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The Plot Thickens…4

The ugly little man lay at Molly’s feet, pretending to be unconscious.  She kicked him, rather harder than she had to, but she was angry at the mess he made of the books.

“Get up,” she said.  “Now, or I’ll kick you again.  Harder.”

He rose and straightened his jacket.  “Mr. Collins?” she said, aghast.

“Yes, my good woman, it is I, the great friend of Lady Catherine and…”

“You’re a horrible person,” said Molly.

“I do beg your pardon, madame,” he said, briskly.

Darcy picked Collins up by the scruff and said, “Why did you take the plot?”

“Put me down this instance,” said Collins, turning bright red.

“Why?” said Darcy. “Why did you do it?”

“Why do you think,” he said, glancing at Bennet.

Darcy turned toward Bennet.  “Her?  You took the plot because of Miss Bennet?”

“Not only her,” he said.  “You had everything.  Everything I ever wanted. Height, money, power, looks, wealth, riches, family and Elizabeth Bennet.  YOU had everything I ever wanted.  I was sick of being hated by those who read the book.  How they all looked down on me.  Felt sorry for the woman who were FORCED to be in my life?  Did you think I didn’t know that no one love me?  That they couldn’t stand to look at me?”

“You’re pathetic,” said Darcy, dropping him to the floor.

“Yes, I am.  I was WRITTEN THAT WAY,” shouted Collins.  “I didn’t have a CHOICE.  And you were handsome and daring and charming and everyone wanted you.  So I took the plot because I couldn’t stand myself, and I didn’t know what else to do.  It’s not fair that I could be written in such a vile way.”

“He’s kind of right,” said Molly.  “Jane Austen wrote him that way.  He couldn’t change, even if he wanted to.”

“I DID want to,” he said.  “I did. And I saw how Elizabeth loved you, Darcy.  She couldn’t think of anything but you.  Couldn’t breath without you.  And I saw how you loved her.  How not having her love was destroying you, because you loved her that much.  And what did I have?  All those years, all those readers, seeing me the way I was written.  All of them hating me.”

“You might not seem so weird if you came into my book,” said the White Rabbit.

“That’s very nice of you, Rabbit, but you know that can’t be done,” said Molly.

The Rabbit shrugged and went back to his carrots.

“Mr. Collins,” said Bennet.  “We will all die if you don’t return the plot.  Every single one of us, along with everything in the entire book.  We will all disappear forever.”

“I want to die,” said Collins, softly.  “Death will be better than existing as I was written.”

“Do you want to take everyone else with you?” she said softly.  “Think of the horses and sheep, the cows and the pigs, the trees and the beauty.”

He stood there, looking at his feet.

“Mr. Collins,” said Bennet.  “What if you restore the plot to our book, but we live outside the story.  What if you can be the kind and lovely man you wish to be, behind the plot.”

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“You could come to dinner, we could get to know the you that you wish to be, but that won’t be part of the plot.  It will be our own story, hidden from the readers.”

“But they’ll still hate who I am in the book,” said Collins.

“Perhaps it won’t matter, because the Mr. Collins in the book, will be an actor, playing a part.”

He looked at her, then at Darcy.

“I believe Miss Bennet has come up with a very sensible idea.  One, I will do my best to make happen.”

“Where is the plot?” asked Molly.

Behind the fake tree in the Children’s section,” said Mr. Collins.  Then he turned to Bennet and Darcy.  “I have you’re word as a Lady and Gentleman?”

“You do,” they said, at the same time.

Molly returned with the plot, an ethereal looking thing.  She opened Pride and Prejudice, placed the plot on the open pages, then scooped up the words and let them drop onto the plot.  There was a rush of words, as they scrambled to get in the proper position.  Pages fluttered and words bounced and flickered, until the three characters, became wispy.

“Thank you,” they whispered, toward Holly, waving at her.  She waved back and blew them a kiss.

Suddenly they were pulled into the book and it snapped shut.

“I have to go said the White Rabbit.  My book is calling me.”

“Love you Bunny,” she said, watching Alice join him as they raced toward the Children’s Section.

There was a flurry of activity, then everything calmed down and went back to normal.

“Hey, Molly.  You’re here early,” said Amanda, putting down her coffee and hanging up her coat.

Molly nodded.

“You didn’t go home, did you,” she chided.  “You have to get a life, woman.  Libraries are boring, you need to go out and live a little.”

Molly smiled at her.  “Have you ever thought about how many evil, or miserable, characters in books hate being that character?”

“No, Sweetie.  Why would I.  The characters aren’t real.  They’re just words.  You look beat.  Why don’t you take the day off.  I got this.”

