‘Find the one with a double H. Who would that be?’ Poe and I were back at the library. This time I was the one sitting in the big chair, while Poe stared at our books. We had been home for 10 minutes from our previous adventure and it already felt too long.
‘He is giving us clues now, don’t you think?’ I asked Poe.
‘I’m not sure. It could be him, but what if it’s someone or something else. Maybe someone wants to help us.’
‘You think there’s like a God-Writingdesk conundrum and the one I’ve met was the devil version?’
‘No, well sort of. It could be similar. But to be honest, I wouldn’t know how or why anyone would help. And have you looked outside. It looks like there are even more people now.’
‘I had noticed. I really don’t know why they’re so interested. I even saw someone filming just now.’
‘Those people are even crazier than we are. But I think we should just follow the trail.’
‘What if it’s a trap?’
‘We’ll deal with it right?’ He smiled like he could take on the world and started pulling out some books. ‘I think we’re dealing with a fictional character here. Do you know anyone with a double H.? I’m assuming Alice meant a name.’
‘I thought so too. But I wouldn’t know who.’ I joined Poe in front of the books and started staring at some titles.
‘Is Sherlock Holmes’ real first name?’ Poe asked holding a copy of his book.
I gave him a look and he put it back.
‘Wait a minute, I think I have it!’ He browsed through the book found what he was looking for and slammed it shut. ‘Eureka! It’s Lolita!’
‘You’re still in rhyming mode from Alice in Wonderland aren’t you?’ I laughed.
‘I really enjoyed the rhyming actually. But I did find it! It’s Humbert Humbert. The pedophile from Lolita.’
‘That sounds pretty harsh. Pedophile sounds so cruel. I always thought he was kind of sad.’
‘Sad or not. He was still a pedophile. Let’s go talk to him!’ Again Poe grabbed my hand and without thinking we went to Lolita.
We arrived at Beardsley. I recognized the school we were looking at as the private girls school Dolores attended. A man, defeated and lost, came walking out of the building and we instantly recognized him as our clue.
‘Where’s Lolita?’ Poe asked.
‘I think she has left him already. Look how sad he looks.’
‘Damn. I would have liked to meet her. She seemed pretty hot.’
‘She would be too young, even for you Poe.’
I saw him swallow another joke and we stepped towards Humbert, who was almost passing us by.
‘Excuse me, Mister Humbert. We were wondering if we could talk to you for a bit.’
‘Who are you?’
‘My name is Polly and this is Poe. And we thought you might be able to help us with something.’
‘I think you are mistaken. I can’t help you.’ He was about to walk on and Poe and I exchanged a glance.
‘We might know where you can find Dolores Haze.’ I tried.
Humbert Humbert slowly turned around and looked at us with fear.
‘What did you just say?’
‘Be careful’, Poe whispered. ‘He has a gun…’
‘We might know where she is. You are here father aren’t you?’
‘Well, yes. I am. How do you know she’s lost?’
‘My little sister told me she hasn’t seen her in a few days. They were in that play, The Hunted Enchanters together. They were pretty good friends actually. Strange she didn’t tell you about her. But she told me that Dolores had been talking about leaving for a while now.’
‘Did she tell you where she was planning on going?’
‘We first need your help.’
Humbert sighed but motioned us to come along. Poe looked at me, a bit amazed.
‘What are you going to tell him?’
‘I have no idea.’
I was lucky Humbert didn’t ask for our last name or even my fake little sisters first name. He would have known we were lying right away, as he knew every girl in Lo’s group. He took us to an abandoned corner of the schoolyard, were no one could see us. I wondered if he had taken Lo here as well.
‘You say you need some information of mine.’
‘Yes we do.’ Poe responded. ‘We were wondering if you knew why we need each other…’ We both knew it sounded ridiculous, but we didn’t know how to ask differently.
‘I’m afraid I don’t quite get your question. You are asking me why you two need each other.’
All we did was nod.
‘A very curious question. I wouldn’t know why you two in particular need each other, but I think I can tell you why some people need each other. You need them to become whole. When that other person leaves, it takes a part of you with the. They leave a cold, chilling emptiness that will freeze your bones until there will never be any warmth left.’
We looked at each other, but didn’t really know what to do.
‘But you two, you need each other to get to your future. Without each other you won’t be whole. You won’t be able to find the clues and solve the conundrum. Without the other, the world will be lost.’ Humbert let out a sigh and didn’t seem to notice the nonsense that had come out of his mouth.
‘Poe’, I whispered, ‘I think that was another clue…’
Humbert also didn’t notice us whispering and continued.
‘They need each other, but only he will be the bringer of the end. He will the one that sets everything in motion. She will only get him there. Alone they are lost, together they will lose the world.’
‘Mister Humbert, are you ok?’ He had been staring, tears in his eyes. I knew then why he was the one to tell us why we needed each other. It was obvious how much he missed his Lolita. Even though they had a twisted relationship, he still loved her. He loved her more than anything else in the world. For a second I thought about telling him who Lolita’s ‘abductor’ was, but Poe cut in.
‘I think we know what we need to know. Last time we heard, Lolita was in a hospital at Elphinstone.’
Humbert gave us a sad nod, knowing he wouldn’t find her there anymore and got up.
‘I hope I have informed you two enough. Thank you for your help.’ And he walked off, into the empty streets, all alone.
‘I wanted to tell him who took Lolita.’ I said to Poe.
‘I know. But we can’t.’
‘But look at him. He’s so sad. He misses her.’
‘We can’t change the stories, you know that.’
We turned around to go home when we heard a voice behind us.
‘Excuse me.’ Humbert had returned. ‘I think you will find something you need in Barcelona, around Calle Santa Ana.’
Before we could ask him what that meant he walked off, leaving us too bewildered to try to stop him.
‘What’s in Barcelona?’ Poe asked.
‘I think Calle Santa Ana is a street, but I wouldn’t know what book we need to get there.’
Poe put his arm around my shoulder and we walked the other direction.
‘We’ll figure it out again. You heard Humbert, only together can we find the answers.’