There was a bright flash and a puff of smoke. A small startled shriek followed almost immediately after. Fyonn raised her eyes from the book she was reading and looked over the rim of her glasses. The air began to smell like singed hair and she wrinkled her nose in disgust. There was no door into the The Cave, as she called the room, just a large open archway. Squigg ambled out of the smoke looking dazed and more than a little confused. His hair stood on end and he held what looked like the remains of a light bulb in one gloved hand. He looked around the room as though it were unfamiliar.
“Having fun dear?” she asked politely, her eyes going back to her book, a large volume filled with adventure.
“I think so…I think so,” he mumbled patting out a stray ember on his apron, “and who would I be again?” he asked numbly.
“Squigg dear,” Fyonn supplied
“Jolly good,” Squigg muttered and wandered back into The Room Of Wonders, which is what he called it. It was quiet for a moment before the usual sounds of tinkering started once more from the pixies lab. Fyonn smiled fondly, such sounds were what home was made of. Squigg in his cave tinkering away on his latest invention and her in the comfy chair surrounded by her library of books. Yes, this was home and it was known and comfortable and reliable. It hadn’t always been so, there was a time when they had not lived in comfort in the Big House. They had not had a door to call their own. There had been a time when Fyonn and Squigg had thought they would never find a door. There had even been a time when Fyonn and Squigg had not known each other at all.
It is a safe bet to say pixies can go where they please. They are tiny little things that can go unseen in most places, and on top of that they each have a very fetching set of wings that allows them to fly. The thing that most often ties a pixie to a place though is their curiosity. So it was with Fyonn, a young pixie who lived in a large open field. It was not such a bad place to live, it had lots of room and was full of all manner of creature for her to play with. Birds and field mice, even the occasional mole or rabbit. It could be a bit draughty at times, and it got very wet when it rained, but Fyonn had a small shelter in one of the trees nearby. The Old Owl who used to live there had let Fyonn use it while he went looking for new lands to the south. It wasn’t much, an owl shaped hole in a tree trunk with no door. How she longed for a door. As it was Fyonn was using a few leaves stitched together with nettle twine as a curtain to keep out the worst of the weather. You may ask yourself why a pixie who could go wherever she pleased would be living in a draughty and occasionally damp tree in a field. The answer could be seen from owl shaped hole. The Big Building.
The Big Building was where the human younglings went during the day. She could see them at their desks learning and then playing and yelling in the yard. They looked quite happy too, but the human younglings were not why Fyonn was interested in the Big Building. The Big Building had books. Lots and lots of books, and if it was one thing Fyonn could not get enough of it was books. Every night when the younglings went home with their parents and the elders had left, turning off the lights and locking the door, Fyonn would come down from her tree and sneak in. Each night Fyonn would choose a new book, it didn’t take her long to read a book, just one night for most but some of the larger ones took two or three nights to finish and she would mark her place with a small leaf. Fyonn loved to learn, and there was so much to learn. From the books she learned the names of the far off planets, of long-lost cities and of brave kings and queens in history. She also learned that human younglings were called children. She thought such a name was odd but then most humans were odd. There were history books, science books and story books. The story books were her favourites, though the princesses in them would often get caught or captured and need rescuing. Fyonn thought this was very silly. No witch would ever put a curse on her or trap her in a tower. She decided princesses were silly things indeed. To her great surprise there were no magic books, not even one. Magic was only to be found in the stories she read. It seemed as though the humans had long forgotten about magic and how to use it.
When she grew bored with reading she would explore the Big Building, which she now knew was called a School. There were classrooms, and a great hall and a kitchen. She would often explore the kitchen for snacks but they hardly ever had food fit for pixie, no nuts, berries or honey. Then she would explore the classrooms and see what kind of things the children were doing during the day. There were paintings and drawings, she liked to look at these and even drew a few of her own. There were toys and lots of desks and chairs which were much too big for her. Fyonn liked to look at the work books too, these were different from the reading books because these were books that you wrote in, this she knew was called schoolwork. So Fyonn would spend her days playing in the field with her animal friends or in her tree if the weather was bad and she would eagerly wait for the time when the last bell rang and everyone went home. There was one thing she learned after a little while, and it wasn’t from a book. Fyonn learned that she wasn’t the only one sneaking into the School.
The night was cool and the sky was clear. It would be winter soon and it was getting dark a little earlier each night. Fyonn was on the roof of the school, this was how she would usually get in, through one of the small air vents. She folded her wings and peeked inside checking the vent first, she had once startled a robin who was snoozing there. She didn’t call out, in fact she didn’t make a sound at all. Tonight Fyonn was on a mission, she was going to find out who else was sneaking into the school. She crept inside but didn’t go to the books as she usually did. She sneaked along the dark corridor with the kind of quiet only a pixie can posses and made her way instead to the great hall. The great hall was dark, the windows letting in a little moonlight from outside. Unfurling her wings she fluttered up and sat upon the exit sign. She crossed her legs and waited. She had thought about making a home inside the school, but decided it was much too risky. One of the pixie laws was that they must never be seen by humans after all.
