After Beltran’s visit, some of my restrictions were lifted. I was not allowed to speak to Etude, and I had no idea where in the cavernous dungeons he was being held—the same dungeons where the Eye was discovered some seven centuries before. I was also kept from the high towers, where everything important seemed to happen, but there was a garden in a square left open to the sky, and I was allowed access to it and the library, my one luxury.
It was utterly, unspeakably magnificent and so large that one could easily get lost. I was never a scholar like Hank, but being raised in the centuries before television, books have remained my first love. I spent many, many hours between those stacks in the company of ghosts who would sometimes steal one of my treasures when my back was turned—at least, until I learned to be more cautious and to feign interest in books I had no intention of opening again. Their thefts were an attempt, I’m sure, to get me to go innocently searching, to explore the dark archways, caged nooks, and octagonal chambers that abounded at all levels of the library. It wasn’t explicitly a labyrinth, but it was certainly labyrinthine. I was sure that through at least one of those arches—which were especially numerous at the lower levels, full as they were of columns holding the whole of it aloft—I could fall into the shadow realm. The dead are often attracted to...
This thinker observed that all the books, no matter how diverse they might be, are made up of the same elements. He also alleged a fact which travelers have confirmed: In the vast Library there are no two identical books. From these two premises he deduced...
(Fiction) The Winter Bureau
I cannot describe what followed since I was not conscious to witness it. For the longest time, two curses waged war within me: one granting me eternal life, the other eternal undeath. It seemed neither could get the better of the other. I was wracked with tremors and night sweats that emerged between long bouts of still coma, by which I mean years. Twenty-three, in total. I was kept in a sanitarium, expenses covered by The Masters, or rather by their proxies. This was not done out of charity or obligation but rather because mine was a unique case deemed worthy of study. It seems no one in the world knew what would happen—or what to do.
Anna saw also that men would land on the moon—as well as distant worlds as-yet unnamed. But of her visions, there was only one—again, lost on me at the time—that is worth mentioning. I did not witness it. It must have happened some time I was away. She was scrubbing a pot at the drain in the floor, for we had no sink. She dipped a rag in a tub of water and scraped bits of food free and glanced at me once, then twice.