The Story Of How An Ordinary Guy Rescues The 2-Inch Tall Sub-Humans From A Broken System
In this alternate dimension on Earth, there exists another form of humans dubbed sub-humans. The only difference compared to normal human beings is the fact that they average two inches in height.
In modern society, their effectiveness in the world has dwindled to nearly nothing. After the last census, the official population of sub-humans is 13,750,000 worldwide. Only about 3% of their populace has a place of employment. The remaining 97% are left to the devices of their much larger counterparts.
The vast majority found themselves in government funded communities until the allocated funds began to wane. To combat the fund shortages, the sub-humans were subjected to being adopted into human families. Many found loving, supporting homes, while many others found themselves in the exact opposite. Having adopted a sub-human grants the guardian a small tax break, and a meager amount of money added to their account each month. With that in mind, a slew of low lives cashed in on the opportunity, spreading the whole program thin. Vetting potential families was nearly non-existent, and quality check ups rarely happen, leaving many sub-humans in poor conditions.
The system is broken.
Chapter One: A Fated Meeting
Snow lightly dropped onto the city of New Haven. The temperature has been below freezing all day. At the base of the city's high rise buildings, the populace huddle close to one another as they leave their place of employment, either heading home or the bar. Amongst the crowd is a man who is heading home as he doesn't have enough to go out for leisure. Daniel Burn, a 24 year old working in the manufacturing trade, moved to the city a couple years back alone, and is just getting by financially. He normally keeps his head low, keeping to himself. He figures it makes getting through life easier.
Daniel trudges by the other tired denizens of the city, although more slowly than he would like. Two blocks ahead is a major intersection where he take a left, staying on the sidewalk. The amount of car and foot traffic makes the intersection pure chaos. Thankfully though Daniel found a shortcut that bypasses all the insanity. He takes his usual turn into the alleyway, leaving the convoy of people behind, and picks up his pace. The thought of crashing onto his couch after a strenuous day at work is the only thing on his mind, that is until he notices something laying on top of a discarded bag of garbage that's leaning up against another building full of apartments. He glances as he walks by, but does a double take to confirm what he saw.
Laying on top of the garbage bag is a girl; a sub-human girl.
Ten Minutes Ago...
Maya's stomach growls as she lays inside the hamster cage her guardian keeps her in. She cannot recall when she last ate. She pushes herself up into a sitting position. The sounds of the TV and the radio that blares throughout the apartment pierces her head. She breathing becomes labored, a result from malnutrition and the fog of thick cigarette smoke. Maya slowly gets onto her feet, and stumbles towards the closed, wired gate. Leaning her head against it, she peers towards the door that leads to the living room where Gina is currently residing.
Maya doesn't bother to try calling out for her. From all the loud sounds reverberating through the room, and the lack of any energy to speak, she knows her calls would fall on deaf ears. Not that it would matter anyways, any requests were normally ignored. A minute goes by, and the being known as Gina storms into the room, yelling into her cell phone. Maya ignores the screams, knowing that the conversation is most likely more drama with her latest boyfriend. She waves her arms at the larger being, trying to get her attention.
Gina stomps closer to the cage, reaching past it to open the window. A frigid blast of air slams Maya's tiny form. Her clothes are all worn and decrepit, lacking any ability to keep its wearer warm. Gina glances down and sees her pet sub-human waving her arms.
"What the hell do you want?" she asks with venom. Maya points to her mouth and rubs her belly. "Tsk! I fed you yesterday, you're fine. Here." Gina reaches down and opens the gate. "Get some exercise." She turns and exits the room, continuing her shouting match on her phone.
Maya's heart sank. She was not fed yesterday. It was two days ago, and it was only a couple grains of rice. It's been like this for nearly a year, and Maya is near her mental breaking point. All of the nineteen years she's been alive, all she has ever known is neglect. She trips as she exits the cage, falling what would be five feet to her, landing hard on the unforgiving wooden table. She tries to hold back her tears as she gets back up. She lazily walks to the backside of the cage, making a small leap onto the window sill.
The cold air attacks her bare skin, but she tries to not pay it any mind. All she can see out the third story window of the apartment is a brick wall of a building on the other side of the alley. Her tears coalesce and begin streaming down her cheeks. The weight of her situation plagues her mind. She is a prisoner of an abusive lowlife, trapped in a slummy portion of the city with no means of escape, except...
Maya's mind went blank, as all sense and reason becomes devoid. "Maybe... Maybe there is a way to escape from it all," she thought to herself. Her jaded eyes peer downward into the alley below. The empty, unforgiving world below. Her vision blurs as her mind begins to race, making it feel like her head might spontaneously combust. She closes her eyes, and as if like she is being controlled, she steps off the ledge of the window sill.
Suddenly reality strikes back into Maya's consciousness. However it was too late; she was plunging to her doom. She screams as she plummets towards the ground, wanting to take back the action she just took. The air whips past her as she gains momentum. She closes her tear-filled eyes, waiting for the inevitable.
Her tiny body lands harshly onto a discarded bag of trash. Whatever is in it, it's not hard, but full of softer garbage. The impact still shocked Maya. Pain fills her body from the sudden crash, as her mind fights from blacking out. Her body shakes from all the distress, from the aches and the chilling air. She slowly opens her eyes, looking up the length of the buildings, seeing the gray overcast sky overhead dropping flakes of snow. It doesn't take long before the snowflakes cover Maya, melting and soaking her to the bone in the process. She tries to push herself up, but searing pain shoots through her body as she attempts to. She crumbles back down, giving into despair.
"What is she doing?" Daniel thinks to himself. "She's going to freeze to death." He steps closer to her and leans in. "Hey," he said gently. The tiny girls' eyes darted opened, and Daniel was taken aback. It has become apparent she didn't choose to be here, exposed to the elements. The look on her face shows she is clearly terrified. Granted she's only a mere two inches tall, he can see in her green eyes that she's in pain.
"Hey you little shit!" someone yells up from above. Daniel looks up to see ginger haired woman holding a cigarette looking down at him. "You think you can just leave! You there, don't you dare fucking touch her!" The woman then pulls herself back away from the window.
Daniel looks back to the girl. "Wait... Did she really jump out of a third story window?!" he speculates to himself in shock.
"P-Please help," the girl cries out weakly, "Please, I can't go back with her!" Daniel wants to move on and not get involved, but he could clearly hear the distress in her voice, and although she's only two inches in height, he can see the fear in her green colored eyes.
She lays there, quivering, staring right back into his eyes. "Is it really that horrible, that not only did she fall hundreds of feet, but now she's willing to go with me, a complete stranger? Considering the few moments I saw of her guardian, I suppose so." he surmises. "Okay," he says to her, "I'll get you out of here." Daniel kneels down and gently scoops her up onto his bare hands. He knew she had to be cold, and feeling her only confirmed that. She was absolutely freezing. He partially unzips his coat, and he carefully places his hand holding the sub-human girl inside his coat up against his chest. "This will help keep you warm," he whispers to her, "I'll try to walk as gently as I can." He didn't hear her reply, but assumes since she's not actively trying to protest his action, she consents with what he's doing.
Daniel turns towards the way back to the sidewalk and hurries to blend in with the dense crowd. He merges in with the deluge of people, careful not to bump into anyone. As he walks down the path, he occasionally turns his head to watch for that woman. After walking thirty feet past the apartment, she bursts out of the lobby door, pushing through people to get to the alley. Daniel puts his head down, trying to further blend in. He can hear her screaming and cursing. The volume of her outbursts decrease as she walks further down the alley, thinking the kidnapper went that way. He breathes an anxious sigh of relief. "Just ten more minutes, and I'll be home"
Daniel entered his seventh floor apartment. It consists of a living room and kitchen combo, a bedroom, and a bathroom. All together it is twenty by twenty-five feet, with the living room taking up most of the area. He shuffles past his couch and enters his bedroom. He pulls the tiny girl out of his coat, and notices that she has either fallen unconscious, or simply dozed off. Also despite sharing his body warmth with her, she still feels cold to the touch. He examines further and notices that she is still breathing, with her chest rising and falling in unison. Upon further observation, her clothes are still damp, which is probably not helping her situation.
Daniel ponders about what to do. It was already awkward for him to hold her close to him after just meeting, but it was done with the best intentions. But now he has her in his apartment, and she isn't awake. Waking up being coddled by a giant stranger would most likely be jarring.
"Ugh... What should I do?" He thinks out loud to himself, "I'm not really equipped to treat a sub-human." In this world, stores sell products designed specifically for sub-humans, such as food items, clothes, furniture, and a litany of other things. These products are relatively cheap, and the food itself is merely produced to be small portions for easier eating than normally processed foods. In the current situation, Daniel doesn't have a surplus of money to spend until he gets paid in two days.
The concerned giant looks down at the tiny girl in his hand. "She looks like she's at peace." In his lifetime, Daniel has never held of sub-human in his hands. He has met several and conversed with them, but that is the extent of it. Holding this dainty girl in his hand makes him realize just how delicate they are. She couldn't be over a pound in weight either. He began to fill up with a sense of duty to keep her safe and healthy. He looks around, trying to come up with an idea to warm her up until he thinks about her raggedy clothes. With them still being damp, it is not doing her any favors. Daniel grimaced at the thought of removing her clothes. She may be a sub-human, but he had standards. However, in doing so, it's in her best interest to be dry.
