Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Magic Falls Part 18

“David, if I were you, I’d think long and hard about whether you want to remain a journalist,” Robert said, putting the papers down on the table and picking up a half-drunk pint of Guinness.

“That’s not fair,” Gemma said, looking at her downcast colleague. “The story’s true.”

“It’s not about the story being true,” Robert said.

“Then what is it about?” David asked, trying to conceal a scowl by reaching for his own drink.

“It’s about what I can actually publish in the paper,” the older man said. “This isn’t something the Sentinel can publish. Go to the Enquirer. Go to the Weekly World News. Hell, go to the News of the World if it was still publishing – “

“- the Sunday Sun might take it,” Gemma said with a grin.

“ – shut up, Gemma.” Robert said. “But you can’t bring me something like this. We’ve got way too many sceptics reading this paper. Christ, Richard bloody Dawkins has a subscription. You can’t expect me to run a story about a bunch of kids who say they were kidnapped by fairies.”

“They were gone for months, Robert.” David said angrily. “Their stories all match up exactly. They all went missing in the same place. I’ve taken photos of it, and there’s this scorched circle which is still smoking. The kids didn’t age a day. I know it’s insane, but – “

“So who was this guy who rescued them?”

“I don’t know.”

“You got the rest of the story, but some guy wanders in like Batman and saves them, but wonder reporter David Levy hasn’t got a clue who it was.”

“The kids didn’t age, Robert,” Gemma said. “I spoke to the families, and they all say the same thing. They look exhausted, and tired, but they look exactly the same as when they left.”

“We can’t run this story.”

“I’m not saying that there is a fairy ring in West Yorkshire,” David pointed out. “I’m saying that the kids say there’s one. That some of the adults say there’s one. That isn’t a story saying it’s happening. It’s a story saying that it’s a belief.”

“In which case,” Robert said, “the sodding story is about the guy! The guy who supposedly rescued him. You don’t think it’s far more likely he abducted them?”

“No.” David said.

“The families don’t think so either,” Gemma said. “They think he’s a hero.”

“Then why aren’t they saying who he is?”

“…” Gemma didn’t answer, and glanced at David instead. He just nodded.

“What aren’t you telling me?”

Gemma flicked  a curl of her long black hair behind her ear.“We think they’re protecting him.”

“The families?”

“Yes,” David said.

“What makes you say that?”

“Our… our source suggests so.”

“Your mysterious source,” Robert said sarcastically.

“He doesn’t want to be named.”

“Is this the same guy that put you in touch with Shane Smith and made us look like a pack of morons?”

“Shane hasn’t been discredited,” Gemma said quietly, unable to avoid mentioning it, even though she knew the reaction.

“He’s a bloody stage magician!” Robert shouted. “We ran one interview about how he supposedly outed a murderer, and we got – did you see the feedback? Did you? Did you read the letters? Did you?”


“Then you know what people thought!”

David shouted back. “And some of them believe him!”

“Including you,” Robert said quietly and dangerously.

“Yes. Including me.” David replied.

“Me too,” Gemma said. “I didn’t believe it at first, but the more we’ve looked into this – “

“A stage magician getting involved in a murder case. Bloody sick is what it was.”

“I know how it looks, but he… he really didn’t seem to be doing this as a publicity stunt.”

Robert snorted. “So it’s just coincidence he ends up doing a tour a couple of months later?”

Gemma shifted uncomfortably. “That was already booked.”

“You know how this sounds,” Robert said, standing up to go back to the bar. “Cover the story, but for God’s sake, don’t try and sell me on psychics, fairies….or any of that crap. Okay?”

The two reporters sat awkwardly for a moment, until David nodded like a sullen teenager. “Okay.”

“I’ll be back in a minute,” Robert said, and left.

“You okay?” Gemma asked David.

He nodded. “Yeah.”

“We could always take this elsewhere,” she said. “We both agreed. This is important.”

“I know.”

“I’m just saying it’s not the end of it all.”

“I know.”

“We’ll keep working on it.”


“This could have gone worse.”

“Could it?”

She smiled. “Well, we’re not fired.”

“Not yet.”

“Call him.”

David looked over at the bar, where Robert was ordering. “I’m a big nervous about doing that.”

“He’ll want to know what’s happening.”

“Yeah, I know. I’ve been worried about it is all.”

“Then I’ll call him.”

“That’d probably be best. He seems to like you, anyway.” He passed her his phone.

She took it and put it in her handbag, then made her excuses and went into the ladies’ toilets.

Once she was there, she took the phone out and scrolled through the contacts until she found the one she was after. She kicked herself for not thinking to bring a pen with her, so she could take his number.

No matter.

She scrolled through the contacts, found the one she was looking for and dialled.


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