpose of each tower. This label said "Lyric Poetry".

 

 

"A writing sample is required." came the automated replied.

 

The woman was ready. She pulled out her notebook. "I have a sample now. It's a haiku!" She replied, overjoyed at being able to enter.

 

The guard looked at the page of the notebook she held in the air. "Invalid format."

 

"What are you talking about! Look here, one-two-three-four-five. one-two-three. one-two-three-four-five." She rebutted.

 

There was no response from the guard.

 

"I needed a split sentence to convey the meaning!" She tried to debate.

 

There was no response from the guard.

 

"Ugh. Traditionalists." She sighed and turned to go back to the bench.

 

 

A small hole on the guard's metal ankle caught her attention. She looked up at the construct's face. It was not giving her any attention. She sat on the top step near the guard's foot. From her bag she pulled out her pen. She whispered a word to make the point of the writing device elongate.

The reset button.
Easy to push with my pen
Metal hit the floor.

 

She got up, tore the page out of her notebook, and dropped it on the prone guard. The door was easy to open without the large construct in the way. Shelves lined the inside of the tower. From floor to ceiling rows of books surrounded her. She found the perfect corner to read. The entire afternoon passed, full of eloquent images of nature and words of deep meaning.  

She shrugged to the librarians that asked what happened to the guard. She may have added a few lines to each book while she read. As the sun set she headed back to the Inn.

 

I appreciate you reading my flash fiction article. The Storytelling Collective's #FlashFicFeb Challenge inspired this article. Get quick access to more flash fiction, poetry, novels, and ttrpg games built around my stories by joining my newsletter or following my world:

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Cover image: Forest During the Daytime by Tim Mossholder

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