Salma knew she had not left it open. Today she specifically remembered shutting it, locking it, right before she made breakfast. She had slept poorly, but at least her hunger remained. She had decided to have eggs on toast, garlic and jam, everything that would assuage her hunger when she had heard the sound in the other room.
It wasn’t the first time that a sound meant nothing. This house made a lot of sounds. Salma checked anyway, unable to stop herself. In her old place, an apartment in the city, one could assume that if a sound came from the other room something had actually moved, fallen over, for some reason. Here? Certainly something could have fallen, but it would have been replaced by the time she arrived. The cottage wanted her to move from the kitchen and had tricked her once more.
This time the house’s goal was to get her out of the way. In order to open the window and set her food on the sill for the birds, who picked the grains off her crust and out of her jam. Salma stared in horror, before rushing over to shoo them off.
I wondered why they did it. Why now. I sat down on the swing next to the boy, our tears as silent as each other’s. All I could think about was our last conversations. Was it the talk about the Official? The mention of doing something? Something that none of us could do? All the power they had left, with all of the power contained within their magic, seemed to be the power to make sure their father wasn’t caught harbouring magicians and their tomes.
Or was it that? Was it the slow drain of their very being, caused by their incarceration, necessitated for their own safety. From the fear of what would happen if they were discovered.
The boy eventually left. I tried to make it so it didn’t look like I had been crying when I finally went home. I would have to do this for many months.
Pushing down the established path
A keen set of eyes preluding wrath
Tries to temper the growing fears
Rage will snap before the tears
Only for the uniform to snap them in place
Letting them know when to save face
My thoughts filled with the Keeper. Only them. “But what about them?”
The boy still didn’t look at me, but as he wiped his face with his sleeve I knew the answer. Why we couldn’t go together. Why no one could go anymore.
The Keeper had closed the way. No one to get in or out. Not even them.
I wondered if they were still playing their pocket pet, or if it was already too late. The Librarian’s avoidance seemed to be my memory causing me direct pain. Of course it was. If it wasn’t…
No, if the Keeper closed the way, there would be nothing the Librarian could do. This I was certain of. He wouldn’t have let them do that. All I could imagine was that it happened while the Official was there, because he would have stopped them otherwise. With the Official there… a death sentence, not only for the Keeper, but for everyone. For the library. For the tomes that the Keeper sealed.
She cursed her luck that would make her have to drive to her meet up alone, rather than catching the bus with the rest of her team. She cursed it more when her car broke down.
In the middle of nowhere, it seemed. She knew that just over that ridge there was civilization, but at the moment that seemed too far away. Between risking someone breaking into her car and being late for the meet, she chose to risk the car. She couldn’t let the team down.
Stepping out of the ice, she heard the crunch. As confusion overtook her, she looked down at the ice.
But it’s been nowhere near freezing, she thought, clouds suddenly forming as she exhaled.
She could have hidden back in her car, but she knew she wasn’t that far away. There was another road that had more traffic, if only she hadn’t been coming from a friend’s. She could get to town that way. Fast. She wouldn’t miss the match.
One step after another, she left the plane of existence without knowing it.
September. Where did August go? Probably a question I should stop asking. A month always feels like it lasts forever until the end is nigh and then it feels strangely short. August did have thirty one days, right? I think so, I’m writing this on the 31st.
Word count wise, August wasn’t the best for me. Editing and preparing for publishing this year? Definitely good. Still keeping up on that.