Sunday, November 14, 2004

Chapter 21

Seamus and Cassidy took the copy of The Princess Bride over to a window that let some light in from a street lamp outside. Seamus started thumbing through the pages.

"Do you know this book?" he asked.

"Well, I know the story pretty well," Cassidy replied. "I read it once, yonks ago, but I've also seen the movie about a dozen times."

"I've read it three or four times at least. There are some sections that I even go back and read as stand-alone stories sometimes, just because I like them so much."

As he turned the pages, he could see the words that still flitted around under the skin of his right hand. They seemed to be responding to the book he was holding. The words that came periodically into focus were all clearly from the story.

"Look at this," he said, spreading his hand out over the open book for Cassidy to see. They watched a few words go by.

Count Rugen… machine… Zoo of Death… albino… pain…

"Strange," remarked Cassidy, "It seems to be focusing on the bad guys and the torture chamber. That's rather unpleasant of it. Not a mention of Buttercup in there, or Westley, or even Inigo and Fezzik."

"Yeah, you're right. Weird."

Seamus moved his hand away and they turned their attention back to the book.

"So what do you think we should be looking for in here?" Cassidy asked.

"Well, we know the Book isn't going to be mentioned explicitly in here. But it's probably safe to assume that if we go in here, we're going to be looking for another book, or something book-related. Makes sense, right?"


"So where in here are we most likely to find books? What would be a good scene to bibliomorph into?"

They thought about this for a minute. The Princess Bride had a lot of things – sword fighting, adventure, true love, revenge – but not a whole lot of books. Seamus knew that there had to be some way to make this work, since in theory any book would work. But he was beginning to think there may have been an easier choice. He glanced at Cassidy, who he was beginning to realize had an interesting habit of wiggling her ears very slightly when she was thinking. The ear that didn't have the patch of blue hair next to it had a ring in the upper lobe, and he was distracted for a minute just watching it twitch. Then she spoke up.

"I know! How about going to see Miracle Max?"

"Perfect! He's bound to have plenty of books around, and lots of them are likely to be magic or miraculous. Where is that section?"

They found it at the top of page 244 and skimmed over the scene to get it fresh in their minds.

"It looks like he might be more annoyed than helpful," Cassidy remarked. "He's just going to think we're more of those bratty kids coming around to mock him."

"You're right, but it still seems like the most likely place. We should see if we can get there before Inigo and Fezzik do, because once they arrive Miracle Max is going to be too caught up in the scene to help us at all."

"Okay, so that's what… a little before midnight on page 244, then."

"Yep. Let's go."

Seamus closed the book and slipped it into one of the side pockets of his cargo pants. It was a small paperback, so it fit without a problem, bumping lightly against the side of his leg. He didn't know if it would cancel itself out or evaporate or something if he tried to take it along, but he figured it might come in handy if it made it through with them.

Cassidy had left her journal downstairs, thinking they'd be heading back there later, but Seamus had his with him, so they figured there was no need to go back down. It would be simpler to just go together, and they'd be less likely to get separated along the way. And besides, they could just write themselves back home or somewhere else safe when they were done and ready to come out, so it didn't matter where they left from.

They found a study carrel near the window that got a little light and Seamus opened his journal on it and sat down. Cassidy pulled up a chair to his left and gently linked her arm in his.

"Don’t forget," she said, "we should see if we can take the journal along with us."

"Right, thanks." Seamus took up his pen and started to write.

Cassidy and I are standing in front of Miracle Max's hut, in "The Princess Bride." I'm carrying my journal. It's about 11:30 at night, and Inigo and Fezzik will be arriving with the man in black a little later. We can see a light on in the hut, and we knock at the door —


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