Reading Time: ~5-10 minutes
Oscar’s shuddering never stopped. His heart pounded in his little chest and he had his arms tucked close to his chest while he gripped the strap of his cloth bag in terror. Wide eyes stared up at the human and waited for one of those enormous hands to return.
Oscar couldn’t stop anything that happened to him. He was too small.
“B-but I …” he began weakly, only to falter again. He took a slow, rattling breath and felt the telltale sting of more tears in his eyes. The human had asked him not to run off. Would he stop Oscar from trying? “I-I just … I don’t …”
“I just wanna know where you came from,” the human confessed, in a deep voice that shook in Oscar’s very bones. “Did I hurt you when I picked you up?”
Oscar blinked. There was that concern again. He was still terrified out of his mind, and he had to crane his neck just to meet that enormous gaze, but he was hearing words that he never expected from a human. Like he actually cared. The surprise was enough for him to break the staring contest to look over himself.
He shook his head sheepishly, still shuddering. His eyes fixed on his feet, which shifted nervously. The other question stacked more fears on his shoulders.
His bag was full of the spoils of his intrusion. Oscar had come into the room to take food. Enough for him to make a few more meals. Just a few, and he would survive a little longer. He didn’t require much, but he grew up knowing that many humans would see it differently. He felt more tears welling up.
As far as humans were concerned, what Oscar had done was stealing.
“I didn’t … I just …” he stammered again, trembling all over. “I didn’t think you’d miss it so I took it and-”
“Wait,” the voice shut him up like a door slamming. Oscar looked up with wide eyes. The human had a confused look on his face, instead of angry like he expected. “Took what?”
Oscar swallowed the lump in his throat. “There was … there was food in your bag,” he said meekly. Of their own accord, his feet shuffled backwards. “I’m sorry!” he said, shaking hands going to the flap of his bag. He lifted it open and revealed one of the peanuts he’d taken sitting at the top of his loot. “I’ll give it all back, just … please …”
Those giant hands lifted, palm-out, and Oscar couldn’t help but imagine them clapping down on him. He scrambled back with a yelp and fell to a seat, one hand held up in defense.
The human, for his part, froze. His eyes were wide and he slowly lowered his hands again. “Woah, woah,” he said, voice dropping to a worried whisper. “I don’t want you to give that stuff back,” he promised. “I’m not gonna hurt you, I swear, okay?”
Oscar shook his head, confused, and drew his knees to his chest so he could hug his arms around them. He was curled into a ball, but he still faced the human. “But I stole it,” he pointed out. “Please, if I give it back, will you let me go? I won’t bother you ever again, just please let me go!”
The human pursed his lips in thought, and his brow pinched. Even with a face bigger than the main room of Oscar’s home, he couldn’t read that expression. Finally, the human opened his mouth to speak.
“I’m not gonna hurt you, and I’ll let you go, okay?” he said, and Oscar thought for a second he’d imagined it. Then, the human continued and spouted even more unbelievable things. “I was just … I didn’t mean to scare you. I just thought you were a mouse at first and then when I saw you weren’t, I got curious and I should have just chilled.”
Oscar waited for more, but when none came, he let out a breath. That rumbling voice, even saying such unexpected words of reassurance, rumbled all around him and reminded him of the power a human held. “W-well,” he began, resting his chin on his knees, and keeping his eyes trained upwards. “I’m not a mouse. I’m just Oscar.”