‘Leopold Lion is my name. Solving jungle mysteries is my game.’
Lola Ladybird’s eyes took a while to adjust to the darkness of the cave. A lion stood by a large desk, grinning. He wore green-rimmed sunglasses, a polka-dot tie and the most ridiculously mismatched shoes. He looked more like a circus act than a private investigator!
Lola’s friend, Samuel Slug, had recommended Leopold. He had used the detective to locate his missing reading glasses. Old Samuel had misplaced his glasses and Leopold found them for him.
Slugs are amazing readers, in case you don’t know one personally. They enjoy slow-moving stories and view sluggishness as an art form. But Samuel is forgetful as well as slow, and the reading glasses were sitting on top of his head all along—just above his eyebrows, if he had any, which he doesn’t. Although Leopold did find them, it took him six hours of searching Samuel’s house before he actually noticed them on the slug’s head.
‘No mystery too big or small—Detective Roar: I’ll answer your call.’ Leopold winked and went to sit in his king-size chair. Unfortunately, it was further away than he anticipated and he sat—crash!—in the rubbish bin. Lola looked away out of politeness while Leopold popped the bin from his bottom.
Lola Ladybird took a deep breath.
‘Someone has stolen my Christmas wings,’ she said. Christmas wings are a ladybird’s prized possession. Every December 24th, ladybirds wear these wings and light up the night sky for excited kids who can’t sleep. They perform glittery dances, their wings a stunning light show.
‘What a strange thing, is a Christmas wing.’ Leopold mused.
‘Why are you rhyming, Detective Roar?’ asked Lola.
‘I find that a rhyme helps me remember clues over ti—’
Leopold sensed Lola’s irritation and decided to cease rhyming. Perhaps when he’d located her wings, she might be in the mood to rhyme, too.
‘Where did you last see your precious wings, Ms. Ladybird?’
Lola took Leopold to the washing line where her wings had been drying just hours before. Leopold sniffed the grass and used a magnifying glass to inspect the line. No signs of foul play. He cupped his ear to the wind but he couldn’t hear any secrets. He rubbed a soil sample between his paws. He was stumped.
Leopold began to pace but he fell over Lola’s petite foot and face-ploughed the ground, landing headfirst against a tree. The thud sent a shudder up the trunk and across its branches. It shook free the Christmas wings that had been carried by a gust of wind and lodged in a spindly cluster of leaves. The wings waltzed gracefully down.
‘Oh Leopold, I can’t quite believe it. You did it! You found my wings.’
Leopold, still dazed from head-butting the tree, couldn’t quite believe it either.
‘Detective Roar wins once more!’
Nerida Wayland is a mum of three, wife of one and PhD student of Children's Literature. Find out more about Nerida here.
KBR Short Stories are a way to get your work ‘out there’—and to delight our KBR readers. Stories are set to a monthly theme and entries are due in the 25th of each month. Find out more here.