tagLesbian SexOut of Circulation

Out of Circulation


Faye Hollingsworth wanted to get away. Every morning she'd arrive at the Tindell Free Library in downtown Summerdale at 8:30 to staff the Local History Room. It was a job she held for almost 20 years, a labor of love. Books and research were in Faye's blood. Before taking the job at the library, she'd spend hours each day reading poetry, fiction, or whatever else she could get her hands on. But over time, she became fed up with sameness, routine...with life itself.

To the casual observer, Faye Hollingsworth came off as strong and incredibly resilient; a woman wise beyond her years. The 43 year old woman was quite striking to look at. As a matter of fact, Faye was very beautiful! The features of her face were flawless; the kind with the pristine symmetry of a model. Her dark chestnut hair sported soft chin length waves in the latest style, and her makeup was lightly applied. Faye certainly struck a well-heeled image—not the sort of thing most people would expect from a librarian.

Although Faye had friends, she couldn't shake the increasing feeling of loneliness that dogged her every step. Of course she had her colleagues and regular patrons who stopped by to visit, but they had their own lives and their own families. She wasn't like the other women in Summerdale. Faye Hollingsworth was a lesbian.

She had come to terms with herself many years ago, but she still struggled with the emptiness in her bed, her home, her life, and her heart. One of her colleagues suggested that she ought to start dating again—find a nice man and settle down. Faye just favored her colleague with a weak smile and said nothing. She simply couldn't tell her the truth. Admitting who you really are is very difficult no matter how you see it. Sadness, regret, shame, and anger...she felt it all at the very thought of seeking out a companion—especially a man! She simply couldn't do it, even if it meant she could live a normal and happy life, she couldn't bear the thought of it. And as the days, weeks, months, and years passed, Faye grew more and more unhappy without a close friend, a companion. She was so tired of being alone!

It was almost 6PM, closing time for the Local History Room. Just as Faye finished typing up the rough draft of a letter announcing a new acquisition of maps, a patron stopped by her desk to request access to one of the special collections.

"I'd be happy to locate the items you are looking for," Faye said. "But unfortunately we are closing in about 15 minutes. If you could come back tomorrow, I can have whatever you need waiting behind the desk."

The man cut an impressive figure, dressed in shades of gray from head to toe. A gray pinstripe suit, dark gunmetal gray shoes, gray pork pie hat, and a gray coat. As for his age, it was hard to tell. His voice was soft spoken and self-assured.

"Of course, I understand." He replied. The man's voice was cultured and charismatic. Ideal for academia; college, maybe, because Faye couldn't really picture him in a high school classroom. "You know when I was younger, I spent many hours in this library. Many happy hours discovering who I really was and travelling to places that only dreams can replicate."

The man laughed heartily at his own expense. Faye began to warm up to this well-heeled stranger. He looked a little unusual, but not entirely out of place. But there was something about him that caught her attention. For one thing, the man wasn't apologetic about his interest in the library like so many people these days, even kids. Too many of them were caught up in the latest TV shows and comic books. Faye's curiosity was peaked.

"Forgive me for asking," She said. "But are you a teacher?"

The man responded with an ironical chuckle.

"Oh, heavens no!" He said. "Very little learning takes place inside traditional classrooms these days. I think that it has become more of a glorified babysitting job."

"I'm sorry. I actually thought you were from the University. We received a call this morning from a Dr. Sjostrom..."

"No need for an apology."

"Are you from the University?"

The man ignored the question. "I am looking for a particular book. I realize that the Local History Room is about to close, and I don't want to impose on your free time. Books are my business, as it is yours. As with many books, there are entire worlds waiting to be discovered and explored if one knows just where to look."

Faye reached for a pad of paper and a pen.

"I'll be happy to find whatever you're looking for, Mr...?"

The man ignored the librarian's attempt to get his name. "I am looking for an unpublished manuscript written by A.F. Fuller. The subject is about lost worlds."

Faye hastily copied down the name of the author and the title.

"I'm...not sure if that manuscript is part of our collection." Faye replied.

"There is a room, 7B, in the basement level of this building, next to 6B, the Rare Book Room."

