Lottie pulled a brush through her red-gold curls in an effort to tame them enough to be tied back. After several attempts to braid her hair, she gave up, shoving on a headband and turning to inspect her reflection in the mirror.
Do I look mature enough for this?
Lottie was starting a new job that very morning. She had responded to an advertisement in the local paper, and in just a few hours, she would be a governess to a delightful child named Belinda. She hadn't actually met the family yet, but she had corresponded by mail with Belinda's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Gristle, and they seemed like very nice people.
It was getting late for still preening. Lottie scolded herself and ran downstairs.
"Oh!" Lottie's mother pressed a hand to her heart. "My baby girl is all grown up!"
"Mother! I haven't been a baby in almost fifteen years!"
After a quick breakfast of porridge drizzled in honey, Lottie ran out the door with her bag. As soon as she was far enough from her mother's worrying eyes, Lottie pulled the hand-drawn map from her pocket and studied it. It made sense to her that the family lived on the very edge of town, practically in the woods. They were probably overprotective parents who didn't want to risk the chance of their little girl going all the way to the village schoolhouse.
It took a while to find the place, and when she stood at the front door, Lottie wasn't sure that it was the right place. The house stood very tall, about 4 stories by Lottie's assumptions, and was made of redbrick. The door itself was almost ten feet tall, and the windows were big enough that Lottie would be worried about falling out of them if she ever came to be standing by one while it was open.
Lottie straightened her shoulders. It's the only house over here. If it isn't the right house, they might be able to point me in the right direction. She walked up to the front door and knocked.
The door swung inward. For such a large door, Lottie would have assumed it would be heavy. She stepped inside.
"Hello?" She took another two steps forward and looked around. The inside of the house was painted a cheery yellow, which made sense to her. A lot of people painted their houses bright colors. But after that, nothing made sense. The stairs that rose up from the wood floor looked like they would be extremely difficult to climb. Each step was almost two feet up from the one before it. The doorways on either side were also over-sized, and lead into rooms that made Lottie, who stood at five foot ten inches, feel very small.
"It's Lottie," She tried again, "I'm the new governess."
She got no answer, and so decided to try to find her new charge and bosses. She walked into the room on the right. It was a dining room. The seats of the chairs came to her waist, and the table reached Lottie's shoulders. Both table and chairs were made from a dark brown wood, including the one that had a mini ladder at it's foot.
Why does this place make me feel like a toddler? She glanced around, trying to figure out what she was missing. Maybe they left me a note on the table.
Lottie pulled the ladder over to the chair at the front of the table. She climbed up and sat on the chair, turning to face the table. The chair was much too big. Lottie looked at the table, but there was no note there. She looked over towards the other side of the table, where she could see the back of the other large chair. There was a piece of paper there, but out of her reach. She got down, moved the ladder, and climbed onto the other chair. This chair was much too something, although Lottie couldn't tell what. I'm not here to try out chairs. Where's that paper...
Lottie sighed and got down again. A shopping list wasn't going to help her. She climbed up on the smallest chair, which actually was comfortable, but then she got down.
No time for sitting down. The Gristles might be in trouble.
So Lottie checked the room on the other side of the stairs. There were a few couches and a large beanbag chair, but no people. She called out as she headed up the stairs, but still received no answer. At the top of the stairs, she saw that there were two doors. She walked over to the first one, which was painted green in contrast to the bright yellow of every other painted surface she'd seen before.
"Hello?" She called out again. At this point, she was scared, both for herself and for her employers. Perhaps this is why she walked into the first bedroom without pausing to think.
It was clearly the master bedroom, and just as over-sized as the rest of the house. Lottie closed the door instantly. As scared as she was, Lottie did not want to snoop in there. It wasn't her place. So Lottie turned and knocked on the other door, and then pushed it open.
Aside from the door, this was the one room where everything seemed normal. There was an open closet full of dresses. True they were too big for Lottie, but not by much. The blankets on the bed were baby blue, but the bed was a normal size. There was an odd scratch on the floor, which made Lottie wonder if the Gristles had been kidnapped.
Suddenly, sixteen seemed very young. The fear finally caught up to Lottie and she sank down on the bed and cried.
She had no idea how she fell asleep, but the next thing Lottie knew, she heard someone shouting.
"Someone's been sleeping in my bed! And she's still there! Do you think this is my governess?"
Lottie shot upright. "Belinda? I'm so sorry. I couldn't find you and then-" Lottie stopped short when she saw who she was speaking to. Belinda was indeed standing in front of her, and Mr. and Mrs. Gristle were hurrying into the room. But they were nothing like Lottie had assumed. Though they were dressed as was proper, they weren't humans at all. They were bears!