Anita just received her first part-time job after graduation from high school – to be the babysitter of a little boy whose parents have just passed away and only left under a grandfather who’s busy at work.
“The boy’s name is Stanley. Right now, he’s at school, but all you have to do for now is to pick him up using the bicycle his father used to ride on,” said the grandfather.
“Sure!” Anita eagerly said. “I bet he’s a really good kid.”
“He is...a very special little boy.”
As she rode the bicycle with a basket between the handles, she reached the school near the municipal hall. A boy with a bright face approached her quickly.
“Hey! I’m Stanley...you must be my babysitter!” The boy said with a smile. “I’m so excited!”
“Ahh...yeah, of course! Heheh...” Anita took the boy and had him ride the bicycle with her.
While they were travelling through town, Anita felt a strange aura from the boy, as if he was sick.
“Y-you know, Miss Anita...” he was kind of nervous, clutching the lower end of the handle. “Did grandpa tell you?”
“Tell what?” Anita was confused.
“Uh...never mind.” Stanley chuckled. “You’ll find out soon enough anyway.”
Anita’s mind continued to be puzzled. But indeed, she was going to discover it right away.
“Stanley...how come your clothes suddenly don’t fit anymore?”
The boy gasped. “Oh crap...I forgot to stop over for a while...”
“B-but we can’t stop now with the traffic and...I know recently your clothes were just fine and...”
“Let’s just hurry home, okay? I’ll explain later all abo—”
Anita heard a change of voice pitch in the little boy. She also noticed that his clothes had gotten tighter and his height wasn’t the same as before.
“Stanley...what...is this...this is a dream, right? What’s going on...”
The boy sighed, knowing his body has completely changed. “It’s cold today, right? It figures...”
“H-huh? What do you mean? What does that have to do with you?”
“Guess I’ll have to explain now, huh?” Stanley giggled for a bit. “You see, I was born with an uncontrollable syndrome. My body reacts to the cold and that’s where I become older...”
“T-there’s a medical condition like that!? Impossible! That’s totally insane but...”
“I know. Even I couldn’t believe it myself.” Stanley’s tone of voice saddened. “But here it is...like a suffocating jacket around me. I feel heavy and cold every moment it happens. And unfortunately, there’s no cure for it as of now.”
Anita felt sorry for him, who’s now blocking her view with his stature.
“Don’t worry Stanley; you...could eventually turn back, right?”
“Yeah, by warming up. I have to keep my body temperature normal to be a kid again.”
In that instant, they’ve already reached the house, but grandpa wasn’t there. He left a note saying that he’s still at work. Anita quickly helped Stanley by giving him a thick jacket and lighting up the fireplace. She quickly searched the cupboard for an instant soup in a can and hurriedly prepared it for the boy.
“H-here you go—oh!”
Stanley’s body went back to normal, as he grinned like the little boy he was.
“Thank goodness...” Anita said as she gave him the soup.
“Thank you, Miss Anita! You’re a really kind babysitter! Grandpa had no mistake picking you! Teehee!”
Much later on, they turned on the TV and heard shocking news: there was a huge typhoon heading their direction! And within a split second, the whole house was destroyed to bits.
Anita took the boy, still in his oversized jacket (possible his father’s), to the opposite direction of the wind. They ran as far as they could.
“What the heck? A storm all of a sudden?”
“Ghh...so cold...” Stanley held his jacket closer.
“Oh no...does that mean you’ll grow up again?”
“N-not yet...now that I have dad’s jacket...I’ll be safe at the very least.”
The two made their way as far as they could, but unfortunately, another set of disaster blocked their way.
There was a sudden snow storm, in their tropical country!
“W-what’s going on here? All of a sudden it’s now Winter Wonderland? It’s impossible...we’re near the equator! Is this the end of the world or...”
Stanley was freezing more than ever, still holding on to the jacket. But alas, he started changing again. The more he grew, the colder he felt. Anita had to do something.
“There must be some place here that’s not cold...”
Anita then saw an abandoned cave, since their town is near the mountains and the forest. She quickly pushed some blocks of stones to drive out the snow, but she couldn’t lift them. Stanley then forced himself to help out his babysitter.
“B-but you’re cold! Stay inside...please...if something happens to you I...”
“You’re...not that strong to cover me from snow...I’ll somehow make this grown-up body useful...”
“I’m fed up with having to be protected...this is the day I return the favour! Just a little bit more...”
But because he kept growing through facing the cold blizzard, his jacket has gotten shorter for him and he eventually collapsed due to extreme temperatures.
Terrified, Anita quickly tried to carry his seemingly-large body as much as she can to the deeper end of the cave. Luckily, she had a match in her pocket, which she left there on purpose for emergency. Seeing some wood inside the cave, she swiftly lights them up and drags Stanley near. The man was slightly unconscious.
“Stanley, you’re gonna be okay...I’m here...you’re safe and warm...”
“Miss Anita...I miss my mom and dad...but...I guess the world’s come to an end sooner. For now...you’re my new protector...” Stanley said as he held Anita’s hand with his cold and stiff ones.
The two waited for some long hours for Stanley’s body to go back to normal, but nothing happened. In fact, he was slowly completely losing consciousness.
“H-how could this be...I...I did everything! What else...!?”
“Stanley...hey...wake up...tell me...is there anything else?”
But Stanley just froze there.
“Y-you can’t...not just yet...Stanley...it’s unfair...I...”
Just then, there was a strong gust of wind and Anita had a vision. It was Stanley’s grandfather in a somewhat spirit form. He whispered something in the girl’s ears, which made her eyes widen. Then, the old man disappeared.
“I-I’ll try that...” Anita then leaned closer to Stanley’s face. “This is really embarrassing, but oh well...it’s the only chance I’ve got! Here goes!”
On that moment, her warm lips touched Stanley’s frozen ones.
A tear also fell from the girl’s eyes to the man’s cheeks.
“Ugh....h-huh? Miss...Anita...? What was I...doing...where....”
“Oh Stanley! I’m glad you’re not dead! I really am glad!” Anita quickly hugged Stanley, and with this, the man’s body slowly decreased in mass.
“S-so this is another way of warming up, huh?” Anita blushed and slightly looked the other way.
“Y-yeah...though I doubt anyone would do that to me. Only my parents and grandpa could hug me back to a kid, but I never thought you’d do the same...and even more...you—”
“H-hey! It was your grandpa’s idea. He...sort of showed himself to me and...”
There was a moment of silence as a truth was revealed.
“Really, huh? That’s too bad...I feel sorry for grandpa. But hey, at least he helped us! I’m more than happy!”
When Stanley became a kid again, they eventually got out of the snow storm and into the open, where they discover the whole town was devastated and it seemed that no survivors were found. The boy still wore and clutched his father’s jacket. Anita held his hand to keep him warm.
“You really are a very special little boy...just like what your grandpa said.” Anita’s mood brightened up as they searched the whole town.