• The Library of En Moll

    Enjoy the journey while you can
    Nothing did stop you as you ran
    Might the stories take you once more
    Out this world and through a better door
    Like some never ending dreams
    Life is never what it seems

    Chapter 1 – Where it all Started

    It all started on a little street corner by a busy road. At least, Bree assumed it did. Never, during the entire course of events, did she ever find her way out to see whether the whole world had changed or just the part she was in. But the library was on the corner and the library was where her adventure began and so we’ll say that that’s where it all started.

    The library was a very nice one. It used to be much smaller and run-down, but then a group of concerned citizens of the neighborhood began collecting money until they could tear down the library and build it again, this time bigger and prettier. It was very much an improvement: There was a room for old magazines and newspapers and a room for adult and teenage books. Bree never even glanced at magazines and there were no adult books that she could understand, if they even interested her at all. But she did enjoy reading and there was one final room, specially built for children. The books were written for toddlers who couldn’t even read (those had lots of pictures) all the way to the fifth graders (like Bree would be, in few year’s time). The room was beautiful and bright with a large clothes basket full of dolls dressed as kings and queens and court jesters for children to play with. There was a shelf crammed with board games that were all battered and mostly missing cards or pieces. There were colorful posters and pictures decorating the wall as well. Bree’s favorite was a large one of Mother Goose riding a swan over a crescent moon. It was across from that picture she often sat, exploring new books and glancing at it fondly whenever she grew bored of reading.

    This time, Bree came to the library much sleepier than usual. She had been up very late the previous night. Her tutor had spent last Friday practicing vocabulary words with her. Her mother overheard her guessed definitions and as a result, Bree found herself spending a good deal of her next few evenings staying up to practice her words. “Though,” she said to herself, “why do we have to learn so many difficult words? I know it’s helpful for conversation, but what’s the use of using such big complicated ones like ‘foreign’ or ‘dastardly’? When I speak, I use simple words that everyone knows.”

    That is why when Bree sat down in her favorite chair, she found herself unable to concentrate on her book. She looked at the words and knew that a girl was talking to a white king with two messengers with odd names, but she had trouble keeping track of everything. There was a pain in her head and her eyes felt very heavy. She looked at the portrait of Mother Goose and it almost seemed to swim before her. She closed her eyes and leaned back against the chair. The pain lessened and she felt much better. Her thoughts began to dance with each other and one came right after another until she wasn’t sure if she was thinking one or another or neither. “Mother Goose looks so happy on the moon,” she thought. “I wish I was with her. I wonder what it’s like up there. If I could, I’d love to go to the moon. Oh, but I’ve heard it’s very cold there so I’d need to bring a jacket. And is there air there or not? I can’t quite remember. But if there isn’t, how is Mother Goose there? Maybe gooses don’t need air? Gooses, no that’s not right, is it? Isn’t it geese? But then does that always work? You don’t say ‘I saw three meese today’, it’s ‘I saw three mooses’. But are mooses and geese that similar…? Mooses are very large. I’d bet that if I found one, I could ride it very easily to school. Imagine how that would be (she smiled at the thought of it). Everyone else would take a bus and I’d come up on my pet moose. But where would I find one? And what would I feed it? Maybe chocolate. Do mooses like chocolate? It’s so delicious and matches their fur. If I had a moose, I’d bet there would be enough room for me to bring another person along. Wouldn’t there? So I could give someone else a ride, couldn’t I? But who? Maybe Terri, she’s very nice. But Bridget gave me a cookie at lunch the other day, so maybe I’d give her a ride. Not Joey though. He makes fun of my name and pulls my hair. I wonder, is hair the same as fur? It seems to be. But if it is the same, then why do they have two different names? Why not just call it ‘hair’ or just ‘fur’? Why two names? Maybe whoever named them can’t decide on which to pick. Maybe they could be combined. I can just hear my mother now, ‘Bree, give your hur a good washing! It’s getting filthy’. Or what about, ‘Bree, keep the dog off of the chair! He’ll get fair all over the up-holstery’. Whatever up-holstery is. Really, grownups have the oddest names for things. I think I read a story about up-holstery once, but I can’t remember. Maybe I should go and look for it. But I’m too tired to sit up…”

    She shifted slightly and began to notice a faint noise. It was so low she could hardly hear it, but it wasn’t as if it were soft. It sounded like a party of people, gathered far away talking as loud as they liked. “Which is odd,” thought Bree, “because everyone knows that you must stay quiet in a library. Maybe they don’t know that. Does everyone really? I wonder. I wonder whose party it is. I don’t remember there being one when I sat down here. Did it just start?”

    Bree slowly opened her eyes, but found that it didn’t help much. At first, she thought that the lights in the room had been turned out. It was dark, almost too dark to see anything. The chair seemed the same, but everything else was different. The floor, once soft with carpeting, now was strangely hard. Not hard like wood though. “Stone, is it?” wondered Bree. She looked up and her eyes widened. The ceiling had been replaced with something new as well. Instead of the usual plaster, there was a foggy glass of all things. She could only just see through it well enough to make out the outlines of people walking around up there. “I wonder what sort of people would be here?” thought Bree. “Is Mama here also? Are my sisters?” As she looked around however, she decided that they weren’t. If they were, they most likely would have been calling for her. For a moment, Bree was worried. Suppose her mother decided to leave and Bree got in trouble for not coming? But then Bree decided that it certainly wasn’t her fault that she came to this strange place.

