She goes on in an elevated voice as if talking to a child. "A big strong man like you shouldn't be in here, you should be out in the world fighting evil."
‘They say, when the night is less than a friend and sleep seems so far away, you should imagine a meadow, full of sleeping sheep, and count them. However, the idea that sheep could sleep whilst I watch them with tired eyes just sparks a jealous rage inside of me, leaving me with a feathered pillow and bruised knuckles. Instead, I try and listen to the sounds of nature. The hooting of owls and the buzzing of cicada’s and sometimes, if you listen hard enough, you might just hear the calming flute of Harvey Little’.
As a young girl, the forest was an ominous monster in its own right. Ginny passed it on her way to school. A neat line of girls, one behind the other until you reached Ginny who always stood at the end. They were always told,
“You are not made of bread or butter, but those that live within those trees will see you as if you are. And no one licks their fingers more than Harvey Little, after he’s snacked on little girls”.
But Ginny found the forest was hard to resist, for the music that sounded from it vibrated within her very bones and even made her skin want to tear away and wobble and dance along. But she was the only one who seemed to hear the music, and when she asked her mother why that was, her mother gasped,
“Harvey Little plays his tune to lure little girls in to dance. Whenever you hear the sound of his flute, you must block your ears and say, ‘I am not your bread and butter!’”
However, no matter how deeply she dug her fingers into her ears, no matter how loudly she shouted the words her mother taught her, Ginny could still hear his music. So one day, the neat line of girls were walking to school, found that they were one less when they finally reached school.
The forest was dark and Ginny had to rely on her hands and her feet to feel and guide her through the trees. She walked for hours, and with each step, each note got clearer and louder until she couldn’t even hear her own thoughts. Until she felt as though her eardrums may break from the noise. But she kept walking until she finally reached him. And the forest was full of creatures that filled this darkness, but none filled the darkness as much as Harvey Little.
He sat in what she imagined was the very middle of the forest. The very heart of the forest. It was the only place the sun could find the floor, and her eyes burnt, struggling to get used to this sudden change. It was as if a waterfall of light was breaking through the trees and crashing down on her.
He had a beard the colour of fire, which had a number of twigs and leaves tangled within it. He wore a beanie, hand-knitted by someone who had a lot of time on their hands and clothes that were sewn by someone who cared for him a lot, however they only ever made what he was wearing on his back. They were mattered with mud and dirt and covered with holes that had been re-sewn by shaky hands. But what really struck Ginny about Harvey Little was that he wasn’t that little at all.
Sitting, he was almost half the size of the trees that surrounded him. His head was the size of a boulder and his hair could have wrapped Ginny like a comfortable blanket. Had you drawn a face on his fingers, you may have been confused about which one was Ginny. And his flute was probably whittled himself from one of the trees behind him. It was no wonder Ginny could not avoid it’s sound.
When he finally noticed Ginny, who had been lurking in the corner, unable to see anything but him, it was Harvey Little who yelped out in surprise.
“You should know that someone that is small makes small noises. I couldn’t hear you coming.”
If a flute, whittled from the nicest piece of wood Mother Earth herself could supply, were to speak, it would sound like Harvey Little. His words caressed Ginny’s ears. His eyes, were they watching or were they wandering, were like lakes, in colour and in size, and they burned giant holes in Ginny’s own.
“Please, I need your help.”
His eyes were as large as two ponds, and just as murky and they looked down at Ginny, with only pain in them. He pointed to the back of his head and he said,
“There’s a twig in my hair and I can’t reach it to get it out. I’ve been playing my flute for hours, hoping that someone would hear it and come to help me.”
Now, although Ginny was just a girl, she was not dumb. She did think, this could be a trap. She did think, I am too small to lift a twig that size. But then, she looked into Harvey Little’s giant eyes, and for a moment she nearly drowned. She was just a girl after all.
She fitted perfectly in his palm and, although it was knotted in there and she’d probably have sore shoulders for weeks, she eventually got the twig out of his hair with a final, strong pull. Except, the force of her pull threw her off of his hand and straight onto the forest floor. The fall knocked the wind right out of her.
“Are you okay?”
She nodded, although she was lying. But no one had ever seen Ginny cry and she wasn’t about to start now. Harvey Little scooped her up within his hands, cradling her, his eyes even sadder than before.
“I know people are scared of me, but people are also scared of birds and they make the most beautiful music, so I don’t take it too personally. But sometimes I wish that I looked a little different. Maybe be an inch shorter.”
And Ginny couldn’t stop those thoughts from lurking into her brain. How could people think that Harvey Little was all that bad? He was just another oversized person, with oversized problems.
“Sometimes I wish I looked a little different too.”
Harvey Little was so shocked, that he almost dropped Ginny for a second time. He couldn’t believe it. He brought her up, close to his face, so she could look right into his eyes. So he could whisper right into her ears.
“How could you want to look any different? If I didn’t know you were a human I would’ve thought you were bred from angels. With skin as soft as butter and hair as golden as the sun. If I were a human, I would want to spend every day for the rest of my life with you.”
He brought her so close to his mouth that she could feel his breath on her cheek and he could feel the heat from his cheeks as she turned a shade of pink.
“You are the most beautiful person I have ever met.”
And he swallowed her whole.
“The tastiest as well.”