By Doug McIntire
They’re everywhere. It’s hard to see them at first, like finding the sailboat in one of those pictures at the mall that just looks like a bunch of squiggly lines. But once you see them, you start to see them everywhere.
For me, I was out on the patio, smoking. There wasn’t a breeze, and I was trying to blow smoke rings. It was through the smoke that I saw the first one. It was on one of my tiki torches, sitting up near the cap.
I didn’t believe it at first. I closed my eyes and opened them again, and the pixie was gone. But when I blew out more smoke, there it was again.
It was almost like it was camouflaged. But that’s not quite it. It’s like they somehow make your eyes just not want to see them. Maybe it’s a little more like stealth than camouflage.
I started playing around to figure out what it was that made my eyes see the pixie one time and not the next. After a few minutes I could see it all the time. And that’s when I discovered that they were everywhere. There was one in the herb garden, under the cilantro. Another was hanging off of the gutter above me. I could see about twenty of them in all.
Even after all of that, I still didn’t think they were real, until I noticed them moving around. I thought they’d be fast, like a humming bird, but the moved very slowly.
I stayed outside watching them until it finally got dark. I saw them moving away as dusk started to settle in, but by then, it was even harder to see them and I couldn’t tell where they went.
I went back out the next day, calling into work and telling them I was working “remote.” In reality I was more “remote” than “working.” I did take my laptop out into the garden though.
I didn’t see them at first, but I adjusted my eyes and my breathing, trying to get back into the zone, like when you are trying to see the sailboat in the painting. I considered lighting up again, but decided that I wanted to try it au natural first. It took me a little while, but I finally spied one peeking out from behind a ripe, red tomato that was ready to be picked from the vine. And then I saw the others. I counted thirty-eight in all.
By midmorning, I decided to try an experiment. I took the laptop inside and brought out my digital camera. I let my eyes refocus until I saw them again, pointed the camera, made sure I could see the pixie on the digital screen, and snapped the photo. I took several more pictures, just to be sure, and then went inside to download the pictures onto my computer.
You have never experienced a slow computer until you wait forever for a picture of a pixie to travel from the camera to the computer. But my wait was followed by disappointment. I brought up the first picture and looked for the pixie. It wasn’t there. I went to the next picture, and the next, and the next. None of the pictures had pixies. I just stared at the screen in disappointment, almost wanting to cry. It felt like I had made the discovery of the century and I couldn’t even show anyone. But as my eyes started to tear, ever so slightly, a pixie came into focus in the picture.
Even in the pictures, their stealth abilities applied. I couldn’t believe it. I went back to all the other pictures I’d taken and let my eyes come out of focus, and one by one, the pixies appeared.
I was so elated. I couldn’t wait to share my findings with the world. I went back outside and spent the rest of the day with my new-found friends, snapping pictures and just sitting with them, observing their habits – though I must admit that their habits consisted primarily of watching me, or so it seemed.
The next day, I flipped the television on as I was getting ready for work. It was on one of those documentaries of some kind of flower in the Amazon jungle. I have a Tivo so I can pause the image on the screen. I used it on some of the up-close nature shots and what I saw amazed me. There were pixies in all of the shots. I turned to other channels that had outdoor shots. Some of the images were of kids playing on a playground. Some were shots by “Weather Warriors” on The Weather Channel. But it didn’t matter. No matter where I saw the pictures, pixies were in them.
I thought that maybe, just maybe, I was the first person to ever see a pixie. But then it occurred to me that I wouldn’t even know what a pixie was if someone else hadn’t written about them. So surely others had seen them before I did.
I was still thinking about that when a Special Report broke in through the normal programming, announcing a breaking news story. The President of the United States had just suffered from some kind of a seizure or a heart attack. He was giving a speech on the East Lawn of the White House when suddenly he grabbed at his chest and fell to the ground. Medical personnel were rushing him to Bethesda Naval Hospital, but the reporters were unsure of his condition and the White House Press Secretary had yet to make a statement.
The news station plastered a still photograph of the President on the screen. It was an image that was taken just as the attack or seizure seemed to occur. I stared at the picture, not conscious of what I was doing until I saw it. There, on the back of the President’s head, hanging onto his hair, was a pixie.
Doug McIntire is a central Texas author who writes computer training by day and speculative fiction by night. He has been writing fantasy and horror for a couple of years now. In addition to this piece, he’s been published in The Tiny Globule and The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine. He also has stories coming out soon in SNM Horror Magazine and The Monsters Next Door. In his free time, he likes to ride his Harley-Davidson motorcycle or spend time with his wife and two children. You can visit his web site at www.DougMcIntire.com to learn more about him and his writing. You can also find him on MySpace and Facebook.