It did not take long until the small lake appeared before us, first viewable as a small pond in between the maze of trees. It was oddly fascinating to see the world from Williams height, but rather scary at the same time. Everything looked so tiny from up where I was being held. Forcing myself in an attempt to picturing myself down there, and how that would look.
It was almost as if I had entered another world. Williams world I reminded myself. Threes taking the proportion of low bushes more than standing as tall trees used to, shading the forest floor. The cold wind which rose above the treetops rustled my hair once more, creating an even messier state to it. In the end, I had to hold some of it up at my cheek in order to keep it away from my eyes.
I was still leaned against Williams chest when his walk suddenly came to an end, legs still hidden at the end of the forest in between the leaves and twigs. Did he not want to walk anymore? I turned around and looked up at him, being met with a thoughtful expression as if he was asking what to do next. His eyes were on me before I have managed to even turn around.
His hair was draping over the front of his shoulders as he looked down at me. Bangs falling down from behind his ear to hang in front of one of the blue orbs to which my own eyes were drawn. I found myself smile up at him once his slightly opened lips offered me a soft smile of compassion to my previous state. The mark across his face was slowly fading. Suprize given to me since the mark seemed to have been more like a scar than an actual wound. One did not normally loose scars so easily. Good thing though that it seemed to be what was going to happen.
Without the mark, only minor things give away the sort of feeling that he did not belong to the outside world. Size of course was inevitable, but it seemed as if every encounter made him all more human. At least that was the feeling I had. Bit by bit, he was finding his own person, or so to speak. Even as he probably had no idea of what I wanted to do, or where to turn next, it was a certain calmness which lingered within his eyes. As if he knew that everything would turn out the right way.
As if life was that simple…
I looked up at him for a while, smiling back as his warmth which seemed to contaminat my own state of mind.
Leaning my head, I thought back at what Jeremy had told me. That William might actually be a “djinn”. What did that even mean? Was he not… human? Surely he seemed human, in his own William-ish kind of way…
I recalled that I had heard the word before, but could not really place it, desperately wanting to meet this “Herence” once more in order to get some more answers on things. Like, how could William exist in the first place, or how a physical being could just go and shrink as he did.
Feeling my own hunger linger in the end of my thoughts I was caught in a troubled expression, wondering when he had eaten the last time. My eyes flung open and met up at his. A move which startled William a little. Fading the heartwarming smile and turning him into a living questionmark by the second.
For what I knew, last time he ate was back in the town. When I had literally fed him myself! The poor thing had to be starved by now, having… I counted to myself. Was it four or five days maybe? Man… how could he even stand at the moment? I felt a bit uneased though, summing up the things I knew so far. I had seen him eat meat. Horse and… well, yeah, human. Not really though. I had not literally seen him eat someone, I admitted, but there was no doubt that he had.
It was a fairly unpleasant topic to bring up to conversation, but who would I be if I ignored it. I could not just let him starve. There had to be a way…
I cleared my throat and pushed at his chest. Sweat tracing down my jawline. I wanted him to hold me a little bit more in front of himself, so that I could “talk” to him without staring up into his nose all the time. It was a rather weird position to tell the truth. William followed my wishes as he seemed to do most of the time, respecting my underdog position by listening to me at all times.
I fell back into his left palm where I had been held back at the house, and took some few steps back until I stood at the furthest edge of his palm. The soft texture of his hands was a bit troublesome to walk upon, but I managed to make my way across the hand even as he got to his knees once more, holding me almost in the exact level of the trees. The rustles of leaves moving as wind passed through provided our conversation with a pleasant background sound, and I could now pay my attention to William.
“Hm.. well then.” I had it.
Gesturing to my own stomach by placing a hand upon it, I took my other hand to my mouth. As my fingers met with my lips, I opened them slightly and tried to look a little miserable at the same time. I really did not know how I would gesture “hunger” in any other way, so I had to give it a try.
Uttering the word “hunger”, I then pointed at William, backing up a little as I looked up. Biting my lip I just hoped that he had somewhat understood me. What else could it mean? Right?
