Nebba scurried back to his hiding place as the dusty Dickens was taken. He felt a pang of regret, why choose that copy? The readers usually wanted the new editions with the shiny pages. But Nebba loved the smell of the old ones. There was work to do so Nebba slid down the back of the shelves to find his next vessel.
Books held amazing power, they could transfer a reader into another world for hours to safely return when they put the book down. Creatures like Nebba gave the books power.
Nebba did not like being in the open air, he dashed across the carpet and leaped into a new volume, Huxley this time, weaving through each page like deer through a forest. He delighted in every word, every syllable and every letter. The book was now ready for an eager reader to enjoy.
It broke Nebba's heart to see books taken that he had not prepared. The reader would struggle through lifeless pages and no doubt put the book down. With good fortune they may return and take another but many didn't. Readers lost for Nebba's shortcomings.
If it were possible Nebba would enchant every book, but he was only one and there was not enough time. Leaping out of Huxley and back to the carpet, skipping between the eager readers shoes and into an Eddings.
His life was always under threat. The books were powerful objects and became even more dangerous after he brought the pages to life. He could take join in their words but never their stories. For when one of his kind was drawn into the story they could not escape like the readers could. They would be trapped and become a part of the story.
So many had fallen in this way, becoming characters in narratives, slaves in paper and ink. It was the constant threat to Nebba's kind. So curious to know the world they sent readers to they needed a will of cast iron to resist.
Nebba knew that one day he too would succumb. He too would become a character in an amazing narrative, drawing readers into every scene. But for now he could still take joy in the simple things. Words, letters, suffixes and similes. And the smell of old books.