BY THE TIME I found him, Jake Finn was unconscious. He was bound by his wrists, his arms pulled tight around the the trunk of an old tree.
The tree stood alone in over a hundred acres of grassland just east of Topeka, Kansas. It was an old tree, not the oldest around, but probably the oldest in what was definitely an out of the way place. Highway 24 was a mile off to the south, and I could see the lights of a farm house to the north, a hundred or so yards away. But at near Two in the morning, Jake and I might as well have been out on the open prairie of the Old West.
I approached the boy with little in the way of stealth. I wasn’t good at it, so I didn’t even try. Besides, they’ve been watching me since I crossed the barrier, so there was no use in delaying things.
Using the light from the full moon over head, I approached Jake at a run. I had both pistols out, thinking that since stealth was off the table, a swift resolution to the problem at hand would be the best solution. Once I’d reached him, I turned and scanned the immediate area. Nothing. I didn’t like it. The quiet soured my belly some.
I mean, there was no sound out there. Nothing. I should have been able to hear the occasional car from the highway, but all my ears could pick up was me. It wasn’t at all natural. Not in the least, but then, I wouldn’t be here if it was.
My name is Norman Oklahoma. I’m a private detective that specializes in the supernatural, the unexplained, and the just plain weird. I’m the guy people call when their son, out playing in the backyard, is suddenly surrounded by hundreds of tiny lights and then disappears.
Sure, they go to the cops first. Why wouldn’t they? But for the police, this is a little out of their league. So eventually, my name comes up and I’m given a call.
A hundred of tiny lights abducting a boy can only mean one thing.
Now, fairies ain’t all that bad. I mean, they ain’t all that powerful. At the same time, while they’re only a few inches tall, they fly and they tend to swarm. And there’s usually more of them then I have bullets. They’re smart, and seem to find great pleasure in bringing pain to us big folk. In other words, they are a giant pain in my butt.
The thing is though, fairies tend to play jokes on people. Well, what they consider jokes. Like dropping a flower pot on someone’s head, or pushing people into a thorn bush. Stuff like that. But kidnapping a boy? Not that I can remember. Sure, there’s always been tales of fairies snatching children, legends stretching back to the days when men carried swords and wore armor. But I’ve never found it to be true.
Yet, here we are.
It hadn’t taken me long, once I had the case, to figure out where they’d taken Jake. I’d been hearing rumors of fairy lights out this way for a few days now. Most folks think they’re seeing fire flies. Their brains won’t let them think any other way, despite the multiple colors.
So I’d used Google to look at satellite images of the area until I found the tree. One tree in a sea of grass. Well, lets just say that fairies like trees. And one tree by itself like that in the middle of nowhere? For some reason they find that something next to sacred.
I’ve had one try to explain it to me once. Didn’t make a lick of sense. Something about too many trees being too noisy or something.
Anyway, I’d had a hunch, and it turned out to be right.
I holstered the pistols and pulled a bottle of water from one of the deep pockets of my coat. I popped the top with my teeth and dumped half of it atop young Jake.
Jake Finn, eleven years old, from Grantville, Kansas, was awake in an instant. I stood so that he could see me, ready to assuage any fears that might bubble to the surface after waking tied to a tree in the dark.
He blinked and his eyes turned to me.
“Hey,” he said, his voice still thick with sleep.
“Jake,” I said. He seemed to be handling this rather well. “You know where you are?”
“Tree,” he said. “Middle of a field. Yeah.”
“You know how you got here?”
“Uh, yeah,” he said, scorn and disdain practically dripping from his mouth as he rolled his eyes. “Fairies brought me out here.”
“And you’re okay with that?” I said.
But I didn’t get an answer. Instead Jake only smiled, his eyes going big like one of them creepy paintings from the 60’s. And in the reflection of those eyes I could see dancing lights.
I spun, a gun in each hand, the hammers cocked before I’d even cleared leather. The lights zipped all about the two of us. Hundreds of them in every color of the rainbow.
It was a bit like watching miniature comets, about three or so inches in diameter, streak here and there around the tree. One of the lights eventually broke off from the main group and made its way to me.
The light, orange, hovered there in front of my face for a moment, so bright that I couldn’t see into its center. But then the light dimmed and as the ghostly image of orange faded from my eyes I could see her.
She was about three inches tall with thin, gossamer wings that moved so fast they were only a blur. She wore jeans and a red t-shirt emblazoned with a yellow start. Her feet were bare and the orange hair that fell from her head reached just below her shoulder.
She flew in closer and I followed her with the barrel of my pistol. Her eyes took me in and quickly grew bored, if not disgusted.
“Ugh,” she said, rolling her eyes. “It’s Norman Oklahoma.”
And so begins Volume Two of the Adventures of Norman Oklahoma. Hang on, it's going to be a bumpy ride.
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