The Little Ones

Roxy’s left hand was sitting calmly on the table; her right hand was pulling on and playing with her ear piercing.

“Okay, so how does this work?” She was impatient. “I told this two times already and every time the people smiled and nodded and later I was told by somebody else that I’d have to stay here. I want out of here. I need to get out of here!”

I smiled, nodded and told Roxy that our interview was the last step before she was allowed to leave; we just needed to make sure that she would not be a danger to herself or anybody else. Roxy didn’t seem convinced.

“Fine,” she finally said. “They are real, I’ve seen them. And if that’s too much of a leap of faith for your kind tell me straight away that you want to keep me locked up.”

I nodded again. “From the information I have you will be able to go home after this. We are just trying to help you.”

Roxy wheezed; I stayed quiet. Finally she leaned back and began.

“Saturday four weeks ago I planted new flowers in our garden. The ground was a bit too dry, but else everything went alright. I planted most of them in one of the corners, a small uphill slope that borders on the property next to ours. Nobody has lived in the other house for several years, so the garden is a mess. The weeds have spread over the fence and suffocated all the flowers my boyfriend bought last year.”

Roxy sighed.

“There was this whole patch that was empty, not even the weeds grew on it, it was basically moss and incredibly hard soil. I spent half the day to try and loosen the soil; in the end I gave up. I threw a layer of compost on top and planted violas on top. It looked makeshift, but I was sure that the violas would take root and break through the hard soil below.”

“But in the morning the spot was bare soil again. The compost was brushed to the side and there was no trace of the flowers.”

“Do you know what happened to the flowers?”

“Well, back then I thought somebody had stolen them. It seemed absurd that someone would take the risk to climb into our backyard to steal a bunch of flowers. But back then it was the only logical explanation.” Roxy paused. “Of course, now I know that it was them. They were keeping their gate clear or something like that.”

“Who are ‘they’, Roxy?”

“I don’t know what to call them,” Roxy was speaking faster. “It’s just these small figures. They look almost like fat little humans, some sort of absurd dwarves.”

“Did you see them?”

“Well, not that day. When I found the flowers I was furious, but I didn’t see anything. I was too frustrated to buy new flowers and so I went back inside and tried to distract myself. I wanted to call the police, but Connor said that was too ridiculous. He thought it was just a prank. We even had a fight about it.”

Roxy shook her head.

“Anyway, I saw them first two days later, at least that’s what I think now. On Tuesday morning I got up earlier than usual to start my morning yoga routine again. It was still dark outside and I went downstairs with my mat so I wouldn’t wake Connor up.” Roxy laughed. “I don’t think Connor minds my yoga-moaning, but I don’t think it’s very romantic.”

“Downstairs I placed the mat along the large windows towards our garden. I stood straight and did a breathing exercise. But when I reopened my eyes to do the first sun salutation I saw movement at the back of the garden. I only saw the thing for a moment and I told myself it was a dog or maybe a badger, but I had straight away this strange feeling.”

Roxy glanced at my notes. I stopped my writing and smiled at her; she continued.

“I felt a bit uneasy but I continued my practice. During the sun salutation and the first few asanas, that’s the different positions, I always have to look straight ahead, against the wall. But then I got to Trikona Asana, the one where you bend your body towards the side and one arm points to the sky and one to the floor. I breathed out, bent down, turned my head and not even an arms-length from my face, right at the other side of the window, stood this small figure, staring at me with bared teeth. It was a bit taller than my knee, with dark, naked skin. But its face looked incredibly human.”

“This thing had no hair, but ears and a mouth and a nose, and these unbelievably human eyes. It just stood there, its teeth still exposed, while I fell backwards, away from the window. It only ran away when I screamed. It ran towards the fence, squeezed through a gap below it and was gone. But even in the way it ran it still looked human.”

“When Connor came down I told him that it had looked like a child, but that’s not really true. It was maybe the size of a child, but this thing didn’t move like a child. It moved like an adult, with swift and straight motions. Still, this time Connor called the police.”

“I read the report”, I said. “They searched your and the neighboring properties and didn’t find anything suspicious, or any child.”

Roxy nodded.

“How do you think this child disappeared?”

