Felicity looked up from her book as someone had entered the library who clearly loved the sound of their own voice. She tutted her irritation. Do people have no manners any more? She came here for peace from the chaos. This was her sanctuary; a place where she could escape into a fantasy world created by someone else, yet her own imagination had the ability to shape and influence it.
She lost her concentration as the noise continued. Felicity studied the woman, who was loud, brash and rather revolting. Felicity was all for people expressing themselves, although there was a limit! She would have to say something? Could she? It was a terrifying thought. Confrontation was not something she ever invited. Well, who does? Clearly this woman. The Librarian told her to be quiet, and she was rebuffed with a string of obscenities. Felicity felt her own pulse rate quicken. The situation was escalating as was her anxiety.
The Security Guard arrived, asking the woman politely to leave. This clearly antagonised her as she made a grab for a stack of books and started throwing them at the staff, who all ducked for cover. Clearly nobody knew what to do. The woman continued to shout expletives in her vile, common accent. She was clearly drunk, as she swayed about, like a treetop in the wind, yet as graceful as a hippo on an ice rink.
This woman was doing something unspeakable to Felicity’s beloved books. There was no greater crime. Some of them were already damaged from her launching them at the staff and then she started to rip pages out of them and throw them around like confetti, shrieking with laughter. Why was she doing this? She continued to make threats against everyone. The Security Guard told everyone to keep back and assured everyone that the Police were on their way.
“Call, the coppers. I don’t care,” she shouted, not appearing at all fazed by the impending arrival of the Police.
Some people had managed to flee to safety and Felicity could have done that as well with ease. The woman had her back to Felicity and the main door was just a few metres away, yet Felicity stayed put. She was no longer scared; anger was the emotion that surged for prime position. How dare this woman defile somebody else’s work! These books have people’s hearts and souls in them; there is no excuse for her behaviour. Felicity took a step forward. Nobody noticed. She took a few more steps and the Security Guard saw her.
“Stay back young lady. The Police are on their way,” he warned.
The woman turned to face Felicity and burst out laughing. “You wanna piece of me?” she screamed.
“Put the books down,” Felicity stated firmly. She could feel her entire body trembling, yet her voice was clear and controlled.
The woman looked at Felicity for a moment. There was a flicker of hesitation in her eyes. She went to make an approach, yet Felicity didn’t move. There was a pause. Had Felicity called her bluff? Her heart was beating so fast that it dulled her hearing. They had reached a stand-off. If anyone else was speaking, then Felicity wasn’t aware of it.
“Where’s your Mummy?” the woman asked with a cruel mocking tone.
“I’m twelve years old. I’m perfectly capable of coming to the library alone, now do as I say and put the books down!”