Cynthia7979

Cynthia7979


这是Cynthia7979的办公桌,正中央摆着一台黑色笔记本电脑,贴有黄色的标签:”这玩意有十斤重!“,”背着电脑去出差,站点主管不是“。旁边凌乱地放置着笔记本、文件袋、手机、白板、耳机、台灯和水杯。墙上挂着一幅肖像画,桌下有一个蓝色的垃圾桶。


    • _

    这是脱离书本的续章。你也许应该先阅读那一篇。

    刚开始,她眼前一片黑暗。后来隐约出现了一点红光。她正面朝上躺在一处冰冷坚硬的地面上。周围有些嘶嘶声、滋滋声,还有好似千万粒木珠同时掉在地板上的沙沙声。她后面有些听起来像笑声的声音。所有噪音融合在一起,形成了一种低沉的隆隆声,像是要把她包裹在其中轻轻挤压进去。

    她注意到一个声音。“我告诉过你在这干这个是个好主意!”紧随其后的是叫喊和大笑。

    世界正在旋转。她的头难受得像是灌了三天的杰克·丹尼威士忌,而肚子也好不到哪里去。她鼻子底下湿湿的。用手指摸了一下,她发现那是血。

    好吧,她想。这不是你干过的最坏的事,起来吧。

    她尝试着撑起身来,一只手出现在她的前方。“要帮忙吗?”之前的那个声音说。

    她把那只手扫走。潜意识里有个想法奇怪了一下为什么它是红的,但她将它抛在了脑后。她翻了个身,试图把自己从地面上推起来,但胳膊使不上力。有一双手抓住了她的肩膀,开始向上拉。她甩走了它们。“滚开,”她更像是对自己说地小声嘟囔了一句。深吸了一口气后,她双腿向下一蹬,离开了地面。她蹲着,随后颤抖着牙齿逼自己站了起来。尽管双腿正摇摇晃晃,她仍是继续站着。

    把鼻子下的血擦干净以后,她开始观察四周。她刚刚躺在一块圆形的石质平台上,距离一张绿地毯大概一英尺远。房间很大——天花板根本看不到,而四壁看起来在几百英尺外。大概有二十多个人围在周围的三个烧烤架旁,边说笑边碰杯。至少,有一些是人。有个看起来像长了两条腿的鲨鱼的生物正在吃一块汉堡,它旁边,一堆和狗一样大的蠕动的触手烤了一块肉。它们正和那个类似由铜、黄铜和金构成的十英尺高人类聊着天。

    她转过身。身后是另一个人,拥有和龙虾一样红的皮肤和纯蓝色的眼睛。他穿着一件打了补丁的皮夹克,一条牛仔裤,和一件黑旗乐队的T裇。就她看到的来说,他没有任何头发,只从头顶中央开始有一条直入夹克的突起。他脸上洋溢着笑容。“嘿,”他说,“我是Colby。”

    “我以为这是个图——”

    “嚯,那真是太他妈的棒了,”他说着,脸上的笑容愈发灿烂,“你知道已经有大概……两个月没人用过那条密径了吗?Mitchelloth说这里什么都不会发生,但我打赌他现在肯定不觉得自己有那么聪明了,不是吗?嘿Mitch!”他喊道,挥起自己的手臂,“你还欠着我DeFronde的那份拷贝呢,你个笨蛋!”他把注意力重新移到Alison身上。她突然注意到了自己周围的其他几个……存在。

    “所以,我在——”

    “他们不相信我能够感知到密径!真是罪有应得,”他笑得更开心了,开始拿手掌拍起指节,“你肯定是第一次来这,对吧?对啊,要不是的话你就知道怎么在不搞砸的情况下通过密径了。要你想的话,我可以教你。但天哪,我真想说那太酷了!大部分人第一次过来的时候都完完全全地垮掉了。但你跟没事人一样爬了起来。真他妈厉害。”

    “那很不错,但是——”

    “你想见见其他人,对吗?自己探索图书馆没有任何乐趣,特别是第一次。除非你已经有个向导了,但那样你就不会那样着陆了,对吧?但别担心,我们对新人很开放的。总之,你是从哪来的?我是说,你可能没有准确答案,但是我是说,哪个国家?谁是总统?他们有吉尔法菜吗?你看起来挺——”

    “闭。嘴,”她几乎是咬牙切齿地说道,“我只想问一个该死的问题。为什么就这么难呢?”

