THE WINCHESTER-NABU DETECTIVE AGENCY
YEAR TWO: CASE FILE NO. 19-71

Cat Detectives

AMBER LOVE 17-SEP-2018 Catch up on Year One and previous Year Two cases at the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency. This work is supported by the generous backers who adore my cat stories at Patreon.com/amberunmasked and they also get first access to what’s happening with my books and podcast. For a one-time tip, you can go to the new PayPal.me.

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Where we left off:

In the last case file, we showed off some of the feather artifacts left for us by the wildlife and gave small descriptions of what they could mean.

Mysteries of the Universe

I believe it was in the summer of 2017 when Gus and I found a bizarre colorful creature on the trunk of the Walden red maple tree. There were iridescent shimmers almost like gold glitter reflecting when the sunlight hit it. The back part of it was a dull beige. It was not something I would call “cute.” I absolutely know I took a photograph of it, but I can’t find it anywhere!

The creature appeared to be going through a transformation. We didn’t disturb it. I think I managed one or two blurry photos before leaving it alone. I don’t know how long it’s transmorphing would take.

At home, Professor Oliver Winchester said he had heard of creatures who spend time in trees, inside the ground, and in the air. We sat on the office floor while he entered his memory palace for more information. He opened his eyes and said he had notes referring to the creatures as enchanted magings that resemble a combination of sea lobsters, insects, and pygmy woodland pixies. We decided to name them Enchanted Tree Lobsters; it’s up to whomever writes cryptid and monster manuals to come up with anything more official, but this works for us.

The summer of 2018 proved to be disgustingly hot most of the time. We had a couple weeks of reprieve. It was also rainy here in New Jersey. I can’t remember any other summer with this much rain. Gus and I haven’t seen any enchanted tree lobsters in their morphing stage again, but we have seen plenty of them around. To be brutally honest, he’s discovered they are delicacy. My boy has refined taste of shrimp and enchanted tree lobsters.

cicada shell
Gus will eat the shells sans body too.

We’ve spotted several of the beige exoskeletons clinging to the underside of tree branches. Never the top side. Their wings are loud like toy sized drones. Gus can spot them from a great distance even if they dodge into bushes. As someone a bit phobic, sometimes extremely depending on the day, having a creature like an enchanted tree lobster anywhere near me is a discomfort. Unless it was a horrible dream, years ago one landed on my head and got caught in my hair. It could’ve been a nightmare. I don’t really remember. Especially during that one year when I never slept more than 20 minutes at a time. Last night I had nightmares about bees and wasps. The cats in that nightmare were eating them too.

Since the enchanted tree lobsters are found near trees, we thought we should check in with Gnomez Addams to see if he had information. Gnomez can be quiet for a long time, but when he has something to say, it’s hard to reign him back in.

cicada shells
Walden Maple Enchanted Tree Lobsters

He brushed a pine needle from his blue tunic and pointed to a small sapling. “There are two of them over there. They haven’t moved in months,” he told Gus.

I stepped around the grove’s slate walkway to get a look at the subjects. They appeared to be empty exoskeletons just like the ones we saw at the Walden maple. Though, maybe they weren’t exactly “empty” if you catch my drift.

“What can you tell us about these things?” Gus sniffed Gnomez’s hat which was not appreciated by the little fellow.

“Well, you’re quite right. They’re not exactly empty shells. There’s magic inside. Can’t you see it? No? You humans are so useless sometimes. So primitive. It’s a wonder you can feed yourselves.”

Gnomez had a point and I didn’t want to give him any more reason to believe humans were entirely helpless like admitting that the cook makes sure everyone in the agency is fed well. On my own is a different story. I couldn’t get mad at him. He had spunk and was a good employee.

cicada
Gnome Grove Enchanted Tree Lobster

“The magic inside those shells… well, it’s kind of like how chickens lay eggs and then a rooster comes along to fertilize it. The magic in there is one part of a process.”

“So this is how they reproduce?”

“In a matter of speaking, yes. Genetically it could be considered half cloning and then half new inspiration. Some part of the creation will have the traits of the one that left it behind, but how it incubates and feeds on the life force will truly complete its composition. It depends on the moon, the temperature, the macrocosm! Enchanted tree lobsters, as you call them, are among the oldest living creatures.”

Gus took a couple steps closer to me, smelled around the tree stump picking up traces of Squirrel Haggard and chipmunk scent. “What do you call them? You seem well-acquainted with their kind.”

“Well, for one, I do not call them an appetizer, Detective!”

“He’s got you there, Gus.” I was often grossed out by Gus’ diet.

“We call them Brrrzerrs because of the sound their wings make.”

“Yeah, that’s too hard to say.” Gus sat down on the big slate piece in front of Gnomez.

“And too hard to spell so I’ll stick with tree lobsters.” Hey, I’m the biographer and have to do all the typing so I should get a say in something that would make it even more difficult.

Gus and I thanked Gnomez for his information and went back inside to report to Oliver Winchester.

gnome

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