The night dragged on and Fyonn had just about given up when she heard it. It wasn’t the sigh of the wind through the trees, it wasn’t the ruffling a birds feathers make when it sleeps and nor was it the sound of rain on the roof. It was a sound that did not belong. A scratching sound, a snuffling sound and it was coming from inside the great hall. Fyonn sat very still and peered into the gloom, the moonlight helped only a little. The noise was coming from the far side, down in the corner near the entrance to the kitchen. She unfolded her wings once more and took off to investigate. She stayed high, so she would not be seen, but pixies have keen eyesight and she could make out the details below without much fuss. She was surprised by what she saw. A hedgehog was shuffling about below, making its way into the kitchen. How very strange she thought, most hedgehogs should be hibernating by now. The spiky shadow made its way into the schools kitchen and Fyonn drifted down to investigate further. That’s when she heard a different sound, another sound that did not belong, a voice.
“Come on Sprocket, we can’t be in here all night.” She waited to hear a second voice before realising that the voice was talking to the hedgehog, Sprocket. “Lets see if we can’t find ourselves a nice corkscrew, or some of those tea spoons like we got the other night. They are all manner of useful.” Well that was it, a thief in the night. Someone was creeping in and pilfering the schools supplies. She would soon put a stop to that, or she was about to when she realised that she too had been creeping in each night. She stopped at the door to the kitchen. No that was different, she was only reading books and exploring, she wasn’t taking anything. What would the children do if they stole all the spoons, how would they eat their puddings. She strode confidently into the kitchen and almost into the prickly backside of Sprocket the hedgehog.
“I beg your pardon but would you please move your rear,” she demanded. The Hedgehog squeaked in fright and shuffled very quickly behind the second figure and popped itself into a ball of prickles. Fyonn found herself looking at a pixie, a boy pixie. In the gloom she could make out unruly hair that was kept from his pale face by a pair of goggles on his brow. He was dressed for travelling with a coat with many pockets and sturdy boots. In his hand he held a leather pack into which he was stuffing what looked like a row of staples. He froze when he saw her.
“I can explain, it’s not what it looks like,” he smiled easily.
“It looks like your stealing supplies,” she accused.
“Might be a bit what it looks like, yeah,” he said.
“It looks like you’re a no good thief,” she accused jabbing a finger at him.
“Whoa, easy chuckles. Thief, yeah maybe, but no good? Never! Besides it’s not like the bigguns will miss a few bits and bobs here and there. So calm yourself down before your wings fall off.” He turned, ignoring her look of utter outrage and patted the hedgehog carefully. “Alright Sprocket fella, come on we best be going before bossy boots here pitches a fit.” The hedgehog peeked out and gave Fyonn a questioning look, he shuffled out of his ball and the thief slung the bag over his back. The hedgehog had several saddle bags that were almost bursting with items stolen from the School. The thief patted himself down quickly, checking he had all his particulars and before she could protest further the pair began to move for the back door. How dare they be so brazen as to just try to escape. She quickly fluttered between them and their escape route. They were almost face to face. The thief pulled Sprocket to a stop and shook his head.
“What are you doing girly, don’t you be thinking to be getting in our way now,” he glared.
“My name is Fyonn,” she growled through gritted teeth, “not girly and not chuckles,” the thief smiled widely.
“OK lass-” he began. She didn’t let him finish and punched him square in the nose, Fyonn had always had a bit of a temper, especially when folk treated her as though she was a silly little girl. The pixie thief grabbed his nose with both hands and yelped in pain and surprise. Sprocket once more popped into a ball knocking the pixie out of the way. Fyonn flew straight up to avoid the hedgehogs spines as he rolled right for the door, which was propped open with a tea spoon. The thief was right behind him, waving and laughing as he darted out of the door, snatching to spoon to slam to the door closed in Fyonn’s face. What an insufferable creature he was she thought as she floated back to the floor. She was about to call him some very colourful names when she noticed a bag under the counter in the dark, the leather bag the thief had been holding. In it she found the staples, some twine and stitching needles, a spool of copper wire and an assortment of silver tools. On the inside of the bag there was a little message written. ‘Rightful and un-stolen property of Squigg, if found please return to its rightful and wholly lawful owner, Squigg’ So, the thief had a name, if Squigg could be called a name. Well he would want his bag back, and when he came back for it Fyonn decided she would be there to catch him.