I have no idea if this is a commonly traversed community or if anyone will read this. For anyone that does: welcome and thank you. We can write for ourselves, but on this site, we write to be heard, so any hearing that you can accomplish is a gift.

This story was based off a prompt to make a list of books to bring if you were trying to rebuild a better civilization. The list was originally ten works of literature, but for the purposes of the story it was expanded to twelve (and also to link to Montag's line in the novel).

I'd be interested in seeing in the comments how many of the references people pick up, since none of the books are explicitly named in the story and some of the books themselves are pretty obscure (though I assure you if you miss them it will be due to my failure to integrate them properly, not your ability to find them). Regardless, I urge you to sit back and enjoy a FanFic based on one of my favorite stories, across any platform, of all time.

I am planning to give an explanation of the list in a separate chapter at the end.

"On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations." [1]

Timmy Sanchez jumped down from the shelf he had been sitting on at the sound of footsteps down the hall. Pausing at a window, he turned his gaze outwards to see if he could spot anything new. As he expected, it was the same as always. As his view rotated, he saw the blue and green globe streaked with white begin to occupy the space of the small window.

He turned away and returned his attention to the sounds. He followed his ears until he reached the "kitchen", where Mrs. Margaret was puttering around at the stove.

At his touch, the door slid open and Mrs. Margaret turned around, smiling as she saw Timmy. "Sit down honey, I'll get you some breakfast in a moment."

Timmy walked over to the makeshift table and pulled up a cargo crate. Mrs. Margaret turned around with a bowl of milk and the box of awful cereal. Timmy groaned and made a face. Ignoring his charade, Mrs. Margaret poured a healthy helping of cereal into the bowl and dropped a plastic spoon in. She sat down opposite him, motioning for him to eat.

Mechanically, Timmy moved the food from the bowl to his mouth, pulling another face as it made contact with his tongue. Somewhat satisfied, Mrs. Margaret stood back up and returned to the cabinet with the box. Over her shoulder she asked, "How are your parents doing, Timmy?"

Timmy shrugged, "Mom was having some cramps last night so dad took her up onto the deck."

Mrs. Margaret smiled knowingly and then the door slid open and Peety and the Captain walked in. Timmy took advantage of the distraction to dump the rest of his cereal into the waste chute and show himself out the other door.

He darted down another hall opposite to the one he entered before his presence could be missed. Ducking into a small room, he started when he saw the seat next to the big window was already occupied by an old man. Although surprised, he was not displeased. Timmy cleared his throat and sat down on the floor beside the old man. The man looked down, smiling and set aside his mug of imitation coffee. Small curls of smoke rose from the mug and filtered into the vent in the roof.

"Hello Timmy," the man said, adjusting the spectacles on his nose.

"Hi Mr. Kain."

"Well I assume you've either come down to this here room because you're hiding or you want to hear a story," the old man stared intently at him. Timmy looked guiltily back.

"Well, which is it then?" Mr. Kain asked, laughing.

"A little of both, I guess," Timmy replied.

"Oh goodness knows, of course," he replied, "Now let me see, have I told you the tale of Beren and Luthien?

Timmy shook his head violently, drawing another laugh from the old man.

"Well then, there once was a man who was looking to avenge the death of his father. Wandering through the forest, lost and alone, he heard beautiful singing drifting through the woods. He came upon a clearing whereabouts he saw the most beautiful maiden he had ever seen, singing and dancing. She saw him also and for both of them it was love at first sight…" He paused at the sight of the look on Timmy's face and chuckled.

"Is the whole story gonna be like this?" the boy asked.

"Don't worry, it gets better," he promised. "So when the man, who was of course Beren, saw this maiden, he knew he must have her as his wife. So he went to find the king of the realm who happened to be an elf known as Thingol. Thingol, however, did not want his elven daughter marrying a mortal man so he set Beren on what he thought was an impossible task: fetching the Silmarrils from the crown of Morgoth. I have told you about the Silmarrils before, yes?"

