bowl of ___________

When he stepped into my room with two bowls of ice cream, I knew he wanted to ask me something. Usually, when he’s feeling like ice cream, he asks me if I want some before bringing two bowls over, mine, almost overflowing to the top while his is only half filled. The image of it always amuses me. Today’s visit doesn’t. I’m not sure what to make of it but I know he’s not likely to waste his time before he asks me about whatever he came to ask me.

I take the bowl he offers me as I sit up on my bed. I’d just been lounging, relaxing, really. He settles next to me but he looks small, his shoulders are curved inward as if he’s trying to almost be invisible. He sighs, looks down into his bowl of dessert then back up to me. “I know you probably don’t want to talk about this, Agni but I feel like it’s still bothering you because you never come up to the desk anymore when she’s around and it’s just not like you. Want to tell me what happened with what’s her face on that date she invited you out to? You came back looking like you’d been hit with something smelly and you never told me about it.”

His voice is soft and uncertain but there is a gentle begging note beneath it all, I know he’s not trying to pry, he’s just worried about me and I suppose I can’t blame him. I don’t know that I want to talk about this thing though. It still feels painfully fresh in my memory and I know I avoid the front desk when I spot her in the library. She’s hard to miss. I wish she’d just stop coming altogether. Finally, it’s my turn to sigh as I look down to the cold bowl in my hands. I don’t know if I feel like eating it right now.

“Switch?” The single word is not unusual in our conversation and he nods, he straightens slightly and I move to sit with my back to his. We pretty much just lean back against one another. We’ve done this since we were little kids and it stuck, really.

I breathe in deeply, trying to will my mind to think back to that ‘date’ that went absolutely to hell because either she misjudged me or I just misjudged her to no end.

“I got to the coffee place, she was there, waiting. I admit she’s pretty and I thought it’d be nice to just talk to her. I go inside to get a coffee, I come back out to settle in front of her, I mean, that’s where you settle when you want to talk to someone face to face, right?” He makes a little noise in the back of his throat and I know he’s agreeing to the thought, to the idea that sitting face to face is easier, at least for still mostly-strangers.

“So I sit down and just like that she moves and she sits next to me. I’m like, okay, sure, a little in my personal space but I’ll leave it be for now. A second later she has her hand on my thigh, she’s moving it up higher still and she whispers in my ear about how we should find somewhere more private!” I know I’m getting angry now, angry or hurt, I’m not sure. I feel my chest tighten and I know my cheeks are wet. Behind me, Mira stiffens and a sort of growl escapes from his throat. I laugh softly and the hurt fades away. “Mira, stop that.”

His shoulders drop and he mumbles a soft apology. I lean my head back against his for a moment and I know we’re still on good terms and we’re fine.

“So I just got up and I told her-” I blink and I frown for a moment, my mind is blank, “well I can’t recall what I told her but I just left, I walked back to the bus and I came home and that’s it. I thought she’d be nice, I thought we could have things in common but she just wanted sex out of me.” The hurt wells up again though it is dim and after a few moments of silence, it fades back to nothing.

Before I can really register what’s going on, Mira has moved away from me, he’s put his bowl on the night stand and without his back to lean on and without any warning that he was going to move, I topple backward. Thankfully, I’d already set my own bowl down though I don’t remember when I did. I crane my neck to look up to him and he looks absolutely upset. I know why though and I shake my head as I get up and round the bed to pull him closer, to just hug him fiercely to my chest.

“That is not your fault. We didn’t know what she’d be like and we gave it a chance. You didn’t twist my arm and you didn’t force me to go. We both thought it’d be just friendly chatting over coffee and she turned out to be more of a sexual predator of sorts than anything else. You are not going to be blaming yourself for this, do I make myself clear, Mira?”

I suppose that my need to protect him is good in helping me forget about my hurt about the whole situation. I feel him nod feebly against my shoulder where he’s resting his head and I hear him sniffle softly. “Looks like our ice cream is seconds away from a meltdown, how about a smoothie instead?”

