Mrs. Bell

All the children loved to tell,
of the wicked Mrs. Bell.
The belletristic overlord,
the dragon with a paper hoard.

There were legends, horrid tales
of her grisly deeds,
but to all the others it didn't matter,
they didn't like to read.

She had a nose shaped like a beak,
she had a walrus's physique,
she had sharp, all-seeing eyes,
possessed of power to hypnotize.

And she had a black heart of chilled steel.

Mrs. Bell, soulless librarian,
bibliophilic carrion,
vile totalitarian:
the keeper of the books.
Fingernails like fishing hooks.
Protector of her cardboard spines,
enforcer of overdue book fines,
sworn to keep children in line —

Children like me.
Eek!
Quiet. Do not speak.

The glass shards of her pince nez gleamed,
focused optic laser beams.
I froze in her Medusa's stare;
she burned me with her searing glare.

"What is it?" rasped her voice of chalk,
head cocked like a hunting hawk,
daring me to try to talk,
so she could rip the words from my throat,
then crush them underfoot and gloat:
"Quiet, child, can't you see?
You're inside a library!"

What made me do it, I can't say,
But words just slipped out anyway.

"I'd like a book, please."

It shattered through the dusty silence,
Ripped down the rows with raucous violence.
Though it was but a tiny squeak,
It echoed like an eldritch shriek.
I'd like a book, please.

Musty, untouched pages muttered,
my heart pounded, squirmed, and fluttered—
and her frosted, coal-black heart
softened, thawed, like melted butter.
Her wicked shell fell apart;
she'd found a fellow book-lover.

Her cheeks both crinkled as she smiled.
"Let's find a book for you, dear child."

The End

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