Monday 6 February 2012

The Knight in the Library

The forgotten characters sit quietly in the library. They look at each other occasionally with sad and sometimes hopeful smiles.

They are afforded privileges based on age and popularity. After all, an older, popular character has lost more than a minor character in a recent novel.

Once, some of them were loved. Once, some of them inspired people. Now, they sit there, gathering dust.

He is one of the oldest of them. A Knight, who was one of the group that inspired the Knights of Camelot. One of the group who fought alongside of the original King Arthur, but one who had failed to be recreated the second time around, and who had just grown progressively more forgotten.

Every day, he comes in, and sits patiently, hoping to be remembered. He does not complain. He does not feel sad. He is a Knight and Knights have dignity.

Also, every day, he gets to see her. The ancient African princess, who is beautiful, wise and kind. She makes every one of his days better, and the endless purgatory worthwhile. They don't talk much. Nobody talks much after so long. But they always find something new to say each day, and they always make eye contact, and he can always make her smile.

She likes to see him. Some days, that's all that matters.

Today, he waits, and she does not come.

He looks around the library, but she is nowhere. He talks to the world's first detective (a fat Chinese man who laughs a lot) and he talks to the golden calf (that spoke to Eve in the garden and became so popular that God himself got annoyed) but neither of them know why. But neither of them care as much as he does.

The Knight has only rarely spoken to the Librarian. There has never been any need. But today, he clears his throat and enquires after the princess.

"Oh, her? Got rediscovered", the Librarian says. "Some fantasy writer sort of updated her, and the book came out this week. Very good reviews. There may even be a movie. You won't see her back again."

The knight thanks the librarian, and makes his way back to his normal chair, where he sits and waits.

He looks at her chair, but it is empty.

He waits.

And waits.


And waits.


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