In the morning she felt like a new person, wondering about how to kill time until her early evening flight home the next day. After a continental breakfast and two cups of rich coffee at the hotel, the day before came tumbling back to her and she began to worry about that man. Deep down she felt a little sorry that she might have done more injury to him than just breaking his nose. She got out her cell and called the library.
The familiar voice of Miss Pritchard answered, “Library of the Occult. How may I help you?”
“Hi, Miss Pritchard, This is Emma Morgan from yesterday. Remember me?”
“Of course, of course. Oh my dear girl, I must apologize for leaving you locked in that room.” she said with a much friendlier tone than the day before. “Mr. Smythe took ill and we had to rush him to the hospital. I wanted to return to release you but Mr. Smythe has no one else so I felt I should be with him until he was settled. Then when I returned and scurried up to open the door for you I found that dreadful Sylvester Arnon on the floor laying in his blood and vomit. He was moaning something about a she-devil-from-hell. I again called for an ambulance, making sure to direct them to another hospital other than where Mr. Smythe was residing. Such a disturbing day. Oh my. They are arch enemies you know.”
“No, I had no idea,” Emma was able to interject.
“No. Of course, my dear. How could you. Did Mr. Arnon release you?”
“Yes, he did. The poor man. What happened to him?” she asked, over- feigning any knowledge.
“I have no idea. I thought you might know something,” she said, her voice rising into a question like she already knew the answer, like Emma’s mother did when she was being naughty. “Whatever did happen to him, he would most certainly deserve it. He is a truly wretched man. He is beyond arrogant, thinking he is so much superior to any other mortal, claiming he is a warlock of highest order. It is rumored he practices the ‘dark arts’. Are you sure you know nothing, maybe about some ‘she devil’?”
“No. Oh no. He opened the door and I left,” she answered, again overdoing her feigned innocence.
“I’m sure you don’t,” she said with a slight chuckle. “Thank you my dear girl. I’m not sure how you did what you did, but my lips shan’t ever mutter not another word of this event. My lips are sealed.”
Emma could almost see her doing the ‘zipper’ thing across her lips.
“Miss Morgan, You should call Mr. Smythe. He was quite worried about you, leaving you like he did. It would make him feel much better if he heard from you.”
“I’d be happy to. Can I contact him at the hospital?”
“Most certainly,” and she gave Emma a number to call and the location.
They said their good-byes and Emma called the hospital and was connected to his room. He picked up.
“Hello, Mr. Smythe. This is Emma Morgan. We met yesterday at the library and you let me in to that restricted room to research a book for my dissertation.”
“Of course I remember you my dear girl. I apologize for taking ill and leaving you locked in there. I do hope Miss Pritchard found you well.”
I am really tired of being called ‘dear girl’. “Well, it’s a long story, Sir.”
“ I have nothing but time stuck in this infernal hospital. Doctors say I must stay for observation. However, I must say, no one seems to be doing much observing. So please, continue and relate your story.”
She told him the saga of her day, leaving out any mention of Sylvester Arnon, not disputing his idea that Miss Pritchard had been the one to let her out of the room. On a roll, she told him about the secret panel and subsequently discovering the manuscripts. When she mentioned the titles, she heard him suck in a deep breath.
“Oh, dear Miss Morgan, could you please bring those over to me? It would be such a favor. Truly it would.”
“I left them undisturbed. They were very old fragile parchment. But I took photos of them thinking I might translate them someday.”
“You could translate them? Could you do it straightaway?”
“It might take a while and my flight out is tomorrow. I don’t think I have the time. Maybe when I get back home and finish my thesis.”
“If you would do so now, I will compensate you handsomely for your services. I shall also pay all expenses you incur from your stay. Knowing the contents of these is extremely important to me. Extremely important! I beg of you, my dear Miss Morgan to indulge me. My life depends on it.”
She heard panic in his voice. “I’ll have to think about it. I’ll take a look and see what would be involved. Some of these old manuscripts are easier than others to translate. Can I call you back?”
“Of course. Of course,” he replied breathlessly. “Please consider my offer. It is of utmost importance to me. I will be waiting to hear from you. Thank you. You have no idea how important these manuscripts are to me.”
To be Continued . . .