The Librarian

[A chapter of The Holder of Deliverance.]

File found.
Date: Aug-01-08
Author: J. Quincy
This dark world is filled with questions. Where do the Objects come from? Why do they exist? Why must we Seek them? What happens to Holders when their Object is taken? We don’t know the answer to these questions. Seekers live in a dark and unknown world, and our only comfort is our hobby.

Though they can be found anywhere, a surprising number of Holders can be found in mental institutions. We often get asked, “Why mental institutions?” It’s because that’s where they feel most at home. That’s where we would end up, after all.

I take a step forward, but the Librarian’s smile suddenly disappears. He holds me back with an open palm and gives me an urgent stare.

“You have an Object, don’t you?”

The question startles me slightly, but I recover quickly. “Yes.”

“Then please, leave it outside.”


“I’ll explain when we’re inside.”

I withdraw the bullet casing from my pocket and hold it in my hand. It tingles to the touch; it still feels as warm as the moment I discharged it. Lovingly, I wrap my fingers around it.

“Why?” I ask again, more forcefully.

He levels his gaze at me through his glasses. “Because it puts me in danger.”
The blunt statement comes in low and catches me off guard. Taking a second look at the casing in my hand, the only thing I can remember now is the terror on Thompson’s face before I left him.

In a sudden moment of clarity, I decide to ignore the voice, just this once. The casing makes a soft tink as it hits the step at my feet, and he smiles again and waves me inside. The inside of Librarian’s house is more or less how I visualized it. It’s messy and dark, and every room is piled with books and papers.

“Excuse the mess.” The Librarian leads me to his study, the messiest room in the house. We weave our way through the shelves and piles of books until we reach his desk. Most of them are covered in a thick layer of dust, making them look ancient.

“Gum?” he asks, offering a pack.

“No thanks.” It’s difficult to keep a scowl off my case—he doesn’t know I wouldn’t taste it.

He’s almost unnervingly friendly. The Seekers as I understand them now are paranoid people that avoid social contact, making the Librarian the most abnormal one I’ve met.

“How did you know I was coming?”

“Your relentless pursuit has been wholly noticeable,” he says, as if stating the obvious. “I’ve been watching your quest for a while now, and I could guarantee you that any Seeker that knows about Snow White also knows about you. Thompson was the one that referred you to me, right? I don’t know if you’ve heard, but he committed suicide soon after you met him. Hung himself in his closet.”

I grumble a little at how nonchalantly he says it. I remember that most Seekers don’t like the Librarian for some reason. They call him a wannabe Seeker. “Is that what you do? Just watch and research? You don’t have any Objects yourself, do you?”

“No. I try to stay away from them as much as possible. Seekers are like drug addicts, always consumed by the desire to keep Seeking. So, if I keep them away from me as much as possible, I won’t lose my mind.”

He says it so simply, so childishly. “Then, why are you even researching them?”

“Like you, I didn’t choose to find out about the Holders and Seekers. Still, it’s an interesting world, with such esoteric knowledge. Tempting to anyone with a taste for the unknown, right? I want to help the Seekers find their answers, but I’d rather go the rest of my life without ever holding an Object again.”

“So, you’ve had one in the past?”

He glares at me, and has a slightly annoyed look on his face. I’ve stepped over the line. “Perhaps your inquiries are better directed to the subject of Snow White?” He turns away and begins to roam through a stack of papers on his desk, huffing slightly. There’s nothing I can do now but drive at the truth.

“Is she human? Is she a Seeker?”

“To call her human is too great a charity. Whether she’s a Seeker or not is up for debate.”

“What can you tell me about the Pendulum?”

He pulls out a piece of paper and holds it out to me. It’s a page ripped out of a new notebook, written in neat and concise English.

“It’s what I’ve been able to put together of the instructions to get the Pendulum from its Holder.”

“Great,” I say, taking it and pocketing it. “One more thing, then. If you’ve been researching the Pendulum, you must know where it is now.”

At this point, the Librarian seems to withdraw. His smile disappears like a light bulb shorting out, and he avoids my eyes. “It’s your own fault, you know, that you got wrapped up in this. There’s no way out of it, now.”

“I know!” I yell impatiently. My yell fills the room and makes the Librarian cringe. I lower my voice, but advance on him. I won’t let him slip away. “I know what I’m getting myself into. I know it’s a dead end road. Just tell me where to go. I need to know where it is.”

The resignation in his face builds as I bear down on him, until he finally gives. “It’s here, in Boston. A colleague of mine has it now. Allen Dahl.”

He hands me a business card with his address, and I put in my pocket.

“Is there anything else you want to ask me?” he asks.

I stare at him for a long time, long enough for him to begin feeling uncomfortable. Only then do I speak.

“Why do the Seekers need the Objects?”

His eyes are wide with surprise, but he then laughs at my question.

“Interesting question! I can’t count how many times I’ve heard that asked. But, that knowledge can’t be fully known by any sane person. Only the Holders know.”

“That’s all I need,” I say with a smirk.

“Then you’d better hurry if you want to get there before Snow White does.”

The Librarian follows me as I bound out the door and back toward my car, and he watches me pull away, squealing my tires. After I’ve disappeared from sight, he gives an audible sigh, and turns back to the threshold. His foot bumps something metallic, and he looks down to see the empty casing that still rests on the step.

A faint whisper calls to him.
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