"Okay," Danial sighed, "I promise you that I'm taking advantage of the situation. This is to get you out of wet clothing," he says to the girl, despite the fact she's out cold. As gently as he can, he pulls off her shirt, and soon discovers that she has nothing on underneath. "Gah! I'm sorry about this." He didn't mean to took at her bare form, but something caught his attention. She is nearly just skin and bones. Not as bad as what he has seen on documentaries on TV about third world countries, but it's pretty bad. Anger began to well up within Daniel, thinking about the abuse this poor girl has been through with that prick. Careful to not let his anger interrupt with his current actions, he removes her pants, and is relieved to see she at least has underwear.
Daniel walks over to his bed, and carefully lowers his hand to the top of the covers. He lightly angles his hand downward so she can slowly slide off. He glances around, looking for something to cover her with. "Maybe I can use a shirt? Or maybe the pillow cover? ... !! A wash cloth should work." Going to the bathroom, he pulls out a wash cloth from his cabinet, and holds it briefly above the heating vent on the floor to warm it up. He walks back to the bedroom and lays it down gently over her body, leaving just her head exposed. Looking down at her covered with the wash cloth, Daniel comes to the realization that he is unkempt. He can only imagine what he would look like to a smaller being, seeing tiny details a normal person wouldn't normally see. He retreats back into the bathroom and begins to clean up his face. He also decides to brush and rinse his teeth. He goes even further thinking that cleaning his ears will help him hear the girl much easier once she wakes.
After spending nearly several minutes in the bathroom, Daniel walks back into his bedroom. As he walks in, he has his attention turned towards his bed to observe the girl. He was surprised to see that she was sitting up, keeping herself covered. As he draws nearer, the look on her face becomes more apparent; she is still in a frightened state.
She looks up at the giant being before her. "W-Who are you?" she quaveringly asks.
Chapter Two: Introductions
Daniel looks down at the tiny sub-human girl, cowering underneath the wash cloth. Her eyes are opened wide, her body shivering. He kneels down to match her eye level so she doesn't have to keep craning her head upward.
"I, uh, my name is Daniel," he says softly. "May I ask what your name is?" The girl doesn't respond; at least not right away. She looks around the room before pointing her gaze back towards the giant in front of her. She opens her mouth to speak, but finds it difficult to deliver her reply.
"...M-Maya. My name is Maya," she weakly says. "Where are... Where are my clothes?"
Daniel's face turns red. "Oh, well, uhm... You were freezing cold and your clothes were damp. Please believe me when I say I did it with the best intentions," he pleads his case. "I have them drying right now. Are you feeling okay?" She hesitantly shakes her head before she drops her head. "Is there anything I can do for you?" She doesn't stir at his question. After a short duration of silence, Daniel stands back up. "I'll give you a little bit of alone time. We can talk later when you're ready."
And with that, he leaves Maya alone to collect herself. He walks into his living room and plops down in his couch. He leans back and rubs his hands through his hair before putting them behind his head. He stares at the ceiling, losing himself in thought.
"I guess I can't blame her for being apprehensive. She's been through a lot it looks like... Wouldn't surprise me she trust issues. Then again, she begged me to get her out of that situation. I guess that is as far as her trust goes... I probably didn't earn myself any favors by taking her clothes off while she was out cold. Ugh..."
His mind goes blank for several moments until the thought of dinner comes to mind.
"Hey, that's it. She's probably starving. But, I don't have any food made specifically for sub-humans. Doesn't mean I still can't prepare anything, I'll just have to mince it into tiny pieces."
Daniel gets back onto his feet and walks to the kitchen. He turns the dial on his oven, the sound of the gas igniting into flames fills the entire tiny apartment. For the next few minutes he preps a large section of a chicken breast he bought from the market a couple days ago. After putting the chicken into the oven, he steps over to the bedroom doorway to check on Maya. She's laid back down, curling herself with the wash cloth. Seeing that she's fine, he steps back to the kitchen, and turns on the radio at a low volume to kill the silence. Next, Daniel pulls out pot and preps it to cook potato flakes.
After a brief thirty minutes, everything is thoroughly cooked. Daniel carefully chops a piece of the chicken into very tiny pieces for Maya. After successfully prepping his and her meals, he takes the plates into his bedroom.
"I made dinner. I bet you're probably hungry," he says as he lays her plate beside her. She doesn't move out from the beneath the wash cloth. "Oh! I bet your clothes are dry now. Hold on a sec." Daniel goes and retrieves Maya's clothes that have dried off. He lays them next to her plate, and exits the room to allow her ample time to get dressed. After a couple minutes, he peers back into the room and sees that she is now clothed, but is not attempting to eat her food.
"Are you waiting for me to come back before you eat?" he asks. She slowly shakes her head, keeping her gaze downward. Seconds later she looks towards the chicken, lazily gets up, and stumbles towards her plate. She picks up a piece of chicken, cut perfectly to size. A moment after picking it up, she begins to eat. Daniel sits back observing from the doorway, hoping that she's able eat. After going for another piece, he concludes that he prepped the food correctly for her tiny mouth to eat. He begins to dig into his portion, but he stops once he sees Maya begin to cry. Surprised, he sits his plate down on his night stand, and kneels back down to her eye level. "Hey, what's wrong?" He waited for her to respond back, but she didn't. She continued to cry. He let out an empathetic sigh. "I want to help you, but you got to let me know what's up, okay?"
Maya sniffs back her tears, and looks halfway towards Daniel. "Why did you help me?"
He was taken aback at her question. "What?" he asks, puzzled.
She fixes her gaze into his eyes, and with tears in her eyes, she asks again, "Why did you help me?"
Daniel wasn't sure how to respond to her question. Isn't it human nature to help your fellow man? "Well, I could tell you were in trouble. I couldn't turn a blind eye."
"But no one just takes care of a sub-human!" she shouts, rubbing the tears from her eyes, "They only use us!"
"What?!" he shouts within the recess of his mind. "What do yo-"
"Tell me! Why did you really help me?"
Repressed memories resurface in Daniel's mind. Memories he actively tries not to remember. His eyes begin to tear up. He clears his throat. "Well," he starts, taking a big breath, "It was your eyes. They reminded me off someone I lost." Maya calms down, and doesn't say anything. Daniel continues. "Uh... it was three years ago now, but..." He had to clear his throat again, trying to hold back from crying. It's been a long time since he has spoken about this. "I was in a real bad car accident... with my younger sister." At this point, he couldn't stop a few tears from escaping his eyes. He pauses. "I lucked out for the most part, but... she took the brunt of the impact." He pauses again for several seconds. "It happened so fast............ I looked into her green eyes.... And all I saw was fear as... as her life slipped away." His voiced cracked saying those last few words. He put his fist to his mouth, trying to suppress himself from sobbing. "I was powerless to help her." The silence became deafening. "In the moment I saw your eyes, I saw the same fear in them. The kind of fear that says death is imminent. But this time was different from three years ago. I wasn't powerless to help you."
After a minute of silence, Maya quietly speaks up. "But, I'm not your sister, I'm just a sub-human. I don't even compare."
"You're wrong," Daniel responds back, "You say you're just a sub-human. I think I get your logic that you are not equal to someone like me, and I say that's bullshit." Maya is surprised by his words. "I never took that position like many others. So what if you're only a couple inches tall, you are still human through and through, just smaller. If I had that kind of bigoted mindset that sub-humans are inferior, I probably wouldn't have helped you. So, please believe I'm helping you out of the goodness of my heart. I normally try to keep about my own business, but having found you in a dire moment, it threw out that mindset, and I pulled you out of that situation. So please eat up. It didn't take much brain power to know that whoever quote unquote took care of you didn't feed you much."
Maya looks back to the chicken and potatoes he prepared for her. Tears roll down her cheeks again. "Thank you," she says softly, Daniel just barely hearing her, "I cannot remember the last time I ever had an actual meal." She takes another bite of chicken.
The two stop talking as they eat their meals in silence, with the audio from the radio in the kitchen barely audible in the bedroom.
Once they finished eating, Daniel takes both plates to the kitchen sink to wash later and returns to the bedroom. He once again kneels to match Maya's eye level. "So, what's your plan?" he asks.
"Well, you were trying to escape before, right? Did you have a plan?"
Maya looks down and shakes her head. "I... Something came over me..."
"You didn't mean to jump out the window?"
"No... I was standing there, but my mind was somewhere else."
"So you tripped?"
"Nuh-uh. I wasn't... I didn't feel right. It was like something forced me to step of the window sill."
"Yikes," Daniel thinks to himself, "I'm no psychologist, but it sounds more like she tried to kill herself." Thinking that made his heart heavy. "Well, what is your plan now?" he asks.
Maya looks up towards him. "What? Well... I..." She looks back down again. "I don't know."
Several seconds of silence go by. "Do you have family elsewhere?" Daniel felt that was a stupid question, but there could be a possibility.
"I'm not sure. I haven't seen my parents for years."
"..... They were taken from me to be adopted into another family?"
