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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.

Daryl

“Really, all the good reviews in the world don’t amount to more than they’re meant,” says Daryl, “to, amount to, mean, to, er, help, I appear to be trapped in this sentence and I don’t know how to get out.”

“Go meta,” says Janis, grinning. “That’s my secret trick for getting out of anything.”

Daryl laughs. “Man, you should tell that to, like, criminals. It’s not a jail if you think outside it!”

Pause.

“I didn’t mention that I was in prison, did I?” says Janis, fiddling with her fork.

Going meta! thinks Daryl frantically. I am going meta right now!

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