I woke up with a splitting headache, not at all helped by the light flooding in through my windows. My eyelids felt like sandpaper, and the only thing I wanted to do was slam them shut again. A glance at my phone told me that I couldn’t though: class started in 30 minutes, and if I couldn’t make it there I’d have to explain why I couldn’t be on time to a class that starts at a quarter past 11.
Moving only made the pain in my head worse, but I gritted my teeth and pulled on a pair of shorts. Being this hungover didn’t make sense. I had drank way more than last night only a few weeks ago and was mostly fine, and I couldn’t have been roofied since at no point did I black out. Unfortunately, my roommate had already left, so I couldn’t even ask him about it.
After sliding on my shirt I picked my phone up from beside my pillow. Five percent left. Can’t believe I forgot to put it on the charger last night. I hooked the cord up to it and slipped my feet into some shoes, then headed for the door. After a quick stop to fill up my water bottle, I tossed it into my messenger bag, slung the bag over my shoulder, and left the room, taking an extra second to lock the door.
For once I was glad to live on campus, where everything was in walking distance. Even though the building was on the other side, it had never taken me more than 20 minutes to get there. I moved quickly, wanting to get there early enough that I wouldn’t have to sit beside the guy who wore the stained anime T-shirt, or the one with particularly nasty dreadlocks. With any luck I’d get there just in time to sit beside the cute half-Asian girl I’d been flirting with for a couple weeks and finally work up the nerve to get her number.
The closer I got to the building, the more congested the walkways were. People seemed to come out of nowhere, and I couldn’t help but bump into their shoulders. Each time I apologized, but thanks to my bleary eyes and searing headache it kept happening. After the dozenth time I stopped even mentioning something after I clipped someone’s shoulder, and no one seemed to care.
Just outside the door I ran face-first into a pair of breasts. I don’t know how I missed her; she was the tallest woman I’d ever seen. Sputtering, I looked up to apologize, but with a glare she pushed past me, turning me halfway around when she rammed into my shoulder. She looked familiar enough, and I remembered her being at the party last night. By the time I realized that, though, she was already a good distance away, and her look when she passed told me she wouldn’t want to be bothered anyway.
Once inside the building, I quickly ran up the stairs and headed to the room, getting there just when the class before was filing out. I patiently waited for them to leave, then walked in and headed for the desk next to where Julie usually sat. With a glance at the clock, I saw that it was one minute until 11. My butt hit the seat, and I congratulated myself on a new personal record.
Without my phone I had nothing to do before class started, so I simply leaned back in the chair and listened to the clock tick away. Someone would be in soon enough, and I could pass the time making small talk with them. Hell, maybe it’d even be someone I liked and could do something besides kill a few minutes.
The clock hit 11, and I expected company any minute now. My headache came back with a vengeance, and I clutched my temples in a vain effort to ameliorate the pain. A sensation like vertigo accompanied it, and I became very disoriented. Looking around, the room was becoming immensely large. My feet left the floor, and the desk’s support bar rushed up past me. In only a few seconds I was standing in the middle of a massive chair, looking up at the bottom of the desk, with two dozen equally massive chairs around it.
Obviously, everything in the room hadn’t experienced spontaneous, explosive growth, and I had shrunk. Looking around, I guessed I was about an inch tall, but it was impossible to be sure: this was entirely outside of my experience. I considered my predicament, and realized that the first step, even before figuring out how this happened, was surviving the next few minutes. People would start showing up soon, and if they sat in what looked like an empty chair I would undoubtedly be crushed beneath them.
Getting down to the floor was easy. All I had to do was get to the edge of the seat, then hop onto one of the slanted metal legs. It was cold to the touch when I landed on it, but the cylinder was easily wide enough to support me. I leaned back for balance and walked down the chrome bar, glad I had opted for sneakers instead of flip flops this morning. In about a minute I had reached the plastic peg at the bottom, then hopped off onto the linoleum tile.
On the relative safety of the floor, it was simply a waiting game until someone whose attention I wanted to get came in. Once I had someone’s protection, or at least someone was aware of me being this small, I could move on to the why and how of it, and hopefully getting back to normal size. I was kicking myself over my phone now: if it were on me and charged I could text one of my friends and they could come get me. Without it, I would have to rely on the closest thing I had in this class.