During the almost 20 years she'd been employed at the library, Faye Hollingsworth had visited the basement level hundreds of times. She was very familiar with 6B, the Rare Book Room. Hundreds of first editions, a small collection of family Bibles, and the personal diaries that once belonged to a famous local Egyptologist occupied the shelves. But in all these years, Faye had never once set foot inside 7B even though she knew that the room contained manuscripts, hundreds of old newspapers, some rare maps and several other things. Up until now, she'd never been that curious about what those other things were. Nobody ever requested anything from this room until today!

"You seem pretty sure that the manuscript is there." Faye said. "How do you know?"

"I was, for many years, a trustee of the library. Many of the items in the collection were donated by me..." His voice trailed away for a second. "My name is Harold Tindell. My father..."

"Of course! Mr. Selmer Tindell was such a generous man! And he certainly loved his books!"

Selmer Tindell was a very interesting man and a colorful local celebrity. During his lifetime, he established a popular chain of discount stores, served two terms as Mayor of Summerdale, and was the library's largest benefactor. When Mr. Tindell died at the ripe old age of 92, the decision was made to name the library after him. It was a solid decision too. Old Mr. Tindell's son pumped tens of thousands of dollars into the library each year. Up until today, nobody had actually met him in person. As far as anyone knew, Howard Tindell was a total recluse. Faye was suddenly touched by this man's decision to personally request an item from the collection.

"I think I can make an exception for you, Mr. Tindell." She said. "Please take a seat while I look for the manuscript. It might take me a little while to find it. Can I get you a cup of coffee while you wait?"

Mr. Tindell declined. "I have some business to attend to downtown. How about if I stop in tomorrow morning to pick it up?"

Somewhere across the room, a voice cut the solemn atmosphere like a knife. It was Jean Hargrave. She worked at the Reference desk on the same floor. Faye wasn't surprised to see her still here even though it was roughly five minutes past closing. Usually she and her administrative assistant would be among the last to leave since the part-time evening shift usually arrived between four and four-thirty.

"Oh, I thought maybe you had already gone home by now." She said.

The spell was broken. Faye hadn't been aware of how Mr. Tindell's presence captivated her. Listening to him was like getting back in touch with an old friend. Mr. Tindell waved, almost brushing against Jean on his way out.

"Take your time." He said. "Enjoy the search, Miss Hollingsworth."

A luminous smile spread across the man's face. Faye was stunned for a second or two. She never told him her full name, so how did he know it?

"Who were you talking to?" Jean asked after the man quietly made his exit.

"I think I just met an angel." Faye replied.


Faye Hollingsworth closed the doors to the Local History Room. After exchanging a few more pleasantries, Jean returned to the Reference desk while Faye locked the double doors and headed for the nearest stairwell. She left her coat and purse at her desk. The rest of the library closes at 9PM. It seemed silly to drag her belongings with her. After all, she was simply retrieving an old manuscript.

In the stairwell, Mr. Tindell's parting words echoed in her head: "Take your time. Enjoy the search, Miss Hollingsworth." She thought his words were strangely encouraging. It was so galling to pretend all the time; to play the stuffy librarian who has no sense of fun, adventure, or life of her own! There was something about Mr. Tindell's words that resonated with her. For a moment or two, it seemed as if the man was trying to tell her that he understood her...in his own strange way.

Faye reached the basement and the empty hall, lined with doors. She passed a supply closet and the men's restroom. Around the corner, she reached the women's restroom. She dashed in to use it, and after washing her hands, she fumbled around for her keyring and stepped back into the hall. 7B wasn't very hard to find. There were only 10 rooms on this floor counting both restrooms.

The librarian paused for a second or two, searching for the right key. This door, like all the others was sturdy, strong dark wood, and the lock was good quality. Faye pressed her shoulder against the door as she heard the loud click, indicating it was now unlocked. She reached inside the blackened interior and groped the wall for the light switch.

"Oh dear, what a mess!" Faye sighed in exasperation.

She'd stepped inside a windowless room lined with shelves and large metal cabinets. The floor was littered with boxes of unlabeled items, file folders, and old newspapers that were crudely bundled together. One of the shelves contained boxes of microfiche and more bundles of old newspapers. And another shelf groaned under the weight of too many books! Nothing appeared to be organized. The place resembled a claustrophobic's nightmare!