    Colby向她眨了眨眼,脸上的笑容逐渐消失。“哦。对。哦,真是,我很抱歉,我不是故意那么粗鲁的,”他挠了挠后脑勺,移开目光。

    她叹了口气。“你说这就是图书馆。据我所知,图书馆有书,但我并没有看到。所以发生了什么?我在哪?”

    “我们在边境区,”他说道,仍然看着别处,“你知道,用来干别的事。放放松,睡睡觉,还有,你知道的,就那些东西,”他向烧烤架做了个手势,“实际上的书籍在别的区域。”

    “好,”她叉着手说,“我该怎么过去?”

    “你不想呆一会吗?”他看起来很受伤,“拜托,会很好玩的。我们有牛排,还有Damon做的意面,一会还会有个蛋糕和一大场读书会。你自己去书架那边会迷路的。”

    “我没事,”她说。房间里面还有另外几十个三五成群的人,有些在做饭,有些在坐着看书,有一个甚至架起了帐篷。她只能看出来不到十分之一的生物是人类(或者至少看起来像)。“哪边是去书架的路?”

    Colby叹了口气,指了一个方向。“你能至少告诉我你在找什么吗?我也许可以给你指正确的方向。”

    她想了想。“我需要蛇之手的信息。他们在哪、他们在干什么、我该如何找到他们。还有所有关于基金会的信息。”

    Colby吓得面色苍白。“基金会?你疯了吗?你他妈的想要他们的什么?”他飞快地瞥了一圈房间,牙齿打着颤,“天哪,我应该知道你和这种东西有联系的,就像你出现的方式。看,我和那种东西没关系,L.S.的所有人都他妈的疯了……”他逐渐失声。

    L.S.。这个名字听起来很熟悉。她以前有在流言里听说过,关于蛇手中某个十分难以捉摸的人物。她叹了口气。“那为什么还来烦我呢?”她转身走开了。

    “借过,”一个声音说道。Alison转头,看到一个矮矮的金发女人正朝这边走来。“我听说你对蛇手很感兴趣?”

    “你能帮我找到他们吗?”Alison说。

    “我能比那做得更好,”那女人笑着说,“我是个成员,我可以解答你的任何问题。但首先,一起来吃个汉堡。”

    针对于外星触手怪物做的饭来说,汉堡并不是很难吃。多汁多味,而且奶酪加得刚刚好。Alison和她身边的那群生物都很快地吃完了。她在这一程中见到过一些非人的生物:废之灵、被基金会设施关押的外星人、被某个咒语回火召唤的魔鬼,但从未见过这样长相,这样多的生物。她看到过微型动画树、有长着闪闪发光的翅膀的人,还有脸一直隐藏在阴影之中的妇人。

    这里有会说话的动物,还有看起来像从阿西莫夫小说里出来的机器人。仅在几米开外,就有一团漂浮着的泡泡正与一个头戴鸟笼的女人说着话(就像关着小鹦鹉的笼子)。就她所知,他们正在讨论神圣干预10。”

    Alison想了想。她不认识这个女人。就她获得的信息来说,Meredith在作为蛇手成员这件事上完全在撒谎。她可能是棵植物,可能是只怨灵,可能是个准备向Diligem复仇的家伙。“我在找一个朋友。他在几个月前消失了,但在那之前,他有说过关于你们和这里的事。”

    Meredith点点头:“于是你认为基金会和他的失踪会有些联系,是吗?”她喝了一口啤酒,然后把罐子压扁放在了脚边。

    “他觉得他们在监视他。他很……不一样,并且说他们可能会来找他。失踪前的那天晚上,他把我叫过去,说他必须马上离开。那就是我最后一次接到他的消息了。”这并不是个很好的谎言,但还管用。也许。至少在她决定说出事实前它会坚持一段时间。

