Red Maple: The Uncanny Guests, Part Two

In the darkness of the cellar, small shoes clicked on the stone floor.  They were small, about the size of a toddler, but fully formed. They were dressed well, but not showy.  The clothes are durable and designed to last. All three stood in silent thought, staring around the room.  One sucked at his teeth. None were eager to catch each other’s gaze.

“So,” a woman began, “we may be causing them more trouble than good.”

The tooth sucker spoke next.

“Well, we were only trying to do a good turn.  They are a lovely pair.”

“Yes, such a rarity for the big ones,” the third male said.

All three sighed.  With guilty faces, the three went back to work.

The morning started early for Tad and Sara.  The hammering on the door startled them awake.  Dressing quickly, they went to the front door and pulled it open.  Tad was nearly struck with the hammer being used to tack a notice on the door.  The deputy mayor was standing before them with a squad of guards.

Tad began to read the notice while Sara stalked forward, causing the guard with the hammer to back up hurriedly.  Fists on her hips, she confronted the group, ignoring the growing crowd.

“Leeds,” she barked at the official, “what is the meaning of this?  Waking us so violently?”

The man raised his hands to placate her.  He stumbled over his words before coherence came to his aid.

“Sara, there have been serious allegations laid before the justices.  So much so that I was sent out to close your tavern.” He got no further before Tad ripped the notice down and shook it at Leeds.

“Witchcraft!  What nonsense is this!”  The crowd began to mutter among themselves.  Alarm spread through them rapidly.

Sara waved her arm at all those gathered.  “Don’t you dare hang us with a rumor,” she shouted.  People quailed at her ferocity. Most were aware of her past and knew better than to draw her anger.

Skulking in the shadows of a window were the three diminutive residents of the cellar.  The woman took umbrage at the scene outside. She gave the other two a look and one of the males grinned and made a gesture.  Within moments, Leeds found himself shifting uncomfortably. He made noises of distress.

Look, you two, the justices will render their verdict today and…”  He got no further before Tad strode up.

“What!  You mean we are not allowed to have a say in this!”

“You are new here, right,” Leeds said, squirming as though there was something wrong with his lower body, “but this is the law.  The accusations against you will be weighed and considered.”

Before Tad or Sara could retort, Leeds spun away and walked away with his right leg twitching.  The crowd seemed uncertain of what they thought, it seemed. No one spoke or were inclined to leave.  The street theater was too short to be satisfying.

Sara began to raise her finger and, coupled with the look on her face, caused them to disperse.  She had a glare that could turn water to vinegar.

Tad wadded up the notice and held the door for his wife, slamming it shut behind them.  The pair drifted behind the bar and tapped a fresh keg. Tad filled two mugs while Sara gathered some food, setting on the nearest table.  They ate in silence, lost in thought.

They shared a puzzled look at the sound of tiny shoes on the floor.  Moments later, three small people climbed over the edge of the table.  The two males held their hats in hand and the female curtsied. She was about to speak, but was startled into silence at Sara’s glare.  Following her eyes, all three looked at their feet. The female kicked her feet backwards, sending her tiny shoes sailing off the table.  The other two quickly followed suit. Satisfied, Sara nodded her approval.

Tad watched them with no definable expression on his face.  After an uncomfortable silence, he spoke.

“So, you are the reason my drinks have become so good.”  All three shuffled their stockinged feet.

“I am Ciara,” the female said, gesturing, “and these are Morgan and Simon.  I am sorry about the trouble. We were just trying to help out.”

Sara chimed in.  “Are you brownies?”

Simon bridled with indignation.

“We certainly are not!  We are clurichauns!”

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