How Tightly The Coils Squeeze
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September 18th, 2160 - Within the Wanderer's Library

The night-time is late, and very down. No early morning brightness peeking from the borders of the moon's domain. Just a permanent, thick gray, from which only my nook-light provides relief. I slump in my reading chair. The times have made me a very tired man, yet these words aren't going to be read by themselves. But the words keep swimming off the page… I scoop them back in, fixing the jumbled mess of prose until the story once again becomes legible.

Once upon a time, there was a brave knight named Scott. He defended the whole world. The master he served was a great king, named Glob. But one night, a rabid rat bit him on the nose. Soon the kingdom was in peril. Has the king gone mad? Soon, the answer to their worried question was relieved, as the king beheaded all dissenters. The brave knight Scott was horrified. He was not sworn to protect a madman. So one night, Scott placed a deadly serpent in Glob's bed….

There used to be so many others, like me. Ones who cared about keeping the last sane place on earth. Before they were damned, we saw ourselves as the last best hope for the mind. Somewhere, in our infinite capacity for wisdom, there was a book. The truth was somewhere in the great halls, and we just needed to find it. We could fix everything, maybe even make it better! But as the outside keeps slipping into a dark age, into ignorance and oblivion without any silver lining, it became harder and harder to resist, or even to care all that much. They couldn't ask for our help.

Once upon a time, there was a brave knight named Scott. He defended the whole world. Themaster heserved wasa great king , named Glob. But one night, a rabidhavrat bit him on the nose. Soon the kingdom was in peril. Has the king gone mad? Soon, the answer to their worried question was relieved, as the king beheaded all dissenters. The brave knight Scott was horrified. He was not sworn to protect a madman. So one night, Scott placed a deadlyserpent in Glob's bed….

My vision shakes, even when I close my eyes. I can see it twitching through the swiveling lines and endless plaid portals that lurk behind my eyelids. I'm sharp. The prose does a backstroke, gracefully falling off the page and shattering onto the floor. The world shatters with them, tinkling and falling around me like gold from a prospector's pan. The spine snaps in my hand, and I hear it cry out in relief as the whole goddamn world goes to hell. My clenched eyes do nothing to save them. They won't even save me.




He defended the whole world. Themaster he



served wasa great king , named Glob. But one night, a rabidhavrat bit him on the nose. Soon



Hasking gone mad? beheaded all dissenters. The . He was not sworn to protect a madman. So one night, Scott placed a deadlyserpent in Glob's bed….

The shattered tome slips from my fingers, and words fail. The broken ground trembles, and I can hear the compendium of all human knowledge spilling out of their collections of spines and covers. The pages all around me ruffle and collapse. My own eyes slip past my clenched lids, spiraling down onto this sea of babble. Through the cracks in the fourth wall, it all swirls around my sight, filling me in with all information disorganized and nonsensical. I can see everything, but I know nothing. Just as I slide down, the library does too. I can see, for it refuses to be ignored even as the last thoughts are snuffed. It demands respect, even as it kneels before death. The gateways stretch and snap like shattering violin strings. With a sick crescendo, we shed the last worlds, and plunge boldly into darkness. The wanderers have settled into the grave. We are done.

The rat Has beheaded The serpent

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