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I have a question, Cory.
Why are you all giants?
I suppose it must seem that way, with your small door in these large hallways. I don’t know. I hadn’t ever thought of myself as a giant.
Tehehe. That’s a funny answer.
Kekekeke. Never thought of yourself as a giant. Kekekahaha.
I haven’t. I’ve thought of myself as a human, with olive skin; almond eyes; short, black hair.
May I ask, what do you find so funny?
Everything’s funny! Being punched in the nose, being locked in your bedroom–kakkekeke.
Why is that funny?
Well, it’s a giant bedroom. So I crawled under the door! hahahahaHahahaHa.
Oh. Okay…what did you do then?
Oh no, I didn’t actually crawl under the door. Pssh. I was inside a giant’s body…oh…haha
I think I might know what that feels like. A little girl’s body?
I’m sorry, did I say something rude?
*sniff* I’m good at laughing. Not crying. hehe…*sniff*
Oh. Sometimes I feel better after I cry though.
I want to *sniff* be alone right now.
Well, I can go back to my room, but this is a house, with other people inside it. None of us are ever totally alone here.
*sniff* Maybe I can go outside then. Play in the snow. Hahaa…oh…
The floor shifted. Cory stopped breathing, cheek to the bumpy surface. The bumps expanded beneath him and he planted a hand beside his mouth, palm rolling with the bubbling metal. He sat up, alert, reaching a hand above his head, barely brushing the ceiling before it rose out of reach.
“Hello,” a voice said in the darkness. Cory froze. “Had some time to think about your actions?”
Cory blinked, flashing back to Ani’s boom and the sharp colors. They hadn’t spoken to this person before, had they? “There isn’t much to do here besides think,” he muttered, crossing Ripple’s arms.
The room lightened. Barely. Faint gray crossing into dark red. A figure in black armor, round helmet seeming to absorb the light, leaned against the opposite wall, arms on their hips. “Your friends are somewhat…troublesome. We had to move them.”
“Thanks for the info,” Cory cut in, tossing Ripple’s hair like Ripple might.
“I wasn’t telling you to be polite,” she set one boot against the wall. “There’s two ways I can do this. One, I threaten you with harming them. Two, I threaten them with harming you. Either way, I get to harm somebody so the others cooperate–”
“Right, right. Cooperate for what?” he narrowed his eyes like Ripple might.
She hesitated for the briefest moment. “Tell us where your escaped friends went.”
“Escaped? I thought you said you moved them,” Cory glared like Ripple might.
The soldier lowered her bent knee. “Two of them escaped, thanks to you. Thanks to you, we had to move your other friends,” she slowly crouched in front of Cory, light sheening off the dark helmet visor. “Personally,” she whispered, “I am looking forward to harming you.”
Cory held back the grin tugging at his lips, because Ripple wouldn’t grin. “Good luck with that.” Ripple probably wouldn’t say that.
“I won’t need it.”
The woman disappeared, leaving flashing afterimages on his eyelids. Cory surrounded himself in a glimmering glow, blinking rapidly to dispel the sharp colors. The room shrunk around him. “You think you can harm us?” he muttered. “You think you can hurt me deeper than I’ve already been hurt?”
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