The brass bell above the door jingles as I stride into the welcoming stacks of Fafner Books. Flipping the sign on the door to open I switch on the lights. The old rustic wood floors creak as I step behind the counter and drop my purse on the shelf with a reassuring thud. The worn leather back of my favorite stool fits me like a hug as I give it a good spin. The scent of ink on paper, of a thousand stories on towering pine shelves, fills my lungs and feeds my soul. The cozy arm chairs and rustic oak tables tucked in private corners are my guardians. Since I was old enough to toddle to a shelf and relieve it of its contents, my mom’s best friend, Val and her store, have been my refuge. A place where dragons are possible and a girl that can talk to dragons isn’t nuts.
Reaching into my bag I pull out my book. I’ve been neglecting my studies for too long. But working in an indie bookstore, I've learned that no one minds if I read at the register. I’ve camouflaged the ancient leather cover in the dust jacket from another book but anyone looking over my shoulder would be surprised by the writing. It looks like a lot of scratchy, random lines. Generations of women from my mother’s family have struggled to protect this book and hide the dragons who wrote it in myth. But the Doitean dragons have been extinct for over a century. I wish I had been able to meet one of them. Talking to the little guys is good but I could have learned so much from the big fire breathers. Thinking about them is so depressing. The world really sucks if a sentient creature like dragons can go extinct and no one remembers it. Well, no one believes it at least. Now there’s no way to prove they were real in the first place.