Part 2 of "William the Borrower," a fanfiction story based off of "The Borrowers."
|William’s head was in the clouds. More often than not, it seemed. He found himself acting rather carelessly at times but seemed to think little of it. His relationship with Marie was stronger than anything he had ever felt despite their vastly different sizes, and he felt little to no fear when she was near. The gentle touch of her hand was softer than a spring rain upon his face despite how massive her hands were in relation to himself. He felt lucky to be within her presence.
He had grown to know her personality rather well; all of her small insecurities seemed to make her more human to him. He wanted to know more. The thought of being without her was more and more unbearable each day, and he feared that when it did come time for the beautiful “Bean” to leave she may choose to leave him behind. They had not talked about it much, and all of William’s attempts to bring up the subject of her leaving resulted in disappointment. She was stubborn, and William’s tiny legs were no match for her towering body when she decided to walk away.
Will had begun reading some of Marie’s books while she was away. He would yank one of the novels by the spine and pull it from the shelf with much effort, letting it fall to the floor. He would then climb down off the bookshelf, engulfing himself in the pages both literally and figuratively.
“The words are fascinating,” he explained to his brother one day as he accompanied Will to Marie’s room. He was being particularly careless, neglecting to listen carefully for signs that others in the house may be home. He yanked one of his books from the shelf and turned a few pages, not bothering to quiet his actions.
“How do you mean?” Tanner replied.
“The words tell a story, or sometimes they explain things in a way you never would have imagined.”
“Interesting.” Tanner seemed mildly amused. He shifted his weight from one leg to the other, scanning the room. He stood in silence for a moment, and then spoke. “Have you ever seen any of the other rooms in the house?” He asked.
“A long time ago,” Will replied. “But I haven’t wandered into the other rooms for a while.” A slight grin formed on his face. “Would you like to see them?”
Tanner smirked. “Not really, I just wondered was all.”
William smiled and shook his head. “Coward,” he muttered under his breath, shooting his brother a devilish grin.
“No,” Tanner grinned back. “Just a little bit smarter than you is all.”
Suddenly Marie’s door swung open so abruptly that both of the borrowers jumped and faltered, their eyes shooting up to see Elizabeth, the youngest of the sisters, staring down at them in awe. Tanner gasped and rose to his feet. “Will!” He screamed.
William reacted quickly, grabbing his brother by the arm and taking off towards the crack in the wall. Elizabeth didn’t chase, simply watched them with intense interest as they scurried through the crack and were out of sight. She scrunched up her face, a combination of confusion and intrigue, then quietly left the room.
Marie arrived home later than usual that night and was surprised to see an open book on her floor and no signs of William anywhere. Usually he would be hiding somewhere, happily revealing himself and greeting her as she arrived and ask her about her day. He would stay for a little while, and then make his way home to allow her time to herself. “William?” She called out softly, but there was no reply. She sat herself casually on the bed, removing her sweater. As she glanced towards the familiar crack in the wall Marie suddenly gasped in surprise, for it was Tanner who stood just outside the crack, not William. It was an odd sensation, seeing someone she barely knew in her room. Although he looked very much like his older brother, he had a very different expression.
“You startled me,” Marie said, slowly rising to her feet. Although he was very small, Marie could see obvious distress in his face. She approached Tanner slowly. He looked nervous enough as it was and she didn’t want him to run. “What is it?” She asked him as softly as she could.
“It’s William,” he replied. “Your sister has him.”
“What!” Marie boomed, her voice low and sharp. Tanner backed away, unsure of what she would do. She got to her feet and began to stomp towards the door. Tanner ran after her but was unable to keep up with her pace. “She caught him in a trap!” He yelled after her, but she had already left the room.
The Bean walked towards William slowly where he stood quivering in a wire trap. The Bean, clever as she was, had figured out their escape route in the wall and strategically placed the trap underneath the wall vent, directly in their line of travel towards home. Though she was frustrated that she only managed to catch one of the tiny people, she regarded William as a prize for a job well done. Whatever this little thing was, she didn’t want him anywhere near their house.
The way she was approaching made William unbelievably nervous. She had her eyes glued to him, stalking like a wild predator. “What are you?” She asked, her voice low and patronizing.
“Elizabeth please,” William begged. “Please let me go. I mean you no harm!”
“How do you know my name?”
“You have to let me go,” William asked her again.
Elizabeth lifted the wire trap off the floor, knocking Will off his feet. He hit the bottom bars with a thud, cursing. Elizabeth brought the cage to eye level, peering in at the man. “Hmm,” she murmured. Just a curious little hum, but enough for William to scamper towards the back of the cage. “You don’t touch me!” He cried.