Daniel's mouth gapes open. "What? They separated you from them?"
She nods her head. "It was because I was still a minor. They say it's safer to keep us in shelters until we are adults."
"That's beyond fucked," he keeps to himself. "So they didn't reunite you with them when you turned eighteen?" She shakes her head, tears dripping from her face, onto the bed. "I knew the system is messed up, but that? Jeez... I guess there's only one thing I can do, just not in an official capacity." Daniel takes a breath. "I can unofficially adopt you, if you want me to of course."
Maya didn't stir at his offer. He was surprised she did not react. Instead of continuing to talk, he remained silent to wait for her answer. However after five minutes goes by, he felt compelled to talk again.
"Or... you can stay here as my room mate, rent free."
Slowly, Maya picks her head up to look at Daniel. "Is it honestly my choice?" she asks.
Her question completely flabbergasted Daniel. Was is rhetorical? He was coming to the realization of what her question truly represented. All of her life, she never got to have much say to what she wanted. The government overseeing the well-being of all the sub-humans was strict. Whatever they wanted to do with her, it happened whether she liked it or not. All it ever led to was suffering. So asking if it is truly her decision meant everything to her. He looks directly into her green eyes.
"Of course. Whatever you want to do, I will honor your choice."
There is a brief moment of silence before she gives her answer. "Can I please stay here?"
Chapter Three: Trust
"If that I what you want, I acquiesce to your request," Daniel says to the two inch tall Maya sitting atop his bed. Granted they only met a mere couple hours ago, Daniel felt no qualms about housing her in his apartment. After all, she's an abused sub-human with no where to go, he couldn't in good faith take her elsewhere. But of course if she wanted to go, he would not object. It would be her decision that he would honor.
Maya continues to sit, not stirring at all. Daniel's statement of acceptance echoes within the recesses of her mind. She has heard people accept her wishes before, but behind their backs, they had their fingers crossed.
She looks at Daniel's eyes once more. She opens her mouth, but finds it hard to get her words out. "Do you promise to never hurt me?"
"What do you mean? Why would I ever hurt you?" Daniel asks bewilderly.
Maya raises her knees to her chest, and hugs her legs with her arms. She looks down towards her bare feet. "I've been promised that before... But it was a lie."
Just hearing her words hits Daniel hard. He's unsure how to respond. All of the misfortunes she has endured has snuffed out all of her trust in others. "I wholeheartedly promise that you will not come into harm while you are with me. I'm not going to try to say I know what you are going through, but I would like to know what I can do in order for you to trust me." Maya stays silent. She doesn't know herself. After a moment of silence, Daniel speaks up again. "I guess I'll just have to prove it to you over time." He extends his hand, and lays it down in front of her, palm side up. "Do you want to watch the TV with me? Not much else I can do at the moment." Maya looks towards his open hand, but doesn't move. "Oh, do you not like traveling that way?"
After several seconds, Maya slowly stands up, and staggers over to his hand. She's still hurt from her plunge from earlier. She crawls onto his palm and sits in the center. As gently as he can, he raises his hand and holds is close to his chest. When he approaches at couch, he allows her to depart onto the arm of the couch. He then sits down slowly next to her. As he is reaching for the remote, someone begins knocking at his door.
Maya comes to life and looks at Daniel nervously. Taking notice of her reaction, he consoles her that everything is fine. He gets up from the couch and walks to the door. Looking through the door's peephole, he sees his neighbor from down the hall: Isabelle.
"Oh, right, she wants to watch movie premiere, but.." Daniel looks over to Maya. After a brief pause, he nods to her to signal that it'll be okay. He unlocks the door and opens it, and Isabelle barges in.
"I lost track of time, it's about to start," she states.
"Nice to see you, too," Daniel says sarcastically, "Hey, listen, I got to tell you something." Before he could inform her about Maya, she spots her on the couch.
"Oh!" Isabelle exclaims. She walks over to the tiny girl, and moves her face close to her. "Who are you?"
The shock of the giant girl getting close to Maya causes her to fall back, and she begins to slide down the sharp incline of the arm. Daniel was quick to catch her before she could pick up speed and fall the equivalent of forty feet.
He holds her close as he introduces her. "This is Maya. She's... My new roommate."
"Really? Didn't think you'd be the type to adopt a sub-human."
"About that..." Daniel ponders whether or not he should tell her the story. He looks down to Maya. "I've known Isabelle ever since I arrived here a few years ago. You can trust her." Isabelle is confused by his words. He looks back to her. "Truth is.. It's not official. I rescued her by chance on my way home."
Isabelle plops down onto the couch. "Seriously?"
"Yeah. I'd rather not go into specifics, but, it was pretty bad."
Maya remains quiet as the two giants talk about her. She sees the brunette giantess observe her closely. She becomes uncomfortable with the attention and turns away.
"Hello there, my name is Isabelle," she says cheerfully, "But you can call me Izzy." Maya doesn't respond back. Isabelle glances up to Daniel, and he mouths 'trust issues.' She nods and leans back. "We're about to watch a new movie called Manic Mansion. I hope you can enjoy it with us." She opens up her bag of chips, and kicks her feet up.
"So," Daniel says to Maya, "Where do you want to sit?" When she doesn't answer, he begins to offer suggestions. "You can either sit on the arm again, on the couch between me and Izzy, or if you want, on my lap."
Maya hesitates with her answer, but softly says, "On the couch."
Daniel nods his head, and carefully places his hand on the couch and allows her to crawl off. She sits six inches from the edge of the couch, a spot where she can be always be in Daniel's and Isabelle's peripheal vision.
"Did you get drinks?" Isabelle asks?
"Oh yeah, hold on." Daniel gets up to go to the fridge to pull out a couple cans of soda, and that's when something comes to mind. Maya is going to need water. But there is a problem, he just can't use any water. There is special type of water that decreases the cohesiveness of water to make it more feasible to ingest for sub-humans.
"Uh, say when does that movie start?"
"Damn. Listen, I need to go to the corner store real quick."
Isabelle turns around to look at Daniel. "What for?"
"I need to buy the low cohesion water." He replies back while gathering loose cash. "Can you spot me a few bucks please?"
She lets out an amused sigh. "Rent always kills you, doesn't it?" she says as she reaches into her pocket.
"Unfortunately," he sighs, "I'll pay you back when I get paid."
Isabelle hands over a ten dollar bill. "Don't worry about it. Consider it a gift?"
"Yeah, for our new friend, now get going."
"I'll be back in a jiffy."
Daniel nods his head and runs out, closing the door behind him. Isabelle turns her attention to Maya, who is curled into a ball. "So, are you a fan of movies?" she asks as she reaches for the remote. Maya shrugs. As she leans back into the couch, she notices Maya is shaking ever slo lightly. "Are you cold?" She shakes her head. Isabelle frowns and lightly bites her bottom lip. "Is she that scared?" she thinks to herself. "How bad of a situation was she in?" She pulls her feet off the coffee table and plants them on the ground. She leans forward and turns herself to face Maya. "You don't have to be scared. I honestly believe you're in good hands with Daniel, and me too of course, hehe." Maya doesn't move her head, but glances her eyes toward Isabelle. "If you are that scared, I'd hate to think Daniel kidnapped you."
Isabelle's passing comment makes Maya react. She turns her head to look at the giantess before her. "N-No he didn't. He really did save me!"
Daniel was back in the hallway of the seventh floor of his apartment with a gallon of low cohesive water and a water dispensary. He pulls out his key to unlock his door. Before he sticks it into the lock, he faintly hears Isabelle talking, but he can't make out any of her words. Once he sticks the key into the door's lock, she quiets down. As he opens the door and enters, he sees Isabelle staring at him from the couch with the movie on behind her.
"It's about time." She says.
"I would've been sooner, but they were backed up. What'd I miss?"
"Not a whole lot. They felt it was necessary to have the credits at the start?"
"Really? Guess I lucked out then."
Daniel sits the sub-human water dispenser on the counter. He opens the top and begins filling it up with the water. At the base of the dispenser is a faucet for the smaller humans to use at their own leisure. Next to the faucet are a shelf of cups and bowls. Only downside, the containers are too small for a normal human to fill themselves. He picks the dispenser back up and walks over to the couch. As he goes to sit the dispenser next to Maya, he is surprised to see her sprawled out instead of being curled up in a ball.
"Want some water?"
Maya sits up and looks at the dispenser. "Yes, thank you." She stands up and walks up to the faucet, taking a cup and proceeds to fill it up. She takes a sip and stops. She takes a breath then drinks the whole cup quickly. She fills her cup again, then walks back to her spot.
"Did she not have access to water either?" Daniel ponders. The more he learns of the atrocities commited by her offical guardian, the more he wants to punch her in the mouth. As he sits the dispenser back on the counter and grabs his own drink, the movie's opening credits conclude. He quickly shuffles back to his spot, careful not to sit down too fast to bounce Maya from her own spot.
"Want some chips?" Isabelle asks.
"Of course." He pulls out a handful of chips, and begins to eat them. With a single chip left, he crushes it into tiny fragments and sits them in front of Maya.
She softly says "Thank you" with unnoticed tears in her eyes. Never before has she ever felt equal or as important as her giant counterparts.
