A Girl Named Annie by littlewarrior
Summary:

Will Hansen meets an unusual young girl, and stumbles into a strange new world when he offers to house-sit for a friend.


Categories: Teenager (13-19), Young Adult 20-29, Body Exploration, Butt, Feet, Footwear, Mouth Play, Nose, Unaware, Gentle Characters: None
Growth: None
Shrink: Minikin (3 in. to 1 in.)
Size Roles: F/f, F/m, FF/m
Warnings: This story is for entertainment purposes only.
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 30 Completed: Yes Word count: 54483 Read: 519408 Published: April 06 2012 Updated: August 07 2017

1. Meeting Annie by littlewarrior

2. Annie Shrinks Me by littlewarrior

3. Getting to Know You by littlewarrior

4. Tryst by littlewarrior

5. Teddy Bear by littlewarrior

6. Girls' Day Out by littlewarrior

7. Bitter / Sweet by littlewarrior

8. Only a Game by littlewarrior

9. Will Power by littlewarrior

10. Sleepover by littlewarrior

11. Three Days by littlewarrior

12. The Plan (Part One) by littlewarrior

13. The Plan (Part Two) by littlewarrior

14. Annie's Story by littlewarrior

15. Purpose by littlewarrior

16. Cardboard Box by littlewarrior

17. Sleepover II by littlewarrior

18. Mindy by littlewarrior

19. Alice by littlewarrior

20. Down the Rabbit Hole by littlewarrior

21. Embrace by littlewarrior

22. Girl Talk by littlewarrior

23. Vertigo (Part One) by littlewarrior

24. Vertigo (Part Two) by littlewarrior

25. Questions Answered by littlewarrior

26. Room for Two by littlewarrior

27. Understanding by littlewarrior

28. Don't Wake Annie by littlewarrior

29. Magic Sandal Ride by littlewarrior

30. Minor Adjustment by littlewarrior

Meeting Annie by littlewarrior

  Gary tossed me the keys. I caught them, breaking their flight across the kitchen.

  "Well, it's all yours, Will. At least till next month. Make yourself at home; garbage day is Thursday, my mailbox is number 20, it's all on the fridge, there, actually."

  I asked him again about what he would be doing in São Paulo. Some kind of entrepreneurial work, that's his thing. He was a knowledgeable guy, well-connected, and he always found little jobs. He was divorced. He lived in this condo with his daughter, Annie. He had no steady income, yet he always made ends meet. I never really understood guys like that. Guys with that kind of reckless ambition. I supposed that was the difference between us. And the reason I was stuck in my programming job.

  "So I'm sure you're glad to get a little extra time to yourself. That Linda of yours keeps you on a short leash, doesn't she?"

  He chuckled. I smiled, though I didn't think it was funny. But at least I was willing to admit to myself then that it was true. Even more willing now. Linda was my wife; she was also my boss. It just sort of happened that way. We had been together since we started dating in high school. Not that it stopped everyone I knew from cracking jokes all the time. Gary is actually a friend of a coworker of mine, the three of us had a few beers together a couple of times, so I've gotten to know him a bit. Gary had originally offered this job to my friend - watching his condo and daughter for a month, but my friend's busy with kids of his own, so he asked me instead. I had met Annie a few times before, she was cute and kind of quiet. She was in high school, but I didn't know much else about her. She didn't seem like too much trouble. She was a teenager. How hard could it be, right? Piece of cake, I thought. I would basically be living here for a month. I figured she could pretty much take care of herself, and I could relax in Gary's comfortably furnished home. He had even offered to pay me. Sweet piece of cake.

  "So you want to say hello to Annie?" he asked. "Oh - just make sure you don't say the "B" word. She's sixteen. You know, too old for a 'babysitter'."

  He called his daughter. After a brief exchange of shouts through the hall, she entered the kitchen. She was a slight girl, with hazelnut eyes, and matching, medium length hair. Her face had a curious cuteness which seemed more befitting a small woodland creature than a human girl. She was cloaked in a hooded sweatshirt, and wore pajama bottoms. Her bare feet kissed the wooden floor as she walked. She deposited herself on a stool across from me, the porcelain breakfast counter between us. She locked eyes with me, and grinned amiably.

  "Annie, you remember Will, right?"
  She nodded, not releasing me from her gaze. Her eyes glistened with a strange, youthful wisdom. Gary waved his hands in front of her eyes.
  "Hello?... Hey, quit being a creep, kiddo!" he said, laughing.
  She snapped out of it, letting out a somewhat miffed "harumph."
  Gary would be leaving the next morning, a Monday, for São Paulo. So the plan was, I would come here and get settled in after work. He laid down some ground rules for Annie, I wished him boa viagem, and then I left. Annie's pretty face still stared at me in my mind as I drove home.

***

  "Honey, I'm home."

  Getting no answer, I walked up to the bedroom. I found my wife sitting at her desk, poring over paperwork. She was still dressed in her business blouse, despite having come home hours ago. She often wore her work outfit around the house. A strange quirk of hers. She looked up at me from the chair, eying me over her glasses.

  "Hello, dear."
  I kissed her cheek.
  "Well, I'm all set for tomorrow."
  "Good, so you've worked out the kinks in the database."
  "Well, er-- I was talking about the babysitting, but, yes... yes, I did that too."
  "Good," she said, turning back to her desk.

  I wished she wouldn't bring work home so much, especially tonight. I massaged her shoulders.

  "Come on, honey," I said. "You're too tense. I'm not going to see you at home for a month. How 'bout a little love to hold me over?"
She sighed.
  "I don't know honey, I have a lot of work tonight..."

  A familiar scene for us. I knew I had to play the negotiator now. I pleaded with her some more to no avail. But I knew her weak point. I knelt down in front of her, and took off her black high heels. They clacked as I dropped them on the floor. For a split second, I thought I caught her cracking a smile. I massaged her stocking-clad foot and toes.

  "Come on... come to bed," I beckoned.

  She gazed at her paperwork, smiling and humming, pretending not to notice me. I kneaded her toes some more. I removed the stocking.

  "Please, dear," I said.

  I dug my fingers into her sole, rubbing away the stress of the day. Finally she began to moan softly in contentment.

  "Oh, All right," she sighed.

***

  After a night with my wife like I hadn't had in a while, and then a day at work like any other, I had arrived at the condo complex. It was the time of year it got dark out early, and the plain stucco walls glowed with a dim, incandescent orange. I mounted the front steps, carrying a heavy duffel bag with my provisions for the month. Though I had a key, I figured it was courteous to knock on the door. I knocked. There was no answer. I tried the handle, and the door opened. I walked inside and saw her huddled up on the living room couch, hugging a bowl of popcorn, watching TV.

  "Hello Annie."
  "Hello."

  She looked up and smiled. I placed my bag on the floor, and took off my coat. Annie's attention returned to the television.

  "You know, Annie, you should be more careful. You shouldn't leave the door unlocked like that."
  "Yup."
  "So how was school?"
  "Good."

  She didn't seem one for smalltalk. She was watching that Japanese cartoon show, Intergalactic Princess Hero Team. I'm not that great with entertaining kids, and I figured she would keep herself busy for the most part, so I brought a book. Reaching into my pocket, I pulled out my reading glasses, and laid them on the table beside the couch. After settling into Gary's room, and unpacking my clothes and things, I grabbed my book and returned to the living room, and sat on the couch next to Annie. I reached out for my glasses on the table, but they were missing. I looked around and checked my pockets again.

  "That's the strangest thing. Annie, have you seen my--"

  I looked at Annie, and she started giggling. She was wearing my glasses. "Ha-ha, you got me," I said dryly as she returned them. As I started to read my book, I couldn't help but smile. I was able to get through about a chapter and a half, before Annie broke the silence.

  "I'm hungry."

  The end credits to the show were playing on the TV. I was feeling peckish as well, so I figured I should try to whip up something. Luckily, there was some leftover meatloaf and vegetables in the fridge. I warmed it up and Annie set the table.

  "How old are you, Will?" asked Annie. She shoveled some meatloaf into her mouth.
  "I'm 24."
  "So, did you go to college?"
  "Yeah."
  "Cool. Was it fun?"
  "It was fun. It was also a lot of hard work."

  I was glad she was getting more talkative. She seemed to be staring at my food for some reason.

  "So how's school, Annie?"
  She chewed a piece of meatloaf, still staring at my food.
  "Annie?"
  "Oh, I'm sorry. School is fine. Um, thanks for dinner, Will. I have to go do my homework now. Excuse me."

  She got up from the table. I looked at her empty plate incredulously. She had finished her dinner in no more than two minutes. That was astonishing, even considering she was going through puberty. I finished my meal, and started cleaning the dishes. While doing so, I noticed something even more puzzling. When Annie had set the table, she gave herself a larger glass than I had used. I inspected her glass, then mine, and I quickly realized something wasn't right. Annie's glass was tall, and widened towards the top. Mine was identical, except it was 3/4 the size. I assumed they had a set of cups in different sizes, but the strange thing was, the smaller one was made of thinner glass. When I put them back in the cabinet, I saw that all of their glasses were the same size as Annie's, except for mine. I started to wonder why that might be, but when I started thinking strange things, I dismissed the thought.

  I decided to check on Annie. Pushing open her door, I saw her sitting at her desk. I walked up to her chair and stood beside her.

  "Boy, Annie," I said, "I've never seen a girl your age who could eat like that."
  She smiled.
  "Thanks. Yeah, I kinda have a big appetite."

  After the fact, I realized what a faux-pas my comment could have been; she could have thought I was calling her a pig. But she took it as a compliment. She was definitely not your average teenage girl. I asked about her homework. It was algebra. I helped her out a bit. Though it comes easy to me now, I remember it being difficult for me when I was Annie's age. Suddenly, Annie put her pencil down and looked up at me.

  "Will, can I tell you something?"
  "Sure."
  "This may sound weird but... I don't want you to think I'm a little kid or something, you know, just because you have to watch me and all. I'm a lot more mature and grown-up than a lot of the girls I go to school with. My dad is just being careful having you here. You understand, right Will?"
  "Sure," I replied.
  "Then you don't think I'm just a little kid?"
  "I guess not."
  "You promise me you're telling the truth?"
  "I swear," I said.
  "Thank you, Will," she said, smiling sincerely. She hugged my waist tightly, pressing the side of her head against my stomach. This took me by surprise, and not knowing how to respond, I just patted her on the head. She let me go, and returned to her homework. I wasn't sure what to make of the whole episode. I figured she looked up to me, and needed to diffuse some teenage insecurity.