Molly got up, said see you tomorrow, and thanks.  then she put on her jacket and left the building.  “They are more than just words.  We make them real, by believing in them,” she said to no one in particular.  “They have feelings and can’t change their lives.  They are all trapped in cages made of words.”

She stopped at the bakery, bought six chocolate donuts, tapped the book in her pocket and went home to reread Pride and Prejudice.

 

The End

 

 

 

The Plot Thickens…3

“There are a few ways a plot can go missing,” said Molly.  “Sometimes, in older books, the plot simply gets worn out.  It becomes so repetitive that it just gives up and falls apart.

Then there are times when the characters in one book, become envious of the plot in another book.  If someone is looking for a great love, but their plot forces them into heartbreak, they can, and sometimes will, steal, or even try and destroy, the plot in a book where true love has been found.

There are times when a reader will change the plot, by writing over the text, in permanent ink.  After awhile, the characters may begin to follow the new script, thereby, changing all the other books of it’s kind, at the same time.

Some books are so exciting, so adventurous, filled with car chases and violence, and…well, there’s a lot of action, so the characters in the books that are near that book, will nibble away at it’s plot, until it’s gone.

That happens when boring books just can’t stand to exist any longer.  They start looking around, start taking ideas and words from other books.  It’s hard to detect, at first.  They’re very good at what they do and no one thinks to check them because they’re so boring.

As I said.  Yours is a great love story, so your plot would be extremely attractive to thousands of unhappy and miserable plots that never end happily.  There are so many stories about suffering, emptiness, and never finding love.  Your plot would be an easy mark.

Some plots just run away.  One, and it was very sad, committed suicide by tearing out it’s own pages and scrambling the words to such an extent, that it could never be put back together again.  We couldn’t even find the title, or it’s library number.

The thing you have to understand is that books are linked to each other.  All Pride and Prejudice books know what’s happening to all the other Pride and Prejudice books ever published.  When your plot was stolen, it took the plots from the rest of the books as well.

“So because our plot is missing, no one can read Pride and Prejudice anywhere else?” asked Bennet.

“Exactly” said Molly.

“Look,” said the White Rabbit, huffily.  “Where am I supposed to be?”

“In Alice in Wonderland,” said Molly, looking at the bunny, knowing his plot was also missing.

“I don’t know how to get there,” said the Rabbit.

“If you just sit over there, I’ll be with you shortly.  Have some cookies.”

The Rabbit followed her instructions, but when he got to the table, he said, “The cookies are all gone.”

Bennet and Darcy both looked away.  Then Bennet sighed and said, “You were right, they were delicious.”

Molly went behind the desk and pulled out a bunch of fresh carrots, and gave them to the Rabbit.  He thanked her and started eating.

Molly smiled at the White Rabbit, then turned back to Bennet and Darcy.  “Someone can also be taking plots, for fun.  Or, actually, it might even be an accident.  Sometimes we have to lock the Harry Potter books away, along with other children’s magic books, because when the characters practice their magic, a lot can go wrong.”

Darcy huffed.  “Madame,” he said, steel in his voice.  “With all of that going on, how do you ever expect to fix this problem, and get us home?”

“Molly grinned, and said, “I have a little magic of my own.”

Having said that, she pulled a small yellow bag out of her pocket and shook it.  She made noises and shook the bag until a mangy looking blonde cat came slinking toward her.  His fur was sticking out at al angles and it was plain for everyone to see, that he had been napping.

“What?” said the cat.

Molly poured some of the treat on the floor.  The cat looked at her, then down at the floor.  “I want a 401K, he said, not tiny squares of food.”

“Can we please talk about that later,” said Molly.  “The library is in trouble and you’re it’s guardian.”

“Right,” he sighed, eating the treats.  “What do you need.”

She explained what was going on, then said, “I want you to find out who’s messing with the plots.”

The cat sat there, supposedly thinking. Then he shot straight into the air and came dow with a pixie in his mouth.  He gave the pixie to Molly, then started tracking something else, that was invisible to everyone else.  His tail lashed back and forth, just before he made another spectacular leap and landed, throwing a small ugly man at Holly’s feet.  “You can let the pixie go.  It’s this guy,” said the cat, spitting bits of cloth out of his mouth.  “He’s disgusting.   Can I go now?”

“Yes.  You did a wonderful job and the Library thanks you.”  A small cheer, from who knows where, went up, and there was much applause.”

“I’ll be sleeping by Charles Dickens,” said the cat.  “That way no one will disturb me.”  Then he jus disappeared into the stacks.

