The library looked coldly beautiful in the half light of dawn, a few rays of light shone through the smashed upper windows, giving the square an almost wholesome look.
It was the first time she had been back in the city centre; even before she had avoided it like the plague. Now though... she didn't have much choice.
A few weeks ago she might have thought someone could have been holed up in there, she got that tingling when arriving at any place that was still intact. Windows, doors... anything intact, or anything with a suitable barricade had an only welcoming look to it.
You couldn't help the feeling: the foolish idea of having a conversation with someone, to lay eyes on someone... it would be a dream.
A dream that never came though. She swallowed down and accepted her fate -- again -- and then set her thoughts to the task at hand.
The doors were heavy and solidly locked. Who knew books were so well protected?
Although she thanked NotGod that it hadn't been ransacked; she needed something to read... to keep her sane.
And you couldn't place a value on what was in some of these books now; who knew what you might need to know or where you might next be able to find it.
She got in via the classic 'rubbish bin' technique: Throwing it elegantly through the window with a practiced grace. What she hadn't practice though was muffling the crashing, smashing thundering noise of the glass smashing and the bin tumbling down the steps.
That would probably cost her.
She moved rapidly but cautiously. Nigel was up and attentive: cocked and loaded... good to go. He checked each corner, around each aisle... each set of stairs.
There wasn't a soul about. It was like no one had been in there at all. Aside from the windows upstairs nothing had been disturbed.
She relaxed as she found the Reference section, and proppring Nigel up against a whole aisle of 'A Dummy's guide to', she started filling her sack.
Maps were important, they went right in. She was trying to be fast but selective. Odds are she wouldn't be back here anytime soon...
So she started to grab anything of any relevance:
The Orvis Field Guide to Shooting Care and Maintenance. The Orvis Field Guide Series (Oct, 2000)
Practical Lock Picking: A Physical Penetration Tester's Training Guide. by Deviant Ollam (Jul 23, 2010)
The Trapper's Bible: Traps, Snares & Pathguards by Dale Martin (Feb 1, 1987)
Boy Scouts of America: The Official Handbook for Boys by Boy Scouts of America (Jun 23, 2007)
Desert Survival Skills by David Alloway (Jul 15, 2000)
Basic Butchering of Livestock & Game by John J. Mettler
Wood-Fired Cooking: Techniques and Recipes for the Grill, Backyard Oven, Fireplace, and Campfire by Mary Karlin (Feb 17, 2009)
Basic Freshwater Fishing: Step-By-Step Guide to Tackle and Know-How That Catch the Favorite Fish in Your Area by Cliff Hauptman (Feb 1, 1988)
The Art of Angling: Poems about Fishing (Everyman's Library Pocket Poets) by Henry Hughes (Apr 5, 2011)
Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times (Mother Earth News Wiser Living Series) by Steve Solomon (Apr 1, 2006)
Get Out of Your Own Way: Overcoming Self-Defeating Behavior by Philip Goldberg & Mark Goulston
War and Peace by Leo Tostoy (1869)
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (1847)
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
She was fingering through a copy of East of Eden, when there was a solid thunk and a clang, then the sound of metal scratching on the floor.
Immediately she put the book into her bag, trying her best not to make any sound.
She could see it through the shelves, absorbed with the shiny weapon; maybe she could get to it slyly, around the back of the aisle?
Putting the bag down she slowly drew Claire from her backpack, and as she started around the back of the shelves there was a sudden, deafening, 'Krakoom!'
Stopping dead in her tracks she waited, listening intently.
Her heart was pounding and sweat was dripping from her arm pits. An eternity passed... twice.
Just as she thought it might be okay there was that ominous, familiar, shriek from the front of the building. Swiftly followed by the sound of breaking glass.