I opened the fridge as I began to scan the shelves. When my eyes spotted the ginger ale in the back behind a jug of milk, I reached in and pulled it out before closing the fridge door. I turned around and placed the ginger ale on the island counter, before turning around and reaching up into one of the cabinets. I grabbed a glass from the cabinet and closed the door, placing the glass on the counter as I unscrewed the cap on the ginger ale and began to pour.
My stepmother was heard coming down the hallway, an exhausted look on her face as she began scouring the kitchen cabinets. I had filled the glass up about halfway before I stopped and put the ginger ale away, looking over at my stepmother.
“Everything alright Claire?” I asked, wondering what she was searching for.
My parents had a divorce about five years ago, and I suppose I never quite got used to the idea of calling Claire my mother. She understood however, and she was a very kind and understanding woman. She never tried to infringe upon the role of my mother, which I had always deeply respected about her.
“Hannah says she has a headache,” Claire explained, “but I can’t find the Ibuprofen.”
“It’s in the smaller cabinets above the fridge,” I directed, “but I’m going to be bringing her some ginger ale anyways, so I’ll take care of it.”
Claire faced me with a smile of gratitude, “oh Dylan, you are the best I hope you know that! Hannah is lucky to have you as a brother!”
I waved my hand, “pfft, just want to see her get through this sickness. I’m sure she’d have done the same for me.”
“You’re far to modest,” Claire smiled softly as she turned and began to head back down the hall, “thanks again Dylan!”
“No problem,” I responded, reaching above the fridge and looking inside the cabinet for the Ibuprofen.
To my surprise it was nowhere to be seen. Had it been misplaced? I pondered where it could possibly be for a split moment, before realizing that Claire had likely given it to Hannah the night before and probably left it inside of her room. I laughed softly to myself at the irony and headed into the hallway and towards Hannah’s room.
Though we hadn’t grown up together, I was an only child up until the point my father married Claire. Hannah was also an only child, so needless to say that at her young age five years ago she took to the idea of having a big brother pretty eagerly. I played a lot of soccer up until a year ago after graduation, and she loved coming to my games to watch me play. We loved exploring the woods, whether it be combined with camping or hiking. We got along very well, and became quite close. I think of her very dearly, and during times such as this, I made it my top priority to be there for her.
I reached her bedroom door and knocked softly, a very quiet and barely audible “come in” coming from the other side of the door. I slowly opened the door and poked my head inside. The room was very dark, and it wasn’t very easy to navigate inside. I entered the room and carefully worked my way around the scattered clothes and other articles as I made my way to my step sisters bedside.
“Hey… Dylan,” my sister greeted weakly, coughing a bit afterwards.
“Hey sis, you feeling any better since yesterday?” I asked, kneeling by her bedside and taking her hand into my own.
She shook her head slowly, “it’s gotten worse… And my head, it’s in so much pain…”
“Got a pretty bad headache huh?” I looked beside the bed at the nightstand, seeing a bottle of cough medicine along with the Ibuprofen that was missing from the cupboard.
“Well why don’t you take two of these and hopefully it’ll help with the pain ok?” I picked the bottle up and shook it in the air as I smiled softly at her.
Hannah gave a weak smile, “with ginger ale?”
I nodded, “yup! Still have a two liter from your sixteenth birthday last month. Guess now is a better time than any to use the rest of it up huh?
Hannah nodded slowly with a hearty smile despite her weak condition, “thanks Dylan, you’re the best brother a sister could ask for!”
Hannah coughed again, trying her best to divert the direction of her coughing away from me, “you’d better not stick around me too long… I don’t want to get you sick…”
I clutched her hand tightly and leaned in a little closer, “you best not worry about me now, ok? You just focus on getting better now you hear?”
She nodded as her eyes drifted close, her head tilting to the side as she tried to rest. I let go of her hand and clutched the bottle of Ibuprofen in my hand as I stood up and made my way back towards her door. If I had known the pills were in here, I would have remembered to bring the glass I had poured. Not like it was a long walk back to the kitchen anyways.
“I’ll be right back Hannah,” I spoke softly as I exited her room and quietly closed her door behind me.
I could hear my stepmother moving about inside her bedroom, but what exactly she was doing I was uncertain. I knew she was a bit stressed with taking care of Hannah, and since I had no college classes going on today I figured I’d take over for her. Having just turned nineteen a few days ago, I found my first year into college to be a bit stressful. I was taking a lot of courses, so I’ll admit trying to meet Hannah’s every sickly need was a bit exhausting on my free day. I didn’t mind however, I loved her dearly and would do anything for her. Besides, I’d get another free day next week so I figured it wasn’t that big of a deal.
