Titch coasted through the open window on a breath of summer breeze.
"Oh, do be careful, Titch," Gossimer cried in her tiny voice. Titch made a sound in the back of her throat that could have been a laugh or a snort. Accomplished tricksters didn't need to be careful. She shot across the room, flying close to the ceiling. Her best chance of a satisfying trick lay in the long room past this one. The Big People who lived here always dashed about madly at this time of the morning and there was one thing they had to have before they could leave to go wherever they went in that noisy, rolling monster.
Chewing absently on her bottom lip, Titch scanned the room. Cheerful beams of sunlight spilled in through the frosted glass panels above the front door and lay in dazzling puddles on the floor. Titch's toes itched with a desire to go skipping and dancing through the sunny pools. Later, she told herself, first the trick.
There they were, a pile of shimmering trinkets on a high table by the door. Heavy footfalls stomped overhead and Titch had to fight the Faery urge to hide. She was an accomplished trickster, and accomplished tricksters didn't flee like startled butterflies. She darted from the shadows of the doorway, avoiding the slanted beams of warm sun and alighted on the table. Her bare feet left no print in the thin film of dust that coated the warm wood. Excitement tickled her insides and she pressed a hand to her lips to smother a giggle.
A successful trick didn't have to be elaborate or involve difficult magic. A simple glamour was all she needed. Reaching into the gloom between table and wall, Titch gathered up handfuls of shadow. She sang to the dark puffs. Her words were soft, the sound of dark and murky things, things that hide in shadow, that lay still, quiet and forgotten. The shadow in her cupped hands grew, spilling over her fingers, across the table and over the pile of shiny metal. With a last little twinkle the pile of jagged daggers on their twisted metal ring disappeared. There was nothing on the table but dark pools of shadow.
Titch laughed, a peel of tiny bells tinkled down the hall.
"Andrew! Is that the phone? Could you answer it please?"
Titch froze.
"Uh?" a muffled voice, deep and masculine, called from beyond the door at the end of the hall.
Silken skirts rustling, Titch flew from the table, finding a perch above the front door between two panes of glass. She laughed again.
"Andrew!" the woman's irritated voice called again. "Oh, never mind, I'll get it myself." Stomping feet marched down the stairs, but stopped halfway. Titch could see the woman's face now and delighted in her puzzled expression. "Blasted phone," she growled. "Been playing up all week."
"Huh?" the one named Andrew grunted. He walked down the hall, pulling on a long brown coat. "Ready to go, Honey?" he asked.
"What?" Honey demanded. "Already? I haven't had breakfast yet or… Oh all right. Wait for me in the car," she scowled.
Andrew approached the table, hand outstretched. Titch watched as his thick brows knit together in puzzlement. She hugged her knees up tight to her chest and squeezed to keep the giggles in. Oh, how delicious! How wonderfully delightful!
"Where are the keys?" Andrew asked.
"How should I know?" Honey spat. "You had them last. Where did you leave them?"
"On the table here, where I always leave them."
"I haven't touched them. You must have put them somewhere else."
"No. I left them here," Andrew insisted.
Honey sighed. "Great," she breathed and headed down the hall. "I'll have to call Debbie and tell her we'll be late."
Andrew scratched his chin and looked vainly about the hall, stooping to glance under the table and kicking at a row of boots and shoes. "They must have disappeared into the grey zone," he called over his shoulder to Honey, "like those earrings you lost a couple of days ago."
Titch's sides ached from holding back her giggles. How close he was to the truth, she thought.
"I'll check in the car, maybe I left them in the ignition," Andrew said. He flung open the door, nearly unseating Titch when the edge of the door caught at her heels. With a flutter of her butterfly wings, Titch flitted through the open door.
She watched Andrew for a little while longer, listening gleefully as he grumbled to himself and tried to get into the Noisy Rolling Monster, and then she sped off in search of Gossimer and another trick. The glamour would fade soon, just in time for Honey to see the Keys on her way out the door, exactly where Andrew had left them.

© 2003 - Sherri-Lee Lavender Green