    She stood up from the chair and looked around. Since it wasn’t her fault she was there and she didn’t know how long she would stay, she saw no harm in looking around, at least to find out where she was. There was a door to the left of the chair and Bree went through it.

    The next room was much lighter with a green carpet and Bree liked it very much. Better still, she could hear voices. “If there’re people, I can ask them where I’m at,” she reasoned. “I wonder what kind of people live here?”

    There seemed to be two people and they were in some sort of argument.

    “Deus ex machina!” cried the first. “Can you speak plainly and tell me what it is you are trying to say?”

    “Knowledge rests not upon truth alone, but upon error also,” replied the second. He sounded torn between sadness and fury, as if he had repeated those words many times before. “Writer's block is a disease for which there is no cure, only respite!”

    “Yes, so you keep saying. But what does that mean?”

    “Hello?” called Bree uncertainly.

    Both people jumped. “And look!” said the first speaker. Bree could see that he was a tall man (he seemed almost taller than he really was) with long red hair tied back into a braid (although Bree thought that only girls did that). “A new writer is here and we need more books!”

    “You could compile the worst book in the world entirely out of selected passages from the best writers in the world,” replied the second person grumpily. He was sitting on the floor, so it was much harder to see how tall he was. His hair was dark and his eyes were large and almost seemed to be speaking.

    The first man sighed and turned to Bree. “I’m very sorry Miss, but the Library is closed right now. If you came here with something specific in mind, you’ll have to wait for a bit to come back before you can write it.”

    “I’m not here to write anything,” said Bree. “I wanted to look around.”

    “Don’t be silly!” said the red-headed man. “No one just comes here without a reason. Everything has a reason here. Or it ought to. Some things more than others,” he added, giving a glance at the second man, sitting on the floor miserably.

    “Why does he talk so funny?” asked Bree, indicating to the man on the floor.

    “To be difficult, I’d imagine. I can’t make heads or tails of him.”

    “If you follow reason far enough it always leads to conclusions that are contrary to reason,” said the man on the floor.

    “You see what I mean? Now then, why are you here, if not to write?”

    “I don’t know,” said Bree. “I just am. Where am I?”

    “You,” said the red-haired man, “Are in the Library of En Moll.”

    “But where is that?” asked Bree. “I’ve never heard of the Library of En Moll before in my life!”

    “I’m not surprised,” said Rob. “It’s only ever visited by writers and they don’t tell about it.”

    “Why not?”

    “Would you believe them if they did? In any case, you must be here for some reason, even if you don’t know it.”

    Bree still was not convinced that there was a reason, but she decided that it was not worth arguing over. “What’s your name?” she asked instead. “You never told it to me.”

    “I didn’t? How rude of me,” commented the red-headed man, “I am Rob Eke Poke, otherwise known as the Bookkeeper. This soggy-looking fellow here,” he added, pointing to the man sitting on the floor, “is Torque.”

    “Those are strange names,” said Bree.

    “They are not!” said Rob, looking offended. “They’re quite normal.”

    “I’ve never heard of a person named ‘Torque’ before,” said Bree.

    “Not where you come from maybe,” said Rob. “Here, they are very useful names!”

    “How so?”

    “They give us our titles.”

    “How do you have titles?” asked Bree. “You’re people and people can’t have titles.”

    “Certainly they can,” said Rob. “All of the Staff here have titles so we know what our jobs are. For example,” he explained with a little more than a hint of pride in his voice, “I serve the Library by fixing and caring for the books. I keep them clean and tidy and sorted. For this, I was granted the title of ‘Bookkeeper’.”

    “It is not titles that honor men, but men that honor titles,” said Torque drily.

    “No one asked you,” snapped Rob. “You go off! Go on, go!”

    Torque made a face, but stood up and left the room. “Vanity is the quicksand of reason!” he called over his shoulder as he left.

    Rob rolled his eyes and continued. “As I was saying, everyone at the Library has a title, from the Staff to the books.”

    “Don’t you mean ‘everything’ has a title in the case of books? Books aren’t people,” pointed out Bree.

    “Yes they are!” said Rob. “Or they are here in any case. Didn’t you hear them, all walking around?”

    “Those were the books?” asked Bree. “But where I come from, books can’t walk or talk at all.”

    “Well certainly not,” said Rob. “But things are different here. This is the Library where ALL books come from. Every book in existence is written and kept here. That’s why it was built so large! Nine floors!”

    “Why do you need so many floors?” asked Bree.

    “Everyone likes to keep sorted. The older ones, that is. The newer ones don’t mind so much.”

    “Don’t you mean the ‘younger ones’?” asked Bree.

    “I mean what I said,” said Rob. “Don’t you know that if I didn’t mean something, I wouldn’t have said it?”

