Tag Archive | Bellamy

The Bellamy, Chapter 16

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It’s never really taken anyone forever.  The woman across the table smiled around a nibble of pocket quiche. 

“You know,” Veronika mused.  The sandwiches looked delicious; they even smelled delicious.  “None of this was anywhere in the job description. And the first half of the day -”  She frowned. “It wasn’t, was it?”

“Well, it depends on how you look at it.  It depends on some other things, as well.” Amanana put two sandwiches on her plate and gestured to the platter, then to Veronika’s plate.  “How much do you want to know?”

Veronika picked two that looked the best.  “I want to say everything, but I suppose the question needs to be what’s the danger in knowing too much?” Continue reading

The Bellamy, Chapter 15

Sorry for missing a week~ Dermatologist visit!

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The pair left her at the doorway of Supernatural and the Occult, both of them smiling, both of them saying they were going to talk to Miss Haas. Two had slipped a packet of cookies into Veronika’s pocket, too, which pressed against her leg in a weird, crinkly way, like a token of some sort of kinship.  She spent a moment looking at the door – it was big, a couple feet taller than she was and proportionally wider, a heavy-looking wooden door – not oak, maybe something like – cherry, she realized, she’d seen that somewhere, probably in the Fillion.  It was carved all about with figures, what looked like demons and angels, pegasi and unicorns and what she thought were probably kelpies. 

The top half had a window – carved so it looked like it was held up by the unicorn and the kelpie, riding on a pegasus’ back – which itself was a complicated stained glass ritual circle.  Continue reading

The Bellamy, Chapter 14

We’re done discussing human remains for the time being!-

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“You broke her.  One, you broke her, and she was nice.”

“Oh, come off it, she was too nice to be real.  If she’s a little broken, maybe she’ll be more -“

“More real?  You’re saying that and you’re you and you’re saying that to me and-“

“Not broken,” Veronika interrupted.  She was still crouched on the floor.  She was still holding her face in both hands.  She didn’t really want to move.  She hadn’t really wanted to interrupt; the interaction between the two of them was fascinating.  But –  “I’m not broken.”  That was important. “I’m angry, and I’m… understanding something, I suppose.  And I’m angry.”

“You said that already.”

“No, she said it differently the second time, don’t you ever pay attention?”

Impossible to tell which was which without looking; they had the same voice.  Veronika looked up.  “Your voice copied better than your image.”

“You should see our livers,” Two quipped.  “Thank Carlson, you’re not broken.  Angry is – angry is good.”

“Why is angry good?” She felt like a fool, down on the floor.  Slowly, Veronika unfolded back to her feet.  She was surprised to find both Two and One taking an elbow and helping her up – up and away from the skeletons.  

“Because,” One answered for her sister/copy/twin/duplicate/clone? “for one thing, it’s an active emotion.  Or two emotions, I suppose.  And for another, what is the quote? ‘If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention?’ I believe that second angry means that you’re paying attention, which speaks to your chances of survival here even more than you breaking the sunbeam’s grasp.”

Veronika looked between them.  “You want me to… you want me to be angry, no.  You want me to be paying attention.  You want me to pay attention because you want me to survive.”

“Both.  They feed into each other.”  One nodded, a very bare smile crossing her lip.  “If you’re the sort that pays attention, that’s good for the Bellamy.  Sometimes, Miryam just hires people because they’re, well, because they have an archival skill.  That’s great, of course, we’re an archive.  But you need more than archival skill to survive the Bellamy, and,-“

“And the Bellamy needs more than archivists,” her sister/clone/duplicate picked up.  “Bellamy needs, well.”

“More people like us,” One snorted.  “And obviously, we can’t just…”

“Duplicate ourselves.”  Two snorted identically.  “Like we said.  Our livers.”

“Your livers.  Right.” Veronika straightened out.  “You do realize that if you two happen to be putting me on about any of this, I am never bringing you any of our family wine.  And that is actually a punishment.”

They shared a look.  One nodded politely at Veronika.  “Then it’s good we’re not putting you on.  We’ve done that, of course, but not with people who, not with people who were handling things well, if that’s any consolation.”

“Not consolation,” Two corrected.  “Because we haven’t done anything to her, except you were a little rude to her.  More like reassurance.”

“I swear, I did not put a dictionary in the – anyway.  We’re going to walk you to Supernatural and Occult.  There aren’t that many more dangers this way, but, uh.  I’d rather be sure.  And then we can put in a word for you with Amanana.  She’s, ah, interesting.”

“Interesting?”  She glanced over to One.  “You, you are saying someone is interesting.”

“Well, she is – she is interesting. She doesn’t run Supernatural and Occult all of the time – our department is one of the only ones that stays with the same people all the time, and that’s because nobody wants to deal with it but us.”

“Well, also because-”  Two made a gesture that seemed to indicate something.  Veronika could guess that it was because they were duplicates, but it could have meant that they were short, comparatively, or just smarter at technology, or had bad hearts. Veronika discovered that the idea of trying to figure out which just made her tired. 

