Besides the boy hunched over in the corner, those in the cage jumped up when they heard Katie’s heavy footsteps climbing up the stairs. They all turned to the door. From under the bed, they could make out only the bottom portion of the wooden door, but they watched it intensely.
Felix kept his eyes glued to it as his heart raced. The footsteps quickly approached, getting louder as the atmosphere began to gloom.
Elias walked up besides Felix, gripping his hands between the tight metal bars. “A word of advice.” He started. “Do whatever she says.” Elias never once turned to him. Felix nodded silently to himself. He didn’t expect friendly advice from Elias. Honestly, Felix thought he was a little self absorbed. Could it be true that Elias cared about the safety of Felix and the other’s as much as his own?
The footsteps stopped, and the crew could make out a shadow from the small crack at the bottom of the door. Without any more warning, the door shot open. It banged against the wall behind it, and Katie harshly slammed it shut again. She marched over to the group. A long arm reached under the bed and grabbed the cage. She yanked it, sending the cage out into the open and everyone inside to the front facing bars.
Felix’s body pressed into the bars next to Elias. There was a scream from behind him. Sofia flew in the air. Her skull crashed into the bars as they came to a stop. She screamed as she landed on the cage floor, grabbing the back of her head.
Katie opened the top of the cage and turned it upside down. All six of the tinies fell out. The sneezer had trouble at first, so Katie had to shake the cage until he joined the others. Felix didn’t like returning to the cold hardwood. Memories of what happened earlier returned to him. Mia’s death, Connie and Elias desperately trying to wake him up, and Emma having to lick Katie’s shoe cleaned after the fact.
Felix could see Connie in front of him. He was quick to jump to his feet. So were the others. Felix and Sofia were the only ones who still clung to the ground.
“Welcome back Goddess.” Elias said, dropping to his knees and kissing the floor. “I’m so honored to be in your presence.” He kept his head plastards to the ground as Katie walked past him.
“You.” Katie said, peering down at Emma.
“Me?” Emma gazed up at her. Her eyes widened as Katie’s giant digits reached down for her. Kaite picked Emma up with her pointer finger and thumb pressed into her head. The tiny girl screamed as gravity alone threatened to tear her head off her miniscule body.
“Did you think what you did was funny?” Katie asked in a diminutive tone. She pressed her fingers ever so slightly together, but it was enough for Emma to feel her head was going to explode.
Felix watched in horror as the small girl thrashed in the air, desperate to be released from the giant’s grip. Her head sunk into the flesh of the goddess’s fingers. Emma scratched at the giant finger nails, but to no avail.
“Don’t you know how embarrassed I was at dinner tonight.” Particles of spit flew out of Katie’s mouth as she spoke. Her eyes showed no remorse for the tiny girl in front of her. “I was still walking around with a stain of blood on my shoe. What if someone saw it? They wouldn’t know it was blood, but they’d think I don’t keep my shoes clean. What’s the point of having a slave who cleans shoes if people think my shoes are dirty.” Katie pressed harder into the skull of tiny Emma. Emma’s scream became ear piercing. Emma lost the strength to kick in the air, instead she focused on the excruciating pain she was under.
“Christ.” Connie said. Everyone’s eyes were fixated on their friend above. It was always hard to watch someone be punished, but this seemed extreme. This stunt could leave Emma with permanent brain damage if Katie didn’t stop soon. If this impaired her functioning, then there was no doubt that she’d be killed next time Katie asked something of her.
“Stop it!” Felix yelled. “You’re hurting her.” The other tinies turned to him. Usually, they’d be terrified as to what punishment would fall on him for speaking out, but this time they all hoped his cries would save Emma. Even if the punishment shifted to Felix, they’d be happy to have Emma back unscaved.
“The fuck did you just say to me?” Katie said, now focused on Felix. Her grip on Emma seemed to loosen, as her screaming stopped and she was again able to breathe again.
Felix froze in fear. He couldn’t find any words to say. He felt the malice of the young girl above him radiating down at him.
