"But ... it all sounds like something straight out of a fantasy novel! You can't really expect me to believe ..." She didn't finish. Was believing in werewolves and a school for dog-shifters so much more difficult than believing in the talking dog who sat before her?
Chronus’s big head nodded. “Can I trust you to keep all I say in strictest confidence?”
“Of course. Who would believe me?” She rolled her eyes. “One single word about a talking dog and no one would stay around long enough to listen to the shapeshifting part.”
“You have a point. Modern culture ignores what it deems impossible. That’s one of the reasons I chose this site for our school. Mid-Western Americans are such gullible skeptics. As long as the surface seems normal, they don’t want to believe there could be more.”
“Let me tell you about what is not seen. You call this the library basement. Below are two more levels.”
She looked down at the oak floor. “The whole shapeshifting school is beneath me?”
“The first sub-level is our school and library. We have a library about the size of yours in terms of volumes. No duplicates, of course.”
Liberty remembered her first exploration of the old building, when she had squeezed through the small flap in the door and gone down the stairs to the level below her office. She remembered the sign that read “Library.” That was where she had first met Chronus. Since that day the door to the janitorial closet had been locked, and she had been too busy with other things to wonder why. Now she knew.
“You have real librarians working down there? Now?” She’d begun to whisper as if beings below her feet could hear.
“Some are librarians. Others have worked in libraries for a very long time, before formal trainings were available. And many others are what I call scholar librarians, familiar with languages and the history of specific areas of the world.”
"This basement couldn’t hold that many books.”
“To clarify, our levels are larger than the footprint of this building. We have a lot of space. The lowest level is like a hotel. Perhaps resort would be a better description. We have rooms for all our librarians, scholars, faculty, workers, and students.”
“They sleep there?”
“What did you think?” His gentle chuckle echoed in the room.
“I don’t know. They disappear?”
“Temporary invisibility can be very useful during shifts. But it’s a very advanced skill that takes a lot of energy. Mostly we rely on humans’ inability to see the impossible. Besides, in recent years we’ve been rather weak and only shift around our own kind.”
“Shifting books is the only shifting I know.” Liberty finished her now cold coffee. “And reading books about shifters.”
Chronus laughed. “We do both. But during our physical shift, we’re in danger from humans as well as malevolent shifters.”
“Werewolves?” She snuggled closer and, a little hesitantly, put her arm around the dog.
Prize Pack Includes: 3 signed books by Amber Polo including The Shapeshifters’ Library Book 1: Released and a tuft of Arctic wolf fur.
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