January 2 at 12:00 AM
Photo by Petr Kratochvil
Carefully Lawson lit the candles with his torch, and set it in the notch above. Legions of tan and mustard volumes towered over him--more than he remembered--packed in tight rows from floor to ceiling.
"You were right about this, and for that I am grateful." Lawson slipped Red Wind back on the shelf. "How extensive is your grasp of these archives?"
"You will not find her here." Laurent materialized from across the room. "There are a few odds and ends, but nothing that addresses the demon directly."
"Any recommendations?" The hunter turned.
Laurent traced his finger over the bindings. Abruptly he stopped, and plucked a book from the shelf. "Prey, though still and sweet, did little to douse my curiosity," he read aloud. "Though torn at the seam, the flesh still twitched as I happened upon him, a gracious gift of night. I could sense her circling above, invisible, but forever near...and as I crept into my nook, her breath washed over me. I melted to her touch, until all that lingered was a memory of her pale stare--Le Aberrante, Volume Six, Chapter 3."
He tossed the book on a nearby table.
"Fear, speculation, conjecture." Laurent gestured. "This is what you will find here. There are few definitive accounts, if any at all, and none that will augment your research. Trust me Lawson, I have looked into this. Do not get lulled into fables and fear mongering."
"I appreciate your candor, but I suspect these archives still have something to offer--a detail that a fresh set of eyes might uncover."
Laurent nodded graciously.
Lawson considered the book on the table. "Would you mind gathering any additional conjecture that might be of interest?"
Laurent smirked, and then stepped over to the bookcase. He cleared an entire shelf and placed it neatly on the table. Then he emptied another. And another.
"Right," Lawson uttered, considering the mountain before him.
"Let me know when you are ready for more."