(Forest clearing, Riverbed.)
“Aww is the baby crying? Come on your pathetic!” A young girl cried softly as three older boys laughed at her. “I bet she’s going to wet herself, what a baby.” Another laughed kicking her into the dirt. “P-Please… please s-stop…” The three boys laughed at her pleas as they continued to pick on her.
“Hey I have an idea, let’s see if she can swim!” The other boys laughed happily before they started dragging the screaming girl towards the river near them. “Aww what’s the matter? Don’t you want to go for a dip?”
“P-P-PLEASE D-DON’T, I C-CAN’T SWIM!” She shrieked in fear as she tried desperately to kick their hands away. “Aww then I guess we better teach you.” As they neared the water they lifted her struggling form up before swinging her back and forth.
“Alright now count with us, one, two, thr-“The apparent leader cried as something hit him hard. Falling into the water, the other two boys looked to the side before something collided with them as well casting them into the cold water.
Crying softly, the young girl pulled her knee’s to her chest as she whimpered. “Why do you always get yourself into these kinds of situations Softy?” The little girl sniffled as she wiped away her tears. “I-It’s Sophia!”
Chuckling, a girl maybe a few years older kneeled in front of her. “Mom’s mad you know. You need to stop running off or else she’ll really punish you.” Sophia whimpered quietly as she looked down. “I don’t want to go back…”
The older girl brushed back a lock of her blond hair before petting her cheek. “I know but do you really want to deal with them instead of mom?” She pointed towards the three boys climbing out of the river. Shaking her head, the older blond chuckled before picking up her sister.
“Come on, let’s get you home. You know I missed you.” Sophia smiled happily as she hugged her sister. “I missed you to Abra.” Shaking her head the blond sighed as she began to walk. “Not even close, it’s Aubrey. You really need to work on your grammar.”
Sophia frowned as she nuzzled herself closer. “Sorry Audrey.” Hugging her closer, Aubrey smiled. “Close enough.
(Aubrey & Sophia’s home.)
“Where have you been? I was worried sick you little shit!” Sophia cringed as she tried to make herself look smaller. “Do you have any idea what would happen if you just up and disappeared?!” An older women spat angrily as she moved closer to Sophia.
“I-I’m sorry mum…” Sophia suddenly froze as she saw the anger in the older woman’s eyes increase. “What did you call me!” whimpering Sophia tried to hide herself as she knew what was coming. “Say it right, mom, MOM! You got it you little shit!”
As a loud slap rang out, Sophia expected to feel the usual pain that followed but there was none. “She’s only four mom… she didn’t mean anything by it.” Aubrey muttered as she cupped her cheek in pain. Anger flashed over the elder woman’s face as she shoved her elder daughter down.
“You keep your sister in check or else, got it!” She snapped before storming out of the bedroom they were in. As the door slammed shut, Sophia broke into tears as she balled her eyes out. “I… I hate it here… I don’t want to be here anymore…” She sniffled rubbing her tears away.
Aubrey pulled Sophia into a hug as she cradled her younger sister. “Shhh, shhh… its fine, I’m here now. Dad will be back in a few days and then everything will be fine I promise.” Sophia cried softly as she nodded.
Reassurance was about the only thing she could give her. Aubrey and Sophia we’re daughter’s to a single father. After a few years however their dad had finally found someone, their babysitter. They loved her… that all changed however once she got engaged with their father.
Things were calm at first but… the storm followed. After a few months her true colors came to be… and they were dark. Their dad was a business man though so he left quite frequently. Whenever he came back things were perfect… they had a loving and nurturing mother… but once gone…
Aubrey felt her own eyes tear up as she continued to cradle her sister. “Things will get better… I promise.” Smiling she cuddled her sister close. She had been her sister’s keeper for so long she knew just the right ways to comfort her.
Humming quietly she continued to hug her close till Sophia slowly drifted to sleep. “Sleep tight Softy, I’ll make sure nothing ever hurts you… I promise.” Tucking her sister in their bed she climbed in after her before drifting off to sleep.
(Two years later)
Aubrey walked through the forest near her home as she tried to find her sister. *Why do you always do this…* Sighing sadly, she made her way deeper in as she listened. Her ears had become quite adapt at hearing for her. The tone she made when she talked, cried, screamed, they were all memorized.
She was her sister’s keeper for a reason. Suddenly her ears twitched as she looked into the distance. Breaking into a sprint she ran in the direction she heard it before bursting through the surrounding foliage.
“C-Crap her sisters here run!” Aubrey glared angrily at the same group of thugs who had been harassing her sister for years. Running towards them she caught up in seconds before swiftly kicking the leader into the dirt.
“What have I told you about picking on my sister?” She stomped her foot on him making him cry in pain. “If I catch you doing this again, I’ll make this even worse!” Seeing the two other boys ditch their ‘leader’ she kicked him once more before walking over to her sister.
“Come on Softy, you’re alright now.” Sophia cried softly as she held her stomach. “W-Why… why do they hate me…” She cried harder as she curled into a ball. *because your soft softy… they pick on you because you won’t fight back…*
Her sister appalled violence. Whenever conflicts confronted her she just curled up and let them ride out. Usually this left her getting the short end of the stick but she never seemed to care. Kneeling down, Aubrey picked her sister up before walking away.
