[Welcome to Part 2 of a new story serialized on this blog, with tongue somewhat in cheek and product links awkwardly jammed into the narrative. Part 1 is here. If you enjoy the story, tip your storyteller by following the Amazon link and purchasing something–I’ll get a small cut. Your purchase doesn’t have to be the featured product; just use the search box to find something else if you wish. Today’s installment brought to you by the all-new Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet]
Kaitlyn King ran along the beach with good music pumping in her ears and joy in her heart.
It had been an amazing week so far. The biggest reason was because of her promotion at work (Senior Librarian!). But there’d also been another excellent meeting of the Knott’s Harbor Library Speculative Fiction Book Club, which Kaitlyn had formed a year ago with her fellow librarian, Catelyn.
Last night the club had met at their usual spot, Harry’s Eatery & Tavern, to discuss a groundbreaking Latina vampire novel, Gorging in Guadalajara. The club consisted of about a dozen voracious readers and Knott’s Harbor Library cardholders. Angus, an English teacher at the high school, groused about the novel, but then again Angus groused about every novel she and Catelyn had selected so far—everyone else loved the book and dove into a deep discussion about cultural connotations of vampires and how the author had played with those conventions in a new setting.
Their next book selection was Skip the Thirteenth Floor, about a repairman of elevators at haunted hotels, which actually Rev. Sonja had suggested. Just the first few pages had hooked Kaitlyn already, and she was excited to read on.
And now as Senior Librarian, she thought, I’ve got so many other great programming ideas—
Then she stopped in her tracks. It was still early morning, and maybe she wasn’t fully awake yet, but it certainly looked like someone had dug a deep labyrinth into the sand of Pristine Beach.
Kaitlyn pulled her earbuds out and walked carefully toward the labyrinth. She noticed now that a backpack and blanket were perched on top of one of the walls in the middle of the maze, along with some sort of electronic device. She’d have to get closer to confirm, but it certainly looked to her like an all-new Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet.
“They’ve got that ‘always listening’ capability for the first time,” she mumbled to herself without being conscious of speaking. “And a full HD 1080p display.”
She stopped a few yards from the edge of the maze, suddenly wary about the whole thing collapsing under her feet. It was, after all, just sand and mud.
“Hey,” she called out. “Anyone down there? I’m pretty impressed by your . . . labyrinth . . .”
At first there was no sound. Then someone answered her, but without words.
No, not someone, but something, because it was a low, feral growl. Followed by the splashing of something heavy moving through the bottom of the maze.
Oh, shit. Her thoughts were whirring on their own now. You know what historically comes with every labyrinth . . .
It was still splashing. Getting closer. And if there were stairs—or if it could climb—hey, just what had happened to the owner of the backpack and the all-new Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet?
Kaitlyn backpedaled. She ran. And she dialed 911, because she wasn’t going to wait around here by herself.
When the police arrived a few minutes later, Kaitlyn was huddled on a bench back on the sidewalk some distance away from the beach labyrinth, shivering in spite of the warmth of the morning. She saw the familiar faces of Chief York and Officer Cruz approach, and she immediately felt better. They’d help restore reason to what had turned into an unsettling morning.
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