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December 05, 2022

Mystery 2

By Mel Trent

Raven knocked on the door of Raccoon's house. He didn't think Raccoon had stolen the sun and the moon. Raccoon was usually more interested in things that were useful in some way. The sun and the moon were useful, certainly, but not in anyway that would make Raccoon want to steal them.

A bleary eyed Mr. Raccoon opened the door. "I guess you're here about Raccoon," he said with a heavy sigh. "Please come in."

Raven and Crow stepped into the house, and Mr. Raccoon closed the door. Mrs. Raccoon was sitting in the kitchen sipping a cup of tea. Raccoon sat across from her, slumped in the chair with his arms folded across his chest.

"Hello, boys," Mrs. Raccoon said. "Please have a seat. Would you care for some tea?"

"No thanks," Raven said. "This shouldn't take long. I just need to know if you know anything about where the sun and the moon went."

At that, Raccoon looked up at Raven. Mrs. Raccoon looked away, and Mr. Raccoon cleared his throat.

"What?" Raven asked. "Was it something I said?"

"Well, we thought it might be about something else," Mrs. Raccoon said. She placed a flat round object that she had been holding in her lap on the table. The surface of it was very bright and shiny.

"What is that?" Crow asked.

"It's a mirror," Raccoon said. "I took it from one of the human ladies in the village down the river. When you look in it, you can see yourself. And you can do all kinds of stuff with it. Look."

Raccoon picked the mirror up and held it out to Raven. Raven stared at it for a moment. Crow peeked over his shoulder.

"Hey, look, Crow. I can see you without looking at you. I can see stuff behind me, and I don't even need eyes in the back of my head," Raven said.

Crow rubbed the top of his head. "Why didn't you tell me my feathers were all outta place?" he asked.

"Wow. Check me out. I didn't know I was that cute."

"Whatever."

"I'm definitely better looking than you, Crow. And I look really good in black."

"Raven, we're supposed to be doing something else. Remember?"

"Oh. Right." But Raven couldn't take his eyes off the mirror. "You know, it would be no trouble at all for me to return this to the lady you stole it from."

Crow tried to slap the back of Raven's head, but in the mirror, Raven could see the blow coming. He ducked. Crow missed and hit the mirror instead. It slipped out of Raccoon's normally steady paws and crashed to the kitchen floor. Raven, Crow and Raccoon looked down at the shiny shards.

"Now look what you've done," Crow said. "We better go. Come on."

"I didn't ?" Raven started to say.

"Come on."

"Wait a minute. He didn't tell me if he knew anything about the sun and moon."

Raccoon looked up from the broken mirror. "How would I get up there to take them?" he asked. He flapped his arms a little. "I don't fly."

"Oh. Okay, thanks. Sorry about the mirror."

Raccoon smiled. "It's okay. Now I have lots of little ones."

"Hey, that's right. Cool. Can I have one?"

"Sure." Raccoon picked up a piece of the mirror and handed it to Raven.

Crow, shaking his head, dragged Raven out of Raccoon's house.

* * *

Raven wasn't as pleased with the piece of mirror as he had hoped. Outside in the dark, it didn't do anything interesting. He almost tossed it into the river, but he didn't want anyone else to be able to take it. He decided to hide it somewhere so that he could play with it later.

"I don't think there are any other suspects," Crow said. "Well, except you."

"Yeah, well, I didn't do it," Raven said. "And it's not fair that everyone thinks I did. Just because I did it before doesn't mean I did it this time."

"You did what before?"

"Stole the sun and the moon."

"When did you do that?"

"It was a long time ago. Creator had made them, but it hadn't put them up yet. I really wanted to see what things looked like, so I went ahead and put the sun and the moon in the sky. Creator was mad, but it was worth it."

"I'm going home now."

"Why? You have to help me, Crow. I don't know how to investigate crimes like this."

"I'm tired. And if I keep helping you, I'll get in trouble. I already almost got eaten."

"Yeah, but --"

"No. You're on your own, pal. I'm outta here."

Crow flew away and vanished into the blackness.

"Now what am I supposed to do?" Raven asked no one in particular, who, of course, didn't answer.

Raven sat down on the riverbank with a sigh. Trout flopped up onto the sandy shore and gurgled.

"Hey, Trout," Raven said.

"Hello, Raven. Any word on the sun and moon yet?" Trout asked.

"No. Maybe I did steal them and just don't remember."

"I think you would recall such a big job."

"I'm running out of time. If I don't find them soon, I'm gonna get tarred and feathered."

"You're already feathered."

"I'm half way tortured already! I'm so screwed."

"Have you checked the crime scene for clues?"

Raven paused to think about it. He didn't remember looking for clues. "No," he said.

"Well," said Trout, "maybe you should try. Gotta go. Can't breathe." Trout splashed back into the river and swam away.

Raven looked up at the big empty sky. It was too dark to see anything from the ground. He stashed his mirror shard in a hollow tree and flew up into the sky to take a closer look.

* * *

Raven looked and looked, but all he could see was darkness. On the ground, he could see small spots of light from fires and not much else. He flew a little higher. The firelight got smaller and dimmer, and the air got colder. Still, he saw nothing that would help him find the sun and the moon. Frustrated, he flew all the way up to where he had put the sun to begin with. There was nothing there at all.

"Damn it," he said to himself. "This makes no sense. It's like it just vanished."

Something stirred in the space above Raven. He looked up. A shape vaguely like a face stretched the blackness and looked back at him.

"Raven," Creator said. "What are you doing up here?"

"I'm not causing trouble, if that's what you're asking," Raven said.

