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The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, Volume I -- Cardinal Chang Part II

The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, Volume I -- Cardinal Chang Part II



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Published by Bantam Dell
An excerpt from The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, Volume I by Gordon Dahlquist.
An excerpt from The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, Volume I by Gordon Dahlquist.

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Publish date: Dec 30, 2008
Added to Scribd: Jan 12, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial No-derivs


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called to Colonel Trapping by his Christian name. Chang wascarefully, silently easing the latch behind him when the voice be-gan calling harshly for help.It was time to get out. The narrow dark corridor led to a strangemanin a room—a crabbed, officious creature—surrounded by  familiar-looking boxes. The man wheeled at his entry and openedhis mouth to shout. Chang crossed the distance to him in twosteps and clubbed him across the face with his forearm. The manfell onto a table, scattering a pile of wooden box pieces. Before hecould rise, Chang struck him again, across the back of the head.The man smashed into the table and slumped to the floor, grop-ing, gasping damply. Chang glanced quickly at the boxes, whichall seemed to be empty, but knew that he had no time. He foundthe next door and stepped into an even larger corridor, lined withmirrors. He looked down the length and knew that it must lead tothe main entrance, which would never do. He saw a door acrossthe hall. When he found that it was locked, he kicked it until the wood around the lock buckled in, and shouldered his way through. This room had a window. He snatched up a side chairand hurled it through the glass with a crash. Behind him there were footsteps. Chang kicked the broken shards free from thepanes and leapt through the opening. He landed with a grunt on abed of gravel and ran.The pursuit had been half-hearted—for he was near-blind in thenight and by all rights any serious attempt should have taken him. When he was sure that they had stopped following, Chang easedinto a walk. He had a general notion of where he was in relation tothe sea and so turned away from it and eventually struck the railtracks, walking along them until he reached a station. This turnedout to be Orange Canal, and the end of this particular line. Heboarded the waiting train—pleased that there
a waitingtrain—and sat brooding until it finally began to move, carrying
the glass books of the dream eaters
him back to the city and, in the midst of that journey, his moment with the battered Persephone. At the Raton Marine, he finished his drink and put another coin onthe table. The more he worried over the events of the previous day and night, the more he berated himself for impulsive nonsense—all the more that now there was no announcement of Trapping’sdeath. He felt like going back to sleep for as long as he could, per-haps for days in the opium den.What he forced himself to do in-stead was walk to the Library. The only new information he had was the possible association of Robert Vandaariff or his high- placed prospective son-in-law. If he could explore their connection to Xonck, or to Crabbé, or even to Trapping himself, he wouldthen be able to obliterate his senses with a clear conscience.He walked up the grand steps and through the vaulted lobby,nodding at the porter, and climbed to the main reading room onthe second floor. As he entered, he saw the archivist he was lookingfor—Shearing, who kept all records relating to finance—in con-versation with a woman. As he approached, the small gnarled manturned to him with a brittle smile and pointed. Chang stopped asthe woman turned to face him, and dipped her knee. She wasbeautiful. She was walking toward him. Her hair was black, andgathered behind to hang in curls over her shoulders. She wore atiny black wool jacket that did not reach her thin waist over a redsilk dress, subtly embroidered in yellow thread with Chinesescenes. She held a small black bag in one hand, and a fan in theother. She stopped, a mere few feet away, and he forced himself tolook at her eyes—past her pale throat and fiercely red lips—which were fixed upon him with a certain seriousness of manner.“I’m told your name is Chang,” she said.“You may call me that.” It was his customary answer.“You may call me Rosamonde. I have been directed to you as aperson who might provide me with the aid I require.”
“I see.” Chang shot a look back at Shearing, who was gawkingat them like an idiot child. The man ignored the look entirely,beaming at the womans splendid torso. “If you’ll walk this way”—Chang smiled stiffly—“we may speak more discreetly.”He led her up to the third floor map room, which was rarely occupied, even by its curator, who spent most of his time drinkinggin in the stacks. He pulled out a chair and offered it to her, andshe sat with a smile. He chose not to sit, leaning back against atable, facing her.“Do you always wear dark glasses indoors?” she asked.“It is a habit,” he answered.“I confess to finding it disquieting. I hope you are not of-fended.”“Of course not. But I will continue to wear them. For medicalreasons.”“Ah, I see.” She smiled. She looked around the room. Lightcame in from a high bank of windows that ran along the main wall. Despite the grey of the day, the room still felt airy, as if it weremuch higher off the ground than its three stories raised it.“Who directed you to me?” he asked.“Beg pardon?”“Who directed you to me? You will understand that a man inmy position must have references.”“Of course. I wondered if you had many women for clients.”She smiled again. There was a slight accent to her speech, but hecould not place it. Nor had she answered his question.“I have many clients of all kinds. But please, who gave you my name? It is quite the final time I will ask.”The woman positively beamed. Chang felt a small charge of   warning on the nape of his neck. The situation was not what it appeared, nor was the woman. He knew this utterly, and strovetokeep it in the fore of his mind, but in the same moment was
the glass books of the dream eaters

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