It’s not often that you crawl back into that unused corner of the attic and find a civilization of marplies, or a kilargy kingdom, or a trivith triad. And I can’t help but think that’s a pity, because there are times when I’d like to, especially on boring, rainy afternoons. I know, of course, that it can’t be helped – if things don’t exist, I suppose there’s nothing they can do about it. I can always wish they’d try, but I do understand.
If they will insist on not existing, though, it would be nice if they’d at least stop teasing me.
Like the time I was hunting in my closet for my other shoe (I usually am hunting somewhere for my other shoe). I could see something moving around in the shadows in the corner. Scurrying, actually – something tiny, and vaguely rounded, and scurrying and darting from place to place. And I was just sure that they were lithalrims. After all, “lithalrim” did sound like a good name for something small and scurrying – and maybe fuzzy – in the shadows of a closet. My mind could almost see their beady black eyes and tiny, twitching feelers as I ran to go get a flashlight. I was so certain that’s what I’d find when I got back. Or… well, maybe with feelers, they’d be talvrins. But still – they had to be something fun.
By the time I got back, they’d all switched themselves out with dust bunnies. The little gray fuzzes bounced and dodged vaguely in and out of my flashlight beam, stirred up by the wind I made when I moved. Looking back on it now, I think it must have been talvrins; I don’t think lithalrims would be quite that clever.
Then there was another time when I was looking for both of my shoes. I found one in the attic and one in the basement, even though I was positive I’d left them together by the front door. Personally, I think that move was a mistake, because that’s when I first realized why my shoes are always missing. It was quite obvious: they are being stolen. My first thought at the time was the talvrins – after all, they did seem mischievous enough to steal shoes. But I’m pretty sure now that I was just being touchy from the closet incident. Because if you really think about it, it would be awfully difficult for something as small as talvrins to be stealing shoes and carrying them up and down steps. A job like that would have to be done by something a bit bigger, and maybe long-legged. Like clognabbits, perhaps, or visnaps, or derenvels. I’m still not entirely sure that derenvels are the kind of things that would bother with shoes. But I certainly have things go missing – whether shoes or otherwise – often enough for all three of them to be working together, maybe each going after something different.
When I realized this, I tried to tell my mom. But she just rolled her eyes and said that I needed to find one place to put my shoes and keep them there, and that my stories had nothing to do with it. I was a bit frustrated with her at the time, but when I think about it now, I can see how far-fetched it must have sounded. After all, I tried to tell her when I still thought the talvrins were responsible, and it’s really quite clear that that could never work.
I won’t go into how I can never find tape, or scissors, or working pens; it’s obvious that the derenvels and clognabbits want them in order to do something to my shoes. And there’s the creaking in the ceiling at night – marplies would do that, or talvrins or triviths. And the knocking on my windows, which I refuse to check anymore out of pure principle (the lithalrims must have taken lessons from the talvrins, because whenever I’d go looking for what made the sound, all I saw was the wind in the tree outside).
For all their pranks, though, I’d still like to find them. And I don’t just mean so I can tell them to stop, or prank them back. I’d like to meet them. I mean, who wouldn’t want to talk to a kilargy or visnap, even if they are constantly teasing you? I think we could end up having a lot of fun together if they’d just stay and let me become friends with them. Maybe I could even help them come up with new jokes to play – I can be good at that from time to time.
And yet they’re continually pretending they don’t exist. If they keep it up, I’m going to start hiding my shoes.
This was a bit of silliness written for a creative writing class during my senior year in college. We’d had an earlier assignment to come up with three first lines for a story, and then an assignment to write something from one of them. At the time, I think I needed a bit of levity and playfulness, and this was the result.