Bobby stepped in before Dean could retort, able to see the ire visibly rising as Mina expertly picked at Dean’s pride in what he did. “Whatever you do with your everlasting, that’s your business. We’re here to ‘discuss’ a proposition with you.”
She merely glanced at Dean’s silver colt, the sun reflecting off the elegant engravings. The doubt was easy to see. “Proposition?”
“We didn’t say it was optional,” Dean growled.
Mina’s grin widened. “Go ahead Dean. Propose to me.”
Thomas hummed thoughtfully even as he lowered his hand to the table. His tiny passenger, still covering his face, wasn’t prepared for the hand to tilt. He tumbled again, landing on hands and knees while Thomas deliberated.
Oscar looked up tentatively while the answer came. “He did take a little work to get him healthier. And like you said, not many are caught in their prime. Fifty five.”
Oscar pushed himself to his feet and shuffled backwards. The cold demeanor from both humans was almost tangible. His gaze fell to the camera in Mina’s hand and he shuddered. Cameras were bad news for someone like him. He took a few more steps backwards.
A huge hand dropped behind him and Oscar squeaked in surprise. Thomas pointedly pushed him back to where he’d dumped him to the table. “Don’t wander,” rumbled overhead, and Oscar winced, but didn’t try to step back again.
Mina appeared to consider as she pointed the camera at Oscar– or Oliver, as she knew him. The device whirred to life, the lens slipping out from between two sliding planes of metal as the glass eye winked at Oscar in the light.
The camera flashed, and Mina was putting it away in her purse. “I suppose for one so tame it will be worth it,” she commented. “Very well. Fifty-five.”
Oscar covered his eyes too late for the flash, blinded for a few seconds. Even after his time in captivity, his eyes were more adjusted to the dark within the walls and floorboards back at the motel. He couldn’t have prepared for the sudden burst of light aimed right at him when he was stuck staring nervously at the camera’s eye.
“We have a deal,” Thomas said, already taking most of his attention off Oscar. Oscar glanced up, hearing the greed in the man’s voice. Whatever was happening to him was almost over, and soon he’d belong to Mina instead. Thomas solidified it with a smirk and an added “Appreciate your business, as always.”
The transaction had happened so quickly. Too fast, too sudden, much like humans always were. Oscar brushed more tears away from his eyes and his legs wobbled until he fell to his knees on the table. He could try to run now, while the humans were dealing with that precious paper they loved so much, but something told him his luck wouldn’t allow it. He could only watch.
“Keep bringing me little gems like this one and you’ll keep being rewarded,” Mina assured him. The last item to come out of her purse was a thick stack of unmarked bills, provided by her benefactors for just this purpose. “You can let Noriko know he’ll have a good home… in time.” She held out the cash.
That drew a chuckle out of Thomas as he took the money. “She’ll perk right up in no time,” he assured. Then, he idly set the box Oscar arrived in on the table so he could count his money and stash it in a pocket. The box landed barely a few inches away, and Oscar flinched away from it with a startled noise.
Immediately after his reaction, Oscar couldn’t resist the temptation to crawl behind the box, putting it between himself and the towering humans. With an imaginary shield in place, his breathing shuddered and he choked on more sobs. What would be a familiar motel room setting loomed around him, a faraway ceiling and unfamiliar decor pressing in on him.
Thomas’ shadow on the wall made its way towards the door, and Oscar’s eyes stung again.
Oscar tried to squirm away, tried to keep himself in his protective curl. It was no use. Even with simple nudging, humans were far more powerful than he, and he found himself pinned and staring up.
The magnifier gave him a startling view of a green eye, cold and not at all interested in his discomfort. He shook and his breathing was ragged, but nothing relented. Oscar hesitantly placed his hands against the finger, giving it a shaky push, but of course he couldn’t budge it. He shuddered and ducked his head again.
Mina ignored Oscar’s struggles, going over him with a crucial eye. “He looks healthy enough,” she assessed. “Could probably use a few more meals in him. It’s amazing how little these gems can eat yet they still get by fine.”