"Mr. Tindell expects me to find a manuscript...in this?"

Before Faye left the Local History Room, she double checked the card catalog. It wasn't that she actually doubted Mr. Tindell's claims; she just wanted to be certain of its exact location. She checked the note she'd made to herself earlier. Yes, manuscripts are stored in 7B, the same place they've been stored since the library opened almost 70 years ago.

Faye exhaled sharply and she felt her stomach beginning to rumble. She skipped eating lunch today, and she hadn't had a thing to eat since this morning. As always, breakfast was about as scant and forgettable as her life outside the library: a small bowl of cornflakes and a cup of black coffee. Damn, what she'd give for a nice steak dinner...and a beautiful woman to share it with! Faye sighed and started shifting boxes to one side and tossing some of the lighter bundles of newspapers and file folders onto one of the nearest shelves. The sooner I find that manuscript, Faye thought, the sooner I can get out of here!

After a few minutes of moving and shifting things around, Faye managed to carve a narrow path through the mountains of clutter. Something in the back of the room caught her eye. There was a large metal cabinet against the back wall near the corner. It was the largest cabinet in the room, reaching almost floor to ceiling. Just above the lock on the double doors, there was a label with the word 'manuscripts' printed on it. By the look of it, Faye guessed that the label was written by hand, possibly decades ago. The lettering looked a little washed-out and faded, but was still otherwise clearly visible.

The librarian pushed a few more boxes aside, and stepped over another mess of scattered file folders. She made a mental note to bring up the subject of clearing out this room and getting it organized during the next departmental meeting. The cabinet had a lock that was built into the door, just above the handle, and for a second or two, Faye wondered if she even had a key to the thing. She stood in front of the cabinet and glanced at the shelves next to it. This must be it, she thought. Where else would they store manuscripts?

Faye grasped the handle and noticed that the cabinet wasn't locked. That's a relief, she thought. When she pulled the doors open, the familiar odor of old paper and books overwhelmed her. The smell wasn't unpleasant, but she wasn't expecting it to be so strong. The room definitely needs to be cleaned out, she thought. Faye scanned the contents. There were several cardboard boxes, each alphabetically labeled. She glanced once more at the note she'd written. Fuller. Since the boxes were alphabetical by author, the manuscript was probably in the box labeled E-G.

She turned away from the cabinet long enough to clear a space on the floor for her to set the boxes aside. She pulled box A-B and the box labeled C-D to create a makeshift stand to set the box she wanted on. When Faye opened the box, she actually laughed out loud.

"There it is! Right on top!" The librarian furrowed her brow as she skimmed the first few pages. "Parallel worlds do exist. The mind has a way of creating entire worlds if one knows...Much of my gratitude goes to Howard Tindell, my colleague and partner of 17 years..."

Faye searched around the scattered mess and found an empty file folder that was clean and in good condition. She placed the manuscript inside and cleared a space to set it on for the moment. She was just about to replace the boxes when something new caught her eye. For what seemed like several minutes, the librarian stared at the back of the cabinet, her dark eyes squinting at something which seemed out of place.

It looked almost as if the cabinet had some sort of false backing. On closer inspection, it looked like it had slipped and began to expose a section of what looked like another doorway. Any other time Faye would have just put the boxes back and left it for another day—or for someone else to figure it out. But for some reason, she was curious. It certainly did look like there was actually a door behind the cabinet. But as far as she knew, there were no other rooms on this level.

Faye turned and slowly made her way back through the mess towards the door. She opened it and checked the hallway. Empty. Faye didn't have a watch, but the Local History Room closed each day at 6PM. She was sure she hadn't been down here very long. Mr. Tindell did tell her to enjoy the search. What further harm could she possibly do to this room by checking what was behind the cabinet?

Faye returned to the spot where she previously stood and stared for a minute or two. She pulled the rest of the boxes from their shelves, hefting one on top of another to form a crude stack, and then carefully lifted the shelves out and stacked them against the side of the cabinet. Once the shelves were gone, the backing slipped to the floor and it was very easy to push it aside.

