Chapter 6: The Dwarf Couple
I opened my eyes once I heard a loud crash in the middle of my sleep. Despite setting up straight, I soon discover that I am on a different bed and covered in a red blanket. I also realized I was not wearing my sunflower dress but a pink nightgown. Confused, I look around my surroundings only to find myself in an unfamiliar room.
On the triangle ceiling, there was a light bulb shaped like a sun that illuminated the room. There were white tiles with golden hexagons covering the walls of the room. Pictures of twins, a girl, and a boy, were displayed on a separate wall in the room. Across the room was a TV, followed by a small library with different contents: textbooks on the left and comics on the right. The study place was next to a huge wooden wardrobe with a staircase leading down to the floor.
Aside from me, there was a closed window with curtains displaying pictures of cartoon smiling mushrooms. The boy I saved earlier was still sleeping in another bed opposite mine, which surprised me.
“What the hell is going on?" I asked, looking around. “Where am I? Whose room is this? Whose bed am I sleeping on?”
Before I could get out of bed, a woman's voice echo through the stairs. “Oh, no! Not again! <sighs> I swear it's time to polish these bloody stairs!”
Surprised by the sudden event, I attempt to call out the stranger down the stairs. “Uh, excuse me! H-Hello?"
“Oh my! You’re awake now," the woman said, sounding startled. “Uh, please stay where you are. I’ll get my husband. Be back!"
As she said, I heard the unknown woman stomping below me and the sound of an open door calling her husband outside. This was an opportunity for me to get out of bed and investigate; I’m not planning to sit here like an idiot. It's unclear whether I've been kidnapped by a stranger. For one, I’m not covered in bruises and sleeping on a soft bed. I figured she and her husband would put me and the boy in this room. But the glass staff is nowhere to be found.
I got out of bed and walked towards the window looking outside. The sun was nearly set but the lanterns lit up the dark sky along with the lights from the wooden houses surrounding me. The landscapes were covered with pure green foliage while in the few distances of sunflower fields, highlighting the beauty of the countryside surrounded by icy mountains.
"Wow, I'm in the village," I said, gazing at the few buildings. “But where is my motorhome?"
I looked down and saw my family’s RV parked aside from the house near an oak tree. It looks...polished?
I heard a sound and turned to find the boy sitting straight looking as shocked and confused as I was.
In a state of shock, I cough before awkwardly starting to speak. “Uh, hello...you're finally awake.”
As he turned to me, he looked at me with wide eyes as if he didn't realize he wasn't alone. He didn’t say a word but stared at me with green eyes.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” I asked. “I’m just greeting you.”
For a few seconds, he spoke in a low, cold voice. “Who are you? And where am I? Who-who owns this hou-”
Before he could finish his sentences, I interrupt him. “Hey, hey, slow down. I’m as confused as you are. Look, I heard a woman saying she’ll be back to get her husband and went out. I’m thinking of going out to check my RV if my staff is in there.”
“What? No!" the red boy whispered before raising his chin. “You can’t just walk outside like an idiot!”
I let out a “Huh!?” while I made a face at him. “Did he just call me an idiot?” I thought.
“WHAT THE HELL IS YOUR PROBLEM?" I yell before he finishes. "Is walking outside and checking a bad idea?"
The red hair douche looked at me like I was crazy. “You don’t know if these people own a maid and they will rat you out if you don’t obey their orders."
"And what if they rat me out?" I asked.
Before he could say another word, we heard a door open under us talking and laughing. We stood still looking at the doorsteps and heard the echoes of two people's laughter.
“And then he said; What ABOUT my wife?” The two people laugh harder and I recognized the female voice. It was the woman I heard before; the guy she was laughing with must be her husband.
Before I open my mouth, he interrupts me telling me to go to my bed and act dumb. I made a face at him before getting on the bed.
We heard the sounds of footsteps walking upstairs toward our room. “Oh, Willis, did I tell you she had a necklace diamond cross? Can’t you believe it?”
“Yes, you did Neva,” Her husband name Willis said. “You told me this the eighth time now.”
The two people walked up the staircase and revealed their body structure and faces: Both of them looked like they are in their 50s and suffer from dwarfism as they appear quite short people.
The small grown man wore a ragged green shirt, orange overalls, muddy rain boots, and a big summer hat. For an old midget, he has a muscular body and a full red beard that almost reaches his torso.
The small woman wore a knee-length A-line green dress with daisy patterns. Had short curly tresses, light make-up, and cute high heels with a bowl. She has an hourglass figure despite dwarfism.
