"Please come back soon
'Cause I can't do this without you
And stop all these tears I have shed
And these nights-all filled with dread
Return safely soon
'Cause I miss you"
Artemis wasn't there the next day. Or the next. I didn't know what to do with myself. Artemis wasn't there to bounce snarky comments off of, or try to explain the properties of spacetime to me. I tried to sleep, but I had murky nightmares that I could never remember and I always woke up grumpy. It got so bad that I played hooky for Dr. Po's counseling session. Without Artemis for me to take out my inner frustration, I had no patience for the bumbling professor. I didn't get into any fights while he was gone, but there could only be one reason for that: everyone on campus knew that I was in a bad mood and what I did to people when I was in a bad mood.
That night Sakura was working late filling in grades for her Health Ed class, so I had a room to myself for an hour or two. I rolled over, staring at the wall angrily as if the wall were the one who had taken my best friend away from me. My very first legit friend, save Sakura.
I thought about me and Artemis for a moment. How we tolerated each other, how we rounded each other out, how we acted like we'd known each other for years after only a month of friendship. I realized that I'd been lying to myself about my 'old friends'; back west, I'd moved around with my dad's erratic work hours. So I never had time to develop true, deep friendships. No one I knew back in the States would trust in me the way Artemis did. He tried to hide it, but I saw straight through him. My dad being an actor, I could read his face as easily as an open comic book with huge lettering in obnoxiously loud colors.
But maybe that was a bad thing. The most I ever saw on Artemis's face was contempt, smug cleverness, and the occasional rare glance of real, golden happiness. Like the prank on Po. Seeing such emotion, such fear on his face was scary. It must've been something important. What had he meant? How could he lose our memories?
How could he change?
Muttering frustrated swears under my breath, I rolled over and rummaged in my tokidoki backpack for the envelope he'd given me two days ago. I pulled it out, staring for the longest time at his name in the corner. Such delicate, unmanly handwriting, almost cursive. I tore the envelope open, starving for the merest glance of my missing friend. Inside I found a singular sheet of paper, which I unfolded so quickly that I almost tore it. It sure didn't look like a plot. It looked more like a letter, complete with the same aristocratic handwriting I found on the envelope. I read on.
You must believe everything I am about to tell you, no matter how fantastical it may seem. It is quite possible that in the future my life will depend on the information I am confiding in you. In any case, I don't want to lose it, hence the letter.
Before I explain, ground rules. If anyone asks you about this letter, you must deny its existence. Even me. Especially me. Do not bring this note up with me again, as it will only rouse suspicion with me and make things worse. I am almost certain that I will not remember what I wrote in this letter, only that I wrote it. I may even fabricate a lie for myself in my mind as to the contents of this, anything but the truth. But you have to know this. All of it. Every word is true. You must trust me.
Fairies do exist. I discovered this nearly two years ago when I was only twelve. They live far underground, and are centuries ahead of us in terms of technology. That is how they have eluded discovery. I used to be on their radar in a negative fashion, but as I write this I go to assist the fairy people from discovery. If the human race were to rediscover the existence of the People (fairykind), it would spell the end of everything.
But don't go looking for them-they don't like that much, even if you insist that you mean well. Not all fairies are kindhearted, although I am lucky enough to know a handful who are. They can be just as cruel and abusive as we humans, although they tend to think of us as the abusive ones for ruining our planet. Regardless of morality, any fairy you encounter on the surface is bound to be dangerous, armed to the teeth, and capable of making it as if you never saw them.
That is what is about to happen to me-my mind is going to be wiped because, according to the fairies, I simply know too much for a boy of my intellectual prowess. My logical mind will concoct perfect excuses for their involvement in any memory of mine, even writing this fairy-related letter. No matter what I say or do, don't bring it up. I've prepared a way to rekindle my lost memories, the only way that will prove effective on myself. If you try to talk me into it, it may ruin things between us forever.
I can't risk that. I can't risk our friendship. It is the most precious thing I have ever had, and only now do I realize it, now that I am on the brink of losing it. The fairies have changed me, for the better, I believe. If it is as if they never existed, then it is near certain that I will return to the cold, calculating Artemis that you never knew. You may hate me, but I can only pray that you will remember this letter. That you will remember me.
The real me. The me that is going away.
But fret not; I will return. I promise you.
I found myself clamping my hand to my mouth, trying to stop myself from crying by squinting my eyes shut. But all I saw when they were closed were Artemis's own eyes, filled with that sorrow, that regret, that hidden fear of losing us. I barely blinked at the fairy part-Artemis being Artemis, the whole thing was true. If he was going to lie to me, he wouldn't have made this big a deal of it, and he would've picked a more believable story than fairies. But the important part of the letter to me was the old Artemis, the one I was about to lose. Why should I freak out about fairies when my best friend was on the line here?
Suddenly my heart plummeted with a thousand new terrifying scenarios. What if he never got around to remembering? What if he didn't revert to old Artemis? What if he didn't like me anymore? What if I didn't like him anymore? What if something went wrong with this mind-wipe thing, and he didn't remember me? What if he didn't remember anything?
I hugged my knees, focusing on him. If he wouldn't remember, than I would for him. The vampire smile, the pulled-back hair, the slight frame, the deepest blue eyes this side of the Atlantic. The stinging sarcasm, the cool confidence, the bored intelligence, the hidden child within that just needed a friend. Artemis Cleverclogs Fowl, my one and only, true-to-life best friend. The quiet manner, the subtle grace, the stifled emotions within that more than anything I longed to release for him…
...I woke up the next morning. The day was a blur. Apparently I'd graffiti'd the halls last night with a vague picture of a fairy and some senseless profanity. Have I started sleepwalking again? Also, where did I get four colors of spray paint?