Smoothies are a lot less common than ice cream as a treat to us because it’s such a new discovery. We found out about them after Eoghan had walked with us near downtown and we’d stopped at an ice cream shop, of course both we’d decided on soft ice cream in a cone but Eoghan had asked for a smoothie and we were curious so we asked him what he was and instead of just explaining, we each had ourselves a sip.

Now we’re just sitting up on the roof, I think it’s our spot. Sitting on the edge, sipping from our smoothies. The sun is bright, almost blinding but I don’t mind. It keeps me from looking anywhere or focusing at much of anything other than Mira’s presence at my side, so close we could touch if we just shifted half an inch closer and the coolness of the smoothie between my fingers.

We’ve left behind the discussion we had while in my room and he hasn’t mentioned doing anything to her since we prepared the smoothies. I think that’s mostly what I was hoping for. I need to stop being a coward and I need to stop hiding away when I see her. I’ve done nothing wrong but I think that if I’d given her just a single chance she might very well have had her way with me. I’m not ready for that and I honestly don’t even want to do that kind of thing yet, let alone with a stranger.

I want to believe I’m not wrong in believing I was wronged. I suppose I should talk to an adult about it. Talking to Zora is a bad idea, she’s not even around lately and she’d just freak out. I don’t really want to bother Armin with that kind of thing so I guess it mostly leaves Alexis and Eoghan. If I can find the courage in my veins to bring it up to them I will. Maybe it’ll help me overcome this need to hide from her. I shouldn’t be hiding, after all. I’ve done absolutely nothing wrong. I just went out to meet with someone who visited the library, who borrowed sensible books and who looked like she couldn’t hurt a single fly. I suppose looks can be misleading.

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random laughter

I don’t know who the idiot is but I wish he’d shut up. There is nothing funny about what’s going on in the movie but he keeps on just randomly laughing for no reason at all. Oh I’m sure he has his reasons but the way I see it, they’re not valid. No one else is laughing and I can hear the mutter of displeasure from everyone around us.

I suppose I could reach out, feel for his mind and give him a bit of a swat but I don’t imagine it would do much good. It might confuse the guy for a bit but I’m sure he’d be back to his random and pointless reactions before too long.

On my left, his breathing slow and steady, Yael rests, I’m amused more than anything else. On his other side, Quentin keeps on sneaking glances his way. When he catches me looking, he smiles sheepishly in the darkness and I answer with a shrug. If he’s tired and if the movie’s just not his thing, I don’t mind. I know he tends to nod off now and again during the movies even at home. On my right, Lex is trying to pay attention to the movie but I know he’s getting annoyed at the moron sitting several rows to the front of us with his pointless bouts of laughter. On his other side, the twins sit and at the end of the row, for easier access for him, Armin.

We argued a bit about the movie we were going to watch, we nearly went into separate shows but didn’t. We solved the issue the way we do at home with the shared dinners. The person who picks the movie each week rotates, so I think we’ve watched a bit of everything to this point. Not everyone has appreciated it all but that’s aside the point, it gives us an insight on what others like.

The guy laughs again and several bags of popcorn are thrown at the particular individual. He’s not laughing now. I don’t know if he thinks he’s funny but he’s not really. No one is laughing with him. Though I suppose science fiction like this might be funny to some, it isn’t for just about everyone else. Now if it had been one of those TV movies like Sharktopus or Ice Spiders, then I wouldn’t have minded the guy laughing, most of these movies are interesting in their own way but they’re worth a laugh most of the time.

After the popcorn bit, the laughing guy is mostly quiet though not utterly so. He doesn’t laugh much anymore, he mostly just snickers at certain scene. I really could punch that guy if he was closer. I think flinging popcorn at him isn’t really the way to go at it but it still mostly got the job done.