In a shocking turn, another person enters the room, but this time she is not short, but rather normal in height. She appears to be Chinese wearing a maid’s uniform, has a long black ponytail, and looks three or four months pregnant.
"Hey there, looks like you two are still in bed.” The woman laughed putting her hands on her husband’s shoulder. “You see? Willis, I’m not making it up! I found them in the middle of the road!”
I stared at the small woman. “What! So, you dragged me and him to your home? And put us in this room?”
"Of course I did!” The woman admitted. “Well, with Li-Mei. I was doing all the dragging while Li-Mei took the wheel.”
The small woman walked towards me holding my hand with an unsettling smile. “Honestly, who on earth would kidnap such a beauty?”
Her husband put his hands on his wife’s shoulders pulling her away from me. Feeling embarrassed about what just happened, I can feel my cheeks heating up.
“Honey, stop it. You’re making her feel uncomfortable.” He whispers. “This is why we never have guests.”
“But why?” the red-haired guy asked harshly. “You could have waked us up. Who are you? Where are we? And what did you do to Annalise?”
Both the married couple looked at each other confused even the maid looked concerned.
“I’m sorry heart but who is ‘Annalise?’” The small woman asked.
“Huh? What do you mean?” He asked back. “You found me trapped in a cage next to a girl. How could you not see AND rescue her?”
No one spoke a word. Instead, they all looked at each other, then at me, then at him. “I honestly don’t know what you’re talking about. When Li-Mei and I walked home after shopping, we found you two pass out on the side of the road.”
The young man looked at her confused. “What? How did I-”
Before he finishes, I stopped him. “Wait, I have a confession to make; I found you in the cage back in the sunflower fields. And I was the one who freed you and dragged you to my RV.”
I felt a painful sting in my throat. “I heard your friend’s screams when I passed by and they led me to find you locked up in a cage. I...think your friend was eaten by a dragon.”
The room fell silent before the small woman gasped in shock covering her mouth. Everyone focused on the young man as he looked like he had no emotion on his face.
After a few seconds of silence, the young man spoke. “Oh, I understand now.”
The small woman touched his hands. “I’m sorry for your loss. I wish I had departed earlier. But could you blame me? I saved you from the horrible dragon hunters; they wanted to kidnap you!”
I swallowed a large rock. “I-well, thank you for saving us. And thanks for parking my RV at your home. All my heart's desires are there."
The woman smiled warmly. “Oh, by the way. We have something for you.”
With that, the small woman turns to the pregnant maid and nods, causing the maid to leave the room.
“Oh my goodness, where are my manners?” The woman gasps. “Why haven’t we introduced ourselves? Hello, my name is Neva Ocus. Nice to meet you.”
“And I’m Willis Ocus,” said Willis warping his arm around Neva. “You’re in our home in Tripa village. It’s a small town no one ever heard of. This village is only famous for the sunflowers fields.”
“Nice to meet you too, I’m Odette Miller.” I greeted then turn to the red-haired guy. “And what’s yours?”
The young man looked at me with cold eyes then turn away. “Blayden Ax.”
An awkward silence falls once again till Mr. Ocus coughs removing his hat. “Please excuse my wife from earlier. She was never been more hype for a long time.”
“Oh? Why is that?” I asked.
The little woman covered her face from blushing. “Well, I’ve never rescued someone for a long time now, you see; I used to be a guardian.”
The young man carefully examined the little woman while I looked at her densely.
“I’m sorry, what?” I said. “What do you mean by a guardian?”
“Well, if I have to be more Pacific, I say I used to be a mage.” Ms. Ocus replied. “But part of me still wishes to be a druid."
I looked at her confused before remembering what Oka told me; “You’re a guardian.” But what does that mean?
When I was about to ask her what she meant by it, the maid walked in holding the glass weapon in both hands. “Ma’am, I have returned.”
“Thank you, Li-Mei. Now, hand it over to young Miller.” Ms. Ocus demanded.
As she was told, the maid gave me my staff. I noticed the maid wore silver chains around her neck.
“Thank you,” I said to the maid. “Where did you put it?”
Though I asked Li-Mei, she did not answer, but Ms. Ocus did. “It was kept in the staff room, sweetie.”
I looked at the dwarf woman and then at the maid looking back at me with those cold black eyes.
"Well, I think we’ll call it a night!” Mr. Ocus said. "Ax, was it? I think it’s better to sleep in the guest room.”
“That’s an excellent idea, dear!” His wife agreed but then turned to us. “I’m sorry, I would have separated you two from different rooms earlier but I assume you two were lovers.”
Braylen and I blushed as we laughed before the old couple walked down the stairs along with the pregnant maid.
