New story. I apologize, but chapter lengths may fluctuate wildly. Please review. As long as people are interested, I will post more. Thanks.

"Chapter 1: Strange New Feelings

She could tell the instant it happened. In a split second, she knew something was horribly wrong. She felt numb. It felt like nothing in the world mattered to her anymore. She was scared, but probably not as scared as she should have been. She was frustrated, but the old her would've been more so. Her feelings weren't as strong. It was almost like they were barely there. And the poor girl could tell immediately when the change occurred. But with her sudden dulled feelings came apathy. She knew something was wrong, but did nothing in reaction. She simply resigned herself to the new problem. This was just how she was now.

The old her would probably have contacted her parents immediately to express concern. But this new her couldn't bring herself to care enough. Her parents, miles away on a two week long trip, would be left in the dark, completely unaware of the sudden and severe change in their daughters mental status.

The old her probably also would have told her cousin, asking for her advice. After all, she was the one who the parents had put in charge of the house and its inhabitant. But she continued her work day with no knowledge of any problems as her younger cousin decided against even a simple phone call.

The young girl lifted her head from the sofa pillow and let out a low sigh. Her semi glazed eyes glanced at the glowing numbers below the tv. It was only 2:30. Her cousin wouldn't return to the house for another two hours at least. Even though she had homework to do and chores to complete, the girl could only muster up enough energy and care to sit up and turn on the tv across the room. For all she knew, her mind was falling to pieces. But there was no way she could bring herself to act on the problem.

Minutes quickly began to slip away. A whole hour passed without the girl even noticing. Her gaze was fixated on the television screen, following the shapes and colors that danced across the glass, but she wasn't really watching. Her eyes were, but her mind wasn't. She basically laid there motionless for the entire hour, her thoughts like tv static.

But as the glowing numbers flipped to read 3:34, she finally felt something. It was the dulled feeling of empty stomach. The girl reacted to the only thought in her mind, and slowly stood up in search of sustainance.

A quick rifling through the cupboards later, the girl returned to the couch. But before she could sit and resume her blank staring, she heard something. A scratch, a skitter, a scurry. Something was quickly running on small feet across the carpet. Listening carefully, it sounded like a creature was hidden under the ottoman.

The girls mind instantly went to mice. The house had had a problem with the small rodents in the past. This tiny skittering of feet was most likely their return. She only barely reacted with a slight curl of her face into a look of minor disgust. To be sure, she swiftly kicked the black ottomaN in an attempt to scare the being out from beneath it.

From the shadow under the furniture bolted a tiny figure, emitting what sounded like a hushed squeak. It zoomed at an incredible speed, abandoning its previous hiding place in search of safety beneath the couch. The girl felt a muffled feeling of fear and took a half step back. Though the being was too quick to tell what it was, she could tell what it wasn't, and it wasn't a mouse. This thing wasn't a rodent of any kind. In fact, if she wasn't mistaken, this tiny creature had zipped by running on only two legs. It was almost humorous, but it sort of looked like some very small person...

Before her dulled mind could process what was happening, the figure escaped to the darkness beneath the couch and disappeared. She once more listened for the quiet sound of scratching, but the creature stayed utterly silent. She kicked the side of the couch, but the being didn't budge. An idea slowly formed in the girls head, and she swooped back into the kitchen for the flashlight beneath the sink. Returning to the living room, she dropped to her knees in front of the couch and shined the bright light beneath the seat. The illumination revealed a pencil, a quarter, and a die from a board game she had lost the week before, but no creatures or animal of any kind.

She stood up and sighed. A tiny person? Had she really seen that? Or was her sluggish brain somehow managing to play tricks on her?

The girl made her way back to kitchen to return the flashlight, but not before listening once more for the scratching.