December 15th
In the girl's mind, the library was a vast maze.

Of course she knew it wasn't; she was a very sensible girl, she understood perfectly well that Mrs Phelps' library was just an ordinary public library, a handful of shelves stocked with whatever volumes the local council had been able to acquire. It was comfortable, cozy - but small.

But in the girl's mind, it was enormous, rooms and balconies and stairwells all crisscrossing each other, such that you could never be sure where you would end up, or who you might find there. Down one hall might be the remains of an ancient abbey; down another, a gang of Victorian street-children; down a third, a Time Machine, waiting to whisk her away. It was a place you could lose yourself utterly - and for two hours every afternoon, while her mother was away at bingo, Matilda Wormwood did exactly that.