She goes first down the basement stairs. Talking, although she’s got her fingers laced across her mouth.
“I call it The Island Republic,” she says. “It’s just a set of—an atlas or—maps, or it’s just— Shit, I wish I hadn’t asked you . . . ”
They stand at the bottom of the stairs. A sign directs him, under a decorated arrow:


do not enter

The Voynich Manuscript is a mysterious, never-yet-translated book
illustrated with charming and mostly-naked ladies
and a fascinating series of tubes, pipes, baths
and ponds, as well as maps… here are more ladies in their bath:


And always always always the panicky urge to go home and work on the Republic. At school she does not talk about it. Only Jason has seen it. She hasn’t even let her mom go through it and she believes, she does believe, her mom would not unless invited. Because it’s her work, her self. Her mom would not. Her dad would, probably, but he’s not that interested in art and probably fears to find what hellish interior thoughts she harbours. The nudes would make him stop looking, even though they are mostly just repro Voynich Manuscript–type ladies. Not all of them drawn from life. Only Nevaeh. Last night, Nevaeh—can’t even talk even inside about that. Like fire, like dry ice, wanting to touch to touch, to see if it will burn you.