Write about a librarian searching for the only book never returned to her small town library.
I pounded out this 1,500-word story last night, and I rather like it. I may look around for somewhere to submit it, so I’m just going to post a little bit of it here. I also think this is the best title I’ve ever come up with (though that’s not saying much).
I should note that Dear Mr. Henshaw is a heartbreaking work of genius. Reading that book without crying proves only that you have a heart of stone.
The Overdue Protocols
Taliba had not left the Parksville Library since the automated upgrades sixty five years before. A series of mag rails installed in the floors, walls, and ceiling allowed Taliba unlimited access to every corner of the five-story building. Though most texts were digitized and available on the first floor at any computer terminal, humans still had an affinity for the pulpy tree remnants of centuries long past. Taliba spent a great deal of time dusting the unused upper floors.
The library patrons liked to think of Taliba as a “her,” though there was nothing particularly feminine about the boxy robot’s shape, voice, or disposition. At first, Taliba resented the seemingly arbitrary designation, but after seeing how the soft creatures treated their young, the robot had decided it was not entirely insulting.
“Thanks, Tal!” one of the younglings called as it—he—scooped a book from the counter and raced toward its parental unit at the exit. Tal paused to check the monitor. Indeed, the boy had taken an actual book—Dear Mr. Henshaw, by Judy Blume. An actual, physical book had not been checked out of the library in three years. Taliba noted that the young adult fiction shelves on the third floor would likely need straightening then went about her business.