This episode we discuss the short story Restoration of Faith
We open on a scene of Dresden desperately trying to corral a wriggly kicking child while crammed into a phone booth, making a call to the licensed Private Investigator under whom Harry is apprenticing.
It seems Harry and his partner, Nick Christian, have been hired to find the runaway little girl, Faith Astor, but they’ve hit a couple of snags.
Firstly, Faith is adamant about not wanting to return home, as Harry’s bruised shins will attest to. Secondly, it seems the ‘more-money-than-brains’ Astors have decided that admitting their daughter ran away is too mediocre and embarrassing, not to mention damaging to their country club street cred, so they’ve publicly announced Faith’s kidnapping and now Harry’s and Nick’s descriptions are out there circulating as the prime suspects.
Nick promptly advises Harry to ditch the kid where he’s at and let the cops find her.
Harry argues that he can’t do that because he couldn’t just leave a kid out here on her own in Chicago in general, and especially not in the sketchy part of town that they’re in now.
Faith makes another valiant attempt to flee from Dresden, but he manages to snag her again. Harry tries to distract and engage Faith by explaining his wizardy-ness and how he used a tracking spell to locate her, and she expresses some mild interest between the snark and insults.
They approach the bridge and Miss Astor makes one last-ditch bid for freedom. Harry is privy to some intel that poor Faith isn’t, and while he tries to shout a warning, Faith barrels on unheeding and discovers her mistake too late. A large unpleasant troll lives under this bridge, and a tasty little morsel has just come dashing right up to him. Free home delivery, no tip required.
Harry tries reasoning with the ugly bugger to release Faith, but the troll isn’t having it, so Harry resorts to a bluff to get Faith and himself out safely. It works, but unfortunately leaves the unlikely duo stranded on the opposite side of the bridge from their ride.
While checking to see if she is ok from the encounter, conversation turns to Faith’s parents and their total lack of regard for her, beyond what she can contribute to their (perceived) financial and social standing. Harry notices some flashing lights and they closely evade being spotted by some local beat cops checking out a scene as they pass by.
He tells Faith to keep close and to not let go of his hand, and they attempt to skirt around the beast’s lair, keeping as much distance as they can. Apparently the troll is savvier than Dresden was willing to give him credit for, because the child-chomper has repositioned himself and once again makes a grab for poor Faith. Harry yells at her to make a run for it as the troll knocks the wizard off his feet and attempts to lunge after the girl.
Harry grapples unsuccessfully with the fairytale beastie, but as Gogoth aims a deadly blow at Harry he is distracted by a scream from Faith and a blast of pink light. Harry ducks around and runs toward Faith, spotting Nick approaching with the car. Dresden tries to evade the pursuing monster, but stumbles and feels the troll on him again, raising its cleaver.
Another yell, and this time Harry is saved by the female cop who had tried to intercept them earlier, and she leaps onto the troll’s back, choking it with her nightstick. Harry gets his hands on the thing’s cleaver and buries it in its side, where the skin splits and releases a torrent of teeny, tiny mini-trolls, that go scampering off into the night, leaving Gogoth the Troll to deflate into near-nothingness in the semi-darkness.
The young officer is revealed to be Murphy and while trying to digest the events that just occurred, identifies Harry as one of the alleged kidnappers. Faith soundly scoffs at the very notion of such absurdity, implying that Harry is in no way clever or cunning, or even competent enough to pull off such a thing (Umm….thanks??) She is firmly adamant that she ran away of her own volition, but in light of all the evening’s shenanigans she is willing to concede the fight and be returned home by the police.
Murphy is still somewhat suspect of the whole situation, but recognizes Nick as the PI who works primarily on finding lost children and seems inclined to believe in his good reputation. With Faith’s assurances that she is fine and that Harry was trying to help her all along, Murphy decides to turn a blind eye for now, and tells the two gumshoes to vanish before her partner arrives.
The fellows take her advice, leaving Faith in her competent care, and, feeling a little better about having done something good in the world tonight, Harry and Nick head for home.
Or, more likely, a beer…