“It wasn’t a child!” Roxy seemed angry. “But anyway, back then I didn’t know. I tried to convince myself that I had just hallucinated or that it was after all just an animal that I saw. I should have made the connection straight away, the connection with the violas. I believe that’s their entryway, and maybe they have another one on the other property. It’s just because you and all the other idiots don’t believe me, else you would probably have found them long ago. I’m not insane! I saw them!”

I waited for Roxy to calm down. She closed her eyes and breathed slowly in and out.

“Did you see the creature again?” I asked.

“Not that day,” Roxy replied. “I asked Connor to search the garden with me, and afterwards I closed all the shutters. But two days later I saw it again.”

“I had my alarm still set to the earlier time for yoga. It rang; I rolled over, pushed the off button and rolled back to my position. I was going to sleep more, but when I was closing my eyes I saw a movement in the window, ripped my eyes back open and saw them sitting there, right on our windowsill. There were three of them, or maybe four, I’m not sure. They had their teeth bared again and their eyes looked intensely blue; they looked like small humans with completely black skin and fake contact lenses.”

“I screamed again, and Connor shot up from bed, but those things jumped off the windowsill. Before they jumped they bared more of their teeth though; and I had the feeling that there was hate in their eyes.”

“I ran to the window and I saw one of them disappearing in the bushes; Connor was too slow. By the time he looked out they were already all gone.”

Roxy sighed. “I suppose that’s why he stopped believing me, why he thought I was crazy. I kept seeing those things, those little humans, climbing behind bushes and staring through windows and at one point, when I came home, I saw our trash can lying on the floor. I went to pull it back up, but before I even reached it this small creature crawled out. I took two steps backwards; it quickly moved towards me, hissed, and before I could react it had run around the corner with a piece of dried bread in its hand.”

“But it was always just me. I know that probably doesn’t speak in my favor; every time I was the only one that saw them. I called Connor or once a visiting friend, but none of them saw anything.”

“I tried to get Connor to help me search the garden again.” A hint of desperation rang in Roxy’s voice. “But he refused, he scolded me, told me that I should stop with my ‘crazy prank’, that it wasn’t funny. I cried and swore that it was all real, but Connor stomped out of the room. I found him on the couch, reading blogs on his laptop.”

“Connor told me that I had to apologize and stop doing it. He ignored me when I tried to explain everything. I was so desperate; in the end I apologized and promised not to say anything anymore. That made everything even harder. I saw them again the next morning, on our windowsill, because Connor forbad me to close the shutters. They were taunting me, baring their teeth and knocking against the window with the tiny claws at the end of their fingers. They only jumped away when I got out of bed and moved towards the window. I saw them hushing away, and Connor was still sleeping in bed. The thing is that they weren’t rushing. I know Connor would have seen them if I had woken him up. It was as if those things knew about our fight, as if they knew that I wouldn’t dare to wake Connor.”

Roxy looked around the room.

“From that day on they weren’t shy anymore. They showed themselves all the time, whenever nobody else was around. They always sat outside the windows where I was, with their sharp white teeth exposed. When I moved somewhere else they followed to the next window. They even came to the windows upstairs. And sometimes, when a window was slightly open, I heard them hissing and growling at me. I’m not sure how many they were, but at least four. One was slightly smaller, but the others were all the same size, just a bit taller than my knee.”

“And then, last week, I woke up again to see two of them sitting on the windowsill. But they weren’t baring their teeth, and they weren’t looking at me. It took me a moment to notice that they were looking at my feet. I turned my head and saw one of them standing right next to my naked feet; it was leaning forward, as if it was going to grab my toe. I screamed, but in the same moment I felt the cold tiny nail on my toe. I kicked after it, and Connor jumped out of bed, but the thing ran out of the room before Connor could see it. I ran after it, and Connor after me, but it was gone. Only the bathroom window was open.”

“Connor didn’t believe me. We had a fight, and then he brought me here. But I really want to go home. I really need to go home. I need to prove that I’m not crazy.”

“And,” Roxy added quickly. “Those things are now also in our house. I’m really worried about Connor; I haven’t heard from him in two days.”

This is my story, originally I published it on Reddit.

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