RwA 3.1 300 ~ 399.9


The Stacks

Diane Callahan


PANEL 1: A young brunette looks at a framed poster of the Batman #1 comic book cover, with its lurid yellow background and bright red letters, Batman and Robin swinging toward her.

            Archivist Assistant (Caption): The world’s largest collection of comics…

PANEL 2: Close-up of a Snoopy clock on the wall.

            SFX: Tick tick tick

            Assistant (Caption): …and not a soul around. Like a graveyard of ink.

PANEL 3: A full shot of the reading room: short shelves with a few books, colorful posters on the wall, comic strip illustrations in glass cases. The Assistant holds a stack of books in her arms.

            (1)   Title: THE STACKS


PANEL 1: The smiling face of a bright-eyed woman with silver hair pulled back in a ponytail. 

            Librarian: Diane! There you are.

PANEL 2: Wide shot of the Librarian and the Assistant standing together in the reading room. The Librarian holds a gray box the size of a party cake.

            Librarian: We have this week’s box of strips to archive.

PANEL 3: The Assistant holds up her stack of books.

            Assistant: Great. I’ll put these away first.

PANEL 4: Side view of the Assistant pushing through a glass door.

            Assistant (Caption): More things no one will ever read.


PANEL 1: Long view of the stacks, gray shelves that seem to stretch on forever, ending in darkness, the Assistant small at the front of the room.

PANEL 2: Close-up of a book cover in the Assistant’s hand: The Dominant Wives and Other Stories by Eric Stanton, featuring a group of buxom babes.

          Assistant (Caption): Wonder what type of “research” whoever requested these
          was doing.


PANEL 1: The gray shelves are all pressed together; the Assistant presses a black button on the side of one.

PANEL 2: Two shelves separate, revealing books on either side.

          SFX: Whirrr

PANEL 3: The Assistant steps into the newly created row between the stacks.

          Assistant: Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea…

PANEL 4: She shelves the Eric Stanton book.

PANEL 5: The Assistant stands outside the stacks, dusting her hands off and looking to the right.

PANEL 6: An administrative desk with a piece of paper taped to the top. “Peanuts CGA.WC.7.018” is scrawled on the note.

            Assistant (Caption): Hello, new request.


PANEL 1: The Assistant stands in the darkened back room, which is filled with rows upon rows of file cabinets with long, skinny drawers and boxes at the top. She’s looking up.

PANEL 2: Bottom-to-top view of drawers labeled “WC” with numbers, box “7” impossibly far toward the top. In the foreground, fingers hold the note: “Peanuts – CGA.WC.7.018.”

            Assistant (Caption): Damn me for being so vertically challenged.

PANEL 3: A black footstool being dragged across the carpet.

            SFX: Shhhh

PANEL 4: The Assistant stands on the stool, extending her arms to grab the box, which is way above her head and trapped between other boxes.

PANEL 5: She pulls the box out.

            Assistant (Caption): Shit, this thing is heavier than a—

PANEL 6: She falls back, the stool tipping, box flying into the air.


PANEL 1: The Assistant is on her back, wincing.

PANEL 2: First-person POV, her legs stretched out, the box exploded with large pages of comics all over the floor.

            Assistant: No, no, no! These are originals.

PANEL 3: Close-up of a Peanuts comic panel, hand-illustrated, nearly torn down the middle.

PANEL 4: The Assistant looks stricken as she holds the comic with both palms out.

PANEL 5: Her face turns calm.

            Assistant (Caption): I’ll just hide the ripped ones. Not like anyone will look
            at them, anyway.


PANEL 1: On her knees, she puts the pages back into the box.

            Dialogue off-page in small lettering: You did this.

PANEL 2: The Assistant’s expression is startled.

            Assistant: Who—?

PANEL 3: The Assistant sits next to the pile of comic strips, with a Peanuts comic on top—featuring an angry Charlie Brown.

            Charlie Brown: Good grief, you tried to kill us!


PANEL 1: The Assistant’s eyes widen in horror.

            SFX: Gasp

PANEL 2: Back to the comics on the floor and angry Charlie Brown, but we can see the back of the Assistant’s head.

            Assistant: I didn’t mean to, I swear!

            Charlie Brown: You turn your nose up at us. Because you don’t think we’re worthy.

PANEL 3: Side view of the Assistant and the Charlie Brown comic on the floor.

            Assistant: I—I don’t… It’s not that!

            Charlie Brown: You don’t want to save all of us.

PANEL 4: The Assistant picks up the stack of comics.

            Charlie Brown: But we’re all real literature—

PANEL 5: She closes the lid over the box.

            SFX: Swish

            Assistant: I just don’t understand the point of all this hoarding.