"What on Earth?" Faye whispered. There was a hint of incredulity to her voice. Her suspicions were correct. There was no doubt that she was looking at another door!

The door had no knob or handle. For a minute or two, Faye wondered how she was supposed to get it open, and then she put her hands on it, applying pressure. Just like that, the door slid partway open. The librarian gazed into the opening, completely mesmerized. "I have to go inside." Faye whispered to herself. "I have to see. And Mr. Tindell told me to take my time...and enjoy the search."

Surrounded by stacks of old books and piles of loose papers, Faye Hollingsworth turned her back on the bleak loneliness of the outside world, and shuffled towards the temple of dreams. The air emanating from the dark opening was balmy and fresh, as if a light summer rain recently passed through it. The librarian cast a furtive glance over her shoulder. There was no need to be nervous, no fear of anyone walking in on her. The custodians rarely ever went in the basement, and she was sure that no patrons would be coming down here. It was time to let the natural process of curiosity take its toll; time to embark on a new adventure.

Carefully, Faye rearranged a couple stacks of papers and pushed one of the file cabinets so that it partially blocked the door of 7B. Since Jean knew she went down here looking for a manuscript, she knew her colleagues would search this room first. The door could still be opened, but it would take a little muscle.

Tears began to well up in Faye's eyes the second she returned to that cabinet and stared at the darkened void within. The second she placed a foot inside the cabinet, time melted away and reason became a distant stranger. Faye turned one final time and looked at the room with its shelves and piles of books and papers in disarray. An eerie sort of peacefulness came over her as she reached out and closed the doors to the cabinet behind her.

It was quite dark inside, but not completely so. A low flickering light drew Faye into a long, winding passage with another door at the end. She stood there for a minute or two, wondering what she should do, but then Mr. Tindell's parting words urged her to continue on. "Go on, open the door." Faye whispered to herself. "See what's on the other side...unless you're too scared..."

Faye glanced down at the doorknob. It looked like it was made of some sort of colored glass or precious stone. None of the other rooms in the library had doors like this one. And although the carvings on the outside were very beautiful, it just seemed so out of place. Still, Faye was tempted, and so she turned the knob and stepped inside.

"Oh my God...this can't be real!"

Faye Hollingsworth stood inside a grand corridor, illuminated by several translucent stone lamps that resembled various strange looking seashells. This corridor, this entire place was like a sprawling ancient temple! Its aesthetics were opulent but reserved. Everything down to the last lamp and stick of furniture was tasteful and pleasing to all the senses. She glanced back at the door she came through and wondered if she should pinch herself. This must be a dream, she thought, or a joke. And then Faye realized why her nose was sniffing the air with such pleasure. Perfumed cakes of something or other...like dry, tightly packed spice sat in strategically placed dishes of semi-precious stone. They neither burned nor smoldered, but soft curls of smoke-like vapor emanated from them, filling the tranquil lamp lit air with an intense aroma of fresh-cut flowers.

Maybe Mr. Fuller and Mr. Tindell were right. Maybe other worlds do exist! And even if this turned out to be only a dream, it's been a beautiful one so far. Faye went over to the door she came through and closed it. Just a short way down the corridor she saw a large door that was open. A pool of soft golden light spilled into the corridor. Faye was drawn towards the flickering golden glow. In seconds, she reached another beautifully appointed room.

"Oh my...I think I may have stumbled into a museum...or a fairy castle!"

Faye Hollingsworth could hardly believe her eyes! It was only an hour or so before when she sat behind her desk in the Local History Room, speaking to Mr. Tindell, and now she stood in the most luxurious looking room she'd ever set eyes on! For the moment, the librarian's eyes scanned as much of the room's interior as possible, trying to burn it all in her memory in case she really was dreaming and would wake up any second back in the library.

It looked like she was standing in some kind of sitting room, but on a much grander scale. There was a lovely divan and gorgeous chairs with inlay arranged nicely in front of a stately fireplace which was flanked on either side by two sensuous nude women, each one bearing what looked like a seashell. A few smoldering seashell-like lamps bathed the room in soft flickering light, and the floor was an intricate mosaic; a sumptuous feast for the eyes!

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byGymTeacherYouDeserve© 5 comments/ 16186 views/ 18 favorites

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