  Afterwards, I was in the bathroom shaving. I was sure Annie had gone to bed. I was planning on taking a shower after, and had already disrobed. Just as I finished shaving, and was inspecting my face in the mirror, I noticed another face in the mirror. I spun around, and saw Annie peeking in the doorway. Startled, I nearly dropped the razor, fumbling with it in the air. When I remembered that I was naked, I let it drop and grabbed a towel instead. I thought Annie would be startled, too, but she just smiled at me before retreating behind the door. I had only been living here one day and already she had seen too much of me. I had a feeling this was going to be an interesting month.

Annie Shrinks Me by littlewarrior

  What happened the next night would change my life forever. But I'm getting ahead of myself. I had arrived at the front porch of the condo, and once again, the door was unlocked. I entered, announcing my presence, and she came to greet me, drifting into the room like a benevolent ghost. She stood there smiling at me. Her smile made me a bit uneasy; the last time I had seen that particular smile was during the previous night's incident. Partly to help me forget about that incident, I tried to start up a conversation. I asked her about school. She replied with single words: "fine", "good", etc. She seemed genuinely interested in me, though. Pretty soon we were watching television together while she prodded me about my job, something I didn't think would interest her. Suddenly the subject of my wife came up. Something about our conversation struck me even then.

  "Wait a minute, so your wife became your boss?"
  "Yeah, that's right."
  "That's kinda weird."
  "How so?"
  "Well, I don't know...it's like, she wants to be in charge of you. That's very weird..." she mused.

  I explained to her that she wasn't just my boss, she was in charge of the entire branch, and that she had always had a managerial personality, for as long as I'd known her. Even still, Annie's youthful inquisitiveness piqued my interest, something about the way she phrased it seemed peculiarly significant, as if she was asking me questions I had neglected to ask myself. But more on that later.
  It was getting to be dinnertime. Tonight I had brought some leftover spaghetti and meatballs that Linda had made. My wife was a busy woman, yet she always found time to cook nice meals. Once again, Annie set the table. This time, I took note of the glasses. Mine and Annie's were the same size. Our plates and silverware looked identical as well. We sat down and started to eat. I observed Annie closely. She stared at my food once again. She seemed to be daydreaming as she curled a large wad of spaghetti around her fork and after chewing it three times, she swallowed it! She disposed of several meatballs with similar ease. I couldn't take it. Something strange was definitely happening.

  "How are you doing that?"
  "Huh?"
  "You're barely even chewing your food, yet you eat so fast!"
  She seemed surprised that I had noticed.
  "Oh, I have a big appetite, remember?"
  She smiled.
  I reached out for my glass of milk. I eyed hers and then mine. I grabbed hers.
  "Hey, what are you doing?" she asked.
  I placed them next to each other. Hers was about an eighth of an inch taller.
  "Why is your glass larger?"
  She looked at the glasses.
  "Oh yeah, it is. That's strange."
  She smiled at me strangely and continued eating.
  "Are you playing some kind of practical joke on me?" I asked.
  "What would make you think that?" she asked.

  Suddenly I felt my grip close as the glass shrank in my hand. The milk overflowed, spilling onto my hand and the table.

  "What the hell?" I nearly shouted, dropping the glass.
  "Hey, be careful," Annie shouted. "This is a new tablecloth!"
  She cleaned me and the table with a napkin. I stared incredulously.
  "What... the hell... is that?" I said, pointing to the empty tumbler, now the size of a shot glass.
  "Oh, that's the amazing shrinking glass. Oldest trick in the book. I got you good, didn't I?" she said, grinning.
  I just stared at her, speechless. Her expression changed. Her face was almost serious now, but it retained a hint of mischief. Then she said:

  "I can shrink things."
  "Excuse me?"
  "I can shrink things," she repeated. "With my mind. Like that glass over there. All I have to do is think about it and concentrate, and it happens. But it helps if I'm looking at it. Watch."

  She demonstrated her ability for me by shrinking various things on the table. She stared at her fork, and it dwindled to about half its size. Then she shrank her plate, food and all.

"This is how I eat so fast," she explained. "I put the food in my mouth, shrink it, then chew and swallow, and when it gets to my stomach, I un-shrink it. It saves time. Pretty cool, huh? I call it the food bomb."

  She was explaining her impossible abilities to me as if they were no big deal. I watched in dumbfounded awe as this typical teenage girl, whom I had just barely gotten to know, defied the laws of physics as I thought I knew them.

"How would you like me to shrink you, Will?" she asked, with a ring of excitement in her voice. "It's perfectly safe. It's very fun to be tiny. How about it, Will?"

  The next few minutes are still a blur. It was so unreal that I wasn't even in shock. It seemed like a dream. I didn't feel any fear; I felt perfectly safe in the presence of this girl. Her offer seemed innocuous, and, curious, I decided in the affirmative. Though I don't remember it, I must have said "yes" because suddenly the walls began to pull away from me. If you've never been shrunken before, let me tell you, it is an odd sensation. Physically, the closest thing I can think of is riding an elevator. Psychologically, it's disorienting, like an optical illusion. Your surroundings seem to transform into something different. Your instinct and senses tell you it can't be happening. You feel as if you are not even in the same room any more, but rather a jumbo-sized mock-up located somewhere else, on a movie set perhaps. It dawned on me later that here was a girl with a tremendous, even frightening power, a power I wasn't sure even she comprehended. I still get the creeps wondering how many other teenage girls out there have this power.
  My feet lifted off the ground, and my legs straightened, as the chair seat jutted out in front of me. Annie gave me a peppy wave as her face disappeared behind the edge of the table. Now I could only see her knees straight ahead, bent out from the chair where she was sitting. I saw her get up, and I heard the slapping of her bare feet on the floor as she approached my side of the table. I turned, and I saw her, kneeling in front of my chair. I gazed up at her face, and she gazed at me. Her lips curled into a tremendous smile. I felt then as I did when she had intruded on me in the bathroom. After all, here she was again, eying me over, and here I was again, in a vulnerable state. Perhaps I should have been more frightened. But her smile was gentle and reassuring, and her eyes sparkled with benevolent wonder. She was an attractive young woman. For a moment, I was enchanted by her pretty face, and I almost forgot what was happening. Just then, I saw her lift up her hand, and beckon me with her fingers. She placed her open hand against the chair. I began to walk.

"It's okay. I'll be careful."

  Slowly, I walked over to her hand. She smiled, showing me her teeth. She seemed like a child admiring a butterfly. I set foot on her soft flesh, and she let out a giggle. Her hand was shaking a bit. I thought I would feel safer if I sat down, so I did. We looked at each other without exchanging words for a while. She let me down gently on the table, and sat in the chair.

  "So, Will," she said suddenly, "What do you think?"
  "My God, Annie, this is incredible! How long have you had these powers?"
  "Since I was in grade school. I've kept it a secret, though..."
  "Why are you showing me, then?"
  She blushed.
  "Well, I, um... You seem like a nice guy. I feel like I can trust you. Do you feel like you can trust me, Will?"
  "Yes, Annie."
  "Then it will be our secret?"
  "Of course."
  "Great! Well, I guess I should make you normal-sized, again."

  She placed her hand on the table, and I climbed up with some difficulty. She lifted me up, and stood up from her chair. She walked into the dining room, set me on the floor, and stood up. Ahead of me, now, I saw Annie's naked toes poking out from under her pajama bottoms. Looking up, I could see her towering figure. Her face was hidden by a shadow, and the light from the kitchen ceiling shined through strands of hair. Suddenly, I felt that strange feeling again, and I watched as Annie's body sank past my field of vision. I rose above her knees and her waist, until I found myself eye to eye with her.

  "There, that seems about right."
  She smiled. I inspected myself, then her, and said,
  "Annie, I think I was taller than you."
  She smiled, and said, "Just kidding."

  Soon, I found myself back to normal, looking down on Annie.
  "So, Will..."
  "Yes."
  "I was thinking... since you and I are going to be living together this month, I thought maybe we could have some fun with my powers. What do you think?"
  "What kind of fun?" I asked, with some trepidation.
  "Like, I don't know, maybe I could shrink you and we could play games and stuff, it could be fun."
  "Sure," I replied, still a little hesitant.

  She beamed, and clutched me suddenly in a tight hug.

Getting to Know You by littlewarrior

  The next morning, I woke up, turned off my alarm, and stretched. As I started making coffee, Annie walk into the kitchen. I watched as the girl who had shrunk me the previous night prepared her breakfast without saying a word. I sat at the breakfast counter on a stool, with the newspaper in front of me, though I found it difficult to focus on reading. She took a seat next to me. I looked over at her, and she just smiled as she ate her cereal. She looked different today. She was wearing a purple hooded sweatshirt, jeans, and socks. Her hair had been brushed neatly. She had on some sweet perfume, the kind girls her age seem to like. By the door sat a purple book bag and her sneakers. It was a short walk to the bus stop, so I didn't need to worry about getting her to and from school. I was about to leave when I heard her say, "See you tonight." I said goodbye, and walked out the door.

  During the drive to work, I mused over my situation. It seemed I was going to be spending the month with some kind of witch. She might as well have been, at any rate; any explanation I could think of seemed ludicrous, yet there she was. She definitely seemed more like a character out of fantasy than science fiction. Still, I was determined to find out as much as I could about her.

***

  I greeted the receptionist, and started mounting the staircase. I opened the door and made my way down the hall to my office. I put my things down on my desk, and then my wife walked in. Someone was with her. After some office talk, she introduced the stranger by her side.

  "Oh, Will, I want you to meet my new assistant, Cory."
  "Nice to meet you, Will."

  I shook hands with the boy, who had the naïve face of a college student. He was short and pale. It was very strange of Linda to suddenly get an assistant. Even stranger was that she never mentioned it to me, and she usually told me everything. I made eye contact while she talked to me, but my thoughts were preoccupied with Annie.

  "Will, are you alright?" she asked. "You seem... distracted."
  "I'm okay," I responded. "I... just didn't sleep great, that's all."

  She seemed to give me a suspicious eye, just for a moment. She dismissed herself; the boy trailed her, copying down notes as she dictated.

***

  When I arrived at the condo, Annie was already waiting for me.

  "How was work, Will?" she asked, smiling, as she opened the door for me.

  She seemed glad to see me. I was surprised at how quickly she was taking to me. She watched me enter the house, with a twinkle in her eye.