Williams eyebrows sunk a little as his eyes narrowed into smaller lines. With no doubt, I could at least understand that he was reflecting on my signs. Which was a good thing. As I had just been thinking, I did not even need to call for his attention in order to be seen. At least not when it was just the two of us here.
William, who was sort of leaned forward above me, opened his mouth as if wanting to tell me his answer.
“Hunger?” He said. Voice lower than what I had expected.
At least he had the right tune to make it a question. So I looked around me, trying to make up a scenario. His palm felt warm against my own when I fell on all fours at the edge, leaning out to collect some leaves from the nearest tree. If I mimicked “eating” he would probably understand. I wondered if he was hungry, as simple as that. If he wanted to eat.
What he wanted to eat, or could, was for the next session I figured and wiped away the small drop of sweat from my chin. I smiled as I managed to reach, and got hold of some leaves. Figuring that I could continue what I was up to once seated. However, when I turned around, I was in for a shock.
William was leaning forward, jaw on top of the hand in which I was standing. His eyes were shut, and I could feel how the hand was slowly tilting forwards. I fell backwards against his fingers, gasping as his lips closed in on me. What was he going to do to me!?
“William?!” I shouted at him as I crawled up at his towering digits, fencing me in with ease.
Before I could hear an answer to my alarm, Williams´ lips were pinning me down into his hand. The warmth of his breath escaped me as soon as he began to inhale, forcing me to push against his cheek by all my might as he stayed put, lips slightly open across my chest.
My mind screamed of regret for bringing up the subject, but only a minute later, I felt myself being allowed some more space. William lifted his hand up so we could see each other clearly and looked happily into my eyes. I on the other hand, was still trying to hide in between his fingers, frozen to what he had just done to me. My heart had literally skipped some beats.
“Hunger” William repeated, and then shook his head a little before brushing some hair back behind his ear.
I just stared at him, panting. What was he saying? I could not understand him at all.
“What?!” I snapped. Leaning forward, hands holding me steady at place.
“What was that?! Can you MAYbe explain!?”
What I had just witnessed, I had no idea what to make of. Was he not hungry suddenly? He had to be. I was still alive!
William dropped his winning expression. Bringing up his other hand, one finger reaching out for me. In frustration, I wanted to believe that he meant no harm, and thus I stayed fixed at my spot. I wanted my explanation.
“Hungry” William said, gesturing to himself. He then poked my chest. Even with care, a small amount of air left me as his finger nudged me, and I watched his finger for a short while until he recalled for my attention.
“Hunger!” He the said, shaking his head.
“You make no sense William. I´m sorry.” I exclaimed and fell back.
“Hunger? No hunger? I do not get you.”
I really could not puzzle this stuff together. So I tried to just make out the essential stuff by asking “hunger” again and swing my head a little in denial.
William smiled when I was done. Leaving me even more confused. Had he been hungry? No? He was not hungry anymore? Something here did not make sense… At all.
“Okey! ... Well then, we… We'll just leave that for now I think. Sorry for bringing it up so suddenly...” I trailed off and scratched my head to his expression. A gigantic finger broke my eye field of leaves, and I fell to the side as it once more poked my upper left body.
“William, no! I don't understand, I'm sorry!” I exclaimed. “Don't just do that. Remember your strength for heaven's sake.” I looked up at him, a little angered by his strange behaviour.
Sure, I could understand that not getting across was frustrating, but he had to drop it now. I did not understand and could not see a way in which I could ever do.
“Whatever that old man knows about you, I sure hope he can help me with this one.”
“I´m sorry Will, I just can´t...” My voice broke at the end as he watched me from over the edge of his hand. Eyes at the same level as mine by now.
“William… please. Don't be sad. I´m fine. Just a little, startled. Okey?”
“William?” I played as he broke eye contact, looking down onto the forest floor. His other hand was gone for now, to somewhere I could not see from my position. It really got to me, the fact that he looked so sad for what had just happened. I did not like making him sad. It just was not me. I wanted me to be his purpose to be happy.
