Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2050278-Little-One--Chapter-One
by L.D.R.
Rated: 13+ · Novel · Family · #2050278
A traumatized girl finds a home and forms an odd friendship with a lonely, selfless writer
It was a cold night. An icy gale permeated the city's many streets and alleyways. It was too uncomfortable to be out, and most everyone was snug in their homes... except for one.
A fragile girl staggered through the narrow alleys, clutching her ragged, half-destroyed raincoat desperately to herself to ward off the chill. Biting her chapped lips, she slowly stumbled into a corner, where the frigid winds were not quite so painful. There, she curled, tugging the coat around herself harder, like a blanket.

She was thin, painfully so, with a sickly pallor and a near constant shake (though that was possibly just due to the cold). She hugged her knees, closing her green eyes. Her black hair was once smooth and shiny, but now was matted and filthy, with ragged strands sticking out all over, and now the color looked mottled, like a spider. Around her hands were rags, stained in dried blood, forming makeshift bandages.

The girl let her mind wander. It had been a long time since she had had a warm bed. She could still remember being those days, when she had a real mattress with real sheets to sleep on.

It hurt, losing everything. It still hurt.

With an effort, she opened her eyes and staggered to her feet. She needed to find a place to hide from the cold wind- some form of shelter to protect her against the icy gale that penetrated her clothes and chilled her to the bone. It would kill her if she didn't. Soon, it began to rain and her slow stagger felt more and more like a desperate slog.

She desperately threw herself into a small crevice in the alleyway, and pressed hard against the wall, gritting her teeth. She was tough, she told herself. She could survive a little cold.

Oh, who am I kidding? She thought, and slumped to the ground, weeping. She huddled in the little alcove, and wept long and hard- for her frustration, her hunger and her desperation. After a long while, she chanced a glance upwards, and noticed a small window. She stood slowly, peeking in- the lights were out, and it was more than likely whoever lived there was either gone or asleep. She could just barely jiggle a tiny piece of metal she had in her pocket under the frame, getting it a bit loose.

With an effort, she popped the window open, using the little bit of metal to jimmy the screen loose. She yanked herself up, falling inside in a heap. She sat up, sliding the window shut just as quietly as she had come in. Quietly, the tiny girl crawled along the floor, carefully feeling for loose floorboards. She finally made it to a cupboard, and tugged it open.

Food! She grinned softly, if a bit guiltily. She didn't like what she was doing, but... desperate times call for desperate measures. Besides, nobody would notice a drop taken from an ocean, would they? There was plenty here, and she was starving. She hid herself inside the cupboard, and ate silently, munching on a loaf of bread. It was warm in here, but staying for too long was out of the question.

She suddenly realized, with a jolt of fear, that the light had just been flicked on- she could see the thin strip of yellow glow just outside of her little hiding place. The girl froze, not daring to even move. She could hear soft footsteps, and a soft, almost squeaky yawn.

"What- What's this here?" A soft, female voice murmured. The thief girl bit her lip- the screen! She had forgotten to put it back on the window!

"Hello? Is... someone there?" The voice was trembling- nervous. That wasn't good- from what little experience she had, the scrawny girl in the cupboard knew that nervous people were unpredictable. She unintentionally squeaked a bit, covering her mouth sharply- for a moment, there was silence, and she crept as far back as she could. The door slowly creaked open, and for a moment, she was blinded by the light that came with it.

She found herself staring into the eyes of a similarly small girl- though somewhat bigger than herself. The girl outside the cupboard tilted her head, letting her white hair flick in front of her space, before speaking with a gentle, but nervous tone.

"Hey... It's okay... I won't hurt you..."

There was a pause, before the would-be thief tentatively pulled herself slowly out- why not? She thought. If worst comes to worst I can probably just run...

The other girl was pale, remarkably so. Pale skin, pale hair- the only color she had was her pinkish eyes. Her cream-colored gown almost made her resemble a ghost. She spoke, a little less nervously. "It's okay... Are you hungry, is that all? What's your name?"

