The little creature hovered around my lower legs, its nose raised and sniffing intently. Small beard like hairs around its chin and mouth twitched, drawing the scent into its face. Its large eyes moved quickly back and forth. It appeared a little nervous but intrigued by the meaty scent.
‘So you like the smell of a bacon butty?’ I asked.
‘Oooh, yes!’ replied the creature. Actually, its mouth never moved – the words just appeared in my head as if they had been spoken and then remembered.
‘Don’t you speak?’
‘Not in the way you do – we transfer thoughts and ideas. We also don’t write like you, that’s why I love your human books’
‘So it WAS you who took my books?’
‘Are you going to give me that bacon sandwich or not?’
This left me in a bit of a spot. I wanted to find out more but suspected the creature would disappear once it had got the butty.
‘If I give you the sandwich will you stay and ‘talk’ for a while?’ As an added incentive I also took an unread book from my pile and put it on the counter just out of its reach. The creature looked with big brown eyes confusedly and longingly between the bacon butty and the book, not knowing which it desired more.
I gave in and presented him with the sandwich. Between greasy mouthfuls, he explained why he stole the books off my shelf and read so avidly. In Elf world, the Elvish language is written on a page, just like a note to me and you, but as soon as the words are read by the intended recipient they leave the page and join the ether and swirl around forever in time never to be read again but permanently a part of the Elf collective consciousness.
Of course this means they have no library. In its search to understand humans, the Elf wished to read and share with the other Elves so that they could have more knowledge of us. I explained that I didn’t mind the Elf borrowing the books but I needed them back to be able to write reviews for my blog.
So we made a deal. The Elf would have complete access to all my books and the occasional bacon butty and in return, it would write a review for me to post.
‘But can I trust you?’ I asked.
By way of contract he scribbled rapidly in Elvish on a pad I had lying beside me. I looked down and the words or ‘ideas’ came immediately to my mind: the deal was done!
As I looked at the paper, in a moment, just as quickly as it had appeared, the scrawl lifted off the paper, slowly at first and then more rapidly swirling around before it gently vapourized in a whirl of gold and tiny stars. It was then that I realized…. The Elvish had left the building!
To be continued…..