Once Braylen got up and turned to leave, I called him. “Hey, Braylen. That’s your name, right?”
He nodded. “Yeah, what do you want?”
“Nothing,” I replied. "Just wanted to say that...I'm sorry for what happened to Annalise. I wish I had saved her. Was she your friend? Or your sister?”
Braylen looked down at the floor before responding. “She was...everything I had left.”
And at that moment, I noticed his pupils before he walked down the stairs without saying another word. I put down the glass stuff and prepared myself to sleep. Although I haven't eaten yet, I won't bother asking them for food. I bother them enough.
I lay on my bed staring at the ceiling before closing my eyes. Wild thoughts pop into my head as I theorize the whole situation.
"How did I lose consciousness? What does Braylen mean when he says Annalise is everything that he has?" Who is Annalise? His friend or sister? What would happen if I was found by the ogres?”
And for some reason, I remember Braylen’s green eyes. “And what’s wrong with his pupils? It looks vertical.”
In spite of the darkness, I run as fast as I can without stopping. I could hear many footsteps behind me. But I didn’t look back. All I knew was that I needed to run away from them.
Every time I took a breath, my lungs ached and the muscles on my legs getting sore. I could feel sweat radiating from every part of my body. I felt my heart beating in my chest, not just because I was running...but because of fear.
“Get her! Pin her down! Don’t let her escape!”
The screams of angry ogres behind me were getting louder and I felt like they were getting closer. Tears dropped through my eyes as cold wind brush my skin.
In the darkness, I could hear familiar voices. “Odette...How could you?”
To my surprise, I yelled back at the voice. “MOM!”
I ran faster to catch my mother but the darkness makes it difficult to see her. “Where are you, mom? TELL ME!”
It seemed that the dragon hunters were on my tail, screaming and cursing. “Feed her to the dragons!”
I cried so much I couldn’t breathe. “Mom, they will kill me. PLEASE SAVE ME!”
“Where were you when we needed you?” I heard Aidan's voice. “Those monsters separated us!”
“Aidan, I didn’t mean to split up!” I cried. “I didn’t know this could happen!”
Suddenly, the voice of my father appeared. "You should have listened to what we said, Odette. But you were blinded by your pride and led us to our doom.”
“Dad, please don't say that!" I plead, tears streaming down my cheeks. “Don’t hate me!”
“Now we’re stuck in this land and it’s your entire fault!” My whole family screamed throughout the darkness unstop.
“Your fault! Your fault! Your fault! Your fault! Your fault! Your fault! Your fault!”
My family repeated the same sentences while the ogres screamed and the midget laughed along. Covering my ears, I shut my eyes and tried my wits to ignore the screams but to no avail.
“Your fault! Your fault! Your fault- Ma’am, Ma’am, Ma’am.”
"Please go away.” I plead. “It’s not my fault. Shut up. Shut up... Shut up.”
The voices got louder and louder until...
I opened my eyes, and soon realized that I was screaming at the top of my lungs while sitting up straight on a not so familiar bed in a not so familiar room. It was just a dream...No, it wasn’t. It was a nightmare. A person sat across me looking shocked with her mouth open. It was Li-Mei.
Oh God, she heard me, didn’t she? She must think I’m crazy or downright rude. Either way, this will be an awkward morning for us.
Before I could say a word, she spoke. “I-I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to disturb you while you’re sleeping. I did what I was told.”
“No, no, don’t blame yourself.” I said, after finding words to say. “I had an awful dream and you helped me wake up.”
The pregnant woman looked at me. “I’m sorry to ask this but why didn’t you come to eat last night? As soon as we entered, we saw you asleep, even though the mistress tried to call you for dinner. You look skinny like you didn’t eat in days and you're pale."
Trying to find the right words, all I can think of is the dream; my family, the dragon hunters, and the glass staff that gives me anxiety. Suddenly, I felt my stomach turn and a pungent smell emanating from the air within my nose.
“I...didn’t want to bother you or the married couple." As I respond, feeling my head turn.
“Well, I was told to wake you up for breakfast, so please get up.” Li-Mie stood up and walked to the staircase. “We’re having mushroom soup for breakfast. Sir Ax is up. You should greet him-”
Li-Mei’s words were cut short after she saw my state. After falling to the wooden floor, I burbbed, and then vomited all my disorganized food.
“Young Miller!” The young maid reached towards me as I kneeled down, her arm on my stomach.
“Miller, are you OK? Do you need water?" Li-Mei asked, putting her hands on my shoulders.
