The shadow loomed above him, menacing in its looming heaviness. Leo shivered, the darkness created by the monster stealing all the warmth from the late afternoon summer sun. The boy crouched next to the brick wall, hoping his quickly sought hiding place would protect him.
“Boy! You can’t hide from me,” the booming voice of the monster echoed along the alleyway behind Leo. Thudding feet stomped toward the boy. The shimmering concrete under Leo’s feet shuddered with each of the monster’s steps.
The teenager felt tears sliding down his face. He couldn’t stop the flow. His sobbing breaths were painful in his chest, his throat.
He looked up, gauging the closeness of the monster by how much its shadow had grown. The darkness had expanded so much, Leo couldn’t make out the shape of the monster in the blackness. A staggering blow against his concealing brick wall knocked Leo over, to lay spread-eagle in the middle of the alley’s mouth.
“I found you,” the monstrous voice crowed, “and now you will be mine!”
Leo heard a scrambling noise and he knew the monster would be over the wall before he could get to his feet. His blubbering became frantic. His eyes closed in terror. He begged for his life.
Thunder crashed under Leo. The monster had jumped from the height of the wall to land before the sobbing boy.
“Umm, never mind,” the creature said.
Leo opened one eye, peeking through his long lashes. He expected to see a single foot. Instead, in front of the boy stood a tiny, orange haired girl-looking thing. It was wearing a purple plaid skirt and snowy white ruffled shirt. A minuscule pair of daggers in twin sheaths was strapped across its chest.
“You’re… you’re TINY,” Leo exclaimed. “And you’re a girl!”
“Yeah, like I said, never mind. Please,” the girl muttered. “My da’s gonna kill me.”
Leo’s face scrunched up in confusion, “Why were you chasing me? More importantly, why’d you look so huge?”
The girl put a hand on her hip and cocked her head at the boy towering over her. “My da’s an ogre. I’m the ‘runt’ of the litter and the only girl. I was just trying to prove I’m as scary as my brothers.”
“That doesn’t explain why your shadow looked so big,” Leo said.
The miniature ogre shrugged, “It’s magic. Ogres don’t usually use it, but my only friend’s dad happens to be an ogre wizard, and he gave me the spell. It was supposed to scare you into submission.” She looked down and shuffled her feet, a sure sign of embarrassment, “You were supposed to be my prize for my da. Adult ogres love human stew.”
Leo reflexively jerked away from the girl at her statement. “Umm, I don’t think I can help with that. Sorry. Maybe I can help you figure something else out, though?”
“Nah,” the tiny girl grinned, her sharp pointed teeth showing. “I got it. In fact, you were easier than I thought.”
Leo’s confusion grew, until he felt the tiny teeth of several other ogres pierce his skin. The venom in their saliva numbed his legs and he fell over, helpless to move. The tiny orange-haired girl climbed up to sit on his chest.
She explained, as the other ogres feasted on the boy, “You humans always think of ogres as huge, hulking monstrosities. You’re all wrong.”
The girl smiled, showing her teeth again, before she sank her teeth into his tear-stained cheek.