Faint tremors ran through the floor as someone entered. I looked to the door, and saw a pair of beat-up old sneakers and jeans frayed at the cuffs walk in. Instantly I lost interest, and to my relief they picked a seat that was about as far away from me as possible. Someone this poorly dressed was smelly anime shirt guy, and I didn’t even want to consider how unpleasant it would be to be in his care. I could definitely afford to wait until someone a little more palatable came along.
A few seconds later, a much more pleasant sight accompanied the quakes. All-black Converse and a pair of very shapely legs entered, then took the seat right at the front of my row. I recognized her by the choice of footwear and propensity for showing off her legs, which I never minded. However, I had spoken maybe two words to her before, and for all I knew she was a raging sociopath outside of class. No matter how much I liked her legs, I decided it would be best to pass.
After her, the stream of students entering the class was fairly steady, and I could not keep track of each one amid the floor constantly shaking. Luckily, no one had sat at the chair I was skulking under, probably figuring that my bag leaning against it was marking it as reserved. If nothing else, it looked like I would at least make it until the class ended, and then I could decide what to do.
Among the last people in was Julie. Even were it not for her usual combination of New Balance shoes and shorts showing off her fit legs, I would have recognized her by the way she carried herself. She walked up the aisle until she was standing beside me, then sat down with a resonating thud. Julie set her Hello Kitty handbag so that it leaned against her desk, then looked at the deceptively empty desk beside her. Since she didn’t look at the floor I went unnoticed, and she turned to her laptop to occupy her until the lecture began.
Julie would be my best bet if I wanted to make it through alive, as I had already determined when I first shrank. I looked to my right, and saw that both seats behind her had already been filled and that neither person was looking in my direction. Getting Julie’s attention should be a piece of cake, and I was not likely to have a better opportunity to get to her than now.
I left the safety under my desk and sprinted across the aisle, my shoes easily finding traction on the linoleum even despite their miniscule surface area. At the edge of each tile I hopped over the trench dividing them, coming down with no loss of velocity. In practically no time I was under Julie’s desk, with her enormous shoes and legs drawing my attention. There were no gasps or screams while I crossed the aisle, so I surmised that either no one had seen me, or everyone was more apathetic than I had thought.
Calling up to Julie would be pointless, I figured. Her ears were too high up, and I was too small for her to hear my pleas for help. Worse, someone else might hear my calls, and then I’d be either stuck with them instead or dead. The best course of action would be to climb onto one of her shoes, then scale her leg. If I were lucky, she would feel me climbing her bare leg and investigate, thus saving me the long ascent up her shin and walking up her thigh to her lap.
Her feet were resting flat on the floor, making this even easier than I had hoped. I dashed the rest of the way to her foot, then leapt and pushed up the side to get on top of the tip of her shoe. Julie’s shoe was a good bit taller than me and the length of a bus, so I dug my feet into its side, churning my legs on the suede to push myself the rest of the way. My muscles burned from scrambling up her shoe alone, and I became much less enthusiastic about how easy this would be.
I stood up and began walking toward her ankle, no longer feeling the need to rush through this. The ground quivered beneath me while Julie’e toes fidgeted, slowing me even further while I sought to stay upright on the uneven surface. Her heel lifted off the ground, wrinkling the shoe around me and bringing her white shoelaces within reach. Before I could grab on though she brought the heel back to the floor with a powerful thud which sent me staggering. While I tried to recover she raised her toes, pitching me forward on my face. She alternated this several times, dumping me back and forth until her foot came back to rest flat on the floor.
After that unexpected battery I lay on her shoe a moment, thankful I hadn’t been thrown off. With a blur her other shoe rushed past me and slung over her knee, hanging down almost to my level. Julie began idly twitching the dangling foot in the air, slowly dipping her toe then sharply raising it back up, over and over again. I stood and walked to her laces while she rapidly shook her toes to and fro, making the rest of her leg wobble along with it. Normally I would surreptitiously admire her legs while she did this, but I was simply glad for a reprieve and hoped that it would last.
