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Author's Chapter Notes:

Backyard Discards

Carrying a blue plastic container with both hands, Angie walked through her home's large living room, its color schemes a mix of white and beige from the carpet to the furniture to the curtains. From the open windows, sunlight flowed in from outside, typical of the clear late spring day that it was. From the living room, she made her way to the kitchen, but only briefly; using her hip, she pushed open the door to the backyard and walked out into the warm air.

Surrounded by a tall white wooden fence, the yard was rather large. Before her was a square-shaped--almost rectangular--spot of concrete pavement, which had a long, thin crack from the left side to the center. A concrete walkway branched against the house towards her left, where the family's swimming pool was located, its bluish water glistening in the sunlight, and it was surrounded by a number of chairs. Further out to the right was her mother's garden, full of various home-grown vegetables, flowers, and other plants; it was enclosed inside of a small wire fence. On the lawn beyond the pavement ahead of her were several bushes and a tree with a lawn chair underneath it, and further to its right near the garden were a swing set and a slide, relics of her childhood that have all but gone ignored since. Looking at the latter hit her with a sense of nostalgia, but she quickly snapped herself out of it. She did not come out to reminisce; she had a task to do, and now was the perfect time, as no one else was currently in the house.

After taking a handful of steps out onto the pavement, her flip-flops scraping against the concrete, she looked down at the container in her hand, covered with a matching blue lid. She was hit with a feeling of melancholy; it was truly a shame that she had to get rid of what was inside, she thought. She truly did like having them around, if only for her own self-gratification.

Kneeling down, Angie placed the container on the ground, and then removed its lid and tossed it behind her. Then, she looked upon what had been transported inside: around three dozen men.

Though perhaps calling them "men" was an overstatement. In truth, they were only a small fraction of a man, all of them only standing approximately a mere one centimeter tall. Her doing, of course; though before now they had been two inches. They were a diverse group, a mixture of different races and ages (though only into the 30s for the latter). Despite their size, Angie could make out the concoction of unease and concern on their faces. She had not told them yet.

She tipped the container to its side and then slanted it, allowing the men to all pour out onto the pavement and some on top of each other. As they regained their bearing, they stood up and spaced themselves apart from each other. Angie then grabbed the plastic box and walked back a bit to toss it onto the grass along with its lid. Upon returning, she simply stood over the group of bug-sized men, watching them, observing.

Though the men were used to how massive she was compared to them, their present position of being at ground level truly hammered in their sheer insignificance. She could easily crush them all underfoot with absolutely no effort at all.

Fearing just what the 21-year-old Asian woman had planned for them, none of the men made a single move.

Wesley being among them, standing towards the outer edge of the group. Like his peers, he simply started up at her, with a sense of dread that he could not shake. Yes, she had "played" with her shrunken victims on a constant basis, and yes, sometimes it ended with their death, but not only shrinking everyone smaller than before AND dumping them out all at once was something new, and yet also seemed like an ill omen.

In any other context--and perhaps still the case--the petite, fair-skinned and dark-haired young woman with a youthful face and dark brown eyes would be quite the catch for any lucky guy that claimed her. With her attire of an unzipped light blue light jacket over a brown tanktop, skin-fitting jean pants, and brown flip-flops upon her feet, she was clearly dressed for the weather. Something that was not the case for a handful of men who wore the heavier clothing that they had originally been shrunken in.

"Okay," Angie finally spoke, breaking the tense silence. "I'm sure you all wondering why I brought you out here."

She paused for a bit to provide the men a chance to confirm that. Few did.

"Well, I'm going to finally be moving out," she said. "I'm moving all the way across the country to Washington. I'm transferring to the University of Washington! Isn't that exciting? C'mon, clap for me!"

At her behest, the men--Wesley included--broke out in nervous applause at her big impending life change. Angie smiled and nodded approvingly.

"Alright, that's enough," she said, as the clapping ceased. "Yeah, it is pretty awesome, right? Of course, I have to spend an extra two years in school, but it'll be worth it, especially if I can get hired by Microsoft or another big tech company there."

Aside from all the "fun"--more like experimental torture--she put the tiny men through, she was also known among the men for being very studious. There were times where she even left the men alone for days, even weeks, at a time due to school assignment, only popping in to feed them.

"Anyway, the point," Angie continued. "I'm going to be living in a dorm, and there's no way I can bring you all with me. Yes, yes, I know. I hate it, too. But how would it look if some fresh-faced girl brought in a bunch of tiny guys? They'd throw me in prison. I would leave you here, but who's going to take care of you? Definitely not my parents or my brothers. Especially not my brothers."

The men listened on. Wesley glanced at some of them and saw sheer horror forming on their faces; it seemed as if their minds had figured out just what she was planning.

She placed her hands on her hips. "And there's no way I'm going to grow you all back to normal. You'd tell on me. ...Or gang up on me and..." she pouted as she trailed off. "And I can't just let you all go free. A large group of tiny people would get everyone's attention. ...Plus, you'd tell on me." She sighed. "That really leaves me with only one course of action."

By this point, more of the men had understood what she was saying. Some began to scream, and then turned and bolted, spreading out away from the young giant. This caused a domino effect in the psyches of the other men, who started to do the same.