 

 

The Plot Thickens…2

“Do you have the book we are in?” asked Bennet.  “I’d like to see it, if I could.”

Molly looked up.  “Sure.  One second,” she said. A few minutes later she stopped typing, and pushed herself away from the desk.  “I’ll get it for you.”

Bennet returned to her seat and Molly came back, book in hand.  She stopped at the table and said, “This is Pride and Prejudice.  It’s a book of fiction, but you may feel as if you’re real, since so many people believe in you.”

Molly opened the book, and all the words slid off the pages and landed on the table.  “That’s what happens when the plot goes missing.  The words don’t know where they belong.  They lose their sense order.  The plot holds everything together, you see.  Without it…well,” she said, looking at the scattered words.

“Fiction?” said Darcy.  “What do you mean, fiction.”

“You’re a story, made from the imagination of author Jane Austen.  You never were real, except in her mind, of course.”

Darcy stood up.  “I’ve had enough of this,” he said, bowing to both women.  Then he turned and started toward the front doors.

“What happens if he leaves?” asked Bennet, leaning in toward Molly, watching Darcy  walk away.

“No idea.  No one has ever left before.  But I must admit, I’m curious to see what will happen when he sees what’s out there.

“Perhaps I should try and stop him,” snickered Bennet.

“Perhaps.  But he is pretty arrogant, don’t you agree?”

“I agree in the strongest way possible,” she said.  “Do I truly fall in love with him?”

“You do.”

“I can’t imagine it,” she said, shaking her head.

“You teach him what’s important and it changes him.  Because of you, he turns out to be a good man.”

“Hmmm,” said Bennet.  “It shouldn’t be a woman’s job to get a man to be a rational and kind human being.”

“No it shouldn’t be, but I fear that far too often, it is.”

Darcy stood in the open doorway for quite some time.  After awhile he stepped back inside, and shut the door.  He returned to the table and sat down.

“Is that Hell?” he finally asked.

“Some people might thing so, but it’s actually just Chicago,” said Molly.

He nodded toward her.  “I would appreciate it very much if you would continue in your efforts to get me home.”

“I will do my best,” said Molly.

“I cannot ask for more than that,” he said, gratefully.

“I can show you your story.  If you’d like to see it.”

Darcy and Bennet glanced at each other, then down at the book.

“No, I mean I can show you a video.  Um, moving pictures.”

They stared at her.

“Come with me,” she said, heading toward the video section.  She took them to a small dark room and told them to sit down.  “This,” she said, holding up the the Pride and Prejudice video, staring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen, “is fantastic.  It’s your story, done beautifully by these gorgeous actors.”

“Our story is in that box?” he asked.

“It’s on this disc,” she said, flashing it at him   “Now sit back, relax, and watch yourselves on the screen.  I’ll start it, then go back to my desk and work on putting your book back together.”

She pressed play and left the room, closing the door behind her.

Piglet tugged on her jeans.

“Ah, lost again, Piglet?” she said, picking him up, hugging him tightly.  “Seems as if there’s trouble starting in the children’s section.”

She put piglet back on the shelf and got to work.  She thought she just about had the answer she was looking for, when she heard angry voices coming her way.  Bennet and Darcy walked up to her desk at the same time.

“I do not want to be in that terrible story,” said Bennet.

“Her mother is a shrew,” said Darcy.  “Out for whatever she can get.  Her father, is weak, and has no spine, of which to speak.”

“Did you see the part about how much you loved each other?” asked Holly, hopefully.

“That part had to be the fiction you mentioned,” said Bennet.

“I agree,” said Darcy.  “There is no way….”

“But everything turned out fine in the end,” said Holly.

“If you consider that to be one of the greatest love stories of all time, I pity you,” said Bennet.  “Everything depended on positions of wealth and birth. Women forced into dependency, scrabbling to marry money, mothers forced to push their daughters toward horrible and ugly men, just to get them out of the house,” said Bennet, obviously upset.  “Horrifying.”

“Women hunting for men to take care of them for the rest of their lives.  Their families as well,” added Darcy.

“My best friend having to marry that disgusting little preacher,” she said, choking back a sob.

“We won’t go back,” said Darcy.  “We refuse to be in that dreadful book.”

Holly leaned forward and put her head on her desk.  “I’m so tired,” she said.

Just then the White Rabbit bumped into her arm.

“Oh, sorry,” he said, staring at his watch.

“Alice was looking for you.”

“Which way did she go?”

Holly pointed straight ahead.

“I have to find her,” he said, twitching his nose.  “Everything in our book, after the tea party, has disappeared.”

“Can you rewrite parts of the book?” asked Darcy, watching the rabbit run down the hallway.

