“Timothy Alan McGuinness! Get down here now!”
Up in his room, young Timothy “Timmy” McGuinness instinctively cowered at the overbearing voice yelling from the distance. His full name…That was never a good sign. There was no doubt that it came from his mother, and judging by that tone in her voice, he couldn’t hide it from her anymore. His eyes turned to the door, briefly considering locking it and stalling his punishment for as long as possible. Tempting as it was it’d probably only anger his mother further. So, against all his instincts, Timmy got up and answered the angry call.
It was in the dining room that he found her sitting at the table: his mother, Brenda McGuinness. And at her side stood the last face he wanted to see, his sister Molly. Even at a casual glance it was painfully obvious that the two were mother and daughter. Both had the same chocolate brown hair, Brenda having hers tied up into a small bun, and Molly who wore hers in a braided ponytail. They shared the same small but cute noses, the same series of freckles, and even the same blue eyes. Really, the only thing that set the two apart as far as appearances went were their ages. At 50 Brenda was an adult with a properly mature appearance that held the slightest signs of age, whereas Molly was a youthful 18 and looked to be in her prime.
Just seeing them together was enough to make Timmy uneasy, but it was what his mother was holding that terrified him more than anything. He instinctively tensed, bracing himself for what was to come.
“Look at what your sister brought home Timmy. It’s your report card.” Brenda said in a disturbingly upbeat tone, a complete contrast from the angry yell that had summoned him.
“Look Mom, I can explain-”
“Why golly Mom.” Molly cut him off with the biggest grin. “These grades are just awful! No wonder Mrs. Brown asked me to bring this home for him.” She looked over to her brother deviously. “But what can you expect from a bug- I mean boy.” She shrugged her shoulders.
“I do believe you are right Molly.” The brunette mother nodded, setting the report card down upon the table. She turned to Timmy and slowly stood up. Brenda was by no means a tall woman, but right in the crux of puberty Timmy was still a measly five feet tall and had no choice but to look up to meet her gaze. In all his life she never ceased to be intimidating, standing over him in her favorite poofy blue circle dress, eyes silently judging him behind that motherly smile. “Well? Do you have anything to say for yourself?” One of her flats tapped on the floor impatiently as she awaited an answer.
Timmy gulped. “It’s not what you think Mom! I study hard I swear! But Mrs. Brown likes to single me out because I’m a boy; and when I’m not looking the girls take and rip up my homework so she can keep failing me an-“
“No excuses.” Before her son could say anymore Brenda shut him down and shook her head, mumbling something under her breath. “Gosh, what am I going to do with you?” The mother asked, pinching the bridge of her nose. “You know the deal Timmy. You get to live here so long as you get good grades. If you don’t get good grades, well…”
“Squish!” Molly exclaimed with a stomp of her foot.
The loud sound of Molly’s stomp nearly had Timmy leaping out from his skin. Everyone knew what normally happened to boys, especially boys around his age. So far he’d been lucky, but now…“I swear it’s not my fault Mom! It’s the girls! They keep picking on me because they wanna get rid of me! I’m the only boy in the class, so they wanna be the ones to…you know…” His eyes trailed back to his sister’s shoes nervously.
“Now Timmy, I didn’t raise you for all these years so you could be a little liar.” Brenda said sternly. “Instead of wasting time making up ridiculous stories like that, you could’ve just studied so you wouldn’t be in trouble in the first place. I went out of my way to be nice and give you a chance to be something more than a bug you know. It wasn’t easy protecting you from everyone!” Her finger wagged in the young man’s face, each flick of the digit terrifying him even further. After a few moments she sighed. “…But I’ll give you one last chance. If this absurd story about you being bullied is true, you won’t have any problems proving it right?”
“Proving it?” Timmy asked, hopeful.
His mother nodded, walking back to the table. Near Timmy’s report card rested a second piece of paper he somehow missed. From where he was he couldn’t tell what was on it though. “It’s nothing fancy; I’ll just ask you two some questions. If you can get them right I’ll know you’re not lying. ” Brenda took a seat and crossed her legs, bobbing one foot anxiously as she looked at her children.
