Fearless – A web-serial
Chapter 10 – Bright-eyed and bushy tailed
Wide awake, bright eyed and bushy tailed, I was eating again.
After waking up, I had found myself under a blanket, staring up at dinky’s so very blue eyes, and feeling something large push my face from side to side, rattling my brain. “Marcy? Are you okay, marcy? Wake up marcy?” I waited for a second more until my head cleared, then I blinked and swatted his hand away from my face. Well, I would have if I hadn’t been so carefully tucked in that I couldn’t move my arms. I groaned instead. “Look at me Dinky!” I barked. “Do you see my eyes? If you can see my eyes, that means I’m awake, you idiot.” I started shivering and I realized I was still on the floor. Under a blanket yes, but my tender skin still lay on a somewhat gritty and cool dirt floor. How nice. “Up!” I commanded.
After Dinky backed off , I untangled myself from the blanket and made it to my feet, wobbling just a little as I wrapped myself in the itchy smelly fabric. I heard heavy, but short steps behind me and I turned to Garphy. He looked up at me for a long moment. I looked down at his compressed form, wondering for a moment what he was. Well, hell, I knew what he was but I’d never been able to wrap my head around the politics of it. I frowned at his curious gaze, bowed legs and strong arms. I extended a finger and poked him on the forehead. It wrinkled slightly, but he seemed more surprised than annoyed. “I’ve never seen a dwarf up close before.” I said. That annoyed him. He hrumphed and poked me in the belly. Hard.
“I am a little person. Not a DWARF! I am… I am vertically challenged.” Garphy spat out and a dark cloud settled over his wide face.
“I see that. Hell…” something whofted across my face and I turned aroun by pure instinct stepping back, nearly trampling Garphy in my escape from dinky’s toxic breath. I pulled a corner of the blanket up to cover my nose and mouth with it. He had done his sneaky approach number and stopped close. Too close. I retreated another half step and looked up at him. Garphy huffed and went about some unknown business around the cell but I didn’t mind if he sulked for a bit. Little people shouldn’t sit on high horses. They could fall off and get trampled. And who could blame the horse for stepping on… anyways. Dinky was smiling. It was more of a grin and I had the strong sensation of being in a situation where fear would be appropriate. If I had any. Now I was just trying to protect my mortal flesh, so I scowled and fixed him with my trademark disapproving glare. Thank you mother, for teaching me something I can use. “You.” I said very clearly and with endless patience. “Go. Brush. Teeth.”
Dinky’s smile faltered and the teeth disappeared out of sight. “Good enough.” I said. “Now, keep it closed. Don’t open until Christmas.
“Ok.” Garphy’s voice interrupted the string of other instructions I had lined up for the oaf. “Dinky! Chairs, table, now.” He said., and dinky quickly ducked his head and went to follow orders. He disappeared through the big door and a second later, another door opened. I quickly forgot about him and turned to Garphy again. I nodded at him.
“Vertically challenged huh?”
the little person ignored me. If a hateful stare could be called ignoring me, that is, but how would I know the difference? Jeez, little people with big tempers. I mentally tut tut-ed and took a good look around the cell. It took all of six or seven seconds. Stone and dirt. Chains and a muddy puddle of piss. A big wooden door standing ajar, revealing an empty corridor. Some time later, we sat at a small table that dinky had fetched from one of the other rooms. “So, where am I?” i looked from dinky to Garphy and then back again. I raised my hand and tried to look at both of them at the same time, but there seemed to be something stopping me from taking them in as a pair. My mind had difficulties believeing they both lived in the same univers as me, and they were fast buddies. I’ve had my odd aquaintances and some awkward friendships too, but… I decided not to think about it. It made my head hurt. I concentrated instead on the stone wall behind the two of them. the chain hung peacefully, steel links sparkling softly against the uneven dark stone. the open mannicles grasped at the air, waiting patiently for the next abductee. now that I wasn’t attached to them anymore, I could see the small square protrusion on each metal ring, covering the locking mechanism. Quite advanced stuff for a kidnapping dungeon,– sound activated and all– but what did I know? I mean, if I needed to program my dvd, or electronic coffee maker, I asked someone else to do it. As a rule I got my neighbor to come over; he never complains but there is usually a strange look in his eyes. I think maybe I scare him but I couldn’t be sure.
The flat electronic package on the metal cuffs had something stamped on them. Serial number? Was that “ACMe”? Seriously? I squinted to see better, but all I did was screw up my face and I felt cross-eyed from straining my eyes. Whatever it said was too small to make out. I kept staring anyways just for the hell of it for a while, then I directed my attention to a piece of spam i had finally managed to stab with my fork, waiting for a reply. I narrowed my eyes and glared at the glistening cube of processed pork. It was dead, I was sure of it. that didn’t mean it wouldn’t kill me. I put the fork down on my plate and pulled a healthy dose of root beer down my throat and evacuated the air as soon as the sweet bubbly reached my stomach, stirred around a bit, and separated bubbles from drink. Garphy looked at me but said nothing. dinky, bless his fraidycat ass, blushed and fidgeted with a patch on his vest. . He cleared his throat, about to speak, when his puny companion silenced him with a quick glance.
The little man turned to me again. Dinky is a sweet soul Miss Malone, but he wouldn’t have found his way out of here anymore than you would my dear. He is shall we say…easily influenced. But as I said, he doesn’t have the…“ Garphy stole an affectionate glance at the big oaf and smiled a little. “The imperative astuteness for desired prudence.” Dinky gave Garphy a look. Was that hurt in his eyes? Or just confusion. He grumbled deep in his throat and with a sideways wary glance at me, he pressed his lips together, and grumbled some more for good measure. Garphy patted Dinky’s enormous hand with his tiny one and said. “I didn’t call you stupid, my friend.”
I raised both eyebrows. I had never mastered raising just one. “Yes you did.” I pointed out and patting Dinky’s other hand. “He said you were an idiot. And you are.” I nodded and picked up my fork again. Then I dropped it and pushed the plate away. “Ok, so, you didn’t answer my question, Dwarf. Where exactly is this place? And, what am I doing here?” The dwarf bristled. I could almost see the quills shoot out from his hairy little body, making him even more prickly than before. ”So?” I pushed, ignoring his porky-pine impression.
After a long moment of relaxing deep breaths, he took control of himself, no less prickly though, he straightened up, as tall as he would ever be that was, and pulled an envelope from an inside pocket. He handed it to me. Inside was several blurry photos, I flipped through them, looking at them carefully, making huffy sounds, one single appreciative whistle, and a couple of disgusted grunts before I dropped the pictures on the table. I pointed at the top one. “ I like that one. See how the way I stretch out to pick up that bag makes my ass look? Awesome shot. Too bad they are so blurry, or I’d put that in a frame and send to my mother. It could give her a seizure at least. What do you think?” I looked from the image of me bending down in the process of picking something up from the ground, to Garphy, genuinely interested, but I had a feeling that the perfect shape of my backside wasn’t what he was focused on. And I suddenly knew why I was where I was at the moment.
Garphy gave me a steely stare and sighed. An exasperated strained inhalation, then a very long and calming exhale. It took so long before he breathed again that his face took on a tone of purple. I wondered if I would have to topple him backwards and jump on his chest to get his lungs going again. But then he started breathing and time started. His face returned to almost normal.
“Where is it Miss Malone? Where is my money?”