Some of these work in the distant wings of the archives which themselves are only accessible after a (very) long walk through the forest, over mountain, along valley until you reach the sea.
The archives are housed in an old fisherman’s hut, a pebble throw from ocean blue, and the wings (alluded to above) extend within a labyrinth of caves hewn in the cliffs that tumble calcariously into the blue waves.
The door to the fisherman’s hut is always open, even at night time, and behind a small, plain oak desk sits Mrs Penny, our chief archivist.
If you need something you have to ask her.
She will only give it to you if you offer her something in exchange – a fragment of a dream almost forgotten, a half-thought not fully pursued, an opening line of the subconscious that seems to go nowhere or something heard from someone else on a bus somewhere.
This is how the archive works. She then gives your gift to one of her minions, probably Horace the mute; who will then hurry to the caves and do his best to lose it somewhere.
He will return with something else and you should thank him in Spanish.
I don’t know; he is deaf as well as mute, but his eyesight in caves lit only by candles and reflected seashell light is second to only one.
And she never leaves the caves; her job is to stop the pages speaking to each other.
Today’s tale, a part dream, comes fresh from Horace.
On the other side of a dark ocean a woman stands in a courtyard. Although it is night, she is not frightened, the night embraces her, hides her fears temporarily. She is looking up at the moon, half full with silver light - there will be a frost that night but the morning will be full of promise, some of it Spring. The woman has seen too much for one so young, this is why she is in the courtyard – she does not know that it is a prison. There is no jailer however, the woman stands alone, the door in the wall is unlocked and anyone can either enter or leave. But she stands and looks at the moon. It’s beautiful, she can see that and she marvels and in that moment the courtyard is filled with the light of morning; sunlight warms her bare feet and she closes her eyes and turns her head to the sun tipping her head back so she can feel the warmth on her neck. Her neck, which has not been kissed in such a long time. A child joins her in the courtyard and they embrace. The child too is barefoot but the frost is long gone. Holding hands they walk back into the house.
There are photos among the archives too.
from the archives 3