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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
In 1920s era Britain, fairies suddenly exist. They demand their long-forgotten rights, including respect and legal protection. The cover photo comes from Vintage Everyday and is actually a 1930 beauty pageant for ankles, I think.

Submitted: February 21, 2017

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Submitted: February 21, 2017

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Constable O’Flanagan would admit to being mildly amused at first when the Wee Folk officially came out of the mouseholes and back gardens they called home. Ha ha ha! So the fairy stories were real! What bearing did their characters have on the workings of the Police Department of Havering?

This amusement quickly dissipated when he realized that the Little Old Woman who lived in a Shoe was well within her rights to accuse any tramp who pulled on what he thought was an abandoned boot of murder. He was embroiled in a case of similar origin now. It was funny how the sudden appearance of the Wee Folk improved race relations, in a way. He used to experience condescension from the other officers because he was Irish. Now that was mostly gone.

People felt a bit more warmly towards those who were visibly not British as well. Soon, Constables Singh and Wang would start in Havering. That would have been unthinkable a couple  of years ago. You would hear remarks like: “The Indians? Fine people, really. You know where you stand with them.” There always seemed to be a special emphasis on the words people and stand. It seemed that everyone was able to overcome the prejudices attached to one’s skin color or last name as long as they were all approximately the same size.

That did not hold true for the Wee Folk. They filled the space of the pariah that London’s ethnic minorities recently vacated. And there was more crime than ever in the hedge-lined  suburb of Havering. Tearful, tiny parents arrived demanding justice for their child one day; the little fairy lass was snatched up and put in a jar with lettuce leaves. All they had seen was a pair of shoes and a hand. O’Flanagan shuddered at the memory of that case. They had found the jar, lettuce leaves, and the sobbing fairy dressed in a dress of  pink geranium petals in the bedroom of a little girl. Thank God that the aspiring naturalist had the sense to punch air holes in the lid. He heard of an incident over in Chorleywood where the human child did not do this and the fairy child died.

So they had to go round to all the schools and give a speech that ran something like this: “How would you like it if a giant picked you up and took you to his castle in a pickle jar the size of your bedroom? Now you know how Sandreline Lippia felt when she was playing outside her family’s house and then, suddenly...” O’Flanagan knew it was important, but what with the Bicycle Safety, Stranger Danger, and Household Poisoning lectures they already had to give he felt like they were becoming school teachers instead of lawmen. At least the children learned quickly. They should have been lecturing their parents.

Today, he was doing what he considered proper police work. The suspects had lined up, and the witness to the crime was looking them up and down. That the witness could only look up so far was just a minor detail.

“Which lady trampled your house, madam?” Prior to the Wee Folk’s coming out, this was a statement never uttered by any constable anywhere.

Mrs. Butterwort stared up at the row of feet in high-heeled shoes. “ No, not the one wearing black stockings.She wasn’t wearing stockings.” Mrs. Butterwort stretched herself to her full height of four inches.”It was dreadful. She put her heel right through the house and stabbed the children’s pet field mouse all the way through with her dreadful heel. Shouldn’t be allowed. We’re lucky they were outside, or they would have got squished too. And you know what she said? She said, ‘My goodness, I’ve ruined my shoe!’ No respect for people’s property, that spiky colossus thundering about the country…”

O’Flanagan coughed politely. “Madam, there are several ladies here without stockings. Which do you recognize?”

“Have them stomp up and down a bit.” They did. “I’d know that tread anywhere!” Mrs Butterwort shrieked, pointing. “Look at her shoe.”

The shoe was presented to O’Flanagan after the lady behind the screen sat down. Sure enough, there was a gooey little bloodstain on the tip of the stiletto heel.  It’s mouse blood, he told himself. Nothing more. But his knowledge of this particular crime did not make him forget that when those with power tread where they should not, the innocent will bleed.

 


© Copyright 2017 Alard Ermentrud. All rights reserved.

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