Timmy nodded, now interested, and the man continued with the story, "So Beren set off on the quest to save the Silmarrils from Morgoth's grasp. But he was captured by an evil servant of Morgoth, Sauron, who also happened to be the one responsible for the death of Beren's father. At this point in time, Thingol's daughter, Luthien, snuck out of her father's realm to follow Beren, intending to help him on his journey, with her, she took the mighty hound Huan. Together, with Huan, she rescued Beren, and they returned to their quest. The two soon found themselves at the castle of Morgoth. Huan quickly slew the guards, and when they approached the throne of Morgoth, Luthien used the magic of her music to put him to sleep, allowing Beren reach up and cut a Silmarril from the black crown. But before he could take the remaining two, he accidentally struck Morgoth, who awoke. They fled the castle with a werewolf on their tail. The fight came to a head and werewolf bit off the hand of Beren that held the Silmarril. With the help of Huan, the two escaped and returned to Thingol's kingdom. When the king saw the bravery of Beren he finally agreed to allow him to marry Luthien. But Beren felt his half of the deal was unpaid so he called together a hunt for the werewolf that had the Silmarril. They found the wolf and killed it, but it mortally wounded Beren in the process. He died in Luthien's arms and the grief of his passing killed her as well. But the gods were so moved by their story of bravery, courage, and honor that they decreed to allow the two of them to live out the rest of their lives as mortals; which they did, happily ever after."

Timmy looked over Mr. Kain with a critical eye. He thought for a moment then said, "I liked it," and jumped to his feet.

The man breathed an exaggerated sigh of relief and took a sip from his mug.

As Timmy got up to leave, he added, "Oh tell your mother I hope she feels better."

Timmy palmed the door and walked through as it slid open. Walking back down the hall he peered out the window again. The view from this side of the craft was different; a blanket of stars covered the overreaching blackness that seemed to extend on into infinity.

Turning around, Timmy palmed the first door he saw and walked in. Opposite the door, the Artist was staring at the flames of a synthetic fire, the back of his brush absently tapping on a canvass. As the door slid closed, the Artist turned around.

"Bonjour Timmy."

"Hello," Timmy said cautiously. He took a step forward and peaked around at the canvass. It was blank. "What are you doing?" he asked.

"My boy, I am sowing the seeds of inspiration," he said smiling widely.

Timmy stood in the middle of the room at a loss for words. "Maybe you can help me," the Artist offered. "My eyes are stimulated but my ears sit uselessly on my head." He gestured strangely to his ears. Timmy looked at him blankly.

"Why don't you tell me a story, sil vous plait?" he finished.

Shrugging, Timmy sat down and the artist returned his head to the blank canvass. Timmy racked his brains but he could only remember one story. Slowly, he began, "Once there was a boy…"

"Aye, aye, aye," the Artist interrupted waving a hand. Timmy stopped, puzzled.

"Hmm…" he paused and scratched the scraggly beard on his chin with a thin finger. "I didn't ask you to read me an essay, I asked you to tell me a story."

Timmy nodded and started again, "Once there was a boy who lived in a desolate town…"

The artist waved his hand again, interrupting him. "Better, but still not good, I want to see the feeling in it."

Timmy looked on, confused. "Don't you mean hear the feeling?" he asked.

"I want to hear it and see it and smell it and taste it. Make me experience it. Ethos, make me there," he finished with a flourish.

Timmy tried again, "Once there was a boy who lived in a desolate town that had no trees or animals…"

"Ahhhh," the Artist sighed, "tres bien. But...it is still missing something. Let me see," he paused for a moment as he gathered his thoughts.

Finally he stood up straighter and said, "Speaking means stripping yourself of every purpose, every foregone conclusion, to be ready to catch a voice that makes itself heard when you least expect it, a voice that comes from an unknown source, from somewhere beyond the story." [2]

Now Timmy was very confused. "What does that mean," he asked blatantly.

The Artist smiled and shrugged, "I have no idea, but it's the most beautiful description of speaking I have ever heard."

From down the hall, a bell rang. "We better head out to lunch. You're not finished here," he added, waving a thin finger at Timmy. "A beautiful story should leave an audience speechless and silent. Some day you'll get that," he promised.

The Artist bid Timmy adieu, lingering in his room as the flickering flames drew his eyes once more. He wet his brush, and placed it to the canvass with a strange new expression on his face. Timmy left by himself and wandered back down the hall back to the kitchen. He saw Mrs. Margaret still puttering around the space and groaned as he thought of lunch.

"It better not be tapioca pudding again," he thought to himself.


[1] Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury (Revelations 22:2, The Bible)

[2] If On a Winter's Night a Traveler, Italo Calvino