Worlds Beyond
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The mirror standing before him was ornately crafted, set in an intricate hexagonal frame woven out of pure silver. Inset at certain intervals along the frame's circumference was a total of 36 gemstones, many of which had been cut into a hexagonal shape as well. At the center of the frame was the mirror itself, composed of pure polished aventurine. All in all, it was just about the most holy object he had ever seen crafted in this fine Library.

Standing inside was the white silhouette of a bearded and mustachioed man, standing prim and proper and dressed for the part. This figure had greeted him courteously when he had first stepped up to the mirror.

"Marvelous," Altair whispered. "Truly marvelous."

"Isn't it, Altair?" came a voice from behind, belonging to the Head Supervisor, a man you know as Sinclair.

"And you haven't even seen the inside yet!" came the excited voice of Lorelei, the Head Chronicler.

"The inside…?" Altair wondered aloud.

"The inside indeed. Come on in, the water's warm." jested Sinclair, as he stepped towards the mirror.

As Altair watched, he noted with astonishment that his fellow council member passed right through the surface of the mirror, and with a fluid effect much like sinking into a pool of water, vanished altogether into the solid aventurine. Shortly thereafter, Lorelei followed, beaming all the way, leaving Altair to his awe.

"H-hello…?" he stammered out after a few seconds that felt longer than eternity.

Wordlessly, a hand shot out of the surface of the mirror and grabbed him by the wrist, pulling him through as well.

On the other end of the mirror, a man sat at a desk. He was no longer merely a white silhouette, but instead a fully realized man, seemingly built of flesh and bone as all the rest. The desk he sat at was situated at the far end of a lobby, of which a number of hallways led off to god knows where. At the opposite wall sat an ornate silver frame with an opaque glass surface inside. He polished his monocle and looked up briefly at the surface of the mirror. It had always been blank, unable to show even his own reflection. It wasn't much of a mirror at all, really.

The man wondered shortly if anything interesting would ever happen with that mirror. For as long as he had known, he had owned this mirror. For as long as he had known, he and his mirror had always existed, and around him existed as well his parlor. Nothing else seemed to have ever been, and nothing else seemed that it would ever be.

He let out a malcontent sigh, and returned to his documents, shuffling and filing and determining which of the useless scraps of paper he should take a look at first, working out an algorithm in his mind for how he would determine which ones were worth signing. Where did these papers even come from, really? he wondered.

Altair felt himself falling. Slowly and steadily at first, then quicker than he could think to stop it, in much the same way one falls into love.

He fell through a world of solid green, ranging across the entire spectrum from the yellowest to the bluest. Past him shot visions of things he had never thought of seeing — worlds beyond his scope of understanding, all flashing by at remarkable speeds. He tried to reach out for some of them, those that looked the most habitable, the closest to home, out of pure reflex. He wanted to be anywhere else but here.

Then, as quickly as he had begun to fall, he found himself standing upright on the polished wooden floor of a parlor. Holding his wrist was Sinclair, and already bounding off was Lorelei, neither of which looked particularly bothered in the slightest by what they had just experienced.

He looked around in a panic and shook his head in disbelief.

"The hell was that?" he asked, with calmness so resolute that one could only find it after passing straight through terror and into the realm of shock.

Sinclair laughed. "That's just the normal shift. Takes a bit of getting used to, but Donois explained that nothing should happen while you're making the transition."

"What were all of those places? Other worlds?"

"Yes, in a sense. Donois says that this place is some sort of hub for every world that could ever be. Not any of the ones that are, though. Whatever that means." shrugged Sinclair.

"It means," came the polite voice of Donois, as he strode towards the pair, "that every world here is only possible."

Altair looked up with incredulity at the man standing before him. Flesh and bone.

"Y-you were just a silhouette! Where did all this meat come from?" he asked.

"It's been here the whole time," scoffed Donois, "it's just that on your end, the possibility of my existence has yet to be confirmed. So, I appear only as a silhouette."

"Ah. I suppose that makes sense." said Altair, not willing to admit that he wasn't sure he understood at all. His job was only to interpret, not to understand.

"Come on Sinclair, look at this one!" came an excited woman's voice from down a hall. "You have to see this one!"

"Oh, alright. Coming!" shouted Sinclair, as he turned and went to see what Lorelei had gotten so worked up over.

It was now Altair and Donois.

One day, the man in the lobby had found himself looking at his documents once more, poring over them and deciding which to sign into reality.
He shuffled through the seemingly sourceless papers, and began to read aloud to himself.

"A world by the name of 'The Library.' The people of this world are obsessed with writing, and face a unique problem: they are the only world in reality, but they have been granted the gift of imagination. Thus, every work of fiction has nowhere else to exist, and instead decides to exist alongside their creators. In order to solve this problem, the people of The Library seek to create new worlds for their figments to exist in."

He hummed to himself, and stroked his beard, contemplating what he had just read.

"Yes… there does seem to be a pretty strict set of logic, the narrative seems like it would be quite eventful. I'm quite curious to see how they plan on solving this problem of their's. Hmm… I believe our dear Readers will appreciate this."

