Hamme understood she had spotted him. Without slowing or rushing his pace at all, he turned right and disappeared behind a corner. For good measure, he continued walking for a few meters before stopping and listening, in case she had decided to follow him. Not that he could actually hear her steps on the grass of the Green Way 5. He sat on a bench by the canal and thought about his next move for a little while, and then came to the conclusion that a direct approach was impossible tonight. He had to get back to the Library, a process that would take him at least a couple hours, from that part of the City.
He walked to the end of the GW5 and there caught an electric train which got him all the way down to the Centre, where he changed to another one to the North area. He then walked the rest of the distance, this time on hard paved streets with no signs of vegetation.
The Library was a big house, the last at the outskirts of the City, on the North Road. All around it there were empty, derelict residential buildings, and after it, the darkness of the countryside. No one was living in this part of the City anymore and since free public transportation and private Short-Flight Systems had made cars a thing of the past, Hamme hadn’t seen a living soul passing about in years.
Except, of course, for the people of the Library.
He swiped his card and the door unlocked. He found the switch on the wall on his right and turned the lights on. He closed the door behind himself and walked down to the living room.
Two people were there, right where Hamme had left them a few hours before. They didn’t speak a word to each other, they didn’t even nod, fully immersed in their own activity. The old man at the desk was reading from a big old volume, following the words with his finger and his lips, not really reading aloud but just mouthing. Every once in a while he would stop and type a note on the tablet next to him. The middle-aged man standing next to the bookcases was looking for something he seemed not to be able to find.
“Aoife?”, Hamme asked. The man by the bookcases pointed in the direction of the stairs.
Hamme walked upstairs and knocked on Aoife’s door, but there was no answer. He got to his room and started making a fire, not for the heat but for a completely different purpose. He had decided what his next move would be.
He sat cross-legged in front of the fireplace, a pen and a piece of paper by his side. He started chanting old words, but the chant soon became a whisper and then there was no sound at all, as the words were not useful anymore and Hamme’s mind was connected, his conciousness existing on a different level and he was searching, looking to find somebody.
When he found her, he picked the pen and the piece of paper and wrote, his eyes closed, “This is a sign”. He then placed the pen back on the floor and threw the piece of paper with the message in the fire, were it was quickly consumed by the flames.
A few seconds later he opened his eyes, and sighed. Waiting had always been a frustrating thing to do for him.