A shadow passed over me while her fidgeting leg swung over, and a deafening crash rang out when it slammed into the ground. My ears rang and I pressed my hands over them, but it was too late – they were already ringing loud enough that every other sound was drowned out. Julie began sliding her feet back, and I grabbed onto the nylon lace in front of me just in time. Her shoe raised off the ground and turned completely vertical, leaving me swinging by my arms as I desperately clung to the shoelace.
Vibrations ran the length of her foot when she bounced her toe off the tile, repeatedly sending it up and down while I helplessly did my best to hang on. My grip strained under the ceaseless pounding that weakened my fingers, even when she began to alternate which foot was moving like a piston. I gritted my teeth, knowing that I had to hang on or risk being crushed underfoot when she stopped.
Suddenly her feet swung forward, pressing me against the tongue of her shoe with incredible force. I slid an arm beneath the lace and seized its wrist, bracing myself for the impact when she stopped. Sure enough, when her legs suddenly halted I was thrown upward, and the only thing keeping me on her shoe was the loop I had made with my arms. My shoulders screamed in pain, but fortunately nothing got broken, and I landed hard enough back on her shoe to get the breath knocked out of me.
While I strained to draw in air Julie began kicking her feet in the air, swiftly raising and lowering them while I was thrown willy-nilly around the lace I was using for support. It was all I could do to keep from being tossed free by her unexpectedly violent movements, which she probably didn’t even give a second thought to. If it weren’t for being rendered practically deaf moments before I’m sure I’d be able to hear her humming while she did this, as though she didn’t have a care in the world. Surely she had no concern for the tiny person clinging to her shoe for dear life.
Without warning her shoes raced back to the floor, and I lifted off the shoe during the plummet. The strain became too much, and I had to release my grip around the shoelace or risk losing my arms entirely. I tumbled end over end, then winced after a tremendous crash when her feet slammed onto the floor again, possibly rendering me dead long-term. My trajectory took me back onto the tongue of her shoe, screaming the whole time. I had just enough presence of mind to bend my knees and roll upon landing, sending me up the rest of her shoe to splay out on the soft skin of her ankle.
Her heels pitched up again, and I rolled down Julie’s leg. Fortunately I was caught by her shoe’s tongue and kept from rolling back down her crossed laces. She pumped her feet up and down, wracking my body with the shockwaves from it, but this was relatively minor punishment compared to what I had gone through so far. Above all, I was glad to have reached a relatively safe pocket that I was unlikely to be thrown from.
Julie’s feet finally came to a rest, and she slid her shoes along the ground until they were in front of her. I looked up, and saw that her shin was now a steep but scalable slope, so long as I could deal with the smoothness of her skin. Hoping the opportunity would still be there, I took a few deep breaths, my lungs straining from their earlier impact still. Thankfully she didn’t begin another fit of fidgeting while I steeled myself, and I prepared for the ascent up Julie’s smooth, creamy leg.
I pressed myself against her shin bone and began the ascent, using the tiny imperfections of her skin as hand holds and digging my toes in as much as possible. It was slow going, but I was definitely making progress up the steep slope. If everything stayed like this, I would crest her knees in a few minutes, and then I could walk the rest of the way into her lap.
A grey blur caught my eye, and I looked left to see that her other leg had moved. A shadow fell over me, and I looked up to see Julie’s Achilles tendon rapidly descending toward me. I released my hold on her skin, but it was too late. Before I could slide back down to her shoe Julie’s ankle landed on me, pinning me between her legs. With a single twitch she pressed her ankles together, crushing me into mush without a second thought.
Julie felt something crunch between her ankles, followed by a slowly expanding wetness. She reached into her bag and fished out a package of tissues, then pulled one out. Without even looking she wiped up the blood and ichor of the friend she had just smashed, a look of disgust on her face. When she felt that her skin was dry again, she folded the tissue up and set it on the far corner of her desk so she wouldn’t have to think about it for now. It wasn’t a total loss though – this was going to be a great story for the guy who usually sat next to her next time she saw him!