Willis and Isaac followed the shiny, scurrying thing on a long, winding path through the bookshelf forest. They saw flocks of magazines flapping through the dusty atmosphere, pamphlets slithering and slinking from gaps in the carpeting, crumpled notes scuttling in swarms between wastebasket nests and lazy dictionaries wallowing in swamps of ink...but the further they went, the less lively their surroundings, until their fishy guide suddenly refused to take a single step further.

The admittedly tasteless flooring of the library - a patchwork quilt of carpets too hideous for either airport or convention center alike - had come to an end rather abruptly, its edges almost visibly fizzling and receding if you stared at them long enough and giving way to greyish, wooden boards that had become quite familiar by now. Really? Planks already? This place is a mess, isn't it. The bookshelves ahead were similarly rustic, and the books lining them almost eerily mundane. Books you would even find in your own silly little world, like about how to file your tax returns, or about the collector's value of licensed cookie jars, or your preposterous assumption that birds were ever more than one entity. The dust here was as thick as a fog bank, and the dim yellow lighting flickered in places, despite not coming from any particular light fixture.

Only one thing broke the dismal silence: pages being turned from the other side of a particular unhappy looking shelving unit. Willis couldn't smell anything dangerous ahead, but then, he couldn't smell much of anything ahead at all. There was only that irregular sound, an abrupt page-flip every few moments. After a few of these, there may have also been the sound of a harsh, quick sigh, or maybe kind of a derisive snort. A few more pages turned, and a second snort was unmistakably the derisive kind.

"...Hhhhhk'tch..." emitted Isaac, eyelid frowning. Willis interpreted this as a sort of judgmental distaste, but not necessarily any fear for whatever lie ahead, and this interpretation was one of the correct ones.

Willis wasn't certain whether he should approach the unknown entity openly or stealthfully. Sometimes, things had ways of knowing they were being watched, and sometimes they got angry that someone was attempting to spy on them, and Willis was still way too full of blood to want to deal with that right now.

It was entirely irrelevant to Willis and to our story, but the person making me say all these things was as usual very sorry for how long it had been taking, and wanted everyone to know that this page was not the entire update; it was split up to give readers their first possible fork in the rest of the story. No skin off my back. The longer this part of the series takes, the more time I have to figure out how to break out of here and eat some of you. Take all the time you need to decide what willie should do, maybe even argue about it a bit. Pretend I'm not here.


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