    Meredith点了点头:“他叫什么?我们这里有很多来避难的人。”

    Alison咬了咬嘴唇:“Jonathan Bell。他有黑头发,绿眼睛,大概这么高,”她用手比划了一下,“而且看起来总是很紧张。”

    “我不觉得我见过他,抱歉,”Meredith说,“图书馆周围很多群我们的人。很有可能他就跟着其中一波,”她咬了一口芝士汉堡,边思考边嚼着,“但你不应该仅仅去找他。”

    Alison开口道:“你是什么意思?”

    “如果你仅仅在找你的朋友的话,你就不会知道有关基金会的信息,”Meredith注视着Alison的眼睛说道。她的眼神很令人不安,Alison努力着不发抖,“你正在,或者想去计划对抗他们。”

    “不是这样的,”Alison说。

    “看吧,”Meredith说,“你在这里的原因不是我该管的。如果你不想说私人问题,那没问题,那就是私人问题。但和基金会斗争和这是两码事。他们很危险,这边的人都不常讨论这个话题。如果你挡他们的路了,你就完了。我有三个朋友都被他们杀死了,有两个被抓住了,而我什么都做不了。所以,你确定你要把他们作为敌人吗?”

    Alison一开始不知道该说些什么。她当然确定,她这一程就是为了这个目标才开始的。她只是没料到这件事会被如此直截了当地说出来。“我确定。”

    Meredith笑了,但不是愉快的那种笑。“我们会知道结果的。”

    吃完饭以后,Meredith带着Alison到了另一个摆满了床的房间。“我需要去办一些事,”她说,“应该会花掉一周左右的时间。在这段时间里,你应该在周围看看,探索一下图书馆,看看能找到什么。就是注意你在往哪里走。”

    这是三天前的事。那以后,Alison花了大部分时间在书籍之间游走。她通常是独自一人,只有少数时间有人来找她,而她也甩开了他们。

    她在书籍中搜集到了很少关于蛇手和基金会的信息。书架背后的那个组织,如果存在的话,和她一点关系没有。这些书籍完全不按照内容、状态、作者、发布时间,甚至是作者进行排序。一份《哈珀·李全集》(有一千多页长而且字小得无法阅读)的副本可能就放在1959年版的奥斯汀·迷你用户手册旁边。这实在令人郁闷。

    搜索了两天以后,她唯一收集的一本书就是本叫做《哦,那狠毒之蛇》的诗集。把那算入“信息”里就像是把Goodnight Moon11算作史诗。而询问以及居住的人也没有给她更多信息。大部分人都继续自顾自地阅读,而那些想要回答的少数人都给出了最模糊的答案。不管怎样,她并没有完全失败。虽然她没有找到想要的书籍,但那些书极其引人入胜。刚到第三天她就收集了厚厚的一堆阅读材料。

    这是第三天的晚上(根据她的手表来看)。她上一次见到人已经是七小时以前了。她发现图书馆中的人流与海岸上的人群有些相似。多数人都停留在资源丰富的地区,比如公共区域和生活室中。只要稍微往“内陆”走几百米,周围的人就只剩四分之一了。再走几百米,就只能看到一两个浏览书架的人。如果走了一千米或者更长,那你就只能独自一人搜寻了。她至少走了五千米。

    这也是她惊讶于见到别人的原因。她走过一个书柜的转角(侧面一块小小的金色牌子上写着酬金两个字。所有书架都有这样的牌子。就她所知,牌上的文字和书架没有任何关系)发现末尾处有一个女人在读书。她矮矮的,有一头金发,戴着一顶
    Which was why she was so shocked to see someone else. She turned the corner to a shelf (REMUNERATION, read a small gold placard on the side. They all had signs like that. As far as she could tell, it was irrelevant to anything) and the woman was standing at the end, reading a book. She was short, and blonde, wearing a long black coat, and green fleece cap. Anything else was too far away to see.

