The library is quiet, dusty, and empty as usual this timme of day except for the two usual suspects, you being one of them.
A kindly old man you've come to know as "Pa" greets you with a warm grandfatherly smile and an at this point endearingly familiar "Howyadoin today Lauren, dear?" as you push the glass door open with a pleasant soft jingle.
The smell of old books and dust fills your nostrils, your flushed reddened face and pink fingers begin warming as you quickly shut the door behind you to avoid letting in any more of the frigid outside air seemingly set on biting your exposed extremities clean off.
As you begin peeling off the excess players of warm fuzzy clothing now that you're safely inside a gravelly voice breaks the near-perfect silence of the library, immediately catching your attention, it's Pa.
"Tea?" and though it's posed as a question by the time you turn to respond you only catch a short glimpse of him waddling off into the kitchen, taking a large sip out of a steamy mug of what you know to be exceedingly strong black coffee.
He always asks but doesn't actually bother waiting for a response anymore since he knows that he'll always be met with a goofy grin and a "Yes, please!" in response anyway... either he knows you too well or you're just that easy to read, like an open book, heh.
You've been spending more time here than you're willing to admit recently, though it's not entirely unexpected since you've always been an avid bookworm and there's not much else to do in a sleepy little town like this one, especially since you just moved here not so long ago and haven't had time to make friends... except for Pa that is, he even shared his famous blueberry toast recipe with you a couple of weeks back and you've been having one every single morning since.
Hanging up your coat you slowly make your way towards the back of the library, you've been itching for something a little... different lately, something to break the usual mold of diabeties inducing romantic comedies and astoundingly pridictable murder mysteries... and so you dig through book after book, searching through the less explored sections of Pa's little library, scowering every single shelf you can reach for something that meets your fancy.
Eventually, your soft fingers brush up against an unusually coarse cover, even for this dusty old library, tucked away in a dark corner, on the top shelf behind countless gargantuaous tomes like some kind of unfathomable eldrich secret, which makes you want to defile it even more by the second.
Creaking, groaning, straining, standing on your very tippy-toes and reaching as far as your admittedly shorter than average stature will allow you to, you slowly, painfully so nudge the book in your direction before carefully fishing it off the top shelf with a victorious grin practically splitting your face in half in a mixture of pride, satisfaction and almost childish curiosity.
As if the bizzare find itself wasn't already enough to make your day - the cherry on top of it all that makes your triumph taste so much sweeter is the fact that you didn't even have to sell out and go ask Pa for the stepping stool! Uh well, at least not this time...
When the derelict treasure is finally firmly within your grasp you bring it up to your face, and blowing off a generous layer of dust that has accumulated on it over what must have been decades of sitting up on that shelf, neglected and alone start inspecting it, careful not to rip or tear anything, you'd hate to damage any of Pa's books since he loves every single one of them so dearly, even if some apparently get forgotten from time to time.
It's not like other books, in fact, it doesn't much look like a book at all, it doesn't have a hardcover - instead, it's bound in old brown worn-out leather, dry and cracked like the Sahara desert, looking even more ancient than Pa, and you're pretty sure he was around to witness dinosaurs lord over the earth, at least that's what he claims, with such vigorous conviction you're just about ready to believe him at this point.
Upon closer inspection the little pld journal has two letters carelessly etched into its spine, clearly sloppy work, done without much regard for how it'll look in the end.
The two letters are H.D. initials maybe?
Your interest thoroughly piqued you carefully cradle the journal and slowly make your way towards your borderline favourite place on this earth, your personal sensory deprivation tank, your little island of peace and quiet in the middle of the Pacific in the dead of night, tucked away in one of the dark dusty corners of the library where your adored snug, creaky armchair, stained coffee table await and scraggly checkered red and black blanky await along with a steaming hot cup of green tea, no sugar... you're the best, Pa.
You tuck yourself into the old burgundy armchair with a familiar creak, open the journal to the first of many yellowed page and pick up the hot steaming cup of your favorite green tea, let its warmth spread from your hands and slowly travel up as your amber eyes dart over the impossibly neat handwriting all of it in aged tar-black ink.
"Countless raindrops batter softly against the windshield, the sound mixing with the soft breathing coming from the back seat, yellow-tinted headlights illuminating a path ahead as they cut through the murky darkness of the open road..."
Yet another cold, lonely night wraps its spindly frozen fingers possessivley around the streets of Portland in a vain attempt to sedate them to the chaotic if perhaps meditative melody of countless tiny droplets crashing against the rough paved streets underfoot.
The city doesn't slumber however, the dirty yellow light of the flickering street lamps and the soft glow of pink and purple neon signs reveal shady figures slinking in and out of dark alleys that seem to stretch out into a dark nothingness and beyond while others go about ther business seemingly unperturbed by the perpetual rainfall outside.
Above the street level, faintly backlit by a cold artificial light is a silhouette of a man, his posture slouched, his left hand wrapped around a stainless steel flask, idly moving back and forth causing the liquid within to lightly splash quietly, barely audible over the tapping of rain and the sound of whaling police sirens off in the distance, while his right hand is lazily jutting something down in a small leather bound journal.
The air smells strongly of petrichor mixed with an incessant smell of cigarette smoke.
The streetlamps and neon signs spill just enough light onto the pages of the journal laying in the mans lap to make it readable -
Trench coat thief - a naive spear wielding child who thinks himself a hero, the same one who stole my coat a couple months back... though it was covered in blood and shit at that point anyway.
Middle school dropout - a white haired child with a concerning obsession with bags and a propensity for begging... and blazers.
Metal slug - more of a snake actually, with anger management issues.
Sword guy...? - some arab guy with an oversized sword and an apparent aversion to speaking.
A heavy sigh rips through the night and a tough gravely voice proceeds to mumble in a disappointed tone bordering on shame
"...Losing to a fucking child..."
the sentence lingers in the air for a second before the man raises the flask to his mouth and takes a swig before speaking again
"Way to go Harry..."
The light behind the mans back flickers out, blending his silhouette into the surrounding darkness.