( A Brothers Consulted short story, and the prequel to A Burglary at Baker Street )
Stan Baker hadn’t thought about the word ‘borrower’ in ages.
He vaguely remembered a series of stories of the same name that he read when he was in primary school. They depicted tiny little people, inches high, managing to survive by living alongside human beings and picking tiny amounts of food and supplies from them. That much he could recall, so evidently the stories had more of an impact on him than he thought…
The last place he expected to experience nostalgia for a children’s story was during a surprise meeting with his employer.
At first Stan thought he’d misheard; he had been winding down for the night before receiving his summons. He’d hurried over so fast he hadn’t had time to brush away all the dog hair from the cuffs of his trousers and the hem of his dark wool coat, perhaps he was still reeling from the rush to his employer’s office.
No. The boss was completely serious. Apparently, the existence of people so small came to his attention through Sherlock Holmes, of all people. The consulting detective had become involved with some of the (actual, real) tiny people.
A pair of brothers called the Winchesters.
Stan didn’t get to learn much about them before his employer got down to business, unfortunately. As fascinating as the stuff about borrowers was, it was only a small part of the mission.
The agent thumbed through the file given to him and listened to the briefing in a bit of a haze. All the information was in his hands, allowing Stan to quietly marvel at the revelation of tiny people. A concept so fantastical that it was universally consigned to childhood imagination.
The others are never going to believe this…