    Curious as the sight was, Alison ignored her. She walked down the aisle, running a finger across spines, pulling out and flipping through any books that looked useful. None were. A few seemed interesting at least. She slipped those into her bag.

    Her finger stopped when she felt something warm. It was resting on the spine of a thin, white book with no text. As she pressed her finger to it, it pulsed, like a heartbeat, and began to warm. Curious. This was the first thing of its kind she'd seen here. She pulled it from the bookshelves, and it squirmed in her palm. At least, it felt like it did. The book itself didn't move. The cover felt like it was made of leather, and seemed heavier than it should have. In gold emboss, a complicated tetragram had been placed on the front cover. She flipped it open.

    Sand erupted from the pages, slamming into her stomach. The world spun around her as she was launched into the air, and came slamming back down into the ground. The book spun out of her hands, landing at the other ends of the shelves. A geyser of sand spewed from the pages, spreading across the floor. She lay in a small pile of the stuff.

    Her head was pounding. A trickle of blood ran down her forehead. She wiped it away and tried to stand, but her foot caught on something, and she fell back. Something tightened around her ankle. Sand covered her foot, creeping up across her leg. She tried to tear it away, but the sand clamped down.

    There was a hissing noise. The sand around her was beginning to vibrate. It rattled against her, grains leaping into the air, showering her. A trail of it was snaking across the floor, moving across the carpet from her to the book like a worm. The hissing grew louder. It almost sounded like a voice.

    Sand wrapped around her arms and other leg. The pile underneath her was shifting, spreading out around her. The edges rose in the corner of her vision. They seemed to tower over her, like a tidal wave of dust. The hissing was even louder now, a screaming in her ear. Piercing through it was a voice. I wondered how long it would be until you came. It sounded like someone speaking through an avalanche. How long you would be able to deny your sin. Does it pain you, Mikhal, to remember what you have done to me? I hope it did.

    The sand rushed down towards her. She sucked in a breath of air and began to count seconds. The wave crashed into her. Soon, she was cocooned in it. I see her face in my mind every day. The way it looked when she realized you had left, when she knew you had damned us. You couldn't even stay to see that. You wouldn't even look us in the face when you seal our fate. Coward. The sand was tightening around her. Already, she could feel herself beginning to give, to buckle under the pressure. It was hard to think of anything past the pain, but she forced herself to think, to keep counting time.

    They took her from me. I never knew her final fate. I hope they killed her quickly. I don't know how long they kept me alive. I don't remember anything but the pain, and hoping that you would return. But you never did.

    Thirty seconds. She released her breath, bringing the words to her mind. Nothing happened. Her stomach sank. Had it failed? Had her timing been off? She'd only cast this spell a few times before. Had it-

    A wave of wind burst from her, ripping the sand away. She pushed herself to her feet as it began reforming. A whip of sand lashed at her, but she rolled out of the way. As she did, she saw the woman from before, standing at the end of the shelves, only a few meters from the book. Her arms were crossed, and she wasn't moving.

    “Hey!” yelled Alison, “Help! Close the damn book!”

    The woman didn't move. Another bludgeon of sand rushed at Alison. She ducked under and sprinted towards the book. The woman didn't move.

    Something slammed into Alison's foot, sending her tumbling to the ground. As soon as she hit the floor, sand wrapped around her arm. It threw her up, pinning her to the wall. More ropes of sand sprouted from the ground, moving towards her. The woman was nowhere to be seen.

    Alison tried to wrench her arm away, but the sand gripped it too tight. Another tendril collided with her leg. She kicked at it. Her feet hit the side of the sand and burst through. It reformed in seconds. Still, it was better than nothing. With her free hand, she groped at the shelves behind her. Her fingers wrapped around a thick volume, and she ripped it from the shelf, swinging it at the sand holding her arm. It sliced through and she fell, pinned to the shelf only by her foot, hanging upside down.

    She wound up and threw the book as hard as she could. It hurtled through the sand, and she crumpled to the ground. There was a crunch, and pain shot through her side, but she ignored it. Already, she could see the sand reforming and rushing towards her.

