[Audiobook edition of this text]

This text has been transcribed from the original, which is carefully preserved in the Precious Archives at Reynaud. The scholar who authored it remains unknown, but it’s theorized they were one of the Companions, due to details only a member of the party could know. But without confirmation, this remains speculative. All writing has been preserved, including notes and asides, with the exception of the missing section concerning the events at the Basilica, which was torn out prior to its arrival at the Archives.

↤ PRELUDE ↦ (that is, the story of the World Rake…

The white face was staring at her from the edge of the bedroom door again. Actually, through the mirror beside it.

Other nights, the cheap piece of reflective glass, with its grimy, frameless edges and uncleaned fingerprint smudges, sat unremarkably on the wall adjoining the door to her cramped bedroom. Except now, when that face greeted her in the dark.

She hadn’t had night terrors for years. …

Fifty-three came and went without ceremony. I’d lost count of the number of times over the past few years I had to think on how old I was. The relishing of time passing had yellowed to a grim recitation of my age, a glass of expensive scotch, and an early bedtime.

Tiffany and Dara just celebrated twenty years together. I sent them some champagne with a note of congrats. They didn’t have much time for me anymore, what with their two teenagers sapping the life out of them outside their jobs. …

I’ve always loved trains. There’s just something about them, isn’t there? Not as blustery and self-involved as cars, nor loud and angry and expensive like planes, trains move with a gentle, rattling hum, ferrying the public to far climbs for a small fee.

Nowadays you have the smooth maglevs, which sound almost like gliding alien engines whirring by, but I’m a fan of the old single-car trains ricketing along rusting metal tracks that grow thick with untethered grass. There’s a magic, a mystery to them, even a playfulness, that modern trains can’t touch.

And along with trains themselves, I also…

I’m a collector of useless things. But my collection can’t be placed in a museum or garage or on a quaint shelf in a back closet, it can only exist out in the world.

It began with a staircase near my apartment that led nowhere. It was stone with a rusting metal railing, set back a bit from the street past some untended grass, straight into the chipped white wall of a building. There was no door, window, or entryway, there was no platform. …

John Holowach

Spinning words as gold from straw.

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