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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5

Futures Remembered - REVIEW THIS STORY

Written by Leigh
Last updated: 01/02/2007 02:01:11 AM

Chapter 4

Standing on his tiptoes, Remy peered through the glass panel in the door. The glass was dimpled and the room inside was distorted into a kaleidoscope of brown, white, and a few other colours. Turning to face the stairs behind him, the tiny boy took a step in their direction, and then changing his mind, he turned to face the twin doors again. The door farthest from him stood open, inviting entrance. Inhaling deeply, he crept back to his former post, but instead of straining to peer through the window, he quickly darted his head through the adjacent opening.

A woman sat behind a dauntingly large oak counter. Her hair was dirty blonde and pulled back in a loose ponytail. Strands had come loose and fell around her face giving her a dishevelled appearance. Her face was bare except for thick fake eyelashes that overwhelmed her eyes and bright fuchsia lipstick. And she was totally engrossed in her book.

Seeing his chance, Remy slipped through the door and hastily darted between the closest shelves. Once out of sight he came to a halt. All around him were shelves of books, towering over his diminutive form, yet Remy did not feel intimidated. Instead, he revelled in the expanse of knowledge that surrounded him. Remy loved this intricate maze of a library. Formerly a residence in the French Quarter, the building had been converted to a library about 40 years back. A myriad of passageways and stairwells connected the shelf-laden rooms into a charming format that endeared itself to all its patrons. The lower floor had been remodelled to consist of a large chamber for the fiction books and a series of small reading lounges. Twin wooden stairwells led to a semi-circular landing which housed the entrance to many a room filled with non-fiction and reference books, as well as a study hall.

It was the world at the top of those stairs that Remy truly treasured and brought him back to this place time and time again. It was here where he found himself again on this day. Turning to face the shelves on his left, he looked at the label attached to the spine on one of the books. 112.13 STA. Metaphysics. He traced the spine of the book fondly. Sorry. Not t’day. Later. Promise. Slowly he began to wander through the shelves. His fingers lightly trailing along the spines as he passed: 120 - Epistemology; 130 - Paranormal Phenomena; 140 - Philosophical Schools; 150 - Psychology. He paused and cocked his head to the side. Non. I read all de ones wort’ reading anyway.

He continued to wind his way through the island of shelves, stopping occasionally to examine a book, until he came to a halt. Mythology. I feel like a story. Reaching on his tiptoes, he pulled a book off the shelf. Its cover was rich brown leather with gold script embossing decorating the front. Tucking it under his arm, he quietly made his way to a dark corner of the room and settled himself in, starting to read.

‘How Uther Pendragon sent for the duke of Cornwall and Igraine his wife, and of their departing suddenly again.

It befell in the days of Uther Pendragon, when he was king of all England, and so reigned, that there was a mighty duke in Cornwall that held war against him long time. And the duke was called the Duke of Tintagil. And so by means King Uther sent for this duke, charging him to bring his wife with him, for she was called a fair lady, and a passing wise, and her name was called Igraine.

So when the duke and his wife were come unto the king, by the means of great lords they were accorded both. The king liked and loved this lady well, and he made them great cheer out of measure, and desired to have lain by her. But she was a passing good woman, and would not assent unto the king. And then she told the duke her husband, and said, I suppose that we were sent for that I should be dishonoured; wherefore, husband, I counsel you, that we depart from hence suddenly, that we may ride all night unto our own castle. And in like wise as she said so they departed, that neither the king nor none of his council were ware of their departing. All so soon as King Uther knew of their departing so suddenly, he was wonderly wroth. Then he called to him his privy council, and told them of the sudden departing of the duke and his wife…’

Audrey Bransby idly chewed on her lower lip. The fuchsia lipstick was smudged out of borders, leaving a stain on her upper chin. She flicked over a page of her book. It was her one guilty indulgence. A woman of her erudition should not be given to reading cheesy Historical Romances, but they were an easy read and a small escape.

