The Curious Case of the Drained Faeries

via Daily Prompt: Express

Express

Wisps of residual steam leaked out the tip of his Holston Arms PNP308 pneumatic pistol, its brass workings glinting dully in the dim light of a gas lamp. It was not his kill, he had only shot to chase off the scavengers pulling a body across the fog-damped cobblestones into the dark alley. He prodded the body with his booted foot, nothing, no movement.

Squatting down next to it he began his cursory investigation and then sighed. The glamour had begun to fade- it’s simple duster, suit, and top hat with goggles slowly shimmering away. It wasn’t a fancy glamour, just enough to pass in the night, and in its absence revealing a set of blue, iridescent wings attached to the naked sexless body of a five-foot tall faerie. It looked totally drained of its essence. The glamour had not been enough to fool a harvester.

Another one, he said to himself, finding the tell-tale extraction mark on its neck. Sixth one this week.  Somebody is really stepping up production.

Swiftly, Tulloch MacTier slipped on his special gloves, feeling the energy tingling in his hands as the metal tips that ended like talons, clicked and clattered while he settled his fingers so that the nodes properly pressed into his flesh.  He hated this part, because if he didn’t have it right, he would do serious damage to himself. Holding his hands apart and bending the fingers as if gripping both sides of a ball, he focused his sight and energy at the exact point in the middle.

Silent sparks of electric-blue quickly formed, swirling in the center. The sphere swelled, filling the empty space as arcing energy connected to his fingertips.  Slowly and carefully he moved his hands apart as it continued to swell, only stopping when the sphere became about the size of a normal head, and set in on the belly of the deceased.
The ball burst apart and encompassed the entire body.  The lifeless form arched its back, letting out a low sigh of remaining breath, then disappeared.

“Back to where it belongs,” Tulloch whispered harshly. “I just wish the cursed things would stay there.”  Pulling out his pneumatic pocket watch, he checked the time then fished out his leather-bound journal, garnished with a brass clasp, from the left pocket of his black frock coat. Flipping through pages he found the one he wanted and listed the murder beneath the other ones, its location, and the time-10:33 PM.  Always around that time, there was a clue there, he knew.

That was part of his job, hiding the faerie bodies, protecting live ones, and keeping the public ignorant. ‘Express’ they called it, what he did, sending them back that way.  The express pass, the fast track, back to their realm for disposal, but they didn’t always have to be dead.  That was the other part of his job; protecting his people from the other realm and express those who don’t return when they are supposed to or endeavor to cause mischief and harm.

Like those he called ‘harvesters’, for lack of a better term, as they were new to the scene and he had never seen one.  They could even be human for all he knew, draining these faeries of their essence for some mystical purpose. Tulloch MacTier didn’t know the answer and that was one thing he hated more than anything- not knowing
.
The steam clock rang out the quarter hour, Tulloch turned his collar to the cold and damp and set out down the empty street. This was something he was about to set right.

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