Angie smiled pleasingly. "You all are pretty smart. I knew you would figure it out. But! I can't have you all escaping, so I'm going to make this as quick and painless as possible."

With that, she went on the chase. The men had all fanned out in different directions, but due to their small size, they had not put much distance between themselves or Angie. In only seconds, she was upon her first victim: a lanky, bespectacled young man named Lonnie who was working towards a career in network engineering. "Was", being the operating word there, as his aspirations as well as his life was cut short by Angie's foot stomping him into the pavement. She walked off of him, leaving his flattened body in its wake.

The men knew that she was going to get rid of them, but that first kill really drove in the reality of their situation: they would all be dying, and in a manner more fitting of lowly bugs.

As Angie crushed several more men one after another with her right foot--the sounds of their bones audible even from where they were--Wesley too ran as fast as he could. He frantically looked around at his surroundings, looking for any possible place to hide. He also kept an eye on the murderous giant behind him, as her own eyes scanned the ground for the men. They were all still on the concrete; the lawn seemed too far for them to reach in time, but the men still rushed towards the greener pastures.

Wesley looked back again, just in time to see her right sandal fall upon four men at once, their screams silenced before their combined blood burst out from underneath the brown foam sole. Rather than simply step off of them, she gave the foot a twist, grinding the unfortunate victims into a pulp. He looked up at her face, expecting to see some hint of remorse; perhaps he should not have been shocked to see that she was grinning, even giggling. She seemed to be getting some kind of sick thrill out of stamping out the men's lives; then again, she had to have been unhinged to some degree to have kidnapped all of them in the first place. She immediately spotted and went after another man nearby, exposing the mangled mess of the quartet of men beneath her foot to the elements as she stepped off of them.

As Wesley continued to run, eventually breaking away from the others, he noticed a nearby tuft of grass sticking out from the crack in the pavement, its upper tips somewhat curved over. Thinking on his feet, he immediately dashed towards it; assuming that she didn't spot him, perhaps it could be used as a hiding place, he thought. As he drew closer, he looked back to see what Angie was up to; mercifully, she was not facing his general direction, and she looked downward as she mashed more men underfoot. Perfect, Wesley thought; perhaps it was selfish, but their deaths would provide the perfect distraction for him to hide within the blades. He rushed inside, and immediately curled into a ball on the ground to make himself as invisible as he could. ...Though he still could not help but peek out to see what the young Asian woman was doing.

Her attention was drawn towards the house, where five more men had since made u-turns and fled towards the walkway leading to the pool. She gave chase, reaching them with swift brevity. They all screamed as they saw her upon them, and screamed even more as her right foot took the life of one, followed by her left breaking a duo underneath it, and finally switching back to her right to murder the last two. Wasting no time, she turned towards the yard, pivoting on her right foot and shredding the men in the process.

The other men were still on the pavement, nowhere near any of the surrounding lawn. And why should they; they were far too tiny and not enough time had passed for them to make it.

"I really hope you guys don't think you can hide in the lawn," she said as she walked after an uneven line of six runners. "Yeah, you could hide there, but I would still find and squash you."

The runners below her tried to avoid her shadow, but they were all run down, tread upon one-by-one and reduced to a paste under her flip-flops. All except one, an athletic stud of a man who made a sharp right turn and just barely avoiding her right foot as it stepped onto the concrete. Angie was amused at his will to live, but not enough to spare him; she immediately lifted up the same foot, held it high over him as if she was targeting him, and then stomped down. Her ped hit its mark, and she licked her lips as she grinded her foot upon him for good measure, her pink-polished toes flexing with each motion as his body crunched against the pavement underneath.

"You know," Angie said as she kept twisting her foot, "this is kind of fun. Honestly, I was kind of waiting for this, when I could just dump you all out and..." She pulled her foot back, smearing the athlete's bloody remains along the ground.

She aimed her sights 30 degrees to the right, locking onto another group of six or seven men, and walked towards them.

Still ducking as low as he could, Wesley had watched as Angie smeared Brandon against the pavement, before looking at a part of the backyard behind Wesley's position and walking towards it. Her path was taking her right towards the blades of grass that he was sheltering within. Despite his body shaking as she approached, he did everything he could to stay outside of her notice; however, it seemed as if she was primed to trample the grass in its entirely underfoot. There was nothing Wesley could do; after all, it was not like he could escape, for she would immediately spot and smush him.

His best course of action was to not move at all, even when he was completely covered by her shadow. He closed his eyes and braced himself for the worst.

...However, the worst did not come to pass.

Angie's right foot stepped down right next to the grass, mere inches close to where he was stowing away. Wesley breathed a sigh of relief, and as she went on, he peeked out as she met up with the men she had been chasing. From behind, he watched as she stomped on three of them one at a time with her right foot, then took a few steps forward--stepping on one unfortunate soul in the process--and smashed the remainders, once again pulverizing their forms with a grinding of her foot. Her lifted heel in its flip-flop offered a view of her pale sole, mostly clean and protected against the gore below her.

"Shit..." Wesley said to himself. "She's really gonna kill us all."

"Not if I can help it," spoke another voice, taking Wesley by surprise.

He looked behind him to his left, and found the backside another man, who had the same idea as him and was even curled into a ball. All he could see was a striped white and red shirt, which immediately tipped him off to who it was.

