This story is by L.M. and was part of our 2017 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the Summer Writing Contest stories here.
Good morning. Well not so good at the moment. How could a Monday morning go from typical to disastrous within the space of five minutes? People are screaming at me, pointing fingers, yelling at the security guards. Curse that faerie thief. Please don’t look at me like that. I need you to believe me.
My name is CJ and I am one of the masses who work 9 to 5, 5 days a week to enjoy two days of freedom. I trade my time for the security of having a roof over my head and food in my belly. The courage to go down the road less travelled eludes me.
There was nothing out of the ordinary when this commute began. The subway was on time. My favorite seat was empty. It’s right beside the door with a glass partition and perfect for snoozing. People piled in, in the same Monday morning zombie state as I. Caffeine had not kicked in yet.
Just as the doors were closing, a very short person runs through and races to the seat at the very end facing the rest of the crowd. It was odd because nobody has that kind of energy on a Monday morning. Everyone settled in for the ride.
A noise from the late arrival’s corner had me glancing over. He was laughing as he twirled a watch around his finger. It disappeared inside of his shirt. Next went the left earing from the lady sitting in front of him. He hopped to the guy in the next seat, reached into the pocket and took the wallet. No one reacted.
He was a strange-looking man. His ears were pointed, his hair on the longish side and disheveled, his nose too big for his face. His skin was slightly tinged green. He was wearing striped pyjamas.
I nudged the elderly lady beside me. “Did you see that?” She glanced to where I was looking and shook her head. “He took that guy’s wallet.”
“They can’t see me. Only you CJ.” The thief said as he pocketed a pen. “They’ve lost The Sight and can’t see faeries and the like anymore. I couldn’t do this if they still had it. They’ll be looking for this stuff for days thinking that they misplaced it.” He kept hopping from person to person taking pens, earrings, wallets, phones – anything that was easy to reach.
Fear danced in the pit of my stomach. I asked. “How do you know my name?“
The thief laughed and continued working his way down the car.
People were glancing at me. They were scared that I would talk to them. “Can’t you see him? He’s robbing you blind.” The elderly lady touched my arm. “It’s okay dear. There’s nobody taking anything. We are just sitting here quietly.”
The thief reached for the soother from the baby sitting quietly in its stroller. “Oh no, you don’t.” I yelled lurching from my seat. This was going too far. The baby started to cry. “You give that back.” The car swayed at that very moment sending me into the lap of the mother. “Sorry, I’ll get it back.” Launching myself, I promptly tripped on someone’s foot and smacked my face hard on the floor. Scrambling up, I found myself face-to-face with the thief. “Aha. I got you now.” He promptly hopped onto the chest of a well-endowed lady. I wrapped my hands around his scrawny body – only to find that he had moved away and had my hands wrapped around the lady’s neck. Mortified, I backed away and said “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Where are you, you little shit?” Her face got red. She wrapped her meaty arms around me “Sit down and shut up. There’s nobody taking no stuff.” The guy beside her grabbed hold of me on the other side. Together, they forced me to sit. “What are you doing? Can’t you see him pickpocketing?” She shrieks, “There is nobody taking no stuff. Now sit down and shut up.”
Let me interject that I do not have The Sight into the otherworldly. My mother did. People labelled her schizophrenic when they couldn’t see who she was talking to. One time when I was visiting her at the mental institution, she invited me to join a conversation she was having with a wood nymph. And for 3 minutes, I was part of the otherworldly. It only happened once and I am sure that my mother made it happen somehow.
The train slowed as it entered the next stop. “Please don’t open those doors,” I pleaded. When they opened, he was out and running down the platform.
Someone had called for security and the guards were there to meet us. The lady and the man were hanging onto me as we exited the car. They were united in their duty to deliver me to the authorities.
A crowd had gathered and were giving their version of events to the security guards. I watched the thief disappear down the platform, taking things as he ran. His laugh could be heard long after he was gone.
I was sunk. If I continued to insist on seeing the thief, the journey that my mother was forced to live would be mine. Not my idea of a good life.
In that instant, time slowed and the platform receded. Sound muted. Two English Bobbies appeared. One of them nodded to me as they trotted by and said, “Thanks CJ. We’ll take it from here.”
The subway platform came back into focus. One of the security guards was speaking to me, “Please miss. Come with us and we’ll get this straightened out.” The crowd started to disperse. ‘Wait, wait!!” A man, with a briefcase and a bowler hat, was hurriedly heading our way. People stood still to watch him run by. He stopped when he reached us. “Good morning. My name is Mr. Templeton. I am CJ’s lawyer.” He winked at me.