Shaun sighed from exhaustion. School had been very tiring today. Work had been even worse. He had stayed up late to study for an exam and it showed. In middle of English Lit. he'd fallen asleep and Mr. Ward hadn't been happy. At lunch his friend Kyrie had given him more crap about deciding to live in an apartment alone. She kept telling him it was dangerous, that something could happen to him and no one would know for a few days. Shaun wasn't worried however. His new apartment was in a nice, safe neighborhood that very rarely had any problems.
Now it was just nice to be heading home. Shaun attended the local community college. He had aspirations of one day being a doctor, but it was a long way off. Shaun recently moved into an apartment because driving to school from his mothers house had taken way too long. From his new apartment it was maybe a twenty minute drive. Shaun looked in the rear view as he came to a corner. He was fairly average looking guy, except for his tall stature. Shaun was six foot five, nothing outrageous but still on the tall side. He'd gotten his height from his father who had passed away a couple years ago. Shaun had dirty blonde hair that he liked to spike up a bit in the front with gel. He had emerald green eyes and was slightly tanned. Shaun worked out on a regular basis but was by no means buff. He was toned. He was currently wearing a plain gray T-shirt and tan cargo shirts with black running shoes. Shaun turned onto the suburban street that led to an entrance of his apartment complex. As he drove he saw a cardboard sign propped up against a streetlight that read " Garage Sale " with an arrow pointing down the street. Shaun looked ahead and saw where the garage sale was being held.
Shaun decided to stop and see what they had. His apartment was still very bare as he didn't have much to put up in it. He had the basic necessities, but he wanted it to have more personality. Shaun parked by the curb in front of the house with the garage sale. He got out and walked up to one of the multiple tables they had set up in the drive way with filled cardboard boxes covering each. A decent looking lamp caught his eye. It looked in working condition and even came with a lightbulb. Shaun saw a lady walking around helping people.
" Excuse me? " Shaun called to her.
A short,tan middle aged woman came over to him. " Yes, dear? " she smiled at him.
" Does this lamp work? "
" Yes, we only put electronics that work out here. This one is only ten dollars. "
" Alright, thank you. "
" You're welcome. " she smiled and walked away.
Shaun looked around some more and found a small painting of beach for five dollars that he decided to take. Something caught Shaun's attention out of corner of his eye as he went to pay for his new items. Shaun walked to the box that the item was sticking out of. He reached in and pulled it out. It was a black bottle with a long neck and a wood stopper. It felt like it was ceramic or something. Shaun turned it in his hands and saw a symbol on its large base. Shaun had no idea what it meant or where it came from, but it was strange and cool at the same time. The best part was it was only a buck fifty.
Shaun took the bottle and went to the table where you paid. The lady at the table gave him a box to carry all his things in. Shaun put the box in the backseat of his car and continued driving home. He drove into his apartment complex and parked in his assigned spot. He got out, grabbed the box, and went up the one flight of stairs to his apartment. None of Shaun's new neighbors had introduced themselves or talked to him, but he didn't really mind. He liked his privacy. Shaun went into his apartment then closed and locked the door behind him. He threw his backpack down by the door.
There still wasn't much in the apartment. Shaun had just moved in four days ago. He didn't have a kitchen table or any chairs. All he had in the living room was a couch, coffee table, and an entertainment center with a TV in it. The kitchen connected directly to the living room. It was small, but it was only him that would primarily use it. The apartment had come with a refrigerator and freezer combination. It had also come with an oven that had a stovetop. Other than that there was one bedroom and one bath in the place. Boxes full of Shaun's assorted belongings were stacked against the walls in his bedroom.
Shaun put the box on the coffee table and flopped down on the couch. He flicked the TV on to a reality game show he'd recently gotten into and leaned back, putting his feet up on the coffee table. A luxury of living by himself. He had been watching TV for awhile when he suddenly heard a faint tapping sound. After looking around for the source of the noise for a bit, he realized it was coming from in front of him. Shaun leaned forward, putting his ear right next to the box. The tapping was definitely coming from the box. He went through the items he bought in his head.
" The bottle... " Shaun whispered, realization dawning on him. " What the hell could be in it? "
With some trepidation Shaun carefully grabbed the bottle and lifted it out of the box and set it on the table. As soon as he picked it up the tapping stopped. After leaving it on table for a few moments, the tapping started again.
" What do I do? " Shaun wondered.
Any sort of thing could be in there. For all he knew a spider or mouse could be inside. At the same time he couldn't just leave whatever was trapped in there to die. Shaun thought about what to do. A plan came to mind. He took the other items out of the box, leaving the box empty. His plan was to dump whatever was in the bottle into the box. Depending on what came out, he might run or just let it go outside. Shaun held the bottle at arms length over the box in one hand. He reached out and popped the stopper off, bracing for something to jump out. Nothing came out of the bottle, but the tapping stopped again. He lowered the bottle into the box and tipped it over. Shaun felt the weight of whatever the thing was sliding towards the bottle opening.
A red object and rolled up piece of yellowed paper fell in a heap into the box. Shaun quickly took the bottle out of the box. The red object was actually fabric. Just as Shaun was about to sigh in relief, the fabric began to stir. Out came the head of tiny woman with long black hair and bright blue eyes. Shaun's jaw dropped. He froze in disbelief. His mind shut down like someone had flipped the power switch. This was not possible. No person was that small! It had to be a doll or some mechanical toy. The minuscule woman stood up, still staring at Shaun. She certainly didn't move like a mechanical toy. The red fabric turned out to be her clothes. She wore small blouse type shirt with short sleeves that exposed her lean stomach. A loose pair of pants covered her legs. Shaun noticed she was barefoot. She also had a shawl wrapped around her arms. The woman had white skin that was pale. She was one of the most beautiful women Shaun had ever seen. Pulling the shawl tighter around her, the lady spoke. " H-hello... My name is Zarelda. Where am I? "