PANEL 1: The Assistant walks away from the back shelves, looking indignant now.

            SFX: Whispers

PANEL 2: She approaches the gray stacks, which are filled with comic books.

            Unattributed: Save us all, save us all.

PANEL 3: A copy of Maus by Art Spiegelman has tipped off the shelf, visible down the aisle, the cover featuring two scared mice with a swastika behind them.

            Younger Mouse: Who are you to say what should be remembered?

PANEL 4: The Assistant keeps walking past the shelves.

            Assistant: Well, of course you’re literature! You won a Pulitzer, so that’s—


PANEL 1: A copy of Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics tips off the shelf, a cartoon version of the author on the front, wearing a shirt with the Flash logo.

            Scott McCloud: Maybe you just don’t understand comics.

PANEL 2: The Assistant clenches her fists as she passes, mouth open in a shout.

            Assistant: Most of it is a bunch of forgotten superheroes and girls with
            watermelon boobs! What more is there to understand?

PANEL 3: Another book far back in the stacks pops out— Little Orphan Annie Volume 1: Will Tomorrow Ever Come? by Harold Gray. Annie has curly red hair, and her eyes are vacant white circles.

                Little Orphan Annie: Leapin’ lizards! You want to throw away things you don’t
                like, don’t you? Gee, you’re as bad as Mrs. Warbucks!


PANEL 1: The Assistant shoves Little Orphan Annie back into the shelf, clearly about to blow a gasket.

            Assistant: I don’t want to hear another word from any of you!

PANEL 2: More books pop out of the shelves.

             Unattributed: We belong in these archives.

PANEL 3:  Side view of the Assistant shoving the books back into the shelves with an angry expression.

            SFX: Thunk thunk

            Unattributed: You belong here, too.

            Unattributed: Nothing escapes the archives.

PANEL 4: The shelves start closing in.

            SFX: Whirrr


PANEL 1: The Assistant looks horrified. There’s a wall to her right, on the closest side.

            Assistant: What is this?!

PANEL 2: View down the closing row, the opening to the main corridor a long way off.

            Unattributed: SPOOOON!

            Unattributed: さよなら。

PANEL 3: The Assistant runs toward the gap, her hand outstretched, expression terrified.

            Assistant (Caption): This can’t be how it ends!

PANEL 4: The outside of the shelves, pressed together now.


PANEL 1: The Librarian’s shoes pass the stacks.

            SFX: Shuffle shuffle

PANEL 2: The shoes stop by an open shelf.

PANEL 3: The Librarian’s head turns toward the open row, where there’s a large comic strip page on the floor.

PANEL 4: She holds it in front of her face, brow furrowed. We see the blank back.


PANEL 1: The front of the comic shows, in black and white, a young woman screaming as the shelves close in on her.

            Librarian, off page: There goes another one…




Area Woman Found
Crushed To Death

 Kate Kastelein

A woman researching the phenomenon of Satanic Panic was found crushed under her source material. 

Sunshine Stetson, 38, Oyster Point, was found dead in her office on Tuesday afternoon. Stetson’s partner, James Fillson, said he hadn’t heard from Stetson since the night before, when he popped his head into her office to say goodnight. He told the Post in an exclusive interview that it wasn’t unusual for Stetson to work on her novel through the night and retire in the early morning hours. However, when Fillson hadn’t heard from her by lunch, he got worried. He discovered that he couldn’t open the door to her office, even with a key, and called the authorities. 

Oyster Point Search and Rescue arrived on the scene and removed the door to the office. Those on the scene recount a baffling sight; the office was packed floor to ceiling with books. “I didn’t think there as any way she could be in there,” said Fillson. “We started chucking books out as fast as we could, it probably took a good twenty minutes before we saw her.” 

Stetson was found on the floor, crushed under what officials estimate was nearly a ton of books.

“It was a gruesome scene,” said Stetson’s neighbor Brian Manks, who helped remove the books. “Reminded me of when a wire broke on the crane hoisting a pallet of bricks to construct the new library back in ’86. Leroy Johnson was standing right under it at the time and whammo!” 

Authorities do not suspect foul play at this time, but are baffled by the mysterious death. Fillson is adamant that the books were not present when he said goodnight to Stetson the night before. All of the books are hardcover, wrapped in protective plastic covers, and bare the seal of the “Alexander Crowley Memorial Library” which burned to the ground in 1978. 

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Oyster Point Police Department. 

Riddled with Arrows 3.1: “Libraries & Bookstores”
Foreword | Contributors
Browse Next Shelf | Browse Previous Shelf 
Visit the Riddled with Arrows Library ~ Grand Opening!
TOC ~ Checkout