Chapter 2 Where have all the Libraries gone?
Walking into the room he would share with his brother Dean wasn't surprised to see Sam hunched over the laptop. "Hey, Sammy, how was your night?" Dean said taking off his jacket and shoes.
"Just fine snuggled in with my laptop, I couldn't be happier. Did you get your needs taken care of?" Sam said glancing over the top of the screen.
"Oh, yeah baby brother, I had four women competing for my attention and people lined up to play pool and darts and give me their hard earned money, I'm up two hundred bucks. Today was a good day to be Dean," he said with a twinkle in his eyes.
"Well I'm so glad you had a good time while I've been stuck here working," Sam said with his voice laced with sarcasm.
"It wasn't all fun and games for me. I found a little bit of information about the activity at the library," Dean said stretching out on the bed with his hands behind his head.
"Yeah, right I'm sure you worked the bar talking about library. I would have liked to have seen Dean the geek in action. What did you get besides the phone numbers of the local barflies?"
"I'll have you know I didn't…"Dean stopped himself before he could finish the statement. But not before he had said too much.
Sam jumped up out of the chair hollering at the top of us lungs, "Mark the calendar, Dean Winchester struck out in Jackson County," he said with a celebratory dance. "I'll bet the four women competing for your attention were a bunch of dried up librarian types?" Sam asked, poking at Dean to get a rise out of him.
"I'll have you know they were all good looking and only one was a librarian," Dean answered rising to the bait Sam had set.
"What kind of pick up line did you use, 'Read a good book lately?' or 'Have you heard about the ghost in the library?' Sam asked in a surly voice.
"I didn't have to use any lines," Dean stated, ignoring the comment about phone numbers. "I sat down at the bar next to a couple of hotties, then Marion, she's the librarian, came in and they were talking about the ghost. I just sat back and listened. It wasn't until they were talking about Santa that I joined the conversation."
"What does Santa have to do with this ghost?" Sam asked his interest peaked.
"Santa has nothing to do with the ghost, that's how I got into the conversation. Haven't you been listening?" Dean said and went on to explain, "The girls were saying that the ghost of Mrs. Bedoin lost interest and quit coming around when they got to be about 10 or 12 years old and one of them said it was like when you stopped believing in Santa."
"Did you learn anything we could actually use to find out what exactly we're dealing with?" Sam asked waspishly.
"Hey, Sammy, take it easy," Dean said putting his hands up in a defensive gesture. "I promise you'll get to go next time. I don't think it was a good idea to leave you here by yourself. All work and no play makes Sammy a cranky boy."
"I'm not a cranky two year old, Dean. I just want you to cut to the chase. What did you find that we can use?"
"Like I said our ghost is a Mrs. Bedoin, she died in the fifties and has been in the library ever since. She moved from the old location to the new one. The women I talked to said that she was a comfort to small children, but when they got to be about ten to twelve years old she deserts them for the new crop of little kids," Dean finished with a 'tah-dah' flourish of his hand.
"That's not much for three hours work, but do you know how she moved or why she's acting up?"
"Well, no but that didn't take me three hours, that was the first fifteen minutes. The rest of the time I was replenishing our money supply," even to his own ears Dean could hear the whine in his voice. Obviously not all of his needs were taken care of tonight, he thought; I may have to go back to the bar tomorrow.
"Okay, so we've got an angry spirit. But we already knew that, from all reports she has become more active since February," Sam restated.
"But what is causing the escalation?" Dean asked from his reclining position. "Something had to trigger the old broad."
"I've checked the local paper, the escalation in activity increased in February and March, but really came to a head in April when the Library closed to the public," Sam said consulting his notes.
"So, maybe it was the closure of the library that pissed the old girl off. Now we've got to find out how she moved any ideas?" Dean asked hopefully.
Sam continued as if Dean had never spoken, "It's weird but this whole region has closed its public libraries. From what I've found the counties have lost funding from timber sales and now there's no money for libraries and other basic services."
"Since when have we become crusaders for public funding?"
"This really isn't about public funding, it's about the library. Here's what I've got so far. The library was built in 1912, it seems the haunting began in the mid 50's after the death of the librarian Mrs. Mary Bedoin. She worked at the library from the time it opened until she got married in 1921. Actually the paper says she was fired after getting married. Seems they had a policy about married women working, something about not wanting to take jobs from the working man."
"That matches what Jan was said," Dean said more to himself than to Sam.
"It says here that Mrs. Bedoin volunteered after she was fired; reading to children, working the front desk and returning books to the shelves. She and her husband never had children so it was said that she volunteered to have children in her life."
"Well that's a lovely story", Dean said with a smirk. "But how does that help?"