"N-name...?" She mumbled, looking up nervously. "I... It's, um..." She bit her lip hard. For some reason, it was like acid in her throat- just barely there and bubbling up- she stammered and coughed, but couldn't get the words out.

"...My name is Anya." The albino extended her hand, palm up, like she was offering it as a sign of peace. "It's okay... I won't hurt you."

The nameless girl stayed where she was at first, curled in a corner. She was reluctant to reach out, reluctant at the thought of being touched in general really. Anya gently knelt down, offering her the loaf of bread "Here... You're hungry, right?"

The little one tentatively reached her hand out and after a brief hesitation, nearly snatched the food away, ravenously wolfing it down. She was just so hungry that all good sense had just evaporated. She focused on filling her stomach, trying hard not to think about what might happen next.

What happened next apparently, was Anya lightly ruffling her hair, smiling gently.
"You don't have to be scared of me..."

There was an aura of gentle naivety that Anya had that seemed to soothe the younger girl. She still trembled, and her nature kept her cautious and shy, but she felt seemed inclined to flee or try and fight.

She slowed her pace, trying to make the food last, now that she had sated the worst of her hunger. She wasn't keen on leaving here, either- it was much warmer and drier, even on the hardwood floor. Luckily, her hostess didn't seem about to kick her out either.

"Where are you from?" She asked, tilting her head, sitting lightly next to her.

"Just... h-here n' there..." She mumbled sheepishly, lowering her gaze. "I... was staying in a big 'ol warehouse but it burned down."

"You lived in a warehouse?" Anya's eyes widened a bit, her mouth setting in a concerned frown.

The nameless girl shrugged. "It was dry n' w-warmer than outside. A-and as long as I didn't t-take anything nobody r-really cared..." She kept her gaze low, drawing little circles in the dust pointlessly. "I wasn't t-the only one, r-really..." She toyed with the ragged edge of her sleeve, gnawing on her lip agitatedly.

Anya stared at her for a moment, before standing up. "Stay there, okay...?" She said, a little sternly, before leaving the room. The nameless girl sat where she was, hugging her knees. She took several slow breaths, trying to calm herself.

Anya returned, and lightly wrapped a fluffy robe around the would-be thief. It was a little bit big, but soft and warm. The girl felt herself being slowly helped to her feet and was led gently to a couch. Anya studied her for a moment.

"I think I'll just call you Amy." She smiled softly.

"Amy?" The girl blinked, tilting her head is surprise.

"You look like an Amy." Anya shrugged, smiling wider. "Why, do you not like it?"

She quickly shook her head. "N-no, I do like it. It's... pretty." She managed a hesitant, half-hearted smile.

Anya was quiet for a moment, before she slowly stood up. "...Tell you what." She said suddenly. "Maybe we could make a little deal? If you tell me all about your story you can stay here." She quickly raised a hand, seeing the newly-christened Amy's eyes widen slightly. "It doesn't have to be all at once- maybe a little bit every night. If you do, I'll feed you, let you sleep here, I'll even buy you some extra clothes."

Amy stared, slack-jawed. "...W-why do you want... to know?"

"Well, I'm curious. And because I want to write it down." Anya smiled, looking a bit proud of herself. "I figure you'd be an interesting person to write about as any." She paused, seeing Amy's bewildered expression.

"...It's late. Sleep now. We'll discuss it later, okay? You can decide whenever you want." And with that, the albino girl lightly draped a blanket over the would-be thief, laying her back on the couch with a gentle push. The smaller girl watched, wide-eyed, but suddenly feeling very tired, as Anya strode into another room. "Goodnight!" She called, laughing at her utterly flabbergasted expression.

Amy hesitated, before meekly nestling into the couch. It was soft and comforting, and she had never felt so... welcomed. The quietness and warmth of her surroundings began to lull her into a slightly troubled sleep.

Anya shook her head, as she closed the door to her room. Big sis is gonna kill me. She thought dryly. She never did appreciate me being... overly selfless...

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