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Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual
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Enlarge: Lew finishes his story

As Lew told his story the Clockwork Book had been engraving it line by line into its pages with a ray and a rapidly whirling wheel that hung before the ray. The wheel had many tiny lenses around its rim. The whole recording mechanism was mounted over the Book's forehead like a spinning jeweler's loupe. The Book's steel pages were very, very large, and the typeface engraved on them, Lew saw, was very, very small.

As the Book finished its work, it looked back to Lew and explained, "This is nearly complete. I may need some more information for cross references."

Lew nodded. "Of course," he answered.

"It would seem that your conversation with Cornelius Zappencackler is the reason you have come to me." Lew nodded again. "Professor Zappencackler mentions that he has obtained memorabilia from the estate of Osgood Finnegan, and that he has assigned you to catalog that material. Have you begun to do so?"

"Yes," Lew told the Book. "But there's so little information about Finnegan's early career that it's been hard for me to learn much from his effects. It seems like what we have there is a random lot of possessions that Finnegan simply abandoned when he founded his Collaboratorium."

The Book's eyes no longer seemed to be focusing on Lew. "Please bear this in mind as I tell you his story," it said. "It could be that I can expand on the story's footnotes and cross references with something you know."

Lew readily agreed. The little girl had reappeared at his elbow, a tea tray in hand. Lew took a cup, and thanked her. She settled onto the cushions in front of the Clockwork Book.

"This story," began the Book, "is nearly two centuries old. But its index of reliability is quite high because it is based on an eyewitness account, with support from corroborating materials." It turned its pages back again to a point very near its beginnin

Reader Comments
There are 2 reader comments on this page.
Thalia says:
April 18th, 2011 at 3:32 pm

I like how the word ‘Collaboratorium’ makes you (well, me, anyway) pronounce the ‘laboratory’ in the middle of it in the mad scientist manner, ‘la-BOR-a-tory.’

Bradley W. Schenck says:
April 18th, 2011 at 5:41 pm

No good can come of a word that has power over its own pronunciation!

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