Molly too? That was strange, but whatever. The bigger question was: “What if I get them wrong?”
From nearby Molly giggled. “I get you.” She said, punctuating her statement with another stomp of her Mary Janes. The brunette sidled up next to her brother and nodded. “Ready whenever you are Mom!”
Timmy could feel his blood quickly turn to ice. His sister…if she got hold of him there was no telling what she’d do, but it wouldn’t be good. That much was certain. He looked to his mother, hoping for some small modicum of pity in her eyes. Some sign that she wouldn’t let anything bad happen to her one and only son. There was none. Only the same warm expression she always had. Never had a smile made him sweat so much.
“Okay then, ready sweetie?” Brenda asked. It wasn’t as though Timmy could exactly refuse at this point, so he simply nodded along. “Ladies first then.” She looked at the page she wrote beforehand. “Molly, what is 5 times 14?”
The sister thought for a moment. “70!”
“Very good.” Their mother nodded in approval. “Okay, your turn Timmy.”
This was it. Timmy braced himself for whatever question would come his way. He studied harder than any other student in his class. Whatever was coming, he was ready for it.
“What is the square root of 13 squared times 3 divided by 5?”
Except for that.
“What?” Timmy blinked. They hadn’t even covered square roots in class yet! That was something he was supposed to learn next year. “Um, can I get some paper to answer this?” He stammered out a request to stall for time.
“You shouldn’t need it silly.” Brenda laughed.
“Time’s running out little bitty Timmy!” Molly teased from his side.
Darn it. This wasn’t good. No matter how fast Timmy’s brain raced he couldn’t do math he didn’t know. And with no paper to try and even attempt to work it out he could only stutter to himself incoherently. “Uh…Uh…2.5…?”
“Wrong.” His mother shook her head, and then suddenly young Timothy grew dizzy. Everything blurred around him for just a moment, seemingly growing further away from him. The world surrounding the young man stretched, growing ever so slightly larger. He knew what was happening, vaguely. It was common knowledge that men could shrink. It had just never happened to him before, until now. When everything came back into focus he gasped for air. His eyes darted to his sister, quickly widening with shock. Now he only came up to her chest!
Timmy was speechless, all manners of cognitive thought escaping him. They were serious about this! His own family! If he lost he might actually…“M-Mom!”
“Next question Molly.” Of course their jovial parent completely ignored his obvious unease. If anything she, along with his sister, only looked more elated by the second. “What do you call a poem with three lines, and has five syllables, seven, and then five again?”
Suddenly Molly’s face scrunched, her lips mumbling the question once again under her breath. She was silent, silent for far longer than any amount of time Timmy got on his question. “Uh…I know this I know this…Um…” She quirked her lips to the side. “A sonnet?”
Their mother looked at Molly, then back to her paper, and slowly shook her head. “Close, but wrong. I’m sorry sweetie. You were looking for Haiku. I’m going to have to write down minus 10 points for you.”
“Silly me. I should’ve known better.” Molly pouted, looking back down at Timmy with a wide grin. He stepped back instinctively, a dreadful look on his face. Why did she get to get it wrong and not shrink? That wasn’t fair at all! Each of these questions only made it all the more clear how much the odds were stacked against him. Timmy was beginning to wonder if it was even possible to win. He didn’t know anymore, but he still had to try. If for no other reason than the alternative meant…Well, he tried not to think about it.
“Okay, Timmy. What kind of chemical reaction absorbs energy, and requires energy for a reaction to occur?”
Wait what? Was that even an English question? Heck, was it even English?! Timmy could only give his mother a dumbfounded look. “Mom these questions aren’t fair! You’re giving me all the hard ones!”
“Answer the question.” Brenda said sharply. “And no excuses.”
He sighed, racking his brain to try and figure out what it could be. “Um…a heat…reaction?”
“What kind of heat reaction?”