"Dewford?" Wesley called.

"The one and only," the 33-year-old man confirmed. "As long as we stay perfectly still, maybe--just maybe--she'll miss us."

"You're assuming she's not keeping count."

"Well, it's the only thing I have, and the best way to survive this mess."


Angie had moved. Wesley turned around and discreetly crawled to the other side, peeking his tiny head out from between two blades just in time to see Angie's sandaled foot fall upon Clark, one of the only three Black men she had, aside from Wesley himself. In fact, Wesley was pretty sure that the third one had been slain as well.

He became worried. "Shit, I hope she didn't keep track of how many Black guys she stepped on, because there was only three of us and I'm the only one left."

"Just stay still and quiet, and maybe she'll just assume she killed you when she's finished," Dewford suggested.

Wesley shot a worried glance at the grass concealing his companion, before looking back out on the open pavement. There were not too many men left. Jude, a dark-haired Asian man, attempted to turn and run from Angie's foot as she stomped down, but he stumbled over his legs and fell. Her foot got his legs, and he screamed in sheer agony at his lower body being smashed. She then simply lifted the side of her foot slightly and moved it over him, then lowering it and extinguishing both the man's cries and his life as blood spurted from underneath the sole.

"There's not too many of you guys left," Angie commented as she went on the prowl once more, leaving the flattened remains of Jude behind and stalking after the last remaining men, who all still ran for their lives despite the futility of it. "I wish I could have had more time to play with you all, but I have to get this done before Mom and Dad get back, and I don't have much time, so..."

Angie was out of Wesley's sight, but he heard her foot stomp down again, no doubt killing someone else with it. Still doing his best to hide, he moved again within the grass to keep watching her. Once she was in his sight again, he saw two young men huddled together: Dennis and Oliver. The two of them had since bonded with each other romantically and emotionally; none of the other men minded, as in their predicament, they did what they could to cope. At that moment, both men held onto each other for dear life, bodies shivering as the uncaring young woman stood over them. As she lifted her right foot over them, the blond-haired Oliver shared with Dennis one last kiss on the cheek before both of them were splattered on the bottom of her sandal, torn and pulverized beyond recognition as she grinded her foot against the pavement.

"Damn..." A melancholic Wesley muttered to himself, a hint of water pooling in his eyes, which he wiped off with his hand. At least the two would be together in the next life, he rationalized. That is not to say that their deaths were any more tragic than all of the others that had occurred in only a ten minute span. Every man there had lives and aspirations, all of which were torn from them when they had their initial encounter with the seemingly-docile Angie.

Angie went on, spotting what appeared to be the last of them, a group of six. Wesley took a brief look around and saw nothing else but blood splatters on the pavement all over. Those six men still ran, even as death literally stalked after them.

With a swipe of her foot, she kicked them away from where they were headed--towards the grass--and sent them tumbling and hurtling closer to the center. Four immediately got their feet and started to run again, while two remained on the ground, motionless. Perhaps they were knocked unconscious by the initial blow, or they had hit the ground rather hard. Whatever the case was did not matter to Angie, as she simply chased after the final four, treading upon the two immobile men in the process, their tiny forms bursting like blood bags under the weight of her feet. As both the group and Angie got somewhat closer to where Wesley and Dewford were, Wesley once again retreated deep inside of the grass, doing his best to hide himself.

Angie had to give the four men before her credit for surviving as long as they did. The human will to live truly was a wonderful thing. However, all these tiny men managed to do was delay the inevitable, as she casually strode after them, her slow footsteps still closing the distance between her and the closest guy. Soon, the front tip of her flip-flop hit the brown-haired man in his back, knocking him over. He tried to get up, only to be met with the same flip-flop crunching him underneath it. Targeting the next two men, she lifted her other foot over them and stomped on them as hard as she could, the sound of her sandal both slapping and scrapping on the pavement ringing through the immediate area and the force causing the last man to fall over. She felt both men's bodies break instantly beneath her foot through her sandal's sole, and she grinded them for good measure, before removing her foot and marveling upon the bloody mess of both men's remains blended together. She had to admit that she loved the raw power that she held over these tiny, pathetic men; that even the simple act of walking could kill many of them with each step. It was a feeling like none other, THE ultimate power trip.

Having given up on his escape, the final man had started to grovel and plead at her feet. The brown-haired, handsome Yuan looked like someone straight out of the Korean entertainment industry, and she was just one of his many fans at her now-former University. Of course she had to have him for herself; it was a shame that he had to die like the others.

He was on his knees, hands clenched together and face awash with tears as he begged for his life. What a sight, she thought. Having a once-tall human reduced to a minuscule, slobbering mess of a man made her feel like a queen, or perhaps even a god. His life was literally in her hands, or rather, at her feet.

"You want to live?" Angie asked the man, still standing high over him, her shadow completely cloaking his being. "What a dumb question; of course you do. I'll be honest: you're probably the only one I'd like to keep alive, and if things were different, you wouldn't even be out here." She tsked as she shook her head. "I'm really sorry, Yuan, but this is how it has to be."

"NOOOO!!!" Yuan cried out. "PLEASE, I BEG YOU!!"

