“You sound like an elephant running through those trees,” he complained.
I put my hands on my hips and raised an eyebrow. “Is that the thanks I’m getting for interrupting my run to come and investigate the over-energetic dalliances of some bunny rabbits?”
“That was one time.” He straightened up. His salt and pepper beard and bald head, along with the laughter lines around his eyes, hinted at the wisdom and experience contained within that smart mind of his. John had been alpha in Cornwall for thirty-two years, and was universally liked and respected by the pack, but that didn’t mean that I couldn’t still have a little fun.
“So what is it this time? Don’t tell me, I’ve got it, a sheep has gotten lost on the moor and its bleating is terrifying the farmers.”
He held out his palm. There was a small shiny black object resting in the middle. “I wish that’s what it was,” he said grimly. “Take a look at this.”
I picked it up from his hand and rolled it through my fingers. It was almost entirely weightless, and very smooth. There was also something else. I held it up to my ear and heard an odd chiming sound.
John looked at me sharply. “You can hear it?”
“Sure,” I said surprised.
“Describe it to me.”
“You mean you can’t hear it?” I was puzzled. Compared to my own hearing, John could hear a leaf drop from fifty paces away. “It’s like bells. Only not, it’s more continuous than that. Like a never-ending echo of a chime.”
He pursed his lips, clearly unhappy. “It’s a wichtlein’s stone.”
“A mine fairy’s? They knock three times and a miner drops dead?”
“You’ve been reading too many fairy tales. Wichtleins do sometimes hang around old mines and tease the men that work there, but more often than not they are true harbingers of evil. I don’t think one has been seen in the British Isles for more than a century.”
Helen Harper is an English teacher currently living abroad in Malaysia. As a long time reader of urban fantasy, she finally bit the bullet and began to develop her own series of novels.
Helen has always been a book lover, devouring science fiction and fantasy tales when she was a child growing up in Scotland. "I always loved the escapism provided by those genres," states Helen. "No matter how bad life gets, you can always find a route out, even if only temporarily, in the pages of a good book."
The growth of urban fantasy fascinated her - the mix of reality and fantasy along with strong heroic female characters appealed from the very beginning, and inspired her to write her own.