“Tch.  Come on, I thought we agreed we wanted Veronika to stay.”  One smacked Two on the shoulder.  “Don’t be all mysterious and weird right now, save that for the tourists.”

Two sulked.  Veronika didn’t bother to stifle a small giggle. 

That, weirdly, made Two stop sulking.  “I guess it’s a bit silly, isn’t it?  You’ve already guessed it, or close enough.  So Amanana, she likes reactions, so you don’t have to hide yours if you have one or anything, but just – well, if we tell you, she’ll be annoyed.  Come on, this way.  Oh, see this line of boxes?”  Two turned a bit to point at a row of boxes that were painted with a red line.  “That’s the safe point for the sunbeam… thing.”

Veronika blinked.  “You just changed subjects three times in one breath,” she muttered.  “Red line.”  She looked over the line again.  “Because you can’t put up a wall.”

“It gets aggressive.”  Two made a face. “I know, I wish we’d get rid of the thing, too.  Maybe now that I tell Miryam that it’s been eating people, eating trainees, well, no, of course not, we always knew it did that-“

“We tell her it tried to eat Miss Bellamy and she might think differently,” One countered. “Maybe we can shutter the damn thing or stick it in a ritual circle or something.”

“I wouldn’t want to be on the team that had to work with that.  At least it’s not a reproduction,” Two added.  They were walking Veronika through the passages of shelves of boxes, taking seemingly random turns. She wondered if she was meant to be distracted from the specifics or if this was yet another test.

She glanced at the boxes she was passing.  Something about Pompeii.  She caught her breath and glanced at Two.  “An unsolved murder in Pompeii?” she murmured. 

“Or something else unsolved,” One answered.  “They’re not all murders.  They’re not even all unsolved cases. Some of them are just storage.  A lot of them are just storage.”  She gave Veronika a strange look – strange even for her, as far as Veronika’s experience went.  “Unsolved murders?”

Veronika flushed. “I don’t know where that came from.  I honestly have no idea.  I just looked at the boxes and thought  – this time, not the first time – I thought unsolved murders.”  She wrinkled her nose.  “That’s not normally like me.”

“It’s not all that far off,” One admitted.  “We didn’t pass the sign that said this part was unsolved crimes, but that’s where we are.  I don’t think, ah.  I don’t think it’s a bad sort of not normal,” she added considerately.  “I think that you’re just getting a feel for the Bellamy.  It talks to you – and that’s a good thing.  The ones who stay for any length of time, it talks to all of us.”

“You realize -” she swallowed slowly.  “You realize that’s what they say about the archives, and they don’t say it as a good thing?  Be careful.  You spend too much time in places like that and they start to talk to you.  It gets under your skin.”

Her university advisor had told her that, actually. Twice, in slightly different wording, and then once in a very short form when do you want me to check up on you? To make sure that you’re still you?

Both One and Two were looking at her.  “And what do you think?” One asked her quietly. 

“I think – I think that if I turn left here, I’m going to be in the Supernatural department.”  She looked between them.  “And I think that the window won’t catch me again.  But I still think you ought to get rid of it.”

We,” Two corrected her, but she was doing something that was almost a smile.  “We ought to get rid of it.”

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The Bellamy, Chapter 13

Content warning for the below chapter: mention of human remains.

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“It’s you, shit.”  Hands landed on both of Veronika’s shoulders and pulled her backwards.  She let herself be pulled backwards, until even her toes were out of the sunlight.  “Do – do many people scream up here?”

“No.”  She thought it was Two behind her, but that voice was coming to the side of her.  She glanced over – Two was frowning at her.  “No.  Usually, they don’t scream at all if they make it that far.  You managed to pull yourself out and to scream.”  She shook her head.  “I figured it was Four, maybe, or maybe uh, one of the older ones who sometimes forget.  I didn’t think you’d come way over here,” she added, accusation thick in her voice.  “This isn’t the way to Supernatural and Occult.”

“It is if you’re trying to see as much of the Bellamy as you can without taking too much time,” the voice behind her commented.  So similar, just a little smoother.  One moved over to Veronika’s left, flanking her.  “But you might have noticed that can be dangerous here.” Continue reading

The Bellamy, Chapter 12

Content warning for the below chapter: human remains, not graphically described.

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Next had turned out, after a discussion with One and Two (“Ugh, save Genealogy for last, or at least, do the basement all in one go”, and “If you go this way, you can avoid the Barbies.  And Alice. Oh, and Gertrude.”), to actually be Supernatural and Occult. 

“It’s, ah.  It’s not as bad as it sounds?” Two had offered.  She’d been pulling out scones and a small tin of clarified butter for Veronika at the time and gotten her hand slapped at the second scone.  “Come on, she’s pretty okay. And wait ‘till I tell you what Mariyam did.”

One’s eyes had narrowed, and in the end, Veronika had been given three scones, the butter, and a knife — “it’s a reproduction, of course, but bring it back if you can.”

