Tommy LaFontaine would think about all the things that had gone wrong in his life

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But then he’d think about his parents. They had told him that they’d made
everything okay. That they weren’t really mean to him, that they loved him.
And then that last night, when they’d kissed him in his dreams…

Tommy realized that his dad had told him the truth after all… that his dad
had meant every word.

Tommy LaFontaine didn’t know why he’d come to the Library. He hadn’t
wanted to. He’d just needed a place to hide, to… to… to…

Something was different about the Library, though.

Tommy had been here just a few days when he noticed a kid who looked just like
him. Her name was Beth, and she was in the middle of being tormented by a
monster. Her hair was longer than ever, and her eyes were darker, and her
pale skin was as pale as his. Her clothing was old, and there was dirt on her
shoes.

The monster was named The Beast, and he was so terrifying that she’d been
willing to sacrifice herself to him. But the Beast liked to torture. And this
time he wasn’t even a boy. The Beast was a girl, with pale, silver hair like
hers, but without any makeup on her pale face.

Tommy took pity on her. He’d figured out how to unlock the mysterious
libraries, and he always kept a pocket at his side where he kept a few
medicine bottles. He held one of these bottles to her mouth, and pressed the
edge of it against the back of her tongue.

As soon as he had her attention, he pressed the bottle onto her neck – and all
at once she was writhing and screaming.

“No!” she wailed. “Please don’t! I’ll do anything! Anything at all!”

“Anything at all means you’ll die,” Tommy replied. Her lips were already
sealed shut. “Now you, in return, answer me one question.”

The Beast snarled and leapt on top of her. She screamed, but she couldn’t
stop him. He tore at her clothes, but her skin was tougher than steel, and
there wasn’t a scratch on her.

The Beast tore at her hair – and for a moment, Tommy thought she’d get away.
But then his eyes focused.

Tommy had come here to find out if the library would let him get rid of the
beast inside of him. And he was about to find out if he could stop it.

Tommy opened the lid of the bottle, and pushed the little cork down. The
beast was terrified, and he wouldn’t be in this library for very long. The
beast screamed, but she couldn’t stop him either… and Tommy decided to make
good on his promise.

Tommy brought the bottle up to her neck. His hand wrapped around her neck,
the skin of her throat so pale that it looked almost transparent. Tommy
breathed into her lungs as he pressed the bottle on her neck.

“There,” he said. Her eyes widened, but she made no attempt to bite down on
the bottle. “You can’t beat me now… but you can get away from me.”

The Beast roared, and he was suddenly right in front of Tommy and Beth. He
grabbed her shoulders, and Tommy put his hands up in defense.

Tommy pushed the bottle onto the Beast’s throat – and it burst.

The Beast roared and spun around, hissing. “You’re dead!” he said, as his
fists reached out and grabbed at Tommy’s head.

With a cry, Tommy leapt backwards, and The Beast was flying through the air.

But Tommy dived and threw himself onto the Beast. He kicked at him but he
just bounced off – and Tommy’s foot was caught in his throat. The Beast’s
fists grabbed at Tommy’s face, and he tried to pull his foot out of his
throat, but Tommy managed to get one arm free – and he brought the other
under his chest, and pushed him off.

The Beast stumbled back, and Tommy leaped into the air – and he smashed The
Beast against a bookcase, and knocked him to the ground. He grabbed the
beast under the chin and pulled, and The Beast fell back to the floor.

Tommy looked around, and saw that he was standing in the small study of
Professor Mabel. He looked like any other librarian – his glasses made him
look like a teenaged boy, and his clothes were torn and his shoes were dirty.

“Hey,” said Mabel, opening her mouth to speak, but she didn’t have time.
Tommy jumped up and landed on the back of her head. He grabbed her hair and
pulled her off-balance – but his other hand gripped into her throat, and he
squeezed hard. She went limp, and Tommy pushed her back down onto the leather
of the couch.

Tommy looked around. He was standing in the middle of a book-filled library,
and he looked around all the desks he could see, all the books on the
shelves, all the chairs, all the tables… everywhere.

Tommy jumped at an open door, and kicked in the door.

“Come on,” he said. He grabbed Mabel’s arm, and dragged her back into the
breathing room. He didn’t know what he was doing, exactly, but he could feel
that this was the way. For the first time in his life, he felt like
something was missing. Like he should be doing something else.

He pulled Mabel into the small room she’d been living in, and he pulled
out her chair for her. He threw a book at the wall, and it shattered. He
locked the door and turned to Mabel. She was curled up on the floor, her eyes
wide with fear.

“What happened?” Tommy asked, holding Mabel in place. “Why were you hiding
here-“

“I was hiding here?” She was standing up now, and walking towards Tommy.
Her hands were shaking. “I was trying to kill him, and then your father…”

Tommy grabbed her, and he held her tightly to his chest. He looked
straight into her eyes, and he saw fear – but also a spark of hope. He
didn’t feel like he’d wanted to kill the Beast – he should have been
surrounded by people, not alone. But he couldn’t do it anymore.

“Are you sure he wanted that?” Tommy asked.

“I don’t know,” she replied, and this time her voice was a little too
weak.

“Does he ever show you his plans?” Tommy asked. “Does he ever take you
where he goes?”

“No,” she replied, and her voice sounded so weak that he couldn’t tell if
she was lying or not. He held her for a while longer, and then he let her go.

“Tommy,” she said, and her voice was shaky. “I’ve gotta go home.”

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