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"This is a story about some of the things that can happen to us nightwalkers when we have slept for some time. It is also the story of a daywalker, who did his best to educate his nightwalker friend in the modern ways.

"The daywalker's name was Pierce, and he was both brave and intelligent. His aptitude with languages was a great comfort to the nightwalker he was helping. Pierce showed her the moving picture box, and the electric lights, and also the water which comes from pipes. He showed her the bicycle and the automobile, the shoes with wheels and though she could not master the use of these, at least they would not startle her when she saw them.

"Pierce even showed her the machines that the mortals cook food with, though she would never have use for them herself. He taught her the language of the English which had become the language of the Americans and which she had forgotten. All of this he did because he was a good daywalker who wanted to become a nightwalker himself some night.

"He showed her the chairs that the new people sat in and the tables and the new floors that were not just earth covered with mats or straw or plain wooden boards. Some of the floors were tile or plastic or polished wood, but some of the floors were carpets and the nightwalker found these strange. She told Pierce that she avoided them because walking on them felt like walking on a deep pile of leaves, and they laughed together at this. This new carpet was not like a woven rug, which was as warm but flat enough to feel the floor beneath.

"Now, the nightwalker slept under the earth floor of the under level of the house, which Pierce told her was called a "basement". Every night she would wake up and go up the stairs and sometimes she would stop at the edge of the carpet room wondering how it ever became clean when it could not be taken up and beaten outside like a woven rug. The new nights were so full of other things for her to learn about that this question was never asked.

"The nightwalker loved the moving picture box. It helped her speak the American English, and sometimes it would show her things that had happened while she had been sleeping. In this way, she learned about the Vietnam War and the Cold War, and she learned that the Manhattan's old land was called "New York City", though sometimes she mistakenly called it "The New City of York".

"Pierce showed the nightwalker things called movies, which were story pictures made up by mortal people. She thought they were much more exciting than books which had been made up, except for the old plays she had read by William Shakespeare. And then she learned that there were movies of Shakespeare and so he showed her many of those.

"Eventually, the nightwalker wanted to learn for herself how to use the moving picture box, and so Pierce taught her. And she would wake sometimes and cross that dead-leaf-pile feeling carpet just so she could watch the pictures. And she would sit on the floor in front of the long and too-soft seat called a sofa because she liked the floor better, and sometimes she would startle Pierce because the picture box was on but he could not see her behind that sofa.

"One night, the nightwalker woke and as she was climbing the stairs she heard a terrible noise. It sounded like a wind was blowing the house down from inside, and she grew very frightened for her daywalker as a mother bear might be for her cub. She steeled herself and broke open the door from the basement and she rushed forward to attack the thing Pierce was struggling with.

"It was a loud and smelled like lightning and dust and there was a light on one side of it and it had a long black scaly tail with which it had assaulted the wall. It had a snake-like neck and a narrow black mouth that put her in mind of leeches. The noise was coming from the body but most especially the mouth. Pierce had it by the throat and was pushing its head to the floor.

"When she saw that it had a mouth she decided that she would get inside it and then reform and attack its guts, and so she ran forward and turned into a mist and went straight for the thing's mouth. When she found herself inside the creature's belly, however, her mist-self was so stirred by the winds inside that she could not take her usual form again.

"Through the noise, she could hear Pierce shouting something and then the noise and the wind stopped. She became flesh immediately and eviscerated the beast with her claws. "The wind beast will trouble you no more!" she cried.

"As she got up from the carpet, she noticed that she was covered with dust, and that Pierce was laughing. He explained to her that this was not a wind beast, but a vack-yoom which was made by mortals to clean carpets that could not be taken outside and beaten to get rid of dirt.

"And the nightwalker laughed with him and used the water from pipes so that she could go with him to a place which sold a new one of these machines and learn more about where they came from.

"The nightwalker wrote all of this down, so that the next time she woke she would remember to be patient with new ways and new people. She learned from her daywalker all of these new things, but also that to truly understand she must be able to laugh even at herself and even if she thought she faced death. And so she sought the Prince's consent and Pierce became a nightwalker and went on to make his night-family proud of him many times over."
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kaoniki

August 2012

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