The events of this story take place immediately following the events in Down the Murder Hole. While I don't think it's necessary to have read that first to enjoy this, it might help answer some questions you have. It will help to avoid any spoilers for that story as some of the events are discussed here. If you wish to see the team from the very beginning you can do so here.
The Wonderland Hangover
Captain Albert Card, team leader and sorcerer, stood in the elevator scowling at the reflective inner walls of the small mechanical room. He hated peoples need to see themselves so badly that they put mirrors on any flat surface. He once again considered how to remove the glistening metal walls from the apartment complex without anyone noticing. At least he was alone and didn’t have to contend with any of the buildings residents; though solitude was rarely unheard of at 2 am.
The elevator jerked to a halt at detective Sarah Parker’s floor and gave off a happy ding as the doors opened causing Albert to growl. Albert hoped that Sarah was waiting for him and would see how annoyed he was at the summons. Sadly, the way was empty. He stalked down the corridor to her door mumbling to himself, “Come over right away. Only you can help me. Don’t tell Griffin.” As if he had nothing better to do with his time than prattle on about the latest ill-chosen relationships, like some overwrought teenage girl. He had hoped Griffin would have the good sense to not get involved with a Sarah beyond a professional relationship but he could see that would not be the case.
He reached her door and knocked twice as sharply as he could and waited until he heard Sarah’s muffled voice ask who was there. When she replied he tested the door, found it unlocked as she had said, and let himself in. “Sarah, it’s Albert.” He stepped into the foyer and looked around, she was absent from the living room of her functional apartment. Comfortable for a police officer’s salary, well maintained, and orderly. A few personal touches hung around the room; old photos of her and a childhood friend, two movie posters for what he assumed were her favorite action movies, and a nicely framed picture of her father in his patrolman’s uniform.
Her voice rang from the bedroom, “Albert. Thank god you’re here. I’m in the bedroom.” There was a pause as Albert moved to shut the door when Sarah shouted again. “I’m so sorry, I forgot. I invite you into my home.”
Albert swore under his breath as he closed the door, in his agitation he had forgotten that despite having been to Sarah’s apartment on two other occasions she wouldn’t remember them. When they first started working together he wanted to see how well she would be able to deal with some of the things they came across and interviewed her about her experience. He had used his mesmerism to make sure she told the truth then ordered her to forget the meeting. The second time he needed to was when she had overreacted to how he had decided to solve a particular problem. Her idea of justice was noble but got in the way of doing what was necessary.
Albert finished closing the door. “Thank you, my, what a lovely apartment you have.” No response. “What do you need me to do? You were a little vague on the phone.” She was quiet. He preferred this, if he could avoid the niceties and get straight to the problem he might be done before dawn and possibly even deal with something important.
“Maybe you should come into the bedroom. It got worse since I had called you and now I don’t think I can get out there.”
Her statement gave him pause, what could possibly have happened that would prevent her from leaving her bedroom. A few demon possessions, some physical transformations, and an active threat in the room would certainly be something that would prevent her leaving. She had called him, which meant she could use a phone, if her insistence on Griffin not accompanying him were any indication she hadn’t wanted the team to be with him, or someone else didn’t want the team with him. He moved his fingers up the sides of his widows peak, a nervous gesture he hated, he stopped and forced his hand to his side.
He looked down the hall at her bedroom and sniffed the air, he couldn’t smell anything out of the ordinary. He picked up the scent of her blood, and when he closed his eyes and focused he could hear her heart beating strong and fast. She was afraid. He couldn’t sense anything else in the room but that didn’t mean she was alone. His senses were keen but there were things that didn’t have blood or a heartbeat.
He drew his revolver, a silly mundane weapon but effective, from under his long trench coat and wondered if he should back out of the apartment and call for backup. No, if this were a trap they would have thought of that. He decided to push forward counting on any attackers not knowing exactly what they were dealing with. He moved to the back of the apartment and down a small hallway to her bedroom, the door was slightly ajar and he knocked twice before cracking the door open. He took one look at Sarah and put the gun away.
She sat on the floor of her bedroom, her back in a corner, and her knees pulled up to her chest. She was wearing a long t-shirt and a pair of short. She looked worried and her face was tear-stained. As Albert entered she wiped her face with the back of her hand. She looked down to meet his eyes, her head nearly hitting the ceiling. Though he couldn’t be certain, he’d guessed that Sarah was roughly fifteen feet tall.
She smiled weakly at him. “Can you fix it?”
Her face broke and her head fell into her hands as she sobbed against the pain of his answer. He watched her for a second and then said, “Let me call someone who might be able to help.” He stepped out of the room and left her crying in the corner.
Once he’d returned to the living room he sat on her couch and lifted her phone off its cradle. This should be an easy problem, all he had to do was call Jim and have him bring the enclosed truck and some tarps. It would be difficult to dispose of that much person but there were ways and places. Wouldn’t be the first time disposal was the best solution.
However, Albert hadn’t been as successful in his long existence by making rash decisions. She was a police officer and people would look for her. The last call on her phone was to him at the office which could be traced easily enough. He could have Christine erase the records from the phone company but that would be another person involved. Griffin would be angry at the perceived betrayal, these things never stayed secret long. If it had been anyone else he could simply mesmerize the problem away but Griffin was a special case since he wouldn’t be able to get the necessary eye contact. Worst of all was Adam; he would get on his moral high horse and never let Albert hear the end of it. Still, Lake Michigan seemed so much simpler.