His pleading fell on deaf ears, as Angie lifted her foot over the man, and then stepped down. "Goodbye, Yuan," she said as her sandal hit the pavement, crushing the screaming Yuan underneath like a bug with a wet crunch. Briefly keeping her foot in place--savoring the feeling of his bones breaking as her foot settled--she lifted her heel slightly and once again moved it from left to right, the front of her foot grinding the man's already-destroyed body between it and the concrete. The sound of the foam rubbing against the pavement mixed with those of Yuan's remaining solid skeleton being ground to bloody bits. Her toes kept tensing with each movement it made, making sure that the wannabe-pop idol was nothing more than a stain on the ground. ...She admitted that perhaps she was getting too carried away; after all, she was on a time limit.

Finally, she ceased the motion of her foot, relaxing it as she lowered her heel. Upon removing her foot from the spot, she kneeled down to get a closer look at Yuan, or rather, what used to be him. All that was left was a blood splatter with torn clothes and shredded flesh and broken bits of bone, all coated with the deep red paint that was his blood. To think that such a handsome, breath-taking man could be reduced to such an ugly, gruesome thing. Standing back up, she looked around the area. Aside from her, there were no signs of human life at all, as every man she could see had been killed. All crushed; while some were grinded to a crimson pulp like Yuan beneath her, others were simply stomped on, their bodies violently compressed onto the ground as their innards--also flattened--burst out from their torn bodies. It was quite a morbid sight, and she was thankful that there were no other houses near enough to have witnessed this. She also noticed that flies were already buzzing around at a number of the bloody spots, likely with the purpose of finding a meal. Whatever they wanted, they could have, she thought. At least, after she was finished.

Still hiding within the tall blades of grass, Wesley coiled as low as he could while still watching Angie. Her head turned slowly as her eyes scanned the area, no doubt looking for anyone she had missed. As such, Wesley did everything he could to bring as little attention to himself as possible: staying almost perfectly still and even trying to breathe less. However, he could not stop the trembling of his body, nor his racing heart or the sweat pouring from his brow. Her eyes then looked directly towards him, or rather, the tuff of grass hiding both Dewford and himself, causing his heart rate to increase. Had she found them out?

His question was seemingly quickly answered as she looked elsewhere, and then gave herself an approving nod. He breathed a sigh of relief as she walked in the direction of the swimming pool, her flip-flops slapping against the pavement and her heels with each step. He kept watch, waiting for her next move, from which he could plan his.

"What's she doing?" Dewford asked, still curled into a ball.

"I dunno," Wesley responded, standing to his feet to try to get a better look at the backside of the young woman in the distance. She was briefly kneeled over close to the wall of the house, before standing back up and returning, while dragging something behind her with her hand. Something long and green.

It was a hose.

"Shit, she got a hose!" Wesley warned.

Dewford finally brought his head up. "Shoot! That ain't good... If she aims that thing at us, we're finished."

"But it's not like we can run out, either," Wesley said. It seemed that no matter what, they were looking at a guaranteed death sentence.

He worryingly watched as she returned to the concrete, and adjusted the volume control on the hose's nozzle. He could hear the sound of water flowing within the long tube.

"Hold onto the grass," Dewford suggested. "Hold on for dear life, because it's our only chance of getting out of this alive."

Wesley did as told, grabbing onto the base of the blade of grass before him as tight as he could, just as Angie's squeezed the nozzle's level, spraying a mighty stream from within.

With the hose in hand, Angie went to work, aiming the water at any of the blood splatters on the pavement she came across. The force of the deluge wiped up and stripped away each of the tiny men's remains it targeted. The men merely flattened washed away easily, but those whose very being were grinded into the concrete took a bit more work and focus to clean up.

She walked around the concrete, hose in hand as she sprayed the entire thing down. The blood was replaced by water, which flowed off into the surrounding lawn and carried flesh, bone, and anything else along with it. She wondered if she should have done more to their bodies, but decided not to worry about it; they would all quickly decompose into the soil regardless, if not eaten by whatever critter that desired it.

Both Wesley and Dewford held on for dear life, their hands tightly clutching the grass as the stream of water flowed all around them, especially as the jet struck the ground close to their location. Wesley's clothes were getting more and more drenched, as were his hands and the grass itself, and he struggled to keep air inside as the water kept hitting his face. As Angie continued to fire drop after drop of water all over the pavement, Wesley feared that both he and Dewford would lose their hold and be lost to the flow, leading to their spotting and subsequent deaths on the bottom of her shoe. This fear more than anything kept Wesley determined to fight fate, to stay alive at all costs. He redoubled his grip of the blade, and held on for dear life.

Reaching another twisted body at her feet, she aimed the nozzle downward and fired the jet of liquid directly upon it, the water hitting the ground with enough force that caused some to splash onto her feet and the bottom of her jeans. The flow actually washed much of the blood off from the shattered bones that remained, revealing its off-red white color before they too were finally lost to the stream, which she then aimed off to the surrounding lawn.

Angie spent the next minute doing this cleansing of the concrete, focusing mainly on the area where the tiny men had been, but due to wanting to completely their residue, more parts of it had been drenched, with a number of wet trails to the surrounding lawn.

