Prologue 11

Aaron scratched his head. What on earth did theories of general relativity have to do with the real world? He had enjoyed Newtonian mechanics at school, what with it's ability to accurately describe motion and such things, but this? It all felt a bit too abstract and irrelevant to the problems of engineering.

He sighed, pushed away his books and sat upright, stretching his arms out. The library was quiet as libraries should be, disturbed only by the whispered exchanges of two dusty spinsters who watched vigilantly over the rows and rows of books, ever wary of any student intrusions. The winter sun glinted through latticed windows, creating a light mosaic on the floor where gatherings of dust wandered aimlessly about.

The main door opened, sending in a chill draft that sent the dust scuttling for safety. Aaron turned to look. A young woman carrying a load of books under her arm walked in and headed towards the desk where one of the librarians looked up expectantly.

Aaron watched as she returned her books, her pale hands tipped with scarlet graceful in every respect. She had short, raven-black hair that curled around her ears in a bob and framed a delicate, white complexion that drew forth in him memories of childhood fairy tales. Aware that he was gawping he forced himself to look away, but not before their eyes had brushed, just for an instant, sending an intense, exhilarating frisson down his spine.

Prologue 10

Aaron was woken by a loud banging on the front door and the blaring of sirens. "Fire! Everybody out!" Soon he and Joe were gathered outside, shivering in the icy wind along with the rest of the building's motley inhabitants. He smiled at the the sight of Joe wrapped in nothing but a blanket, his scrawny bare legs poking out the bottom. Nearby the old man from upstairs stood to attention, fully clothed in formal naval attire. Aaron nudged Joe and nodded in the direction of the old man. "I bet the old nutter started the fire!" Joe chuckled.

Prologue 9

First exam results today. A's all around - the folks will be pleased. Joe however barely scraped a pass. I don't know what's up with him. Seems to have his mind other things lately, but doesn't seem inclined to talk about it.

Got another letter from Mary, the second this week. I really must write, but life seems so very full at the moment.