Gavin Hume lived in a library of doors. That is, he lived in a building shaped like a library, with gigantic shelves lined with doors rather than books. These doors led to stories, to fictional worlds. Hume was a meta detective–he “solved” stories, hastening fictional characters to their happily ever afters. He also collected research for the librarians.
The research department was filled with Hume’s people–which is to say, nerds. The researchers collected information from the endless stories that agents such as Hume visited. The people of the library were curious where the stories came from. They, too, were fictional, and came from their own stories, their own worlds, their own doors. But there was a running theory that there was some kind of baseline reality which all stories grew out of. Many of them heard of familiar tales such as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll, and the door leading to that story was found. This proved that some worlds could be referenced in other worlds. The potential there was fascinating. Since so many residents of the library had heard of Alice, did that mean the writer, Lewis Carol, existed in this theoretical baseline world? If so, did all the doors in the library lead to stories written by people in Caroll’s world? The writerworld.
Researchers looked to document what could be considered “constants” throughout the libraryverse. Gravity was a concept repeated everywhere. Dragons were only in some stories, absent in most. Constants were things like trees, clouds, war, starvation. Love.
Love was a funny one. Hume was always fascinated by it. The similar tricks used by characters to convey love. The seeming forcefulness of it. Every protagonist had to have a love interest–in almost every storyworld, this was true. Protagonists and their opposite-sex companions often bickered at first, then grew close, then were all but torn apart, then would reunite at the end as lovers. This concept was not unheard of for the characters in the library–even they fell in love sometimes. But it was, for them, an emotion, not a pattern.
Hume didn’t understand it. Why was it so important to a story? He meticulously collected information about lovers for the researchers to compile, hoping to come up with a logical explanation for its universal presence. He wanted to know exactly why lovers fought for each other, sacrificed for each other, killed for each other. Why two characters with nothing in common so frequently became partners in love. And why the characters only seemed to be allowed to be together at the very end of the story.
It was sad to think about. That true love signaled the end of the story.
Today’s three random prompt categories were, “The lovers,” “A library of doors,” and “A sociological study.”
I love the library of doors idea, and the thought that fictional characters would wonder if there was a “real world” which all stories came from. Or if the multiverse was just made up of patterns that happened to be claimed by “authors.” Authors who may not even exist except as characters.
It’s enough of a mind-eff that it delights me.