K. craned his neck to look at the top of the cupboard. Still a long way to go. He had the roll of sewing thread around him, to use for climbing, but it has exhausted him to carry it so far. Still it would have to use it now. At the back of his mind was still the worry that another bout of shrinking would make all these distances even larger , and his thread too heavy to use. He decided nonetheless to give himself a break and to rest near on the edge of the drawer. He put down the thread and stretched his tired shoulders.
Looking inside the drawer , he could see the huge compartments, like ceiling-less hangars, containing forks and spoons and knives and what knows. The length of each one of them was discouraging to him. Damn, he used to be able to take one of these massive things in his fingers! A strong smell of dishwasher emanated from the drawing, making him nauseous. All his senses seemed so much attune now, and he wasn't sure whether it was his senses that were sharpened by the shrinking, somehow trying to compensate for his small size, or if the environment was just sending over-strong signal to him all the time.
The kitchen was silent, but he could hear the regular dropping above him from the sink, like a distant cannonball every minute. A shaft of light drew a huge rectangle on the floor, the size of many football fields to him, and in it danced myriads of dusts specks. He grinned, and thought he had more in common with the dust specks than with most other elements in this world. He looked at the socks hanging on the back of the chairs, a sharp reminder of the dimensions of their owner.
Yep, he thought, whatever was in the container that crashed into his car two weeks ago sure did a fine job on him. He knew now that he was in trouble ever since when the guys came out of the truck and did not dare to assist him out of his vehicle, looking at the mess in dismay. They only asked him to retreat from the car and join them a few meters away. The machine they used to clean the yellow mess looked like a sci-fi vacuum cleaner. And their lack of conversational skills just made sense now. They hardly spoke at all when filling up the papers for the insurance. Had he gone to the doctor after the incident, would he have found out the truth before it was too late? He doubted that somehow. Whatever substance touched him was probably out of any doctor's chart.
A grumbling in his stomach reminded him of his purpose. He knew small animals needed to eat many times their own weight in order to keep their bodies warm. Well, since he now was one of the small animals, the task at hand was obvious. He was chilled as it is was, and somehow grateful that the incident struck in the middle of July, and not in January.
He took a last long look at the surroundings, inspecting especially the corners of the room, the shadows under the nearby pieces of furniture. His ears were straining to catch the slightest scratching noise in the room. He was all too aware that no house goes without its lot of small inhabitants and this had been a constant fear to him ever since the shrinking brought him down to his current one and a half inches.
Turning back to the cupboard wall, he measure the effort to reach its top. Its was jutting out a few meters over him . Climbing the not-fully-closed drawers had been easy enough, providing many anchor points for his feet or his rope. But the last bit was definitely more challenging. He spotted the nail in the wooden edge of the board, off the drawer length but maybe not that far off that he could not try and lasso it. He prepared his rope, thanking his old scout trainers of his youth. First attempt was way too short of the mark. Second one was way too long, but that, he thought , is a good sign. He tried again a few time, till eventually the loop caught on to the nail. He felt proud of himself for a split second. Then he realized that he now had to let go of the drawer edge and play the pendulum a few hundreds feet above the ground , before he could try and grip his way up. Suppressing a vertigo fit, he prepared himself for the jump. His legs kept shaking. He jumped. The pendulum started, he started to loose altitude first then slammed in the wooden , gained altitude again, started to swish back. The strain on his arm was intense but he had his feet well stuck in the little coils of rope he had knotted before. For half a minutes he was jerked right and left, as the motion stabilized and he was hanging straight under the nail. He then started to climb.
The door opened.
He froze as the giant woman entered the room. The draught from the door shook him and his pendulum. She walked to the kitchen table and dropped her keys on it. The sound was akin to ten cars crashing in a wall. The thunder of her sandaled feet resonated in his ears. She put her towel on the back of the chair. He was keeping still, hanging to his thread, watching with a mix of horror and lust at the enormous body moving in front of him. Her tanned thighs were level with his eyes, glistening from the water of her swimming. He stared at the yellow bikini she was wearing, a flimsy piece of custom he could have used as large tent. She went to the refrigerator , hand opened it, searching for something. The cool air from it seemed to cross the room in seconds and hit him. It was straight from the arctic. She started to rummage inside, giving the little man a nice opportunity to admire her back, her lush blond hair, her beautiful behind.
He snapped out of it. Over the past two weeks, her presence had proved a danger to him every time. His attempts at communication had failed, and even when he screamed at her from an open place in front of her eyes, she failed somehow to notice him and nearly crushed him underfoot. He had started to wonder if the substance that transformed him wasn't providing some sort of chameleon-camouflage to others' eyes. If indeed it had been a military project or something like this, then he sure would see the point of this extra feature, but to him that meant an additional challenge.
