I know very little about fairies, and what I do know doesn’t make a lot of sense.
For example, I know that they like trees. But not just any tree. It has to be old. I get that, I suppose. The older the tree the longer it’s been connected to the pulse of the earth or some such. But as much as they like old trees, they prefer those that stand alone. That’s what I don’t get. Like I said, I’ve asked, and if you’ve ever tried to ask a fairy anything then you’re intimately familiar with the meaning of the word ‘futile’.
Fairies dislike questions. They ain’t secretive or nothing, they just find them annoying. Like they ain’t got time to be messing with such nonsense. Most fairies ain’t willing to explain much of anything and just asking them a question tends to put them off. But the one time I finally got an answer, it went right over my head.
“A forest is too noisy,” I was told. “One tree is nice and quiet. Means we don’t have to do what they tell us.”
See what I mean.
But then, that’s fairies. If it weren’t for the wings, the height, and the magic, I’d think they were nothing more than bored teenagers in a small town with nothing to do but make a nuisance of themselves.
“You ain’t excited to see me, Nona?” I said, keeping the barrel of the gun trained on the fairy.
Nona and I had met before. In fact, we’d had our fair share of run-ins over the years, but I’d never known her to do something like this, kidnapping a child.
“Should I be?” said the fairy. “You’ve only come to ruin our fun. Again.”
“Come on, Nona,” I said. “You know better than that. You kidnapped a child.”
“So?” she said, crossing her arms in front of her chest.
“Well, you should know that that’s something I’m gonna have issue with. Playing pranks is one thing. You want to drop water balloons on people or toilet paper a house, I’m likely to look the other way cuz no one’s getting hurt. But you have to have known that I’d draw the line at this.”
“Maybe I did,” she said. “So what. We’re just having fun.”
“The boy’s family is worried, Nona.”
“Family.” She said the word with such scorn that I wouldn’t have been surprised if fire had shot from her eyes. “He doesn’t like his family. They’re mean to him.”
“Oh?” I said. “And how’s that? How are they mean to him?”
“They wouldn’t let me go to the movies last night,” Jake said. “I wanted to see the new Walter movie and they said I was too young.”
“Walter?” I said. “You mean them Walter Dark movies?”
“Yeah,” Jake said. “All my friends have seen it.”
“Well dang, Jake, that’s one of them slasher movies. You are too young for such a film. They’re more than graphic.”
“I can handle it,” Jake said. “I’m the only one in school who hasn’t seen it.”
“I highly doubt that,” I said.
Jake didn’t respond.
“So, is that it?” I continued. “Is that how they’re mean to you? By not letting you see the kind of movie that’s bound to give you nightmares for weeks?”
“You don’t understand,” Jake said.
“Yeah,” Nona said. “You don’t understand. Jake wants to live with us now.”
“Does he?” I said. “Is that why you have him tied up?”
“We were just coming to let him lose,” she said, glaring down her nose at me. “But then you showed up.”
She buzzed off a little to the left. I kept the gun trained on her.
“Stop pointing your stupid gun at me,” she said. “You’re so dumb. You and your stupid guns. Guns can’t hurt fairies. We’re invincible.”
“Now that ain’t necessarily true,” I said.
“Yes it is!”
“Sure, this gun here won’t kill you. I know that and you know that. But you also know that if I were to fire this here gun, I’d hit you. And while it might not kill you, it’s sure gonna hurt like the dickens.”
“So?” she said. “You don’t scare us. You’re just big and stupid like all the other humans. Leave us alone!”
“Why don’t you go ahead and untie young Jake there,” I said. “You say he wants to stay. Prove it. Let him go.”
Nona rolled her eyes again. But then she turned to the others who were still buzzing here and there so fast that they were just lights streaking by. She shouted out in the fairy language and two of the lights broke off from the group and zipped over to Jake. A few seconds later the rope that bound him to the tree fell away.
Jake took a few steps back, massaging his wrists. They had been bleeding from where the rope had dug into his skin. I don’t think he was even aware of it. He was smiling, and he moved like a drunk.
“Jake,” I said “Let me take you home. Your parents are worried sick.”
“No,” he said. “I am home.”
“You got a spell on him,” I said to Nona.
To prove my point Jake walked into the the center of the circling lights, laughing.
“Go away, stupid giant,” Nona said.
“Yeah,” Jake called out. “Take off, dude.”
“You know I can’t do that,” I said, watching the lights as they circled the boy. They moved so fast that they were all just one solid line now, as if Jake stood in the center of a multicolored neon ring.
“Maybe you want to stay too?” Nona said.
That sounded like the best idea I’d heard all day. Heck, all week.
“Maybe I do want to stay,” I said.
“Maybe you want to be a part of the family?”
“Family,” I said, holstering my pistols. “Ain’t never had family before.”
“We’ll be your family, Norman Oklahoma,” Nona said.
Like I said, I don’t know much about fairies. What I do know, however was that had I been in my right mind at that moment, I would have opened fire.
To be continued ...