I reached the kitchen and placed the Ibuprofen on the counter. I reached over and grabbed the glass of ginger ale and slid it close by. In order to make sure it didn’t get misplaced again, I decided it was probably best just to grab two pills here and put the bottle back where it should be. I fumbled with the lid as I tried to get it off, but after a moment I was able to twist the lid open. I suddenly felt a sharp jolt of pain going down my spine, and my hand shook violently in response which sent the bottle on it’s side. Pills scattered everywhere, and I held my hand up to the back of my sore neck.
“What the…” Was all I could muster before the same jolt went down my spine yet again.
My hands fell flat against the island countertop as I hurled over it in pain. My eyes were forced closed and my head began throbbing immensely. It was if I was being electrocuted, seemingly by nothing considering I hadn’t the faintest clue what could have been doing so. The pain was so intense that I fell down on my side in exhaustion after it finally ended.
I could barely open my eyes, and though the jolting pains had come to a halt I couldn’t help but feel as if something strange had happened. My vision was a blur, but after a few moments it had begun to clear up. I rubbed my eyes in pain as I slowly stood to my feet. My head was dizzy and the ground suddenly felt very cold and hard. I stumbled around a bit before I collided into a rather large object.
“Wh-what?” I felt the object, and it was rather oddlike. The shape, and its size… It felt familiar.
My vision finally began to clear, the blurry object now showing more clearly. There was a large inscription on top of the object, and for a moment I was all but confused until I began to understand what was going on.
“Is this… Is this an Ibuprofen pill!?”
I stepped back in disbelief, beginning to check my surroundings more clearly. My eyes were wide in utter horror, my disbelief perpetual as I took in the now incredulous view of the large house that I lived in. The fridge was the size of a skyscraper, the living room and its furniture in the distance almost a blur. Worse yet I had apparently shrunk atop the island counter, which may have been due to the fact that I was hurled over it in pain when I felt as if I were being electrocuted just a moment prior.
“This… This is impossible…” I whispered under my breath, my voice wavering with fear.
I stumbled away from the pill that was just about the same size as me, which meant I had to be around a quarter inch tall give or take. I was having an incredibly hard time comprehending my situation, let alone how it was even possible to begin with. I was surrounded by the scattered pills that had spilled when I dropped the bottle, and I was about in the center of them all. As I tried to figure out what on earth to do, an ear deafening sound caused me to cover my ears in pain.
“Dylan?” Claire had entered the kitchen, a brush in her hand. She must have been doing her hair, what for I wasn’t sure.
Claire looked down at the counter and saw the scattered pills and the glass of ginger ale next to it. She showed a visible look of confusion as she began to look around the kitchen and living room to see if I was around after setting her brush on the countertop.
“Dylan?” She called out, still receiving no answer. She had absolutely no way of knowing what had become of me.
“That’s odd… It’s unlike him to suddenly abandon Hannah like this,” Claire rested her palms on her hips as she tapped her foot in curiosity. Her eyes rested on the scattered pills all over the counter again, and she let out an annoyed sigh.
I was waving frantically up at her, my ears still in pain from the sound of her voice moments ago. I was shouting at the top of my lungs in vain as I tried desperately to get her attention, “Claire! Claire down here!”
My stepmother didn’t hear a word, and I froze in disappointment. I was no expert on the matter, but at my size I figured my voice was at an entirely different frequency. Scientifically speaking, it was likely impossible to get her to hear my voice. Hers was almost impossible to make out as well, as it was mostly just a loud booming sound that reverberated throughout my eardrums. This was going to make it very difficult to get her help, but I figured at the very least she might notice me if I wave around frantically.
As I broke out of my frozen state to wave up at her again, a shadow loomed from above. A look of dread filled my eyes as I watched her colossal hand sweep overhead, the side of it colliding onto the countertop behind me.
“Oh no…” I whispered in terror, knowing all too well what was likely about to happen.
“I really wish he wouldn’t have left a mess… But I suppose I won’t give him to much heat, he has really stepped up in taking care of Hannah today,” Claire talked to herself, as she cupped one hand just below the edge of the counter and the other which she used to slide all of the pills into a pile.
It had all happened so fast, I didn’t have any time at all to prepare. All I could do was turn around just in time to watch as her gigantic hand swept across the counter, gathering every single Ibuprofen pill in its path. I attempted to turn around and make a run for it, but I was insignificant at this size. In an instant an ocean of pills piled over my body as my stepmothers hand gathered me up along with every last pill. Her hand slid the pills off of the counter, myself included, and directly into her awaiting palm. There were a few estranged pills, but it took mere seconds for her to gather them up too and add them to the pile in her hand.
There had to have been at least ten pills on top of me, and I found them incredibly heavy at my size. I tried shouting some more, but I knew that no matter how loud I appeared to be yelling, that Claire wouldn’t hear a peep. Claire shook her hand a little, looking down at the pills in her palm. If it weren’t for the fact that I was mostly buried, she probably would have noticed me. She shrugged and picked up the Ibuprofen bottle with her free hand, tilting her palm as she began to cram all of the pills back into the bottle.