Elizabeth opened the trap door and reached her hand in. She grabbed William roughly, pulling him from the cage. “Stop it!” William screamed, but his cries were muffled by the girl’s massive thumb covering his mouth. He flailed and struggled to escape her grasp but it was no use. Her fingers were crushing him, and he prayed she would release her grip before he was injured. Pain shot through his body. Elizabeth dropped the cage harshly to the floor and carried the borrower to her bed. She grabbed a shoe box from underneath, quickly dumping its contents out. Keeping her eyes glued to William, she dropped the little man inside the box and studied him as he pulled himself up slowly, his body aching. He gasped for a breath and then scurried to the sides of the box, panicking. He looked up at the Bean in fear. “Where is your sister?” William screamed at her, but Elizabeth had already slid the box’s lid on top.
William shook violently in the darkness of the box. He didn’t want it to all end like this. How could he be so careless these past few days! Suddenly Marie’s familiar voice snapped him back to hopefulness.
“Where is he Eli?” William could hear Marie’s voice as clear as day from inside cardboard walls of his captive cell. Her voice sounded urgent yet collected.
“I have him,” she told Marie. “But I don’t want him here Marie. It is weird. I don’t want him in the house!”
“Just give him to me,” Marie said. “I won’t let him bother you, I promise.”
There was a long silence. William pressed his ear against the side of the box, but all he could hear was his heavy breathing and wildly beating heart.
“Come on Eli,” Marie finished. “He is probably scared. I will keep him out of your hair.”
“Get him out of here,” Elizabeth snapped. “I don’t want him in the house. If I catch him again I swear to God I will-“
“You won’t,” Marie interrupted her. William could feel the box being abruptly lifted and he gasped and tried to find his bearings.
“Here,” Elizabeth snapped, shoving the box into Marie’s arms. “And get rid of the other one too!” She hollered as she slammed the door in Marie’s face.
Marie carefully carried the box back towards her room. She caught a quick glimpse of Tanner, who was impatiently pacing back and forth near the doorway. He looked up as Marie approached, scurrying quickly out of her way. “Careful now,” she told him. “Don’t get yourself all worked up.” She bent down and scooped the little borrower up in her free hand, kicking her door shut with her foot. Carefully she set Tanner down on the bed, allowing him to find his bearings. She sat down next to him and lifted the lid of the shoebox. Inside she found her beloved borrower hunched on his side, clearly in pain. “William,” she cooed softly, concern in her face. “William I am so sorry. Please forgive me,” she was trying not to cry.
“Is he ok?” Tanner called out to her, placing his tiny hands on her thigh.
“I’m not sure,” Marie’s voice cracked. “I-I don’t want to move him.”
Tanner was desperately trying to climb up the Bean’s leg to get to the box. He jumped and clambered at the material of her pants, awkwardly falling back down on the bed’s soft surface. Marie lifted Tanner up and set him in the box with his brother. He quickly made his way over to William, placing a hand on his side. Marie could hear the boys speaking softly but she couldn’t make out any words. William sat up with Tanner’s help. He looked up at Marie with a deep sadness that Marie couldn’t quite explain. He offered her a weak smile, but it soon vanished as he coughed and gasped for a breath.
“I need to take him home,” Tanner told Marie. “He needs time to rest.”
“Will he be ok?” Marie asked him.
“Thanks to you, yes. I am sure he is going to be fine. Just a few bruised ribs.”
Marie felt a combination of relief and intense anger directed at her sister. How could she have treated him like this? Could she not see that he was a person, just much smaller?
Marie very slowly set the box on the floor. She ripped open the side so that the boys could move freely. “Please keep me updated?” She asked Tanner.
He nodded at her and smiled, helping his brother to his feet.
Several days passed without any sightings of the borrowers. Marie was worried that her time would soon come to leave for College and she wouldn’t have the chance to say goodbye. She had spent the past few days packing what she would need for the move.
The thought had crossed her mind several times to take William with her; he had requested this several times and she could no longer ignore the seriousness of the situation. But she could not bring herself to remove the man from his home with his family. Though she had never met his parents she knew they were there, and they would miss him.
A deep sadness overwhelmed her as Marie got her final belongings together. Today was the day of the move, and her Mom had already prepared the car for all of her things. She glanced about the room several times in hopes of reuniting with William, even if it would be their last for a long time. But he did not come.
(More to come soon)