“How beautiful!”

Daisy’s surprise was magnificent in itself, Job remembered. It made him feel proud.

Across a vast empty span of worn out ground, the Public Library building soared. The eaves of the building were so large they cast a shadow, even at high noon. Now, at nearly a quarter to four, the shadow of the building formed an elegant curlicue in the sand. The sand surrounded the whole building for a mile and two hundred and thirty feet. It stretched out long arms like a child toward its parent, the Great Basin desert miles and miles away to the west. One day the two arms would meet, it seemed to Jonah, and the whole world would disappear between.

The thought of the earth covered in droughted sand frightened Jonah for the first time in his memory. Though he had been born into this world of dust, the earth still held hidden jewels. Water and plant life could still be found in certain more shady areas of the land, beneath the earth, behind a hill, in a cave, or small crevices between rocks, these exotic life forms still existed. But suddenly Jonah realized the delicacy of their volatile lives, that one day it all could be covered in the dust.

He shivered, and there was Daisy. She stood beside him still, her mouth open in awe, her lips beginning to peel with the exposure outside the tunnel walls. They turned from the arid swath of firebreak territory to look at each other.

The space before them was intimidating, but the promise of books, the deep shade and solidity of the lone standing structure pulled at them. Their hearts raced, warming the blood with their circulation, starting an unstoppable fire. Jonah worried, for he couldn’t tell what Daisy could be thinking. Would she want to turn back now? He couldn’t bear the thought of wandering forth through the desert alone, but neither could he face turning back. He forced himself to look at Daisy, hoping not to see reluctance looking back at him.

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