“William?” I tried again. Playing at the final “a” in his name in order to catch his attention.
“Hah, grownup... Sure. You are just a giant wimp it seems. Are you really that sad?”
A short moment passed.
I picked up on a small twitch at the corner of his mouth. Whatever mood he had been stuck in for a brief moment, my voice got to him. I could tell that he was just trying to keep his poker face at the moment. He was not sad. Or at least not sad enough to resist me.
All I could to was fniss to his week attempt of trying to look bitter. So easy to see through.
He looked up again, admitting his defeat it seemed. I was still sitting rather close to the edge of his palm, but did not notice his movements until his other hand once more came up over the edge. With his right hand, he carefully enfolded me and stood back up again, leaving my feet hanging bare.
The thought struck me. Did I have shoes earlier? I was used to walking around barefoot by now, but still. The thought soon left me as William walked up to the beach. Inhaling calmly he looked around before letting me down onto warm sand.
I looked around just as he had done, hoping for no one to be around. I really wanted to be alone with Will at the moment. Staying on that thought, I then shook my head and turned to him. My feet were sunken in the sand, but it was nothing to what William seemed to be experiencing. For as I turned, I was standing only a few meters ahead of him, staring back at his feet. Also bare, of course.
It was fascinating how many times my feeling about this whole thing could shift back and forth as it did. Scared, not scared, amazed, terrified… it only seemed to continue in the same pattern. Would it ever just stay the same? Could I ever feel a hundred percent calm around him? Due to the size of his feet, I did not dare to look up, feeling a bit uneased by the sight before me. Instead I turned around quickly to walk up to the old bench. I needed to refocus.
My aim for this was to clean up a little. Both of us, in my intention. If I went first, surely he would follow as the observant companion he seemed to be.
I left my clothes, keeping my pants as it felt a bit weird to be naked by the company. My rags needed a nice scrub also, I noticed, as I looked them over, but I wanted to relax and take care of myself first.
Focusing on my own calmness, I walked down to the edge of sand.
Not even trying the water out, I walked out till I had water up to my knees. A joy against my sore skin I soon noticed.
Smiling to the sensation of almost lukewarm water, I squeked in excitement, dropped every worry I had and ran until the depth forced me to take my first swim in ages. The calmness, warm fresh water in the middle of a forest, like this, was nothing like where I had bathed before, and I was truly loving the moment I was given.
I turned to call William into the water, but stopped my splashes as I found him. Bending my head back upwards I found myself being almost underneath him as I had only made it about a “William-foot” out into the lake. I had to lean my neck back so much it almost hurt.
He laughed to my surprise as I looked up at him with a sort of frustrated awe-fascinated expression. Folded down so that he was balancing on his feet, he brought a hand forward and splashed the water next to me in a playful manner. Instinctively, I splashed some water back at his hand as he tried to make his point, but found it utterly useless. At least William found it funny, as I could hear his booming voice from above, laughing childishly.
“Come on! Stop that now, you made your point!” I laughed as he seemed to find no limit to this little game. According to my demand, understood or not, William stopped.
I had to look away as he stood back up again, grinding the sand underneath the weight it was all too much of him for me to want to see from this angle. I wanted to keep my spirit up. So I waited and swam further out, focusing on the randomly fallen trees at the other side. Due to their odd formation, and my search for something to focus on, they caught my attention. Like the game “picking-pin” most of the trees seemed to have fallen down rather randomly over there. Stange.
I heard fabric rustle from up behind somewhere before the calm surface was disturbed by my fellow friend as he entered. Only two steps of so later, I picked up on his ankles, passing by as he his legs swung by. He seemed to be walking out in search of deeper waters. Shorts still on, he let himself fall down as the water finally reached his hips.
He was walking so calmly that it seemed fine for me to stay where I was, but my mind was stuck elsewhere. I was not just seeing things before. His scars were gone. All of them.
I kept myself in place, tramping water as I observed what I had just noticed. But I had no clue how all of this worked no matter how I tried to figure it out. He was burned. The burns gave his scars, lots of scars. To have them suddenly disappear, no, healed? That was strange on a whole new level.
