Tuesday, January 1, 2013


I'm not completely alone, though. The Eidolon is almost always with me, and when he isn't, Philips, Thompson, and Salvatore are; and when he is, Philips, Thompson, and Salvatore are, too. It's true that they're not being punished, but still they decide to keep me company. We play bridge when we aren't working.

There are 53,644,747,765,488,792,839,237,440,000 possible deals of bridge from a 52-card deck to four players, at thirteen cards each hand. The probability of getting a Yarborough is 1827 to 1, and the probability of both members of a partnership getting a Yarborough is 546,000,000 to 1. The odds of receiving a perfect hand are 169,066,442 to 1 and the odds of every player receiving one are 2,235,197,406,895,366,368,301,559,999 to 1.

Bridge goes big.

Once every year, on January first, I receive a letter. The letter informs me how much time I have left in my sentence, which isn't a completely rigid number. Nowadays I manage to reduce it by about one and one quarter decades every year. The worst letter I ever got was my tenth. It told me that I had only lost thirty-two minutes from my time here. But my best? My best letter was from the year 2002. It said that I had erased one hundred years exactly from the time I must spend chained to this Library.

I don't know who sends them. I knew at first, but it's changed now, a thousand times or more. The ones who send the letters are not ageless as I or my companions are. The only thing that is ever the same is the signature, which only consists of those five horrible, horrible words.

This is where tragedy begins.

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