Summary: After a string of kidnappings, SI decides to call Chicago's best Wizard PI. Well, the only one. And so, with typical Dresden luck, he ends up facing an old fable that might end up killing him.

Anything else new?

Nope, not really.


For anyone that has ever had repeated prank calls, you should know the endless patience it takes to try and not imagine you reaching into the phone and strangling the person as they try to muffle their laughter. I honestly feel sorry for people who deal with this on a daily basis. At least for me, civility isn't a major requirement.

Harry Dresden, Wizard for Hire, at your service.

As I started to leave to buy some ramen noodles (business had been slow), the damned phone started ringing again.

I picked it up and growled, "The Force is not with me. And yes, magic is real. Good bye."

It had just been that kind of day.

"Dresden," a curt voice greeted me. "How many prank calls have you gotten today?"

"Murphy?" I asked. Thank God. Anymore time without business and I would have to resort to chewing on my shoes.

"We have another case for you now, Dresden," Murphy said, clipped, professional. "Come down over to CPD. This one is a real doozy."

"Why thank you, lieutenant, I happen to be fine," I gushed. The fake sweetness in my voice was dripping enough to give fifty people diabetes. "How's my favorite client on the force doing?"

"Dresden. I'm serious." She said, her voice quietly urgent.

I sobered up. It has to be something serious if she was quietly asking. Murphy was the tough girl. If anything could make her quiet and bothered, that spoke volumes of what this case was all about. "What is it?"

"We need to talk. I need your take on this immediately. I'll give you the case file as soon as you come to the CPD." She hung up.

I stared at the phone. Tough Girl Murphy, faintly disturbed, and more amazingly, showing it?

I got into the Blue Beetle and started for the Chicago Police Department. A couple things could make Murphy sound sick over the phone. Grisly murders, the supernatural, sappy romances, corrupt politicians and the like. Meh, it could even be some supernaturals coming out of the Undertown to play.

With my luck.

I pulled over to the CPD visitor's parking lot, nodding towards the desk sergeant as he looked up at me with beady grey eyes that told me that he knew exactly who I was and exactly what he thought of it. It fell somewhere along the lines of 'delusional charlatan' and 'crazy kook'.

As I strode over to the Special Investigations wing of the CPD, I brooded the whole way. What we (stereotyped PI) wizards did best.

I stopped in front of Murphy's door. It was just a bland door, without any of those fancy plaques that said who the commander was and their rank. There were (apparently) not enough funds to provide for the commander of Political Siberia.

I opened the door and walked in to find Murphy waiting for me.

You read that right. Waiting.

She was a rose petal under five feet, and looked like a perky cheerleader, if she wasn't sitting in the SI's commander office. She had sunshine-y blonde hair and baby blue eyes that would belong perfectly on some innocent little sister, and not the hard-assed cop that I knew today. We were complete opposites, in all the classical senses. I'm tall, she's short, I have dark and sharp features, hers was light and round, I think you're getting the point.

I walked up to her desk and took a seat. She looked sternly at me, as if the way I walked slightly offended her. Or maybe it was that ramen smell that wafted around me, I wouldn't know.

"So, what's the case?" I asked, going for casual. Regardless of the people's stances, ignorance really is bliss.

"You won't like it," she warned. She handed me the case file and I skimmed it. What I gleaned from the paper was rather…disturbing.

On December 1, seven 6-year-old children were reported missing by their parents. They had reported that after they were tucked in at night, they were all found missing from their beds, with no trace whatsoever. A kidnapping is suspected, the motive is currently unknown, and certain parties are to be watched until further evidence appears.

In it, there were pictures of the children, probably given to the police from their parents. I flipped through them. Most of them were laughing.

Anger darkened my vision. "Seven kids? What the hell?" I felt faintly sick. From rage or revulsion, I couldn't tell.

Murph grimaced. "I know. All were found missing from their beds, and there was no sign that there was a burglary. In fact, there was no sign that anyone had forced into the houses, period. According to the parents, the window wasn't even open, and at first it just seemed like their kids had just woken up early. At least, until they realized that they couldn't find them anywhere. So what do you think?"

"I think that whoever did this was good. If it was anything supernatural, they were able to break the threshold of the home," I said, actually serious for once. I think it shocked me more than Murphy. "If they were human, then they were experienced in leaving no trace behind. Were there any prints?"

"Harry, please tell me we pay you to come up with good ideas and nothing the boring old logic way," she said. "Of course, Dresden. We came up with nothing. Almost like a ghost came in and snatched them out."

I nodded, digesting the information. "Well, you pay me to help you. Besides, I need the money. I was almost ready to eat my shoes before you called me."

"So what do you think?" she asked, pointedly ignoring my feeble attempt at levity. "Our 'suspects'-" she made those little air quotes with her fingers, "-are the usual. Some weird psycho decides to snatch little kids, or the kids decide to pick up and run away. Like I said, the usual. I need to know if it's supernatural or not."

"It sounds like it could be an evil spirit. What kind, I have no idea,"

"And I thought we paid you for making the unknowable knowable," she said. "Harry, come on. Innocent kids could be scared and waiting for someone, anyone to Show Up." Her face was troubled, but I could tell that she was holding in a lot more trepidation than she was showing. I wanted to cup her face and tell her it'll be all right, but that's just my chauvinist tendencies talking.

See, I have this instinct that makes me uncomfortable when women are about to cry and/or be hurt. Call me an old-fashioned chauvinistic pig, but I'm the type of person that holds doors for women, pulls out chairs, the whole load. Murphy calls it my Cro-Magnon instinct because it causes me to reach for the nearest femur and Flintstone the nearest person hurting them into the nearest Stone Age.

So sue me. I think women should be treated right.

"Give me a day, Murph," I said exhaustedly. "I think I'll be able to scrounge up enough information then. Besides, we can't just charge into the lion's den without packing enough guns to shoot them into next week. And then shoot them into next year if they, or we, are stupid enough to come back for more."

She bit her lip, looking completely vulnerable then. Way too vulnerable to be the hard-ass cop that she is today. God, she looked like she should be tearing up over a bad break-up instead of seven kids that were just kidnapped.

"Fine," she said reluctantly. "But give me a report as soon as you can. We don't know if the kids are going to be okay when we Show Up to get them."

I stood up and left, ready to catch the bastard that would snatch seven kids from their parents.

But first, I needed to pay a visit to my favorite wise-ass skull.


A/N: Aaanndd I just ran out of creative-ness. Sorry, but don't expect an update anytime soon. Anyways, what did you think of the story? I thought it was pretty good, but, you know, it's my story so of course I'd like it. :D Yes, I am biased. Sue me. Thank you people for reading it! Don't forget to review! And I spelt 'Boogey' wrong on purpose. Don't worry, I can still spell.

Disclaimer: I do not own The Dresden Files. Jim Butcher owns them