“OF COURSE NOT,” yelled Holly.  “Oh, sorry.  That was improper library volume.”

“What will happen if we refuse to return?” asked Bennet.

“It’s never been done.  If you don’t return to the story, I imagine the book will simply disappear, and you along with it.”

“What do you mean, disappear?” asked Darcy.

“I mean, the chance of you no longer existing, is what’s going to happen.  Your only life, is in that book.  Your families, your estates, your entire world, will be gone forever, if you don’t play your part.  Without you…there is no story.  If there is no story…there is no you.

“Who would steal our plot? asked Bennet.  “And why.”

 

 

 

 

The Plot Thickens…1

Molly was alone in the library.  Catching up, that’s what she called it.  Stacking and shelving books, doing what needed to be done.  She looked at the huge clock behind the long front desk and sighed. Almost midnight. Maybe her friends were right, she was spending more time among books, than life outside the shelves.  She closed her eyes and ran her hands over her face.   When she  looked up, there was a person standing on the other side of the counter.

“Can you help me?” asked the young woman, dressed in a plain long, brown, dress.  “I seem to be…lost.”

“The library is closed,” she said, automatically.  Then quickly held up her hand.  “I’m sorry.  Of course, I can help you.”

“Thank you.”

“Do you know who you are?” asked Molly.

“I believe my name is Elizabeth.  Elizabeth Bennet.”

Molly smiled.  “Okay, then you’re from Pride and Prejudice.”

Just then a tall, and extremely handsome, man strode out from between the shelving units.

“What is this place?” he asked, bowing toward Molly, ever so slightly.

“It’s the Public Library,” said Molly.  “And you must be Mr. Darcy.”

“I am,” he said, removing his hat.

“You two,” she said, smiling.  “Are in love.”

The two people looked at each other, then at her.

“I beg your pardon, Madam, but you are quite mistaken. I do not know this woman.”

“Maybe not at the moment, but she’s the love of your life.”

“Is there someone else I can speak with?” he asked.

“No. There is not,” said Molly.  “You, kind sir, are simply out of your book.  It happens.  Obviously, someone has stolen your plot.”

“Out of my book?” he said. “What nonsense is this?”

“You and Bennet, are characters from Jane Austen’s, Pride and Prejudice.  It’s a well loved book and yours is one of the greatest love stories of all times.”

Darcy, immediately turned his attention to Bennet.  “I do beg your pardon,” he said, politely, bowing toward her.  She curtsied and then they both looked at Molly.

“Okay, here’s the thing.  Your book is currently shelved in this library.  You are, as I have mentioned, characters in a novel, written by Jane Austen.  Your plot has disappeared.  It’s a rare thing, but it does happen, and, unfortunately, it is sometimes contagious, which means that more characters may end up wandering around as well.  So I have to nip this in the bud, as they say.”

“I would like to leave this place,” said Darcy, standing to his full height. “Please call a carriage for me.”

“Look,” said Molly.  “I realize you are out of your story, and for that, I’m sorry, but your elite status isn’t going to get you where you want to go.  I will do my best to get you both back into your book, but until then, please be seated at that table, and let me work.  Would you like coffee, Oreo cookies?”

The two characters just stared at her.

Molly sighed, grabbed the bag of Oreo’s off the shelf, under the desk, and put it onto the counter.  “Have some.  You’ll really like them.  Now go and sit down.  Feel free to look through the books.  Coffee and paper cups are right over there.”

“Where are the horses kept?” asked Darcy.

“Colorado?” said Molly.  “You’re in Chicago.  It’s a big city, in the U.S.  I guess there are horses in the suburbs, or in the country, but we don’t have them here, except for the police, and I have no idea where they keep the their horses.”

“My dear woman,” he said, trying to control his frustration, “Is there any way I can return to my home?”

“Not at the moment.  This may come as a shock,” she said, scrunching up her face, but the year is 2022.”

Darcy’s face turned white.  “What is this nonsense,” he shouted.

“If you will let me work, I’ll try and get you home, but you have to sit down and be quiet.”

A little girl in a blue dress with a white apron, skipped up to the desk and said, “Excuse me,” as she pushed Darcy aside.  “Hi Molly.”

“Hi Alice.”

“Have you seen the White Rabbit?”

“I have not.”

Alice nodded and said, “If you see him.  Tell him I’m looking for him.”  Then she skipped away.

Darcy turned and joined Bennet at the library table.

Molly wanted to ask them if their hearts were beating, but thought it would be rude, so  she went to the computer and tried to figure out how to get their plot back and send them home.

 

 

 

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