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Friendly Sunshine Gnomes

The Friendly Sunshine Gnomes by Never You Mind Who

People always want answers. Yet people are seldom ready to accept those answers. The problem is that sometimes the answers can be more disturbing than the unanswered question and sometimes they only lead to more wondering.

Sometimes answers aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

That’s what I’ve learned in my experience as a detective working on missing persons cases. A few weeks ago, I began work investigating a particularly disturbing case. Three young girls had reportedly gone missing in the town’s nearby woods and their parents were worried sick.

The disappearance was huge news in the small town. Search parties were out in full force. I was with one of the many groups of people out there scouring the woods in every direction. We knew we had to act fast if we wanted to find them alive.

For several days, we found absolutely nothing and we had entered into our fifth night of looking. No one dared to say it out loud, but we knew what we were looking for at this point; corpses. We knew those girls weren’t going to come walking out of the woods unharmed like nothing ever happened.

I kept on looking, walking through the dark woods alone, guided by my flashlight while my team looked elsewhere in other directions. The search was an incredibly somber and isolating experience. It's a very grim and morbid task to be searching for the remains of three lost children.

It was a cold fall night. A waxing crescent moon loomed high above. The autumn leaves blanketed the muddy ground as I trudged onward.

Suddenly, I heard an eerie sound. It sounded like soft singing in the distance.

I turned all around but saw nothing in the autumn maze of orange, yellow, and brown.

In hopes that it might somehow be the young girls, I yelled out: “Police! Do you need help?”

There was no response.

I sat there in silence for a moment before I continued walking.

I noticed something very bizarre up ahead and went to inspect it. It was what I can only describe as an archway made of sticks and leaves. They formed an oval the size that a person could walk through. The formation appeared to be naturally occurring rather than man-made. It looked like something someone might want to stage for a wedding or a photography shoot. It was like something out of an old folklore story.

What happened next is beyond comprehension.

A small creature walked by me in the darkness, moving in a dancing motion as it went, and humming a peculiar tune. It moved into the view of my flashlight and I could see that it appeared to resemble a very small old man with a long whitish-gray beard and a maroon pointed hat.

The creature casually walking along looked identical to any “gnome” you’d see in a generic fairytale depiction. Seeing something so cartoonish, but yet there right in front of me in real life, was very surreal, uncanny, and disturbing.

This couldn’t be happening. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I felt like I was losing my mind.

I watched as the mischievous little gnome skipped along towards the wooden archway. With a laugh, he walked through and disappeared completely before my very eyes.

I was shocked to be really experiencing this. My entire conception of reality was shattering.

“Had I somehow been drugged?” I wondered.

This was something beyond what tiredness could explain.

I approached the mysterious arched formation and studied it closely. It was just made of sticks and leaves. Nothing special. I put my arm through and held it there for a moment. Nothing at first, but then it started to slowly feel a bit numb. I took it out and stared at the archway once more. The feeling soon returned to my arm.

“Am I actually considering this?” I thought.

With an abundant lack of explanations for what I just saw, I decided to risk whatever danger I might face by walking through this apparently mystical archway. Feeling a bit silly, I took a deep breath and walked carefully through the natural oval stick structure.

Suddenly my mind was in a daze. It was like waking up from a dream.

I looked around to see the same woods I had been standing in, but it was bright and sunny. All my senses were strangely heightened. My mind was buzzing. I looked down to see that the flashlight I was carrying had vanished. The leaves seemed brighter, the air felt nicer, and all seemed calm. Where was I?

I looked around and that’s when the little creatures came in, appearing from behind the nearby trees. There must’ve been about ten of them. The gnomes were smiling as they danced around in a circle, laughing and singing an oddly familiar song.

One of the gnomes walked up to me and began to mischievously dig through my pockets. He found the change I had in there and stole a single quarter. He lifted the shiny silver coin up in the air and it reflected the sun burning brightly above. He let out a tricksterish laugh, put the quarter in his pocket, and joined back with the others in their dance. I had no idea where I was, what I was witnessing, or how to react to any of this.

Suddenly, the gnomes all took off and ran further into the forest.

I chased after them. Running through a narrow opening in the dense section of brush, I was greeted with a disturbing new environment and the intense feeling that something was horribly wrong. I found myself standing within a large ring of trees deep in the woods. My run soon gave way to a slow and unsure walk forward.

At first, what I saw looked to be a pile of yellowish off-white rocks neatly stacked up on top of each other in a row, but when I got closer it was clear and unmistakable that these were piles of skulls.

Their laughter grew louder and more sinister and their dances became more frantic as I crept slowly forward. The taste of iron unexplainably filled my mouth. As I grew closer I could see that the ground was covered in a dark red substance. The air became thick and humid and I began to feel very claustrophobic.

Dancing faster in a circle and cackling maniacally, the gnomes were holding entrails and viscera. All around them on the ground, it appeared to be the gore of dozens of unrecognizable bodies.

There was so much blood. The foul and deathly odor assaulted my nostrils and turned my stomach. I was hit with waves of panic. I felt like my mind shut down completely and I was paralyzed where I was standing.

The gnomes all turned to me smiling and simply continued their dark and morbid singing.

I just remember screaming and screaming and screaming as loud as I could.

Then, just nothing. The rest is all a blank.

I don’t remember a thing, but according to my partner, he found me zoned out and lying on the muddy ground of the dark woods where I had been searching for the girls. I was apparently clutching my flashlight and mumbling to myself. He says I must’ve had some kind of psychotic episode. I’m not so sure.

I would be tempted to blame it all on the stress of the job, but when I checked my pocket, a quarter was inexplicably missing.

I spent the next few days looking over the case files. I had a lot of theories, but none that made sense.

According to reports, the neighbor of the lost children had been looking out of her kitchen window while washing dishes. She purportedly saw the older sister leading her two younger siblings by the hand into the woods. They were humming a strange tune as they disappeared off into the wilderness that day and were never seen again.

The case files also revealed that the missing girls reportedly took a book from their playroom’s bookshelf before vanishing. It was a children’s fairytale book with bright happy illustrations of gnomes dancing through the forests.

It was called “The Friendly Sunshine Gnomes.”

I can still hear their odd singing in my mind at times when I’m alone.

I don’t think we’ll ever find those girls, or truly know what I experienced, and I’m convincing myself more and more each day that I really don’t need the answers.

Written by Never You Mind Who
Content is available under CC BY-SA