I didn't respond to her question, my head was still spinning; it's been only a day (or at least four days) since I lost my family and became a refuge from an unfamiliar country. And I have the powerful ruler's staff that Oka gave it to me and I vow to find someone who can wield it.
And my parents, I couldn’t imagine how my parents and Aiden are...where are they now? How will I find them?
I could hear footsteps coming down stairs."For god sakes, Li-Mei did I tell you to wake her up?” The voice of Ms. Ocus sounded tiring as she was mad of something. “Li-Mei, I told you-”
Ms. Ocus stopped talking as soon as she saw me vomiting. “Oh my God! What the hell is going on?"
“I don’t know, Ma'am," Li Mei said. “She just puked on the floor.”
Ms. Ocus walked slowly towards me, gently touching my back. “Uh, Oddie, what's wrong with you?”
I cleared my mind before wiping my mouth to respond. “Nothing, I’m fine. I’m just...home sick.”
Li-Mei holds my right hand tightly. “I see...I know a thing or two about being home sick.”
"Please do not wipe your mouth with your hand!” Ms. Ocus insists. “It’s un ladylike!"
I apologized to the small woman and promised her to clean the floor but Ms. Ocus forced a smile. “Oh, no you didn’t need to bother! Your home sick, it happens to everyone!”
Ms. Ocus turns to Li-Mei. “Well? What are you waiting for? Go get a bucket of water and wash the floor! ASP”
“But who will look after the stove?” Li-Mie asked.
“I already switched off while you took too long to wake her up. Now move on.” Ms. Ocus said, pushing the maid out of the room.
I don’t know why Ms. Ocus reminded me of Mr. Grim from yesterday. They are both bossy, moody and stuck up. Well, at least Ms. Ocus is pleasant.
“I’m sorry you have to see that,” she apologized. "That's a bad habit of mine. Well, let's remove that night gown and put on your clothes. Please follow me.”
As she requested, I followed her as Ms. Ocus left the room. While walking down the stairs, the walls were made of wood, with pictures of the dwarf family and their twins hanging from them. There were candles hanging from the ceiling and sun patterns.
Finally, we entered the hallway and walk into a bathroom. Once I entered, she shut the door behind her and removed two hangers from the door handle, revealing my old clothes.
One was my sunflower dress from the last time I wore it. The other was my white sleeveless top with pineapple patterns and my blue short jeans.
“You won’t mind if I take one of those clothes out of your motor home?” the dwarf woman said. “I had to search for your clothes in your closet, the door was open.”
“No, I don’t mind. Thank you.” I said, taking my old clothes from her. “Why did you remove my sunflower dress and make me wear your pink gown? Please don't misunderstand me; I am flattered by your generosity. It’s just that you don’t have to. I mean, Blayden wore his old clothes.”
The diminutive woman looked at me with wide eyes. “Why? They were too tight! Honestly, you can’t walk around looking like that! Don’t get me wrong; I am a woman who respects women's choices of clothing but there are times you need to dress modestly."
I gazed at her and giggled.
“I’m sorry did I say something funny?” Ms. Ocus asked, raising her eyebrows.
“No, you didn’t.” I giggled, covering my mouth. "It's just that you remind me of my mother. She talks and acts like you.”
She blushes then smiles. “Well, an old friend of mine once said “all mothers think the same” and I never believed her. But after hearing this, I guess I was wrong."
Both Ms. Ocus and I smiled at the thought of agreeing. I feel warmth in my chest and happiness inside me. I feel I can trust her, ask her to help me in a difficult situation I’m in.
Before I could say anything, her hand lifted my top. “I love this top, but I find it odd. I never saw a top design like that before. Especially, theses peculiar patterns.”
“Patterns?” I ask, looking at my summer top.
“Yes, patterns.” She repeated. "On this top, there are some strange pictures. What is it supposed to be? I like the yellow circles but why are the thick green lines sticking out?”
I looked at what she was pointing at then stared at her in shock. Her finger landed on a pineapple picture.
“Oddie, why are you looking at me like that?" the diminutive woman asks, stepping back.
“My name is Odette.” I corrected her. “And what you’re telling me is you have never seen a pineapple?”
She stares at me with a dense gaze. “Pineapple? Is this what the shape is called?”
Her response made my eyes widen. “It’s NOT a shape, it’s a FRUIT! How could you not know or see a pineapple?”
“What? It's a fruit?! It's the first time I've seen or heard a pineapple." she replied. “Tell me, Oddie, where did you first learn about pineapples?”
“What? Where do I know about pineapples?" I asked. "Everyone knows pineapples. It grows everywhere even in Canada.”
Ms. Ocus looked at me confused. “And where is Canada?”