He frantically started to climb up the rope, and did not stop to look at anything till he reached the nail. He straddled it, exhausted. The woman stood up again, a container of orange juice in her hand. The fridge door closed, cutting the current of icy air. She walked to the table, put down the container, and went to look for a glass. She walked to him. The cupboard with the glasses was way above his head, on top of the cooking plan he was trying to reach. In three steps she was in front of him. He could not see anything now but the yellow fabric of the bikini. He could feel her warmth around him, and, craning his neck he could see the mountainous belly and breasts overlooking him. She was so close it could have reached for her, and the thought occurred to him to try and hitch a ride on her bikini. He ignored the impulsion. Too dangerous, and to what purpose?
He just hoped she would not lean further forward and press her body into the edge of the cooking plan. He would be crushed against her bikini. He braced himself. Obviously she knew about the nail and did not lean on it. He saw her and rise and catch a glass on the shelves above him. She turned round, and the gust of wind of her movement nearly toppled him down. He hung on the nail for dear life. He watched her sit down and fill her glass. He had to move fast. He rolled back the thread, and scaled the short distance to the wooden top of the furniture. As he reached the top and lied down , he could hear the woman sipping her orange juice with loud gulping sounds.
He looked around , searching for anything edible on the top counter. Large ketchup bottle and some sauce jar loomed in the distance. Various spice jars were left against the wall. He knew from experience she was a rather tidy person, and fair enough nothing showed on the vast expanse of wood in front of him . He started to go towards the wall behind the counter hoping to find crumbs stuck there. As he jogged to the wall, he heard her stand up, scrapping the chair against the floor and she walked straight to him, her shadow engulfing the cooking plan, her stomach and breast lowering themselves toward him as she opened the overhead cupboard. He was well in front of her , but no no matter how much he screamed, she did seem to hear at all. He ran toward the jars. The hand of the giant woman were bringing something huge to the ground he was running on. A soft crunching noise came as a humongous piece of bread landed ten of his meters behind him. The displaced air threw him against a jar and knocked the breath out of him. His back pressed against the cold surface of the jar, he looked at enormous hands lifted a slice of bead and put it on the “ground”. The woman face was looming above him, her blond hair falling toward him like a giant golden waterfall. The smell of her breath and skin was all around him. Her large green eyes were nearly his size ...and totally ignoring his presence. God, he thought for the umpteenth time, she's large enough to eat me.
She pulled the drawer he was resting on a bit further and took an enormous knife out of it, that she laid on the table. Then turned back and went to the fridge again. K. was still looking at her back when he realized he had at last a chance to get the food he hungered for. Keeping an eye on th giantess, he ran for the slice of bread. He knew it was risky but could not override his hunger, he had to try something. the bread slice starting to loom over him , when he reached the side of it, it was like a wall of food was facing him. He started to try and wrench some substance out of it. He had no pockets to store it so he tried to compress the tiny bits he got into a ball that he could carry.
Suddenly the thunderous clap of the fridge door resonated, followed by the loud slap of the woman sandals. In a second her shadow covered the table. In his hunger, he had forgotten to time the situation properly. Lying low against the far side of the bread slice, he suddenly saw a series of massive objects crashing dawn on the table. A huge white monument appeared on his left. It took him a second to realize it was a ceramic bowl of sorts. A large red ball crashed on the right hand side of the slice, along with a green tree-like object, many times bigger than any baobab he had ever seen. Various towers of glass and metal landed further away with loud crashing noises, shaking him.
As always, he had to think before he recognized any object. Tomato, cucumber, salt and such. She was obviously in the mood for a sandwich.
Hidden from her by the perspective, he watched in awe how the huge red bowl was cut in slices by two enormous hands and a an unbelievable knife. He could have drowned in the torrential juice flowing from the carved fruit. Looking up he could see some of the woman face but the perspective really only allowed him to see her throat and breasts. She was a beautiful twenty- something, just as he remembered her the few times he had met her as neighbor in the stairs or lift, way before he had to search refuge in her flat when the shrinking took him by surprise on his way up to his own place. Some drops from her wet hair kept falling on the table, with loud splashing noises around him.
When the hands disappeared from the table and all the cutting was done he stood up and got ready to run away toward the wall and the safety of the jars. But then the bread slices moved suddenly forward , pushing him hard, and he found himself dragged forward by the moving wall of bread, and his legs gave in and slid under the slice. Thankfully all movements stopped then, but he found he was pinned under the bread up to his waist. He couldn't see anything useful any longer but felt the pressure increase on his lower body, each she as started to spread something on the sandwich. Then, just as suddenly the bread slice disappeared at full speed upward. He saw the giantess spreading some sauce from the bowl on her slice. His legs were numb and painful form the pressure, and it took him a moment to start standing up.
“OUPS” , she said. That made him raise his head , as a shadow dropped on him. As in slow motion he saw the giant slice of bread fall towards him. “No time” he thought as the slice landed squarely on top of him. The impact flattened him on the ground, all breath gone, all light gone, but somehow not entirely knocked out. “Murphy's law” , whispered the girl. And K. felt himself be lifted up in the air, into the light again and this time he felt a descending movement that stopped sharply and embedded him even further in the mushy ground. As he looked at the giantess above lick one finger, he realized the slice of bread has fallen on him, buttered side first of course. He he was now in the middle of it, stuck to the gooey substance she had spread on to it.
He shouted at her but just then she started to grab a sponge and proceeded in cleaning the counter. He struggled against the goo, but somehow his legs had been jammed in the bread by the impact, and the yellow substance had a suction effect on his body. He was entirely covered with it. “Camouflage , my ass” thought K. briefly, as he strained to un-glue his right arm. The Woman was looking at him! His heart went into his throat. “please !!see me!! Please!!” he screamed. But a second later a red wet object landed nearly on top of him, covering his entire lower body. She was starting to put the veggies on the slice. A green block landed just after the tiny man's head with a slurping noise. A second later, some rocks landed all over him, with ones first , then black ones. Salt and pepper , he realized, his mind in a panic. She was turning him in an ingredient of her snack! He could see her face leaning above him, lips slightly opened, the white of her teeth showing, glistening and now lethally dangerous to him. He freed his right arm at last and tried to push the tomato away from his body but it was like trying to push a truck. His mind was working at top speed. He remembered there was no other slice on the counter. If it wasn't a closed sandwich and she brought it closer to her eyes , he had a chance to be seen. He felt an upward movement, as the young woman brought the slice up in her hand and started to move away from the cooking plan to sit at her table. All he could see was her gorgeous throat , face and shoulders, as the ceiling above her seemed to whiz past at amazing speed.
The young woman sat down . K. felt the sandwich lurch as she changed her and the the her face came closer, much closer. She seemed to look directly at him, but how does one one know the focus of eyes that large? He stared horrified, and screaming, as her tongue slided slowly across her upper lip. He felt her breath on his face, as she looked at her appetizing snack. Then her massive her lips parted, revealing the inside of her mouth, the white teeth, the wet redness of her palate, as it plunged towards him, her nostrils his only horizon. He felt a huge pressure when her teeth bit into the bread . He had tried to move his legs up, he still tried to push the tomato, still tried to scream for her attention. The upper teeth was looming over him, splashing into the tomato that covered him, her teeth missing him by less than an inch. As the lips presses downwards,and the teeth cut through the veggie and bread, K; felt the tomato lifting away from his body ,as it buckled into the mouth. The tomato was dragged away from the sandwich, and in a blaze of panic, K could see it being pushed into the mouth by a finger, as the young woman slightly craned her head back to absorb the rebel veggie.
Then she absent-mindedly looked at her sandwich again, and started chewing. K. waved his right arm frantically - his mayonnaise-covered right arm. He was working his legs out of the sandwich at last, his gaze fixed on the lips' churning movements, his mind full of the big slurping noises coming from above him. He sat down , pulling free his left arm, and in panic started all on fours to craw away to the side of the slice. He heard a sinister and loud gulp,as the young woman swallowed her first bite. He knew he had a last chance : the sandwich was large enough for her to bite on the other side , as he pressed forward in the goo, a mere two meters from edge.
He was left in no doubt whatsoever, when the beautiful face turned to him again, and the sandwich was brought to the wet opening mouth. He saw his platform being pushed into the red cavern, moist with shreds of her last bite, the huge teeth passing over his head.
“Murphy's laws...” he thought, as he looked at the black pit of her throat rushing forward and the hot, smelly darkness fell around him.
The young woman chewed the mouthful slowly, slightly surprised at the tiny crunchiness of the morsel. She swallowed it hungrily. The swimming had really worked her appetite.
Her sandwich finished, she moved back to the cooking plan. She noticed a tiny thread hanging from the nail on the edge. In a flicker she tore it up, and examined it, worried that she may have nagged again one of her skirts on this damn nail, then she threw the tiny rope in the waste bin. It was a beautiful July day to go and lay by the pool for a bit longer , she decided, as she grabbed her towel.
Nostromo, 9th December 2005