  "Excuse me, Annie," I said.
  "Oh, sorry."
  She blushed, stepping aside to let me in.

  We had the night ahead of us, and I was cautiously eager to see what Annie had planned.

  "So, um, Will... is it okay if I shrink you now?"

  I hesitated, but curiosity pressed me forward. I consented, and once again I felt that funny feeling. Pretty soon, everything in the room, Annie included, dwarfed me in stature. Looking ahead at her massive sneakers, I realized that she could easily squish me if she weren't careful. But looking up at her face, I could tell she intended to be extra careful with me. She lowered her hand for me and I got on. She lifted me to her face. The perfume that I had gotten a whiff of that morning seemed stronger. It wasn't overwhelming, but intoxicating nonetheless.

  "Will..." she said. The breath from her voice and the perfume seemed to create a warm cloud around me. I imagined she was a goddess naming one of her creations.

  "Look how high you are!"

  I carefully peered over the edge of her hand. From my lofty perch, I saw the legs of her jeans stretching downward to her sneakers far below. I swallowed hard, noting that were she to drop me, I would quickly become nothing but a splat on the linoleum. "It's okay, I got you!" she whispered, in a way I found very reassuring. I looked up and saw the breakfast counter. It seemed a mile away. It suddenly began to draw closer, and I realized Annie was walking. She put her hand down and I stepped onto the counter. She walked around the counter and sat at the stool in front of me. This was the same place she sat when I saw her the first day I came to the condo, and I recognized the same look in her eyes as they surveyed me eagerly. A few wordless moments passed, then I just looked up at her expectantly.

  "Sorry," she said, blushing. "You're just so cute at that size. So, do you want to have some fun?"
  "What kind of fun?" I asked.
  "I don't know. You're tiny! Something fun for a tiny person. Use your imagination."
  I was drawing a blank. I really didn't know what she was getting at.
  "Ooh, I know!" she exclaimed. "Come with me."

  She put down her hand, and I got on. She walked down the hall, briskly but carefully until we arrived in her room. She put me down on the floor. The carpet felt soft beneath my feet. Annie walked towards the bed. Her feet left temporary imprints in the carpet behind her. She sat on the bed and took her sneakers off, setting them at the foot of the bed. She looked at me from the bed and said:

  "See if you can figure out how to climb onto my bed. Meet you up here, okay?"
  "What? Wait, Annie, I..." I interjected, until I realized she probably couldn't hear me.

  I approached the bed. It was incredibly high. The bedspread was draped over the side. There was no way I could reach it, even with a generous jump. The legs of the bed were too wide to shimmy up. I had no idea how I was going to get up there, but Annie was up there, and I didn't think she could hear me, so I had to figure something out. I surveyed my surroundings. On the right side of the bed there was a wooden nightstand, with a lamp on top. With its smooth vertical surfaces, I certainly couldn't climb that. I looked to my left, and saw Annie's sneakers sitting by the bed. Further down that end of the room, I saw Annie's desk, her closet, and... wait a minute. Her sneakers! She had conspicuously taken them off and laid them there. They were pretty close to the bed. Perhaps a clue. I could climb them and get a better reach for the bedspread! I marched determinedly towards the giant pair of sneakers. I knew Annie was a petite girl; she couldn't have had very big feet, yet looking at her shoes from this perspective, it was hard to tell. By comparison, I estimated my own height at around 1 inch. The shoes were white leather, relatively new, with three pink stripes on each side. I walked to the front of one of the shoes.

  "Well, here goes nothing."

  I jumped up and managed to grab onto the ridge around the base of the shoe. With some effort, I pulled myself up onto the toe.

  "Now we're in business."

  I scaled up the laces like a ladder, and I got to the top. Across the mouth of the shoe was the heel. Not far above was the bedspread. If I could get over there, I could definitely reach it. Carefully, I approached the side of the shoe, and lowered myself over the outer edge. Hanging on with my hands, I shimmied myself around to the heel, until a giant Adidas logo stared me in the face. Looking straight up, I saw the bedspread dangling down. I could definitely reach it with a good jump. I pulled myself up until I was standing on the lip of the heel. Carefully, I bent my legs in preparation for a jump. 1, 2... Suddenly I lost balance. Shit. I struggled to get a solid footing, but it was too late, and I tumbled face-first towards the inside of Annie's sneaker. I landed quite roughly, and I looked up. I realized I was trapped.

***

  Recalling the next several minutes is still unpleasant for me. I went into panic mode. First, I tried yelling for Annie, to no avail. Then I tried climbing the wall of the shoe, but I couldn't get a good grip on the material. Then I preoccupied myself with terrifying thoughts, like Annie forgetting about me and putting her shoes on. It really struck me then how puny and helpless I was at that size. Finally, I heard Annie calling my name. I called back, though I doubted she could hear me. I saw her peering over the edge of the bed. I jumped up and down and waved my arms. Finally she saw me, and smiled. She grabbed the shoe and lifted it onto the bed. She turned the shoe, dumping me out, much as she would a pebble that had been irritating her sole. I landed on the bedspread and looked up. She sat in front of me, with her legs crossed, still smiling playfully.

  "What were you doing in my shoe?" she asked.

  I explained what had happened; meanwhile she was leaning closer to hear me better. She laughed at my story, and told me I was supposed to climb the cord of the lamp on her nightstand, then jump onto the bed. How was I supposed to know that? Suddenly Annie started to shrink. She seemed to be about the same size as me now. She got up and ran over to me.

  "I love to explore my room at this size," she said.

  Suddenly she reached out her hand, and hit me on the shoulder.

  "Tag! You're it!" she exclaimed.

  She started to run to the head of the bed. She turned around and saw I wasn't following her.

  "You're it!" she repeated, emphatically. "Come and get me!"

  Reluctantly, I started running after her. I never used to get a lot of exercise. I dreaded any kind of strenuous activity. Which is why I thought watching Annie was going to be easy. I never expected to be running around playing tag on her bedspread.

  "Slow down! Wait! Where are you going?" I shouted.
  "You'll see!"

  She hopped onto the nightstand. I followed. She ran around the lamp.

  "Wait! Slow down!"

  I ran around the lamp and saw her rappelling down the lamp's electrical cord. Where was she going? First, she wanted me to climb onto the bed, now we were going back down. I thought back to what she had told me two nights ago, about her being such a mature girl. But I hadn't expected this kind of playful behavior from a teenager. Then I reminded myself that this girl was not a typical teenager. I began to descend the cord, careful not to look down, and pretty soon felt my feet hit the carpet. I saw Annie dash under the dresser and I followed her. She led me under the bed and to a giant shoe box.

  "In here!" she said.

  I saw her run into a hole cut in the side of the shoe box resembling a door. I followed her inside. At first it was dark, and then there was a "CLICK", and I realized that Annie had just turned on a flashlight. The interior of the shoe box resembled a cross between a knick-knack drawer and a makeshift doll house. There were all sorts of things strewn about the place: doll accessories, coins, cheap jewelry, and a watch minus the wristband, which hung from the wall like a clock. In one corner, there was a doll's bed.

  "Welcome to my secret lair," she said. "Do you like it?"
  "Sure," I said.
  "Sometimes when I can't sleep, I like to come hang out in here."

  Annie was sitting on the doll's bed. I walked around the place, examining the objects Annie had collected. I saw a postcard from Paris, with a picture of the Eiffel Tower, leaning against the wall opposite the bed.
  I pointed to it and asked, "Do you like Paris?"
  "My dad went to Paris on a business trip," she replied. "Before I was born. He sent that to my mom when they were still dating."
  "Where is your mother now?" I asked.
  "My parents got divorced when I was 8. I don't see my mom much. She remarried and lives in New York."
  "Annie... I want to ask you something. When did you first learn about your powers?"
  She hesitated a moment.
  "When I was in grade school."
  "What happened?"
  "I wished that something would shrink and... it just happened."
  "What did you want to shrink?"
  She seemed to become disconcerted.
  "I... I'm sorry, Will, but I just don't want to talk about it."
  Fair enough, I thought. But still, I was determined to find out whatever I could.
  "Annie, why did you show me your powers?"
  "I don't know. I just felt I could trust you. There's something about you."
  She gazed into my eyes mysteriously.
  "Does anyone else know?"
  "Only one other person knows. My best friend, Liz."

  I supposed that it was smart that Annie had kept quiet about her powers. It probably would have been stressful for her family: her parents fearing that something was wrong with her, that other people would find out, or that she would use her powers to hurt them. This girl still mystified me, but looking back now, I can see that this was where I started to understand her as a person. She was a timid girl. Her parents had divorced. She was an only child, and had lived a quiet home life with her father for the past eight years. After she discovered her powers, she was undoubtedly alarmed at first, and played around with them alone in her room. These games she was playing with me were probably a remnant from her childhood. I could see how the need to be secretive growing up gave her a childlike imagination and wary intelligence.

  Afterwards, Annie returned us to normal size, we had dinner, and got ready for bed. By 10 p.m. Annie was already in bed. I had turned off the kitchen lights and was walking down the hallway towards my bedroom. I paused in front of her doorway. She was sleeping.

  "Good night, Annie."

Tryst by littlewarrior

  Thursday morning, I found myself in deep, concentrated thought. Not about Annie. Not about the mysteries of life, time and space. I was at work. My desk was covered with papers, a styrofoam cup filled halfway with cold coffee, and a two-thirds eaten doughnut. My eyes were glued to the computer screen. We had been going through a server migration, and I had been working there long enough to know our database system inside out, so naturally I had been chosen for the project. Suddenly, Linda walked in.

  "Hi, Will."
  "Oh, hi, Linda."

  Because she was my wife, I was one of the few at the company to routinely address her by her first name, rather than as "Mrs. Hansen." I liked to think this meant she was my wife first, and my boss second.

  "How's it coming along?" she asked, somewhat disinterestedly, peering at my monitor.
  "I think if I concentrate, I might get it all worked out by the end of the day."
  "That's my little worker bee," she said with a smile.

  She moved some papers, and took a seat on the end of my desk. She sat with her stocking-clad legs crossed, and dangled one of her black pumps by her toes. Her brunette hair was done up in a bun. Her blouse faithfully upheld her ample breasts.

