[Hoard 4+1=miss +4 hunger]
Scrib starts his search for guns for October. He leaves his room and goes to the lobby. Peppering stops him. She still has her bat.
“Where are you going?”
I don’t really know. The market, I guess, he wants to say. Instead he hears himself say, “I need to look for something downstairs.”
“Ok,” Peppering says, a bit confused. “Want me to help?”
“No, how about you keep an eye on October. Make sure she doesn’t do anything … rash.”
She might have protested but he turned around and walked back to the stairs before he finished the sentence. He feels the pull of his books.
He starts digging around behind the stacks of books and feels the voices. The whispers that have followed him since he read his first word. His mind drifts.
[Search hoard: 5+2=hit, +1 hunger]
Scrib stood outside Flavor’s door. This was last week. He had to tell her that her husband is dead. His first job as Mr. Million’s lackey.
She opened the door with a blank expression. Scrib realized that he had never actually spoken to her. She didn’t look much like the princesses he read about in the library. She was plain, small, birdlike.
“What is it?” she said.
“Can I come in for a minute?”
Flavor responded by walking away from the open door. Scrib wondered in. Scrib’s bedroom was more or less the entire library basement, but he had a good idea of how large most other people’s bedrooms were. Other people from the city might be shocked.
Flavor was already rummaging through a mini-refrigerator. It was the third time Scrib had ever seen one of these.
“Beer, water, or milk?”
Scrib sat down on large couch. He could only count three patches. “Better make it beer.”
She brought them both a jar of dark beer. It was the same kind Mr. Sunset’s girls brewed.
Once she sat down she looked at Scrib. “He’s dead, isn’t he?”
Scrib chewed on his tongue. He couldn’t bring himself to answer so he looked down at his beer.
“It’s ok. I knew it would happen sooner or later. It figures it would happen now.”
Scrib takes a long drink. “I’m sorry.”
“I guess my dad sent you here to be his replacement?”
Scrib mumbled what might be considered an answer.
“Well, you’re off the hook. I didn’t even want to get married the first time. There’s no way I’m going through that again.”
She tilted her jar of beer up and swallowed every drop of beer before she continued.
“And I’m pregnant anyway.”
She said it with such a deadpan that Scrib couldn’t tell if he should say sorry or congratulation. He took another drink instead.
Flavor looked at him. “So, tell me something about yourself.”
Scrib stared at her.
“Something you’ve never told anybody.”
“Uh, ok. Sometimes when I’m writing, it takes over. The words, it’s like they demand to be put down onto paper.”
“What do you write?”
Scrib looked down at his drink again. The last time he told someone about this he was exiled from his home. He glanced back at Flavor. He got the impression not much could disturb her.
“Sometimes gibberish. Sometimes things that happened a long time ago. Most of the time it’s things that will happen.”
Flavor stood up and went back into the food area. She returned with a long sheet of homemade paper.
Scrib slowly took out his pen. He closed his eyes and listened for the words.
[Open brain: 6+2=hit]
He felt his hand moving. After a few seconds he opened his eyes. He followed Flavor’s eyes down to the paper.
“You are the only one that can save this baby when her grandfather dies.”
Scrib slowly realizes that he is actually looking down at a device he is holding. He’s on his knees in the middle of his book hoard. He turns the device over in his hands.
“A pain wave transmitter.” This is Scrib’s voice, but the words aren’t his.
[Hoard 2+2=miss, +1 hunger]
The words tell him to find Nils to install it in Mr. Sunset’s makeshift cell.
He takes an old guidebook out of the hoard. He’s read it a hundred times. Nils had been asking for books like this since he moved to the city.
[Market 11+2-1=great hit]
There’s something else the words write down in his notebook, but Scrib forces himself not to think about it.
“Death waits in the forest.”