When the credits begin to roll but just before the lights are turned on, Quentin nudges Yael and he slightly startles awake. Most of the time, height aside, it usually ends with Quentin carrying Yael back to their place though I tend to go with, just in case. I don’t underestimate Quentin, he’s strong for his stature and Yael is slight, he weighs near to nothing—something that worries me still to this day—so they make it home safe and sound without an issue. This is different though, carrying Yael out might be a little awkward with all the folks heading out of the showing.

People on the other side of Quentin look at him expectantly for a minute or two before they realize none of us are really budging yet and they get out from their side instead. We wait until most everyone is out before we get out, this case mostly again for Armin’s sake. He was on the edge and we all knew we’d wait until the end. As is, none of us like to leave before the credits are done. It’s unfair for all the people whose hard work went into this movie to go unseen.

I know a lot of people wouldn’t really care but it matters to me. So by the time the credits were over, the whole place was just about empty and we started filing out and back into the van.

“I was so tempted to fling something at this guy, preferably something heavy and wet.” Mira’s quiet voice pipes up from the back on the short drive home. Agni snickers lightly from next to him and I can see Lex’s lips quirk somewhat.

“I think it crossed most of our minds during the viewing, Mira. He was annoying. I’m surprised he didn’t get more popcorn thrown at him but I guess he finally realized he wasn’t really making any friends while being an ass.” I shrug as I turn us into the road that will take us back to our home.

Yael is still trying to rub the sleep from his eyes so once I’m at their building, I slow down and stop to let them out. I know it’s just a few paces from where I’ll be parking this thing but I figure it’s easier this way. Quentin looks back my way with a slightly grateful smile to his lips. I even wait until they are inside before I get the vehicle moving the last few yards into our own driveway and everyone gets out and stretches.

“Laughing guy aside, it was a good movie and I’m glad we all watched it.”

“Several of the details went right over my head, I mean I get it, it’s science fiction and stuff won’t really all make sense but most of it didn’t really make sense. Can we watch Apollo 18 over the next supper?”

“Well it’s not really your time to pick but we’ll see.” Agni pouts but I shake my head and I muss his hair gently as we start on our way towards the front door. Once inside, we leave Armin on the first floor where he walks off towards his door. On the second floor we’re about to leave the twins be when the idea crosses my mind.

“It’s not all that late and I assume Zora won’t be coming home again tonight, you two could come up and watch that movie in the movie room, once you’re done you can head back down, yes?” Agni’s eyes brighten as he looks to his brother, hoping for the same kind of positive answer and we simply climb up to the third floor instead of leaving the twins alone on the second.

“Won’t we be a bother?”

I shake my head at the question, unlocking the door to let them in. “I have reading to catch up on and I know Lex was wanting to just relax for a while, we have a few things planned out for the upcoming few days that needed a lot of prep work. So you two watch the movie, keep the volume to a respectable level and once you’re done, just turn it all off and be on your way. Though it won’t hurt if you bid us goodnight before you head back, yes?”

Mira blushes, as if guilty of leaving without saying anything and he moves to follow his brother towards the movie room.

Lex leaves his shoes by the door and stretches as he wanders off towards our bedroom. I know he’s only going to go and change so I give him that much time without my being all over him because I know I could but I won’t. Instead, I leave my shoes next to him and I drop to settle on the couch where I’ve left my book. It’ll be good to read in the quiet and peace of home. The laughing idiot almost did ruin the movie, I’m glad popcorn did most of the trick in getting him to understand he was a big annoyance.

high class

I have seen a lot of people while I was trying to escape my life at the orphanage. I’d even have to say that I seen and met a lot of people while I was in the orphanage. When I was so very young and Sterling still was alive, I saw an odd pair. At least to me they were odd. They came to see if they could not find a little girl. We didn’t have a lot of those and the one we had wasn’t to their liking. They didn’t even spare a glance at the boys. I don’t honestly know why they came to our orphanage that day, the way they were dressed, the way they spoke, they held their head up high as if looking towards any of us would be a terrible sight to behold.