The dizziness returned with a vengeance. Timmy could feel everything growing larger around him once again. The world seemed to spiral upwards even faster than before. As it settled he now found himself staring at his sister’s sock covered knees. Gulping, he dared to look up, only seeing his sister’s terrifying sneer. She was intimidating enough at normal size, but this? This was something else. The petite young woman who always wore circle dresses now towered over him as a literal giant. All it would take was a single kick of her foot and her little brother would need an emergency visit to the hospital. To say nothing of the dangers of his much larger house or his disturbingly relaxed Mother.
“Enjoying the view little brother?” Molly laughed. “You sure you studied? You’re looking awfully teeny tiny for a boy who studied.”
“I’m beginning to wonder that myself.” Brenda said with a playful chuckle. “You ready Molly? Here’s another one for you. When is my birthday?”
“Hmm…” Molly furrowed her brows in deep thought. “April 22nd!” She exclaimed.
“Right you are! Okay Timmy, here’s an easy one. When was Georgia Washington’s birthday?”
The birth date of the first president. As far as questions went it wasn’t exactly unreasonable. It was information that he felt he should know, but of course Timmy didn’t. “Mom, you have to realize these questions aren’t fair!”
“I said no excuses.” His mother clicked her tongue and shook her head. “Time’s up.”
Thus, Timmy shrank once again. He only sighed as the dizziness came back. What was even the point anymore? Everything was a blur that quickly expanded in every direction. The vague colors he knew to be he sister stretched on and on upwards. As he regained his senses he was level with Molly’s Mary Jane’s. The shoes were shined to the point he could see his reflection. Earlier today his reflection was that of an optimistic young man, but now the same vibrant face looked defeated and hollow. As he was now he couldn’t have been more than a few inches tall, four or five at the most. This may as well have been over.
“Gosh Timmy, you’re like a bug now! I knew you didn’t study you little liar!” His sister bent over and poked her tongue out at him.
Brenda shrugged. “What else can you expect from a boy sweetie? You know how silly they are.” She leaned over the table to get a good view of her son, barely even able to see the mouse-sized young man next to her daughter’s feet. “Honestly, I feel bad for thinking he even had a chance.”
Molly shook her head. “Don’t feel bad Mom! It’s Timmy’s fault for being a dumb boy!”
“I suppose so.” Brenda smiled. “Last questions then. Molly, what are the three states of matter?”
“Gee, that’s a tough one.” Molly tapped her chin thoughtfully. “These sure are hard aren’t they Timmy? Well, I think it’s solid, liquid, and gas.”
“Very good Molly! Okay Timmy, this is the last question. Remember, this is your chance to redeem yourself. Get this right and you’ll prove you aren’t completely hopeless.” Brenda took a deep breath. “What is the name of the play written by Wilma Shakespeare featuring two star crossed lovers in feuding families?”
Timmy looked up to his giant mother, blatant surprise in his expression. An easy question? For him? He almost thought he heard it wrong, but there was no mistaking it. “Romeo and Juliet!” He exclaimed happily. Finally, a question he could reasonably answer!
It was undoubtedly the right answer; however Brenda’s face remained unmoved. She maintained a steady gaze on Timmy, eyes beading through his shrunken form. “I know he said something…” She frowned slightly. “But I can’t hear him from here. Can you Molly?”
“Nope! He’s too small. All I can hear are little bug squeaks.” Molly laughed, doing a couple shrill squeaks for reference.
“Romeo and Juliet!” Timmy yelled it louder this time. Then again even louder than that. Over and over he screamed the name as loud as he possibly could, but no matter how much he yelled the giant women surrounding him either didn’t hear or didn’t care.
“No matter. He would’ve just gotten it wrong anyway.” Brenda said dismissively as she leaned back in her chair.
“No!” For the final time the dizziness hit him, with everything growing faster than ever before. He couldn’t have imagined that he could get any smaller, but oh how wrong he was. Molly’s shoes rocketed skyward, rising dozens of feet in the air before settling to a stop after what felt like an eternity but was in fact a few measly seconds. Her feet were buildings onto themselves, and Molly herself was as large as a skyscraper. Maybe even larger.
Brenda set the paper with the questions down and shook her head. “I should’ve known better than to think a bug would ever amount to anything. Silly me.” She smiled, running a hand through her hair as she looked upon her daughter. “You did it Molly, he’s yours. Now, what do you say?”
