Julia walked until she found a library. The only people who went into libraries these days were the homeless and the curious. Some people used the library as a place to hide from the real world. This has always been true, but even more so now in these lawless days.
There was law, of a sort. There were police officers, and judges, and lawyers. Not as many as there were before the disappearances, sure. And not a one of them Visitors. All Quality, or so old they weren’t really either. So the scales weren’t balanced. Not like they ever were for the weaker members of society.
Libraries were a bit like holy ground. Everybody understood deep in their bones that the libraries were safe for everybody. The really questionable people didn’t go into libraries anymore. There was no longer any electricity. That had gone out about two years after the disappearances. With no electricity, there was no reason to check out DVDs. The shaky people had to find another way to feed their addiction to unreality. Reading, even fiction, was too active a way to spend their time.
Julia walked up the sunlit marble staircase to the third floor landing. There was a long low bench there that looked perfect for a nap. No librarians were around to wake her now. The bench was wide and padded with gold velour upholstery. It was meant for either waiting on the landing to catch your breath or for waiting for other members of your party to catch up with you.
These days, Julia decided she was going to use it to catch up on sleep, or perhaps just to daydream. Sometimes her best ideas he came to her when she was “thinking sideways” as she called it. It was like the best ideas were elusive wild animals that had to be snuck up on, rather than approached straight on. She needed some of those wild animals now.
What was the connection? What was the reason for the disappearances? Why did it affect just the parents of a certain age? It just didn’t make sense. Maybe there was some connection with that and the sudden ability of the Visitors to go on their Walks. Surely that wasn’t just a nice bonus. Being able to travel like that was fun, make no mistake about it. But did it have a purpose? Was it related to the disappearances? Did the solution come with the problem?
Julia was raised to think that there was order and purpose to the ‘verse. It helped her, anchored her in a world that often seemed storm-swept. It helped her especially now, when nothing made sense at all.
Think. What are the connections? Julia always thought best when she was daydreaming or writing. The two were the same to her. One looked passive and one looked active, but deep down they were both ways to connect to the Source. She could learn more from writing in her journal than she ever could from asking someone else. That was always a waste of time. They always put their own two bits in, and often those coins were counterfeit.
She pulled out a pencil and her trusty pad of paper from her canvas messenger bag and started to write. She wrote a little bit about her day to start with. The real writing, the real knowing, would come a little later. It always does. But you can’t just jump in. You have to warm up. It had taken her years to learn this. So she started with the usual – places she’d been, Doors and Rooms she’d visited. She might want to make a map later. Not like it could be a usual flat map. Maybe if she could make one that was like a Moebius strip?
Now was the time to ask the question, when the daydreaming and creating had started. All the answers came from the questions.
“What is the connection between the disappearances?” she scribbled on the lined notebook paper. She wrote for a few paragraphs and nothing helpful came. Maybe it would make sense later. She often reread her journals months later to see if there was anything she missed. She was rarely disappointed.
Trouble is, she needed an answer now. She didn’t have time to wait months. This had already gone on too long. She started writing the words that came to her, hoping that something would jump out. Sometimes writing synonyms helped.
Connection. Fiber. Webs. String.
The image of spools of thread, huge reels of it, kept coming to her. The connection had something to do with string, with binding. This seemed too easy. The thing that tied it all together was literally something that ties stuff together?
She wrote a little more, and nothing else came to her. This had to be it. But what did it mean?