The Library

Hi, this one was prompted by a the pun on Book Worm in refernce to librarians. I have a few version of this theme, I love the idea of hoarding books, and defending knowledge…I know, a writer who loves books, what a surprise. Hope you enjoy.

People came from far and wide to visit The Library. The books within it were some of the oldest in existence, and there were few other places that one could see a book like this, let alone be allowed to interact with it.

No one knew how long The Library had been there, it seemed like it had always been there, and when people began to question this, it’s age could not be verified. The strange thing was, despite the growing size, and the voluminous collection, The Library only had a single librarian that worked there. There had only ever been one, and it seemed there would only ever be one.

There were assistants of course who were known to help out from time to time, but they never stayed on for long before moving along. Even though the positions were voluntary, and the vetting process extreme, there was never a lack of applicants. Everyone knew that a good reference from the Library was worth it’s weight in gold. It could be used to gather all manner of positions in the world, not just in libraries, but in museums, archeology, anthropology, to have worked in The Library was one of those things that was coveted.

There were many attempts to sack The Library over the years, but none really ever succeeded. It seemed they reconsidered upon entry, or they mysteriously disappeared never to be seen or heard from again. No one knew who owned the library either, as many had tried, and failed, to purchase it.

The one person that no one had ever suspected in all of this, was the libraries lone librarian. At present the librarian was known as Kaida, though in her late 40’s now, had been a mere 19 years old when she had started her apprenticeship to the previous librarian Daniel. No one knew how one got an apprenticeship at the library, and it was assumed that Kaida had been head hunted in some manner to obtain it.

Behind closed doors though, there was only ever one, the other an illusion to satisfy the curiosity of others. After all, were it known that the librarian was the proprietor, and the original one at that, there would be no end to the questions. One thing that they had learned from the fall of their brethren, was that there would also be no end to the fear. Not until the other had been eliminated, and was not longer a threat.

While many of their kind had kept jewels, gold, even spices, they were likely the only one, or were at least the only one left of their kind to keep books. In the early days they were laughed at, because they kept nothing at all, only the stories they had been told, and it was hard to explain to the ignorant what the true value of knowledge was. When people had began writing things down, they were overjoyed, for now they had something physical, some proof of what they had acquired.

At first they had kept the collection private, but private collections implied one had something to hide, and the illusion work was tedious to keep inventing husbands and wives and children. At some point they would surely be found out, and so they had created The Library.

This Library was their greatest accomplishment, and by another name, their hoard. It wasn’t a pleasant sensation, to give others access to their hoard, but it kept it safer. Strangely, it also helped it expand far more quickly, as people were surprisingly willing to donate books to a library, knowing that it would benefit themselves as well as others.

The Library got more donations than any in the world, as it was advertised that no book donated would ever be destroyed, or thrown out, like so many other libraries did. Even the most damaged books were treasured, and carefully restored, in what was assumed to be a world class restoration room. It was very hard to explain that one was using magic to fix them, when one didn’t admit to being magical.

What The Library gave them though. was more than a safe hoard, it also gave them the gift of companionship. It allowed them to meet the people who were most like them, that worshiped at the altar of knowledge. Here they would live out their days, content in what they had wrought.

Infinite Regrets

Ok, so after some evaluation I decided to keep this a little more vague. It’s what I would call an urban fantasy, with something very old looking back to how it got to where it is now, downtown in a major city people watching. Its a little sad, and a bit depressing, but kind of how I imagine immortality of a sort would turn out eventually. See the end of the piece for more notes

I watch the humans walk by. They are all in such a hurry. So much to do, so little time. I can barely remember having that sense of urgency, it was such a long time ago.

There were many of us then, we shifted shape and became like the others of the time. The great, so-called terrible lizards. When they faltered, our magic saw us through the disaster. It was not the first such disaster my kind had seen, but it was the first I had borne witness to. I saw friends fall, and though I have made many since, I never again let myself care so deeply for another that was not my own kind.

As I see the humans scurry, I remember the first of them.

I personally wrote them off early. Of all those that rose up from the ashes these were not what I had expected to inherit the earth. They were far too self centered, I had supposed, but they were craftier than I had given them credit for. I decided to do as many of my kind did when there when change was unpalatable, and so I slept.

When I finally returned from my long nap in the north, I found that they had changed the very landscape to their will. While they did not bear magic, they made up for it with ingenuity that I could only dream of. It took me months to find another of my kind, and they had nothing but horror to tell me. While I had been sleeping it seemed that our kind had dwindled rather than flourished.

We had gone from thousands, not to hundreds, but straight to tens. Less than 100 of us left in all, maybe more slumbering, and then the road builders fell. The land plunged into darkness, and we became the villain, rather than the adviser. They hunted us, and though we had magic, we had our weaknesses, and they used them well. They killed us as we slept in our caves. They skulked in at night, and put spears in the softness of our bellies, the one place we could not protect no matter how much we shifted. They used a powder, made from flowers that makes us sneeze, to reveal those who were pretending to be human. It was a massacre, justified as self defense and the recovery of stolen wealth. As if any of us would have hoarded the low quality wares that the humans called treasure.

My greatest regret is my own cowardice in the face of the attacks. I begged the others to make the same flight, as I myself returned to the north to sleep again. The humans lived such short lives, and so had such short memories. If we slept, when we awoke we would become myth, like the old gods they once worshipped. If they were even still around when we awoke.

In the end it worked. Well it did not entirely, as the humans still existed. They were the ones that awoke me further north than I had expected them to be able to survive. I shifted to their form, and pretended to have gotten separated from my own party. Feigning sickness from the cold got me out of answering questions until I knew what I should say.

When the thing they called a helicopter came to evacuate me, I knew that things were going to be very different. We flew to what they called an airport, then they transported me to a plane, and then we were landing in what they were calling a city. There were more people here than I had ever seen before, and they called this one small.

I feigned memory loss, and was diagnosed with “amnesia”. I learned of the world, technology, and the internet. I spent years searching, but I have long suspected I am the last of my kind. They call us legends, myths, and I wonder what I should do. While they lived four times longer than they once did, humans are to my kind, as the mayfly is to them.

So now I sit in a cafe, with this delight they call coffee watching them live out their lives. I pass my days trying to decide what appeals life holds for me. Do I let myself surrender to the ravages of time, try and live a life here and help them, or do I simply sleep again?

Eventually I tried to help, but they did not want to be helped. And I could not allow myself to succumb to time, apparently I didn’t have it in me to let go so easily. Thus, my  decision was made for me, and now I am back in the north, deeper in a cavern than I have ever been. I let myself sleep and I dream of a better world to greet me when I awaken.

This is based on a random prompt I saw once on the internet asking about the life of the last surviving dragon. It’s a little strange, and not super happy, given that the dragon’s entire species has died out, but its a look on how that could have happened. Has a little info on the life of dragons, and kind of teases at a greater overall world, and if you are a fan of dinosaurs teases them at the beginning. May develop it more later. Would love to hear any feedback on it.