“What have you done?” Janice, the head librarian demanded as she held up several books that no longer had hardcovers. Instead, they were covered in a soft flannel material.
“These new covers will allow the books to last longer and are much softer and more comfortable to hold,” Harold, the leader of the Book Preservation Society, answered. “We created a chemical that enters the covers on a granular level when injected and they become flanneled.”
“Who gave you permission to do this?” Janice asked.
“No one. We came in and did this of our own accord, out of our love for books.”
“This is not acceptable! You can’t just walk in here and change them. These books are the property of the town. You’ve defiled thousands of books. I am going to have to call the police.”
“We didn’t hurt the books. We are preserving them, which is more than you can say you’ve done. You ungrateful shrill. You should be thanking us!” Harold replied angrily gesturing wildly with his gloved hands. “You deserve what is happening to you.”
“What ... what do you mean?” the librarian asked as she backed away from the Society members. She tried to put down the books but they had fused to her hands.
Harold and the other members watched as the books began to consume her.
“Please! You have to stop this!” Janice pleaded.
“Sorry Ma’am, but there’s no way to stop it,” one of the members replied. “If you hadn’t been so indignant about our goodwill gesture, you would have seen the gloves next to the books and the instructions to put them on before handling them.”
“You’ll pay for this!” Janice screamed as the books continued to assimilate her.
“All anyone will know is that you never showed up to work and have simply disappeared,” Harold replied. “And I’ll become the librarian and preserve all these books ... in your honor.”
Janice stared at Harold. “You’re mad!”
“Yes, madly in love with books,” he replied.
When she was completely gone, Harold picked up the books. “Simon, can you please put these books in the back? I don’t think anyone will be borrowing them for a very long time.”
Simon nodded his head then put the books in the back room of the library, burying them behind stacks of other books. Harold walked around the library and caressed the spines of the books that hadn’t been preserved yet.
“Don’t worry my pretties,” he whispered. “Harold is here to save you.”