Page Seven

Willis, Isaac and the weird lady were not making the best progress. They had been following the edge of the library's deterioration for an exceptionally long and uneventful layer. Willis had yet to pick up on the scent of any unidentified blood, but he reasoned that the border between regular library and plankified library was the most likely place to find someone or something that was still in the act of messing up the place. At least, that was his plan when he last remembered exactly what he was doing, but he was a little preoccupied with having hypothetically made something he considered a new friend, whether or not the feeling was mutual.

"Hey Miss Shehrriyllh!" He exclaimed, proud of the way he always just knows exactly how someone's name is spelled. "Yeah, what" was probably what Cheryl responded with, but her exact words weren't as important to Willis.

"Do you know the parlamint?!!" asked Willis, in that special way kids tend to ask questions much more loaded than their social experience can contain.

"Eh" said Cheryl, who didn't care enough to correct any of the child's spelling, "I don't get into politics" she said, in that special way adults tend to dismissively refer to things as "politics" that have nothing to do with matters of governance.

"They're weird! They wanna make everything just one thing. It sounds dumb. I'm already one thing, but it really scares grownups, and some of them act all wrong now. I guess I'm a little scared too..."

Cheryl hadn't been terribly invested in the conversation, but she did go a little quiet. "Y'know, kid, where I'm from even you would scare most people, like literally to death."

"Whaaaaat! Haha! Is that why they're so LOUD!?" said Willis, remembering how your species has responded in the past to being almost lethally exsanguinated by a small, talking bundle of arteries. The number of human beings actually killed by your beloved Willis as he "played" in other zones was not zero, in case you never deduced that before, but that's probably as much about the subject as you're ever going to know, so you can just have fun chewing on that nugget forever.

"Yeah, well, I been there too y'know" continued Cheryl, who correctly guessed that Willis was referring to eliciting the terrified death-wails of more than zero people. "I remember my old lady the first time I branched in front of her, she had no frikkin' idea what was happening! Her eyes bugged clear outta their sockets!" This was a statement she meant very literally, and she never did find out where the ocular orbs had subsequently scurried off to.

"Oh! You had a mom too!?" said Willis, because that was the part of that sentence that stuck out to him as interesting.

"Had one, yeah. Don't know what you would've called it after all that." Cheryl cracked an actual, genuine smile for once, at the memory of what she considered the best birthday ever. She was just about to add something else that you might have considered noteworthy when Isaac, who had been plodding along with a contended burbling, stopped short and emitted a burble of a more disconcerted variety.

"Somethin's wrong with your dead guy" said Cheryl as she nearly bumped into the distorted clump of former Jay-flesh.

The border of the planks took a sharp turn up ahead of them, putting them face to face with a couple rows of plankificated bookshelves. Unlike most of the library shelves, their tops could be seen but their ends could not, stretching on and on an unknown distance.

Willis couldn't detect any fear from Isaac, but he could detect a sort of confused, mildly disgusted worry. The kind you might feel if, let's say, you opened your mailbox to find nothing inside but a warm and partially eaten hot dog.


comments powered by Disqus