Chapter Four: An Idea
"This movie is... fine I suppose," Isabelle says during the commercial break as she casually browses her phone.
"No argument from me there," Daniel adds, "Originality is lacking a bit. What do you think Maya?"
"Umm... I think it's really great." Of course to her perspective, she doesn't have anything to compare the movie with. This is the first movie she has seen in many years.
"To each their own. What're you looking up Izzy?"
"Well," she says while glancing towards Maya, "There's a domain on social media where people post about missing sub-humans."
"Huh. Is Maya listed?"
"That's what I'm looking for, but nothing so far. But Danny, there are so many listed, just within the past few weeks."
"Yikes. Do they say how they went missing?"
"Some. Most say they ran away."
Daniel turns his head towards Isabelle, completely perplexed. "Ran away? If they managed to run away from their guardian, that would mean-" He stops himself. He looks to Maya who is looking back at him. "That would mean they ran away from abuse," he continues softly.
The two stay silent for a moment until Maya chimes in. "Just like me." The silence continues once more until she breaks it again. "Is there anything we can do for them?"
Her question caught Daniel off-guard. "W-What?"
"If they ran away and are outside, they will freeze."
"Well... I'm not sure what I can do about it."
"But you saved me."
"And that was by chance. I wouldn't know where to find them."
Maya stands up, looking Daniel in his eyes. "We have to try."
"I'm not sure what to say Maya. I'm not even equipped to supply your needs at the moment."
She sits back down, looking defeated.
The commercial break ends, but no one notices. The topic at hand overtakes the need to watch the remainder of the movie.
"Y'know Danny," Isabelle says, "It may not be impossible."
"I can help."
"Help with what?"
"We can rescue missing sub-humans."
"But I don't have anything to help them."
Isabelle starts to get excited at her idea. "I still live my folks here, I have plenty of cash after paying my fair share. I can buy you what they will need."
"Why don't you do it at your place?"
"Because I know my parents won't agree to it."
Daniel sighs. "Even if we do rescue them, where would I even place them?"
"Well," she thinks, putting her finger to her chin, "We could build something."
"And put it where?"
"I don't know... Yet."
Daniel covers his eyes with his hand in frustration. He slightly lifts them to look at Maya, who is once again staring at him with her hands clasped together.
"Alright, you two win. But It'll have to wait until Friday when I get paid." Maya was back on her feet, full of life.
Isabelle is visibly excited. "This is gonna be awesome."
"Awesome? Don't get ahead of yourself. What we are planning on doing is kinda serious."
"I know, I know. It's just a major break from the same old shtick. Makes me feel like I'm actually doing something important instead of pushing papers at my job."
"I feel ya there I suppose. We'll see what happens in the next few days."
It's now twenty past nine at night. Daniel finishes up taking his shower, and enters his bedroom where Maya is sitting on his night stand. She just finished taking a bath using a soup bowl at a tub. Before he left the bathroom, he put on his thick pajamas instead of putting them on in his bedroom in front of her.
"Just as an FYI, my alarm goes off at five thirty in the morning. Is that fine with you?" She nods her head. "Alright, and I need to figure out where and how you're going to sleep tonight. Any ideas?
As Daniel shuffles things around, getting everything ready for the morning, Maya contemplates her bed ideas. "Uhm..."
As he finishes organizing his things, Daniel looks to Maya for her answer. "Well? I can set you on a pillow as a matress and use the wash cloth as a blanket again."
"Could I... Can I sleep with you?"
Daniel stiffens up upon hearing her request. "W-What? Uh, how do you propose to do that?"
"I.. I don't know, forget I asked please."
"I suppose it is not impossible," he says as he crosses his arms, "I have a sleep condition that puts me into paralysis until I wake up."
"What does that mean?"
"It pretty much means my body doesn't move a single muscle while I'm asleep."
Daniel proceeds to pull back the covers on his bed and shuffles underneath. He extends his hand to Maya, allowing her to crawl onto his palm. He slowly retracts his hand back to his chest where she departs. "Make yourself comfortable," he says as he pulls the covers closer. That is when Maya further surprises him. She pulls back his shirt and lays down underneath it, using it like a blanket on its own. "Oh, uh, sleep tight." He finished pulling the covers up, stopping it short to not entirely conceal Maya.
She is lying on her back, looking up to the ceiling. "Daniel?"
"Are we really going to help the others? Ones like me?"
"Yeah, of course. Besides, Izzy normally does what she sets out to do. We'll see what we can do."
"Can I ask you something, something serious?"
"Isabelle told me that you never told her about... your sister until you got to know her for a year. Why did you tell me right away?"
Daniel had to think about that for a moment. "Well, as you could probably guess, that kind of memory is very traumatic for me. And it is normally something I don't tell anyone, having their pity is something I don't need. However, when the anniversary of that event came up, I was in a very melancholic mood. She pulled me aside and begged me to tell her what's wrong. At that time, I could tell by looking in her eyes that she was truly worried about me, so I had no qualms about telling her. And she knew in that moment that I trusted her to hold onto that information, so in return, she placed trust in me. With you, you gave me signs that in your life, you've been mistreated and had your trust betrayed. So in contrast, with your overwhelming sadness, I confided into you about my memory, and why I helped you. I guess you can say it was me extending out my trust to you, in hopes you would give me yours in return. Did it work?"
Maya turns herself to a prone position, laying her head on her side, listening to his heartbeat increase in tempo. "Yes, it did. Thank you."
Chapter Five: Springing Into Action
Daniel wearily opens his eyes, and turns his head to see his alarm clock. "5:24 huh?" he yawns. He looks back to the ceiling as he remembers Maya is sleeping on his chest. He carefully moves his hand to where she is and feels that she hasn't moved. She doesn't react signaling to Daniel that she is still asleep. "I'd hate to think this, but this is probably the best sleep she's had in the longest time."
With two minutes left before the alarm clock is to go off, Daniel reaches over and turns it off. He yawns again and rubs his eyes. As gentle as he can possibly be, he scoops Maya onto his fingers and places her on his pillow. Continuing to be gentle, he gets out of bed slowly. Once he is on his feet, he looks at her all curled up on his pillow, still fast asleep.
At 5:57, Daniel enters back into the bedroom all ready for work. Maya is sitting up, rubbing her eyes. He extends out his hand for her to crawl onto. He shuttles her to the living room and places her on the couch. In front of her, Daniel had placed down the water dispenser, and plate of sliced bits of a pancake, and a tiny dixie cup for her to do her business. The television is turned on to movie marathon channel.
"Is there anything else you'd like before I go?"
Maya shakes her head. "I'll be okay."
"Okay. My shift ends at three thirty and I'll be back just four. I'll try not drag my feet and get back as soon as I can." He reaches for his jacket hanging on the wall but stops. "I should probably wear something else if that woman is watching for me." he thinks. He grabs his biege back up coat and puts it on. "I'll see you later."
Daniel presses the green button on his assigned machine, and it proceeds to rapidly cut the block on steel pinned in the vice. He walks away as it takes a full ten minutes to complete its cycle. He looks to the clock on the wall to see it is only a quater after nine.
"Say Danny," Roy says as he types away on his machine's computer, "Think I can get you to double check my program for me."
"Yeah, sure. I got some time to kill." He walks over and begins to examine the lines of code.
"So, you got any plans for the weekend?"
"Uhh... Yeah, my friends roped me into something."
"Oh yeah? What're they making you do."
"Well, they... want to go out and eat." When it came to giving non-answers, Daniel normally gives shoddy replies.
"No, they want to work on some project."
"What kind of project?"
"Not sure. They don't want to tell me." Of course, Daniel knows what the project is, but he doesn't want word to spread that he's going to try and round up sub-human runaways. If word did get out, he foresees the government stepping in to take them all back and hand them back over to their official guardians.
"Haha, are these friends of your girls or guys?"
"Why do you ask?"
"Because if it's girls, I'd say this unknown project is going to end up being a night of fun."
"Get your mind out of the gutter, they're not like that."
"So they ARE girls?"
"Ugh, yes, yes they are. Congratulations Sherlock."
"Think there is room for me?"
"Sorry, they're not into older guys."
"So they would rather go with the inexperienced I see."
Daniel rolls his eyes at that statement. He decides to change the subject. "Changing topics, I have a question of curiousity for you."
"What do you think about the sub-humans?"
"It was brought to my attention recently about how many disappear everyday. I'm just curious what others think about that."
"Doesn't concern me really. The less of them, the better."
Daniel feels the blood rush to his head hearing Roy speak those words. Roy continues.
"In this day and age, they're nothing but a nuisance."
"Uhm, how so?"
"They do nothing but exploits for the government and losers looking for a handout. If they all disappeared, guaranteed our taxes would be significantly lower. What do you think?"
"No comment." What could he say? The first part of his answer isn't necessarily wrong, but the remainder of his arguement... Does he not even see them as human?
"What's the point of asking about it if you don't have any input?"
"I mean, I agree they are being used nowadays, but I can't get behind turning a blind eye to them."
"Not much we can do about that."
"I suppose so," he lies. He only really said yes to Isabelle's idea from peer pressure, but now this gives conversation gives him the boost of determination to actually move forward with the plan. "The program looks good. But if it crashes, blame it on the engineers."