I was sitting with Sterling when they came to the door and when Rosalind was brought out to meet them. They took one look at her, the woman turned her gaze away as if poor Rosie was an ugly monster, the man at her side looked at Rosie a moment, had her spin slowly where she stood and he shook his head. He looked like he apologized for their visit and they went on their way. The woman looked like she wanted to be as far away from this place as possible.

When they were gone, I turned to Sterling, eyes wide and full of question and he bopped me on the nose.

“They were high class, richy-rich folks looking for a pet project or something.” Is what he told me before I could even ask him anything at all. I blinked at him, clearly confused and he rolled his eyes, motioning towards the window towards the clean and shiny black car they walked to. A man in a long coat opened the door on one side and they both slipped in. That was so strange to me.

“They’re rich, have money. You can tell from the clothes and the car and the chauffeur. I’m pretty sure the woman thinks we’re all ugly and ill here, not worth a glance, her husband looked a little more down to earth, I guess he married her and she was the one raised with the silver spoon.”

He wasn’t making much sense honestly but I guess the information sort of stuck to my mind.

Even after all these years.

It was so nice outside, the weather so comfortable that we decided that our supper and movie night would happen downtown. We all piled into the minivan and we drove down into the heart of the town. Alexis said he’d made reservations at a new Indian restaurants. He mentioned something about how it’d been a while since we’d last had anything of Indian roots to eat. After the meal we’ve made plans to head to the theatre. I’m not sure which movies are currently playing.

When Eoghan parked the minivan, we all got out, piled out really. The twins even helped Armin out just to be sure he was fine. It’s adorable.

I don’t know why I noticed the couple across the street from where we were parked. They didn’t stand out much but I guess they stood out enough that I remembered what Sterling had told me all those years ago. In their case, it was mostly how they stood, tall and strong, as if nothing could bother them. She held her nose somewhat in the air, as if the idea of walking was not an interesting one. He looked like he was doing his best to make her happy, he kept on pointing to things in boutique windows, maybe trying to get her attention on something so that he could buy it for her. Maybe it was something else, I really don’t know.

To me, right at that moment, their presence reminded me of the couple as they had visited the orphanage though it hardly was that. They’d come in, stayed in the foyer, she’d looked ready to turn and leave, repulsed and he was trying to be the good, outgoing and gentle one in their relationship.

I didn’t judge them then. I won’t judge this pair now. I mean, I could compare these two and the couple from my past to Alexis and Eoghan, the differences are all there. They have money but they don’t really go out of their way to flaunt it, they don’t act like snobs. Quentin has money too but he lives a simple, quiet sort of life.

“Yael?” I look back, startled for a moment and I smile lightly. I reach out to Quentin, letting my hand rest into his outstretched one. I murmur a light apology and follow him and the others towards the restaurant. It has been some time since I’ve last had any sort of Indian food so this is going to be a treat.

I’m not sure what movie we’ll be going to watch afterwards but I don’t think it really matters.

I’m not sure I even recall what the movie was about. I was so full from the supper that I think I ended up dozing off during most of it, Quentin nudged me away when the credits started to roll, just before the lights came back on. We all piled back into the car, Eoghan dropped us off at our door even though we’re just a few paces away from where he parked and Quentin unlocked the door before letting us in.

“Did you know them?”

I blink at his question, tilting my head to the side. He chuckles softly as one of the kitten climbs up his pant leg and he pulls the purring ball to his arms. “The couple you were looking at when we all got out of the car.”

Ah, them. I’m surprised he’s asking me now. I guess he thought it might have been something private, it’s sweet of him. I shake my head in answer as I leave my shoes in the foyer. We both step further inside, all doors closed after we made sure all the cats were inside and not in the foyer itself.

