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Author's Chapter Notes:
A fairly simple concept to start us off. Hope you enjoy!

I check the bag one more time to make sure I got everything. A couple heads of broccoli, a smattering of apples and potatoes, and most importantly, eight pounds of the cheapest beef I could find.

 That should be enough for one day, at least. I hope so. My wallet’s getting awfully light.

 I get off the bus at the stop nearest to where I’m going. It’s in Lartonby, a part of town better known as the Pit. It’s called that because it’s truly at rock bottom. Not even homeless junkies want anything to do with this place, unless they’re really, really desperate—it’s wet, filthy, smells of decay, and the dilapidated industrial buildings don’t offer much shelter against the weather, or the vermin for that matter. All attempts at revitalizing this place have ended in abject failure.

 If somebody were watching me, they might wonder where I’m taking all that food. Thankfully, nobody cares about what some weirdo like me is up to. Weirdoes are a dime a dozen in a city like Mammotham, after all—especially in these parts. You learn to keep your nose out of other people’s business around here. That’s good, because I don’t know how I’d explain myself if anybody asked.

 I could simply tell the truth, of course. Nobody would believe it anyway. About four years ago, I happened to be wandering through here on an errand—story for another day—when I heard the voice of a girl, sobbing, calling for help. As I mentioned, it’s best to keep your head down if you know what’s good for you, so I considered simply pretending like I was deaf. Couldn’t go through with it, though. I might be cynical, but I’m not heartless.

 I soon found out that the voice was coming from an old overflow basin. It’s basically a big ol’ cylindrical concrete hole in the ground where some of the city’s storm drains gather. Of course, my first thought was that some unfortunate young lady had fallen in and was unable to climb back out. And it was a cool, rainy day in early spring, so she must’ve been in bad shape if that were the case.

 I hurried over and looked in, and that’s when I met Frej’k for the first time. Well, she didn’t have a name back then, she just made that one up on the spot when I asked her for it. It doesn’t mean anything, she just liked those sounds. I tried to come up with an intuitive spelling based on the pronunciation.

 So Frej’k is… I’m not sure if she was always the way she is now, or if she was born human and then… altered, somehow, but whatever the case, she’s not a normal person by any stretch. For starters, she was around twenty feet tall when I first met her, maybe bigger. Badly malnourished at the time, barely clinging to life.

 I’ve been trying to make sure she’s eating well, so she looks much better these days, has more meat on her bones. Seems she’s still a growing girl, too—Just about doubled in height (!) over the course of those four years I’ve known her. I think so, anyway. It’s hard to tell exactly how tall she is since she sits on her haunches most of the time, plus that basin is usually pretty dark at the hour I tend to arrive.

 Frej’k is omnivorous, like a human, but she only really cares for the taste of meat. Beef especially, but any will do. Doesn’t matter if it’s raw, she loves it, and she detests greens as much as any unruly child. I always make sure to pack plenty of fruit and veggies since I figure it’s important to balance her diet, plus it’s a lot cheaper than an all-meat diet. She’s usually hungry enough that she’ll eat it with a little coaxing. You might think poorly of me, that I only buy her such low-quality meat—but quantity is much more important to her than quality, and I really can’t afford to give her both.


I arrive at her basin. She’s made it into a home, sort of. No roof, she actually likes the rain on her skin, but there’s little bits and bobs she’s collected that she keeps in little gaps carved into the wall. It’s mostly toys and other stuff I brought her to keep her occupied. And there’s a bed made of cardboard and muck over on one side. Seems gross and cold to me, but she tells me she doesn’t mind: It’s better than sleeping in the puddle on the floor. The basin’s getting a bit small for her, but she’s afraid to climb out and risk being seen by people. Probably for the best.

 I see that she’s squatting low to the ground as per usual. The basin’s so dim at this time in the evening that most of her body’s hidden in the shade, with only her head and extremities visible in the sparse moonlight.

 “Hiya Dey-veed,” Frej’k croaks when she meets my eyes, waving clawed fingers in greeting. It’s David, but speech was never her strong suit.


I was amazed she could speak at all, really. When I first laid eyes on her I assumed she was a feral monster. Hair that looked like it’d never been washed or cut; slimy (bare!) skin with scaly patches here and there, caked in filth; yellow eyes with black sclerae; and a mouth full of uneven, sharp fangs. Yet at the same time, when I looked closer, I recognized that… there was still something obviously human about her. An overgrown, neglected young lady with some odd mutations, one who badly needed someone to care about her. Call it an instinctive reaction.

 In any case, I was too startled by the sight to run away or scream or do anything except stare. For a moment, she seemed just as shocked to see me, clearly reluctant to trust a human. But then she sighed and gave me a pathetic look like a sick puppy, and weakly crooned once more, “Help. Puh-leez.”

 And dare I say, even my shriveled little heart nearly broke at the sight.


“Hey, good to see you, Frej’k,” I greet her. I’m not a cheerful sort, but seeing her grin up at me always makes me smile back. Scary teeth notwithstanding.

 She gives me a look that asks, ‘Did you bring it?’ I raise the bag at her: I always do. It’s her only meal every day, so of course it’s important to her. I take out some of the broccoli, and she pouts at the sight—it’s as adorable as a forty-ish-foot-tall unwashed sewer monster could possibly look. Nevertheless, she gobbles it up without complaint when I toss it at her. I throw a pound of meat down after it as reward, and she eagerly catches it in her mouth right away. It’s gone in a matter of seconds. Seems she gets hungrier each day… Well, that makes sense, she’s a big girl. And still getting bigger…


That day four years ago, we got to talking about where she came from and how she’d wound up… like that. Earliest thing she remembered was running away from humans chasing her through the streets, people whom she knew wanted to capture and hurt her, even if she couldn’t recall why. She lost her pursuers by escaping down a manhole and found herself in the city’s sewers. It was dark and unpleasant, she told me, even for her. But at least it was safe, and she got used to it.

 She stayed there for weeks, emerging in the dead of night to prowl the less-ventured streets of the city for anything she could eat. I remember reading some yellow-press headlines at that time about a “monster from the sewers” scaring the bejeezus out of various folks, but all they had to show for their harrowing experience were blurry photos and hysterical witness accounts. Most people dismissed it as just a lurid tale made up by some sketchy journalist, or perhaps just a particularly large and adventurous alligator.

 One night she had a too-close encounter with a larger group of people, I suspect a gang of some kind, and they chose ‘fight’ over ‘flight.’ She managed to shake them by breaking open one of the city’s larger storm drains and crawling inside, but not without injuring one of her legs in the process. She had dragged herself through the tunnels and wound up in the basin where I found her, unable to climb out with that wounded leg. Might’ve starved there if it weren’t for me.

 Once she’d told me all that, I figured it was only fair to tell her a little bit about myself in return. I am a custodian at an office building, a human whose job it is to keep everything clean and in proper order (a concept largely unfamiliar to her, I noticed). I once had a wife and a daughter, but now I live by myself…

 Managed to earn her trust enough to make her believe me when I told her I’d be right back with food for her. I considered calling somebody, anybody—the police, a hospital?—but she’d begged me not to tell anyone about her, and I didn’t have the heart to break that trust. She seemed to have a good reason to stay hidden if her story was true, anyway.

 So, as promised, I came back with food, and I did so again the next day, and the day after. We sit and talk on most days, sometimes play little ‘guess what I’m thinking of’-type games to pass the time. There’s still a lot we don’t really understand about each other, but I like to think we get along well, regardless. It has given me some direction in life that I sorely needed.


I finished feeding her the potatoes, and once I confirmed that she’d actually eaten it all (she has been rather fussy in the past, which is surprising considering how she’s constantly hungry), I gave her the last of the meat. “Fank-you, Dey-veed,” she murmured afterwards, a pleased look on her face. She was satisfied for now; good.


It was about six months after I first met her that I had a terrible realization: If she loved meat so much, and she’d previously scavenged for food in the city streets, could she have…? I immediately asked her if she had ever thought about eating humans. And to my horror, she had nodded without hesitation.

 “One time,” she said. “So hung-ree. Found man, sleep in street. Frej’k come close, man stay sleep. Small man. Fit in mouf. E-zee food. Tas-tee!”

 Judging from the innocent smile on her face, she didn’t seem to think there was anything wrong with what she did. I got a cold shiver. How could I have been so naive? Did I think she was just a harmless pet? Her leg was better—she could climb out of the basin and start hunting people down any time she wanted. Maybe she already did! Hell, if she wanted to…

 That was my next question. I had to know. “Did you… ever think about eating me?” I slowly, quietly asked. It was all I could do to keep from stuttering.

 She pondered that a moment, the innocent look still on her face. Then she shook her head ‘no.’ “Not food, Dey-veed. Feed Frej’k, talk Frej’k, play Frej’k, ev-ree day. Help Frej’k.”

 I said, “So you won’t eat me because I’m a friend.”

 She nodded eagerly. “Yes, fuh-rend. Not eat fuh-rend.”

So, yeah… That’s where we’re at. I don’t just feed her every day because I took a liking to her, although that’s certainly part of it. The more important part is that I’m afraid she’ll go out and scavenge again if she goes hungry. I made her promise not to do that, told her that it’s dangerous, and she agreed because she trusts me now, but… That trust won’t stop a growling stomach forever. Plus, here’s the thing: A custodian’s salary isn’t exactly amazing, and as I’ve mentioned, she’s gotten a lot bigger, as has her appetite. I’ve been trying to carefully convince her that it’s bad to eat people, ‘friends’ or not, but I’m not sure if she understands the concept.