"That's a relief."

"Hey."

"I mean ... so then why are you here so high up?"

"I'm trying to figure out where the sun and moon are. Someone stole them, and it wasn't me."

"It wasn't? I mean ? actually, I am somewhat surprised."

"Dude, I went through the trouble of stealing them from you so I could put them in the sky. Why the fuck would I take them down again? Does that make any sense to you, oh great and wise Creator?"

"Don't get sarcastic with me, kid. I can still zap you bald if I want to."

"I don't get why anyone would take them down. The sun and the moon belong up here. Look down there. You can't see a damn thing. What's the point of having all that stuff down there if you can't see it?"

"I don't suppose I have an answer to that."

"Everyone thinks I did it. Except Sparrow because I was with her when it happened. Then again, she'll probably change her mind if I don't find the sun and the moon and put them back real soon."

"Where have you looked?"

"I went to Owl first because he's nocturnal and should have been up when it happened. But he didn't see anything, and he didn't have them. He was gonna eat Crow, the bastard."

"Crow or Owl?"

"What?"

"Which is the bastard?"

"Heh. Both of 'em."

"And then?"

"And then I went to Raccoon's house because he's got sticky paws, but he pointed out the fact that he wouldn't have been able to get up here, so ? so much for that. Then Trout suggested I come up here and look for clues. Maybe I don't know what a clue looks like, but I can't see a damn thing."

"Hmm." Creator scratched its metaphorical head and pondered. "Well, Raven, I don't know what to tell you. I didn't see a thing. It was night time anyway."

"Do you really think I would have accused you of doing it? You wanted them where I put them. I just got to it before you did."

"That's very true."

"I'm never gonna figure this out. No one would have done this. I could go through every hut and house and tent and tear everything up until I find them, but they already don't like me very much. I don't think the sun and the moon are in our village. It had to have been someone from somewhere else. Someone who can fly or jump or has powerful magic. But I can't think of any creature who would ? hey, wait a minute. The humans ?"

"Be careful about them, now. You know it's not wise to go about accusing them of a thing like this."

"Yeah, but I haven't even looked down there yet. Looking won't hurt. And if I find what I'm looking for, I'll just take them and put them back. No one has to know who did it."

"On the other hand, I ought to know better than to waste my breath telling you to be careful about anything."

Raven wasn't listening to Creator's warnings. He had already flown down towards the human village to see if he could find the sun and the moon. Creator sighed and faded back into the ether.

Raven had just zoomed past the spot where the moon once hung when he heard a tiny voice calling out his name.

"Raven!" it said. "Raven, wait! Help! Don't go away!"

Raven slowed down and circled back to the spot from which the voice had come. He was a little worried. No one had ever called his name in connection with "help!" or "don't go away!" before. It had to be bad if someone was asking him for help.

At first, he saw no one and wondered if someone was trying to play a trick on him. If that was the case, he didn't think it was very funny. But then, as he circled the spot where he had heard the voice, he saw a tiny speck of ivory light.

"Please, Raven, you have to help!" the little light cried.

"Who are you?" Raven asked.

"I'm Star. I used to be part of Moon, but then --"

"I'm looking for the sun and the moon. Someone who isn't me stole them, and I need to put them back before I get tarred because I'm already feathered. I don't really have time to help you right now."

"But --"

"I'll come back. I promise."

"I'm trying to tell you --"

"I have to go now."

Raven started to fly away.

"Moon wasn't kidding," Star muttered. "He's a moron." Then it took a deep breath and shouted, "I know who stole them!"

Raven stopped and turned back to Star. "You do?"

"Yes, you idiot. Didn't I say I used to be part of Moon?"

"Yeah. That doesn't ... well, I guess it could mean something."

"I broke off when Moon was taken. I saw everything."

"So who was it? Where are they now?"

"It was a human. He used a powerful magic to pull down Sun and Moon. He put them in boxes and hid them away."

"Which hut? Which village?"

"In the south somewhere."

"Why didn't you tell me sooner?"

"I tried. You weren't listening to me."

"Oh. Right. Sorry about that."

"I would recognize the human if I saw him again."

"Okay, then you're coming with me."

Raven plucked Star out of the sky and tucked it into his feathers over his left shoulder. They headed south as fast as Raven could fly.

* * *

When they reached the village, Raven flew low over it to get a good look at it. There wasn't much to see as it was really no different than any other village he had seen.

"How are you going to figure out which hut Sun and Moon are in?" Star asked.

Raven hadn't thought about that. "Um ... well ... it's not like we can see them if they're in boxes," he said. "We'll have to look for the human."

"And how will we do that? Go door to door?"

"Exactly!"

"Why do I have a bad feeling about this?"

"But I'll need a disguise."

"Oh no."

Raven zipped through the village until he found some clothes hanging on a length of twine between two trees. He snatched a few articles and flew a little ways out of the village to fashion his disguise. With the help of Star's light, he soon had what he thought was the perfect disguise. He put his hair into two braids and tried to look innocent.

"What kind of disguise is that?" Star asked.

"I'm a Girl Scout," Raven said.

"You scare me."

"I'll go door to door selling cookies. I'll at least get to look inside everyone's hut."

"What about cookies? No one's gonna let you in if you don't have cookies."

"I'm just taking orders. Cookies will be delivered later."

"You're so gonna get us in trouble."

Raven grinned. "Trust me, Star. I know exactly what I'm doing."

"You have knobby knees."

"Shut up."

To be continued ...

Article © Mel Trent. All rights reserved.
Published on 2008-05-05
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