Saturday, May 5, 2018

Missy’s Mission: The Future is Written (Part V)

There was a dichotomy for Missy and Dar’cy as they stepped out of Westland Rehabilitation Center, after having spent one year in decent prison conditions. On one side were the cheers and smiles from their fans, accompanied by a group of protesters using this whole incident as a vehicle to open discussion on legal reform as a whole. On the other side were angry protesters, adamantly opposed to their release at all, or their move to a more lax facility. A few believed they should be put to death, or at least that their deaths should moved up on the schedule, like their victim’s was. But after the scandal that landed them a greater sentence than they supposedly earned by Durune law, no deathwatcher in their right mind would risk their own freedom by being involved with the two of them, in any capacity. Others harbored less violent thoughts against them, believing they deserved nothing short of life in prison, perhaps even back in the considerably less hospitable Silversmith Pen. Most of the protesters just thought they owed the full original sentence of eleven years, possibly with parole.
They stood in between these two groups, wondering exactly how far their house was, and how they were going to get there. A car pulled up from the side, and stopped right in front of them. A man stepped out of the driver’s side, and opened the backseat door for them. “Please come with me.”
“Who are you?”
“I work for The Librarian,” he answered. Maybe now that they had faced the consequences of their actions, she had decided to help them with their quest for the cure for chooserism.
They crawled inside, but before they could put their seatbelts on, the driver was opening the door on the other side of the car. “We’re here.”
Missy stopped and looked around. The prison, and all the people around it, were gone. They were parked right next to the main library branch. “This is a teleporting car,” she noted.
“Yes,” the driver answered.
“Why would you need a car at all, if you can teleport?” Dar’cy questioned.
The driver took her hand, and helped her out cordially. “I cannot teleport,” he explained. “The car can.”
A woman they didn’t know stepped out of the building and greeted them. “My name is Keuhla Derricks. I am The Sublibrarian.”
“Oh, so you’re on duty when the Librarian is busy?” Missy guessed.
“Or dead, as is the case now, yes. My family has been passing the torch for decades, waiting for the need to take responsibility.”
“The Librarian is dead?”
“Yes,” Keuhla said. “They all are. Come inside, we will discuss it.”
Such a good day suddenly turned terrible. Once they were inside, they found the place to be deserted. Apparently, few people saw the use for it now that it was back in the right dimension. Or perhaps they were just scared.
“When you pulled the building out of its temporal dimension, time started catching up with it. I told you that everyone was dead, but that is not entirely accurate. A few had entered the dimension at a young enough age to still be alive today.”
“They aged rapidly?” Missy asked, knowing the answer.
“Indeed. But do not feel guilty about this. You could not have known this would happen, nor would there have been any way to bring the library back without this side effect.”
“But all those people,” Dar’cy disagreed. “They’re gone now.”
“True, but I hold no sympathy for them. They came in here to escape. They didn’t escape the horrible abuses of a loved one, or the tyranny of a harsh ruler. They came to escape reality. They came to stick their noses in books, so they wouldn’t have to deal with the little inconveniences of life in the real world.”
“But they were doing research,” Missy cried, feeling again that guilt she was told she didn’t need. “They were learning. What is more noble than learning?”
Keuhla looked at them over her glasses, which always made Missy uncomfortable and agitated when people did that. “What is learning but a precursor to application? The people here contributed nothing to society. They were selfish and closed off. They would have died here having accomplished nothing beyond their own enrichment.”
“And the Librarian? Was she just as bad?”
“It was her job to protect the library. As you’ve expressed, the purpose of knowledge is to share it, and what you did was in service to the spirit to the exchange of ideas. She died proud of you for doing something she had forgotten she should have been working towards figuring out. Do not mourn our loss of her, for she was much older than she looked. The only thing that matters is the library, which is now my responsibility.” She started ruffling through some papers in a bag that was leaning against her chair. “As praxis demands, I will honor her deal with you, by providing the necessary tools for you to find what you’re looking for.” She placed a book on the table between them. There was nothing drawn or written on the cover. Nor was there anything written on the inside.
“It’s blank,” Dar’cy pointed out.
“Do we need lemon juice, or something?”
“It’s a time book.”
Was that supposed to mean something to them?
“It hasn’t been written yet,” she added. “You’re going to have to find someone invoke the text from the future.”
“You wouldn’t happen to kno—” Dar’cy began to ask.
“No,” Keuhla interrupted. “Last I heard of someone like that, who could do something like that, they lived seventy years ago.” She stood up with finality. “I’m just the one who gives you the book.”
Dar’cy looked like she was about to fight her on the imprecision of her help, but Missy stopped her. “Thank you very much. I’m never going to stop being sorry about your boss, or all those people.”
“I know someone who can remove those memories from your brain,” Keuhla said as the other two were turning away.
“But can they remove the scar on my soul?”

