Being Spritely #writephoto

For this week’s #writephoto prompt

Detective Inspector Buttercup Boggles pulled on the blue plastic booties, ducked under the tape and walked along the stone path. A couple of uniformed police who had been chatting, fell silent and looked down. The male snorted and Buttercup glared at him. Why did they have to give her…?

‘Guv?’ Her Detective Sergeant, Garry Owen appeared from the deep foliage fiddling with his fly.

She tilted her head. ‘You weren’t having a slash at a crime scene, sergeant?’

‘What? God no. I was…’

Buttercup waved him quiet and turned back to the path, taking in the strange stone structure. ‘What’s this?’

‘Ah yes. Well, it’s really odd. Seems like it belongs to one of those long lost civilisations that only now powerful satellite technology is discovering all the time. In the Amazon, they found a complete…’

‘This is Wimbledon Common, Garry. You don’t get lost civilisations in outer London.’

‘You don’t get civilisations of any sort, to be honest. Not after the Fox closes on a Saturday night, anyway.’

‘So what is it?’

‘A ritualised burial chamber.’

‘With a body inside?’

‘Several.’

‘How many?’

‘They’re still extracting them. So far,’ he consulted a tablet, ‘twenty-one.’

Buttercup made a face. ‘How’d they get that many…’ She winced. ‘They aren’t dismembered, are they? I really don’t think I can face dismemberment today.’

‘Big night?’

Buttercup shook her head. ‘My mother in law cooked. She does this thing with an artichoke that is frankly vegetable abuse. Did you know that a Jerusalem artichoke has been used in torture?’

‘How? No, don’t say. The bodies are small.’

Buttercup squeezed her eyes shut. ‘Children?’

‘No, according to the expert they brought in they are fully mature adults.’

‘So when you say small, they’re dwarves?’

‘No, that’s the really odd thing.’

‘Odder than a lost civilisation in Wimbledon?’

‘Technically this part of Wimbledon Common is Roehampton.’

‘Garry….’

‘Yes, sorry, Guv. They’re… er, that’s to say… the thing is…’

‘Garry, stop messing. What are they?’

A loud commanding voice made Buttercup turn round. Approaching them was a short, ferocious faced woman clad in a white paper onesie. ‘Hello. And you are?’

‘Sybil Lant. Professor of Non Human Sentient Studies. Please call me Sibby.’

Buttercup met the unwavering gaze. This woman may be many things but one thing she was not was a Sibby. ‘I’m Detective Inspector Boggles and this…’

‘We’ve been introduced. Your colleague was kind enough to provide a suitable medium for me.’

‘Medium?’

Garry leant close to the Inspector. ‘I tried to explain, Guv. About me. In the shrubbery. The Prof said she needed me to micturate in order to help her with the victims. Urine is an… er… that is…’

Buttercup boggled at her colleague. ‘You pissed to order?’

The Professor spun away. ‘Put crudely, yes he did. It’s easier for a man.’ She began to walk toward the pyramidal structure where two similarly clad technicians were easing what appeared to be a small, wizened dark umber body onto a stretcher.

Buttercup hurried to catch her up. ‘Why do you need his urine?’

Sibby looked at Buttercup like she was mad or maybe half-witted. ‘They might have pixie pox. It lasts for centuries and is highly contagious.’

‘Pixie pox? What’s pixie pox? I’ve never heard of pixie pox or anyone catching it.’

The look of disdain grew if anything to full blown contempt. ‘Humans can’t catch pixie pox.’ The Professor shook her head, as if very disappointed in a student.

Buttercup stopped and let the Professor continue to walk toward the technicians who had stood back, apparently awaiting instructions from the Prof. She indicated off to the left. ‘Put it with the others.’ She turned back to Buttercup. ‘I was told you were in charge of unusual crimes.’

‘Yes.’

‘Isn’t this unusual enough?’

‘I don’t know what this is? The last case I had was a cereal killer. They asphyxiated their victims with coco pops.’

‘Well, what you have here is the mass extermination of a tribe of Southern Tree Sprites, probably by the introduction of pixie pox. It may have been an accidental infection but given how it appears the whole tribe was killed and especially since they were incarcerated in a ritualised sarcophagus, the likelihood is they were unlawfully killed by a neighbouring tribe. And before you say it, no, not another tribe of Tree Sprites. They would be isolated from other tribes. The killers would most likely have been Grass Pixies.’