One after the other, she pinched each of his arms and both his legs between her fingers to see that he was uninjured. She had enough training in handling the smaller folk to be able to find any surface injuries, though once she reached her destination with him, he would undergo a more rigorous examination to ensure he was worth as much as possible.
“Small but cute,” Mina said. “And a good age. Not many get caught in the prime of their lives.”
Thomas almost chuckled. “Some get lucky. Even this one was skinnier when I first found him,” he admitted. After some time feeding Oscar multiple meals a day, he had finally stopped looking skinny enough to waste away, but not by much. “I think we did him a favor, to be honest.”
Oscar looked up then, an incredulous look on his face. As always with Thomas, he only met indifference. His breathing quickened and tears filled his eyes again. As soon as Mina was done pinching his limbs, he tried to scoot himself away from her hands. “S-stop,” he managed to say, his voice quiet and wavering.
Mina gave no sign that she heard Oscar’s plea. “What’s his name?” she asked briskly, pulling away and closing up the pocket magnifier. This time, she withdrew a small black journal that fit in the palm of her hand, quickly opening it to the middle and brushing aside the red ribbon that marked her place.
The pages were worn and covered in tight script from a steady hand. A fountain pen was next to appear from the bag, and Mina looked expectantly at Thomas.
Thomas glanced down, searching his memory. As usual, Noriko had asked the little thing’s name all of one time and then proceeded to call him little baby or something like it ever since. He barely remembered what it was, but he wouldn’t be cruel and pass along the pet name. He shrugged, jostling the little guy on his palm. “Oliver.”
Oscar looked up at Thomas, disbelieving but at the same time not surprised. Thomas had only been in charge of bringing Oscar his food and intimidating him into eating it. Noriko was the one who spent time with him and she’d only asked once.
He turned to watch the pen in motion as the wrong name went into that book, the smallest one he’d ever seen and still too big for him to carry. A protest nearly rose to his throat, but trembling fear stopped it, and instead Oscar covered his face with his hands as more tears came.
“Hey,” Thomas said, curling a finger inward to nudge pointedly at the little guy’s back. His voice lacked any sign of real comfort. “Keep it together.”
“You can leave him on the table,” Mina said dismissively as she closed the notebook. More notes would be taken later on, along with the amount paid for him, and in the future, how much she made when she sold him to her foreign clients. She set the pen down overtop the black leather cover.
This time, it was a camera she pulled from her purse, small enough to fit in the palm of her hand. The development of digital technology had certainly made life easier when it came to documenting the small folk that got themselves caught.
“How does… Fifty grand sound for him,” Mina said idly as she turned on the camera.
The sound of Thomas knocking at the door died off, leaving him standing in the cooling afternoon air. The distant bustle of people at the out-of-the way hotel the meeting with Mina was set up for reached Oscar in his small box, all the sounds of life in the human world as they went about their day, never knowing the pain he endured.
Cars drove by on the distant road, birds shrieked offense at the restaurant goers that didn’t share their food. A placid setting for Oscar’s life as it continued spiraling out of his control.
Metal scraped on the inside of the door and a latch clicked open, and the tall door swung wide, a warm grin to greet Thomas at the ready.
“Thomas, dear,” Mina said as she beckoned him into the room. “Punctual as always.”
Thomas gave a noncommittal grunt in reply as he entered the room hastily. He knew as well as Mina that it was much better for their meeting to be as discreet as possible. “Traffic was on our side,” he quipped once he was inside.
Inside the box held in his hand, Oscar shrank into his corner as far as he could. Thomas was always so casual. His familiar tone with the new human settled ice in Oscar’s middle. The man had done this many times before.
The box suddenly lifted up to eye level and Thomas spoke again. “Nori got a little attached to this one so he might be a little spoiled, but I don’t foresee many problems with him.”
“We can always fix that,” Mina said dismissively. She double-locked the door once more to keep her business private, standard procedure for when she operated out of hotel rooms. It was more low class than she was used to, but whatever got the job done these days.