The driver ferried them to the house that Andromeda built. He took them the long way around, without using the teleportation feature, so they could get used to being on the outside again. In an odd role reversal, he gave them a silver coin, instead of the other way around. They tried to refuse it, but he said it was important that they take it. When they walked in, they found the place to be immaculate. They hadn’t needed to cover any furniture with blankets, or anything. The appliances switched on without issue, and the faucets worked perfectly. Either someone had come in occasionally to affect maintenance, or the wards that one guy placed on their home had preserved it. Even the food they had left there was still good.
That evening, they stood the book up on end, and placed it at the head of the table while they ate dinner, almost like it was their guest of honor, who just wasn’t hungry right now. They both stared at it, independently trying to decide how they might go about finding someone to make the thing legible. The obvious option was to petition for access to the paramount database, but their relationship with the government was rather awkward at the moment, so that didn’t seem like the absolute best idea.
“Why don’t we just find someone to take us to the future, and read a copy of the book after it’s written?” Dar’cy suggested.
“Time travel trips are expensive ‘an hell. We ain’t got no money. Besides, she never said when it was written. Could be a year, could be a millennium.”
The silence returned for a few more moments.
“We could hold it up to a time mirror,” Missy offered. “Not the easiest way to read text, but not impossible.”
“Do you know anyone who owns a time mirror?” Dar’cy asked. “Besides Leona?”
“Wait, why don’t you just thread it to the future?”
“I thought you didn’t want me to use my powers.”
“Why would you think that?”
“This mission is to find a way to get rid of my powers, not yours. Go ahead and give it a shot.”
Dar’cy took the book in her hands, and concentrated on threading to some future point in time, not really worried about exactly when in the timeline. Missy watched Dar’cy’s body shudder around a little, but it never disappeared completely. She stopped and tried a few more times, but never went anywhere. “My God, it’s like this thing doesn’t exist in the future, or even the past. It’s perpetually stuck in the present.”
Missy shook her head. “This was all worth a try, but there’s a reason the Sublibrarian gave this to us, and why she told us how we can read it. We have to do it that way, or not at all.”
“If we can’t talk to the government, I don’t know how we’ll find someone with the right powers,” she said, like a defeatist.
“They’re not the only people on this planet. There’s also a reason we pushed for voluntarily staying in jail for all that time. We have friends now.”
“We don’t have friends,” Dar’cy clarified. “We have fans.”
“Even better. They tend to be more loyal. Let’s reach out, and see what people know. If they don’t know anyone, they probably know someone who does. We’ll talk to as many people as it takes to get to the bottom of this.”
“Okay,” Dar’cy said, nodding. “I’m down.”

They did as they said they would, and they did it for weeks. They traveled all over the globe, finding people willing to help them any way they could. Many had never heard of anybody who could do anything like that, and couldn’t even lead them to someone who might. Instead, they helped by providing them some good home cooked meals, and places to stay, when they were too far away from home. Of course there were those who denied them from the start, because of Oskari Belker’s death. What would they say if they knew quite how many people Missy had killed? More importantly, how was the Sublibrarian keeping that all under wraps.
They started out with enthusiasm, and twinkling eyes, but as time went on, the tedium wore on them. They became depressed and hopeless. But like a prime minister searching for the love of his life on the longest street in the world, just before they were ready to give up, a pretty brunette answered the door, and knew who they were asking about. The man with said power evidently lived right next door.
He opened up, not with disgust at seeing them, but not with any level of joy either. By all accounts, he was an extremely apathetic person, with an unfathomable poker face.
“Do you know who we are?” Dar’cy asked him.
He shook his head lightly, and shrugged.
“No matter,” Missy said. “We have this book.”
“What’s it about?” he asked.
“We don’t really know.” She presented it to him, and showed some of the pages. “It’s supposed to help us, but the words haven’t been written yet.”
He put on some reading glasses, and peered at the book. Then he took it from her, and examined it closer. “How did you know how to find me?”
“We’ve been at this for over a month,” Dar’cy replied. “Your neighbor seems to think you can do something about this.”
“That woman’s an idiot. As is whomever told you this was a time book.” He swung his arm, and tossed it right into the flames squirming in his fireplace. “It’s just a journal with blank cover.”
“I imagine you were conned. How much did they make you pay for it?”
“Nothing. She just gave it to us. It was a present.”
“Hm. It was a bad present. Maybe she’s the one who overpaid for it. I guarantee it’s not a time book.”
“How do you know for sure?”
He ushered them into his house, and set them down on the couch while he went in the back. Dar’cy grabbed a rice bag from the coffee table, as well as Missy’s hand. “Just in case he comes back with a shotgun, and I have to thread us the hell out of here,” she whispered.
He returned quickly, holding a book of his own. “I know the burning journal isn’t a time book, because this is the time book; the only one of its kind. And I know this...because I created it.”

No comments :

Post a Comment