A flicker of movement caught her eye. She scanned the room. Her eyes glanced over the far corner but saw nothing but shadows. A loud bang was heard from one of the back isles, Social Sciences - Economics to be exact. A harried young man looked guiltily in her direction. He bent down to pick up the fallen book while precariously balancing a stack of others under his other hand. He straightened and exited to the adjoining room through an archway on the far wall. In it was the 400’s and 500’s - Language, and Natural Sciences and Mathematics. The rooms that followed held the Technology section, The Arts, various books in the Literature and Rhetoric section that did not really fit in the non-fiction section downstairs, Geography and History, and finally the study hall - undoubtedly where the young man was headed. Audrey smiled, and wondered if the utility of spending so much time in those mostly ill-written Economics books actually outweighed the opportunity costs. She chuckled. After three years of study, she had realised that economics did just boil down to supply and demand and their reactions in the face of scarcity, and that almost everything else could be explained in terms economics.

A loud clickety-clack of high-heel shoes could be heard from one of the stairwells outside. Quickly stuffing the book into a drawer, Audrey swivelled her chair around and started to busy herself organising the stamped library cards. She knew that sound. Nobody else could manage to make the click of heels against wood sound so imposing. Ms. Broussard appeared in the doorway, strong angry steps carrying her to the counter. Audrey was always surprised that such a diminutive form could contain such vehemence. Her black hair was jelled back in a tight bun and she had piercing grey eyes. She always reminded Audrey of a Fiscal Shrike, small, sleek and beautiful, yet vicious and relentless, earning its nickname of ‘The Butcher Bird.’

“Mademoiselle Bransby,” she announced, her voice prim and proper with barely a hint of her true accent showing through. It was as sharp and as cold as the North wind. “I trust you have finished your work.” Without waiting for a reply, she snatched the cards and began examining them. “Impossible. I shall have to do it myself. I suppose I shall have to examine the other rooms as well. And Mademoiselle, please do read that trash on your own time. This is a respectable library.” With that she stormed towards the archway. Halfway there she paused mid-stride, and changed direction towards the far corner. Puzzled Audrey came round the corner to catch a look at Ms. Broussard’s newly acquired target. There was nothing there but ill-shapen shadows.

“Get out of here you filthy street rat! This is not a place for the likes of you! This is a place for decent, upstanding citizens, not for contagious pieces of filth to laze about in! I shall call the police!” Her high-pitched screeching shattered the calm ambience of the library. Browsers froze, scared that the slightest movement might deflect her wrath their way. Suddenly the shadows erupted into the form of a small boy. With impossible speed he dashed past Ms. Broussard and down the stairwells. Ms. Broussard was not one to be bested. She gave chase, shrieking threats with each menacing step.

Audrey walked over to the corner where the boy had been sitting. She knew the boy. She had seen him in here often, almost daily. He was quiet and unobtrusive. She often wondered what he was doing in this section of the library. He was way too young to be interested in what these shelves had to offer, yet she always caught glimpses of him in the most unusual places--Ancient Philosophy, ltalic languages and Latin, Engineering, Architecture, Political Science and Economics. She could have sworn he had worked his way through the entire Psychology section, but knew this could not be true. He most probably just appreciated the serenity and warmth the building offered.

She picked up the fallen book, ‘Le Morte d'Arthur’ - Sir Thomas Malory’s original version of the tales of King Arthur from 1485. She cracked it open, and traced her fingertips over the colourful illustrations. He must have been looking at the pictures.

In all honesty, the scraggly boy in his oversized clothing and lopsided sunglasses had charmed his way into her heart. She hoped that he would return, but knew in her heart that he wouldn’t.


- The numbering system frequently mentioned (e.g. 150 – Psychology) refers to Dewey Decimal Classification It is a method of classifying knowledge for the purpose of cataloguing books and other library materials. It was devised by Melvil Dewey and first published in 1876. It is used in numerous libraries all over the world and perfect for smaller and non-specialised collections. Can you tell who spent 7 years as an assistant librarian? :)

- Le Morte d’Athur by Sir Thomas Malory, Book I, Chapter 1.

3 - A special thanks goes out to Crystalwren who, while not asking for recognition, deserves it. :)


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