She’d also been given the strangest directions yet — and that might be saying something — to a department which was, in theory, just on the other side of the building on the same floor as Reprography.

With an assurance that she would indeed return the knife, she trundled her little cart out of Reprography and into the rows and rows of shelving and boxes.  Continue reading

The Bellamy, Chapter 11

Veronika made herself stop reading.  She glanced apologetically at Two. “It’s, ah—“

“I’m getting paid,” Two shrugged cheerfully. “The problem is, you want to finish this test before you’re old and grey.  Look, 1860, you can come back to it. Or you could take it out, too?”

Veronika wavered. “I could…” She had her own magnifier, of course.  Not because she’d ever walked off with microfilm or microfiche…. just for reading very small things which weren’t reduced to 1% of their original size….

“I’d better not,” she concluded.  “I should try to be here a week before I start signing things out.”

“Oh, no, go home every night, even if it’s just your apartment on site!  Don’t ever try to stay here a solid week — even we don’t do that, and we’ve got multiples!” Continue reading

The Bellamy, Chapter 10

“What were you looking for, again?”

Veronika could tell when the subject was being changed.  She took it before she annoyed Two any further.

“Microfiche of an article on Hammondsport, it’s supposed to be from, let’s see, from The Bellamy Gazette, really? From 1879 – June 14th, the morning edition. Ah.”  She cleared her throat. “Sorry. I’m Veronika Bellamy.” She offered her hand.

Two shook it firmly. “Hi, Veronika.  I’m Two, of course. The Gazette microfiche are this way.  They don’t do two editions a day anymore, just one a week and that’s mostly online, just about 300 copies to really dedicated subscribers, but back in the day, you could get a lot of interesting stuff from the Gazette.  I love reading the really old articles when I’ve got some free time.”

“That sounds amazing.  You like it up here, then?” Continue reading

The Bellamy, Chapter 9

Veronika found herself pressed against the wall in the Much Smaller Elevator, just enough room to press an antique button for the fourth floor.  She pressed it and took the three minutes the elevator took to climb a single story – maybe she should’ve tried the stairs again – studying the Very Small Elevator. 

The paneling was old and, in few places, dinged deeply, but the trim was still in good shape and the little bits of brasswork, including two brass sconces which made the space even smaller, was bright and beautiful. The floor looked like marble, and the ceiling, which was surprisingly high for the tiny size of the elevator, was arched and embossed in a pattern that looked like fleur-des-lis. 

There were numbers one through ten and B, G, S, and U on the button pad, far more than the Bellamy appeared to have – although she thought perhaps S was sub-basement, that didn’t tell her what U was. 

At least there was nothing, as far as she could tell, moving on its own (other than as, say, an elevator was supposed to) or otherwise particularly strange about the elevator, other than that the lifts in this place appeared to believe that there were more floors than the architecture believed in. 

She pushed her cart out as soon as the door dinged anyway – a minute was too long in such a cramped space – and looked around.  To the left, she was in what seemed to be a non-public area, stacked with boxes, each of them labelled with what she thought was a name, a number, and something that in theory would have been a date  Continue reading

The Bellamy, Chapter 8

Severn Herrley sent Veronika on her way with the corn husk doll carefully packed up, as if it were going to be shipped.  She’d also sent her with a small tray of vegetables and hummus. 

“Everyone seems to want to feed me,” she’d muttered, even though it had only been the two so far, not counting Sylvester, whose job it presumably was to want to feed her. 

“It’s a good sign.  It means we like you.”  Severn had patted her on the back heavily enough to send her a few steps forward and had given her tips on her next destination. 

Of course, as she trundled her little cart away from Ancient Acquisitions, Veronika was wondering what happened when an archivist didn’t like her. 

She amused herself thinking of possibilities — from a very firm snubbing, to sending her in the wrong direction for the next department, to taking her things from her instead of giving her food, to making her part of a display. 

Maybe, she mused darkly, that was what happened to those who didn’t make it through their first day; maybe there was a department somewhere with row upon row of “failed Bellamy archivists” behind glass, modeling wigs like Alice. Continue reading

The Bellamy, Chapter 7

It is nothing but self-kindness to be kind to the new.  Everything here was strange and Veronika wasn’t completely convinced that this wasn’t an elaborate prank.  Still, she ought to be polite. She smiled back at the woman cautiously. “So I’m in the right place, then?”

“Well, if you’re looking for Ancient Acquisitions, then yes, you’re in the right place.  I’m Severn Herrley, by the way. I can probably help you with anything you need in this department.  And several other departments as well.” She winked, which Veronika felt was a little strange, but hers not to question why and all that.  “So what do they have you looking for today?”

“It’s— Wait, not Alice?”  Hadn’t Eleanor said don’t let Alice give you any trouble?

“Alice?  Oh, Alice.  That’s, ah, what we call the wig stands, or at least the really creepy ones.  No, Severn. And you were looking for…?” Continue reading