In the Library at Night

Peter Roberts


It is early, perhaps 2 a.m., in an old, roughly constructed stone building which looks like a castle, or perhaps a fortress, but which is a library.  A man sits at a desk among rows of books in a room on the mezzanine.  He is reading a brittle leather-bound book by the light of a fluorescent desk-lamp.  This is the only illumination in the library.

In the crepuscular haze beyond the lamp’s rectangle of light, gold and copper sparks appear.  A vague, almost human figure composes itself from these metallic gleams, increasing in brightness as it becomes increasingly well defined.  The scintillant form begins to produce an odd, unsteady, yet pure sound, like a soprano trying to sing some unspecified note.

The man looks up from his reading and sees the figure.  His face is distorted by the terror that rushes through him like a tsunami.  He tries to scream, but cannot.  He tries to stand; instead he falls to the floor, writhes grotesquely for a time, then grows still.  A wavering wail continues to emanate from the glowing shape, entering the man’s mind more fully, bathing it icily until it lapses into cold, hard blackness.




Peter Roberts is a mathematically educated poet who sometimes writes fiction. He has been contributing to various magazines and journals, online & off, for more than 45 years. See his slightly dated personal page,, where you can find links to lists of all his published poems & stories, if you look carefully. Some may find the rest of the website interesting as well.