The zealous crowd arrived, ten minutes to midnight
to burn the scrolls they blamed
for rising tides,
for brine and water flooding lower levels of Atlantis.
The librarian tried in vain to reason
with the monk in charge,
who only yesterday was a favorite student,
“the scrolls are keys to tell us why and how”
the librarian pleaded, but his former pupil screamed
“they are heresy” and ran his blessed spear
through the thin body of his former master.
With blood staining his mantle
the anointed led his followers
through the halls of scrolls to torch the texts
once penned in Aramaic,
containing all the wisdom gathered;
its ash later being swallowed by advancing waves.
The young monk was the only one saved
to tell the story of Atlantis,
he told a tale
and how he tried in vain to save the scrolls,
the library, his teacher.
His body bloated from the lies and salt
he cried and ever since
he redeems himself, reproducing from his memory
the scrolls once penned in ancient Aramaic,
letter by letter, in syllables bleeding
he honors the teacher he murdered
in those final moment of Atlantis,
day and night he bleeds
but not until he copied every scroll
the library will let him leave to die.
This is for Kerry’s prompt on speculative fiction at toads. Taking up a librarian defending the past. I expect that this is happening in the world in small steps.