You are brought into a large and gothic library with a high ceiling and a long bench along one wall. An older man begins going down the row, speaking with and examining each of the large number of people seated along with me in turn. You have a sense that you’re not supposed to be there, one that is exacerbated by your realization that the people on either side of you have six fingers on at least one of their visible hands. Fearing that is some kind of required sign, you hide your hands in your robe before the older examiner can get to you.

When he approaches, he smiles warmly and hands you a golden box. You know instantly that he has seen through you, and knows that you are not supposed to be there, but that hardly seems to matter as you and the other “rejects” begin to float skyward: the old man seems to have abolished gravity for all of you. The others begin to converse while you and the “rejects” cavort in the air above them, unable to hear what they are saying no matter how close you get.

For a while you are content to float about joyously, kicking off of the ornate fixtures near the ceiling in a glorious ballet of weightlessness, but soon you become curious about the meeting below and what it entails. You decide to take some small books from a shelf immediately above where the older man is now seated. You have a vague notion of reading them to discover their secrets, or perhaps trading them (and others) for answers.

You remove the books and attempt to show them to the others that were rejected from the gathering and float nearby. You’re interrupted from a cry down below; the old man mournfully, vengefully declares that the meeting and all its business must cease because of the injury inflicted on the library. You look back at the sconce from which the books were taken, and see that there is ink on the shelf, red ink, like blood from a fresh wound. It’s as if the library is a living organism and you have cut off a finger.

A sudden, overwhelming feeling of guilt strikes you, washing away the former desire to know the secrets of the meeting. You convince the other floaters to help you in cleaning the library and restoring the books to their rightful place, but the old man’s sullen expression indicates that it’s not enough.