All standard disclaimers apply.

All characters in the following story are entirely fictional. And any resemblance to real people is entirely coincidental.

The author does not condone the actions in the story. A strict line must be maintained between fantasy and reality. It is morally neutral to fantasize or read about minors engaging in sexual activity, providing the fantasy or story is entirely fictional. In real life, adults and children should never engage in sexual activity under any circumstances.

In the real world, no one under the age of eighteen--or whatever the age of majority in your area happens to be--should be having sex. In the author's view, few people under the age of twenty-one are mature enough for sex.

If you are seriously considering having sex with a minor, please read no further. Instead, seek immediate help from a trained and licensed professional.

Remember to keep your fantasy life and your real life very separate!


This story may not be reproduced without the consent of the author.

The author may be contacted at: RaziHaze (at) Hushmail (dot) com.


-- CHAPTER V --

THE HOUSE OF WISDOM

(NO SEX)



With barely a moment's pause, Jackson walked through the threshold and into what was once the bathroom next to Nevia Cabin. Wesley followed closely behind Jackson, then Milo and Chance in a line.

"This is not a bathroom," said Jackson quietly.

"No shit!" replied Wesley.

Jackson and Chance simultaneously shushed Wesley.

Wesley walked to a shelf and pulled a book from it. He began flipping through the tome.

"Well?" asked Jackson, peering over Wesley's shoulder.

Wesley read from the book, "`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves / Did gyre and gimble in the wabe; / All mimsy were the borogoves, / And the mome raths outgrabe."

"Was that English?" Milo asked through a chuckle.

"Yeah," Milo spat. "It's Lewis Carroll. The book is Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There."

"It doesn't sound like English," continued Milo.

"It's a nonsense poem. Lewis Carroll liked to experiment with language." Wesley explained.

"How do you just know this?" Jackson asked.

"I read a lot," Wesley replied. "I really like mythology, legends, and stuff. The name of that poem was `Jabberwocky.' `Jabberwocky' is also one of the names for the Jersey Devil."

"What's the Jersey Devil?" asked Chance.

"An urban legend from New Jersey," Wesley answered.

Jackson reached up and pulled another book from the shelf. "I know this one," he said after flipping through a few pages. "Yeah, I definitely know this one."

"What book is it?" asked Chance.

"The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe," Jackson answered.

"Yeah," Wesley grumbled. "The Smythes love all those Christian books."

Chance grabbed a tome from the shelf. He flipped to a random page and silently read a handful of sentences. "`Dorothy' . . . `Toto' . . . `Scarecrow,'" he nodded. "This one's The Wizard of Oz. Are we noticing a theme here?"

"You mean stories about kids traveling to mysterious worlds?" Wesley raised an eyebrow. "Nope. Haven't noticed."

Milo followed suit and grabbed a book of his own. He flipped through the pages before settling on one. He read aloud, "Overhead Tinker Bell shouted `Silly ass!' and darted into hiding." Milo chuckled loudly. "Damn, Tink's got some sass!"

Jackson giggled. "So, that one was Peter Pan--"

"Shhh!" a voice whispered from behind the boys.

All four boys swiftly turned their heads toward the voice. The door that they had walked through--that was once behind them--was gone. Instead, the shelves extended into an aisle. And, standing at the end of that aisle was a woman.

She was tall and black, with short braided hair. She wore a simple blouse and a long skirt, spotted with flecks of silver. In her hands were a pile of books. The woman widened her eyes, leaned forward, and shushed the boys once more, "shhh."

As abruptly as she had appeared, the woman walked away down a corridor.

Jackson slid The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe back onto the shelf, and motioned to the other boys. Following suit, Wesley, Chance, and Milo placed Through the Looking Glass, The Wizard of Oz, and Peter Pan back into their spots. The four boys darted to the end of the aisle and began following the woman.

On either side of the corridor, were more rows; each with shelves filled with books. Giant chandeliers decorated with glass, crystals, and silver dotted the high ceilings. Marble floors, stone walls, and iron staircases surrounded the building. There were massive interior balconies and elaborate stained-glass windows. Strange-looking people quietly walked from table to bookshelf carrying leather-bound books and scrolls of parchment.

"Is this a library?" Chance whispered.

Milo shrugged. "Where's the kid's section?" He chortled.

"Ha. Ha." Chance replied. "How did the bathroom become a library?"

"Maybe we're dreaming?" Wesley offered softly.

"How could we all be dreaming the same dream?" Jackson replied in a hushed tone.

"Folie ├ deux?" Wesley said. "Or `folie ├ quatre,' I guess." He huffed. "Maybe I'm just passed out, and you're all part o' my dream."

"Oh, so you've dreamt us all up now?" Jackson scoffed.

"What's that supposed to mean!?" Wesley said, no longer trying to remain quiet.