At 3:58, Daniel walks through the door of his apartment. On the couch, Maya is lying down, fast asleep. He opts to not wake her up and allows her to nap. Slowly, he sits on the opposite end. He reminisces about the past twenty four hours. It was at this time he brought her back to his home, battered and exhausted. And since then, not only has he nursed her back to health, but has managed to overturn her mistrust of regular humans, and that is something he does not want to ruin.
Looking around the room, he tries to imagine how he would manage a shelter. The apartment is really only big enough to comfortably hold one person. However, it could hold a dozen or more sub-humans. The only question is how.
Daniel leans his head back and dozes off as he becomes lost in thought.
Daniel wakes up in a shock to the sound of knocking at his door. He glances at the clock to see it's half past five. Groaning and rubbing his eyes, he looks to Maya and see she is also awake.
"Sleep well?" he asks as he gets up to answer the door. Maya nods her head in response. Looking through the peephole, he sees Isabelle peeping right back. As he opens the door, she barges right in.
"So I couldn't wait," she says is haste.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, I looked at the list of missing sub-humans again and went to the last known address."
"And well..." She extends out her cupped hands and parts them to reveal an unconscious sub-human girl.
"Wait a damn moment," he says as he examines the girl, "She can't be any older than thirteen. I thought minors were held in the communities."
"I thought so too, but here she is."
"Where did you find her?"
"She was huddled in the back alley of Luigi's restaurant. She hasn't woken up since I found her."
"How cold is she?" he asks as he extends his finger to feel her. "Oh God, she's still freezing." Daniel hurries over to the kitchen sink and turns the hot faucet on. He then goes to the couch and holds his open palm to Maya. "We're going to need your help Maya." She hurries onto his hand and grabs on as he retracts his hand to his chest. He walks back to the kitchen and places Maya on the countertop. As the water heats up, he grabs a soup bowl from the cupboard.
"Bring her over Izzy." Daniel turns on the cold water faucet to adjust the temperature to be warm and not boiling hot. Once it is perfect, he fills up the bowl. "Okay, since I have help from females this time, I'm going to leave the rest up to you two. Get her out of her clothes and put her in the water, okay? Hopefully that'll warm her core body temp back up." He walks away from the kitchen and leaves the task up to Isabelle and Maya. Together, they remove her frozen clothes and places her in the warm water. Maya gets in too to help assist.
"Y'know, this is second time I've had to strip a girl naked, and I wish it was under better circumstances," Daniel says trying to lighten the mood, mainly for himself.
"Maya, can you please hold onto her so she doesn't go under?" Isabelle asks. She nods and grabs hold of the girl's arms. Isabelle turns and steps towards Daniel. "I'll forget I heard that. Danny, I think we need to start setting up now."
He brings his fist to his mouth, thinking what to do. "Did you have any ideas?"
"Not really. I was trying to think where they could stay, but I guess there isn't really a place to keep them."
"What if... You said you'd help fund this operation, right?"
"Okay, what if we get a stand up shelf and retrofit to be like an apartment?"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean each shelf can act like a floor. If we got a shelf with six shelves on it, think of it as a six floor building."
"How would they get to each floor though?"
"I haven't thought that far ahead yet."
"I think we can make it work. Want me to go get one?"
"I'll go buy one. I don't want you to haul it back."
"Correction, I'll buy it. You have no cash." She grabs her purse and pulls out her credit card. "Here, and don't go on a spending spree. I'll know."
"I'm aware. I'll be back as soon as possible. Keep an eye on the them, will ya?"
"Planned on it, now get going."
As Daniel walks out the door, Isabelle walks back to Maya and the girl. "So, is she waking up at all?"
"Nuh-uh. She has not moved at all."
Isabelle leans against the counterstop, thinking about what she can do. After a brief moment of silence, she decides to shift her attention elsewhere. "So how was your day?"
"Huh? Oh, uh, it was good. I got to watch many movies." She was caught offguard from someone simply asking how she spent her day.
"Sounds nice. Did you like any of them?"
"Uhm, I can't remember the name, but it was about these talking animals trying to get home."
"Oh, I know that one, but I can't remember what it's called. We'll need to do more movie nights." From her perspective, she can see Maya smile warmly, something she hasn't seen her do yet.
"I can't wait."
The girl bathing in the warm water begins to show signs of life, and it catches the attention of the two caretakers. She starts to squirm, murmering to herself before she wakes up in a shock. She soaks in her surroundings, finding herself in a bowl with a giant face hovering above, with a woman holding her arms.
"Ahhh! Let go!" the girl screams. Maya lets go and steps back. The girl covers herself, continuing to scream. "Where am I? Where's my brother?!"
"Brother?" Isabelle asks, "I only saw you in the alley, frozen solid. You're in my friend's apartment. Where was your brother?"
Shivering, the girl keeps looking around, lost in her thoughts. She opens her mouth to talk but stops. She stares at the two strangers, completely full of fear.
"It's okay, you can tell me. I'll go get him."
The girls shakes her head, remaining silent. Maya approaches her and gently places her hand on the girl's shoulder. "Please, we want to help."
"I can't," she sputters, "We don't want to go back!"
"Back where?" Maya asks.
"Back to the community, they're going to separate us!"
"The community?" Isabelle asks. "You mean you two escaped from there?"
"We can't go back, I don't want to lose him."
"Honey," Isabelle interjects, "If you don't tell us where he is, then you're already separated."
"Then what are you going to do if you find him? We can't go back."
"We're starting a shelter here. We won't let anyone split you two up. So please, will you tell me where he went, and as a matter of fact, why you were alone?"
The girl slows her breathing to a normal rate and looks the giant girl in the eyes. "We managed to escape to a few days ago. We roamed the alleys, looking for a place to keep warm and find food. There was this building that had smells of good food coming out, so we tried to sneak in when someone opened the door. But... just as he got in, the door slammed in my face." She begins to sob. "I waited and waited for him to get back out, but he never came. I sat outside for hours until I fell asleep. What if he's there now looking for me?!"
"I'm going to go back now." Isabelle grabs the roll a paper towels and rips off a sheet, proceeding to tear it into large chunks. She scoops Maya and the girl out of the bowl and sits them on the counter. "Use these to dry off, and I'll be back soon." She turns to walk out of the apartment but stops herself short. She turns back around to face the girls. "And I can't believe I forgot to ask, but what is your name?"
"Ahh... My name is Emma. My brother's name is Allan."
"Got it. My name is Isabelle, but you can call me Izzy."
"And my name is Maya. Nice to meet you."
"Okay you two, I'll be back the moment I find him."
Chapter Six: Beginnings
The city streets of New Haven start to light up as the sun begins to disappear under the horizon. As the minutes go by passed the eighteenth hour of the day, the temperature begins to decrease to frigid levels.
Isabelle jogs hurriedly down the sidewalk to reach the back alley of Luigi's Restaurant, her breath easily visible with each puff of air. As she makes her turn into the alley, it looks exactly the same as nearly an hour ago, but much darker. She walks slowly further into the alley, she calls out for Allan, paying close attention for any calls back. She walks back and forth the full length of the path, desperately searching for any signs that Allan made it out of the restaurant's back door. After fifteen full minutes of searching, she decides to change her wording.
"Allan, I have Emma!" she calls out, her words echoing down the alley. She slowly walks, hoping to hear him call back. She repeats her statement a few more times before she hears a quiet voice. She looks around, trying to pinpoint his location.
"Where? Where is she?" the quiet voice yells out. Isabelle searches the ground until she sees the silhouette of a sub-human. She quickly approaches and crouches down to get a better view of him. He frantically asks his question again.
"She's back at my friend's apartment, recovering."
"What do you mean recovering? Why did you take her?"
Isabelle lowers herself further until she's on her hands and knees. "She was frozen to her core. I took her to warm her back up. She's awake now, and the first thing she asked for was you." Though it's dark and Allan is of a tiny stature, she can see a remorseful relief look on his face. She extends her right hand. "Come on, I'll take you to her." He hesitates, trembling as he looks at the giantess before him. After several seconds, he crawls onto her hand. She slowly raises her hand, careful not to jostle the tiny boy around. Her hand stops short just below her breasts, and she uses her other hand to shield him from the wind. "Hang tight. We'll be back in about twenty minutes.
Daniel huffs and puffs as he hauls the giant package containing a six tier shelf down the hall towards his apartment door. As he arrives, he grabs his key and unlocks the door. He barges in, pulling the package behind him.
"Yo, Izzy." There's no reply. "Huh? Where'd she go?" He looks over to the kitchen counter to see Maya and the girl sitting beside the bowl. Daniel places the box up against the wall then walks to the countertop. "Hey Maya," he says softly, "Where did Izzy go?"
Maya is cuddled up Emma, who is not only trembling from recovering from hypothermia, but from fear from the moment Daniel walked though the door. "It's okay Emma, this is Daniel. He saved me yesterday, you can trust him." The trembling did not cease. "Well, when Emma woke up, she told us about her brother who was also in that alley. Izzy went to go find him."
