Chapter XVIII

The door of the library was splintered, violently wrenched off its hinges and now lay groaning against the wall. Her heart in her mouth, Beatrix stepped over the threshold and into the nightmare.

Books lay everywhere, their spines snapped in swift movements, pages splayed over the floor. Broken leaves floated on the air, the spidery ink running with mud. A bookshelf was leaning drunkenly against another, toppled. Quigley’s desk was no longer good for anything save firewood. Ink was splattered like blood over the floorboards, pooling in the pages. The curtain hiding her secret window seat was ripped, trampled to the floor.

Seven soldiers, their hobnail boots ripping the priceless pages, were piling up the remaining books and carrying them out down the corridor to the courtyard. Through the window, Beatrix could see an already burning bonfire.

Of Quigley, nothing could be seen.

The End

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