Author : George S. Walker

Before the EMP went off, the sky over Stonehenge had been aflitter with fairies scattering pixie dust.

Agent Jack Bishop pulled off his mirrorshades as tourists around him tried to blink away the afterimage of the electromagnetic flash.

“Mummy,” said a little girl, “the fairies are gone.”

“They’ll be back, Love.”

No, thought Jack, they won’t. His days of swatting fairies with rolled-up newspapers were over. Surreptitiously, he looked down at the remote in his hand. After triggering the EMP device, it was dead, like every electronic device for miles. People were vainly fingering their phones, checking the earbuds on their iPods. An excited swell of conversation replaced the electronic void.

Whistling, Jack strode down the road away from the standing stones, passing frustrated drivers behind the wheels of stalled cars. He was already dreaming about spending his mission bonus. If Queen Camilla and Charles realized what the CIA had done here today, they’d be Royally pissed. But the British military-industrial complex would thank him.

In a meadow, he saw two little boys in the middle of a fairy ring, mushrooms forming a circle around them. They were searching desperately through the grass and clapping to bring back the fairies.

He shouted, “Man up!”

They looked at him, startled.

“Go home and play Black Ops or something!”

Not in a home near here, of course, for he’d fried their Xboxes.

As he continued along the road, a driver stepped out of his Mini and waved to him. “What happened at the Stones, mate?”

“Fireworks. Having car problems?”

The man nodded. “I hope some brownies come along soon to fix it.”

Don’t hold your breath, thought Jack.

The fairies, brownies and sprites were a plague on the world’s economy. Ever since the web ads proclaiming, “Click if you believe,” fairy sightings had multiplied, starting at Stonehenge. This was the nexus, the portal between the real electronic world and the mushy green fantasy one. As the Director said, “The bucks stopped here.”

When Jack checked into his hotel, the clerk apologized for the power and phone outage. “I’m sure they’ll have it fixed by nightfall, sir.”

They didn’t. When Jack went to bed, the only light was moonlight.

But he awoke the next morning to the normal rumble of traffic outside. Sunlight leaked through the curtains. He was about to turn on the television to check if Wall Street was celebrating, when he remembered: the EMP had fried the TV.

Then he noticed a flicker of motion above the dresser. He saw his dead iPhone on top of it. But he distinctly remembered tossing it in the wastebasket last night. The back cover had been removed, the circuit board exposed. Next to it, an incredibly tiny soldering iron was plugged into an acorn.

The phone rang. Jack picked it up gingerly.

“They’re back,” said the Director.


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