“Tierney Ríocht?” I repeated. “I’ve never–”
“Begging your pardon, milady,” Jean-Marc interrupted. He bowed to me– really bowed, low and meaningful. Then he gripped his viola case. “I would speak with you for hours, truly, but I am needed elsewhere, and– well, you haven’t brought the key. That glimmer in your eye tells me that you know which one it might be.”
“Why do I need the key?”
“I will tell you the next time we meet. We will explain so much more.”
“When will that be? Tomorrow night?”
His smile faded, but I got the feeling that he was more disappointed in himself than anything else. “I am not one to make promises that I cannot keep, Miss Leila. I would not ask you to stay up late every night, but… Well, the magic has a way of knowing when you are awake. For now, I bid you farewell, milady. I truly do look forward to seeing you again.”
He bowed once more before gesturing to the door i’d come in through. He wanted me to leave first, but I had no idea why. I figured he wouldn’t explain that, either, so I said my goodbye and headed back down the hall. The door closed softly behind me. In the silence of the hall, I swear I even heard the tiny click of the lock. I looked back over my shoulder and saw that the door was now mostly hidden in shadows, like it really was midnight. I took a few more steps towards the spiral staircase, and when I glanced back again, it was even darker.
I didn’t dare ignore the shiver than ran down my spine then. I headed all the way down the stairs without looking back again. I don’t know whether or not the shadows could have caught up with me, but I decided not to chance it. I left the narrow room at the bottom of the stairs and emerged once again into the opulent and bright library. I closed the blue doors behind me; it would have been way too creepy to have them close and lock on their own, and like I said, I wasn’t up for taking chances that night.
The door leading from the library to the hall and back to my room was shut– I have no idea whether I’d closed it myself earlier. It opened without anything weird happening. The hallway was no longer gilded. It looked just as old and worn (yet cared for) as it had my first night there. I stepped out and closed the library door just as the half-hour struck on the clock downstairs. Then it was eerily quiet once again. The air was cool and fresh. The air smelled of mountains and trees. I was exhausted.
Before I could make myself walk down the hall to shut off my computer before heading to bed, I turned back to the library doors. I opened them both and looked inside. It was dark except for the moonbeams streaming in through the windows. It was quiet but for the hooting of an owl near one of those windows. It smelled richly of books. Of ancient books and the best bookstores. I turned around and got ready for bed.
Here is a light and playful minuet for you to enjoy: