Little Story Teller (an extract)
“Good night, little fellow.” Danny reached out to grab Dad’s hand and held it tight.
“We are right next door so don’t worry, you hear me?” Dad said reassuringly. Danny just kept his eyes locked on Dad’s never letting go of his hand.
“No need to be afraid, ok champ?” Dad’s voice was smooth and cheerful, but Danny thought he detected some kind of effort in it. Dad sat down on the edge of Danny's bed.
“Everything is alright, ok? Now, go to sleep.” Dad ran his thumb over Danny’s forehead. Danny finally let go of his father’s hand, but still felt uneasy.
“Dad?” he whispered.
“Mhh” Dad mumbled as he got up and walked to the door.
“Can you leave the door open? Just a little.” He asked. Dad nodded, said good night and left.
Danny listened to the footsteps walking away and down the hall. He pulled the blanket to his nose and closed his eyes so hard they began to hurt after a moment. He could hear noises coming from the living room downstairs. Mainly they were voices from the television and sometimes his parents’ voices. He turned towards the door and lay on one side, he suddenly felt how heavy his legs were and that he indeed was tired. A few minutes later he felt his eyelids getting heavier too and he began to doze off, when he suddenly heard a noise. His eyes were wide open searching the room. The noise had been too close to his bed, it couldn't come from the living room. There, he heard it again, a little squealing noise.
“Danny! Danny!” the little voice yelled. Danny pushed himself deeper under the duvet.
“Danny! Please, don’t be scared of me.” The voice squealed, much closer now.
“I am your friend.” The voice said. Danny lay completely quiet, listening. Maybe he had dreamed it. Then he suddenly felt something on his legs, he startled. After a few seconds he peeked over his protective blanket. His heart skipped a beat. There was a little figure standing on his bed. He wore a little green hat, which he instantly took off when he saw Danny staring at him. The little dwarf-like creature, about fifteen centimeters tall, made a bow and then cleared his voice. But Danny didn’t wait for him to talk. He started to shake him off.
“Go away. Get off me.” He shouted. The little dwarf with the green hat fell off the bed.
“Uff.” He said, as he landed on his bottom. “That hurt.”. Danny glanced over the edge of the bed. His eyes were starting to fill with tears.
“Who are you? And why don’t you leave me?” he asked in despair. The little dwarf got back on his feet and cleared his voice again.
“My name is Green Hat.” He said. Danny’s eyes were wide open now and after a few seconds he declared with a frown,
“Green Hat is not a name.” The little dwarf threw his head back, he seemed offended.
“It is a name, a very nice one. Besides you gave it to me.” He answered, still a little hurt at Danny’s remark.
Danny was still far under the duvet, only his nose and eyes peeking out.
“Anyway,” the dwarf said, and a smile was back on his face, “I know it’s late and you must be tired, but please may I speak?” he asked. Danny didn’t reply nor move, and Green Hat took it as a sign to continue speaking.
“Danny, I am your friend, and I come to you in hopes you can help me.” Danny listened.
“Our valley is fading, everything you created is starting to disappear and the only hope for us is you.” Danny shook his head.
“Please, you have always told our stories, why don’t you do that anymore?” Green Hat asked. Danny had tears in his eyes.
“Oh, don’t cry my friend, you can save us.” The little dwarf said and got a little closer.
Danny wiped one arm over his face.
“Please!” Green hat said, but Danny shook his head.
“No. Those were Annie´s stories, they were for her.” He explained and more tears began to flow.
The little dwarf sighed.
“So then we have to go, too?” he asked sadly.
Danny looked at the little dwarf through blurry eyes. Suddenly he noticed some other creatures in the back of his room, hiding behind his toys. He could hear them sobbing. He recognized all of them. He had invented each and every one of them in the stories he used to tell Annie before she would fall asleep, so she wouldn’t feel afraid. His little sister had passed away last spring after suffering from Leukemia. Danny had completely forgotten about all the stories and characters he had invented for her.
“You are all here?” he asked while his glance wandered around the room. Green Hat turned around to see the rest of Danny’s visitors.
“Hey, I had told you not to come. It’s better if only I talk to him.” He said. Almost instantly a little dwarf lady, with many freckles in her face and curly brown hair jumped out from behind a chair.
“Well, you weren’t achieving anything with your talking, so we decided to come along.” She marched towards Green Hat and pushed him aside.
“Danny? Hello, I am Didi.” She declared with a wide grin. Danny had come out from underneath his duvet and was now carefully reaching out one hand. He petted her head.
“You are real.” He said in amazement. Didi crossed her armes with a frown.
“Of course we are. What did you expect? Fake Grass People?” Danny had to chuckle. He wasn’t sure whether he was dreaming or not, but suddenly remembered all about the Grass People, as Annie had called them. Little creatures, which lived at the bottom of big tree trunks. Didi looked exactly as Annie had pictured and described her.
- Isabel Meine F. Vigil