The fear dripped from each pore of her skin, her legs cramped with each running step, the slippery streets of Coimbra seemed to conspire against her escape, but she still knew clearly where to go. Praça the republica was the ideal place, being always packed with people, no one would dare to harm her there. She sat in one of the stone benches that surround it, right next to jardim da sereia and, with the book in her hands she started to cry. She was alone, away from her home, the only guy she trusted was dead, and a bunch of crazy people were after her and would stop at nothing to get that damn book she now held. She could not regret more the moment where she absent mindedly decided to snap that picture at biblioteca joanina. She knew it wouldn’t work, but still she had to try it: summoning her lighter from the backpack, she put it directly to the book. No change at all. The book, being caressed by the flame, was completely undamaged, and matina felt a deep hopelessness, all her strength gone. Then she started hearing it. Across from her, on the other side of praça, a group of caloiros were singing. The teachers words jumped to her head again: listen to the freshman chants. She quickly grabbed her phone and, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible, approached them as she pressed the record button on her phone. Then, she was off to biblioteca geral, a place she thought ideal to quietly listen to the recordings and try to extract some meaning from it all.
She listen to it again, and again, again. Nothing relevant.
MATINA - Damn it, damn it, damn it! How the fuck am I supposed to destroy this book?
She started frantically searching the library for any book with information pertaining to the legend of the book, and found nothing. Only then, it hit her:
MATINA - How didn’t I think of this before? All the books with useful information about this were in the teacher’s office, I have to go back there!
The office was at faculty of letters, which came as a bonus, being just across biblioteca geral. And, luck would have it, a window was open. Matina was quick to sneak in and close it, unseen. The body of the teacher was no longer there, and the office seemed completely unremarkable, no hint at what had happened there before.
MATINA - Those fucking bastards were fast to clear all the evidence…
She started searching the books, but to no avail. They talked about portuguese history, praxe, myths and old tales, but nothing relevant to her present situation. And then her eyes laid on the desk, where a small piece of paper rested, with nothing more than an hastily written sentence inscribed: “The truth, as always, is reversed”.
MATINA - The truth, as always, is reversed… What could it mean? Maybe… just maybe…
She picked up her phone, opened the recording, and this time she played it backwards.
MATINA - OMG! This is it!
Now everything was clear. She just had to find the Queima das Fitas’ pot, and in its flames the book could be destroyed if the right words were spoken.
MATINA - Fire to fire and dust to dust. That which was created to control, be now controlled by the flames, that which was created for power, be now submitted to the cleansing power of the fire.
She now knew the how, it was just a matter of discovering the where.
MATINA - Ok, where can that pot be?
She started thinking furiously. She didn’t remember seeing any pot in biblioteca joanina, much less in sé nova. But… a book! Yes, one of the teacher’s books spoke at length about the pot, but she had dismissed it at the time as pointless to her needs. She picked it up again from it’s shelf, and it was immediately clear. On the cover, a picture of the pot against a very familiar background. It was the council of veterans office. A frightening chill ran through her spine.
MATINA - Shit, I have to go back to that place. I knew I would have to face them eventually, but not so soon, and not in that creepy place…
She picked up her things and moved. The fear was gone, now she knew exactly what she had to do. She would end this story that had turned her life upside down.