(sorry, she refused to wear her black gear for the photo shoot)
“By the cringe!” Klukelunnen looked up at the giant that, blocking the door, had cast the attic into a deeper dark. Female. She must be, aye, by her voice and her legs.
She moved. And suddenly, magically, there was light.
“You …?” Flabbered, he swallowed hard, and looked up. And looked away as the fierce light from an inverted bowl dazzled him.
But now with the light he could see the gigantic creature—but nay, it was him made preternaturally small. And, aye, it was female, no doubt of that. Very curvaceous. He gawked. In all his long life he’d never touched. Not a giantess, gnome, nixie nor pixie, cousin, aunt, nor any other. But he did like to look. Her clothes were black, all black—jet and polished till gleaming. And they fitted where they touched, and they touched … everywhere, as if painted onto her uncluttered flesh. But where to start?
He ran his eyes up the height of her—he may have dribbled—till he found her face. Set within the asymmetry of her sapphire locks, such disappointment. Bone-white, not even a hint of classical ivory. And her lips, though deliciously full, gleamed of that same blue stone—stone, not flesh—and so cold that frost glistened upon them.
Now come on, Klukelunnen, he chivvied himself, it shows you and the lass share a clan. And haven’t the Nixies nagged you of late to find a female to wed. He grimaced at the thought, acidic belly turned to bilious. He knew what ‘wedding’ entailed, and he wasn’t ready for that. He wouldn’t be ready for another Age, at least, so they could toss that thought along with their cabers.
Neither were her eyes the sapphires expected. A cross-breed then? Her eyes, buried into the blackness of her eye sockets, glinted deep emerald. Above them, her brow-ridges, in mimic of her wide, amulet-hung belt, were studded silver.
“You lit the attic without saying a spell!” he said in a rush. “But what’s a robot, and who or what is Jace? And … who are you?
“Neat!” she said, spreading a wide sapphire smile.
“Nice to meet you, Neat,” he said and offered a leg though he wasn’t well-practised. The full skirts of his deep-blue coat fell around him, somewhat spoiling the effect. “Myself, I am Klukelunnen. You do magic?”
Of course, she did magic; she’d lit-up the attic. He tried to smooth his blunder with a wide smile of his own. But magic: she could return him to his proper size before Grandma discovered his doings.
Thinking of Grandma, he wondered where she might be. Why hadn’t she warned him of this ‘company’. Was it done intentionally, pushed by the Nixies, to get him and this Neat together, like subtly?
But for all his courtesy, Neat didn’t answer him.
Instead, she turned about and called down the stairs again. “Hey, Jace, this is ace. It talks and everything. You’re getting a patent on it, yeah? Hells, Jace, with this you’ve your fortune made. And you still at Uni.”
Klukelunnen’s smile receded. It talks and everything—It?
“My pardons, Neat, but …” How was he to put this not to offend? Were he his normal size it wouldn’t bother him. But here he was, a diminutive fellow, and she with the magic. Though he’d draw a line at grovelling, yet a little cajoling … “It appears we have yet to, um … to connect.”
“You mean, hook-up?” She laughed and again called down the stairs. “Jace—really—this is ace.”
Klukelunnen drew in a breath and drew himself up to his highest height—which he reckoned might be equal to that of a kitten-cat. “My pardons, Neat, if I offend but … ONE: I am no one’s ‘doing’ but my own. A spell gone awry has shrunk me to this ‘manikin’ size. TWO: I am not an ‘it’ but a ‘he’, as much as you are a ‘she’. And THREE: Aye, I can ‘talk and everything’, so would you mind addressing yourself to me instead of this … Ace-Jace.” He added a smile. Really, he did not want to offend.
His words gained a result. Neat bopped down low, her legs bent at sharp angle, the better, so he thought, to be on a level with him. With a sapphire-nailed finger she beckoned him closer.
Finally, they now were communicating, one to the other. He edged closer, mindful of her personal boundary, an important factor in the Stone clan. She reached out a hand. He offered his—and hers whipped around him, low on his waist, and grasped him as in a granite grip.
Next he knew, he was off the floor and swiftly up, soon to be greeted, eye-to-eye. He didn’t shriek, he needed her magic. He smiled his best … And the Stone bitch, she still didn’t speak to him.
She turned so sudden he lost his ruby-red beret. His blue-black hair, jolted free, swirled round his face to settle like a curtain and blur his view. The urge to kick and squirm and to demand she set him down was strong. But she had the magic and his own was lost. So he held his tongue.
Then … horrors!
Oh, horrors of horrors of horrors! No!
She was heading downstairs—with him still clutched in her hand!
Neither did she descend just one flight. Nay, twas three! Twas four! Twas five! Five flights, five levels, five floors! And each with oddities that he should’ve noted but it all sped past that fast he couldn’t see where he was. Except that this wasn’t Grandma’s House. Grandma’s House had spiral stairs not these sharp squares that turned, then downed, and turned again.
He was scared—terrified. What if she dropped him? What if he fell? What if he shattered again? Already his beauty was marred; he’d never survive the shame.
And she wasn’t peaceably, properly, walking downstairs but was skipping. Skipping! Held in her hand, he swayed, was jolted, had his head cracked twice against the wall, was one moment up, the next hung low. His belly soon grew rebellious and uppity.
His head hit wood with a sickening crack—but at least Neat no longer skipped down the stairs. The wood gave way. Ah, now he saw, that wood was a door. Beyond it light streamed in blinding intensity. “What the crazies—?” There were no lamps as he could see, not even a magic bowl, this time, hanging above him.
“Hey, Fleur, I’ve told you before about you crashing in when I’m … What the fuck is that?”
Klukelunnen groaned. “I am not a ‘that’. I am Klukelunnen, and I have to admit it, my spell’s gone all wrong.”
Gone all wrong? Gone very wrong. Oh, aye, the spell had moved him someplace other, he wouldn’t deny it. For of a certainty, this wasn’t Grandma’s House. But moved him to where? And had it truly shrunk him to small? Or was this sapphire-lipped, jet-legged Neat Fleur truly a giant?
And there he’d been hoping to plug-in to her magic. Instead, he’d plugged into a barrel of shit!