  "So, how is everything going with that girl, Amy?"
  "That's Annie. Um, it's going well. She's not too much trouble."
  "Good, good. You know, it's been awfully quiet at home without you. Hey, why don't you and I go out for some lunch, hm?"
  "That's all right, I brought something." I replied. "Plus, I really need to concentrate on what I'm doing."
  "Please, Will? I miss spending time with you outside work."
  I sighed.
  "All right. What did you have in mind? That fajita place down the street, or..."
  She placed her hand on mine and squeezed.
  "Actually, I had something a little different in mind."

***

  I was in the passenger seat.

  Linda was driving. I leaned my head against the window of the car. My mind was still at work. I knew I should have been feeling frisky, considering the spur-of-the-moment tryst that lay ahead of us, but, somehow, I just wasn't excited. I didn't know whether it was work that was getting to me, or what, but I felt a strange... apathy, as if my surroundings at that particular moment didn't matter, or weren't real. I just felt sort of--

  "Bored?" asked Linda. She squeezed my leg.
  "Come on, honey, forget about work for a bit. I'm really in the mood, and I need you to do this for me."

  I hadn't torn my gaze from the view outside. We passed that fajita place. I found myself wishing we could have gone there instead. She grabbed my hand. She lifted it up. I started as I realized she had my pinky in her mouth. Now, let's stop right there. In order for you to appreciate the significance of that gesture, and what it meant at that particular moment as we sat next to each other in the car, we need to go back about eight years. I am a little hesitant to relate the following anecdote, as it's a little personal (and kind of embarrassing), but it's necessary if you are to understand my relationship with Linda. This is the story of our first time.

  We had been sitting in a car that night eight years ago as well. It was her father's car, which had been borrowed for the occasion, as neither of us had one of our own yet. I was in the passenger seat. Linda was driving. I think I had offered to drive, but I don't remember whether Linda had insisted, or her father had not trusted me with his car. We had been dating for about two months. We had mostly gone out on group dates with Linda's friends until this point. This was our first time out, just the two of us, with a car to ourselves. I was tense. We had already kissed at that point, but I had some trepidation about going further. I just didn't feel I was ready to start making a move on her. We had just come from a movie and she was driving to my house to drop me off. I noticed that she had missed the turn. I told her, but she said nothing. I began to worry.

  "Where are we going?" I asked.
  "You'll see."

  Suddenly I saw ahead of us the entrance to a public park in our home town. It was more of a nature type park than a recreational park, with hiking trails and picnic benches, and rusted metal grills sticking out of the ground here and there. I had often gone hiking there with my high school buddies. Visiting that park had always filled my mind with bright, happy memories. But that night the brown wooden entrance sign with carved yellow lettering looked strangely foreboding illuminated by the car's headlights.

  "Linda, what are we doing here? I think we should go home. It's a school night. Besides, I don't think we're supposed to be here at night. What if the cops--"
  "Come on, Will, where's your sense of adventure?"

  We had driven up the hill overlooking a field in the park. As we approached an eerily empty parking lot, I no longer had any doubts about why we had come here. I heard the gravel beneath us being ground by the tires as the car rolled into a parking space. The car let out a high-pitched squeak as Linda applied the brakes. Linda turned the key, and we were left in the dark. The chirping of crickets replaced the low rumble of the engine.

  We sat there without uttering a word for some time. Linda was the first to speak.

  "Will, do you love me?"

  I could faintly see the twinkles that were her moon-lit eyes. I couldn't make out what expression her face bore. I had thought I felt something for her, yet I dreaded to hear that question, dreaded to be put on the spot like that.

  "Yes, Linda, I love you."

  I had answered quickly, not so much out of confidence in my answer, as out of fear of pondering that question any longer, or of letting hesitation be my answer. Suddenly, she undid her seatbelt. I saw her draw in for a kiss, and I obliged. My heartbeat picked up. The kiss was pleasant, but this did not deter my nervousness. She drew her soft lips back with a smack, letting out a sensuous sigh. We had both started to sweat. She was making the first move, and I knew she wanted to go all the way tonight. She asked me if I loved her, and I said yes, I thought. If I refused to go along now... My mind was torn between lust and doubt. Were we ready for this? Did I really love her?

  "Mmm... that was good," she breathed, as she started to unbutton her blouse.
  "Linda, are you sure you want to do this?"

  I was kicking myself for having so understated my reservations by asking that question. But it was futile. By now she had removed her blouse, and she kissed me again, the second time almost as long as the first. I momentarily lost track of my thoughts as I was sucked back into warm intoxication.

  "Does that answer your question?"
Suddenly she got off her seat and climbed on top of me.
  "Linda, I... I really don't think we're ready for this, yet."
She kissed me yet again, ignoring my plea.
  "I mean it, Linda."

  I tried to maneuver her off of me, but she wouldn't budge. I reached out my hand to push her away, but she grabbed my hand, and took my pinky into her mouth. I could feel her warm tongue greedily, suggestively enveloping the length of my finger. Pleasure and adrenaline surged through my body. At that moment I abandoned my attempt to dissuade her. I had not changed my mind. Rather, I had submitted. I felt an erection growing. Linda started to undo my pants. She unzipped me, and gripped me in anticipation. She reclined my chair back. She leaned in close.

  "You like it when I'm a bad girl, don't you?"
 Her voice was higher back then, but carried the same authoritative tone she would use years later as a manager.

  "Well, we're here."

  I snapped back to the present moment. I saw that we had indeed arrived at our apartment. Earlier, I had not been feeling aroused, but recalling our first time had changed that. I recalled the trepidation leading up to that moment, but I vaguely remembered that I had felt glad afterwards. Hadn't I? I must have felt good about having finally gotten laid. I followed my still young and attractive wife back into the house.

  Before very long, before we had gotten fully undressed even, we started kissing passionately. At last we were naked, and she beckoned me towards the bed.

  "Do you love me?" she asked.
  "More than anything," I responded without hesitation. As if trained.
  I caressed her dark, silky hair as she looked hungrily into my eyes.
  "Oh, Will," she said playfully.
  "Yes?"
  "I don't know if I'm in the mood after all."
  This was a game we had often played.
  "It's a pity we drove all this way," she said, smiling.

  I knew what she was getting at. I got off her and crawled to the end of the bed. This was her sweet spot. I had to do this, then she was mine. I grabbed her feet and began massaging them. She loved this. This was her sure fire turn-on. I kneaded her plump, sweaty soles, as she began to moan.

  "Oh, yes, Will..."
  I was about to continue making love, when suddenly, she asked me something she never had before.

  "Will, lick them."
  "What?"
  "Lick my feet, Will," she replied, in a strangely firm tone.

  I hesitated a moment. She had always asked me to rub my feet, but never to lick them. I looked up at her, and I was surprised to find a serious face looking back at me. I deliberated. I thought it was a strange request, and not a very pleasant one, for me at least. But I knew from experience that I had to please her feet before I could get what I wanted. I brought my face to her sole. I could feel its warmth, and the smell, to my surprise, was not completely unpleasant. Slowly, I parted my lips, and extended my tongue. I started with a few little laps, and soon was going at it with gusto, striving to moisten every square centimeter of her sole. It wasn't that bad, I thought. I looked up at Linda, who was beside herself with pleasure, rubbing herself, and looking at me, evidently enjoying what she was seeing as much as what she was feeling. The thought of pleasing her suddenly aroused me. At that moment, with my wife's foot in my mouth, it seemed the most loving way to serve her.

  We were both recovering as we drove back to the office. We didn't exchange so much as a word during the whole ride. I thought our little tryst had been incredible. After the arousal had worn off a little, however, I felt uneasy. I suddenly couldn't believe I actually licked her feet. At the time it seemed hot, but now I felt somewhat ashamed. I decided I shouldn't feel ashamed about pleasing my wife. That's what husbands are supposed to do, I thought.

  Soon I was busy at my desk again. I heard talking in the hallway. I peeked my head out the door, and I saw Linda, talking with that new assistant of hers, Cory. I returned to work, when I heard the clopping of my wife's heels coming down the hallway.

  "How's that new guy? Cory, is it?" I called to her.
  She stepped into my office.
  "Oh, he's good."
  She thought a moment.
  "You know, he reminds me of you."
  She continued down the hallway.

  Suddenly realizing I hadn't had lunch, I decided to make my way to the break room. I saw Cory sitting at the table, having his lunch. Retrieving my tuna sandwich from the fridge, I took a seat next to him. He was a little timid, but I managed to start some small talk with him. When I asked him why Linda hired such a young assistant, he said it was because he "does what she says", and that she "admired his initiative". He asked me about the merger the higher-ups were supposedly considering, and I confirmed the rumor. I told him they had been having meetings already with the CEOs of the other company. He asked me if Linda attended these meetings. I told him she did. I then expressed doubt about the merger, being more familiar with the reputed stubbornness of said CEOs. He disagreed. I was surprised such a young, inexperienced kid would have the guts to have an opinion on something like this, so I asked him why.

  He shrugged and answered, "Your wife is a powerful woman, Mr. Hansen. she can get whatever she wants."

  Suddenly, Linda came into the break room, and asked to talk to Cory. I continued eating my sandwich, mostly ignoring their conversation, though I did catch the end of it.

  "Yes, Mrs. Hansen."
  "Please, call me Linda."

***

  When I arrived back at the condo, Annie greeted me at the door, happy as ever to see me. I plopped down on the couch. I was exhausted.

  "Well, you certainly look tired," Annie said.
  "Would you like a beer, Will?"
  "Sure, thanks."

  She had read my mind. It would be a quiet evening. Annie and I didn't play any of her games that night. She had evidently sensed that I had had quite enough excitement that day. It had been a busy and interesting day, to say the least. I'm sure Annie had been too young to really understand any of that. I spent a few moments thinking about how young and carefree she was, and whether she appreciated that. Then a strange question seemed to pop into my head: If I had the chance to start over, to look at my life and the world anew, like someone Annie's age, would I do it?

Teddy Bear by littlewarrior

  It was a Friday morning. I got out of bed feeling ready to tackle the day. I went down to the kitchen, had some coffee and a little breakfast, then decided to wake Annie up. I pushed open the door, and entered the room, which was dimly lit by a few rays of early sunlight which managed to penetrate the closed blinds. I saw her curled under the blankets, facing away from me.

  "Annie, it's time to get up."

  Annie didn't respond, so I said it again. After a third time, she finally stirred and let out a soft moan. I approached the bed.

  "Annie, come on, you'll be late."

  Slowly she turned to face me. Her eyes were still closed. She let out an short grunt, signaling that she wasn't going to comply, then she squinted her eyes, and scrunched up her nose. I started to shrink.

  "Annie, no!"

