It was at the end of the week before he remembered the thing in the attic.
As time had worn on, Edmund couldn’t sleep anymore. Every night, when he managed to tear himself away from his books and stagger back to his room, he would lay awake for hours, tossing and turning a thousand thoughts around in his mind, words and woodcuts dancing in his thoughts and keeping him from resting.
There was so much more to learn about Moulde Hall, the family, and the lessons from his cousins, that he was well awake into the morning. Every time he could feel his heartbeat slow and his breathing become regular, a new thought would jump into his head–something new to study or explore in the forest of education that he had found–and he would become wide awake again.
One night, when the mansion struck midnight, he couldn’t take it any more. He leapt out of his bed and fumbled in the dark for a piece of paper and a pencil. Lying down in his bed again, he quickly scrawled out all of the thoughts that were swirling around in his mind like a whirlwind, hoping that he could take them out of his brain and put them on paper.
Finally, after the last thought had been written, he lay back on his pillow, and tried to sleep again. Whenever a thought arrived in his mind, he didn’t even open his eyes but instead wrote it down as quickly as he could on the paper that rested by his hand.
Before long, he barely felt the movement of the pencil, and drifted off into sleep.
The next day, after a solitary breakfast and boring legal lesson from Mr. Shobbinton, Edmund ran as fast as he could to the elevator, calling it down to him with a press of a button and pacing impatiently as he read his page of written thoughts.
Looking at the paper with a rested eye, the words and thoughts seemed far more collected than they had last night, and there were even a few things he didn’t remember writing. He must have scrawled them out while he was sleeping, he reasoned. It was a brilliant practice, he decided, and he resolved to always sleep with a piece of paper and pencil in his hand from now on, in case he dreamed something important and needed to remember it in the morning.
The elevator hadn’t even finished moving before he yanked open the gate, jumped into the machine, and began the process that would send him up to the Library. After what seemed an eternity, the elevator finally shuddered to a stop on the fifth floor across from the library. Still reading his page of notes, he reached for the library door and then paused.
Scrawled in a jagged and sleepy hand in the bottom corner of he paper was the phrase ‘Promise to the Thing in the Tower.’
Edmund stared at the words as a lump slowly grew in his throat. He had promised, hadn’t he? And here he was, almost a full week later, having completely forgotten all about it. Edmund released the door handle with a sigh, and ran down the hallway to the tower.