The journal was supposed to have all the answers they need, Boey thought as he glared down at the paper. Before him, the writing in the journal was a smudged mess. Now and again, he thought he could make out a word or two, but it wasn’t near enough to find the information they needed. All the same, he slapped it shut and shoved it in his bag as he left the house in the morning. He checked on it about six times until his third period study hall. When he got to the library, Amalia and Alyssa were already there.
He set the journal down on the table between the twins, then sat down, rested his head in his hands, and sulked. “It’s useless.”
Amalia flipped the journal open, though her initial enthusiasm dimmed as she saw the state it was in. “Maybe not useless.”
“Can you read it?”
“Not like this,” she admitted. “But we can take it to someone who might.”
“Who? It’s indecipherable.”
“Not everyone sees the world the way we do,” Alyssa said. “We know someone like that. Might figure out what it says.”
Boey wasn’t certain he believed them, but given he didn’t exactly have any other option, he sent a text to his mother to say he’d be going to a friend’s house after school and joined the twins on the bus. Whoever this person was, he didn’t go to their school, that was for sure. His house was as far from their district as you could get and still count as in the city. The house itself was four stories high, but thin, about half the size of Boey’s bungalow. The twins lead the way up the walk, which was cobblestone instead of paved. When they rang the bell, it chimed in a low and heavy sound from deep within the house. In fact, it sounded like it was coming from farther in than such a narrow building would allow, which meant it had to have some strange acoustics.
The door opened, and a tall, thin woman peered out. Her pale blue eyes narrowed as she studied them. “Yes?”
“We’re here to see Lauter,” Amalia said. “Is he in?”
“Is he expecting you?”
“No. Something came up today and we need his help.”
That was more information than Boey thought they should give any adult, but the woman simple nodded, and stepped back to hold the door open wide enough for them to enter. Inside, the front hallway was as tiny as the coatroom in the kindergarten classroom, though with far fewer coats and no boots.
“He’s upstairs, second floor,” the woman said, motioning toward the staircase through the doorway in front of them. After that, she turned and left through another door at the right, her long, gray dress swishing against the frame as she disappeared.
“Where are we?” Boey said.
“Don’t worry about it,” Alyssa told him, and then led the way to the staircase.