“I don’t want to go back…” , “I know.” Sophia continued to cry softly as she was hugged closer. *She won’t hurt you, I promise.* As she made her way back to their house she could see it already. On the porch outside the front door stood their ‘Mother’.
“She’s there isn’t she…” Aubrey sighed before nodding. “Just go to our room and hide. Let me take this alright?” Sophia hugged her sister tighter before nodding. “Can’t we just run away together…” Chuckling, she shook her head as she continued towards their home.
“Sometimes you can’t run away Softy. You need to confront your problems not let them control you. You need to be strong, not soft.” Sophia frowned at her nickname but said nothing. As she neared the door, she set Sophia down before running ahead of her.
“WHAT HAVE I TOLD YOU ABOUT THAT LITTLE-“ , “Unless you plan to say sister I suggest you end that sentence.” Aubrey flinched in pain as her cheek was slapped hard. “Don’t give me sass girl! I am your mother! You will respect me, are we clear?”
Aubrey glared at her before nodding. “Yes… Mother.” Smirking, the older woman turned to scold Sophia but she was already gone. “No supper… for either of you!” Storming back in the house she began looking for her but a sly smile spread over Aubrey’s lips.
Heading towards her room, she brushed by her agitated mother before closing the door behind her. “She’s gone now.” A minute later a quiet thump could be heard before Sophia crawled out from under their bed. Upon learning about some of the loose floorboards they immediately turned the small crawl space underneath their bed into a sort of sanctuary for them.
Their ‘Mother’ still had no clue it existed and that was perfectly fine. Sitting on her bed, Aubrey picked her sister up before holding her close. It had become a daily thing for them. “Thank you Audrey… for saving me.”
Smiling, Aubrey brushed her sister’s cheek before giving her a flick. “Aubrey not Audrey.” Sophia frowned before nodding. “Did she punish you…” Shaking her head, Aubrey set her sister down before moving towards their closet.
“Nothing new, what would you like for dinner?” Sophia’s face lit up as she bounced happily. “Surprise me!” Chuckling, Aubrey rooted through her wardrobe before taking out a couple small bags of cereal. “There’s no milk but it’s still something.”
Sophia smiled delightedly as she and her sister ate. It had become a regular occurrence, going to bed without dinner. Eventually Aubrey started stashing food around the house just in case. As they ate in silence, the elder blonde pulled Sophia closer before petting her head.
“Try not to run away again… I don’t know how much more of this I can take.” Nodding sadly Sophia said nothing as she ate. Each day was worse than the next, and their dad was gone more and more… Life was just terrible but… at least they had each other.
(Present Day, four years later)
Aubrey watched the news quietly as she waited for her sister to wake up. It was early morning and thankfully their dad was home for the week. Things were nice… to bad reality would soon crash into their surreal state.
“Reports suggest that this epidemic is somehow viral. While reports are sketchy at best we advise nationwide that you should stay indoors over the next couple weeks. Something is happening to people, the cause still unknown.”
The news sketch cut off before the weather came on. Apparently something was causing people to get sick before strange things happened to them. More than a few people went missing but countless other’s experienced strange phenomenon’s… some as strange as body displacement.
“D-Displacement…” Aubrey mumbled the word unsure of what it meant. Shrugging, she continued to watch the news before the she could hear a gentle thumbing on the stairs. “Good morning daddy.” An elderly gentleman stepped down from the landing before sighing.
“It still puzzles me how your always able to tell who’s walking around sweaty.” Smiling, Aubrey shrugged as she went back to the news. In truth she just had excellent senses. Toppled on the fact she had to fight, run, and search for her sister she only honed them over the years.
“Good Morning Sophia.” A few seconds later, the young blond rubbed her eyes as she walked down the stairs. “Hi Auddy…” Scowling, she sighed knowing her sister had started to do that on purpose now. *I guess she wants to get back at me for all the years I’ve called her softy… speaking of,* “Hey Softy, what do you want for breakfast?” Sophia pouted as she crossed her arms. “It’s Sophia…” Chuckling, the elderly man smiled as he watched his two girls bickering.
“Well I need to get going, Aubrey I trust you’ll look after Sophia while I’m gone?” Both the blondes’ faces dropped upon hearing this. “W-W-Wait, y-you said you’d be here for a week! Why are you leaving early?!”
Scratching his cheek he sighed. “Some of my colleagues came down with something, I don’t know but it’s bad and they couldn’t come in. I was called in last night but they gave me a day to get my things.” Sophia looked close to tearing up as she ran back to her room.
“It will only be for a couple days I promise.” He smiled happily before heading towards the front door with his briefcase. “Don’t make promises you can’t keep…” Aubrey scowled as she door shut leaving her alone.
Looking towards the stairs she felt her own sadness seeping out. *No… stay strong, for Sophia’s sake.*Moving towards her room she headed up before lightly knocking on the door. “Hey Softy… let’s get something to eat alright?”
