The Rise of the Gnomes, Part One: The Cleaning Fairy
Father walked into the house. He tripped over a toy truck that lay just in front of the doorway, nearly losing his balance. His walk was further impeded by an array of blocks, stuffed animals, and marbles that covered nearly every inch of floor.
Hanging his hat on the rack and kicking a space near the door clear for his briefcase, he called out to Mother. “Lovey?”
Her muffled voice echoed from the kitchen, but he couldn’t make out the words. He shuffled through the debris in an effort to find her. A tiny head poked out of a lone shoe that sat atop a pile of dirty clothes and disappeared just as quickly. What was that?
Another little face appeared around a corner, followed by a fat, nearly naked little body. The little thing threw a sock at him, then ducked behind a chair.
Father made his way slowly and carefully across the room, picking his way through toys and towels, shoes and socks, and an occasional bit of left-over food. Something terrible had happened here, he knew it. And it had something to do with those little faces that kept peering at him from behind furniture and under the mess.
They were everywhere, those little creatures. They looked like small people, but with a gleam of maliciousness in their beady little eyes as they tossed things his direction and swirled them around the room like mini tornadoes.
Where was Mother? Did she know what was happening out here?
At last, he made it through the room and into the kitchen. Mother sat on the kitchen floor, her hands and feet bound by scarves and jump ropes, her mouth stuffed with a sock. Next to her, on the floor, lay the prone body of another small, human-like figure in a gingham dress. Blood stained her white apron, and her yellow hair was splayed out around her head.
Father rushed to Mother’s side, careful not to disturb the little body. He removed the sock from her mouth and began to untie her bonds.
“Lovey, what’s going on in here? Who are those little people all over the house?”
Mother wailed. “Those are the Gnomes! They’re taking over everything!”
Father gasped. “How is that even possible? I thought the Cleaning Fairy’s magic kept us safe from Gnomes!”
Mother pointed to the body on the floor. “The Cleaning Fairy has been murdered!”