Friday, September 16, 2011

The smell of smoke in the morning

It would seem that even the Mulla and his Library do not contain any knowledge of use to me.

No; that's not true. There's so much in that library that I could use, but I don't have time for it all now.

It took me a while to get in. Anansi couldn't even slip in through the windows. It didn't, obviously, occur to me to knock. I stood just outside those huge doors for what felt like a year but probably lasted about an hour, pondering every possible route of entrance. I imagined how the Compass might get in, or how Atlas would do it, or Infinity - I didn't even think to look for news of her inside. And I call myself a researcher.

After such time had passed that I thought my feet would fall apart just from standing, a slightly hoarse and deep voice called out from inside the Library: "Do you need something?"

I was taken aback, and for a moment I was afraid it was the Businessman come to collect his ill-gotten claim upon my life. But I recovered and replied, "May I come in?"

There was no reply, and I was worried that I had said something wrong and now I was never going to be allowed inside. Then, with a great screeching and rumbling, the doors swung open as slowly as doors of that size can swing, and I rushed inside, leaving my children to wait for me. In retrospect, not the most thoughtful of decisions, though all worked out fairly well in the end.

Once inside the Mulla spoke again, asking what sort of information I was looking for. I told him I needed to find something out about La Dame du Lac, and a great sigh came from nowhere. "I've heard that one before," he said.

"Does that mean you've got nothing?" I asked. The Mulla sighed again and said, "Yes."

"But you've got to have something - you have something on everything!" I protested. The Mulla sighed for a third time and said, "No. Now, unless there's anything else, you'll have to get going." I frowned and shook my head in disbelief, and that's when the fire started. It was quiet at first, a flickering heat that began just beneath my boots and spread out slowly until it reached the endless bookshelves, where the flames erupted into reality. It was pure luck that I hadn't gone far enough into the Library to get lost, and I was able to turn tail and get out before any damage was done to my person.

When I looked back the Library had completely disappeared, as it does.

The previous inquiry still stands. There are two chances left.