The next day, at school, Rebecca, Sally and Raj were meeting up at the front door after class, just like they always did to decide where to go next before it was time to go home for dinner. Sometimes it was the library, sometimes the swimming pool, or sometimes the cybercafé, it didn't really matter, as long as they were having a good time together.
"Are you okay, Becca?" Raj enquired. "You look terrible!"
"I know... haven't slept much tonight. Maybe I'll go straight home now..."
"Really?" Sally asked, disappointed. "Oh come on, I was about to ask you to come to the library with me, I have a book to give back and wanted to borrow a new one."
She was saying that with her trademark puppy face, the kind with the big wet eyes you couldn't say no to. It got her everytime.
"Okay," Rebecca said with a smile, "I'll come with you. You coming along, Raj?"
"Not today, I got advanced maths class."
"How can you even withstand those classes I wonder," the girl answered with disgust.
"It's not like I have a choice, my dad makes me take those. Anyway, you're still coming for my birthday, in two weeks?"
"Okay, see you tomorrow!"
They bid goodbye and the two girls were soon on their way to the library.
"By the way," Sally asked, "you got the gift for Raj?"
"Not yet, it should be arriving soon... oh! Oh bloody crap!"
"What's that all about?" Sally asked, a bit unsettled by the cursing. Her family wasn't very keen on such language.
"Sorry, it's just... I just remembered the book in my bag, I had to give it back two weeks ago! Mrs Kilpatrick is gonna kill me for sure!"
Mrs Kilpatrick, the librarian, known to the neighborhood kids as "The Witch", was a dry old crone, who despised children so much nobody even dared ask her something for fear of being berated for fifteen minutes straight. Rebecca remembered once a boy, who couldn't be older than ten, fall in tears in front of her desk. With Mrs Kilpatrick, a book overdue was a capital sin, and she would ban kids from borrowing for a whole week if they were just a day late. The girl couldn't even imagine what her punishment would be for two weeks overdue.
"Maybe she'll lock me up in stocks, in some kind of dungeon under the library," she told Sally. "After all, the library looks like it could have a dungeon. She'll keep me in the dark like this for two weeks, feeding me with stale bread and sour water..."
"Becca ! Come on, are you listening to yourself? Really, those horror books are getting into your head!"
"Yeah, you're right, I'd better start reading some sappy romance about a Prince Charming who will sweep me off my feet and we'll live happily ever after!"
"Stop it!" Sally yelled, blushing violently. She wasn't really mad at her, she was just extremely embarrassed about her tastes in books, and Becca loved to play with that.