"I need to talk to a human."
Although the voice was small, it had a demanding quality to it that Claude couldn't in good conscience ignore. And so he took a moment to dog-ear the page he was on, then put his book down and looked up at the speaker from the log he was sitting on.
Only the speaker wasn't "up".
Claude glanced around and then, at last, down. There in front of him, legs firmly, perhaps even defiantly, planted in the dirt, was a tiny girl, no taller than the paperback Claude had been reading.
"Excuse me?" he said.
"Look, are you a human or not?" The girl asked. She was dressed in a sleeveless jumpsuit of cream, dappled all over with brown spots, and her skin had a distinctly teak cast to it- and it was stripey like wood, too.
"Either you are or you aren't, and I don't have time for high fae games, so just tell me the truth: are you a human? And if you aren't, could you maybe point me towards one?"
"I... am definitely a human, yes." Claude thought about it, then added, "Or at least, I'm a little boy."
"Little," she snorted. "That's relative."
Claude flushed. "I didn't mean to be rude. But I am pretty little compared to most people. Um, humans."
"Doesn't matter," the girl gave her head an impatient toss, and Claude realized her hair was braided through with tiny green vines. "You're big enough for my purposes. Now come on."