The opening of the bottle was much narrower than her wide open palm, and I found many of the pills squeezing tightly against one another as my stepmother inserted them back from whence they came. I was suddenly being crushed by twenty or something pills as my step mom forced my now shrunken body into the pill bottle along with all of the scattered Ibuprofen.
As I fell into the bottle, many pills rained down on top of me. With all of my screams of pain and agony, they all went unheard to my step mother. At my size, it was simply impossible for her to hear me. Pills landed on my head and body, and I was nearly buried underneath a good portion of them by the time Claire had finished dumping the remainder of the pills into the bottle. All I was able to see through the cracks of the pills was my step mothers oblivious expression from outside the bottle as she looked inside, before darkness enveloped me.
Clair twisted the lid back onto the bottle, shaking it up a little before looking around the kitchen and living room. She had no idea that she was shaking me around with the pills, unaware of the harm she was inflicting upon me as pills assaulted my body relentlessly.
“Dylan?” Claire called out, still wondering where on earth I could have ended up. She let out a slightly annoyed sigh, before turning around and seeing the glass of ginger ale on the counter.
“I suppose I’ll have to give them to Hannah after all…” Claire mumbled, picking up the glass as she carried both the soda and Ibuprofen into the hallway.
My world jostled violently as Claire casually carried the bottle at her side, pills being thrown at me from every angle. The bottle was tilted downward, so naturally my body slipped through the pills until I had fallen on the surface of the underside of the bottles lid. “Claire! I’m in here!” I shouted in vain, trying my best to defend myself from the perpetual assaults as the pills continued to pile into me at all angles.
Claire reached Hannah’s door, knocking softly to let her daughter know that she would be letting herself in. Claire opened the door and cautiously made her way into Hannah’s dark room. Hannah turned her head to see her mother, as Claire made her way towards her bedside. Hannah noticed that her mother was holding the ginger ale and Ibuprofen in her hands.
“Where’s Dylan?” Hannah asked, her voice frail and hoarse.
“I’m not sure sweety, but he left these on the counter so I thought I’d bring them to you myself,” Claire responded, setting the glass of ginger ale on the nightstand as she fumbled to reopen the bottle of Ibuprofen.
“My head is killing me…” Hannah moaned, rubbing her throbbing head with her palm.
“I know dear, hopefully these pills will help tone down the pain,” Claire soothed, finally opening the lid.
Hannah’s room was dark, so though the lid had been removed I found everything still very black. My heart was pounding, but an ease began to wash over me as I realized that I’d soon be noticed. I positioned myself a bit closer to the top of the pill pile, climbing up through the pills one by one. If Claire dumped me into her hand, surely she’d notice me. It was my only hope, because if I was left inside this bottle then God only knows how long I’d be trapped within it.
“How many would you like sweety?” Claire asked.
“My heads throbbing… I’d best take three,” Hannah responded.
Claire smiled as she tilted the bottle, shaking it carefully to make sure she poured out the right amount. I felt myself fall forward as the bottle tilted, two more pills behind me colliding into my back as I fell out from the bottle. I landed swiftly into Claire’s soft and fleshy palm, both pills landing on top of me. I managed to turn my head up towards Claire, who was looking down at the pills and myself within her hand.
‘She has to see me now…’ I thought, smiling up at her with joy. Her eyes were looking directly at me, surely she had noticed me now, right?
“That looks to be three…” Claire whispered to herself, setting the bottle on the nightstand as she turned to face Hannah.
The lights were off, and the room was very dark minus the small amount of light from a nearby night light. Unfortunately, it wasn’t nearly enough to allow Claire the proper visual of my tiny body, and since I was roughly the same size as the pills she had no reason to think that I was anything but.
My heart dropped as I felt Claire tilt her palm, dumping me and the two pills into Hannah’s awaiting palm. I was frozen with panic, and confused. I found myself in the sweaty palm of Hannah, who shook the pills and myself in her hand a little as she looked down at them weakly. Before I could even react, her hand had already begun to rise, and as I looked up at her face I was met with her enormous lips as she brought me and the pills towards her mouth. Her lips parted, her mouth opening wide as her head tilted back along with her palm which had raised just above her open mouth.
It was in this moment that my situation became gravely clear. Both my step mother and sister had mistaken me for an Ibuprofen pill, and I was about to get a one way trip to her stomach. Horror filled me from the inside as the pills were dumped from Hannah’s palm, myself included. I found myself free falling for but a second, before I found myself landing on the soft and wet tongue of my unaware step sister.