"If you would let me continue I will come to the point," Sam said in his professorial voice. "By the time WWII came around the libraries were begging for women to work regardless of marital status. Mrs. Bedoin went back to the job she loved. She actually died in the library in 1950, had a heart attack and has been there ever since. Sightings started shortly after her death, always in the children's section and until recently no one has been hurt."
"Now we're getting somewhere," Dean said rubbing his hands together in anticipation. "So what happened next Sammy? I just love ghost stories."
"The libraries have been closed for a few weeks now and there have been many sightings of Mrs. Bedoin. She's been on the rampage, pulling books off the shelves, card catalogue files flying out of the cabinets, lights left on, doors that should be locked flung open. The last article I found says that one of the workers was hit by a flying book, ended up in the emergency room with a concussion and requiring stitches."
"That would be James," Dean said adding the few details he was able to unearth. "It must have been a big book. So where do we start?" Dean asked with genuine interest.
"Well, I would suggest the library, but it is going to be tricky getting in. With the closure the only people getting in are the community college students and even their access is restricted." Sam explained.
"We just need to get our hands on a student ID to get us in the door. After that we can have the run of the place. It shouldn't be that hard to counterfeit the ID card."
"So, any chance one of your barflies would have an ID we could nab?" Sam asked.
"Not only is there a chance, but Marion is a librarian. I'm not sure if I'm her type but you may be more to her liking. I could introduce the two of you," Dean suggested.
"You mean you would pimp me out!" Sam exclaimed. "You know Libby might be good for an ID. Maybe we should go out to the Road Runner and see if we can talk to her again," Sam said with genuine interest in seeing Libby again.
"Sammy's got a girlfriend," Dean said in a sing song voice. "Maybe we should call out there to see if she's working and check on how busy she is," Dean suggested.
"Yeah, right and this is how one side of that conversation goes. 'Hi, is Libby there? Is it really busy today? No, I don't need to talk to her.' That might just send her running back to Denver. No, we'll just go out, have some lunch and talk to her if she's available."
The lunch crowd wasn't much smaller than the crowd from the night before. In fact there were many familiar faces. Spotting Libby, Sam led the way to a table near her. "Is this one of your tables, Libby?" Sam asked hopefully.
"Go ahead, have a seat I'll be back for your order in a bit," Libby said with a smile that lit the room.
"Sam, it looks like she's got it bad for you. Make sure you use that to our advantage."
"Hey, Libby it looks like you've got help today." Sam said stating the obvious, as two other waitresses passed by.
"Today I'm on the early shift, I've got classes this afternoon. Have you guys decided want you want? We're still serving breakfast; the chicken fried steak is excellent," she said giving Dean her attention.
"That sounds great, Libby. I'll take the chicken fried steak breakfast with eggs over easy and wheat toast, please? Thank you." Dean said with a sidelong glance at Sam. "See I do have a manner or two."
"Yeah, and it looks like you used them all up for today. Dean, you really should pace yourself. After all this could shock your system and cause untold damage," Sam said with a smile that staggered Libby with its intensity.
"Wh, what will you have, Sam?" Libby stuttered.
"I'll have a turkey sandwich with swiss on sourdough and potato salad. Thank you."
Libby turned to go to the kitchen as Dean leaned across to Sam and said, "Good job, Sammy. Find out if she's going to the library and see if you can catch a ride and try to get that library card."
"What are you going to do if I go with Libby?"
"You worry about getting the card. I'll pick you up outside the library in a couple hours. I'm going to see if I can find Marion and her friends to see if I can find out any more about Mrs. Bedoin and how she got from the old library to the new one. Call if you need me come get you sooner."
Libby stopped at the table with their order saying, "Ruthie is going to take over my tables. I've got to go now if I'm going to get some studying done before class. It was good to see you both."
"Ah, Libby," Sam said totally focused on the waitress, "are you going to the library to study? I've got some research I need to do for a paper I'm writing on the library closure, and I was hoping to talk to someone about the services still offered. Would you mind if I tagged along?"
Dean watched his little brother with pride glowing in his eyes. 'The kid is working this like a pro, it's almost like his channeling me,' Dean thought with more than a little pride.
"I'll be leaving in about fifteen minutes. I hate to hurry you through your lunch," Libby said with concern, "But if you're ready I can give you a lift."
"I'll be ready to go when you are, Libby" Sam promised as he dug into his sandwich. Turning his attention to his brother, Sam asked, "Dean could you get the laptop out of the car for me. I'll be done with this in a flash but I don't want to hold Libby up with a stop at the car."
"Sure, no problem I'll just let my breakfast get cold while you make off with the smart chick." Dean began shoveling the chicken fried steak and eggs, it was obvious he wasn't going to the car until his meal was gone and at the pace he set it wouldn't be much longer.
"Dude, slow down you'll choke and I really don't have time to give you the Heimlich. You choke you are the mercy of this crowd," Sam said chuckling at the picture Dean made. It was like watching a pie eating contest, no manners, just fast shoveling a quick swallow followed by a quick gulp of hot coffee.
