This is the fifth installment of love letters delivered to us by two of our field agents.
As with previous sets of letters, these were found inscribed back leafs of a library books— parts of a collection willed to various institutions after the demise of Jack Warren.
Our field agents continue to search the libraries and used book stores of San Francisco for more letters.
We found a few more letters, mostly in the special collections and closed stacks. There are a bunch of books from the bequest that may have been destroyed; the library has lost track of them, at any rate. We're working on that.
In other news, microfiche was a complete bust. Tell Dave we owe him a Coke.
Riley and Morgan
Here at my disposal are a thousand different instruments of adventure.
Which will you choose?
I have a flying carpet, given to me by the last true Atlantean after I saved him from a boat of Russian Whalers. Atlanteans, in their true form, looked much like whales.
I have a case of bright colored and multi-limbed dolls. By holding and concentrating on them, you can transfer your consciousness into any or all of them. Imagine seeing the world through the eyes of a miniature lion. Imagine walking where only the spiders can walk. Imagine what you could do if you weren't afraid of death and injury.
I have a submersible at my disposal that will allow you to travel to the darkest depths of the seas, and let you see—with its arcane science—in the inky tides as if you were on a noonday street. With this machine, you will be the first to see the wonders of the ocean floor.
In this box here, on the counter—the one next to the lamp. In this box is a ring that will make you undetectable to man, animal and machine. Go anywhere; do anything. Total amnesty can be yours if you choose the ring.
At my waist here—do you see this frayed and worn pouch? This pouch contains an infinite amount of currency. The monies within are good in every land. Dollars, pounds, yen. What could you do with all the money in the world?
Also, I have the mind and tongue of a storyteller. I keep them here, in my head and in my mouth. They, too, could be at your service forever. It all depends on which you choose.
There stands a sprawling house on a hill at the edge of this land. It has a hundred thousand doors, and yes, wings, and headlong staircases and towers and breakfast nooks. The house wraps around the hill like a mythic dragon, breathing thin, foggy smoke and winking sunlight from its million eye-like windows.
I arrived at the house with a handful of loyal companions from my native country, in the fall of the year. We presented ourselves at one of the four gates, were admitted without confrontation or fanfare, and given spaces here and there. We were given space to build, to add on, because that is the custom of this eclectic mansion.
I built my single room from simple materials at first. I found light wood, discarded crates and blocks-very mundane stuff. But as the weeks and months went by, I discovered bit by bit the tunnels to the dragon's hoard. I brought back gold and silver, velvet and magic lamps, glass doors and mirrors, and my room became more beautiful, more comfortable. It became my home.
The house folds in upon itself, labyrinthine and rambling. It took me months to find the in-ways and out-ways, the stairs inside the walls, the running ramps over the rooftops, the shortcuts from window to window. I still cut down unfamiliar corridors and end up in a room I've visited many times, never knowing how close I'd been to it, a whistle away and half a story down.
By daring shortcuts and winding scenic routes, I visited my friends, usually in a central cluster of public rooms.
One night, I was lying in my room, feeling lonely and isolated. My windowsill was empty of messenger-carried letters, paper airplanes and the like. My tin-can-and-string phone was silent.
Suddenly I heard a muffled thump, a muttering voice, and a screech like an ancient lever being pulled for the first time in a hundred years. I stood up and watched my original wall, where the noises were coming from. Before my very eyes, a door appeared. It swung open slowly, almost timidly. By the light of my magic lamps, I saw who was there.
There you were, familiar and strange, transformed by sudden proximity. How long had we been so close, without ever realizing? Once again, I suspected that the house itself had changed, rearranged. Beyond you I caught a new glimpse of your room from this fresh perspective, and I saw hundreds of things to intrigue me. I felt my heart, my mind, my life expand into new spaces.
But the best part, by far, was watching your face as you realized, too, how close we were. Your eyes, your face, your whole body lit up when you saw me.
I reached through the new doorway, took your hand, and led you over the threshold.
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