“I didn’t know them, it’s just that they reminded me of a couple I saw at the orphanage while I was still young. Sterling called them the high-class richy-rich folks.” I laugh softly at the words, dropping to carefully sit on the couch where he settles next to me. Within moments we have ourselves several purring bundles settles with us. I know that in a few moments I’ll go off to check on their food and water, Quentin will have a clean up of the litter boxes to do.

“It’s just in the way she was walking I guess, the little upward tilt of her face, as if she was looking down at everyone, the way she was dressed. He reminded me of the woman’s husband.” So I do tell him about the pair, I figure it’s pointless not to at this point. I have nothing to hide from him.

He shakes his head with a soft grunt. “Just about all of the money I have at this point came from this one old man. He didn’t act rich. I honestly taught he was poor as could be. I needed a roof and he needed company and a little help. I offered both. I know I can be an asshole most of the time when it comes to the stupidity of humans but he was different, there was something about him that called to me.”

I know that ‘high class’ is just a label, one of so many for different people. There’s not a lot to do about it, really. I try not to judge people. I don’t want to be judged so I do what I’d like folks to do when they meet me. It doesn’t work often but at times some people can appreciate not being treated differently.

folk singer

The music that comes not quite pouring out of his room is something I’ve never heard before. Not that I can claim I know music that well, we’d never stopped anywhere in the past to really listen to any coming from anywhere. All I really recall music-wise from when were young and still on the run is Zora humming some sort of lullaby to help us sleep at night.

Of course, after that, when we settled here with Alexis and Eoghan, we got to learn more about music in general. Armin, at the library, always has a radio playing ever softly behind his desk. It’s mostly background noise since the library is supposed to be quiet but it’s a nice little extra to the days when it’s quiet. Especially last time when the electricity just sort of died on us. The radio is battery powered so it was a plus in the growing darkness of the place.

For a minute I know I ponder just leaving it be. I know our tastes for most things in life differ but we still share a lot of things. I should be studying for a test Eoghan said we’d be taking in a couple of days but I really can’t focus on that. I work best in quiet. I thought he did too but I guess I might be wrong. We really are growing up.

I could close my door but I don’t see where that would lead me. I like being able to hear what’s going on in the apartment when it’s just the two of us the way it’s been for a bit now with Zora just leaving us notes about how she’s ‘working late’ or how she’s spending the night out with a friend. We don’t see much of her.

I guess curiosity did get the better of me. I’m not sure how long I’ve been standing in the frame of his door, leaning just slightly against it and listening to the music. It’s not bad music but it’s different. Unlike me, he is studying and I guess at times our roles can be switched around. Then again, I understand and have memorized pretty well what we’re going to be quizzed about so I don’t really need to study much about it.

Eventually though he does close his book and I take that moment to lightly clear my throat. He jumps lightly and I laugh, I try to keep the sound soft. After a moment I shake my head, step inside and I apologize quietly. I sit on the corner of his bed as he pushes his books away somewhat. He reaches for the music player, to turn it off I guess but I shake my head.

“I’ve never heard that kind of music, where is it from?” He leaves the player alone though he lowers the volume just slightly. It wasn’t that loud to begin with but it is soft now, just a little louder than Armin usually keeps the radio playing at the library.

“It’s folk music.” The blank look on my face must amuse him because he begins to snicker and he explains in a short few sentences what folk music is about. I nod, I think I understand what he’s saying but it’s still somewhat a misery. I’m sure after I look it up online it’ll make more sense to me. I don’t mind doing that.

“This is one particular singer, I heard people talking about it on the street while we were waiting for the bus a few weeks ago and I guess I got curious. You know how I am when it comes to learning about new things and trying new things.” Yes I know, trying new things in particular. Learning about them usually is more my thing than his. I chuckle softly and I shake my head. I’m glad he’s exploring different music types, it can’t hurt.

I’m learning that I personally prefer keeping to softer melodies, I’ve fallen in love with most classical songs I’ve heard so far and most things from home, of course. I don’t mind listening to a little bit of everything else but my very slowly growing collection of music is mainly Mozart, Vivaldi, Beethoven and others of that sort.

“I should be studying. I was listening to your music from my room.” He looks apologetic for a second and I shake my head. “It wasn’t too loud, don’t worry about it. But I was listening to it and I was curious about it so I just sort of stayed at your door for a while to listen to it. I saw you studying and I guess I was amused by the sight since it’s usually the other way around.”

“Well it’s not like you need to study, you know all of this stuff by heart, you’re constantly talking about it.” It’s my turn to feel sheepish, apologetic. I know I talk about a lot of stuff and plenty of it might just be nonsense to everyone who’s ever been around or near me. I just get so excited when I learn something new that I have a hard time not talking about it. I’m a big sponge but I guess I’ve got issues with keeping it in.

He grins again and shakes his head lightly. I leave him be and I head back towards my room since I know that despite thinking I recall everything on the subject, there might just be bits and pieces I don’t recall.

Zora comes home in the late evening, she looks like she’s glowing, like she’s had one of the best days of her life, that or she’s just had some good sex. Not that I’m an expert but I’ve heard Eoghan talking about it and I’ve read about it how some folks seem to ‘glow’ after that kind of thing. I don’t really get it but I guess that’s the vibe I got from her when she got in.

She didn’t even talk to her, she just came in, humming to herself and went straight to her room. She came back out after about ten minutes, went about preparing a meal (that wasn’t even needed because she’d left us a note that she wouldn’t be home, we’d already eaten), ate her portion, put the rest in the fridge and she disappeared back into her room.

I really don’t know what’s going on with her and I’m not sure I want to ask. I’m pretty sure she’s not looking for an apartment at this point. She might have been before but now she’s just spending all of her time outside at nearly all hours of the night and she barely comes home from wherever she goes. I don’t know what Agni thinks about it but I try to no longer let it disturb me. It shouldn’t keep me awake. She’s a grown woman, she can make her own choices about whatever she does in life.

I still just wish we had some idea of what was going on so we’d know what we’re doing with life in general. I guess, in a way, it’s like she doesn’t really exist anymore. Like she’s moved on with her life and left us two on our own. It’s not much of an issue, we’ll be seventeen in a few months and I know Eoghan would look after us if anything happened.

We have jobs, we have a roof over our heads and we’ve got food. We can prepare it ourselves, we keep ourselves clean and we do what we have to on a daily basis. There’s not much else to that. Still I might talk to Agni about it a little later.

Though maybe not that much later because she’s going again. She’s out of her room again and I guess she just came home to shower, change and eat. Her clothes are different, her hair is still moist and she’s out of the apartment. Doesn’t matter. I guess.

electricity

When everything flickered off, just an hour after we’d stepped into the library, I knew we were in for a very long day. Now and again, the whole electrical system fails, it throws the whole library into the dark, the systems are useless. I’m just glad today is bright and sunny, else this place would have been dark. Usually, when the system fails and when electricity no longer reach us, we close the library for the day. It’s too dark most of the time and people can’t find what they’re looking for.

I’m from the generation where things were slowly beginning to change. I know how to look for a book’s index card, I know how to locate that book from that card but a lot of the younger folks who come here only know how to look for things through the computer. When the system first failed while I was working here in my first months, the boss had been talking about how we could replace the card system with the scanner system.

I don’t know how I managed to persuade him to keep both, just in case. When someone takes out a book, we scan it into the system but we also have them sign the little card we take from the book and stamp it with the required return date. That way, if the system does go blank the way it has today, folks can still take books out. We have the sticker with the code bar we scan both on the spine of the book and on the double of the card we pull from the book. So folks take it out, we stamp it and when the system comes back on, we scan those and input the proper dates. It’s the only way, really.

The place had been mostly empty when everything clicked shut. I heard one of the boys stumble down his stool in the far back where he’d been placing books. The back gets dark, the windows don’t really go that far. The front area of the library is filled with bright light though it’ll only be there for a few hours, after that we’ll mostly be in the dark so I know people won’t stay around long. I’ve put up the sign to warn them that we have no electricity, thus no computers.

