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,
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.
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."