At last, she turned the control on the nozzle, bringing the fierce jet to an end. She carried the hose back towards the pool where it had been and coiled it back up the way it had been. After turning off the faucet on the house's outside wall on which the hose had been attached, she walked back onto the pavement directly outside of the back door and gave the area one last visual examination. Aside from the water, there was no sign of the massacre that had taken place. She smiled proudly to herself, though part of her could not help but feel a bit melancholic at the total loss of her little men. Thinking positive, she knew that Washington would provide her with ample opportunities to build up a new collection once she got a place of her own.

After retrieving the container and its lid, Angie moved and prepared to go into her house, but stopped herself upon reaching the back door. The bottoms of her flip-flops were filthy, with water, gore, and whatever else had gotten stuck underneath. If she tracked any of that into the house, her mother would have her head. She slipped her feet out from them, and bent down to pick the sandals up, holding them both by the straps in one hand. Afterwards, she pulled the glass door open, and walked barefoot into the air-conditioned coolness of her abode.

Back in the grass, both Wesley and Dewford, wet and rugged from the flood, peeked up towards the back door into which Angie had retreated. They stared at it for several minutes, anxious that she would return at a moment's notice. They were still on edge; despite the strong desire to get away, they feared that the moment they stepped out from their grass, Angie would spot and smash the both of them.

"So, what do we do?" Wesley finally spoke after some time had passed.

"Hmm..." Dewford finally sat up, revealing his pale face and short, unkempt sandy hair and mustache and beard. There were also noticeable bags under his eyes, a sign of the stress of their being torn from their former lives. "Making a run for it seems like the smart choice, but we don't know if she'll come back, or if she'll see us through the window. Even from the second floor, she could rush down here and kill us."

"Well, we could wait until it gets dark, then," Wesley suggested.

"Maybe, but it might be too dangerous. We wouldn't be able to see well, but the critters out will be able to see us."

Wesley grew somewhat annoyed. "So, what? We just waste away here forever?"

Dewford shook his head. "No, I have an idea... If my days are right, Angie will be going to work tomorrow. With her away, that would be the perfect time for us to get away."

"You sure? We're just gonna sit here all day and night?"

"You got a better idea?"

In truth, Wesley wanted to make a run for it right then and there, to get away from this house and yard as fast as he could, to get help and tell them what had been going on inside of that house. As he was no doubt already known as one of the missing people in the metropolitan area, in addition to his stature, there was no doubt that they would listen and bring Angie to justice. However, the fear that Angie was still lurking around, keeping watch out for any stragglers, kept him from bolting. He feared that the instant he would dash out would be the instant Angie's foot appeared above him, to turn his body into mangled mush like the others.

"Alright, fine," Wesley conceded.

Sitting down on his bottom and crossing his legs, Wesley once again made sure to hide himself within the grass. From the house, no one would be able to see either him or Dewford, but they would be able to see into the house through the windows. With nothing else to do, Wesley did just that.

Sure enough, after some time, Angie did return to the kitchen, though she stayed indoors, and judging from her since-discarded jacket, she intended to do so. She walked in and out of sight between the windows, but Wesley could see that she was preparing herself a meal to eat. Eat... Wesley's stomach growled just thinking about it. He had not had a good cooked meal--or even a good meal, period--since he had been captured. Angie always fed the men bread and water, and occasionally thin slices of lunch turkey and lettuce. Even those would have been good enough to sate the pangs in his belly.

Soon, Angie was joined by another person, a young Asian man, perhaps as young as a teen, as he was slightly shorter than the 5-foot-7-inch Angie. No doubt he was one of her brothers that she had mentioned earlier. The two of them spoke to each other, but it was impossible for Wesley to even begin to decipher the subject. For all he knew, it was just typical sibling banter.

"That's her brother, right?" Dewford asked, also watching the scene. "He's pretty handsome for someone so young. You think he's in high school."

"No doubt," Wesley answered. "Maybe a freshman or sophomore."

"I bet he's just swimming with the pootang."

"He's just a kid."

"You and I both know that high school kids are some of the horniest people on the planet."

Wesley groaned. "I don't really see him as a ladies’ man, though." He turned back to the window. Angie and her brother were still talking, before the both of them disappeared from sight.

"If he came out here, I wonder if we could get him to help?" Dewford asked.

"Maybe... Or maybe they're both in cahoots." Wesley speculated. "He would either give us to his sister, or just stomp on us like she did to the others. For all we know, he could also have a drawer of little women that he abuses."

"I don't think so," Dewford said with a shake of his head. "Our 'hostess' probably would have mentioned her brother being an accomplice. Plus, he's a teenager. He probably wouldn't even have the mental capacity to pull off what Angie did. He'd screw up pretty fast, and then the police would search the house and find us. Game over for the both of them."

Wesley admitted to himself that there was some merit in what Dewford was saying about the teen. "Well, none of that's doing us any good while he's in there."

The two men became silent again as they watched the house. Both Angie and her brother were both out of sight, and for a long while, no other people made an appearance from their perspective. Things became dull as they watched the seemingly activityless house, with nothing but the sounds of birds chirping and bus buzzing to fill the silence.

