Lauren Fields waved goodbye to the last patron of the library and then locked the door behind him. It was well past the technical closing time, but Lauren didn’t enjoy kicking people out. Especially when she wasn’t planning on going home any time soon. So, if there were a few people lingering in the stacks until the sun went down, who was really bothered? Not her.
But now with the library empty, she could dedicate her entire focus to finding the missing delivery. She stood in the entry hall with her hands on her hips and tried to think of all the places she hadn’t checked yet.
This morning Steffy told her the driver had stopped in. “Big George said there was a box for you. He put it behind the counter.”
And Big George had said hello to her before he left, just as he always did. But when Lauren had gotten back to the front counter, there hadn’t been a box. Steffy didn’t know where it had gone.
Then Dennis said he had put it down in the basement. “Sorry, Ms. Fields. I thought you’d already processed it. I put it down there so the books could be tagged and entered into the system. I was just trying to help.”
And it had been nice of him to carry a heavy box down all those stairs because she wouldn’t have liked to do it. But the box wasn’t there either.
It wasn’t in her office, or in the returns room, or anywhere she’d looked. But it had to be somewhere. No one could have just walked out with an entire box of books without her or someone else noticing.
Lauren walked around the library, picking up any books she found along the way. Maybe if she went about her normal business, she’d come across it. So, she re-shelved books, wiped down tables, put the chairs up, and collected trash.
It was about an hour into her nightly routine that the power went out.