  Quickly, I reached out to try and wake her, but my hands grabbed the side of the bed instead. I struggled to get a hold of the bed as the expanding fabric loosened my grip from it, and I watched the bed rise up in front of me. Soon, I was an inch tall. Great.

  This meant I had to climb the bed again. Fortunately, I knew how this time. I walked behind the nightstand and found the lamp cord. Quickly but carefully, I ascended the nightstand, and made the short leap to Annie's bed. I was going to wake her, whatever it took. Her head rested on the pillow, facing towards the ceiling. I saw her right ear not far from where I was, and I knew what I had to do. I climbed up the pillow and approached her head. I walked up to the ear, and shouted, trying to wake her. Finally, she started to stir. I was sure I had woken her, until I realized her head was turning -- and heading right for me. I turned to run, feeling for a moment like Indiana Jones, but I wasn't fast enough, and Annie's face pinned me to the pillow. The impact wasn't too rough, but I found I couldn't move. It felt like Annie's cheekbone was resting on my body. After a few minutes' struggle, I was able to slide myself sideways out from under her cheekbone, then forwards toward the light. When I emerged I saw I was under her nose. I could hear her slow breaths as she slept. I crawled out onto the pillow and stood up. I saw her sleeping face, intimidating in its size, yet peaceful. I figured that climbing up her head to her ear was too dangerous, so I decided to do what I could from where I was.

  "Annie, please wake up!"

  Finally I decided to try something different. I walked up to her nose, and gave it a good push. I shouted for her to wake up. I pushed on her nose some more. Finally, putting both hands on her nose, I jumped up off the pillow to try and get some more leverage.

  "WAKE UP!" I screamed. And she did.

  I held on to her nose for dear life, as I realized she was sitting up. I was holding onto the bridge of her nose with both my hands, feeling a rush of air as she moved. Her head came to a stop, as I clutched her nose tightly, my legs dangling helplessly below. Suddenly I felt her head tilting back, as she let out a yawn. I felt my feet touch her upper lip, but I didn't dare let go of her nose. She brought her head back down, blinked her eyes a few times and opened them. Finally, she saw me.

  "Good morning, Will."
  "Annie! Help me!"
  "Will, what happened? Oh my gosh, I'm sorry! I must have been shrinking in my sleep again!"

  I felt something touch my feet. Her thumb. I felt it brush past my knees and press against my chest. I felt her finger on my back as she pinched me gently, and lifted me away from her face for a better view.

  "Thank God, Annie. I thought you weren't going to get up. Now, quick, unshrink me and get ready for school."

***

  When I got back to the condo, I was glad to be done with work for the weekend. I decided to see if Annie would like to go out for the night. It was the time of year that the annual fair in our town was open. There were plenty of rides and games. As much as Annie's games at home intrigued me, I thought she could benefit from some time out of the house. Plus, I hadn't been to the fair in years, and I still had happy memories of it, so taking Annie would be my excuse for indulging my own inner child. She enthusiastically agreed, and we were off to the fair.

  It was a pretty typical fair, held on a disused farm, with a ferris wheel, games, and plenty of concession stands vending unhealthy food. I walked along the dirt paths leading through the maze of attractions, keeping a watchful eye over Annie. She seemed thrilled to be there, as she darted to and fro, dazzled by all the shiny lights and attractions. I did my best to keep up.

  At one point, Annie started playing that game where you have to shoot at a target with a water gun. Annie gave it her best, but didn't have very steady aim, and after several tries, gave up in frustration. She wanted to leave the stand after that, but I asked her if I could try first.

  I picked up the water pistol, eager to see whether I still had my old skills. Annie was watching me, with a frustrated, skeptical look on her face. I smiled at her, took aim, and squeezed the trigger. I held the stream of water steadily in the target zone, while a bright red balloon inflated above the target. Suddenly a bell rang, and little light bulbs blinked in succession. I smiled at Annie, and got a jealous smirk in return. I decided to let her pick out a prize for herself. She pointed to an over-sized, pink stuffed bear. The concession operator plucked it down from where it hung on the wall with some difficulty, then passed it to Annie. She clutched the bear excitedly. We started walking away from the stand. The bear was so big, she could hardly see where she was walking. I was about to remark on this, and possibly suggest carrying it for her, when suddenly, she shrank the bear until it rested in her palm, no bigger than an apple, then stuffed it in her pocket.

  "Well," I thought. "I guess I should have seen that one coming."

  Walking around the fairground with Annie, I thought of the times I had come there with Linda. I had won her prizes, too, but she never seemed as grateful as Annie. In fact, she didn't seem to have that much fun at the fair, although she seemed to enjoy sitting next to me on the ferris wheel.

  "Will, would you like to dance?" Annie asked me suddenly.
  "Well, I... not really. I'm not that good." I responded.
  "It's easy! I'll show you. Come on!" Annie grabbed my hand and ran towards a large wooden barn.

  I began to panic. I was awful at dancing. I never remembered there being dancing at the fair, but apparently there was now, and Annie was dragging me there.

  We entered the barn, and I didn't hear music, didn't see a DJ, or even square dancing. Instead, we entered a cacophony of annoying sound effects and chattering voices. It was a video arcade. The walls of what used to be a barn were now lined with all sorts of noisy arcade games. Annie brought me to the back corner of the barn, where there stood one of those dancing games where you hit the buttons with your feet. No, not the one you're thinking of. This was a generic knock-off, with a poorly-translated Japanese title, like "Everybody, Let's Dancing!". My initial dread started to subside, as I realized what Annie meant when she had suggested dancing. Being an inveterate video game junkie, this was more up my alley.

  I took the spot on the left, and she took the right. I was able to keep up for the first few rounds, but not really having played this sort of game before, I lost to Annie on the higher levels. After losing at the water gun game, Annie seemed to have regained her confidence on her home turf. Even to the point of blowing me a friendly raspberry.

  It was getting pretty dark out by the time we had finished "dancing." We were walking towards the car, when we passed the ferris wheel.

  "Will... can we ride the ferris wheel before we go?"
  I nodded.

  As we sat on the ferris wheel, we were able to get a good view of the entire fairground. It was a relaxing way to end the day. I was really looking forward to the weekend. I tried my best to let any thoughts of work dissipate in the cool, autumn air. Suddenly, I felt Annie leaning against me. I looked over at her, and saw she was sleeping. For now, I didn't want to move and wake her, but I felt a little awkward in this position. What if someone saw us like that? Maybe it was silly, but I thought someone might have gotten the wrong idea about us. I looked out over the crowds, and they all seemed to be going about their own business. I just let her sleep until we had to go.

  We walked to the car, both tired after a fun night. She didn't say much during the ride home, and when we arrived, I saw that she had fallen asleep again. I tried to wake her, but she was out cold. Finally I walked around the car, opened the door, and decided to carry her into the house. As I carried her, I was praying that she wouldn't accidentally shrink me again, and come crashing down on top of me. Fortunately, nothing of the kind happened, and I made it to her room, and gently laid her in bed, before heading back to my own room for the night.

Girls' Day Out by littlewarrior

  Saturday morning, I woke up after a great night's sleep. I decided to let Annie sleep late. I was sitting at the table in the kitchen, eating breakfast and checking my e-mail. There was one from Gary. He was just checking on Annie. He also went on briefly about the job he was doing in Brazil. He promised to tell me all about it when he got back over some caipirinhas. There was something else, which caught my interest. At the end of the e-mail, he mentioned that he had heard from a friend who was involved in a video game start-up, that they were looking for some programmers. At the time, I wasn't interested, feeling that I had a good, secure job already, but I saved the e-mail anyway. I sent Gary a reply, telling him Annie was fine, and not too much trouble. I felt that summed up my feelings about the preceding week, without having to go into too much detail. I was still pretty sure Gary was unaware of the "extraordinariness" of his daughter.

  Reading Gary's e-mail reminded me that he had entrusted me with his home and daughter. I resolved not to let him down. Suddenly, Annie walked into the kitchen.

  "Good morning, Annie."
  "Good morning..." she replied, still a little groggy.

  I enjoyed talking with her, but I decided to wait until she had finished making breakfast to start a conversation. She made some waffles in the toaster. She brought her plate to the table and sat next to me. She took her time eating, foregoing the "food bomb" that she had shown me earlier that week. I figured she was still tired and wanted to take the time to enjoy her breakfast. Besides, it probably wasn't a pleasant sensation to feel a mass of chewed-up waffles and syrup suddenly expanding in one's stomach.

  "So," I said. "Did you have fun last night?"
  "Yeah..."

  She smeared the last piece of waffle around in syrup with her fork, before making it disappear. She got up and put her plate in the dishwasher. Suddenly I heard an electronic jingle, and Annie took out her cell-phone. She read the message, and a smile lit up on her face.

  "Will, is it all right if my friend Liz comes to visit?"
  "Sure, I guess that's fine."

  She quickly typed a response, then shoved her phone back into her pocket. She looked at me, grinning.

  "Liz knows about my powers, too."

  I had a feeling it was going to be an interesting day.

  Twenty minutes later, the doorbell rang, and Annie ran to answer it. Liz was a Korean girl, who wore a black tank top, shorts and sneakers. Her black hair came down to her shoulders, and she wore a pair of black-rimmed glasses. Her dark eyes looked out two rounded rectangle lenses. She had just a slight bit of extra weight on her. Annie introduced us. She eagerly shook my hand, introducing herself as Li-Na Kim, adding that she went by "Liz." My immediate impression was that she was a down-to-earth and friendly girl, eager to meet new people. I was surprised to hear her say that Annie had told her all about me.

  Annie and Liz talked for a bit - school, gossip, this and that. They ran through some ideas for plans for the day, before finally settling on going to the mall.

  "Be back in a couple hours, okay?" Annie said to me.
  "Now, wait a minute," I replied. "I think I should go with you."
  Annie pursed her lips together and knitted her brows.
  "We'll be careful, Will. It's not a dangerous part of town."
  "I still think I should go with you."
  "Will..." she nagged. "Come on, please?"
  "Annie, I think I'd like to go to the mall, too. Or am I suddenly not cool enough to be seen with you?"

  Annie put her arms akimbo, and looked at me with a devilish grin. I started to shrink. Liz looked on with a somewhat embarrassed smile.

  "Fine, Will, you can come with us."