"Hello Emma, how are you feeling?" She does not answer. "It'll be okay, it's about time for dinner so I hope you're ready to eat." The statement about food caught her attention. "Yup," he thinks, "I think she is hungry." Daniel walks to his refrigerator, and as he is opening its door, there is knocking at the door. "I hope that's her." He closes the refrigerator and walks to the apartment door. He peers through the peephole to see Isabelle on the otherside and opens the door.
"Hey Danny, I have another," she says as she reveals a young man in her hands.
"I heard. Is that Emma's brother?"
"It sure is. I take it Maya filled you in?"
"Yeah, they're waiting for you."
Isabelle walks inside and goes straight to the countertop. Emma jumps up upon seeing her brother approach in the giant girl's hand. He jumps off her fingers and the two run to each other, embracing once they make contact. They collapse, not letting go. It's apparent to the others in the room that they need a moment. Daniel holds his hand out to Maya for her to climb on. She hops on and he places her on his shoulder. He walks back like a stone to not throw her around while she grabs hold of the fabric of his shirt.
"So how long did you search, Iz?"
"About ten minutes or so. Emma told me that they were trying to get inside Luigi's but the door closed after he made it in. He told me he'd only been outside for about a half hour trying to find her."
"Did he happen to tell you why they were out there in the first place."
"Nope. Did Emma tell you anything Maya?"
"Nuh-uh. She never said a word after you left."
"Well for now," Daniel says, "I got the shelf, some assembly required. Let's get to putting it together after I start steaming up my beef stir-fry."
"Sounds good to me."
Thirty minutes later...
The alarm on the steamer goes off as the last piece of the shelf is attached. During that time, the three chat about their day while assembling the pieces of wood together. Emma and Allan did not move from their spot or call out to their hosts. And they remained silent as Daniel enters the kitchen area to remove dinner from the steamer.
"That smells good," Isabelle exclaims, "You got enough for me."
"Yeah, plenty to go around. So I got to thinking, what if we place the front of the shelf against the wall, and then cut doors and windows out of its thin backside?"
Isabelle stares at the shelf, trying to visualize it. "Hmm, that would definitely give everyone privacy, but what do we do about stairs?"
Daniel begins to scoop the stir-fry and dumping it into bowls. He takes a piece of beef and a selection of vegetables and puts them on a plate to cut it all into tiny pieces. "Yeeeah, not sure yet. Don't they sell mini stairs though?"
"Not around here I think. Maybe further downtown? Or maybe online?"
"Want to make a trip tomorrow?"
"Sounds good. I'll try to get out of work earlier."
Daniel takes his knife and slices the food on the plate into tiny pieces. He divvies them up into three groups for the sub-human residents. Looking towards Isabelle, he nods his head backwards, beckoning her to come to the kitchen. She picks Maya up and walks over to the countertop island, placing her on top of it. Daniel slides Isabelle her bowl and puts the plate with the portions of food between Maya, and the two siblings.
"You two have to be hungry, please eat up."
Allan stares at Daniel and Isabelle as they eat their servings. He continues to hold onto his sister as he shifts his gaze to the food offered to them. From across the giant plate, he sees Maya happily eating her portion. When he hears his sister's stomach growl, it whisks away his suspicious feelings, and he leans forward to grab a slice of beef. He offers it to Emma and she does not hesitate to take it. She begins to tear away at it, wasting to time to chew.
Daniel breathes a sigh of relief as he watches her eat. Seeing that Allan isn't eating, he figures now is a good time to have a conversation.
"So how long were you two out there?" Allan does not reply. "Did you get lost or something?" Still no answer back. "Or if you ran away, it was pretty reckless to put your sister in danger."
"Shut up!" he shouts, finally talking back.
"Then what's your story? We're here to help."
"Tell me yours first."
"Alright then. What you're looking at is day one of us opening a shelter for sub-humans. And in my friend's eagerness, she went out searching for those who were reported missing and happened to find your sister on the brink of death. So I'll ask again, what's your story?"
".................. Does that mean you're not going to send us back?"
"You mean you escaped from a community? Why?"
"You're not going to send us back right?"
"... Only if you wanted me to?"
"Well I'm not going to keep you against your will. If you don't want to go back, I won't take you. If you don't want to stay here, just tell me where to take you."
"You'd let us stay?" Allan looks to his sister who's staring back at him, trembling. He looks back to Daniel. "What's the catch?"
"There is none. This is a shelter for runaways that we find. Maya here is rescue number one, and you two are numbers two and three. You're free to stay for however long you'd like. So why did you escape from a community?"
Allan stays silent for a brief moment. "I just turned eighteen yesterday. That means I became elligable to be sent out to be adopted. It was bad enough that they took our parents away years back, so there was no way I could leave Emma to be alone."
"So you took her by the hand and made your escape?"
"Yeah, two days ago."
"Did you have any place specific you were heading to?"
"...No, no I did not.
Daniel wanted to chastise Allan for risking the life of his sister, but he could not blame him to not wanting to be separated from her. He just thankful that Isabelle did go out looking, otherwise Emma would have died.
"So," Isabelle interjects, "How about staying here? We're still setting up but it sure beats the alleys, don't you think?"
Allan slowly reaches his hand forward and grabs a piece of beef, feeling the warmth emanating from it. He again looks to his sister, contemplating his decision. He holds on to her tighter, shifting his gaze back towards Daniel and Isabelle.
"Please take us in."
Chapter Seven: Maya's Resolve
Before Isabelle leaves for the night, she arranges bedding for Allan and Emma. She brought back an old fleece blanket and thread from her apartment. She cut off two portions and sewed them accordingly to make sleeping bags. She cut off two more smaller portions, folding them before sewing them to make pillows. As she headed out the door saying her goodbyes, Daniel brings the water dispenser over to the couch where the two siblings are residing.
"I'll try my best to be quiet, but I get up at five thirty in the morning for work. I'll leave breakfast here too as well. Also, I left the TV on for Maya. I, uh, don't have much in the ways of recreation unfortunately at the moment so I hope that's okay."
"That's fine," Allan says, "I'm not going to complain." Emma didn't say anything, but she gave off a warm smile.
"Have a good night you two."
Daniel spends the next fifteen minutes taking his nightly shower and brushes his teeth. After he switches to his pajamas, he starts walking to his bedroom. As he walks near the couch, he glances over to see the two are already fast asleep, close together. He smiles seeing the siblings together, knowing that Isabelle pushing the idea to make a shelter saved their lives. Inside his bedroom, Maya is laying on his bed, getting a head start on sleeping.
"I take it you're ready for bed now too?" Daniel asks.
Daniel scoops her up onto his hand then proceeds to crawl underneath the covers. Like last time, he lays Maya on his chest and she crawls underneath his shirt, using it like a blanket. Once they're both settled and the sound of the bed creaking ceases, Maya breaks the silence.
"I'm really glad that we're doing this."
"Yes. I... I don't want anyone to be hurt."
"We'll surely do our best."
"Can you promise me something, please?"
"What is it?"
"I do not want to sound selfish..."
"Go on and tell me."
"... I want to stay by your side. I don't want to be forgotten about."
"What do you mean forgotten about? Remember our conversation shortly after we met?"
"You're my roommate, my roommate that I promised I would never hurt. Besides, you're in on this shelter business too. I'm going to need your help managing it all, y'know."
"Yeah. You'll be by my side. And not just with the shelter business, but through life itself, so don't worry okay?"
"Okay. Thank you." She smiles brightly as he brings his hand over to her, effectively sheltering her beneath it.
As the sixith hours of the day looms, Daniel places Maya on the couch where Allan and Emma are still sleeping. He had already placed a plate with bits of pancake scattered around.
"All right, time for another fun day at work," Daniel says sarcastically, "You good?"
"Mmhmm. I can't wait to go into town with you and Izzy tonight."
"Looking forward to it. Take care."
Before Daniel walks out the door, he turns on the television at a low volume, switching it back to the movie marathon channel. Maya grabs herself a piece pancake and steps to closer to the edge of the couch. She sits down, happily munching on the pastry as a new movie starts at the six o'clock hour.
A half hour into movie, Maya hears someone wake from behind. She twists around to see Allan exiting his sleeping bag.
"Good morning," she cheerily says, "There are pancakes on the plate."
"Oh, um, thanks. Good morning to you too." He looks to his sister who is still fast alseep, curled up in her bedding. Letting out a relieved sigh, he grabs a pancake and joins Maya for the movie.
"Mind if I ask you a question?" Allan asks.
"How were you, uh, rescued?"
"Uhm... Daniel found me outside, kinda like you."
"You escaped too? From a community?"
Maya began to feel her head began to heat up. Not in anger, but from the uncomfortablness of vocally recalling her very recent past. "... No, I... I ran away from my assigned guardian."
"Really? Were they really that awful?"
She stuck her head between her knees. "Yes... Yes she was."
"How did you get away?"
There was no answer to that question. Maya further slinks herself into a ball, not wanting to admit what she did. Allan could easily sense her discomfort.
"Ah, I'm sorry, please forget I asked. Um, what is this movie about?"
It took her a few moments to regain her mental composure before she answered his question about the movie. "It's... So far it is about that man in black trying to capture a kidnapped princess."
