Misser Sticks was not enjoying his existence. For one he was jammed into a storage closet with no company but some paint cans, and for another his elbows were pressing into his featureless face. For yet another the woman from across the fence had screamed at him a few minutes ago. He didn't much like that as it made his head ring even though he didn't actually have any ears to hear with.
Long fingers slid across the wooden door until he found the knob, and he slowly creaked it open. He never really had much of a choice when opening doors; they always creaked. His long limbs and its many joints allowed him to fully open the door without unfolding himself from his spot between the two paint cans. Nothing seemed to be happening, but he had been told to stay in the closet.
Soon a small girl slid into the view on sock-skates. For want of a mouth a smile was lost, but Misser Sticks silently radiated happiness. In turn she exclaimed his name and hugged his leg, which was poking out of the closet.
"Misser Sticks," she said, looking up at him. "I think it's safe to come out now. Mrs. Weisgarber is in her house. She's still yelling, but she's on the phone."
After unraveling his other limb from around the mop, he leveraged himself against the door frame and slowly lifted himself out and up to his full height. Well, most of it at least, as he had to bend two sets of his knees and tilt his head slightly.
Misser Sticks was, to put it simply, not entirely human. He was technically asleep, though it was not too deep a sleep. But someone was certainly dreaming of him, if not quite fully.
The certain someone at his feet, one Tiffany Roads, was entirely human. She reached up and grasped one of his slender fingers. He wrapped the digit around her hand, and they stood together for a moment, enjoying the reunion. It ended when he raised his hand, lifting her several feet into the air. She squealed and giggled as he gently swung her like a pendulum.
Across the room the clock struck noon, which meant it was his young ward's lunchtime. Still tilting her back and forth, Misser Sticks ventured into the kitchen. He deposited the child onto the island within and set about opening cabinets and drawers around the room without ever actually moving his legs. Soon, Tiffany was holding peanut butter and banana sandwich, which she eagerly sank her teeth into. He made sure she was also supplied with a glass of chocolate milk before patting her head and departing from the room.
Once outside her vision, Misser Sticks rapped his knuckles together nervously as he scuttled over to the door to peer through the looking glass. Not that he had any eyes to look through it with. But he saw that the street looked as it always did. No screaming humans or whining police vehicles. Perhaps all would be well.
He once again crossed the room, over to the staircase. Rather than actually climb them, he reached up to the railing on the second floor and slowly hopped up. He went into the laundry room and unloaded the clothes from the washer, then dumped them into the dryer. He was playing with the dials when he heard a knocking from downstairs.
He tried not to panic.
But some base part of Misser Sticks, within his innermost depths, entered a deeper sleep. It dreamed of Things, and They of him, an intimate link between what he had once been and what he was now. They told him things, of what it meant when you were discovered. He saw images of humans in uniforms. The meanings of paranoia and of confinement. They let him know now was the time to panic.
And so he panicked.
It lanced through his twisted limbs, launching him out of the room and over the railing like a coiled spring. He landed in a mass of elbows and knees, which coiled up beneath him like a rattlesnake. The door hung open, and a half-eaten sandwich lay on the floor in the middle of the room.
Without bothering to untangle himself he crabwalked over to the sandwich, scooping it up in one overjointed arm. Limbs snapped around as he examined the discarded foodstuff, bringing himself to his full height. His back pressed against the ceiling as he looked on in horror, his chest expanding and collapsing aside from the need to breathe.
Taking a step forward he gripped the door frame and leaned out, taking in the various vehicles in the street with an emblem of a golden eagle over a blue disc. At the three men with strange guns. At the unconscious child being carried away by a fourth man.
The contractions in his chest spread until his entire body was pulsating, the expansions growing ever stronger than the retractions. Misser Sticks shoved himself through the door before he became too large to fit.
Behind the cover of their vehicles, the armed men glanced at each other. A broken, black humanoid figure was now standing on the house's doorstep. It was large, and quickly getting larger. A fuzziness surrounded it, blurring all around it in a dreamy haze. By the time its head passed the roof of the house, the agents could barely actually see the house through the haze. Instead they could faintly see a foreign landscape, dotted by strange entities eying them.
Misser Sticks rose his arms, blooming several more in the process. He took a step forward with a foot the size of a coffin. The grass around him wavered between its natural lush green and a deep purple. A flurry of limbs reached for the man carrying Tiffany, but he clambered into the waiting arms of an armored van.
The Dreamtime creature fell to his knees, and then again, and then yet again. The armed men fired their guns, and Misser Sticks defended himself with his branching arms. He continued lowering himself until he could see within the van, ignoring the needles burying themselves in his limbs.
Within the van, the man was holding a small box of white rocks up to Tiffany's face. She stirred and opened her eyes, and the connection to Misser Sticks' homeland was severed. Without the aid of his friends, he could not hold his larger form, and was unable to fight the bite of the injection needles and their payload of adrenaline.
His mind spinning, he was vaguely aware of the three men guiding him into the van. He heard the doors shut, he felt the warmth of a small hand in his own, and he caught of a whiff of the smelling salts.
And then Misser Sticks fell awake.