***

  I was watching a pink, hippie flower key-chain dangling from the ignition. I was sitting at the bottom of a valley formed by Liz and Annie's legs, in the cup-holder of Liz's neon green VW beetle. I must have been about three inches tall. Looking up out the car windows, all I could see was the aqua blue sky, punctuated by wisps of clouds. Liz and Annie chatted among themselves, seeming to ignore my presence, though Annie did look down and smile at me occasionally. I was a bit upset that Annie hadn't listened to me, and had used her powers to get her way. How was I supposed to look after her now? But when I saw her smiling down at me, I realized that it was I who was being looked after, and that a girl like Annie could probably take care of herself.

  When we arrived, the girls got out of the car. Annie scooped me up in her hand. She held me against her chest, so that I leaned against the fabric of her pink T-shirt. Looking ahead, I saw the front of Liz's car in the mall parking lot, and the mall itself off in the distance. I saw Liz walk around the car and approach Annie. She was holding a purse that was decorated by large, multi-color polka dots in a grid pattern. A light wind ruffled her hair, and she brushed it out of her face.

  "Are you gonna leave him shrunk like that?"
  I felt Annie's chest vibrate, as she answered, "yep."
  "Oh, that's not nice," Liz replied, giggling at me in sympathy. "Well... you can't just carry him around in the mall like that."
  "Hmm... you're right. Here, open your purse."

  Liz opened the purse, and I was gently deposited inside. I settled in among her cell phone, keys, and other things. It was actually not very full, and it was relatively comfortable. Some dim light leaked in from the opening above. Looking through the opening of the purse, I could see Liz's black shirt. I trusted Annie, and if Liz was her friend, I trusted her, too.

  I could hear the muffled noises outside the purse as we entered the mall. I heard the sliding of an automatic door, some light Muzak, shoppers chattering. The girls walked for a while. Liz's purse swayed gently as I patiently waited, hoping my day wouldn't be too boring. Soon enough, something happened. It got a bit darker, and I heard the music change. We had entered a store. I heard the giant girls start chatting, saying things like "I like this one" and I surmised that we were in a clothing store. Suddenly the purse shook with a thump. Liz had set it down.

  I was still just tall enough to get out of the purse by myself, so I poked my head out to examine my surroundings. I saw Annie's legs in front of me. The girls were looking in a mirror, holding up shirts in front of themselves. Sure enough, we were in some hip, teen clothing store. I still remember high school, and how seriously some girls took the clothing they wore. But some of the clothes Annie and Liz picked out were ridiculous. One of them would go into the dressing room, and when she came out, the other started laughing. They didn't seem to take it seriously at all. They were having fun. Some of the outfits seemed totally out of character for them, such as a goth or punk outfit. Other things were clearly just for laughs, like cheap, colorful, sunglasses, or a white T-shirt with a necktie. They struck poses in front of the mirror, and took pictures with their phones. I felt like one of the guys on those safari shows, hiding in the bush. I was observing the social behavior of the elusive, giant teenage girl. I realized it was probably better that Annie had shrunk me. I would have felt awkward standing there while they had fun. I certainly wasn't going to join them in trying any of these clothes on.

  We left the store, and were walking again. I heard the sound of rushing water. The purse was set down, and when I poked my head out, I saw that Annie and Liz were resting by a water fountain. The girls above me were talking about what to do next. Liz asked if Annie had ever thrown a penny in the fountain.

  "Let's throw Will in," she responded. "Quick, make a wish."
  I shot her an icy glare.
  "Kidding."

  Thankfully, they decided not to send me diving for pennies, and instead suggested getting a bite to eat. Since I was hungry, too, I shouted for Annie to unshrink me. They brought me to a narrow corridor leading to an emergency exit. Annie took me out of the bag and put me on the floor. This location provided enough cover to unshrink me, without the risk of someone walking by, and wondering what mischievous deeds these two young witches had in store for the poor little man at their feet. I soon returned to my original height, which, over the past week, had strangely begun to feel a little less familiar.

  We started walking towards the food court, but when I passed a familiar store, I remembered an errand I needed to attend to. We got to the food court, and quickly were seated at a table, with fast food. I chatted a bit with Liz, getting to know her. I felt a little silly about the fact that I had just spent the last half hour or so in this girl's purse, and here we were, having lunch and chatting as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. I learned that Liz's family had moved here from South Korea when she was very young. She therefore spoke perfect English, and she was semi-fluent in Korean. She had been friends with Annie since middle school. She did well in school, and played volleyball.

  They decided to visit a few more stores, and then go home. I told them I would meet them at that spot in twenty minutes, and I set off to fulfill my errand. The Swiss Chocolate store. Linda loved these. I always made a point of getting something for her when I came to the mall. After some perusing, I selected a small box of dark chocolate, hazelnut truffles. The cashier put the chocolates into a small, fancy paper bag, which I held onto, with care, as I walked back to meet the girls.

  When we got back home, Annie asked if Liz could stay a bit longer, and I agreed. They hung out in the living room. I decided they might enjoy some time by themselves, so I went to my bedroom and watched some TV. I was still thinking about our trip to the mall. The whole clothing store experience struck a chord with me. The girls seemed more concerned with having fun then with having the latest clothes. They were probably not that concerned with social status. They reminded me of this girl I knew in high school, who had a similar personality. We became friends, and she was always making jokes, and asking me for help with school work. I later came to believe that she was asking for help just to spend time with me, and that she probably liked me. I might have asked her out, but by that time, Linda had already walked headstrong into my life.

  I wondered what kind of friendship the girls had. Liz knew about Annie's powers, so I was pretty sure she was also familiar with the sort of games Annie played with me. Apparently, I had drifted off into a nap, and when I woke up, I discovered that Liz had left. I was glad to have met her, as she seemed nice. I figured I would be seeing her again during the month, but I had no idea at the time of the role she would play in helping me carry out a life-changing decision.

Bitter / Sweet by littlewarrior

  I woke up early Sunday morning, feeling refreshed. I slept very well that weekend. Any work-related stress I had felt was now a memory. Annie was there with me, at the breakfast table. Despite having just woken up, her smooth, brown hair was well-behaved.

  I told her I liked meeting Liz. Annie told me they had been best friends since middle school. Liz was the first person she told about her powers, and the only one, until she met me. I figured that since they had known each other for so long, and Annie had shared her big secret with her, they must have a very close friendship. I was still marveling at the fact that she chose to share such an intimate secret with me. Whatever the reason, I was glad she did. This month certainly would not have been as fun if I had to watch a normal teenage girl, and I doubt I would have been interested in getting to know her better. I was glad I was getting to know her. I continued to be enthralled at how sweet and full of surprises she was.

  I asked her if she had fun that weekend, at the fair and at the mall. She smiled calmly, and told me she did. Then I told her that I enjoyed the weekend, and spending time with her during the previous week as well. I sat there beside her at the table, and we looked at each other for a minute. Annie's eyes shone with that mysterious sparkle. I'm sure other people noticed it too, as they wondered what more there was to this sweet young girl. I suddenly found myself wanting to say something to her, but words failed me. I wanted to tell Annie what a special girl she was. I wanted to make sure she knew. I opened my mouth, but I just couldn't put it into words. I surveyed her eyes closely for any sign that she knew what I was thinking. Her eyes seemed to be telling me that she liked me, too. Suddenly, she got up from her chair, leaned over to me, and kissed me on the cheek. She returned to her chair, and continued her breakfast, smiling to herself.

  Later, we went out to get some groceries. When we got back, Annie had some homework to do. I walked into the living room. Since Annie was occupied, I was unsure of what to do with myself. I looked on the table beside the couch, and I saw my book, which had been sitting there since earlier the previous week. I had brought that book thinking I would need it to pass the time during the month, but I had been having so much fun with Annie that I hadn't even thought about it for a week. I smiled to myself as I remembered Annie wearing my glasses, teasing me. I sat down and started to read the book.

  Later that night, Annie came out into the living room, and turned on the television. She was watching that anime series she liked, Intergalactic Princess Hero Team. She invited me to watch it with her. I sat down next to her on the couch. Since I was unfamiliar with the show, she started to explain the plot and characters to me. During the commercial break, she shrunk me to about an inch tall, without even tearing her gaze from the television screen. She carefully picked me up between her fingers, and lifted me to her face. I saw her lips before me widen into a mischievous grin, before she placed me on top of her head. I fell onto her soft, sweet-smelling hair with a plop, as her large yet gentle hand retreated behind the horizon of her head. The show came back on, and I watched from my "balcony seat" as Annie continued to explain the show to me.

***

  The next day at work, Linda called me into her office to talk. I sat down in the chair in front of her desk. I was thinking that my wife looked very nice that day. She had on a stylish business suit. She wore dark lipstick. Her hair was done up in the usual bun. She was telling me that the merger negotiations were going well, and that she was pleased with my work on the database. Typical office talk. Just as our meeting seemed to be drawing to a close, she pressed a button on her desk phone, and told her secretary to hold her calls. Then she got up and locked her office door. I had some inkling of where this was going.

  Linda sauntered back over to my chair, and began massaging my shoulders, a little roughly. She continued talking, and although I could tell she was trying to sound seductive, it still sounded strangely like business talk.

  "You know, Will, I dictated an office-wide memo to Cory today. There should be a copy waiting on your desk when you get back. It states that from now on, from 12 to 12:30 every day, I am not to be disturbed in my office. The official purpose for this policy change is so that I may focus on the merger negotiations. Of course... that's not the only purpose."

  She spun my chair around, and stopped it with her hands. My head was still spinning. She smiled at me, hungrily, and we kissed. I gave in willingly to my boss and wife. Suddenly, she stood back and spun my chair again. I held on tightly as I watched her office whirl around me, catching snapshot glimpses of her walking back behind her desk as she undid her blouse. The room slowly stopped spinning, and I saw Linda sitting behind her desk.

  "Well, my little worker bee, I must say that your initiative continues to impress me."
  She reached her hand below the desk, and I heard her take of one of her pumps, then the other.
  "Your Queen has another task for you, and if you make her happy, she is bound to reward your effort."

  She set her legs on the desk in front of me. I swallowed. As Linda looked on expectantly, I realized what I had to do. I reached over and pulled her stockings off, down past her knee, and off her foot. Her sweaty soles lay before me. Suddenly Linda got up off her chair, and perched on her desk, on all fours, like a mighty tigress. She leaned in and kissed me.

  "Make your Queen happy," she said. She smiled. "Say 'Yes, your highness'".
  "Yes, your highness."