He contemplated for a long moment and then dialed the only number he could think of.
* * *
Nearly two hours later Albert rose from the couch, where he’d been waiting, and opened the door to Doctor Edward Jackson. Doctor Jackson was a calm, confident man whose outward appearance often led to people underestimating him. Albert knew his wardrobe had been carefully chosen, the disheveled appearance of the suit was misleading to anyone who didn’t know it was precisely tailored Armani two sizes too large for the young man.
“Hello Captain. Sorry it took so long I came as quickly as I could. I needed somethings from my office. It sounds like a fascinating case.”
“I understand Edward. I’d prefer you have everything you need anyway. She’s in the bedroom.”
Albert led the way down the hall and into the bedroom where Sarah still sat hunched in the corner. “Your patient Doctor.” With his work done Albert pulled a small chair away from a nearby desk covered in various paperback novels and sat to watch what happened next.
Doctor Jackson approached Sarah and smiled warmly. “My name is Doctor Jackson. What’s your name?”
Sarah looked weakly at the Doctor. “Sarah.”
“Hi Sarah. Let’s see if we can’t figure out what happened and how to fix it.”
Albert watched as Jackson went through his routine. There was no reason to ask her name, Albert had told him it when he called him, and yet, here he was unnecessarily coddling her. What a waste of effort. Jackson opened his black medical bag and began pulling out the standard tools of his profession: stethoscope, tongue depressors, and a digital thermometer. All useless in this instance. He soon switched to the more exotic tools needed for magical maladies and curses: rune stones, fragments of magic mirror, and a few oddly shaped probes.
After poking and prodding Sarah for nearly an hour, asking questions, and gauging her responses he finally asked something that caught Albert’s interest. “Have you come in contact with any fairies lately?”
Sarah nodded. “Last night, I was in a fairy nightclub, and I think I went to fairyland.”
Albert stood and walked across the room inserting himself in the conversation. “The Fey Lands. She was with Griffin in the Fey Lands.”
Jackson thought for a moment. “I just saw Griffin a few hours ago and he’s not experiencing this.”
“Is Griffin okay?” Sarah’s voice filled with concern.
Before Jackson could say anything damning Albert answered her. “Yes, he’s fine. It’s standard procedure for anyone on the team who encounters the Fey Lands to get checked put afterwards. I wish we’d thought to bring you in for an exam as well.”
Jackson was meticulously placing his tools back in his bag. “Did you drink anything in the Fey Lands?”
“No. We ate dinner at the club but once we got to the tea party we didn’t eat or drink anything. Griffin said dinner was safe.”
Albert ran his fingers up the sides of his widow’s peak. “It would have been safe to eat at the club. Even fairies aren’t that stupid.”
Jackson began muttering to himself, he seemed to be having half a conversation. He suddenly looked at Sarah. “Think about the tea party. Did you come in contact with any food? There was a fight there, right? Did anything shoot through a cake, hit with a bottle, did food go flying into the air? Take your time and concentrate.”
Sarah took a deep breath and concentrated for a few moments. “A woman threw her drink in my face.”
Jackson smiled wide. “Excellent. There is good news and bad news and a little more good news. I know what we’re dealing with. This is a case of the Eat me/Drink me. It’s like Alice in Wonderland, if you drink something you grow bigger and if you eat something you get smaller. Depending on the order you do it in. It’s apparently a big hit at fairy parties.”
Sarah thought for a moment. “I always thought it was the other way around. Doesn’t the drink shrink you?”
“Lewis Carol was recounting the story told by a ten year old girl.” Interjected Albert. “Some of the details got reversed.”
“As that may be.” Jackson grabbing the conversation and bringing it back on point. “When the woman threw her drink in your face it probably absorbed into your skin or soaked into your lipstick or makeup. After that it gradually worked its way into your system. That’s why unlike the books you didn’t instantly grow to your current height.”
Sarah smiled down at Jackson. “We can fix it though, right?”
“Not exactly. It’s been in your system too long and you left the Fey Lands. I don’t think we can cure you.”
Sarah’s eyes began to water.
“However, that doesn’t mean we can’t manage it.”
Jackson smiled. “It’ll take me a day or two, but I should be able to come up with a chemical that will repress the growth and return you to your normal height temporally. It should keep you at your regular height for several hours and with constant use and doses you could remain your normal height indefinitely.”
“I’m going to have a prescription for my height?”
“In essence.” Jackson smiled again. “I’ll clear it with your captain and get you the necessary time off for medical leave. I’ve worked with the police department before so it shouldn’t be a problem. You’ll be back to work by Monday.”
“Until then, I believe I can whip up an injection for emergency use that will give you an hour or two of normal height.”
With the problem dealt with Albert stood to leave. As he moved to the door Sarah called out to him. “Albert.”
“Thank you for helping me.”
Albert turned to look at her. “It was no problem. I was glad to help.” A small lie for her good graces couldn’t hurt.
“You won’t tell Griffin about this, will you?”
“No. I won’t.”
“I promise.” Albert felt the warm ripple of a promise made and sealed. A binding force between two creatures of magic.
He stood outside her apartment building with only a small amount of night left to him. The promise between them had sealed. An interesting development. Now he couldn’t break it without consequences. He had promised her things before and never had it sealed in this manner. He wondered what had changed about Sarah to make her capable of such a pact and exactly what he was a part of now.
Well, I hope you enjoyed the story. Please feel free to leave a comment below and tell me what you thought. You can also find me over on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube.