The salty sea air wafted gently around Brian O'Finnigan as he stood in the waning darkness at the precipice of the Cliffs of Moher. The green grass, so much brighter in Ireland than in other countries, tickled his ankles as he stood silently, listening and waiting. He had heard on good faith from a friend, who looked it up on the Internet, that if you stood quietly on the cliffs and waited for sunrise something magical would happen. He had to laugh at himself every time he thought this, embarrassed that he was actually doing it. But in a corner of his heart he truly did believe.
As he stood stock still the sun began to rise, its light setting even the wet expanse before him ablaze. He stood silently, grinning like a fool, as he watched the magical display. But then coherent thought returned to his head. Magical. He thought this was magical. Was this all his informant had meant? He would enjoy the sunrise? Slowly he turned around, sadness washing over him.
And then he heard the noise.
A small jingling, like that of bells, on the periphery of sound, so small that if he hadn't been completely silent he would not have heard it. He swiveled his head, attempting to locate the originator of the noise, and was lead over a small hill to his right. As he crested the hill the jingle became louder and more pronounced. He searched the ground frantically for the progenitor, and was looking so intently, that he did not notice the hole until he had fallen down its wide expanse.
The taste of dirt filled his mouth as he fell. After a few long seconds he landed heavily on the bottom of the tunnel. His eyes adjusted quickly to the darkness, helped along by the presence of a multitude of tiny lights. As he glanced around, he slowly began hearing voices, quieter than the bells but more frequent. He looked up and, seeing that the ceiling was high enough for him to crawl down the tunnel, began exploring in search for the people who were speaking. It did not take him long to find them, but it was a surprise when he did.
A small group of leprechauns stood in the corridor, talking quickly to one another and gesticulating wildly. As Brian approached, they quieted and turned toward him.
“Hello,” he said hesitantly, noticing the sparkle of gold coins at their feet. “My name is Brian O'Finnigan.”
“So?” responded the leprechaun. He looked down. “Get your hands off the gold. You'll make it dirty,” the creature said.
“Oh, I'm quite sorry,” said the boy, “but are you real leprechauns? I mean, I know we're in Ireland, but really?”
“Yes, we're real!” screamed the diminutive man. “What are you doing here? What have you come for?”
“My friend told me-” he was cut off.
“Do you listen to everything your friends say? If they said, 'Oh, jump off a bridge!' would you?”
“Well, no, but...” He trailed off. The leprechauns began glaring at him in a sinister way, making Brian question all of the stories he had heard about their dancing, frolicking pastimes. One inched toward him frighteningly slowly.
“Do you know why we have never been discovered? Why we are only rumors and folklore?” he asked. It was a rhetorical question, so before Brian could answer he continued. “I'll let you in on a little secret. We have been discovered. Several times, in fact.” Hatred flowed out of the little body. “It's the people who discover us that are never seen again.”
Brian began to panic. He though of all the times he never said 'good bye' to friends or 'I love you' to his parents, but he had little time to ponder before everything went black.
That night the leprechauns had a wonderful feast in honor of their continued anonymity. The roast beef was exquisite.