“William?” I called.
As he turned, I had to focus a few moments on keeping my position, but then found my bare feet stroke across a rising palm underneath. I looked up as the edges of his hands formed what almost seemed like a bathtub around me. My very own puddle, how nice, I smiled and stroke my hair back so that I could see more clearly.
I tried not to stand in his palms even as they rose, and then ended up lying to my side as he lifted his hands just above the lake.
I looked up at him, puzzled by his action. What was he up to now? As much as I wanted a calm moment for myself as he had scared me just a little bit earlier, I could not deny that interacting with William gave me a certain glimpse in the eye. Same for him it seemed. The fascination of someone to much larger than myself was probably more of an excuse than a fact, for William though, I could not know.
So far he had not been much for childish games, picturing a child with a lesser being, poking or pulling limbs… I shuddered at the thought. William was not like that. He seemed more interested in me as a whole. Allowing me space to act out whatever I pleased for most of it.
As he brought me higher up to his face, just as I predicted, I used the little water I had in access to splash it up at his face. Blue eyes flung open in surprise, and I had to readjust quickly as one of his hands folded over and then left to access his urge to wipe the water away.
I pointed up at him and almost fell back before recollecting myself. He was just staring at me with narrow eyes as water dripped from his thick, black lashes. As if trying to tell me that he was at the one with higher power at the moment, he poked my shoulder before standing up.
Noticing my loss of balance, his other hand instantly assisted my side. Turning a poke into an armrest.
“Micah?” William asked once standing, looking down at the water before looking back up at me. I followed, analysing his expression as our eyes met again. One of my hands was still held in some water, which called for my attention as the blue orbs looked down to it.
I formed a small bowl with my hands and brought up some water in front of me. Leaning my arms on top of my folded legs I gave him the word in its simplicity. “Water” I said and then let the water fall through my fingers, dripping down into the remaining puddle in which I was seated.
“WATER.” William said with a satisfied smile, looking around him where he stood. “Water.”
I got stuck with watching him as he examined the word. Surely he had the will to learn! I felt almost like a proud mother, teaching her kid their first words. Or, word. The first one he had sort of got by himself it seemed. It was both fun and exciting in the same way to watch him learn, even though I had not focused on learning him much so far.
I needed to step it up a bit…
My amazement morphed into the worst blush I had yet to experience, as he looked back at me. His eyes sparkling like the water underneath the now risen sun. He smiled back at me as he without doubt picked up on it.
If it was not his hands that made me warm, I had to finally admit that it was his smile which had this sort of impact on me. I looked up at him, only having his eyes a little bit higher up, when all support from below suddenly ceased.
For one brief moment, I was admitting my feelings. Basking in the moment of something so heartwarming.
By the next one, gravity was grasping hold of me and I was soon met with the obdurate surface of water as I fell from higher than ever before. Colliding with the water against my right shoulder, it stung in my ear as the water seemed to act more as a brick road than liquid.
My mouth and throat was suddenly filled with water, and I could no longer see where I was. Everything seemed dark and blurry, as did my mind. What was going on?
I lost sense of direction, mind blank as I suddenly wondered what I had been doing at the moment.
Strong hands grabbed hold of my upper arms, and I felt how someone was forcing my sinking body against the surface.
My mind started to come back into consciousness, and I was raging in panic as I realized my loss of air. I had no explanation for what was going on, but I was drowning.
I met with the surface in as much of a surprise as when I had seen William disappear before my eyes, just a moment ago, and coughed violently. I did not know the feeling of existing without air, and so my adrenaline pulsed, blinding me as I tried to retake the air which I had lost. Tears mixing into the water in which most of me was submerged.
“Micah! Micah!” Someone shouted in panic at me.
It was as if someone stopped the time.
I only managed to get a glimpse of my abductor before I screamed out. Setting time into motion again as an explosive sound pierced my ears.
I was once more completely submerged by water when my mind pleaded for this horror to end.
“WILLIAM!!!” I screamed, but only bubbles gave me away.