As the hours went on, noted by the shift in both the direction and the length of the grass blade's shadows, Wesley could also hear in the distance the sounds of human activity beyond the tall fence surrounding the yard. Though there were few neighboring houses, the neighborhood was coming alive as evening approached. He could hear children laughing, music blaring, and the passing of vehicles. Their stomachs still growled, and Wesley found whatever water droplets he could find from the earlier stream to quench his thirst, if only by a small bit.

Eventually, inside of Angie's house, more people appeared through the windows. Two men, one older and one young--both of Asian descent with the younger one seemingly taller than Angie was--were in the living room. These two were clearly Angie's father and brother, respectively. They sat down inside and started to talk to one another. In the kitchen working at the counter was an older Asian woman with short dark hair and glasses; Angie's mother, without a doubt. The youngest brother would soon also return to the kitchen, and tried to take something from a cabinet before he was seemingly reprimanded by his mother. Dejected, he walked over to the living room, and joined his father and brother in whatever conversation they were having, while the mother continued with her tasks.

Time slowly and dully passed on, and as the sun started to set, the lights in the house came on, casting light upon the yard, at least until the mother began to pull the shades as the stars in the now-night sky began to appear. As crickets chirped all around them, both Wesley and Dewford were afforded one last look of the family, Angie included, in the living room before her mother closed them off from the rest of the world.

"And there they go. Seems like a happy family. You'd never guess that their little girl is a psychopath." Dewford sighed longingly. "...But I really do miss my family."

"You'll see them soon enough," Wesley reassured. "Once we get help, we can finally return to both our families."

"Yeah, I really hope so. ...Anyway, now that it's night, we're going to have to alternate keeping watch and sleeping."

"Watch for what?"

"Bugs, mice, rats, cats, opossums, bats, et cetera." Dewford listed. "...Granted, most of them could probably get us without trying, but I don't want to be caught off guard."

"I gotcha," Wesley said. "I'll go first. I'm not really tired right now, anyway."

"Neat." Dewford stood up, and disappeared through the grass behind him. Seconds later, Wesley could hear the sound of fluids hitting the ground. Not a bad idea, Wesley thought, as he too went to release his pent-up fluids.

As the night went on, Wesley kept watch of his surroundings, doing his best to stay vigilant and alert Dewford should the need arise. However, thus far, it had been uneventful. Not even a rustling from the far bushes to mix things up, though perhaps he should be thankful for that. In the two-story house, most of the lights had been turned off. The kitchen was dark, the living room was illuminated by a dim and pulsating light, perhaps from the television. On the upper floor, the window to the right was dark, while the light not only shined through the left one, but also had its curtain opened. Wesley could just barely see inside, and believed that he saw glimpses of Angie. However, before long, soon those remaining lights would shut off, and the house fell completely silent along with the rest of the neighborhood.

Sitting there with nothing to amuse himself was understandably very dull. Rather, Wesley decided to reflect on his life, or rather, how things came to be the way they were. Before, he was a third year student at his University, studying physics. It was very tough and demanding work, but he knew that it would have paid off in the end once he got into a good company. He had seen Angie a number of times on campus. After a rather length internal debate lasting the better part of the week, he approached her and asked her out, fully expecting her to reject him. To his surprise, she accepted, and the two of them went on two dates with plans for a third. She was a fun girl, albeit a bit quirky, and she was very attentive to everything he said to her. How was he supposed to know that it was all a ruse?

One night, as he walked from his night class, he saw a flash of light, and then as his vision return, Angie's gigantic visage before him. She brought him back to her house, and the rest was history. Turned out, the story was similar with a number of men, all of whom were stolen some time after their second date. Others were simply plucked off the streets, having never met the woman beforehand. Yuan was simply cornered while alone in the locker room after a late night practice session. Through it all, Angie was painted as a spoiled child who got whatever she wanted, by force even. The fact that she could even shrink them at all was something he could hardly wrap his mind around; even further was the method she use, with a point of her finger. Magic? Normally, he would scoff at the idea, but considering his current state, there was no way he could deny such a thing.

He looked upward, towards the sky expecting--perhaps hoping--to see stars. Instead, a layer of clouds had moved in, obscuring the stars from sight. He sighed, and simply watched the clouds pass by. He envied those clouds at that moment, flying high above, able to go anywhere they wanted.

Before long, Dewford would wake up to relieve him of his post, and Wesley, having since grown fatigued, curled up onto the ground within the grass and nodded off.


"...Hey! Hey, Wes! Time to get up!"

As the sound of birds chirping hit his ears, Wesley felt something shaking on his body, and as he stirred, he opened his eyes and found Dewford kneeling beside him, and from behind was near-blinding brightness.

"What time is it?" Wesley tiredly asked.

"I dunno, but it's still morning," Dewford answered. "Now's as good a time as any. We gotta go."

With a yawn, Wesley staggered to his feet. Soon after his eyes adjusted to the morning light, he made a brief visual examination of their surroundings, before they both bolted out from the tuff of grass that had been their shelter for most of the last 24 hours. Dashing across the pavement in the general direction of the garden, Wesley looked around on the ground. It had since dried of the water that was on it, and there was almost no sign of any blood on the concrete. Upon looking at it, one would have no idea that the day before, it had been a literal stomping ground.

"So, where are we going?" Wesley asked Dewford, who ran ahead of him.