    “Where I come from, people often say things they don’t mean,” pointed out Bree. “Sometimes they don’t even mean to.”

    “Never here,” said Rob. “In any case, book types go to different floors. The ground floor – here – is where information and computer books. There’s very little interesting conversation here. Mostly they talk in their own language of zeros and ones.”

    “But you need letters to talk, not numbers,” said Bree.

    “They don’t, but they’re the only ones who can speak that language, so I never bother with them for conversation. One floor up you can find much better discussions. That’s where the Philosophy books are, you know. If you can keep up with them, then I highly recommend a visit there.”

    “What if you can’t keep up?”

    “Well, then you can try the second floor, to discuss texts with the Religion books. You’d be wise to go there with an open mind though.”

    “How is that the ‘second floor’?” asked Bree, confused. “Shouldn’t it be the third?”

    “No, we’re on the floor zero. Then there’s the first, then there’s the second. The third floor is very dry. That’s where the Economic and Political Science books go to drink brandy and smoke cigars and have wine and cheese while debating over which of their views is the best.”

    “Have they ever decided?” asked Bree.

    “Never,” sighed Rob holding his head. “It gives me a headache whenever have to go up there. If you are interested in learning different languages, then you’d want to go to the fourth floor. The books there speak nearly everything. Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Javanese, Swahili, Gibberish, Greek, Latin, Pig Latin, and many others.”

    “How does Pig Latin work anyway?” asked Bree.

    “It doesn’t ‘work’,” explained Rob. “It’s what pigs used to speak in ancient times. They don’t speak it anymore though, and people misunderstood it and gave the language their own rules.”

    “I see,” murmured Bree, very confuse. “I never heard that before.”

    “Naturally. It was probably forgotten long ago. Now then, on the fifth floor, you find the science books, which are very intellectual, but not very creative. The sixth floor is very similar, with all books on technology. The seventh floor is nicer, with books on the arts.”

    “With lots of pictures of paintings, do you mean?” asked Bree.

    “Pictures of paintings and buildings and movies. They have any and all kinds of arts, from dancing to photography to glasswork to stage performances.”

    “I thought that art was just paintings,” said Bree.

    “Anything may be a work of art,” said Rob, “if a person puts enough effort into it. The eighth floor has literature of many different kinds and cultures. Novels, short stories, poetry, fables, and myths, fiction and nonfiction, they’re all found there.”

    “What are they like?” asked Bree.

    “Very good! There’s nothing more enjoyable than a chat with a good piece of fiction. Very interesting conversation you get. Except for some of the Young Adult Fiction - those can be a bit vague and shallow – but really they are all a lively and cheerful lot,” said Rob. “Talking to them is like having the best storyteller in the world read to you. They know exactly what kind of tones of voice to use or what kind of accents and they never stumble on words. It’s my favorite floor of them all,” added Rob.

    “And what’s on the ninth floor?”

    “The ninth floor,” said Rob, “has all of the ‘ancients’, that is history, geography, and biographies, any books that tell about what has already been. It’s very interesting if you like that sort of thing.”

    “Are those all of the books then?” asked Bree, trying to keep the different kinds of books straight in her head.

    “Yes. And then there’s the Staff rooms. Those are where the Staff live, you know.”

    “What other Staff members are there?”

    “Besides me and Torque? Well, there’s Gar Am An. She’s got quite an important job herself. She fixes the titles of everything. She is immensely talented and quite attractive as well. A very stunning one, she is. Complete mastery of word manipulation that is her gift!” said Rob, smiling and looking thoughtful.

    “I don’t think I’ve had ‘manipulation’ on my vocabulary list yet,” commented Bree, not noticing the smile or the faraway look on Rob’s face.

    “Well, that doesn’t matter,” said Rob, quickly recovering. “Would you like to meet her?

    “Very much,” said Bree.

    “Excellent!” said Rob. “Just follow me then, and… not now!”

    The end of the sentence came from him seeing what appeared to be a thin piece of paper fluttering on an unfelt breeze towards them. With a look of disgust, Rob reached out and grabbed it from the air.

    “What is that?” asked Bree.

    “This,” said Rob, rolling his eyes and waving it in the air, “is a page taken from one’s own book. That is to say whenever a book requires my assistance, they pull a page from themselves and send it to find me.”

    “Doesn’t that hurt?” asked Bree.

    “Oh no, not at all,” Rob assured her. “Every book here is given this page especially for such a purpose and it fits right back in. It would be like if you could remove your arm, send it to run an errand, and then put it back in your shoulder later! Or perhaps that wasn’t the best analogy,” he added, seeing the look of alarm on Bree’s face. “In any case, it means I have a job to do right away and you’ll have to go see Gar on your own.”

    “Do I really – I mean, how do I find her?” asked Bree, very nervous about wandering the Library on her own.

    “It’s not very hard to find her,” said Rob. “All you must do is go up the stairs in the room on the right. She would be just up there, on the second floor. Towards the back though, so there’s a bit of traveling.”

    And with that he nodded goodbye to Bree and set off muttering to himself.