134: The Books

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Image: Uncredited, Pintrest.com

Some books were bound in blue with silver lettering, while others were red with gold leaf. Some were plain brown leather with iron latches, while others were covered in a vibrant purple silk that wrapped around the pages several times over.

Most of the books looked to be made with paper, while some looked like they were written on glinting metal, or old wrinkled animal skins. One was even a bound collection of wooden slats with strange letters burned into the wood.

Edmund felt almost sick with awe and wonder when he finally reached the bottom floor. Unable to contain himself, Edmund grabbed a book from the rear-most shelf. Opening it, his face was hit by the thick smell of ancient paper. Inhaling deeply, Edmund read a single line from the page:

“It seems clear that even in the harshest lands, the aboriginal peoples seem drawn to the flint stone as a tool, rather than a symbol, suggesting that utilitarianism is a suitable anathema to superstitious thought.”

Edmund let the phrase wash over his brain, chewing and swallowing it like a fine piece of beef. He let the book fall from his hands, and grabbed another.

“My professional pride forces me to admit that perhaps there is no connection between the two events, but my soul as an historian, gentlemen, and Englishman force me to delve deeper into the details and instigating factors of these moments to insure that there is nothing more suggestive hidden there.”

And another.

“See how the colors merge and blend, taking the vibrant and natural red hues and turning them to a foul and heathenistic blue, indicative of the tinctures caustic and destructive inherent nature that obviously stems from its origins in the colonies.”

Each phrase was more delectable than the last, full of verbs, clauses, and beautiful prepositions that teased him on to new and dizzying heights. Edmund’s head began to spin with each breath, until he was almost hearing the words in the books calling out to him, greeting him and promising him great wonders if he would only read them first. Edmund danced down the aisles and waved to the books as he passed, laughing and politely returning the greeting of each one, until his legs ached.

Finally, he collapsed into a nearby oaken chair with a loud scrape that echoed through the marble library like an alarm to wake the ancient texts from their sleep. He stared at the large bronze tree that dominated the center of the bottom floor, drinking in the deep and musty smells of the ages. Even the chair he was sitting in had the feel of ancient oak, solid as steel, and smooth as polished brass. The tables were beautifully carved, with legs that looked like animal legs, or twisting vines, or laboring humans, their shining eyes open to the world.

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