She found a note in her pocket that she had left for herself: ‘I might quietly shut things down while I find my feet.’

To the best of her knowledge, she hadn’t done that, but the note must have been important or she wouldn’t have written it in the first place.  She supposed that to ‘quietly shut things down’ had been an option, at the time.


She was looking everywhere for books she had found – and shelved in one spot so she could look at those and decide which she would take home.

She was in the library.

She was with one other person, a woman, who was around somewhere.

She had listened to the first talk, and had met the woman – the woman had whispered something to her that she didn’t quite hear, but the tone had been, ‘how can we possibly do this?’, and she had smiled.

Everyone else had left for lunch, but she thought she would do a preparatory look-round.  They had been given a book-list, and homework questions.  Presumably, the woman, who had disappeared further into the library, had thought the same.

She looked in one area, found some of the books on shelves.  There were quite a few of them.  She took one off, opened it, read some guff.

Another had plenty of information in it also, and another.

She carried those, and looked behind the immediate shelves, and found more.

And then more in another spot.

All the books were thin.

They all had pastel-coloured rectangular title-slots, as though they were a set.

She began to group the books together in a wide empty space on a shelf where she had been in the first place.

She looked for more, and then more – they were all here, those recommended books, but she couldn’t carry them all home.  She would need to decide which interested her most – to start off with.

But there were more books and more and she gathered them – five or six at a time – and took them to the shelf near where the talk had taken place, and where something else would resume, once lunch-time was over.

She put the last she had found in the space with the others, and went to check – just to see – though she thought she had found them all.

She had lost sight altogether of the woman she had been in here with, but there were a few more people in the library now.

She decided she had better cut short her search.  Time seemed to be getting on.  She would make a decision over a few books, grab something to eat, and get back here for the afternoon session.

She went to where she had stored the books she’d found – and the gap in the shelf was back – all the books she’d gathered had gone.

She couldn’t believe it, and ran round other parts of the library, thinking it must have been somewhere else that she’d put them.

Again and again she ran round shelves, and back to the one where she thought she had left the books.

She thought of asking the librarian, but knew it would be pointless.

Someone from the course had taken every single one.

She had none of those now, and she hadn’t at all looked at their contents – not after the first few she had found.

How was she going to do the homework now, with nothing to work from?

She had merely facilitated those others in their endeavours.

She was close to a window, and looked out of it.

She could see a mountain-range in the distance.  There was a storm over that way.  The peaks of the range, broken bones, gnashed like teeth – monstrous.


Something had split.

Some fine thread.


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