Emily’s obligatory trip to the mall with her rich friend Susan started out well, but Riverbend seemed determined to touch everything. “The fairy weave,” she whispered when she had the chance. “It imitates shape and color just fine, but I have to have a feel for the dress for it to imitate texture.”
“Uh-huh,” Emily said and then she decided she was saying that way too much. She ran a hand through her hair and decided not to say “Uh-huh” anymore. It was then that Riverbend picked the skimpiest designer outfit off the rack.
Emily followed her into the dressing room, went into the booth next door and stood on the bench to look down on Riverbend’s head. She watched the elf finger the super mini-dress, one that was so short it came with pants. When Riverbend hung up the dress without taking it off the hangar, Emily watched the elf’s fairy weave clothing shape itself into a perfect replica of the dress. Even from that angle, Emily could see Riverbend had the legs for the outfit, and as for the outfit being low cut, Riverbend had nothing to be ashamed of there either.
“Don’t let Susan see. She will die of jealousy.”
“What? Let me see.” Susan’s voice came from the third booth.
“Too late,” Riverbend said. Her fairy weave was already turning back into the jeans and shirt she had been wearing. “But I am going to buy it.”
“What?” Emily was surprised.
Riverbend looked up. “I know how this game is played. A girl finds the sexiest, most expensive outfit she can that she thinks makes her look super good and sexy. She buys it and takes it home to her closet. After a week, she returns it because it is not something she would ever wear in public.”
“Time honored tradition,” Susan shouted from the next booth.
“Don’t forget your glasses,” Emily said and she got down.
Riverbend nodded and only got a salad. Emily had her usual burger and fries. They were laughing this time when they heard the shots fired.
“Damn!” Susan swore when Emily pulled her under the table. “I was just about to snitch a french-fry.” Emily was not listening. This time there were five men with guns, and they were moving out to encircle the food court so Emily could not escape. The sound of a different kind of gun rang out and one of the men caught a bullet in the shoulder. The others returned fire, but Marion had already moved.
Everyone stopped when there was a shrill, loud whistle followed by a brilliant flash of light. A hole formed in the air between the Chinese and Italian food places. A dozen elves poured out of the hole. They were all armed with bows and they came firing. The people in the food court were already down or running away so the five men stood out. Two elves were wounded, neither badly, but all five men were finished. The elves could hardly miss at that range.
Marion was on her hand-held when Emily crawled to her, Riverbend and Susan on her heels. “Back-up?” she asked. Marion nodded.
“Captain,” one elf raced up, and it was one that made Susan gasp. The elf wore no glamour so there was no denying what this young woman was. “How else may we be of assistance?” She did everything but salute.
Riverbend looked at Emily. Emily spoke right up. “We have police coming. It would be best if you went back to Avalon or wherever you came from.”
The elf looked at her Captain. “Do it,” Riverbend said, “And thank you Lieutenant.”
The Lieutenant turned and waved to the others. The bright flash came again and they were gone before Lieutenant Anthony burst through the mall doors followed by all sorts of police.
When Emily and the others got up, Emily went straight to the dead men. She tore the sleeve of each one, and Lieutenant Anthony did not stop her, but there were no tattoos of a circle and three squiggly lines.
“So who are these jokers?” Lieutenant Anthony asked at last, after being assured that Riverbend was with Emily. Susan he remembered.
“Some New Jersey goons,” Emily shrugged.
“We will run them for Identification,” Marion assured Emily.
“So what killed them?” Lieutenant Anthony was looking closer.
“Arrows,” Susan spoke up and Lieutenant Anthony frowned as he went to one knee for an even closer look because the arrows were no longer there. “You know,” Susan turned to Emily. “If it wasn’t for you my life would be so dull I cannot tell you.”
“Glad to be of service,” Emily responded.