Katie locked eyes with Felix for a moment, debating what to do. The tiny girl between her fingers cried, wetting Katie’s skin. “Pay close attention, fresh meat.” Katie turned her hand around and extended it to the group of tinies on her floor. They could all see the agony on Emma’s face as she was brought closer to them. “This is what happens to a tiny who doesn’t do as they’re told.” Katie again pressed down her fingers on the girl’s head, but this time harder than before.
Emma screamed out. She trashed at the fingers, trying to scratch them and claw her way out.
“Disappoint me, and this is what happens.” Katie squeezed the tiny girl harder. A crack could be heard as Emma’s skull started to fold in on itself. Her head became thinner and longer. Before long, her arms fell to her side. Katie increased her grip, crushing Emma even harder. Emma’s eye turned bloodshot red. Most of her face wasn’t even visible from beyond the pads on her fingers. With the next increase in pressure, Emma’s left eye pops out of her socket. Before her right eye could do the same, her entire head collapsed between the weight of Katie’s forefinger and thumb.
Blood exploded from in between Katie’s fingers. The remnants of Emma’s body fell to the floor, blood still sprinkling out of where her head once was. The tinies stood there stunned. This was the second brutal death Felix had seen in just a few hours. His mind was breaking. He wanted to scream, but didn’t have the strength.
Katie flicked her hand, trying to get Emma’s brain off of it. “And in case you need another reminder, insect.” Katie’s hand reached for Felix’s head this time. Scared he would be next to die painfully between the giant’s digits, he jumped back. He wasn’t fast enough for the hand, and Katie wrapped her pointer finger and thumb around his head. Instead of squeezing, Katie instead rubbed her thumb and finger into Felix’s face, covering it in the blood of the now deceased Emma. The girl who was just crying in front of him moments earlier. After his face was completely red with her blood, Katie pulled her hand away.
“You, you and you.” She said, pointing to Elias, Connie and Sofia. “Clean that up right away.”
Elias didn’t hesitate before rushing over to some of the blood that splattered on the floor and lapping it up with his tongue. It took Connie a little longer to move, and Sofia didn’t budge at all.
“And you, fresh meat.” Katie was referring to Felix as she slipped off one of her sneakers. The sole was exposed, and Felix could barely make out a tiny red smudge left on the bottom. “Clean that.”
The sneaker was right in front of Felix. He wondered why Emma hadn’t cleaned that part. From what he remembered, it was clean when Katie had left for dinner. The only explanation Felix could think up was that Katie had gotten that stain after Emma finished cleaning it, perhaps when she stood back up in the blood that was still on the floor that she said would be cleaned up later. Did Katie know it was her fault her shoe was still dirty when she killed Emma?
“I won't ask again.” Katie said.
Felix stared at the blood on her shoe. He figured he was supposed to lick it up until it turned white, just like Emma had. He thought back to what Elias said about doing whatever Katie tells him to. At first, he thought Elias was giving him advice to help him out, but now he knew better. Emma died so that Katie could teach Felix a lesson on obedience. That’s what Elias was trying to tell Felix: Do whatever Katie tells you, because it’s them who are going to be paying for his insolence.
Not wanting to witness anymore torture, let alone have any imposed on himself, Felix inched forward and licked the rubber sole. He dragged his tongue against the red spot. He couldn’t smell anything besides iron due to the blood on his face, so he couldn’t smell the foot stank that Emma could earlier. But he could taste the dirt and the rubber that was forever infused on the sole. Every lick caused his tongue to twitch. Felix licked at the sole until he could no longer see any red spots. He fell down to his knees, swallowing the blood soaked spit that lingered in his mouth. What had he just been told to do?
Katie came over to inspect his work. “Good boy.” She kicked off her other shoe and shoved them both under her bed. Her light blue ankle socks were right in front of Felix’s eyes. He could make out each toe on each foot. The sight alone made him wanna vomit.
For a second, Felix wondered if Emma had been spared from a fate worse than what had happened to her.