The Numbers* lived in the dungeons far below the surface and in a very secure part of the asylum. They were hidden away for a very good reason. No one was quite sure as to their origins, and if they fell into the wrong hands, there was no telling what disaster such a discovery might bring.
They were for a long time not noticed by people. Being small Elphin like creatures and keeping pretty much to themselves in small caves in hidden valleys they did to attract anyone’s attention.
Early attempts at capturing them and using them as exhibits in travelling zoos and circuses failed as the creatures didn’t respond well to captivity and died soon after capture. So they were for the most part left alone until one day an explorer ventured into one of their caves and made the most extraordinary discovery.
His discovery of a room full of abacuses intrigued the explorer who decided the creatures were best reported to the Asylum of the Obscure for further investigation.
There was plenty of evidence as to their vulnerability when captured, so the Asylum looked into using the skills they obviously possessed.
It appeared the creatures were highly skilled working with numbers. They spent their days playing on their abacuses content to jabber to one another as they worked on whatever calculations they were making.
At first, only a few pairs were taken to the asylum and observed working with their adding machines. As time went on the doctors tried them with a calculator, which they played with initially but discovered, with a little help, to also work wonderfully well with numbers.
Soon they became very proficient, and one day one doctor left a balance sheet behind to see what they might do with it and soon discovered they had solved the problem it posed.
Their ability with numbers astounded everyone, and they were considered a valuable asset, one to be protected. Not knowing what to do with them they were given a space in the dungeons of the asylum well away from the public eye and allowed to play with what they did best.
When the Ministry of the Unique was founded, the Ministry found them a purpose. They became the bookkeepers to the Ministry. For want of a better name, they were called NUMBERS, and they carried out an invaluable service keeping the books of the ever-growing ministry in tiptop condition.
The NUMBERS were happy to live each day employed in the Ministry, carrying out functions detailed to them.
For the NUMBERS it was a welcome release from the confines of the asylum as they assumed an air of importance within the Ministry and were happy at the end of each day to return to the safety of the Asylum dungeon which due to their success had been given a make over allowing them to live in considerably more comfort than before.
- The Numbers were first written about here: https://summerstommy.com/2019/01/09/the-ministry-of-the-unique-part-4/