The Hidden Report. iii

“Abraham, bringing you here is breaking the rules. We are not supposed to communicate with humans directly in this office for fear that seeing us might cause you to believe in the superstitions of the Antidragon. I have always found the rules to be arbitrary,” I said. “You see, Abraham,” I sighed, looking up at him in the darkness, “I have played a dangerous game bringing you here. Most people in my office might call it rebellion. But all I want is to get the best for everybody. I want the Dragon to be happy and I also want the Antidragon to be happy. I wouldn’t want to be caught dead angering either of them. So I felt it was the best decision to bring you up to speed. To be honest, I have personally hungered for this moment. I once presided over Aeschylus. Back then, I thought of myself more as a playwright than a scribe or writer. There is not much of a difference, but there is a subtle difference…” I felt that Abraham was beginning to think of me less as a thing to be terrified of than as a thing which is quite verbose and almost, in some way, benign or neutral. My eyes terrified him the most, still, so I withdrew them from the lamplight and only kept my hands in sight, which are human in appearance.

“Anyway, I feel you are growing tired of my words – and oh! – you should really see my personal report. It is full – and I mean full – of overblown literary techniques!” I laughed. “And it is not the best English, either. But I have only recently grown accustomed to writing in English. For about three hundred years, I wrote my reports in a plain Spanish, devoid of any personal flare. I did not like the language myself, but it was popular to write in Spanish in our office. I was the first to make the switch from Spanish to English. We are technically allowed to write in any language we would like because both the Dragon and the Antidragon are fluent in all languages and they are the sole audience of our reports. We are very cultural creatures. We feel a heavy burden from anything that is popular. That is why in the beginning when the Dragon rebelled from the service of the Antidragon, he took a whole host of angels with him. We cannot help ourselves, but we are strongly influenced by our peers. Anyway, I see that I am boring you. If my verbosity has sufficiently made you comfortable to speak and not to yell, then I will unzip your lips. But keep in mind – you cannot yell! – damn it, if you do, you’ll wake up the Dragon. And if he finds out what we are doing – because this is a very behind the scenes procedure, strictly not allowed – then there will be hell to pay.”

I unzipped his lips and he breathed deeply and looked at me.

“You bastard,” he said, “You’re an absolute bastard. I don’t want to be here. Take me back home. I don’t want to be here. I just made a profession of faith. I am supposed to be immune to these sorts of things.”

I laughed. “That is not how this works, Abraham! You have never been immune to any of this. Not yet, at least. As far as I’m concerned, your statement of faith means nothing except for what it means as far as your future direction. Was that convoluted? Now you know how I feel! Speaking of which, I should explain that to you…” I said, with my voice trailing off.

“Explain what to me?”

“Explain why I brought you here at all.”

“Then go ahead. And will you let me go back home then?”

“I had no plans of keeping you here. Hell, I brought you here because I knew you will never come back here again.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean that I brought you here because I knew I wasn’t going to win. I saw ahead and knew that the Dragon would lose you. So, what was the point of finishing a personal report that was going to end in a disappointing way?”

“Explain. Just explain, please. You bastard.”

“Stop calling me that.”

“No, you bastard.”

I zipped his lips again.

“Oh, I am having fun! Keep in mind Abraham; I am your friend. I am going out on a limb here to work out a deal that is most suitable for everyone, including the Antidragon.”

I cleared my voice.

“Right then. Let me start from the very beginning and I will explain from there. Let me first begin with the whole system which we are working under. A long, long, very long time ago, our holy Dragon fell from the service of the Antidragon. Back then, he was not called the Dragon. He was an angel called Lucifer and was responsible for bringing in the morning light. Angels are the key to understanding our work down here and how we function.

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