  She set her behind down, and her long-nailed fingers curled around the edge of the desk. She extended her foot to my face, practically shoving it in my mouth. I did my best to please her feet, licking and kissing. She started moaning in excitement, and I couldn't help but feel aroused as well. I worked hard at it for a long time, eagerly anticipating my "reward," finally getting a bit sick from the salty, bitter taste. Suddenly, she put her feet over my shoulders, and squeezed my head with her ankles.

  "Ooh... that's very good. I'm sure you want your reward, hm? Well, not so fast. Queen bee has another job for you..."

  Using only her legs, she jerked my head toward her, nearly slamming my head into the desk in the process. She lifted her black business skirt, and I saw that she wasn't wearing anything underneath. I gulped as I realized what kind of "job" lay before me.

***

  I was in the restroom, washing my face in the sink, and checking my hair and shirt in the mirror to make sure I didn't look too frazzled. Hoping that no one would walk in, I leaned toward the faucet and took several mouthfuls of water and spit them forcefully into the sink. Wiping my mouth on my sleeve, I looked up at my reflection in the mirror, practicing my "just your average workday" face. I sighed, and I shut off the faucet. I exited the restroom, and made my way back to my desk.

  When I sat down at my desk, and tried to focus on my work again, I found that I couldn't, and I was again visited by the same unsavory feeling I felt after our last tryst. I knew that my wife missed me while I was away from home, and I had been telling myself I wanted to please her, but lately, something inside me didn't feel right about the way things were going. I stared at the memo on my desk, its bleak prose boxed into tight, left-aligned paragraphs.

  Suddenly, I remembered something. I reached down beside me and grabbed my bag. I placed it on my desk, and unzipped it. I reached in to find what I was looking for, but instead found something unexpected. I pulled the object out. It was Annie's pink shrunken teddy bear from the fair! In an instant, my mood improved. I had no doubt that this was one of Annie's surprises, surprises which always seemed to be pleasant. I set the bear down on the desk, and reached into the bag again, until I found the box of dark chocolate hazelnut truffles I bought for Linda.

  I sat there, looking at the two objects on my desk. I thought for a minute, and put both the box of chocolates and the bear in my bag, and placed it back on the floor.

***

  When I came home, Annie greeted me as usual. She eagerly asked me about my day, and I told her it went well. I set my bag on the kitchen table, and pulled out the teddy bear. When she saw it she smiled. She explained that she thought I seemed stressful last week from work, and she thought that her "surprise" would cheer me up. She asked me if it put me in a good mood, and I told her it did. I told her I had a surprise for her, too. I pulled the chocolates out of the bag, and handed them to her.

  "For me?" she asked excitedly, as she took the gold foil-wrapped box. "Thank you, Will!"

  She hastily tore the foil wrapping, and removed the lid of the box, revealing the yummy treats inside. Fifteen hazelnut truffles lay inside the box, lined up three by eight. Her brown pupils seemed like reflections of the sweet chocolate treats, as she eyed her gift with grateful relish.

Only a Game by littlewarrior

  On Tuesday at work, I made an effort to avoid seeing Linda. I was still leery from our last encounter. I needed some time to think. Lately, my wife had been acting more assertive. I initially thought she had just missed me since I had been living with Annie, but no, there was something else. I thought about our "lunch date" and our "meeting" the other day. She had always had a thing for foot massages. But now, she was having me kiss and lick her feet, and was acting more dominant, having me call her "your highness." I wondered if the merger she had been orchestrating had her on some weird power trip. I felt conflicted about all this. On the one hand, I was enjoying spending time with my wife during our trysts. There was always the naughty appeal of doing it at work. I also enjoyed pleasing my wife's feet. I knew that was her soft spot, and it felt kinky. But her dominating attitude made me a little uncomfortable. It seemed like even in our most intimate moments, she couldn't let me forget she was my boss.

  Fortunately, she was busy that day, and I didn't see her much. On my way home, I bumped into Cory. I asked him how he liked working here, and he told me it was going well. He said he really liked working for my wife. Just as I was on my way out, I overheard Linda asking him into her office to "talk about something."

  "Yes, Linda," he replied, as he followed her into her office. His face looked calm and determined, but his eyes betrayed a strange nervousness. Linda closed her office door behind them.

***

  When I pulled up in front of the condo, I noticed a green VW beetle parked next to me, which I recognized as Liz's. When I walked into the condo, I saw Liz and Annie sitting on the couch, discussing Intergalactic Princess Hero Team. They called it "Hero Team" for short. They were evidently big fans of the show, and had an encyclopedic knowledge of the show's many episodes. Although I was an anime fan, I was never much into Hero Team as it was relatively new, and seemed marketed towards girls. But after watching an episode with Annie, I found it to be a well-written show, with a good balance of drama, action, comedy and romance.

  Pretty soon, the girls ended their discussion, and turned their attention to the TV, as Hero Team began. Annie told me that this was a new episode, never before aired in the United States. I figured I would join them, and I took a seat on the couch, next to Annie. During commercials, I asked questions, hoping to get brought up to speed. The girls answered my questions, often giving me plenty more information than I needed. Pretty soon the episode ended, and Liz spoke.

  "Hey Annie, I have an idea, why don't we play Hero Team with Will?"
Upon hearing the suggestion, Annie started to laugh, before cutting it off with a gasp of excitement.
  "Oh my God! That would be perfect! Now we have someone to be Prince Solar!"

  The girls explained to me that they often played games, pretending to be the characters and recreating some of the show's most famous scenes.

  "Come on, Will, it will be fun!" Annie said.

  We walked into Annie's room. I was a little dumbfounded. It seemed strange for two high school girls to still be playing make-believe games.

  "Which one should we do?" Annie mused.
  "Episode 423!" replied Liz.
  "Of course! My favorite!"

  The girls explained to me that this episode was the climax of the Nebula Orb story arc. The team of space princesses faced off against the evil Queen Neutrina to stop one of her many plots to seize control of the Galactic Kingdom. Despite their best efforts, Queen Neutrina and her henchmen had captured the sacred Nebula Orb, which granted its possessor incredible power. In the episode we would be recreating, Princess Rita, leader of the Team, called upon her betrothed, and the rightful heir to the throne, Prince Solar, to help her stop Queen Neutrina, who had used the Orb's power to grow to a colossal height. Now I knew where the girls were going with this.

  "I want to be Queen Neutrina this time!" Annie said with a grin.

  Liz would be Rita, and I, of course, would be Prince Solar. Liz told me not to worry. She would tell me what to do when the time came. Annie asked us if we were ready, and before long, Liz and I found ourselves standing before Annie's bare feet. Annie did her best to get in character as the evil Queen, looking down at us, and letting out a menacing laugh. She was quite convincing.

  Liz looked at me and said, "Come, my love! We've got to stop her! The fate of the entire galaxy rests with us! Quick! Use your energy beam!"

  Liz extended her arms and held her palms out towards "Queen Neutrina," and I mimicked her. Annie nonchalantly held out her hand, deflecting the "beam" with ease.

  "Ha ha ha! You pathetic little bugs are no match for me. With the Nebula Orb in my grasp, nobody can stop me now! Soon the galaxy will tremble before their Queen!"

  Suddenly, Annie raised her bare foot high above us.
  "Rita, say goodbye to your precious Prince!"
  Suddenly, Annie's foot began to descend on me, and I let out a scream.
  "No! Wait!!"

  Annie froze. I had not expected our game to involve Annie stomping her foot on me. I looked up at Annie, acting the part of Queen Neutrina. Though I knew she was just playing, this was a side of her I hadn't seen before. I realized that, like the Queen, Annie was a powerful girl, who, if she wasn't careful, could pose a real danger to me. I was trembling; I think I went into shock a little.

  "Will..." said Liz. "It's okay, Will. It's only a game. She's not going to hurt you."

  After a few moments, I had regained my composure. I looked up at Annie, still holding her foot in mid-air, and nodded to her. I braced myself. She slowly lowered her soft sole, and as it drew closer, I laid down on my stomach. I felt her foot gently touch down on my back. The pressure increased slightly as she pinned me to the carpeted floor, but I could tell that she was taking care not to hurt me.

  "No! You monster!" I heard Liz cry out.
  Annie let out her best sinister laugh.
  "If you beg me, I might make his death quick and painless."

  I could see a sliver of light peeking under Annie's sole. The billowy, soft flesh above me was quite warm, and I started to relax a bit. It was only a game. I heard a few minutes of dialogue exchanged between Liz and Annie. I patiently waited to see what would happen. Surely, this wasn't the end of Prince Solar? Suddenly, I felt the weight lift off my back. Somehow, Princess Rita had tricked the Queen and reclaimed the Nebula Orb.

  "Your reign of terror is over!"
  "NO!!!"

  Suddenly, Annie began to shrink, and Liz grew. Princess Rita had saved the day. She picked both of us up in each of her hands.

  "Oh my dear Solar, I was worried I had lost you."
  She turned to Annie.
  "And as for you, wicked Queen. I'll have you banished to the edges of the galaxy!"
  "You haven't heard the last of me!"

***

  After Liz had gone home, Annie was talking to me about the game we had played. She told me she saw the frightened look I gave her before she "stomped" on me. I told her that she did frighten me a little bit. She seemed to get a little teary-eyed, which surprised me.

  "Oh, Will, please don't tell me that."
  She hugged me.
  "Will, I would never, ever do anything to hurt you. Do you understand?"

  I told her I understood. Afterwards, as I lay in bed, I was still thinking about it. I still remembered how helpless and small I felt under her hovering foot, with that menacing smile on her face. Suddenly I thought of Linda, and I knew it wasn't a coincidence. If there was anything I knew for certain, it was that Annie would never hurt me, physically or otherwise. She had the power, no doubt, but her reassurances convinced me that she had no desire to use that power to lord over me. I suddenly pictured Linda in Annie's place, holding her foot above me, with that same sly grin, the one that was distinctly hers. I shuddered. I wondered whether Linda's recent behavior towards me was "only a game"... or not.

Will Power by littlewarrior

  My fingers were wrapped tensely around the armrests. I was sitting in the chair outside Linda's office. Linda had called me over from my desk for another "meeting," and I was waiting for her to finish with whomever she was seeing now. I examined my surroundings. I was sitting in a hallway. Linda's office was located about halfway between the door that led to the main offices, on my left, and a door on my right, marked "EXIT" that led to a stairwell. Beside me was an office plant. The plant looked pathetic. It was sitting in a tall, rectangular vase made of stainless steel. The plant rested in a square patch of dirt. A few twigs of branches seemed to reach out to me, reaching out for help. The plant had only a few leaves; it seemed like it hadn't been watered for quite some time. I shifted in my chair. The chair had a modern design. It was cube-shaped, with a stainless steel frame, matching the vase, and two thin cushions that formed the seat and back of the chair. It wasn't very comfortable. Suddenly I heard the door open. A female co-worker of mine came out, and walked past me and down the hall toward the offices. Linda came out after her, and stood looking down at me.

