We went down to the basement level, to the far corner of the room, with its ceiling-height bookshelves. All of the books were pre-20th century, light earth tones, very serious in their appearance. The curator climbed a ladder and picked from the penultimate shelf a pink-tinged book with a young girl on the front.
“Now this is about the fairies that everyone has determined were a hoax, but let me tell you-,” he was saying on his way down, interrupting himself by a slight misstep on the ladder.
Finally, he reached the bottom and handed me the book. It was heavier than I expected, with a silky finish. In the photo, the girl was gazing at what appeared to be a paper cutout fairy. The curator took the book back and opened it gently, turning pages slowly. When he stopped, it seemed that a tiny creature fell from a photo in the book.
“Aye, now we have to catch the little bugger. I was being so careful, too, You’ll soon see that this was no hoax.” He pulled a flashlight from his vest pocket and shined it under the bookcase.
A shimmering of tiny wings flashed by as the creature flew out and up. “We’ll just leave this here,” said the curator as he placed the book on the floor, open to the photo matching the front of the book, except the fairy was missing. He pulled me behind the adjacent bookcase. We peered around the corner for a few minutes. “It never takes her long. She likes to show off.”
Slowly, like a feather falling, and with the slightest fluttering sound, a light green fairy dropped into the photo as though she’d never been gone from it.