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“Hello?” I ask. My little mouse-voice bounces around the mostly empty room and barely disturbs the dust particles. Sunlight pours in through the small window by the ceiling, blinding me as I leave my little hole in the wall to glance around the room. The dusty, old shag carpet is still rolled and propped up in the corner. I look up at the cans stacked on top of a shelf. Old paint drips down the side and stains the shelf different colors. Boxes fill one of the walls in this little basement. Inside the boxes are the leftovers of past hobbies; radio parts, little trains, a half finished coin collection, random paint brushes, and the occasional jigsaw puzzle piece.

Before I started to stroll across the barren floor and make my way towards the rickety staircase, I turn around to wave goodbye to Button, my pet house mouse. I try to take good care of Button, since he’s the one that brought me to this little hole in the wall. I’ve been working hard, trying to make it into a little house for us. I find that I have a lot of freetime on my hands ever since I left my village of Memegwaans, or Little People, so it didn’t take long. The huge scale of the room used to scare me, but it has become my personal playground. I think that the little projects I do give me a better purpose than the pranks I was born to do as a Little Person.

After a while of thinking about my unhappy past in the village, I finally made it to the other side of the room. The coating of dust on the stairs continues to grow thicker since the large brute doesn’t come down here as much anymore. When he does, he groans and grunts and wheezes. I’ve only seen him once due to my fear of him. He was wrinkled and slow, and wore a dark blue plaid shirt that complemented his pale blue eyes. His shiny watch was on his right hand so he could work with his left hand. I pause and quickly glance up at the door and listen intently; no groans or grunts.

I eventually get to my latest project hidden back in the shadows of the stairs; the old clock. The roof of the clock is just short enough for me to see over, and it’s no wider than my arm span. I walk around the back and open it to peak at the gears. All of last week I worked to get it functional, and now it should work. I push the back closed and think about how I can move it back to my room when I hear the door open.

I freeze in my spot, stuck with fear. I’ve always been able to hear the brute come before he opened the door so I could hide. My eyes glance over to my door, all the way across the room. There is no way I can make it. That’s one thing I miss about my village; the protection you get from others. I slink back towards the shadow and press up against the stairs. The brute is obviously moving, but there’s no groans or grunts or wheezes. I risk a peak out, and I almost gasp before I catch myself. It’s not the brute.

Well, it’s still a brute, but not the old one. His hair is brown and he has no wrinkles, but he has the dark blue plaid and the watch on his right hand. Who is this? I watch as the new-brute makes it all the way down the stairs and starts to look through the boxes. He seems to be looking for something, but he keeps pausing when he comes across clock pieces before putting them in his pocket. His movements are slow and careful at first, but soon becomes frantic as he moves through the boxes, not satisfied with his findings. Just when I think he is going to give up, he flips the top box in anger and watches as the contents poor out. The new-brute goes over to the wall and slumps down. I see just a flash of watery, pale blue eyes before they get covered with his unwrinkled hands.

I watch curiously as the new-brute slowly picks up his head and takes the clock pieces out of his pocket to carefully place them along the floor. He’s looking at them so intently that it makes me look at the clock next to me. I look back up as he sighs and wipes his eyes. He touches each of the pieces one by one and slowly takes the pieces and puts them back into his pocket. I realize that I’m not afraid of him after I get an idea.

I gingerly push the clock out of the shadow, just enough that it could be seen. I go around to the back to crank the gears before stepping back into the safety of the stairs. Crossing my fingers, I wait and listen as the clock starts ticking. Then a beautiful chime chirps throughout the room and catches the new-brute’s attention. His head snaps up and he looks for the sound. When he notices the clock, he quickly gets up to look at it closer.

Even though losing the clock upsets me, seeing the joy light up on the new-brute’s face made me happy. He quickly grabs the clock and his pale blue eyes start to shine. He sniffs once and rubs his eyes, but then he yells and bounds up the stairs. I crane my head out to see him leave and I watch as he closes the door. My hands find their way into my pockets and I start to walk towards my door. Lost in thought, I end up in front of my doorway faster than I thought I would. I pull the door open and pat Button on the head. Before I close the door, I look around the room once more. A small smile finds its way on my face and I shrug.  I’m sure I’ll be able to find another project to work on.

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