took the sheet of paper back with an awkward smile. "I can't promise
that it'll be the same time of day there," he said in a muted voice.
"The laws of my art are difficult to understand, but believe me, no
one knows more about them than I do. Fore instance, I've discovered
that if you want to change or continue a story, you should use only
words that are in the book already. Too many new words and nothing at
all may happen, or alternatively something could happen that you
didn't intend. Perhaps it's different if you wrote the original story
"In the name of all the fairies, you're fuller of words than a whole
library!" Dustfinger interrupted impatiently. "How about just reading
Orpheus fell silent as abruptly as if he had swallowed his tongue. "By
all means," he said in slightly injured tones. "Well, now you'll see!
With my help, the book will welcome you back like a prodigal son. It
will suck you up the way paper absorbs ink."
Dustfinger just nodded and looked down the empty road. Farid sensed
how much he wanted to believe Cheeseface --- and how afraid he was of
"What about me?" Farid went up to him. "He did write something about
me, too, didn't he? Did you check it?
Orpheus gave him a rather nasty look. "My God," he said sarcastically
to Dustfinger, "that boy really does seem fond of you! Where exactly
did you pick him up? Somewhere along the road?"
"Not exactly," said Dustfinger. "He was plucked out of his story by
the man who did me the same favour."
"Ah, yes! That...Silvertongue!" Orpheus spoke the name in a
disparaging tone, as if he couldn't believe that anyone really
"Yes, that's what he's called. How do you know?" There was no
mistaking Dustfinger's surprise.
The hell-hound snuffled at Farid's bare toes. Orpheus shrugged.
"Sooner or later you get to hear of everyone who can breathe life into
the letters on a page."
"Indeed?" Dustfinger sounded skeptical, but he asked no more
questions. He just stared at the sheet of paper covered with Orpheus's
fine handwriting. But Cheeseface was still looking at Farid.
"What book do you come from?" he asked. "And why don't you want to go
back into your own story, instead of his, which is nothing to do with
"That's none of your business!" replied Farid angrily. He liked
Cheeseface less and less. He was too inquisitive --- and far too
But Dustfinger just laughed quietly. "His own story? No, Farid isn't
in the least homesick for that one. The boy switched from story to
story like a snake changing its skin." Farid heard something like
admiration in his voice.
"Did he indeed?" Orpheus looked at Farid again, so patronizingly. That
the boy would have like to kick his fat shins, but the hell-hound was
still glaring hungrily at him. "Very well," said Orpheus, sitting down
on the wall. "I'm warning you, all the same! Reading you back is easy,
but the boy has no business in your story! I can't put his name into
it, I can only say, "a boy", and as you know, I can't guarantee that
it will work. Even if it does, he'll probably just cause confusion. He
may even bring you bad luck!"
Research shows that 90% of Americans value public libraries(Dec 11 2013) According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, about 90% of Americans aged 16 and older said that the closing of their local public library would have an...