There was a stylish purse sitting on the small table set to the side of the door, and Mina went over to the bag, slipping an elegantly manicured hand inside. “Let’s take a look at him now, shall we?” she said, her voice steel beneath the deceptive warmth she exuded.
Oscar shuddered, and then let out a startled squeak as the box moved around him yet again. This time, the lid lifted away, bringing more fresh air than the simple holes cut in the top and more light from the motel room’s lamps.
Oscar prepared for a hand to come into view above him, but instead everything outside the box shifted quickly again. He couldn’t stop his tumble as it all turned sideways and then upside down, releasing him onto Thomas’ palm instead. He landed with a quiet breath, and then immediately scrambled to curl himself into a protective ball again.
“Definitely an easier one to deal with,” Thomas commented, almost sounding bored. He’d met Mina enough times to have something of a routine with visits like this; this time, he didn’t even need to hold the little guy down.
“Mm, yes,” Mina said mildly. She withdrew her hand from her purse, a small pocket magnifier pinched between her fingers. “A very mild one compared to your last batch.”
She leaned in close to Thomas’ hand. “He’s small,” she commented offhand as she beheld the curled ball. “There, there, little gem,” she said softly, reaching her empty hand for him. With expert practice, she managed to get a slim finger into his curl. “No need to be so scared, you won’t be hurt here.”
The words were kind but there was no empathy in her voice. She gently coaxed the tiny guy with her fingers, the magnifier held out so she could see him clearly.
It never helped to count the days since he was captured. Oscar’s waking hours blended together in a huge nightmare that even sleep couldn’t erase. His bruises from his first capture faded and healed. His ankle, twisted and sore after he tried only once to escape, improved with care until it too showed no sign of the hurt. Oscar had memories as effective as any scar to remind him of the painful failure.
Noriko and Thomas kept him physically healthy. He received food every day, multiple times a day, and wasn’t left alone until he ate his fill. They didn’t like his habit of stashing food for later. Noriko would scold him even as she took away whatever he managed to hide.
She’d made a lot of clothes for him. She had fun seeing him in new outfits and could never resist a new one. Oscar was well familiar with her squeal of delight. It always came right before she swept him up in a hand to kiss the top of his head or hold him close in a hug.
Oscar really was her favorite. Sometimes, his eyes brimmed with tears when he thought about her. How he was getting used to her.
Used to belonging to her.
And then the day came when that changed.
“Wake up, little baby!” Noriko’s cheerful greeting preceded her entrance to the room. Oscar opened his eyes and sat up blearily as the lights switched on.
She had something in her hand. Oscar scooted off of his bed cushion to stand just as Noriko reached his dollhouse cage. Her free hand reached out and the glass front swung wide before he could see what she carried with her. Instead, he was gathered up in a gentle fist.
Noriko lifted him out of the cage and Oscar kept his eyes lowered. He squirmed only a little, aiming for more comfort for his arms. The pressure in the slender fingers around him rose and fell in reaction to it. As he rose, a breeze tousled his messy hair (Noriko never could tame it, no matter how often she scrubbed at it with fruity smelling shampoos).
Held before her face, Oscar had a clear view of her fond smile. A sort of sadness touched her eyes and he waited for the reason. Asking never had any effect. She’d say what she wanted to as if he hadn’t said anything at all.
“Oh, my sweet little one, you really are my favorite,” she cooed. Oscar cringed inwardly. He was only her favorite because he was smaller than most and easier to control
He cringed outwardly when her hand moved forward and allowed her to kiss the top of his head as she’d done many times before. Oscar, locked in her fist, could only wince until the brief gesture was over. His stomach flipped as he suddenly descended.
She lowered him towards what he could now see was a small box, made of cardboard and lined at the bottom with a cushion much like the one he slept on. Oscar could do nothing but watch it come closer until he was released a few inches over the cushion for a soft landing. He pushed himself up to his hands and knees and shook his head, dazed by the quick transition.
He collapsed as Noriko picked up the box again. When he looked up, she was sporting an endeared grin. “Oh, little sweetie. You be good for your new mommy, okay?”