“Thank you Mom!” Molly bowed gratefully, and then turned her devilish smile to her fly-sized brother. She daintily grabbed the sides of her petticoat and bent down, carefully lowering her fingers until she could pluck him from the ground. Timmy squirmed helplessly in her grip, even as he was brought hundreds of feet up and before Molly’s massive grin. What was once a respectable five foot tall young man was now a speck that easily fit on top of a single one of his sister’s fingers. “I’ve been waiting a long time for this Timmy. I always knew you were a bug. That I was better than you. That you deserved to be small. That you were always a sniveling, puny little insect.” She giggled. “Let me show you what I do with little bug boys.” Her face didn’t seem quite big enough for the devious, toothy grin she was sporting. “Now here’s my question. What do you think I’m going to do with you?”
Perched atop her index finger, Timmy cowered from his sister. He crawled back to her nail, unable to look away from her awe-rendering visage. Her voice was deafening. Her expression intimidating. Her eyes merciless. This was it, he could tell. But even so there was that faint hope. The hope that his sister, the sister he spent 16 long, loving years with, would show pity to the brother who had showered her with nothing but respect and love. The hope that maybe, just maybe, she would see him as something more than just another bug to be disposed of. “Keep me as a pet?” He answered meekly.
“Wrong again stupid.” Without warning Molly brought her finger, and her brother, towards her mouth. Timmy winced as he was forcefully pressed against his sister’s lips. Fresh spittle began to slowly soak him, making it all the easier for her finger to effortlessly push him into the thin slit between her lips. He found himself in a dark cavern, humid and thick with the minty scent of Molly’s breath. Her teeth shined with the faint reflection of light, gleaming menacingly. The finger pushed him in all the way, letting him fall helplessly onto her awaiting tongue. Her finger, his only means of escape, quickly pulled back and left him to his fate.
Molly took her time with him, slowly and carefully wrapping her tongue around his shrunken frame. She suckled on him like a candy, her saliva withering him dry and making his skin prune. Timmy struggled. Oh boy did he struggle. Punches, kicks, anything to escape or put off his fate. Yet all it did was encourage his sister’s cruel whims. As he quickly realized, he wasn’t the only one who could play rough. Timmy found that out the hard way as the tongue flicked him against her teeth and proceeded to ram into his stomach with the force of a car. Timmy winced like it was the worst pain of his life, the wind knocked from his saliva ridden body.
That was but the beginning as Molly’s tongue struck him time and time again. He could feel his innards slowly begin to cave from the repeated abuse. Bones began to crack and body parts began to feel crushed or bruised. It felt like he’d been in this hell for hours, suffering all kinds of physical abuse before Molly finally let him fall onto her molar. The sharp tooth cut him like a razor blade, but at this point it hardly mattered. All the fight, all the life had been mercilessly and brutally beat out of him. The Timmy that was prone on his sister’s tooth was little more than a living corpse. In the darkness of Molly’s mouth he couldn’t see her teeth when they lowered, but he sure felt it.
It felt like a building fell on top of him, and that building started getting bigger by the second. The initial pressure was enough to make Timmy cry out in pain and cough a spurt of blood onto his sister’s molar. He was sandwiched between the two pearly whites, the pressure only getting worse, building and building upon itself ad infinatum. What Timmy heard, above all else. Above the wet sounds of the saliva dripping everywhere, or the gale-like booms of his sister’s rhythmic breath. Timmy could hear loud, sickening cracks. He only faintly realized the sounds were coming from him, the sounds of his body slowly flattening into paste. His consciousness began to flutter, the young man unable to even register the blistering pain coming from his legs. Or rather, what were once his legs. Before he could process what had become of them the rest of his body followed in one last, loud crunch.
Molly smirked as she felt his body finally give in to her jaw, leaning her head back to swallow his gory remains. Brenda watched the bulge travel down her daughter’s throat with her own smile. “Good riddance. Now who wants some pie to celebrate?” She asked, rising to her feet.
“Me!” Molly raised her hand, flashing a toothy, bloodstained grin.