Title: Pricks & Thumbs-15
Fandom: Fear Mythos
Characters: Rich Providence ♂
Rating: G (L0 N0 S0 V0 D0)
Notes: Fish goes out to the library to discuss aquatic creatures of good fortune. He meets a new librarian! He learns new words! He still hasn’t named the city.
I rode out to the library, a day there and a day back, but I had to ask about the fish. I met another Librarian, one I hadn’t met before, but they don’t have names. Or, I think they do have names, but they don’t tell anyone their names. Librarian with the pointy beard let me know that if any of them knew the answer, it would be this woman, and then he went to make drinks.
She was short woman, with a round face and squinty black eyes. I mean, they all have black eyes, but something about the way she held hers made them blacker. But, even when her mouth didn’t smile, her eyes looked like she was smiling. Something about the way she made ideas in my head, when we started to talk, made me think she hadn’t always spoken the same language I did. I know there used to be more languages. I’ve seen the books. I’ve just never heard anyone speak one. I guess I still haven’t.
Round-faced Librarian wanted to know what I wanted with mythic fish. No one had ever asked about the old traditions, but a lot of people seemed to have gotten names from them, she explained. It was like what little they remembered came out with their changes. But, I was the first one, in twenty-five years, to ask a question like that. I was the first person she’d spoken to who wasn’t a Librarian, in fifteen years, since they stopped letting the Librarians come to town.
I was a little less surprised than a lot of people might have been. Really, only the Patternhanded had much use for the library, these days. History and scholarship had been abandoned in favour of finding ways to adapt and survive in the New World. But, there were a few like me, who would come and read books. The River sent a woman, once, but they made her sit outside and talked with her through the door.
But, I told her I was looking for a name from a dream. It was close to being true, and it made me sound less crazy. I said that I could remember someone telling me that it was the fish of good fortune, and I wanted to know what fish that was.
She started out talking about carp, a special kind of carp from Japan, called koi. They were supposed to bring good fortune. Pointy-beard Librarian brought a cup of chicory and spike for me and some yellowish-green … tea, I guess, for her. She asked him to get a book for her, and when he returned, she showed me some pictures, asking if I recognised anything. Koi came in a lot of colours, lots of spots and patterns. None of them looked quite right, but while I was looking, she went to get another book, and said she would show me arowana, the dragonfish. Now, I didn’t want to think too much about dragons, because I was sure I was looking for a fish, but I have no idea why this thing is called a dragonfish, because it doesn’t look a thing like a dragon. And then I turned the page. And there it was. I don’t really know why this fish stuck with me, but it reminded me of my skin and of a map and of rainbows in greasy soup. Blue and green and gold, bleeding out into red and yellow. Some violet smudges where the red meets the blue. That was the fish I wanted, and I traded her my last run on the town archives for it. She wants who and how, not what. I’ll remember that. She wants family histories and the mythology of the New World.
Arowanaburg? Arowanachester? I clearly need to spend more time thinking about this.