Water Water – episode nine

[start at episode one]

Laura gets on with it

After a long shower Laura slept heavily, lying still and dreamless for hours before waking with a start as a narrow shaft of sunlight hit her face through a gap in the curtains. There were a few seconds of uncertainty, a vague idea that something had happened and then it hit her with a lurch in the stomach that made her gasp. She swallowed, her mouth suddenly dry, and pulled the duvet over her head to try and shut it all out, but she couldn’t smother the memory of the day before.

It was soon very hot under the duvet, stifling in fact, and Laura poked out her nose and mouth to breathe more easily, and then the rest of her head, and then just flung the cover right off. She sat up and pulled open the curtains. The attic room was small and her narrow bed was underneath the window. She could see across the gardens to the open windows and closed curtains of other houses and flats. Nothing moved, but then it was early on Sunday morning so what did she expect?

This is pointless, Laura thought so she got out of bed and stomped into her tiny kitchen, banging cupboard doors and rattling crockery as she made herself a cup of tea. She held the mug in her hand and looked out of the kitchen window down onto the sleeping gardens. She leaned her forehead on the glass and remembered at once the cool of the tube train window that other morning – the morning when she’d first glimpsed those shadowy figures she now knew to be the Mer.

“Mer.”

She said it out loud to try and make it sound what, less ridiculous, not quite so ludicrous? “Mer, Mer, Mer, oh for heaven’s sake!” She left the window and paced the flat restlessly, not knowing what to do, or even what to think.

But Laura was very much from the Pull Yourself Together And Get On With It school of self-help so after a bit more walking up and down she sat at the table, drank her tea and made a plan.

Well there’s no point sitting here stewing, she told herself. I just need to be logical, I’m a librarian for goodness sake, we’re omniscient.

It was a while now since Laura and Rani had come to the conclusion that librarians were all knowing, all powerful beings.

“When’s the last time you got asked a question you couldn’t answer?” Rani had said one morning, as she dunked a biscuit in her tea.

“I’m not sure,” Laura thought for a moment, “well never, actually, not that I remember anyway.”

“Exactly. We have access to all the knowledge that’s ever been, therefore we’re omniscient,” Rani concluded happily. “One day we’ll rule the world.”

Holding on to this thought Laura decided that all that was needed to sort out this particular puzzle was a bit of research. She pulled out a scruffy case from under her bed, opened it, and knelt on the floor for a moment contemplating her rather elderly laptop. She zipped the case closed, jumped up, grabbed her handbag and headed for the door, no time like the present. Then she stopped – better change out of her pyjamas first.

Soon she was sitting in her favourite café with Silvio’s biggest latte-croissant combo jostling for space with her computer on the little round table. This particular table, while cramped in a dark corner at the back, had the advantage of being able to pick up the free wifi from the Starbucks next door. Most of the regulars favoured the tables on this side of the room. The doors of the café were open letting in the warm morning air and not too many traffic fumes, the Gaggia gurgled, and Silvio was humming along to Puccini.

Her computer was a little slow, but Laura worked efficiently, using favourite information sources and accessing remotely a couple of the databases from work. Two hours later however all she had to show for her efforts was a headache from too much coffee and sugar and she shut the laptop with a frown. I need books, she thought.

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