The walk home was uneventful and clarifying. I kept largely to myself, letting my newfound sense of individuality apart from "A" and her enigmatic longhand seep into my pores. I still couldn't wrap my head around much of what had happened to me, but it felt good to have a sense of self again.

It felt good to have more contact with Gerald.

There was a brief moment after I had arrived where my eyes slid across the old wooden floor boards to where my book bag was hidden from view. I managed to steel myself against the twitches that crept into my arms and legs, but I could feel them in hiding. They were like termites gnawing on my self control. Not wanting to ruin the progress I had made that day, I denied myself their pull.

I salvaged several letters from home out of my rubbish bin and tried to read my mother's poor hand writing and understand my uncle's tenious grasp on the Isyrian language. The act only served to frustrate me, so I abandoned them where they had originally been found.

I attempted to ease my mind and relax, but there was little to do. I didn't dare crack a book, regardless of subject for fear of her return. Nor did I feel any artistic pursuits such as writing or sketching. I settled with cleaning the remainder of the mess that had become my home.

It made me feel at ease. I thought about my family in the hinterlands and their struggles with the farm, but they weren't much to me anylonger. I tried to feel ashamed, but they seemed so dim from me. Even before my encounter with "A" they were far from my mind. Now they were little more than characters in a serial to me. A little piece of fiction delivered to my door by a bookseller disguised as a postman.

Once I grew tired enough I washed and allowed myself to slip into unconsciousness. It came fast, it felt good to relax my sore muscles.

I had distorted dreams filled with flight and travel. There was vivid moment wherein I remember Gerald sitting on my lap and my trembling hands cutting a lock of his hair which had suddenly become long and golden. We smiled, but his face contorted in agony and he dissolved into the red script of "A." I clutched at the words, only managing to catch the negative bits and phrases.

I awoke in a cold sweat. My finger tips were red and chapped, stained with black ink. The field journal, along with several other tomes unknown to me populated my desk. I was also nude. I felt my face flush.

What had happened? I clearly remembered willing myself to sleep and my frustrated attempt at catching up with mother. Moreover, I did not recall disrobing prior to bed. And I certainly did not recall reading that which I had recently forbidden myself from.

I frantically dressed and abandoned my dormatory.

I ran away, pumping my legs until I could until feel the cobblestones beneath my soles and I could only hear my own pounding heart. I had no direction in mind, but I quickly found myself in front of the enormous gothic building from which my madness had arisen, the university library.

The doors, usually the height of two men and clad in heavy iron bands and locks had been torn asunder. I could see the remnants of one several dozen meters away from the building. It had been smashed into mostly splinters. Terrifyingly it was smeared with something not too much unlike blood.

Constables where milling around, likely collecting evidence. Thankfully due to the large crowd gathered outside no one noticed my arrival. Breathing heavy and my mind swimming, I allowed myself to dissolve into the crowd.

"I left just before they closed. The poor old librarian. He was always so nice. I hope he makes it."

"They say it would have taken an army to break through those doors."

"...... constable interviewed me. He asked a lot of weird questions."

I picked up snippets of conversation and gossip. The morning was cool and breezy, so my sweat dried quickly. Soon I was just another gawker.

Further inspection revealed a brief, but terrifying glimpse inside the ancient building. Behind armor clad legionaires standing a vigil, I could just make out the ruined interior. Shreds of paper and splintered bookshelves populated the once quiet place of learning. The ornate lighting fixtures were largely reduced to scrap metal and broken glass.

I gathered from the crowd that the head librarian, an ancient man whom I barely knew, had been rendered bloodied and partially dismembered at closing. Rumor said he was either in a coma or mute. Whether it was due to the horrible experience of having one's limbs removed or from head trauma was a popular point of debate.

I was mortified. Before too long I felt sick, so I departed. Once I was clear of the crowd I allowed myself to vomit behind some bushes. I allowed myself to rest against a tree and collect my thoughts.

Had I in some way been responsible for the events that had happened the night prior? The alien stack of books stamped with the seal of the university seemed to indicate so. Had I, in my sleep, paid a visit?

I heard of people doing powerful things with adreniline and endorphines, but partially dismembering a librarian and rendering the building a terrible mess of shredded paper and splinters seemed a bit of a stretch.

So if I was not responsible, what had happened? Was it related to my obsession and my madness? I could feel my intellectual vanity urging me to return to the scene or my apartment, to study the terrible events and determine my connection.

But the courage to do so escaped me. I was weak and tired. I couldn't return home.

So I sat there and wept.


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