"Well, first we have to get off the concrete," Dewford answered, "and then, we can use the grass as cover and head to the sidewalk. There, it should be easy to get someone to see us and help."

"Hmm... But I wonder if they can even get us back to normal?"

"Well, if Angie can make us small, then maybe there's someone out there who also has the same power, and who isn't a psycho bitch."

"I hope so. I'm so fed up with being small. I can't wait to get back in my own bed and eat some hot food again."

"I hear you," Dewford said. "I wanna pick my little girl up and hold her, and spend some good quality time with her and the wife."

"Let's focus on that, and we'll be free before we know it," Wesley said.

The two of them worked their tiny legs with as much strength as they could muster as they kept scurrying across the pavement. Despite being extremely hungry and thirsty, they both gave it their all, pushing their bodies far past the limit in their effort to reach the grass.

It seemed as if they were running for a mile or two, but eventually they reached the edge of the concrete, which gave way into the lawn. Now covered by the vast, surrounding forest of grass, both men decided to take a brief break to catch their breath.

"Well, I'd like to say we're in the clear," Dewford said, "but we still have a long road ahead of us."

"Yeah." Wesley agreed, using most of his remaining energy to regain some of it back. However, he yelped in shock as he caught sight of the remains of one of his former comrades to his right. Both he and Dewford took a slightly closer look at it; it was flattened, twisted, and drenched with both blood and water. Some decomposition had started to set in, and there were a handful of ants congregating around it. The exact identity of the unfortunate soul was nigh-indecipherable.

Wesley almost felt like throwing up, but he had nothing within him to hurl even if he wanted to.

"...Let's just keep going," Wesley said.

"Alright, you ready?" Dewford asked.

Wesley nodded, and once again the two ran, this time bounding through the field of grass, its blades more like small trees hanging above them. Some curved overhead, while others stood erect to various degrees. Some had insects crawling on them, and a number of ants lurked around on the dirt at ground level. Thankfully, they did not pay the two men any mind as they passed through.

For the next hour or so, they kept up their scamper, breaking occasionally to regain their energy before making another sprint. In addition to looking at his surroundings, he also watched the sky through the grass. The sun was slowly making its way through and shined its heat down upon them. Luckily, there was a breeze that kept things from getting too hot. Littering the sky were big puffy white clouds, some of which would occasionally block the sun and provide a bit of momentary relief.

As they stopped for another break, Wesley was quite relieved that their grand escape had so far gone on without a hitch.

"Okay," Dewford said. "We'll wait here for a sec, and then start again."

Wesley's stomach growled loudly. "Man, I'm really hungry..."

"We could always stop by the garden," Dewford said. "It's not far from here, and if there's food we could grab a bite to eat there."

"Good idea," Wesley said. "Plus, if the mom comes out, then it should be easy for us to get her attention."

"You got that right. Man, things seem to really be looking up now. All we have to do is get to the garden without incident, and-"

Suddenly, there was an abrupt flapping sound that sent a brief gust of wind from behind them. Mystified, they turned to see what it was, and were aghast to see the source: a brown sparrow. One of the smaller birds in the region, but to them, it was as large as the top of a plane. Even worse, it was looking right at them, its eyes locked onto Wesley in particular.

"Oh...!" Wesley said, sheer terror filling his body again as he stared at the bird.

The bird chirped, before hopping closer to them and then, with another chirp, shot its head at Wesley. Wesley screamed and turned to run, before something large hit him from the side and knocked him to the ground. As he quickly collected his bearings, he looked towards the sparrow and was horrified to see Dewford hanging from within the bird's beak.

"Dewford!!" Wesley cried out.

"Don't worry about me!!" Dewford shouted. "Just save yourself!!"

That was all Dewford could say before the sparrow turned around by hopping and then flew off, taking Wesley's last remaining ally with it.

"Dammit..." Wesley fell to his knees in despair. There was no two ways around it: he was alone, everyone else having been killed by Angie or, in Dewford's case, soon to be bird food. He almost felt like crying.

However, he fought off the tears. He knew that sitting there weeping for them would do neither himself nor his fallen friends any good. He knew that the only way out, and the only way to get justice for his friends was to keep going and get help. He knew that it was the only way their souls could truly rest in peace.

Plus, he feared that the sparrow would return for a second helping.

After taking a deep breath, he stood up and made for the garden, running as fast as he could through the surrounding grass and its insectoid inhabitants. Not only the desire to live, but also the desire to see his own friends and family again, and to see that Angie was brought to justice provided the fuel that kept him running past empty. At one point, he nearly stumbled over a small ant that was in his path; the ant fled into the grass in response, perhaps due to its fight-or-flight instinct.

The sun's position in the sky shifted more and more, very soon looming directly overhead. Sweat poured from Wesley's brow, his mouth was dry, and his lungs struggled to keep up with his breaths. His stomach would not let up, and his legs felt like jelly. If it were not for Wesley's very strong will to survive, he would have succumbed a long time ago. That said, he was still well past his limit, and he did not know how much more he could take before his body finally gave up.

He could see the top of the wire fence surrounding the garden ahead. Just a little bit more, and he would at least be able to replenish his reserves.