"I see. Looks like a fun watch."
The two continue to watch the movie in silence for the next half hour until Emma wakes up, groggily calling for her brother. Without delay, he rushes to her side. From Maya's position, she can't hear what they are saying, but she can tell something is wrong. She watches Allan place his hand on his sister's forehead, he then panickly beckons for her.
"What's wrong?" she concernly asks.
"It's Emma, she's burning up."
"W-What?" Maya is not sure what to do. She glances at the clock to see that it is only several minutes past seven. Daniel won't be back for another nine hours. "U-Uhm, fluids, she needs fluids." She hurries to get a cup of cool water and takes it to Emma. Allan helps assist her in drinking it. "And... I saw in one of the movies that a cool rag on their forehead helps too." She quickly grabs a piece of paper towel Daniel tore up and left for them to use. Turning the cold water on, she soaks the towel and rushes to place it on Emma's forehead.
Allan sits behind her, using his legs to keep her head propped up. "It's going to be okay Emma, okay?" he says. She answers back, but her words are unintelligible. A tear escapes from his eye. "I'm sorry, it's all my fault. We wouldn't be in this mess if I didn't sneak us out."
Maya walks over to him, putting her hands on his shoulders. "She'll be okay," she said calmly.
Allan shook his head. "Her health has always been poor. Every time she got sick, the people at the community would take her away for days. Anyone else who got sick wouldn't get the same treatment, so what's the issue with her?"
His statements makes Maya seize up. She nervously looks at the clock again to see only a few minutes has passed since she last looked at it. There are no words she can muster up to try to calm Allan. Her eyes wander aimlessly until she notices Daniel's house phone on the edge of the coffee table. On the side of the reciever is a list of names and numbers, and one of those numbers belong to Isabelle's cell phone.
"Allan, maybe we can call Izzy?"
"The phone over there on the table.
He glances over to it. "How could we even reach it?"
The gap between the couch and coffee table is two feet, but to the two sub-humans, it's at least sixty feet. Maya walks over to the edge of the couch, examining her surroundings. The phone reciever has two cords attached to it, and they travel down to the floor.
"We can climb up the wires, but how to get down..."
The two contemplate ideas on how to get down safely. Allan looks to his sleeping bag then an idea pops into his head.
"The thread for my sleeping bag, we can use it as a rope."
Together, they loosen the knot and pull it free from the fabric. They rush back to the edge, looking towards the floor. Allan drops the length of thread and sees it reaches all the way down.
"I'm don't see anywhere I can tie this to," he says.
Maya takes a deep breath. "I'll go."
"If we both can't go, I'll do it. Hold onto the thread so I can slide down. You stay with Emma."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. I need to do this."
"You need to?"
"Daniel entrusts me to help with the shelter. I can't let him down."
"Is this really the time to try to prove something?"
"I'm sorry, but it's not just for him, but for me too."
Allan sighs. "Okay, let me get a good grip on this."
He sits down, digging his heels into the cushion. He nods his head to Maya, signaling that he is ready. She lets out a nervous sigh and grabs hold of the thread. She sits at the edge, turning herself around, slowly working her way down. She keeps her feet against the couch, rappeling slowly. Up above, Allan is slowly losing his footing as the thread digs into his hands. As Maya reaches three quarters of the way, Allan loses his grip and she falls down the remaining fifteen feet. She crashes harshly onto the carpet.
"Oh God, are you okay?" Allan yells as he quickly peers over the edge.
Maya slowly gets back to her feet. "Ow... Yes, I'm fine. The carpet helped. What about you?"
"Don't worry about me, are you sure you're fine?"
"Yes. Get back to Emma."
Maya makes her way to the cords dangling down from the top of the coffee table. Grasping at the cord, she realizes her hand doesn't quite wrap around half way. Looking up the length of the table's leg, she begins to have doubts whether or not she can make the fifty foot climb. She shakes her head, shaking off those doubts; she had to make this climb. Firmly grasping the cord, she begins to pull herself up. With her relative light frame, she hoists herself. Her breathing becomes heavy with each passing pull. It takes her nearly five minutes to reach the top. She rolls onto her back, panting.
"Way to go!" Allan cheers from the other side of the gap.
Maya thanks him back, although her didn't hear her. She pushes herself back onto her feet and approaches the phone. Grappling the side of the receiver, she pulls herself up top. Careful not to press any of the numbers, she walks to where to phone rests, gripping its underside. She beathes in deeply and exhales as she tries to lift the phone to tip it over the edge.
House phones nowadays are made cheaply since they are a dying product, and since they are made cheaply, they are practically lightweight. Despite this fact, Maya still struggles to lift the large chunk of plastic. She screams internally, thinking about why this needs to be done. With a primal yell, she succeeds in knock the phone off the receiver. The sound of the phone's tone is easily heard.
"Allan!" she pants.
"Please read off Isabelle's number please."
One by one, Allan calls out Isabelle's cell number. With each digit called out, Maya jumps onto the corresponding number, hearing the beep from the phone's speaker. After she lands on the last button, the phone begins to ring.
"Shouldn't you be at work?" a familiar voice projects from the phone.
Rushing to the input end of the phone, Maya yells out, "Izzy, it's me!"
"Maya?" The sound of rustling can be heard in the background. "What's up?"
"I don't know what to do. Emma is really sick and Daniel won't be back for about another eight hours."
"What do you mean she's really sick?" she asks with unease.
Maya relays to her about how Emma's immune system was always a cause for concern when she was still housed at the community, and how she is now burning with a high fever.
"What do I do?" Maya asks urgently.
"Okay, sit tight. I'll be right there."
Using the key Daniel gave to her months ago, Isabelle unlocks the door to his apartment and hurries inside. She is taken aback to see Maya on the coffee table.
"How did you get over there?" she asks as she picks Maya up.
"I'll tell you later. Please look at Emma."
"Right." She carefully places Maya back onto the couch. She gently puts her finger on Emma's forehead, feeling intense heat emanating from it. "Oh my. I guess I'm going to take a personal day off work." She kneels down onto her knees. "I wonder why she's burning up if she was practically hypothermic yesterday..." Isabelle brushes Emma's hair back with her finger, wondering what to do for the young teen. "I wonder if regular medicine will work if her immune system is bad... Okay you two, try to keep her cool, I'm going to go to the pharmacy."
3:55PM rolls around as Daniel opens the door to his apartment. He is surprised to see Isabelle lounging on his couch.
"Uh, hello Izzy. What's up?" he asks as he removes his coat. He notices the three tiny residents lying on her lap.
"Not much Danny. The short of it is, Emma was really sick this morning."
"Really?" he asks surprised, "Did you just happen to check before you went to work?"
"Not exactly. Maya really pushed herself to get to your phone."
He glances to his phone resting on the coffee table, noting the considerable gap between it and the couch. "What? How?" He kneels down to level his eyes with Maya.
"Yeah," Isabelle continues, "These two pulled the thread out of the sleeping bag I made, and she slid down to the floor, crawled up the phone cord, and managed to call me as I was waking up."
Daniel is shocked, but genuinely amazed at what she pulled off. "You really did that?"
Maya nodded her head with a smile on her face, overjoyed that she not only proved herself in a time of crisis, but that she proven herself to Daniel that she is able to help manage the shelter.
"That's amazing. How is Emma doing now?"
"She's coming around, but still needs rest. I went and got medicine. She'll need another dose here in about... two hours."
Daniel holds his hand out to Maya who doesn't hestitate to climb on. He holds her close to his chest. "So it sounds like we'll have to postpone our shopping trip then?"
"No," Allan speaks up, "Her temperature is getting better. I'll stay here while you go out."
"You sure?" Daniel asks. Allan nods his head. "All right then." He looks down to Maya and asks, "Want to go?"
Chapter Eight: Buying A New Life
The hustle and bustle of the city streets is an amazing sight to view to the two inch tall girl from the vantage point of the giant's chest pocket. The endless towering crowds, the dense traffic, the sweet smells of baked goods escaping from cafés. It was the type of environment she never knew existed. A ginormous metal structure approaches and squeals to a stop in front of her. It was a city bus.
Daniel and Isabelle board onto the bus, shuffling pass the many passengers until they find a seat that just opened up. From her new spot, she examines the others aboard the transport. Amongst the people of varying sizes and races, she notices that some of the giants have a sub-human on their shoulder. They are seated in a special chair that is strapped to their guardian's shoulder.
She pictures herself being able to safely travel around in the same fashion, but she's perfectly content taking refuge in Daniel's coat pocket, shielded from the cold winter air. She burrows herself in deeper as the bus begins to accelerate, bouncing as it traverses on the street. Up above her, she hears her two friends speaking to one another.
"So where exactly in the mall is that specialty store?" Daniel asks while leaning back into his seat.
"The map says it's on the second floor towards the back, next to the food court," Isabelle answers back, looking at her phone, "Want to eat dinner there, or go to Gianna's Diner?"
"Ehh, let's go to Gianna's. Been awhile."
"I was there actually last week for lunch."
"Yeah. Only had some soup, but their menu got bigger."
"Ooooh, what looks good?"
"They have seafood now. Even saw their selection of steaks got better too."
"How could you only have soup? I would've attacked the steak."