God, what am I gonna do?! She’s not going to live in a concrete hole forever, especially not if it gets more claustrophobic by the month. Just how big is she going to get? What if someone finds her while I’m not there? She’ll have to move, preferably somewhere away from people. But where am I going to take her? She’s grown far too much to fit back in the tunnel she’d originally come in from, so the only way out is up, and through the streets. There’s no way I can get her out of the city without being seen. And even if I could, then what? To a forest, or a swamp? She doesn’t know how to survive out in the sticks by herself, and I can’t teach her. I figure I’m going to need help, but who can I ask about something like this? I’m a loner, I don’t know who to trust—



I jumped. I was completely lost in thought, standing by the edge of the basin, and hadn’t noticed that Frej’k had stood up straight. She almost never did that. Her face was really close to mine all of a sudden, dark eyes staring curiously into mine. “Dey-veed, you sad?”

“Oh, no, it’s nothing. Don’t worry about it, darling,” I hastily tried to reassure her. Huh, when did I start calling her ‘darling’?

 She didn’t look convinced. “Dey-veed… Frej’k touch?”

In these four years, I hardly ever made direct contact with Frej’k. Partially because, as much as I liked her, she did reek to high heaven. Even us custodians have our reservations. But also, I always had it in the back of my head that she ate humans before, or at least a human. Of course, she’d promised not to hurt me, and I believe her, plus she could’ve easily grabbed me any time I was nearby if she really wanted to. I knew that, but your mind isn’t always rational. I feel fear like anyone else.

The only exceptions were a couple times when she’d told me she had a bad dream, with those sad-puppy eyes that made me forget how massive she was. She’d reach her hand up to me, and I’d lay her long fingers across my lap and tell her that everything’s okay as I caressed them. It’s a simple and awkward gesture, but if it works, it works: Calmed her down just fine. Took me some effort to wash the sewer-stink off me afterwards, but whatever.

So, now she wants to return the favor and calm me down. I don’t want to say no to such a thoughtful offer, but I’m so anxious…

"Okay, you can touch. Gently now,” I say, barely louder than a murmur.

Slowly, as if I was going to break if she moved too roughly (and in fairness, I really might), she extends both her hands towards me and wraps her clawed fingers around my waist. They’re a bit cold and icky, but I can tolerate it.

 She lifts me off my feet. I’m dangling over the hole now. Never was too good with heights. My heart’s going a mile a minute. I close my eyes for a second.

 I feel my body press up against something. Slick with mucus, but also soft and warm. I open my eyes and find myself staring into Frej’k’s upper chest. Her hands are pressing me against her skin, gently stroking my back. I can feel her chin resting against the top of my head. She begins to quietly hum a tune, lacking in melody but pleasing all the same.

 It’s… nice. I forget everything for a while.

 “It oh-kay,” Frej’k whispers. “Not sad, Dey-veed. Not scared. Frej’k here.”

 We stay like that for… I don’t know. She eventually pulls me away from her again and places me back on the edge of the basin, at which point I realize that I’d been dozing off into a reverie.

 Frej’k looks at me expectantly, her head barely a foot away from me. I take a moment to breathe, clear my throat. “Thanks, Frej’k,” I finally manage. “I needed that.”

 She smiles. I don’t even flinch when I see her fangs this time, they’re just… part of her, in a comforting way.

I still have no idea how I’m going to solve everything. Yet now I feel confident that we’ll figure something out. It seems impossible, but… I’d also have thought that a gigantic girl from the sewers was impossible.

I reach out to her enormous face, rub her cheek with wide motions. She softly croons and leans into it, seemingly overjoyed that I’m not afraid to touch her anymore. Honestly, once you get used to her appearance, she's cute-- still a bit scary, and rightly so, but cute. Her unconcerned smile makes dealing with the stench more than worth it. Caring for her has ruled my life these past few years, and I never asked for it… But right now, I feel so blessed to have met her.

She nudges her nose into my chest. Screw it, I’m gonna have to wash these clothes and shower thoroughly anyway. I embrace her as best as I can, wrapping my arms around her face, and she closes her eyes as she slowly leans forward until her forehead gently bumps into me. Her long, stringy hair falls around me like a thick curtain shielding me from the cold world. I’m covered in grime from head to toe, but I don’t mind.

We’re going to be okay. And we'll stick together, no matter what.

Chapter End Notes:

As mentioned in the summary, this is my first time writing a story like this, so any feedback or constructive criticism is welcome. Oh, and you're free to suggest something you'd like to see in future chapters! I can't guarantee that I'll end up using your idea, but I'll certainly consider it.

In any case, that'll do for this first chapter. Next one will be titled The Hypnotist's Con. See you then!

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