She pulled a chair over to the counter where the little metal box was sitting. With a magnifying glass, she could see that there really was a tiny creature inside the box. Was it a cage?. The creature looked mostly human, but with large, red-irised eyes, dangerous looking teeth and long hands. When it wasn’t smiling or laughing, it looked harmless enough. Beautiful, even, with gold hair curling down to it’s shoulders. She couldn’t tell if it was male or female.
It looked like it was waiting for something. It extended a hand toward the side of the cage, and made a motion like opening a door. She sat up straight in her chair, started to reach toward the cage, then saw the mark on her hand and reconsidered. She touched the unfurling vines, they were definitely unfurling, and shook her head slowly.
The creature’s eyes narrowed. It lifted one hand slightly in a circular gesture. The wind picked up outside. She saw the creature’s mouth moving, the sound she heard was like bells. And then the door blew open and she yelled “stop!”
The creature lowered it’s hand and the wind died back. It raised an eyebrow. She shook her head again, too dangerous. It smiled, was it sadly? Nodded at her. “Better” she heard in her head. Better? It nodded again. Could it understand what she was thinking? Another nod. Could it think things at her? It gave her a half smile. Not all things. Some things.
She didn’t think she wanted to have the kind of thoughts in her head she was likely to receive from this Thing.
It laughed. Definitely a laugh. Not like bells. Like a much larger creature. Male, she thought. He bowed.
She woke up in the cold dark, on the kitchen floor, red eyes looking down at her. She couldn’t breathe. Something was around her neck. She struggled to wake up, clutching at the rope around her neck. Pain shot down her arm to her hand. The hand with the tattoo, the mark the creature had put there. The red eyes grew brighter, and she could breath again. She felt the rope slide down her arm, coiling. Not a rope. A vine. Coiling back around the poppy on her hand.
She touched the poppy. It was hot. The vines looked they were some sort of living material. On her arm. That couldn’t be good.
She looked up at the creature, who looked nervous. He was shaking his head slowly. Not good.
And she heard a voice asking for help…or was it tiny bells?
Not bells, said the voice in her head. Not help. Not me.