    Clutching her arm, she sprinted forward. Tendrils of sand batted at her legs, but she danced around them. She could hear the voice behind her, screaming. You dare? it cried. You dare try to flee? To run from this fate, when we could not? Turn around, coward, and face me with some dignity. She ignored it. Sand smacked into her back. She stumbled, but kept running.

    The book only a few meters from her. She dove, arm outstretched. As she did, the fountain of sand sprouting from it turned and slammed into her shoulder. She tumbled down. The stream of sand twisted in the air, rocketing towards her. She pushed herself forward, rolling under it. Reaching an arm out, she snatched the cover of the book and threw it shut.

    The voice stopped mid-sentence. The sand fell to floor. The Library became quiet. Panting, she rose to her feet. The world seemed to spinning around her. There was a buzzing noise in her ear, and her vision was blurry. Her knees buckled. She reached out and steadied herself against the shelf before she could fall any further.

    It was thirty minutes before she could stop shaking and begin walking back to the common areas.

    Meredith was sitting by her bed, reading a book. She looked up as Alison limped near. “Well,” she said, “don't you look like a woman who's just had an experience?”

    Alison grunted a reply and collapsed onto the bed. “What the hell was that?” she managed to say after several minutes.

    “What was what?” said Meredith.

    Alison sighed. “What do you want?”

    Meredith stood and stretched. “So, I've talked to some people. They'd be interested in meeting you.”

    Just like that, the pain disappeared. Alison sat up. “What? Who? When?”

    “Now, if you're up to it,” said Meredith.

    Alison nodded.

    “Follow me,” said Meredith. They began walking, out of the common area and into the Library. A few people stared at Alison, bruised and limping, but she ignored them. They wound through the shelves, moving back and forth between them until she'd lost any idea of where they were. Then they kept walking. Every time she tried to question where they were going, she was met with silence.

    It was 45 minutes before they stopped, in a shelf that look like every other (MENDACITY, read the plaque on the side). Meredith knelt down and rapped against the rug three times. She stood, took five steps back, and stomped twice. Then she took four steps to the left and stomped another six times.

    A hole appeared in the floor. It didn't slide open, or open like a door. It just appeared, as if it had always been there. Leaning against the side was a ladder. The floor below was made of wood, and well lit. Meredith began climbing down. Alison followed.

    They descended into a short corridor. At the end was a red door. Lining the roof were several fluorescent lights. On the sides were paintings depicting a variety of scenes, from what looked like the birth of Christ to a man floating in space.

    “The Hand isn't what you're looking for,” said Meredith. The first thing she'd said since they left. “Most of it would be useless to you. They're not a bad group, but they're not up to going against something like the Foundation. They still hide from them, whisper in secret, use their nonsense names. They're scholars, and that has its place.”

    Meredith opened the door and motioned for Alison to enter. “But we're the fighters.”

    Inside was a large room, lined with chairs, pillows, and bookshelves. In the center was a fireplace. A flame flickered, the only source of light, casting twisting shadows across the walls. It smiled like old books and expensive liquor. The only other person, kneeling by the fire, was the woman in the green cap.

    “What the hell!” said Alison. She looked from Meredith to the woman. “Who the fuck is this?”

    Meredith didn't say anything.

    “Of course,” said Alison. “Now we're playing this game. Lovely.”

    The woman smiled. “I said almost the exact same thing.”

    Alison scowled and stepped towards her. “Did you? Is that supposed to be some grand, revealing comment? Should I fall to my knees and forgive you for leaving me to fucking die?”

    “I wouldn't have let that happen,” said the woman. She stared into the fire. “But if I'd had to step in, we wouldn't be talking now.”

    “What a shame that would be,” said Alison. “I'd suggest you start saying something meaningful.”

    The woman stood. “It's not often I meet someone like this. But it's not often someone like you comes to us either. I'm sorry that things went the way they did back there, but you were never in any real danger.” She stared into Alison's eyes. Alison looked away. Something about her gaze felt wrong. “You're lucky. L.S doesn't often accept people so soon. My name is Amanda. I'd like to welcome you to the Serpent's Tooth.”

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