Oscar’s eyes widened in confusion and he flinched. The lid of the box, cut with holes for air, was placed on top of his latest prison. His squeak of alarm died in his throat as she began walking again, carrying him away. He had to huddle in one corner to try to avoid being jostled around.
Outside the box, he could hear Noriko and Thomas getting ready. His prison swayed and jolted as they carried him around or set him aside to pick up something else, but he couldn’t see what was going on.
One name came up, and it drowned out everything else, even the car doors slamming and the engine of Thomas’ car purring to life. They were going to meet her.
“He got in the floor,” Noriko explained, her disappointed voice muffled by the ceiling of wood over Oscar’s head. Some boards creaked under the humans’ weight.
“Lemme guess,” her boyfriend said, amusement in his tone. “Left him up on the table? You know they’re good climbers, Nori.”
There was a sound of a playful slap on a shoulder. “Just get him out, please?”
Oscar limped faster. The floor overhead creaked and groaned as the huge human man crossed the room. If he were to glance behind, he was sure he’d see the light from the knot in the wood winking out under a massive shadow.
Oscar was over halfway across the room from there. They’d never find him once he got into the walls on the other side. He was so close.
Or so he thought.
Up ahead was a sight that made the blood rush out of Oscar’s face. Cold fear washed over him.
Wedged in between the support boards was another block of wood, perpendicular to the rest. It blocked passage further in the room, and Oscar could tell from looking at it that it’d be too heavy to push even if he didn’t have an injured ankle.
There was a smiley face scratched into it with faded ink.
A trap. The floor was a trap.
Oscar stood frozen, favoring one leg. The humans moved around above him. They were ready for him to attempt an escape. Noriko never once worried about losing track of him. Humans were more powerful and that inked smiley face bore into him while heavy footsteps approached overhead. Tears stung in his eyes.
A wrenching sound tore through the air and light burst down on him. Oscar looked up in shock and tried to throw himself backwards, out of the light, as Noriko’s boyfriend pulled a floorboard right out of its base.
Oscar’s ankle protested, and he fell. Seconds later, a hand snatched in at him, and he was pinned. The dust dug into his cheek from the pressure on his back.
Then, the powerful fingers dragged him backwards. Oscar swept through the dust until fingertips the size of his head pinched the back of his shirt. With no further warning, they yanked him upwards.
Oscar tried to curl into himself as much as he could as he soared up out of the floor in a precarious grip. The room whirled around him and the floor waited below as the man held him up.
It didn’t take long for Noriko to snatch him in a fist and wrench him away. As her hand closed around him, Oscar finally yelped in pain.
“Oh, no, baby,” Noriko cooed, whisking Oscar up towards her face. She opened her fist to cradle Oscar in both hands, and all he could see through the jostling pain was her eyes and the straight black curtain of her hair.
“Did Thomas hurt you, little sweetie?” she prompted. Oscar shuddered and tried to curl into a ball on her palm. A single finger nudged at him and forced him to uncurl again. “Tell me where you’re hurt.” There was no room for defiance in her tone.
Oscar sniffled and realized there were tears spilling from his eyes and tracking through the dust on his face. He shook all over, fear thrumming in every nerve. He really was just a little pet doll to these people. They knew he’d go for an escape and had a trap for him in there. It was all so overwhelming and he sobbed quietly.
Noriko expected an answer, so he lifted a shaky hand to brush at his eyes. His tears were grainy with dust, and his cheek stung from dragging along the ground. He met her dramatically concerned gaze and then pointed to his sprained ankle without a word.
She gasped and held him even closer so she could observe the swelling. If he wanted, Oscar could reach up and touch her face from so close. Instead, he lay down in her hands and covered his face while more sobs shook his little shoulders.
“Ohhhh my gosh,” Noriko whispered, her voice almost breaking. “Thomas, you hurt him!”
Thomas grunted noncommittally. The floorboard clattered back into place. “He coulda got that any time after he scampered off. Lease now he won’t run off so easy.”
