Chapter 7 – Library Part I
Children in costumes ran around the library, anxiously awaiting Miss Lebitan’s regaling of the history of the town of Glarus and the explanation of why the adults do what they do on October 31st. Miss Lebitan was a frail woman of about 65, with greying hair, who dressed only in clothing from decades past, much to the amusement of the children in town, who held her in very high regard.
Lila Lebitan was a native of Glarus, who in fact never left the town’s borders in her entire life. When she was 12 years old, she began working for the town’s then-librarian, Eugene Hoffstaedter. Upon his death over two decades later, he bequeathed the library to the enthusiastic Lila, who had ran it ever since.
The library itself had, since its inception, been a place where the children of Glarus could go any time, day or night. As such, Lila Lebitan, who eventually converted the library’s basement to an apartment, had become the sort of de facto “Mother of Glarus”, offering babysitting services to any and all parents in need of them. The children adored Miss Lebitan, and Miss Lebitan returned the sentiment.
When she was finally ready, Miss Lebitan dimmed the library lights twice, signalling for the children to gather in the common area of the library.
“Come now, children! It’s time!” she announced, followed by cheers from the roughly 20 children of Glarus.
The lights were dimmed one final time and left that way, conveying a sort of mood for the story that would soon follow. The children all found their spots around the common room and settled in for the tradition of the night.
“Well kids, I just must tell you that you all look unbelievable in your costumes! You all did a wonderful job! And I see you have copious amounts of candy to tide you over until morning! Now why don’t you all settle in while I tell you the history of our fine town. I know so many of you have heard the story in years past, but for a few of you it’s new, so no spoiling!” said the librarian with enthusiasm.
The kids abided, all of them getting comfortable with their piles of candy, excited to hear the story, even the ones who had already heard it before. In Glarus, every child yearns for the day they are finally able to participate in the celebration.
“Now then.” said Miss Lebitan. “The town of Glarus wasn’t always called ‘Glarus’. The first people who lived here were Native Americans, a tribe called ‘Abenaki’. They were here in the late 1800’s, and they practiced all sorts of magic and witchcraft, and even feared a monster called ‘Skadegamutc’. The spirit of Skadegamutc roamed around the town during the day, waiting for the sun to set so it could inhabit its physical body, that of an unknown fellow Native American man, hunt the Native Americans and eat them. Scary, right?”
The children all let out a lighthearted laugh, though the younger ones were in fact a bit offput.
“Well one day, the leader of the tribe, a would-be brave man named Rowtag, had enough of his fellow tribe members dying at the hands of the Skadegamutc. He gathered a few fellow warriors and fought back, and despite all of his allies dying and being consumed by the physical presence of Skadegamutc, Rowtag managed to sever the head of the body the monster lived within.
It was thought that the end of the terror had come, and the Abenaki leader breathed easy, until the following morning came, and he found his entire tribe dead by unknown means. Confused, saddened, and furious, Rowtag called for the monster Skadegamutc to face him, but it never did. WIth all of his people dead, Rowtag moved on, finding other groups of the Abenaki in his travels.
This left the Skadegamutc to himself, its spirit roaming around the land that once belonged to the Abenaki tribe. That is, until October 31st, 1908, when a man and his family purchased the land we now sit on at this moment, a man named John Glaruson. Now, John didn’t tell his family this, but he was well aware of the Skadegamutc, and while his family was sleeping their first night here, he made an offering to the spirit of Skadegamutc.
He offered his family as a sacrifice, on the condition that the Skadegamutc agree to inhabit his body when it was time to hunt. The Skadegamutc devoured Glaruson’s wife and three children before taking control of John himself. Over the next few years, John brought people he knew to this new town he called ‘Glarus’, after himself of course.
Now, why didn’t the spirit of the Skadegamutc eat all of the people who showed up to Glarus, you might ask? Well, it’s said that it and John Glarus came to an agreement that would see the townspeople of Glarus be given safe passage, so long as every two weeks, it was able to inhabit John and consume two children that would be brought to it, and every year, on the anniversary of John Glaruson and the Skadegamutc becoming one, it would get to hunt.
And that brings us to today. Now, as Abenaki legend goes, the Skadegamutc stops its host’s body from aging. But it doesn’t stop the mind. Glarus was built to what you see today, and generations came and went, but John Glaruson stayed alive through all of it. And alive he is today, you all know he lives in the well on the Kern’s land.
Anyways, as I said, the agreement was that that every October 31st, the Skadegamutc gets to hunt. As such, people are brought to Glarus to be its prey. Some people might find this barbaric, but it’s what needs to be done, because more than anything, the Skadegamutc protects our town, and us, from the outside world. If you haven’t noticed, nothing bad ever happens here! We have a wonderful town, and the people that live here are equally as wonderful.
Now, does anyone have any questions?”
The children all sat in awe of the story they were just regaled, chewing their candy, when one four-year-old, a boy dressed in a Spider-Man costume, raised his hand. Miss Lebitan nodded to him to ask his question.
“Are we gonna get eaten by the man in the well?”
“No, honey, no!” insisted Miss Lebitan. “You children are Glarus’s future! One day, your children will be sitting in this library, just as your parents and their parents and their parents before them did!”
“What do our mommies and daddies do while the…thing hunts the people?” asked a five-year-old girl dressed as a Disney princess.
“I think you asked that question last year, didn’t you sweetie?” Miss Lebitan rhetorically asked with a laugh. “Well, all the adults in Glarus participate in the hunt as well. It’s become a sort of game over the years. People see if they are able to capture the sacrifices for the Skadegamutc, or Mr. Glaruson as it is on October 31st, and if they are able to, it is considered a great honor. So, you should all be rooting for your parents tonight!”
After this response, none of the children had any more questions, as there were only the two new children, who themselves were too enthralled with their candy to think of any details of the story they wanted clarified. Miss Lebitan got up and put a movie on for the children to watch and fall asleep to, and she then waited to hear the results of the traditional Glarus Hunt.
All was going as planned until Miss Lebitan heard a noise come from the back of the library.