"Could you two stop fighting for like three seconds!?" Chance interjected.

"Shhhh!" echoed a nearby voice.

The boys turned their heads toward the voice. A man was sitting at a wooden table; beside him was a pile of books and a notepad under a lamp. The man raised his eyebrows to the boys, held a finger to his lips, then turned back to his research.

"Guys--guys--guys," Jackson whispered. He raised his hand and pointed to the man who had just shushed them. "Look at his legs."

The man's upper-body looked utterly ordinary, aside from a slightly orangish skin tone. But beneath the man's waist was a mass of salmon-colored tentacles lined with suction cups where his legs should have been.

"Squidward?" Milo joked.

Wesley nudged Milo in the side. "He's a cec├Žlia. It's like an octopus-mer-person from mythology."

With jaws agape, the boys watched as the man stood from his chair. He grabbed one of his books and started walking--if that was the right word--down the corridor. His tentacles slithered over one another, making long, flowing strides.

The cec├Žlia walked toward the boys. He towered over them by about two feet. In addition to being large, this man was muscular. He was wearing a tight, iridescent t-shirt that accentuated the curves of his pecs and abs. His shirt was tucked into a thick, leather belt, secured by a collection of metallic buckles. And, from that belt hung a loincloth.

The man winked at the boys, smiled politely, then kept walking. As his limbs strode across the marble floor, his loincloth flapped, momentarily displaying a massive, flaccid, manhood: thick and long like a ninth tentacle.

Once the cec├Žlia was out of earshot, Milo whispered, "I wonder if he cums ink," then giggled.

The cec├Žlia slithered toward a large desk, placed his book down on the counter, and waved to the woman behind it.

Jackson motioned with his chin toward the desk and the woman behind it. "That's the woman from before," he whispered. "I'll bet she's the librarian, and that's, like, the circulation desk."

Jackson began walking toward the circulation desk, and the other boys followed in tow. The four arrived at the counter just as the cec├Žlia was walking away.

Milo winked and nodded at the tentacled man as they crossed paths.

"Are you going to talk to her?" Chance whispered to Wesley.

"Me? Why me?" Wesley quietly replied.

"You're brave," Milo chimed in.

Jackson scoffed and walked up to the counter. "Excuse me?" he greeted the librarian.

"May I help you?" the librarian replied. She did not look up from her stack of books.

Jackson cleared his throat. "We--um--we're a little lost. We were wondering, uh . . . Where are we?"

The librarian nodded before looking up from her desk to meet Jackson's gaze. Her eyes were silver with catlike slits. She looked Jackson up-and-down before turning to Wesley, Chance, and Milo and examining them as well. Nicely, as if she understood their predicament, the librarian replied, "you are in the House of Wisdom."

Wesley chortled.

"Why's that funny?" asked Chance.

Wesley stepped forward, closer to the desk. "The House of Wisdom?" he repeated. "The House of Wisdom. As in `the library from Baghdad that was destroyed by the Mongols in the thirteenth century'?"

"Twelve-fifty-eight, to be exact," continued the librarian.

"Then how are we here?" asked Wesley.

"Did we go back in time?" Jackson almost laughed.

"And why is there a hunky octopus-man!?" Milo asked perhaps a little too loudly.

The librarian sighed and held up a single finger. "One moment please." She removed a shimmering piece of paper from the pile beside her, and, with a feathered quill, quickly jotted something upon it. When she put the quill back down on the desk, the paper, as if by magic, flew up into the air and soared across the library. "An attendant will be with you shortly," the librarian said.

With his mouth agape, Wesley examined the air around the desk. "There has to be, like, a fishing line here or something."

Chance and Jackson looked at each other with wide eyes.

"Fuckin' awesome!" said Milo breathily.

A minute-or-so later, another boy hopped up to the circulation desk. He was about the same height as Jackson, Wesley, Chance, and Milo, and looked to be about the same age as well. But, otherwise, he was remarkably different!

The boy's grayish skin glistened with the light. His hair was a collection of coifed and styled bird feathers. His clothing looked relatively normal, but, beneath the bottom hems of his nylon shorts, silvery bird legs protruded from his knees.

"Hi!" the bird-like boy greeted Jackson, Wesley, Chance, and Milo with an extended hand. "I'm Kato." He waved quickly to the librarian, then looked back to the boys. "You need someone to show you `round?"

"Uh," Jackson began. "Yeah. Yeah, that'd be great." He gulped. "I'm Jackson, and this is Wesley, Chance, and Milo." He motioned to the rest of the boys as he said their names.

"`Sup?" greeted Wesley with a polite smile.

"Hey," said Chance.

"Cool feathers!" exclaimed Milo.

