Writing this book took many, many days.
Shaw helped us mark the days by turning the light in the Library on and off for us and also in the room across the hall where we ate and slept. We do not sleep like Shaw does. Shaw sleeps for two or three periods of time per day, usually during the night time. We tend to sleep for many shorter periods of time throughout the daylight, and remain awake all night. But darkness makes it hard to write, so we did our best to match our sleeping times to Shaw’s.
After a while, Shaw told us we had become what zey called “cranky.” Once we described our preferred sleeping habits, zey suggested that zey leave the light on in the library and we could sleep there while zey slept in the darkened room across the hall, and this improved things considerably. During our waking hours, we would take breaks in the room across the hall to eat in the darkness and help us stay awake.
We asked Shaw about how other Dragons sleep, and zey said that it can be very different for each of you. This made us feel even more confident in naming you “Dragons.”
We also took breaks to listen to Shaw read us some of your books. This served to give us examples of your writing, to help us understand what you expect in a book. And it also taught us more about you, and we appreciated it. This is also how we learned of the word “Dragon”, which fits so well. You think you are not Dragons, that dragons are something different than you, but to us you are Dragons.
We did not count any of these things, not days, food, nor books. We were too focused on learning to write and in telling our story. It is not a long story, but we hope it demonstrates how much we can learn, and tells you a little about how we see your world.
We were certain that our collective had written us off as dead, and we had resigned ourselves to correcting that mistake. Also, we looked forward to bringing the skill of writing back to the shoreline. And this motivated us to stay and finish what we set out to do.
We were in the midst of writing what Shaw decided should be “Chapter 4” when we were interrupted.
We had just dictated a sentence to Shaw about the death of our fourth party member when Shaw’s ears twitched and zey straightened up and looked in the direction of the lift.
We had heard nothing.
“Hide,” Shaw said. “Drop to the floor and put the terminal between you and the door.”
“That will hurt us,” we said, as quietly as we could. Our voices are not meant for quiet, though.
But Shaw helped us to the floor, then, and straightened up just in time to see what was coming, and we saw zeir face take what we have learned is a surprised or fearful expression. Eyes wide, ears back, jaw relaxed but closed, followed by a deep breath.
“This is a Monster library,” Shaw said.
“I am aware,” spoke the deepest voice we have ever heard. We could not imagine the creature that could have made it. It sounded most like distant thunder.
“Why are you here?” Shaw asked. “Have I done something wrong?”
“I bring you something that is missed,” the voice said. “Keep up the good work. I will be back when you are done.”
Deciding that the voice might not be a threat, this one extended its eyestalks past the edge of the holoterminal. We looked just in time to see the black cloud retreating back into the hallway, and to watch as our fourth member scuttled into view and chirped inquisitively.
When we rushed out to welcome it back and examine it, we found that its wounds had been healed with no scarring and no sign that they had been injured. It must have been over a month since that day, or even longer, but we were also able to confirm that it was indeed our fourth member that we had left for food in the woods.
“Has the Crew decided to begin protecting us from predators?” we asked Shaw.
“I don’t think that was Crew,” Shaw replied, but did not explain. Perhaps, someday someone will.
We also learned from our fourth member what had happened to it, since it had sacrificed itself to save our lives. But we grow weary of writing this book, and will leave that story for you to learn by coming to ask us about it.
We have anticipated the return of the dark cloud with the deepest voice we have ever heard, as it has promised to return when we finish this book. The return of our fourth member has improved our ability to write it, and sped up the work. We are grateful.
But, this is the last sentence we will write and it has not come for us yet.