Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Chapter 33

"It's got her," Seamus said, staring at the blank wall behind the empty bookshelf. Then he slammed his fist on the shelf and spun around, heading out of the room.

"Seamus!" Cassidy called, hurrying after him. "What are you doing?"

"We've got to get her back."

"Yes, but how? Where are you going?"

"I'm going back to get my journal. There must be a way back in."

"But the Book was destroyed."

"The Book was destroyed, yes," he was on the stairs now, taking them two at a time. "But something was behind the Book, remember? Something that pulled Big Jake in to create the Book for it. Something that wanted to use to Book to get to us. To get to me." They had reached the top of the stairs and he was now practically speed-walking back across the building.

They were almost to the exit when they saw Deborah, who had come up to the circulation desk to talk to Susan. She caught sight of them as well and hurried over.

"Seamus! Did you get my message?"

"Yes, I did."

"Oh, it's so horrible. She just disappeared." Deborah was wringing her hands distractedly. "I wish there was something we could do…"

"Look," said Seamus, interrupting her. "I think I know something. I think I may be able to find her."

"Really? Where?"

"I'll explain later. I need to hurry though. I'll call Maria and then let you know as soon as I find out anything, okay?"

"Okay…" Deborah began, but Seamus and Cassidy had already turned and hurried out the door.

The house was nearly empty when they got back. It was still Tuesday afternoon, so most of Seamus' housemates were at work or classes. Nathan, unemployed, was the only one at home. He had started a fire in the living room fireplace, clearing enough of the books and assorted odds and ends from the vicinity to make things at least moderately less hazardous, though everyone in the house knew they'd never have a chance of passing a serious fire inspection. Seamus and Cassidy hardly took notice of him though, as they headed straight up the stairs.

As they neared the top, though, Seamus slowed down, looking up towards his room.

"Didn't we shut the door?" he asked.

"Yes," said Cassidy. "I did. You rushed out too fast."

"Did you lock it?"

"No, I don't have the key." She looked up and saw the door ajar. They went in.

In the room, some of the dresser drawers were hanging open, and various books from shelves and piles had been strewn across the bed and the floor. Seamus went straight to the drawer where he had hidden the journal, wishing he hadn't left it behind. After their last escape from the Book he had figured it was safe to stop carrying it with him everywhere.

The journal wasn't in the drawer. They quickly looked through all the books scatter around, but it was gone. Then Seamus stopped.

"Crap," he said. "Nathan's here isn't he?" They both ran back down the stairs.

They found Nathan sitting on the living room couch in front of the fire, unshaven, hair uncombed, still wearing his bathrobe even that late in the day. He was leafing through the journal, smirking and snickering. Seamus stopped in the doorway.

"Give that back, Nathan."

"Maybe I don't want to," Nathan replied, tauntingly. "It's so cute, the way you two were writing back and forth to each other. I've got to see how it ends."

Seamus lunged for the journal, but Nathan saw it coming and pulled it out of the way, elbowing Seamus aside. Seamus leapt back instantly, grabbing at the book Nathan now had clutched to his chest, and the two fell to the floor, wrestling over it. Cassidy ran in, grabbing at Nathan's shoulder and trying to pry his arms apart so Seamus could grab the journal.

For a second, the three people hit a kind of equilibrium, where they were all exerting as much force as they could but in such a way that there was no net effect and they were momentarily frozen. Then Nathan suddenly released his tension, flinging his arms wide and throwing both Seamus and Cassidy off balance. In the same movement the journal left his hand, flew through the air, and landed directly in the fire.


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