“Oh, you’re so awful,” Noriko scolded. Oscar hiccupped. Her voice was so loud and close.
A fingertip nudged at his side and rolled him over again. Noriko took advantage of Oscar’s surprised flail to unfold his fearful curl and pin him to her palm with a thumb. She walked out of the room, looking him over with pity. Oscar held back a whimper of pain and defeat while more quiet tears came.
“Oh, sweet pea,” Noriko said quietly. “Don’t worry. Mama’s gonna get you all cleaned up and then we can put some ice on it. Gotta help you heal up right for when it’s time to meet Mina.”
Oscar shivered as Noriko reached the sink in her cluttered kitchen. That name had come up again. Mina. Oscar didn’t know who she was. Just another human.
The water turned on with a metallic squeal of the faucet, and crashed into the chrome basin of the sink. Oscar pushed other thoughts away. His focus fixed on the water as Noriko, still cradling him in one hand, moved him inexorably towards the relentless stream.
Kara stared up into her dad’s big grey eyes, a match for her own. Where hers were bright and hopeful, his were worn and older, creases in his skin formed from the hard times they’d survived in the motel. Hard times that had taken away her mother, his loving wife.
Nodding, she didn’t say a word as he turned and darted away. Of course she trusted him. She would always trust him. Her daddy had taken care of her ever since she could remember. Thin and underfed, Christian put his daughter before himself in all things. If there wasn’t enough food to feed them both, he would fast to let her eat.
Still, she was underfed and needed more food to survive. The scarcity of food in this motel showed in the ribs he could see clear through her skin. Too thin. If he couldn’t find more for her to eat, she’d waste away to nothing.
He’d only just reached the table when the door of the motel room swung open with an ominous creak. Christian froze, and chose to dive behind the leg of a chair before the human spotted him.
It wasn’t check-in time yet, why were they here?
He had his answer seconds later, when a hand descended around him. He struggled. “No!”
One hand reached out, grasping at the air where he knew Kara was waiting for him as the fingers shut tight, trapping him.
“Looks like we’ve got another to show Mina.”
“Hopefully this time she wants to bargain. We can’t wait much longer before the cash runs out.”
“Whatever, dear. She’ll come, the moment we call her. She always does.”
Christian didn’t have time to puzzle these strange words before under him, a gaping black purse opened up and he found himself tumbling inside. He landed with a thud on his side, groaning as he kicked a strange black cylinder, almost as long as he was, away.
Darkness fell over him, but his eyes could make out the shadowed interior without a problem. Huge items were scattered about, human possessions that he didn’t care to understand.
All he cared about was two very worried grey eyes he could see in his mind’s eye, looking up at him with all the trust in the world.
I had to double check because I was certain I put Please on the list, but then it doesn’t really matter. I got an idea anyway.
AU: None of the current ones
A nightmare. This was a nightmare.
The sound of the worn plastic ice bucket slamming to the floor echoed in Oscar’s ears, and his eyes were wide with terror. A bruise was already forming on his forehead from slamming into a wall that hadn’t been there seconds before.
He was trapped. A human had spotted him while he ran desperately for cover in the motel room. They’d grabbed the ice bucket without a second thought, and in a few steps that covered distances Oscar would have to sprint for several seconds, stomped over to him.
The ground was still shaking. No, he realized, that’s just my knees.
Tears welled up in his eyes and raced down his cheeks. Oscar stood in carpet fibers that reached past his ankles, with almost no light leaking under the rim of the bucket. A circle of dim light ringed him in, an outline for how utterly trapped he was.
He hadn’t made it. After years of getting by on his own, keeping out of sight and collecting what he needed to survive, he hadn’t made it. It only took one failure to ruin everything, and the one failure had finally arrived.
Now, he was at the mercy of a human.
Light burst in from the opposite side of the container as it suddenly tilted upwards. Oscar whirled around, his cloth bag swinging with him and slamming into his side, heavy with the spoils he’d taken from the room. A breath caught in his throat and his shoulders hitched up with a new wave of adrenaline crashing through him like stormy waves on a rocky shore.