"Sweet." Kato winked and motioned for the boys to follow him. As he walked through down a few hallways and into stacks of books, Kato started speaking quietly. "So, I'm gonna guess that you four aren't from here."

"What gave it away?" Wesley asked rhetorically.

"Yeah--uh," began Chance. "Where exactly is `here'?"

"Or, when is `here'?" Wesley continued.

"Both great questions!" Kato said. He pointed to Chance. "I'll start with your question: We are in Acadie. It's, uh--If your world is the Regular World, this is the Other World: A world of lost things."

"Lost things?" asked Milo.

"Lost cities, forgotten knowledge, missing people, legendary species," Kato pointed to his avian legs. "and hidden magic."

"Magic?" Wesley scoffed.

"Yeah. Magic," Kato replied. He ran his hand through the plumage on his head. "You don't think I got this look with hair gel, do ya?" He pointed to Wesley. "Answering your question is tougher because time does not work the same way in Acadie."

Jackson raised his hand and clicked his tongue. "Not to be rude, but . . . What are you?"

"I'm an assistant librarian," Kato explained.

"Aren't you a little young to be an assistant librarian?" Milo asked. "You're like our age."

Wesley huffed. "I think what Jackson was asking was--"

"--I know what he was asking," Kato interjected. "I'm not an idiot." He rolled his eyes. "I'm a kinnara."

"What's that?" asked Chance.

"A Southeast Asian legend," Wesley explained. "A mythological bird-person-creature-thing in Indonesia, Thailand, Tibet, and that area."

"Sweet!" Milo exclaimed.

BANG! Suddenly, a crash echoed through the library. The sound vibrated a few books off their shelves.

Kato's eyes widened, and he backed up against a row of shelves.

Jackson, Wesley, Chance, and Milo ran to the end of the aisle to discover the source of the sound.

Three men burst through a door and into the library. They wore slick suits, sunglasses, and golden ties. One of the men reached a finger up to his ear, pressed a button in an earpiece, and began speaking "The coast is clear, Belial. We're in."

A fourth man--who was a good deal taller than the other three--entered the library. He was wearing a mustard-colored, leather blazer, and a fedora. His face was terribly attractive, and his skin was a strange, smoky color. The man's eyes glowed.

This fourth man, Belial, swiftly approached the circulation desk, politely removed his hat, and began speaking to the librarian. His voice was deep and carried in the air longer than it should have. "`Evening, Sophia. It's been some time, hasn't it."

"Is there a book I can help you find, Sir," replied the librarian.

"No, Sophia. Not a book," continued Belial. "You see, Agent Walker here has informed me that a half-breed--a kinnara--has been seen in your little establishment."

"I really wouldn't know," said the librarian.

"Is that so, Sophia?" asked Belial. "You mean to tell me there are things you don't know?"

The librarian said nothing.

"Well, if there's no half-breed here, you won't mind if Agent Walker, Dave, Jeff and I have a look around." Belial winked at the librarian then motioned to the other three men.

In short order, the suited men spread out within the library. They were looking under tables and behind spiral staircases.

Jackson, Wesley, Chance, and Milo dodged back into the aisle. Kato was now shivering and breathing heavily, huddled against a bookshelf.

Jackson spoke quickly and quietly, "hide him." He pointed to the bottom shelf on the wall, then sunk to his knees and began pulling papers from it.

As quickly as they could, the four boys pulled about thirty books from the wooden shelf. Wesley approached Kato, dragged him by the hand, and assisted him in ducking into the bottom row of the bookcase.

Chance, Milo, and Jackson started piling as many books as they could around Kato.

With Kato lying down on the bookcase, the other four boys sat down around the shelf, their backs to Kato, hiding him with their own bodies as best they could. They each picked up a book and, began pretending to read. To a passerby, it would look like Jackson, Wesley, Chance, and Milo were merely leaning against the bookshelf while reading a pile of books in a huddle.

Just as the boys finished hiding Kato, one of the agents approached their aisle of bookcases.

Without looking up at the suited man, Jackson turned to Chance. "Hilarious!" said Jackson, holding up a book. "I know Shakespeare had a way with words, but I didn't realize just how funny this guy Cardenio was."

Wesley looked up from his book and politely nodded to the agent. "Hey."

The Agent looked over the boys for a brief moment before nodding back to Wesley, then moving onto the next row of bookshelves.

The four boys all breathed a collected sigh of relief.

It was another fifteen minutes before Belial and his agents left the library. During that time, Jackson, Wesley, Chance, and Milo continued to pretend to read books, doing their best to hide Kato.

Once they were sure the agents were gone, the boys moved out of the way and helped pull Kato from the shelf.

"They're gone," said Chance. "You okay?"

Kato nodded and wiped a tear from his cheek.

Chance put an arm around the bird-boy and hugged him comfortingly.