Hearing no reply from the other side she opened the door before rubbing her temple in agitation. The window was open and the drapes where drawn outward. “Damnit Softy…” Moving back towards the stairs she quickly left her house before heading towards the forest.
*One of these days I’m going to have to put a leash on you, this habit has to stop.* She never faced anything! Always running, always hiding… “I guess this is what I live for after all…” Aubrey smiled softly. Walking through the forest she felt a sudden wave of fatigue pass over her before fading completely.
*Huh… that was, weird.* Heading deeper in she walked along a common trail as she closed her eyes. Silence was all she heard. The wind blowing against her skin nipped her as she remained still. After a moment a sudden snap caught her attention.
“Found you Softy.” As she ran in the direction of the noise she suddenly felt the wave of fatigue from before but ignored it. Looking around she closed her eyes again before hearing more noise, but this time much closer.
“Alright come on… come…” Her eyes began to fade a bit as she stumbled. *W-W-What’s… happening…* She fell down before clenching her eyes in pain. Her whole body felt hot, almost as if something inside her was burning her from the inside out.
Groaning in pain she began to spasm before blacking out completely.
(Some Time Later)
Aubrey’s eyes slowly began to open as she looked at the trees overhead. “W-What… what the hell happened…” Cupping her head in pain she leaned up before something suddenly stomped on her. Aubrey wheezed in pain as she felt a crushing weight on her body.
*W-What’s… what’s g-going on…* As the weight lifted she gasped in pain feeling her body hurt on all sides. “Well I guess the bitch is awake now.” Aubrey’s eyes opened before she looked up, fear running through her as she saw an impossible sight.
Standing over her, were the three bullies who had been harassing her sister for years… but they were massive! Her arms twitched as she tried to back up but her whole body felt like it was broken. “You know when I heard the rumors of a nationwide virus I was skeptical but… I guess it’s in these parts to.”
The supposed leader of the three chuckled darkly as he looked Aubrey over. “I-If she’s infected we should go, I don’t want to end up small like her.” One of the boys muttered with worry. “In a minute… I want some payback. This bitch’s been messing with us for years, don’t you guys want some revenge to?”
The other two looked at one another before backing up. “S-Sorry but I don’t want to risk this, have fun though.” One of the boys said clearly scared before he started running. “Y-Yea I’m with him, I don’t want to shrink either, and this is just too weird I’m out.” He raised his hands before wiping them and joining his friend as he left.
“Freaking pansies!” He called out before turning his attention back to Aubrey however the look in her eyes was one of confusion. *Shrunk… I-I’ve s-shrunk… b-but t-that’s… that’s impossible… I, I can’t be… I mean I just can’t…* her brain worked furiously as she tried to process it but it just made no sense.
“You know you had this coming. All those years you beat me up. Do you even know how embarrassing it is to be beaten by a chick?!” He laughed before giving Aubrey a light kick sending her back a few feet. The pain that followed was excruciating.
Aubrey cried out as she cupped her stomach. “This is the general order of things you know. The big pick on the small, I picked on your sister, and you picked on me. Now things are turned around though.” He grinned from ear to ear before reaching down.
Aubrey struggled in fear as she backed up a bit but could do nothing as she was lifted in the air. “And you know what? If you just happened to, say disappear… I think your sister would be in a pretty bad situation don’t you agree?”
Aubrey’s eyes hardened as she glared at the younger boy. “If you even lay a finger on her, I-I’ll… I’ll-“She couldn’t finish as he squeezed her hard. “You’ll what? You’re a freaking doll!” He laughed before lifting her higher up.
“If you thought what we did to that squirt was bad just imagine what I can do with you.” The look in his eyes was… demonic. Feeling fear wash over her she clenched her eyes shut. “I’ll enjoy this, you have no idea how much I wil-“
“AUBREY!” Aubrey’s eyes widen as she looked in the direction of the voice but as soon as it came she was suddenly in the air. Falling to the ground she gasped in pain as she was suddenly dropped. Holding her side in pain she looked up before shock ran through her.
“S-S-Sophia…” Aubrey watched in shock as her colossal sister, her Softy was mounted on top of the older boy as she just… she was wailing on him! Sophia screamed in rage as she punched the boy repeatedly over and over, unbridled anger running through her as she continued to beat on him.
*S-Sophia…* she had never seen this before… Sophia was, fighting… As her screams died down, Sophia panted tiredly as her fists fell away, tears running down her cheeks as she stared at the unconscious boy who had terrorized her for years.
Looking back she cried louder as she looked down at her sister. “A-Aubrey… what happened to you…” She whimpered in fear. Silence passed between them as they stared at one another. Soon tears fell from Aubrey’s eyes as she broke down crying.
“I-I… I d-don’t know, I-I’m scared…” Sophia moved towards her sister before picking her up gently. “Aubrey…” She cried softly as she held her older sister. Through all the pain she felt a small smile graced her lips as she cupped her stomach in pain.
“Y-You got my name right that time Soft- Sophia…” Nodding, Sophia lifted Aubrey up, unsure of what to do with her. What ever happened now though, it was clear to her. She had to protect her sister, like she had been protected for years by her.
Running towards their home she did the only thing she could, she went looking for help.