"I wanted to, but I had to go back to work. I would've fallen asleep at my desk."
"Oh shut up."
Back within the recess of Daniel's pocket, Maya's own stomach began to growl at the conversation about food. The years she spent at the community, the food was bland and tasteless. The year she was with Gina, she barely ate, and when she did, the food was practically stale. Only after two dinners given by Daniel, she realized what she had been missing her whole life when it came to sustenance. Hearing about the offerings at the diner, her stomach yearns to try them all.
Much like the sights of the city streets, the giants aisles of the mall were a sight to be seen for Maya. Nearly every store front is lighted up beautifully in a arrangement of various colors. The displays are delightfully decorated, showing off what each store has to offer. Nearly each establishment has an aroma emerging from its doors. Purfumes, foods and spices, etc. This type of scene is completely foreign to her. The closest thing she has seen anything like this are in the movies she's been watching.
"Want to eat first?" Isabelle asks.
"Nah. I want to take some back to Allan and Emma. I don't want to haul a doggy bag around."
"Sounds good. Oh hey!" She grabs Daniel by the arm. "Let's go here!"
She drags him into a clothing store for females. He finds himself immediately in front of a display of bras. Rolling his eyes into the back of his head, he groans. "Why~?"
"We're not here for me... For the most part. Maya needs new clothes."
It never dawned on him about Maya's clothing situation. She only has the one set of clothes she had when she escaped from her guardian. Not only that, they are incredibly worn, with holes starting to form. As he is dragged in further, he is brought to a waist high platform with rows of sub-human clothing hanging on racks. Around the platform are other people, waiting as their adopted sub-human rummages through the selections. His eyes travel down to his coat's chest pocket, and he sees her gazing upon the hundreds of choices in clothing. He carefully scoops her out and places her on the platform.
"Go ahead and pick out what you like."
"Really?" she asks with a gleam in her eyes.
"Yeah, just keep it within reason." He glances at the prices listed for each type of clothing. He does some quick math in his head. "Maybe about five sets of clothing, okay?"
Maya was so ecstatic that she couldn't say her thanks fast enough. She runs into the aisle, browsing the selections as she goes by. Daniel lets out an amused sigh as he watches her. He stands back up to full height. Turning his head to talk to Isabelle, he sees that she has run off as well to do some shopping. Being a guy alone in a woman's clothing store makes him feel super embarrassed. He remains standing at the edge of the platform, waiting for either of the two to come back.
It takes thirty minutes of waiting Isabelle to return with an assortment of shirts and skirts.
"Isn't it a little too cold for skirts?"
"Not with a good pair of leggings they are not."
"Right..." He looks back to the platform to see Maya walk back towards him with a pile of clothes on her arms. "So how was your trip?" Upon further inspection, he can see tears rolling down her cheeks. "Hey, hey what's wrong?"
"It's just... I never thought I would ever have an opportunity like this," she said softly, "Thank you."
"You can thank me," Isabelle says, "I got you covered."
"Huh?" Daniel lets out, with a confused glare.
"Just kidding, you too. Besides, I'll pay for her clothes since I dragged you in here."
"Relax, I'm good for it. Also, she needs to add a few more things?"
"A coat, hat, and gloves. I'm surprised she didn't freeze on the way here honestly."
Isabelle herds Maya over to the outdoors section of the platform. Together, they pick out a matching set of winter clothes, all consisting of a powdered blue color. Content with all the clothes they have picked out, they go to the cashier to pay for it all. Isabelle was finally able to use her coupons she has had for weeks. Before they leave, Maya dresses into a full new set of clothes, under and outer. She hugs herself, feeling completely fresh wearing new clothing. As she is celebrating, she looks at the heap that is her old clothes. She stops, looking saddened. To her, those clothes represent the awful time she spent under Gina's 'care.' They represented pain, as evidenced by their destitute condition.
"Daniel?" she says solemnly.
"Yeah?" he says as he kneels down to her height.
She picks up her old clothes. "Can you take me to the nearest trash can please?"
She crawls onto his open palm, and he cautiously holds her above the open abyss of a garbage bin. She steps towards the edge of his fingers and takes one last look at the piece of her past. She takes a big breath, and then she chucks the clothes away from her, watching as they break apart from each other, disappearing within the recess of the giant bin. Once they are out of sight, she turns back around to face Daniel and Isabelle.
"Thank you. For everything."
Daniel now understands the significance of her action. All she wants to do now is look forward, and forget all of her misfortunes from her past. "You are very welcome."
The trio continues through the wall, riding the escalator to the second floor. The density of the crowd has lessened, and the sound of the music coming from the speakers is now more audible. Reaching the food court, the specialty store for sub-humans is within sight. The moment they walk inside, the variety of items are plentiful. There are appliances, furniture, recreations, food, and much more.
Daniel takes notice of the prices, seeing that many of the leisurely items are relatively cheap, but many of appliances are high in price. While searching around for stairs and platforms, they begin adding games and furniture into their cart. After roaming around, they find them: customizable stairs. Right next to them were platforms that come with built-in supports that can attach to the wall. Before checking out, Daniel looks around some more.
"What are you looking for?" Isabelle asks.
"You think they have a phone system here?" he replies back with a question.
"I don't see why not."
Almost immediately after asking about it, he finds one. "Good. I don't need anyone risking themselves trying to make a phone call."
After paying for everything, they backtrack to the first floor, and enter Gianna's diner. After seating themselves at a booth, the waitress walks over with their menus.
"Hello, my name is Holly, and I'll be your waitress for tonight. Would you like me to get a table and chair for her?" she asks pointing at Maya, who is sitting on the table.
Holly rushes back to the front to grab a chair and table. She brings them back and sets them on the table. As Maya is seating herself, Holly continues on.
"Our specials for today are the twenty-one piece shrimp dinner, or our eighteen ounce ribeye with two sides. What would you like to drink?"
"I'll go with water," Isabelle requests.
"Same," Daniel says.
After writing down for two waters on her notepad, she looks to Maya. "And you?"
"Oh, uh, water too please," she replies meekly.
"Okay, three waters. I'll go get those for you while you decide what you would like."
As she walks off, Daniel and Isabelle look over the menus.
"That ribeye is sounding pretty darn good right now," Daniel says salivating.
"It really does. Sounds like we're going to be getting the same exact thing."
"Mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli?"
"Yep, same thing. That'll make it easy."
Daniel repositions the menu so Maya can see it, pointing out the section for sub-humans. These foods are specially made for easier eating.
"See anything you like?"
On the menu, there are fifteen different dinner options. Reading down the list, she is unsure what she wants. Never before has she been faced with the dilemma of choosing what meal she wants to eat. The anxiety of such a decision weighs heavily on her. As she sees Holly walking back in her peripheral view, she quickly shouts out an option.
"The salmon! Wait, uh... No, I'll take the chicken. uhmm... Ohh..."
"Have you decided yet?" Holly asks all bubbly.
"Just about. We're both going to do the ribeye special with mashes potatoes and broccoli. And for her, we'll need three orders of the chicken dinner, same sides. Two of those will be to go."
"Alrighty, I'll get this to the kitchen."
As Holly disappears into the kitchen, Isabelle starts the next conversation.
"Up for building the stairs when we get back?"
"I'm up for it. I'm actually looking forward to customizing that shelf."
"I know right? It's a fun project to do, but I need to remember what it's all about."
"Yeah, we cannot forget what this is all for. Curiosity, when you ended up finding Emma, was she the one listed as missing?"
"Y'know what? She wasn't. It was another girl, blonde hair, twenty years old. Didn't see her at all, even after I went to find Allan."
"I wonder if it's worth looking there again."
"Probably not. It's been two full days since that was posted. Who knows where she would be now."
Daniel glances to Maya before looking back to Isabelle. "Did, uh, Maya get put on that list yet?"
"Lemme check." She pulls out her phone and begins tapping away at it. "Mmmm..." Her eyes open wide. She looks to Daniel and nods. She shows him her phone, presenting a picture of Maya. She had a smile on her face and plenty of meat on her bones.
Maya is concerned with what she is hearing. From her point of view, she can see the phone too.
"That... That was the very first day I was adopted by Gina..."
"Don't you worry about a thing Maya," Daniel says sternly, "She will never get you back."
"I'm going to make sure of that too, okay Maya?" Isabelle adds.
Maya doesn't say anything. She drops her head. She sees her new clothes wrapped around her body. They represent the new beginning of her life. She threw away the old embodiment of her past. She doesn't want that to come back.
Daniel cups his hand behind her. "I have you, okay? I promised that you will not come to harm, and I intend to keep that promise."
She nods her head and looks back out to see her two giant friends looking at her with reassuring smiles on their faces. She wipes away a tear with her forearm. "I trust you."
To help keep her mind at ease, they begin making small talk until their meals arrive. As much as Daniel and Isabelle are enjoying their ribeyes, that enjoyment doesn't come close to how much happiness Maya is experiencing eating her dinner. She never wants that feeling to ever fade away.
I've Hit The Limit I Can Add To One Static Item. If You Wish To Read The Rest Of This Story, Please Visit My Profile On Giantessworld(dot)net
Ratings and reviews are appreciated!