Then, he heard something from the distance behind him. The sound of a door closing, the back door. Followed by distant footsteps that grew louder. He stopped running and turned around to see just who was coming, though considering that everyone else would be out of the house at this time of day, there was only one answer.

That answer was Angie's mother, whose head from Wesley's vantage point rose from the ground as she walked, her dark eyes focused ahead of her. With her shorter dark hair framing her face and brown-rimmed glasses over her dark eyes, she had a sort of mature, motherly beauty about her; a total MILF, if he had to be crude about it. As more of her petite body came into view, he could see that she wore a light pink sundress that he could eventually see was slightly past knee-length. She carried a blue watering can in one hand and a cloth bag with various tools inside in the other.

It was clear that she was heading for the garden, her garden.

Her chosen path was taking her right in Wesley's direction. He could hear the sounds of grass crumpling under her footsteps.

He waved both hands at the unsuspecting 50-something-year-old Asian woman as she drew closer and closer. "HEY!!" he shouted. "HEY!! DOWN HERE!! HEY, LOOK!!"

No response. It seemed as if she did not hear him, or was even aware of his presence.

So it should not have come as a surprise when, as she loomed right overhead, he was covered by the shadow of her thong sandal. Thinking fast, he dashed and then leapt out from underneath it, escaping the shadow just as the foot came down with a loud boom. He looked behind him to see the grass--and the several bugs lurking within--mashed under her sandal, before it casually stepped off and moved on. The grass slowly regained its previous erect form, but the larger insects had their life squashed out of them. Just like all of his companions the day before; twice now, Wesley had avoided meeting such a fate, and he was truly thankful for the Cosmos' mercy.

Angie's mother continued on, and Wesley could hear the sound of metal moving, perhaps her opening the gate into the garden. The fence to said garden was well in view, and he could see her inside, soon kneeling down and presumably starting whatever work she had planned. Wasting no time, Wesley picked himself back up and bolted after her. Despite his extreme fatigue, he knew that this was perhaps the best chance he had of being saved at the moment. He had to reach her and reach her as fast as he could.

Several minutes passed as he kept running towards the enclosure, pushing his already spent body beyond its limit in doing so. This was the final push; he knew that it was now or never. He had to contact the mother, or at the very least get himself some food should that fail. He had no idea what kind of crops she was growing, but as long as it was edible, he did not care. He needed to eat something, anything.

This very strong desire for food and survival eventually led him out of the forest of grass and before the wire frame enclosure. Inside was the garden, where Angie's mother worked diligently nearby, tending to her plants. At an initial glance, he did indeed see edible vegetation, including small tomatoes and leaves of lettuce. His stomach growled, and he salivated just thinking about biting into one.

However, before that, he had to try to get Angie's mother's attention. With her bag and can were set beside her, her back was turned against him, her bum and the soles of her sandals in clear view as she worked on the crop in front of her.

Crawling through the fence, he made a beeline right towards her. As she was closer to the ground, it would make contacting her easier.

However, before long, whatever she needed to do at that spot had been completed, and she stood back up, once again revealing her frightening height compared to him. However, that did not stop him. He kept running, hoping that she would not move in the meantime.

"HEY!!" Wesley yelled again at her. "HEY, I'M DOWN HERE!!"

Still, there was no response, though she did turn to her right, where her bag had been set.

"HEY!!!" Wesley called out once more. "ANGIE'S MOM!! HEY!!!"

It seemed that got her attention, as she confusingly looked around herself. It seemed that there was hope yet. Even better, he had at last reached her, the majestic woman standing over him like a skyscraper.

"HEY!! LOOK DOWN!!" He shouted as he stood right next to her sandaled foot.

She did so, and at last, her bespectacled eyes met with him, and he could not help the joy that was swelling up within. She let out a brief gasp of surprise upon noticing him; not unexpected, but one would think that seeing a tiny person for the first time would be an extremely shocking find.

"I NEED HELP!!" Wesley shouted to her. "YOUR DAUGHTER-"

Before he could finish, Angie's mother let out an annoyed groan, and the sight of her maternal visage high above was replaced with that of the bottom of her sandal much closer to him. Wesley's heart sank in dread as it quickly descended. "NOOOO, WAIT!!!" He cried as he turned and attempted to flee from its shadow and its mortal embrace.

No such luck.

With no hesitation, Karen crushed the black bug underneath her right foot, ending its pathetic life as its body crunched under her force.

"She told me she got rid of all of them," she said to herself as her orange sandal grinded the human pest into the dirt.

Karen was a bit miffed. Angie had told her that none of her tiny captives had made it to the grass, but she wondered if her daughter had indeed killed off all of them, and if there were more lurking about. Or, more worryingly, if any still alive had escaped past the yard. She would like to think that any that did would not last long, and that they would be picked off by the various animals that made their home in this half-wooded, half-suburban area. Still, the fact remained that there was at least one that had survived; she would have to talk to Angie about that. She could not afford to be that careless, especially after she moved to Washington.

Removing her foot from upon what had formerly been a tiny Black man, she could see that everything about him had been twisted and torn to bits, and mashed completely with the earth. Using the same foot, she shoved loose dirt over his flattened, shredded remains, covering it with the soil and then stamping on it until it was completely out of sight.

With that, Karen focused back onto her garden.


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