Papa Burdock stared over the top of his eye glasses at the three young Fae stood in front of him, his face a picture of complete and utter disbelief.
“And you wish to involve these humans in matters of the Fae? Have you completely lost your minds?” he tapped the side of his head for emphasis, his brow was deeply furrowed and his eyes had gone the colour of cold, hard steel. He pulled off his glasses and used them to point at Bramble, Thistle and Chamomile in turn.
“The Fae have managed to remain hidden from mankind for thousands and thousands of years. We are merely characters in a child’s bedtime story as far as they are concerned. They have no idea of our ways, our communities, our magic and do you know why?”
Thistle opened his mouth to speak but Papa Burdock cut him off before he could get a word out.
“It is because” his voice started to rise to a thunderous roar “WE KEEP THEM OUT OF OUR BUSINESS!”
“They are already involved in our business” muttered Thistle.
“What do you mean?” snapped Burdock “How are they already involved? What aren’t you telling me?”
The three Fae looked at each other, none of them wanting the responsibility of filling Papa in on the bit of the story they’d left out.
“Well..?” he demanded
Thistle sighed “The humans are already involved because a human has the flute”
Papa Burdock sat down heavily on his chair “I see. Has this human got any idea of what the flute is capable of?”
Chamomile took a deep breath before she answered “He knows the flute has power and he’s been using it..”
“Using it..? for what purpose?”
So Chamomile told Papa Burdock all about the women at the club, how they’d all gone missing, how they all been found hours later, unharmed but with no recollection of what had happened to them. She told him about the photographs, about the demands for money and how some of the women were crying themselves to sleep at night. Chamomile had tears in her own eyes by the time she’d finished. Papa Burdock was speechless with rage. Thistle and Burdock stared at their feet.
It seemed an eternity before someone finally spoke.
“Thistle, Burdock, Chamomile, you may leave now. I thank you for bringing back all this information but now..”
“Grandpa Comfrey!” the three young Fae exclaimed. He was the eldest of all the Fae in their village, though no one knew exactly how old he was. Many rumours had circulated over the years and he had never confirmed or denied any of them.
“But now” he continued as if they hadn’t spoken “You may leave us. Papa Burdock and I have much to discuss”
“Of course” said Thistle and they left the room, quietly shutting the door behind them.
Grandpa Comfrey hobbled over to one of the big armchairs in Papa Burdock’s room and sat down.
“Sit with me Burdock and bring over that bottle of whiskey you keep in the desk drawer”
“How do you know where I keep my whiskey? In fact how do you know about whiskey anyway?”
“You aren’t the only one who has had contact with humans in the past Burdock”
Burdock smiled as he set down two glasses and poured a large measure in to each one.
“Why am I not in the slightest bit surprised?”
“This business with the flute is far more serious than I thought Burdock. I do not like it all”
“Has anyone any idea how it got into the human world in the first place?”
“Now that was what I came here to discuss with you”