I had the strangest dream. I woke up, sweat sticking my t-shirt to my body, and lay under the covers panting. At first I wasn’t sure what had happened and whether it was real or imagined, if I was safe or still in danger. But when I caught sight of red luminous numbers showing the time of 3:45 I knew I was safe, for now at least.
They had been chasing me down corridors but in bright sunlight. Spines of books lined the walls, stacked on shelves more neatly than any other library I’d been to. As I ran I couldn’t catch the titles but I noticed every single book was the same size. None were taller, or smaller than its neighbours. And they were all the same buff colour with thick black lettering spelling out the author and book.
I must have picked up a reserved book or maybe even a banned one. I remember flicking through thick paper pages, much thicker than in regular books. My fingertips registered the difference before my conscious did but if that set an alarm ringing I managed ignore it. I’m not sure what the words on the pages said. I think it was a story but I can’t be sure. I have a sense of being moved, maybe stimulated into action. Before I could do anything they marched towards the table I was using and I fled.
Despite the sunlight streaming into my dream, I had a cold feeling. I was scared, I remember that, and I think it wasn’t just me in danger. The book may have been one I had written myself although I have no reason to think that would be the case. It felt familiar and alien at the same time. They wanted it and I wanted to keep it, so I ran.
In my room I thought I was safe, whilst I was awake at least. The windows were still dark, there were no runners chasing me and there were no books. I shook my head and laughed at how stupid I’d been. There were no such things as books at all.