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Aldous

Aldous puts the book back and walks to the next shelf, then pulls down another. Darren Darya Daryl Dashiell–wrong way. Two shelves back. Three. Ban Barathrum. Closer. Aldaea. Alder. Aldi.

Aniridia.

It’s a misplaced word. Aldous is certain her name should be there: Alejandro comes right afterward. Someone’s been messing with the order of things.

She replaces the slim volume. It’s not a name at all, is it? Greek roots: an, without, and then Iris, rainbow, messenger of the gods. But she never claimed to be getting their mail in the first place.

Aniridia leaves the library, determined and bound.

Ivy

“Listen, Darren?” says Ivy. “I just went and checked the globe, okay? And I looked it up on the Internet to make sure. If you dig straight down, like all the way, you’re not going to come out in China. Not even in Australia. For most of the United States, the only thing that’s on exactly the other side is the Indian Ocean, and we’re right in the middle, okay? So put the shovel down and let’s get you out. I’ll get a rope, okay? Darren?”

Ivy pauses, and kicks a clod of earth down into the darkness.

“Hello?” she calls.

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