Attention – Read Chapter 4.5 First, Sorry!
She was standing outside the Local History department, considering Eleanor’s directions.
Left did not look like the right direction; she could see the sign for the elevators to the right, but she decided on a whim to trust Eleanor rather than the signs and headed left through an area which looked more like a back room than part of the public collection – there were stacks of books to one side, cataloging cards and notes on the other side, and a little collection of things like cellophane sleeves for books and the labels for the spines.
Veronika peered at the notations on a couple of labels – that was definitely neither Dewey Decimal nor Library of Congress, but aside from that, she couldn’t tell anything about it. The letters were at least letters and then numbers numbers, but since everyone she’d met so far had spoken English, that seemed like a rather low bar.
The shortcut did, indeed, lead to a bank of three elevators, looking as old as everything else here in the Bellamy (including possibly the skeletons).
The first elevator was just closing as she walked by. She could hear sounds of a struggle happening within, something bouncing against the walls. The dog, she assumed, and didn’t envy whoever had to haul that creature up to wherever such things went – and who had to handle it when it got up there.
The third elevator waited, door open, looking very inviting. The second one, from the dial, appeared to be on the 7th floor.
The dial went up to the 10th floor. Veronika, in looking at the building, had seen a four-story building flanked by buildings from one to maybe six stories.
Maybe the elevator had been a donation. Maybe the dial had been a donation.
She wasn’t sure how she felt about that.
She stared at the dial. Slowly, glacially, it moved from 7 to 6. And then it sat there.
She checked her watch and then the elevator. The third one was right there.
The elevator was not moving. Had Eleanor decided to play a prank on her? Did Elevator 2 just not move? She’d thought Eleanor seemed nice, but there was always the hazing the new girl in offices like this – well, she corrected herself, there was really no office like the Bellamy, and it wasn’t really an office, not the way other offices she’d worked in had been.
The dial was still at 6.
She looked at her cart. It wouldn’t do well on stairs, would it? She considered the way it was put together, the way that it was pushed, and lifted it carefully.
It was lighter than it looked – it wouldn’t be, she imagined, once she weighed it down with all the books and artifacts she was meant to find – and after that temp job moving boxes of paper around the Fillion Archive, she could lift considerably more than she’d been able to a year ago. Now, were there stairs? And where was she going again?
The dial was slowly moving towards 5. Ancient Acquisitions was on the third floor; she thought she was on the first.
She paced past elevator three and looked – another section of books, this one labelled French Diaries.
It looked far too large for it to be only French diaries, but she didn’t see any stairs, either.
The dial was one-quarter of the way between six and 5.
Back past elevator one – which was in the sub-basement, according to the dial – there were three doors. She tried the closest to the elevator and found it locked, the brass doorknob not moving at all in her hand.
She checked the dial: it hadn’t moved.
The second door opened into a tidy janitor’s closet, complete with a floor-sink set up and a bucket, brooms and mops hung on one wall and on the other, narrow shelves with a variety of cleaning products dating from modern to so old the labels had faded on the glass jars.
Veronika wondered about the personality of a janitor at the Bellamy and closed the door carefully without moving a single thing.
The dial was at approximately 5 and two/thirds. She couldn’t imagine riding an elevator that was that slow. She thought she would have a panic attack before they ever reached the next floor.
She lifted up her cart again, considered it, and checked the third door.
Finally, a staircase. It was narrow and the stairs were shallow, but she thought she could get the cart up it. Veronika backed up and picked up her cart again. The dial had made it to nearly 5.
She headed up the stairs, carrying the cart and moving very slowly. The turn halfway up was almost impossible to navigate, but, again, she’d moved around tighter spaces while carrying stacks of mismatched boxes for almost a year at the Fillion, so this was, while not easy, certainly do-able.Want more?