You are in a bright room. It is very quiet, apart from a steady, slow drip, drip, drip. The source of the sound is a quill. It rests across a cup, and ink drops form at its tip until they fall, one after the other.
Each hits the paper hard enough that tiny splatters break off, forming a halo of fine dots around the dark blot. Each drop of ink is absorbed, the blot itself not growing bigger.
It all seems off somehow, and you wonder what is going on.
“This is my blood”, a high, piping voice says. From the darkness outside the single window, a small bird arrives. It is white with black wings and tail, a tiny black beak and black eyes.
“It doesn’t look like your feather.”
The quill, the shaft of a primary with nearly all of the vane removed, is big enough for the little bird to sit on.
“I will show you how it works,” the bird says.
You hold out your hand, and when the creature alights on it, you can feel the fragile feet with their claws, but there seems to be hardly any weight.
It tickles a little when the bird stars pecking your thumb. You can feel it, touch, not pain, even when blood starts flowing, black as ink.
You know what to do. The bird flits away when you reach for the quill. The white and cream shaft turns black as if your blood seeped into it, and its tip stops dripping.
To get used to the implement, you draw a few lines on the top sheet that already has the ink blot on it, and few drops of your black blood. The lines turn out smooth and crisp.
You put the top sheet away, and get to work.