Tiny Viola ~ Chapters 1-5
This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously.
Copyright © 2012 by Carolyn Avery
All rights reserved.
I would like to thank the creators of Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) for starting me on the process of becoming a novelist. I wrote this novel during many November write-in sessions with my fellow "wrimos" in November of 2012. Their constant enthusiasm and support has earned my deep appreciation.
Special thanks to my family, friends, and colleagues whose support and check-in questions kept my spirits up during the arduous work of writing a novel in a month.
Tiny Viola by Carolyn Avery
The world, we must remember, belongs also to the little mouse.
~ Carolyn Avery
One ~ The Classroom
Happiness is a warm puppy.
~ Charles M. Shultz
Viola Anderson loved her work as a teacher. The kids kept her young and happy. She had a group of friends from high school she was still in touch with and saw as regularly as everyone's hectic schedules could allow. She was single and yet she didn't feel lonely or especially independent. She was just enjoying life. She was considering getting a pet, sneaking one into her apartment somehow.. maybe a dog or a cat ~ she loved both ~ maybe a puppy would be fun. She'd figure out how to take it for walks without her landlord seeing...
Such were her thoughts when she first saw the bottle. She had been walking home after work and decided to stroll through Lake Park. The sun was out and the warm evening invited lingering, so she sat at a bench and watched the lake in a daze, thinking about happy puppies and soft cats. That's when something small and red and twinkling caught her eye. It was a little ornate bottle, floating in the water near her. She got down and reached over and plucked the little glass bottle out. There was a cork stopper and liquid inside.
Viola regarded the little bottle with interest. She liked cute fanciful things like this. She put it in her purse.
Why she ever drank that potion she could never figure out.
But that's what she did. She went home and settled into her evening routine. A vegetarian dinner (this night, tamales), yoga for an hour, and then the math papers were graded. She planned her lesson for the next day, drank the potion, brushed her teeth, took a quick shower, then dressed, set her alarm, fell into bed, and went into a deep sleep.
Just like that.
Two ~ Waking Up
It was three days later, but Viola didn't know that at the time. She only knew she woke up and everything was big except herself.
She didn't recognize her surroundings. She was in a beautiful, huge white room, with white walls and white furniture. A white shaggy rug carpet was directly in front of her and to the right, a large bed the size of a building with a puffy white comforter that floated over it like a landslide. The floor was hardwood. There were two windows to the right. They seemed so huge from her vantage point, so high up. She could see from the gray sky outside that it was daylight.
It was so strange to find herself in this magical white world and even stranger to realize what must be true -- that she was exactly two inches above the ground. She could tell by staring up at the bed on her right. She turned around and surveyed her surroundings.
Everything in the room was huge. Viola held her arms out. They were shorter than a toothpick.
"Unbelievable," Viola said out loud.
Three ~ Viola Starts Her Day
Viola spent some time taking mental measurements of her body. She was so astounded to find her feet so tiny. All her life she thought her feet were too big. And now, tiny. She thought about her class back in San Francisco. They would be expecting her soon and here she was, a tiny little thing, able to be crushed by any one of them. She was musing on this when she heard something.
"Que voulez-vous pour le petit déjeuner?"*
It was a man's voice and it came from outside the room. She couldn't hear clearly the female response, but there was one. Not that she understood what was being said. Viola had never learned French.
Maybe these French people can help me, Viola thought.
Viola waded through the shaggy carpet for many minutes. She encountered dust and spider webs, but fortunately, no spider. The white carpet yarn reached her waist and there was a lot of it, thick and unruly. She had to use all her limbs and crawl at points.
It was slow-going but finally she reached the hardwood floor again. She headed to the closed door near the white dresser. There was a one inch gap at the bottom of the door and the floor. She could crawl under it, find the people, and ask them for help. Surely they would help her.
*What do you want for breakfast?
Four ~ A French Hallway
Viola bent down and crouched and crawled through the tiny space between the bottom of the door and the floor.
