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Saelieni Chapter 4 by Gregory Harvey
The pavilion, an old wooden hall that stood in the middle of the Yulumson Show Grounds, managed to unnerve even one such as The Collector. The cobwebs that hung from the ceiling brushed against his helmet as he entered. The dark wood seemed to absorb what should have been ample light.
The wide double doors had been locked shut with a rusted chain and padlock. The Collector had shattered them both with a solid swing of his pipe, the doors coming open easily enough.
The pavilion was lined with tables and cages. Back when Yulumson was still large enough (and prosperous enough) to have formal shows, they would have been used to display various arts and crafts, the cages most likely holding prize-seeking animals.
But this building stored something much more important than those things. As The Collector moved the building began to feel much more sacred, even as the floorboards moaned beneath his feet. It was like a church, where the idol wasn't a God, or anything else of the sort, but a book.
He moved through the large open area, and into the backrooms of the pavilion. It was here that once upon a time the show committee would meet. Occasionally they would talk business, but for the most part it was a chance to catch up on the latest gossip. In fact, as The Collector moved into the board room, he could almost see them sitting in the dusty, cobwebbed chairs, sipping coffee and tea over the termite infested table.
There was a storage closet at the back of the room, and it was here that The Collected headed. He swung the door open and stepped into the closet. He brushed some cobwebs aside, and pressed his hand against a panel of wood. There was a bright flash of light, and suddenly The Collector wasn't in the closet anymore. He was in a room, constructed of brick, with no doors or windows, nearly a kilometer below the pavilion. He'd been here before... oh yes. When The Collection was still in its infancy. There was a single candle lit on a wooden table. The Perpetual Flame.
The Collector stepped forward, and the hubcap almost fell from his hand and as he realized.
The Book wasn't there, sitting on the table as it should have been. It hadn't arrived. Instead, there was a single white piece of paper. On it was a message written in a handwriting that Arthur and the others would have recognized. The Collector raised it to his eyes.
I told you not to take it, the note said.
There was a spike of rage within The Collector, but he managed to control it. How was Selision meant to complete itself if The Book was missing? Who was responsible? But of course he already knew. It was that deceitful, venomous entity that called itself Unknown. The entity that lurked behind everything, everywhere in every reality. The deviant birthed by the void...
The Collector had work to do.
"So the note was written by the same person who delivered the one previously?" Will's superior said, the disbelief more than evident.
Garson was just glad he had neared the end, "Yes sir. That is correct."
"And Cadell and Cholmers were killed by... The Moonsana Clan? The creatures that hone in on thought? And this Collector... he is the one who told you of the... Moonsana?"