“Why is it so dark suddenly?” There comes Agni, rubbing one of his shoulders lightly. I assume he’s the one who fell from his stool.

“Are you all right?” He nods and sits at the desk for a few moments.

“Just hit my shoulder on the shelves when I tripped. I was startled when everything went dark, what happened?”

I motion for him to step closer, he does and lifts his shirt lightly. I can see the hint of a bruise there but I know it’ll be gone before too long, I’m not too worried. “System has failed, something downstairs has decided to stop working, it happens every few months. I keep on telling the boss he needs to have the whole system rewired but he refuses to, says it’ll be too expensive. It gets bad when it happens in winter since it also controls the heat. No electricity, no heat.”

I shake my head and I gently pat his other shoulder. I know he’ll be all right, at least. “I called the usual guy on the only phone that keeps on working even during a blackout. He’ll be here tomorrow morning. How about you go and check to make sure your brother isn’t stuck somewhere?”

His eyes widen in realization and he before he can take off running, I gently snag his wrist and from beneath the counter I locate our trusty flashlight. “Be careful.”

I know there are no real dangers in the library but still, it does get dark in the back and they were both out there when the lights went off. Mira could very well be lost. It can almost be impossible to find your way towards the front without light. It’s near impossible to see any light from back there so I know how it goes. I’m sure Agni will find his brother without too much of an issue.

People who come into the library only to be told that there is no electricity turn back. One or two come but go when the light changes and the front of the place is almost as dark as the back. Agni and Mira came back in one piece almost half an hour after I’d sent one to find the other. The place is pretty much empty as afternoon begins to settle. I send the boys off to get the battery powered lights from the closets so we can get a bit of light out here in the front at the very least.

I think I’l be asking Eoghan if it’s possible to get some solar powered lights. I could set them in the front windows in the morning and they’d be a bit of light in the dark when it settles. I wish this place had emergency lights but we don’t even have that much. At least we have a sprinkler system but I don’t think it’d do us much good in the long run. I shouldn’t complain about this place but I can’t help it.

I love books but this is pushing it. This place is not even half safe, I’m constantly worried that the shelves might tumble if they’re handle a bit roughly or if someone leans against their base. There’s no light when it’s dark, the electric system is flaky and I’m pretty sure that could be the cause of fire eventually. It hurts, the idea that this place could burn down and while I hate to think this way, it might be the only way to get anyone to see how unsafe it is.

If only the guy who owns the building would sell it to someone else. It’s not that much hard work, or at least I imagine it shouldn’t be. Though I guess it might be more work than I know but the guy doesn’t even like to read. Why have the building filled with books if he hates them? It makes no sense.

The twins set out the little lamps, lighting a slight path from the door to the desk and all around the desk area. We can at least mostly see where we’re going. The stained glass windows are absolutely beautiful and I don’t recall ever seeing anything quite this beautiful before but when the sun isn’t shining directly into them, the place is in near dark automatically.

“I won’t send you two out to set the books back where they belong. We now all know how dark this place is and it’s dangerous as it is. Unless you two absolutely want to. You could go home, I wouldn’t hold it against either one of you.”

They exchange a look, a silent discussion and Mira shakes his head with a smile. “Well, Agni could hold onto the flashlight while I put the books back or I could hold it while he puts the books back. We might not get them all done but at least we’d get some of them set up where they should be.”

I guess that could be a plan. I nod somewhat. “If that’s what you two want to do, I won’t stop you, just be careful. If any of the books come from the upper shelves, leave them be until we have enough light to see where we’re going, okay? Take one of the lamps from here and leave it on the book carrier so it can be moved around more easily.”

It’s wonderful that these two are willing to stay. I can imagine that plenty other teenagers would not have had to be told twice that they could leave since I was dark, they would have left. I’m glad they’re staying.

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