On the other side, unlike the white and modern room she just left, she encountered a long hallway full of antique furniture and old paintings along the wall. The wallpaper was a very deep blue with a gold design on it. A deep red rug ran the length of the hallway.
Viola stood by the edge of the rug and waited, listening for the sound of the French voices again.
Soon she heard them. They were in the room at the very end of the hall on the right. It must be an open doorway because she could hear them quite clearly when they chose to talk.
She inched forward, which for her was a whole step. Rather than take the central route down the center of the hallway on the long rug that ran the length of the hallway, Viola went along the outer edge closest to her on the right. It would be safer if one of them came out and went down the hallway without seeing her. She could get squished!
At the first bureau Viola came to, she went right under. But it was so dark and dusty she decided to get out and go around it. It took a while for her to weave her way around the bureau and the small table next to it. It wasn't a small table by her size, of course, but it wasn't as huge as the bureau.
Each little step brought Viola closer and closer to the open doorway where she could hear and smell the French couple making eggs.
Viola finally reached the edge of the doorway and paused. She hadn't planned how she was going to get the couple's attention or just what exactly she would say. She peeked around the edge of the wall to look in at them.
Five ~ A Mouse!
The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
The French couple looked like giants to Viola. The lady sat at the kitchen table, already eating her eggs and toast. She was pretty but had a hard look to her face. She wore a purple shirt, jeans, and slip on shoes. She seemed upset about something.
The man was at the stove, cooking an omelette. He wore a tight dark gray shirt, dark jeans, and dark loafers. His hair was a little long but it suited him well.
At the moment, the couple wasn't talking, and then Viola heard them start up again.
"Vous semblez mieux ce matin,*" the man said.
"Vos collègues me font malade," the woman replied.
Viola had no idea what they were talking about. They continued on in French and Viola felt like an intruder. How did she end up here? Maybe she couldn't trust these people. She was just turning back to the hallway when she heard a scream. Viola jumped. The French lady jumped and folded her legs up to the chair.
"Souris!" shouted the French lady. And she continued screaming.
Then everyone froze. The French lady was pointing at Viola. The man was looking from Viola to the French lady. And Viola was wishing she had decided to avoid the couple earlier.
Viola turned and ran down the hallway, back towards the bureau.
The French man ran out of the kitchen and into the hallway.
"Arrêt!" yelled the French man to Viola, but she wouldn't stop. He lunged down at her. But she was too fast and dexterous for him. He lay with his hands out trying to grab her and she sped through the cup of his hands before he realized she was there. Because he was laying down she was able to make it to under the bureau where she stopped to catch her breath.
"Merde!" muttered the French man.
He went to the bureau and looked under it at Viola. His hand crept forward but Viola avoided it, squishing herself into the tiny space between the bureau and the wall.
"Don't hurt me!" yelled Viola. "Stop!"
"Anglais?" said the French man, wondering.
"Oui! Anglais!" yelled Viola.
The French man was shocked. His mouth fell open. He began talking very quickly in French.
"Mon nom est Jean-Paul. Je vous ne signifie pas le mal. Je suis stupéfié que vous pouvez parler l'anglais. Je dois rêver parce que vous n'êtes pas une souris," said Jean-Paul.
Finally he pulled his arm back. His arm was just too thick, he couldn't reach to the very back of the bureau where Viola hid.
He called back to his wife, Lielle.
"Ceci n'est pas une souris! Venir voir qu'il et n'a pas peur!" said Jean.
Lielle's large feet appeared, and soon after, Viola saw Lielle's unhappy face staring at her.
Finally Viola gathered up her courage and stepped out of the bureau to speak to them.
*You seem better this morning. / Your colleagues make me sick. / Mouse! / Stop! / Shit! / English? Yes! English! / My name is John Paul. I do not mean you the evil. I am stunned that you can speak English. I must be dreaming because you are not a mouse. / This is not a mouse! Come see and see it and do not have fear!