He stamped the paper and left his signature in the designated box.

"So uh… what exactly is this place?" asked Altair, in an effort to make some small talk.

"I call this place 'The Realm of Possibility,'" replied Donois, as he walked towards a desk in the back of the room. "Here I sit and judge the many possible worlds that could exist, and determine which ones deserve to. So far, next to none have passed my criticism."

"Really? Doesn't that seem a bit harsh? I mean, you must have thousands or millions or maybe even billions of worlds to look at if it's everything that's possible. Surely you should have found at least one that deserves to be?" asked Altair.

"I have found one." stated Donois. "And I believe it may have been yours."

"This is all rather confusing — how could you have created our world if we created you?"

"Oh no, you seem to misunderstand. I didn't create anything. I merely reviewed your world and let it pass. Someone else made it."

"I see. Makes total sense." conceded Altair, despite how he thought that it made no sense at all.

Donois waved him over to his desk, and nervously he approached. The bearded man took out a stack of documents and set them down in front of him, rifling through them for quite some time.

"I will show you why the possible worlds I've received have such a low clearance rate." he stated, matter-of-factly.

He pulled the documents towards him, and began to read aloud.

"A world made entirely out of solid meat. It consumes anything that attempts to enter it. No life can persist."

He flipped to the next one.

"A world inhabited by approximately one billion, two hundred and seventy million, five hundred thousand and fifty three different species of octopi. There is nothing else. Only the tentacles."

He flipped again.

"A world where there is a world where there is a world where there is a world where there is a world… ad infinitum."

He flipped again.

"A world concerning a version of the planet Earth, which has been fused with thirteen other alien planets, and has escaped the death of its Sun via the construction of massive rockets strapped into the crust. Humankind in its purest form has perished, and has been replaced by a nigh uncountable number of different subspecies of human-and-alien crossbreeds. The political environment is chaotic and the crime rates exceed 100%, completely defying the natural laws of probability."

He flipped again, and stopped.

"Do you get the point?"

Altair nodded sheepishly. "Yes, I think I am beginning to understand. The Realm of Possibility is quite an absurd and tumultuous place, it seems."

"Yes. That is why I was relieved when I saw your world. It was the first I've ever seen that wasn't absurd and impractical to allow to exist." said Donois.

"Plus," he continued, "something tells me that your world is going to be very important in the grand scheme of things."

Altair nodded on reflex, but he wasn't quite sure what the man before him meant. The Library was an interesting and splendid place for sure, but what kind of impact could it have on anything else?

Shortly after he had passed the existence of The Library into being, Donois had noticed something quite peculiar. While shuffling documents and poring over possibilities, as he always did, he heard a faint hum coming from the other end of the room. As he turned his head up, he noticed that around the silver frame of the opaque mirror on the other end of the room, multicolored lights began to pop into existence.

He counted the lights unconsciously as they appeared around the circumference of the mirror. 34… 35… 36…

Before he had time to anticipate it, the 37th light suddenly flashed into existence in the center of the frame itself, illuminating the opaque surface of the mirror. It was green in color. Donois shielded his eyes reflexively from the blinding light, and counted the final 37 in his mind. When he looked back, he found that the surface of the mirror was no longer opaque at all.

On the other side was the scene of another place. He had seen the doors in the hallways, here in the Realm of Possibility, but he never imagined that a doorway could open right in that mirror that had always been with him. He got up and stepped towards the mirror, observing the scene.

There seemed to be a ring of people standing before the mirror, in what appeared to be a dimly lit circular room, lined with shelves filled with books all the way around. The people wore strange robes and seemed to have just completed a ritual of some sort.

Donois stepped forth and nervously knocked on the surface of the mirror. A woman in more formal attire stepped towards the mirror, behind her trailing a man in similarly fanciful clothing. These must be the leaders, he concluded.

The two waved at him, but said nothing.

Donois fixed his bowtie, and stood upright. He wasn't sure if sound could pass through this mirror, but it was better than attempting charades.

"Hello. My name is Donois. How may I be of service to you?"

Altair found himself wandering over to Sinclair and Lorelei, to see what they had been looking at while he was engaged in conversation.

The two appeared to have ran down a side hall coming off the main lobby, and were now standing in a long hall of doorways. As he looked around, several of the doors seemed to change in design, shape, and size, but he tried not to think about this too much and focused instead only on the door that his fellow council members were peeking through.

Lorelei was excitedly pointing at something, and Sinclair was nodding his head in silent appraisal.

"What are you two looking at?" asked Altair.

"Look! He's having his first kiss!" squealed Lorelei. She was always a hopeless romantic.

"Who is?" Altair queried.

Without a word, Sinclair pointed towards the doorway. Altair peeked his head inside, and to his surprise viewed a scene of another world. In a dark alley, a teenage boy and a teenage girl in raggedy clothing were making out. They didn't seem to notice their onlookers.

Ugh, disgusting. thought Altair.

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