Slapping the table with both hands Dean said triumphantly, "Done." Getting up from the table Dean ran out to the Impala grabbed the laptop and made a stop at the trunk. "No need for Sammy to go with Libby unprepared," he muttered under his breath, as he slipped something into the laptop satchel.
Walking out the back of the restaurant Sam fell into step with Libby. She had changed from her work uniform into jeans, tank top and over-sized denim shirt, 'she's beautiful and she isn't even aware of it,' Sam thought as they approached her car. Sam almost groaned when he saw the little Ford Focus, it wouldn't be an easy fit for his 6'4" frame.
Libby unlocked the car, slid in and waited as Sam contemplated folding his 6'4" frame into the little blue Ford Focus. "You can move the seat back and recline the back rest if it would be more comfortable. I didn't realize how tall you are. I guess there are advantages to being short," Libby said with a self conscious laugh.
"That's alright, it's not that far to the library," Sam said as he folded into the Focus, his knees pressed into the dash. Reclining the seat made it more bearable to sit but harder to function as navigator, which he usually did for Dean. "I really appreciate you giving me a lift. I'm writing a paper about the library closure and thought I'd talk to some of the staff. I'd like to find out how they are dealing with the closure and maybe talk to some of the people using the available areas."
"I'm not sure if you'll be able to get into the library, it's closed to the public. We have to use our college ID card to get in and I don't know if they would honor another schools ID. It's like the whole place is on lock down. The people at Friends of the Library Bookstore might be able to help you."
"Well I appreciate the lift whether I get in to see anyone or not. Sometimes I just need a break from Dean, he can be more than a little wearing," Sam said wearily.
"You two seem so close. It must be nice to know he's always there for you, someone to talk to and someone who cares whether you stay or go," Libby said wistfully.
"Yeah, he always has my back, but sometimes it would be nice if he'd just get off it."
"That's what family does, Sam. Do you know how lucky you are to have Dean on your side? I've been on my own since I was seventeen, the only family I have is my great-aunt and we just recently reconnected. I think you'd like her, she's lived here most of her life and knows a lot of old stories about the library. You know, there are stories about a ghost that has been in the library since the 1950's," she said glancing at Sam to see if he believed her. "My aunt told me she used to see the ghost when she was a young girl."
"Really, there's a ghost at the library? Have you ever seen it?" Sam asked, hoping not to sound too interested.
"No, I haven't but just recently one of the library workers was injured by her. My great aunt talks about seeing her in the children's section of the old library. But she has been sighted at the new library since it opened in 2004. I thought once a ghost haunts a place that they are there to stay."
"That's a common misconception. It's not easy for them to move on or move to another location unless they are trapped in an object. When the object gets moved they have no choice but to go with it."
Libby cast a glance at Sam as she was pulling into the parking lot in front of the library, "How do you know all that?"
"I read it in a library once," Sam quipped.
Walking towards the library Libby pointed out the coffee shop and the Friends of the Library Bookstore. "We'll try to get you in, but like I said I'm not sure it will work," Libby said with an apologetic smile.
Sam watched as Libby reached into her backpack for her card. She showed it to the security clerk and was signaled through. The officer asked for Sam's id and when he was unable to produce it was escorted to the door, "Sorry, son but I can't let you in without your id. You all were told that you had to have your id to get in. You can wait for your girlfriend at the bookstore or coffee shop."
"Thanks, I just might do that Ed," Sam said turning to enter the coffee shop. "Have a nice day."
Sam ordered his coffee, sat at a table near the wall of windows and when he opened the laptop found what Dean had slipped into the satchel. Lying on the touch pad was a foil wrapped Trojan. "Asshole, she's not that kind of girl," Sam muttered as he slipped it into his pocket.
Libby trying to find a quiet corner to work in wandered toward the children's section as if drawn to it. The closer she came the louder the voice got.
"Where are the children? What have you done with them?" the voice shrieked. "Why have you taken my children from me?"
Libby turned toward the voice and saw for the first time in her life a real ghost. Startled by the sight she turned from the apparition and started to move away. Taking only a couple of steps on knees turning to jelly she was spun back towards the ghost. The boney fingers of Mrs. Bedoin bit into her arms as she continued to scream, "Where are the children? What have you done with them? Why have you taken them from me?"
Struggling to pull away from the ghost Libby felt a coldness emanating from the spirit. Shaking with fear Libby swung her backpack towards the apparition. She saw the backpack pass through the ghost but the hold on her arm released and she was able to escape.
Running blindly past security and out of the library Libby made it to the curb before she was pulled again, this time against a solid form. This time the hands that clasp her seemed kind and soothing, the scent faintly familiar then all went dark.