For your enjoyment…something I wrote Thursday afternoon for my daily 750 Words. It’s a rough draft of an idea I’ve had for the past month or so. The setting is an apartment complex in a suburb of a sprawling mega-city, where its tenants are of all kinds: humans, aliens, monsters, mythical beasts. It’s a Studio Ghibli-inspired story about a young kid living at this complex (whose family owns and runs it) and his adventures meeting all kinds of beings, getting to know their lives, eccentricities, and maybe even starting a few friendships in the process.
This is most likely going to be my next project after Meet the Lidwells, and I’m looking forward to writing and self-pubbing it.
I’ve put the passage under this here cut. Hope you enjoy it.
The first time that Riksah saw the ogre in the basement, he was relieved. He didn’t know the monster offhand, though he did look vaguely familiar. This had to be the new tenant. His father had told him that the new family of ogres, two males, a female and a little ogreling, had moved in sometime last week, taking over the empty corner apartment in the sub-basement of Building C. Riksah didn’t know too much about them except that the older male had professed on his tenant application that he was quite handy with plumbing emergencies. And Building C certainly needed that, considering it was one of the oldest of the five in the complex and hadn’t yet been renovated.
“Riksah,” his father had said to him. “I’d like you to head over to Building C and visit Kantah, Tassh and Moffer when you can. After your homework is done, of course.”
“Sure thing, papa,” he said, already excited about meeting the new tenants. “Is there anything I need to bring them?”
“They still need to sign the rest of the rental agreement,” he said, and began digging through the mountain of paperwork on his desk. “The main pages are done, this is the…oh, where is it?”
Riksah raised an eyebrow and tentatively leaned closer to the desk. “Anything I can help you find?”
“No, no!” his father said a little too quickly. “I’ve got it, just give me a moment to find it. Ah! Here it is.” He deftly yanked a folder from near the bottom of a perilous-looking tower of paperwork, which wobbled ever so slightly in response. Both Riksah and his father backed away in case it started to go. His father’s father had handed the ownership of the apartment complex to him only six months ago, retiring quickly and never looking back. His father was still trying to make sense of all this mess.
“Here,” he said, pushing the folder into his hands. “Don’t forget that we need signatures for all three adult ogres. So far we just have Kantah’s…er, signature. But we also need Tassh and Moffer’s as well, to make it legal. Can you do that by dinner time?”
Riksah nodded with a smile. “Sure thing, Papa. Anything else I can do for you?”
His father glanced around the office at the disorderly mess and flashed a quick grin. “Heh…no, not right now. Thank you, Rik.”
Riksah left his family’s apartment, a fine spread on the twentieth floor of Building A, and walked along the outside walkway, heading towards the elevator lobby. Their space had a perfect view of the other five apartment towers in the complex, and he never tired of it. His building was a wide curved tower, the lower palm heel facing the four other straight towers, with the main drive and walkway off to the left. It made their complex look like an opened hand from this view.
His father had said it had been build that way on purpose, to invoke a “giving hand” to anyone who wished to live there. It was a small community in its own way, various humans and other beings living alongside one another in relative peace and harmony. Anyone, regardless of race, gender, or shape for that matter, was welcome to live here. It had been a stipulation in the original deed written up by his elders…some five or six generations ago, and handed down to each successive landlord. Riksah would be the next in line sometime in the future.
Once down at ground level, he walked across the wide park situated between the five buildings. It was late afternoon and many of the working elders would be returning sometime within the next half hour or so. A daycare group was gathered in the sprawling playground off to the right, close to the line of the trees bordering the park. The youngest of the kids were hooting and screaming and generally having the time of their lives. The chaperones and the parents were off to the side, gossiping, occasionally reprimanding one of the tykes for bopping another with a toy. Their voices echoed between the five buildings…the layout of the complex had been such that there would never quite be complete silence. Riksah actually preferred that to gloomy silence.
“You’re…Riksah, yes?” growled the tall ogre, dark beady eyes staring at him. The ogre’s tusks gave his voice a slight lisp, calling him ‘rickshaw’ in the process. Riksah chose not to correct him.
“Yes I am,” he said, giving him a lopsided smile. “And you are…Kantah?”
The orge growled in appreciation and nodded. “Your father is a good man. I thank him again for letting us live here in his complex. There was worry we might not have been accepted. As tenants, we mean.” Kantah blushed — a dark blue splotch appearing on his cheeks — “Well. We heard there are many wishing to live here. I mean.”
Riksah completely understood. Getting a spot here at the complex was quite hard, even if the only reason for it was that those who moved here rarely left, thus leaving very few openings. The complex was considered a long-term home for many. “He says he’s glad to have you here,” he said, and handed Kantah the folder. “He just needs the two other adults to sign the lease as soon as possible, just to make everything complete and legal. No rush, just when you have the time.”
Kantah bobbed his head once more. Riksah noted with fascination that Kantah had quite large bovine-like horns, mottled black and white like granite. He wondered if they were as solid and heavy. Kantah took note of the boy’s amazement and leaned in close. “Pride of our clan,” he said, grinning. “Our horns are strong like oxen. Go on, give them a knock.”
Riksah blinked, first in embarrassment and then in amusement, realizing Kantah was having fun at his expense. He lifted a small hand and rapped against the horn. It was solid, alright; no hollow echo at all. “That could come in handy around here,” he laughed. “We’ve been doing some reno here and need extra hands.”
Kantah leaned back and barked out a laugh. “I shall of course provide assistance!” he said. “Tell your father I wish him well, and will get the papers back to him soon.”
“I will,” Riksah said, and saw himself out. He realized he was going to like this new tenant.