Buttercup blinked rapidly and then turned to the Sergeant. ‘Did you get this, Garry? Pixies and Sprites? Did my mother in law poison me last night?’ She rubbed the back of her head as if a migraine was brewing. ‘Professor…’

‘Sibby, please.’

‘Sibby. I’ve done this job for 23 years and not once have I come across a tribe of Sprites.’

‘No, well that’s not a surprise.’

‘It isn’t?’ She tried to hide the hopeful note in her voice.

‘Tree Sprites and especially Southern Tree Sprites aren’t indigenous to southern England.’

‘They’re not?’

‘No, of course. They died out many moons ago.’

‘They did?’

‘And of course as I heard your Sergeant explain. This was a rare example of a lost civilisation.’

‘Which has now been found.’

‘Quite. That’s what makes these recent discoveries exciting. At ground level we can’t see them, even if we walk right by them. But from up in space we can spot them and that’s what breaks the magic.’

Buttercup really wanted to sit. Mostly she wanted to pee but she feared the Professor might insist on her sharing her waste products. She scrubbed at her face. ‘Can we take this slowly? This pyramid..’

‘Sarcophagus .’

‘Right. This… thing has been here for a long time and hidden from us by magic. Now we’ve spotted it the magic has gone…’

‘A spectral interlude has been disrupted.’

‘Okay, one of those. … and this has revealed many dead sprites which may have been the subject of a deliberate infection by pixies with Pixie pox?’

‘Yes, that’s right.’

‘And these deaths, while no doubt tragic, occurred how long ago? Roughly.’

‘Five thousand years, give or take a millennium.’

‘And the Perpetrators will be dead by now?’

‘Oh no. They’re watching what we do.’

‘The Pixies are still alive?’

‘And very anxious. If I’m right and these bodies are carrying pixie pox, then they will be desperate to avoid an outbreak. That’s why they asked me to make sure proper precautions were undertaken.’

‘This involves the Detective Sergeant’s urine?’

‘Exactly. It’s an antidote.’

‘And you’ll write a report for this?’

‘Will that help?’

‘No, not really.’

‘What would you like, Detective Inspector?’

‘Right now even another bowl of my mother in law’s pumpkin surprise would be preferable.’

‘How will that help?’

‘It tends to render me comatose.’

‘Of course. Shall I get on? With luck I can finish up in an hour. We can then put the bodies back and ask the Pixies to restore the magic.’

‘They can do that?’ Buttercup tried not to sound too hopeful, once again failing.

‘I’m sure we can work something out.’

‘Thanks. I think I’ll go and see how my team are dealing with the Lichen killers.’

‘Oh you’re in charge of them, too?’

‘Yes, I’m always given any moss Murderers. Garry can you finish up here?’

‘Sure, Guv.’

The Professor tapped his arm. ‘And if you feel the urge to go, Sergeant let me know.’

‘Yes… Sibby.’

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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24 Responses to Being Spritely #writephoto

  1. willowdot21 says:

    I really enjoyed this Geoff the only missing element was Pearl 💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

  2. noelleg44 says:

    Very fanciful! Definitely up Willow’s tree. Lookig forward to more pixies. Is pixie pox like cowpox or monkey pox?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. KL Caley says:

    Oh dear, I wonder how she’ll persuade them to restore the magic…
    Great story, Geoff. KL ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: #WRITEPHOTO – Well by TanGental – New2Writing

  5. For a moment there I thought you were about to take……………….liberties!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. HI Geoff, I wonder if the sprites and pixies know the wombles? Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. JT Twissel says:

    Moss murderers and cereal killers are the worst! Lol. I believe you’ve caught a bit of pixie dust fever!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Aw. I had expected Wombles. Now I know you are taking the piss

    Liked by 2 people

  9. V.M.Sang says:

    Another of your wonderful, imaginative stories. I hope the grass pixies escaped the pixie pox!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: #Writephoto Round-Up – Well – New2Writing

  11. Jemima Pett says:

    Ha-hahahahahahhaa… love it, and all the dreadful puns, so skilfully manoevred into the every-thickening plot. Masterful!

    Liked by 1 person

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