I landed face first, Hannah’s saliva immediately getting into my mouth and nostrils as I flailed about. The two pills had landed on top of me, pinning me to Hannah’s tongue and rendering me unable to move. I looked outwards into her bedroom from inside her open mouth, tears filling my eyes as I began to sob. This couldn’t be happening, it just couldn’t be. It had all happened so fast, and I didn’t even know how. It was literally an impossible situation, yet here I was.
“Hannah, please!” Was the last thing I said as I watched her teeth clench tight, her lips closing and sealing me inside of her mouth. Hannah had no clue that I was among the pills she was about to swallow.
Claire picked up the glass of ginger ale and handed it to Hannah, who smiled at her mother before lifting the glass to her lips. The edge of the glass brushed just inside of her lips, as she tilted the glass and began to drink it. I watched in horror as a torrent of ginger ale washed over me. I was picked up in an instant along with the pills as the wave of soda carried me towards the back of Hannah’s throat. Her uvula hung above her dark throat, and I was all but helpless as Hannah’s tongue sent me into it with a thick gulp. Without a scream, I was mercilessly swallowed whole along with the pills as I was forced into my step sisters gullet.
Hannah gulped several times as she drank some of the ginger ale, before handing it back to her mother when the pills were swallowed. She wiped her lips and had an odd look on her face. Claire had set the glass back on the nightstand, and noticing her daughters odd expression she had become concerned.
“Everything alright darling?” Claire asked.
“I… Yeah…” Hannah muttered, “it’s just weird… It almost felt like one of the pills was moving around in my mouth…”
“Probably just bounced around or something,” Claire responded, petting her daughters hair gently.
“Yeah… Probably…” Hannah was a little weirded out by it, but quickly sent the thought away before getting comfortable again under her covers.
“Thanks mom,” Hannah said, smiling up at her mother, “and tell Dylan I appreciate everything he’s done for me today, he really is the best brother.”
Claire smiled, “I’ll be sure to let him know when I see him. Now get some rest ok?”
As Hannah tried her best to get some rest, and Claire exited the bedroom with the bottle of Ibuprofen, neither of the two realized that they would never see me again. I was forced into Hannah’s throat, as the muscles of her esophagus dragged me downwards towards her stomach along with the other pills. I was thrashing and screaming and doing everything I could to slow my descent, but nothing I did mattered. In only a few moments, my feet were sucked in through Hannah’s sphincter which sent me plummeting into the murky depths below.
I landed in a shallow pool of stomach acid, both pills splashing by my side. The air was thick and humid, and every breath I took sent a burning sensation throughout my lungs. It was so hot that my tears had all but dried up, my exhaustion coming swiftly as I tried my best to stay afloat in the acidic waters of my step sisters gut.
I still couldn’t accept my fate, a fate of which I had never fathomed to be possible. In the span of five minutes I had been shrunk and fed to my sister as if I were a pill to help her throbbing headache. I was in my loving step sisters stomach now, a stomach of which was nearly empty due to the lack of food she had been eating. She was too sick and her appetite was nonexistent.
My skin began to burn, and my screams slowly died out as my body began to go into shock. The air was polluted and scarce, and the lack of proper oxygen began to make my head dizzy as my eyesight began to fade. I was the size of a pill, insignificant and unable to survive the harsh conditions of Hannah’s boiling stomach. It was probably made worse due to the fact that she had a high temperature.
I thought about my college education, and the future I had envisioned for myself. It would all die within Hannah’s belly. I loved Hannah as if she were my own blood, and it was almost sick irony that it was by her own oblivious actions that would result in the end of my life. As terrified and angry as I was from the entire ordeal, deep down I felt sorry for both Claire and Hannah. They’d never know what they mistakenly did to me, an act of total obliviousness. Claire would never know that she fed her own step son to her daughter, and Hannah would never know that it was actually me moving around atop her tongue before she swallowed me alive.
My life was over now, and the only bit of reprieve I was able to receive was the fact that I’d at least be giving some, if any nutrition to my sisters sick and frail body. I clung to that hope, the thought of helping my sister in any way soothing my dismal heart. It felt weird to feel this way, but I suppose in my final moments I wasn’t thinking too clearly.
My vision began to fade to black, my body going limp as I slowly began to submerge beneath the stomach acid. As I went unconscious from shock, my body was left to dissolve. The pills would dissolve along with me, their purpose to soothe my step sisters headache taking place within the hour. After only twenty minutes, any trace that I had ever existed would be gone, forever.
After an hour had passed, Hannah’s headache had toned down considerably. She smiled softly to herself with her eyes still closed as she tried to rest. She would never know what happened to her step brother, the fate that I had endured within her very own body. I’d go missing of course, and Claire and Hannah would never learn the truth of what happened. Thankfully, I wouldn’t have to worry about living with the burden of the pain that they would endure in regards to my abrupt disappearance.
I no longer had to worry about… Anything.