A hand with fingers bigger than his body slipped under the opening, blocking his escape route and inching towards him. Oscar could only watch, knees still shaking, as it came closer.
The first fingertip brushed against his chest and Oscar froze. Not an instant later, the hand lurched forward and that finger pressed into one side while a giant thumb closed in on the other, pinching around him and forcing the breath from his tiny, frail lungs. Oscar grimaced with pain.
More light washed over him now that he was secure in a pinch grip. The bucket was set aside and Oscar, stuck hopelessly in the casual strength of a single hand, shot into the air at the human’s whim. Air whipped at his messy brown hair and he closed his eyes, curling into himself as much as he could.
When he came to a stop, Oscar had his hands over his face. The human hummed thoughtfully, a deep, loud voice rumbling through his entire being. It was too much, too fast, too scary. Oscar sobbed and more tears came.
“Quit that,” the human ordered gruffly. Before Oscar could parse the words enough to understand that the order was for him, another pinch grip found him. Fingertips bigger than his head pinched roughly around one of his arms and tugged it away from his face.
He yelped in pain, and his other hand automatically braced against the pinch grip to try to free his arm. It was already bruising, he could tell. The human was too strong.
The human hummed again while Oscar sobbed, and then let go at last. Oscar held his hurt arm close to his chest, resisting the urge to cover his face again. Doing it once had gotten him hurt. He didn’t want to risk even worse consequences.
He dangled in the air like that for several seconds while the human looked him over, a cold and appraising look in those eyes. One fingertip nudged at one of his legs, propping it up to stare in disapproval at the cloth wraps he used for shoes. Then, it lifted up and mussed his mousey brown hair. Oscar squeaked in pain as it strained his neck.
“You’ll take some cleaning up,” the human noted, lifting Oscar higher. Oscar squealed with vertigo, finding himself now looking down at a huge human face, one that frowned at him like he was an interesting stone found on the ground.
Suddenly, a smirk appeared on the human’s lips. Oscar trembled at the sight of it and more tears coated his cheeks. He had never been seen by a human before, and now he understood why the idea scared him so much.
He was nothing to this man. He was just an object to pick up and observe, a toy. Nothing more.
A startled cry choked in his throat when the hand pinched around him dropped suddenly. Freefall wormed into his gut for a heartstopping second, and Oscar clung to the fingers around him despite the pain they caused in his ribs. His eyes shut tight for the brief moment.
Then it was over. The hand stopped moving, and then the grip around him relented.
Oscar landed in a heap on something hard and cold. The air escaped his lungs and he rolled over as motion assaulted him again. He looked upwards at a circular view of the ceiling, partially blocked by a human face peering in at him. The smell of cheap plastic surrounded him and he hiccuped.
He was in the ice bucket. Smooth sides that would resist any attempt to scramble up, the edge was over his head. With the human looking right at him, he wouldn’t have a chance to use his climbing thread to escape.
Not that it mattered. Once the human was finished walking, the bucket was dropped harshly onto what Oscar had to assume was the table. He jolted and then scrambled back, pressing against the wall of the container.
He didn’t know what the man had planned for him. It took him a second or two to find his voice.
“Please,” he managed to squeak out. Fear and despair coiled together in his tone, a hopeful appeal to the giant’s better nature.
All he got was another smirk. “Oh, you’ll be one of Mina’s favorites, I guarantee it,” he said, the cryptic words soaring over Oscar’s head.
Then, another circle loomed into view, and Oscar recognized the lid of the ice bucket just before it slammed into place overhead, echoing loudly in his ears and shutting him into total darkness.
Hmm, this is a tricky question. I do have female OCs, but it’s not likely they’ll play a large part in this story at any time. Beth and Isabelle aren’t likely to be seen again in the story, and Evelina wouldn’t fit. Unless the story goes for a few more (Supernatural) years, we won’t be seeing Charlie much either. Of course, Mina and Celeste can appear back in the story at any time, so there’s a possibility for you!