  "Okay, Will. Come on in."

  I walked into my wife's office, and she closed the door behind me. I made my way over to her desk, and sat in the chair. The chair had softer, fuller leather cushions, but, strange to say, I found it even more uncomfortable than the one outside her office. Linda began talking about the merger. It seemed to be the only thing occupying her mind for the last week or so. She continued to be confident the deal would go through. She spoke of the meetings in a strange way, saying that she was "putting pressure on them," and was sure that they would "finally crack." She seemed to be making a great show to me of her managerial prowess. Oddly, it seemed to be the only purpose for our meeting. She looked at me curiously.

  "What's the matter, Will? You seem a little tense."

  She got up and walked around the desk, and stood behind me. She began giving me a shoulder massage, ostensibly to relax me, but she was digging her manicured fingers into me, kneading my flesh, like a sculptor with her clay. She placed a hand under my chin, and turned my head up to face her. She gave me a kiss on the lips. I sat there, looking up at her face, and I recalled the image that had appeared in my head the previous night, of her towering over me, about to crush me like an insect under her foot, and smiling an unsettling smile. She had the same smile I had imagined. The smile seemed to be an unmistakable signal of what was to come next. She walked around to her desk, and sat down. She placed one leg horizontally across the other, and removed her black pump. She did the same with the other, letting it rest on her other leg for a while, and rubbing her hands anxiously over the stocking fabric. Her toes wiggled freely, excited to be out in the open air. All the while, she was smiling at me, without saying a word.

  I looked at the foot, and pictured it hovering over me, about to stomp my life out of existence. I felt a powerful urge to fight for my life. I was quite disturbed by the fact that I felt I was in danger as I looked at my wife's foot. And yet, I also felt tempted. I couldn't help but feel compelled to take part in my wife's kink. I couldn't help but admire the beauty of a woman's foot, a certain sensual beauty that I felt not enough men appreciated. As much as I felt that way, though, my desire for self-preservation seemed to be stronger, and I decided that I had had enough.

  Before I could act on that decision, however, my wife had shoved her foot into my lap. She kneaded my crotch with her toes and the ball of her foot. My resolve began to slowly disintegrate, as I groaned helplessly. Linda placed the other foot on my crotch. She kneaded me roughly with her feet, and when her toes felt a stiff bulge forming in my pants, a giant smile spread on her face. She seemed to take great relish in arousing me, and I felt frightened that she seemed well aware of my discomfort. She seemed amused that she could so easily coax assent out of me with sex, overriding my own judgment.

  I wrapped my hands around her feet. She watched me do this, raising an eyebrow, and making a pouty smile, a face that looked amused, but still defiant. I took her feet out of my lap, and was surprised that she put up no resistance.

  "What's wrong, Will?"
  "Linda, I don't think we should be doing this at work anymore."
  She frowned.
  "It's unprofessional," I continued.

  I went on, explaining why I didn't want to do this. I felt a surge of adrenaline. She interjected with some "come on"s, but I wouldn't budge. Finally I put my foot down.
 
  "I'm not in the mood, today, Linda," I stated firmly.

  She seemed taken aback by this, and stood in front of me, with arms akimbo.

  "Well I am."

  She grabbed my left wrist. She began squeezing it tightly. It actually began to hurt quite a bit. Suddenly she pushed me back in the chair, and straddled me, her weight bearing down on me, voraciously kissing me. I struggled, but I couldn't budge. I felt like we were back in her car that night, like it was our first time all over again. But it was going to end differently today. Summoning my strength, I threw her off me, and she actually stumbled a bit on her office floor. I was a bit shocked at what I had done. She looked up at me, her face seemed to admit a grudging defeat, as I stood up and walked out of the office. I closed the door behind me, feeling a sense of victory.

  I sat at my desk rubbing my wrist. It was still a little sore from when Linda had grabbed it. But now I was free. I looked at my hand. The wrist was a bit red. I looked at the silver wedding band on my finger, the symbol of my commitment to my wife, gripping me selfishly, as Linda had done.

  Suddenly, I heard Linda's voice out in the hallway.

  "Cory, can I speak to you in my office?"

***

  Soon after, I was sitting in the break room, eating my lunch. I shared a table with Bill, one of my co-workers. I looked up and saw Cory sitting by himself across the room. He seemed to be staring ahead, with an expression on his face which was hard for me to decipher. Suddenly, I felt a bump against my elbow. It was Bill.

  "Hey... That your wife's new assistant?" he whispered.
  I nodded.
  "Yeah... he just got out of a meeting with her. Looks like he's been having a hard time getting used to her. Your wife can be pretty demanding. But I'm sure you know all about that."

  "Yeah..." I agreed.

  I looked at Cory, slumping over his lunch. After Bill had pointed it out, it became clear to me that what Cory was feeling was nervousness, maybe even fear. I knew it was probably natural for a young guy like him to feel that way at his first job, but I couldn't help but feel there was something that just wasn't right about it.

***

  That night, I walked into the condo, and greeted Annie. Over the past week and a half, I had come to feel strangely at home there. During dinner, I was absorbed in thought. I didn't talk much with Annie, and she seemed to be aware of this. I was mulling over my situation with Linda. Until that day, I had thought that my wife's behavior at work had been a result of her missing me while I was watching Annie, but more and more, I began to feel that wasn't the case. Instead, I felt as though she needed me for some selfish satisfaction, that it was only her happiness that mattered, and worst of all, that it was my unhappiness which brought her happiness. I was glad to be with Annie that night. Her youthful innocence seemed to bring me comfort. She radiated an uncorrupted benevolence, a feature I felt was precious and which needed to be protected. I was glad to be spending a month away from Linda. I felt it afforded me a clearer perspective, a chance for sober reflection on our relationship.

  I felt a little sad that in a few weeks it would be over, and I would have to say goodbye to Annie. I couldn't imagine going back to my own house, continuing my life with Linda. I felt I had changed in a profound way. I didn't want to return to my old life.

  I looked at Annie. I was entranced by the magic that shone in her eyes. Her secret magic that she had shared with me. And another type of magic, that seemed just as fantastical: her bond with her inner child, which didn't seem to be diminishing as she matured into a young woman. She looked upon her life as a child did, with an eagerness to travel down the road toward her future, courage to face whatever challenges she met along the way, and a faith in the joys that awaited her. Annie spoke, breaking me out of my reverie.

  "Hey Will."
  "Yeah?"
  "Is it alright if I sleep over Liz's tomorrow?"

  Liz's parents would be there, she said, so I knew it would be okay. I told Annie she could sleep over.

  "Do you want to come?" Annie asked.

  I saw Annie's grin, and I knew what she was planning.

Sleepover by littlewarrior

  Annie was riding in the passenger seat of the car. The girls were on their way to Liz's house, where they would be spending the night. Autumn had been setting in, and it was getting cooler outside, so Annie had worn a red hooded sweatshirt. It was zipped up most of the way, leaving some of her T-shirt visible. On either side of the zipper were two pockets, perfect for resting one's hands in. On this particular occasion, however, they were being used to transport two small pieces of cargo. One of these was me; the other was my car, which I would need to get to work the next morning. I had made sure to impress on Annie to be careful with my car. She said she would be careful. I still don't know how she ever convinced me to go along with all this. The interior of her sweatshirt was quite comfortable. A dim red light filtered in. Annie's hand rested gently on her shirt, cradling the bump inside, in mutual reassurance. It was quite warm and cozy in there; I think I actually started to doze off. Suddenly, Annie's shirt began to sway, and I heard the car door slam. We were at Liz's house.

  Stowed away in Annie's pocket, I tried to guess what was happening. I heard the girls' footsteps as they approached the front door. They entered, and closed the door behind them. I heard an unfamiliar voice greet the girls. Liz's mom, I thought. Mrs. Kim said she was glad to see Annie. Her Korean accent was apparent, but not very thick. I wondered idly what she looked like. She made some small talk with Annie. I hoped she wouldn't discover the little secret in Annie's pocket. I was sure the girls wouldn't let that happen.

  The pocket jiggled as Annie mounted the staircase. The rhythm of her feet on the wood floor slowed as she reached the top of the staircase, and walked into Liz's room. Annie's hand appeared and gently retrieved me from the pocket. My eyes adjusted as she brought me into the light. I saw the girls' faces smiling above me. Annie set me down on the bed, where I was able to get a better glimpse of the room. The green walls were adorned with posters depicting characters from various Anime series. One of these characters watched over the room from the wall above Liz's bed: a girl dressed in a steampunk corset, with long, flowing silver hair, and big blue eyes. Across the room, above a desk, a plain wooden wall shelf supported 7 inch figurines of the girls from Hero Team. Annie began to unfurl a sleeping bag on the floor. Liz had carried Annie's book bag for her, and she set it down next to the sleeping bag.

  As the girls got Annie's sleeping area set up, they talked among themselves: the latest school gossip, the new episode of Hero Team, the answers to tonight's homework, which they had both made sure to do in advance. I could only stand there and listen patiently, stranded, as it were, on the plateau of the bed. As Liz attended to some business at the other end of the room, Annie stood with her hands on her hips, her head turned to me. She tossed me a furtive smile, a smile that seemed more for herself than for me. A triumphant smile that spoke of the imagined jealousy of her classmates, who could only dream of so easily smuggling a boy to one of their sleepovers. I saw in her eyes that she wanted to brag about me, even though both of us knew she couldn't and wouldn't. There was a secret between us, something special, something that even Liz didn't know. I felt a strange giddiness at the thought, and smiled back at Annie.

  Suddenly, Annie jumped onto the bed. The shock wave sent me tumbling backwards. When I recovered, I saw Annie crouched over me, like a playful tiger. Her mock threatening pose made me feel small, like a cornered mouse at the end of a hunt. I looked into her eyes, the benevolent but stern eyes of a tigress.

  A chuckle erupted from across the room.
  "Annie, what are you doing?"

  The tigress smiled, and flipped into a sitting position. A light bounce in the mattress rippled my way as she shifted.

  "Come on, Annie, I'm ready."

  Annie scooped me up without warning, her fingers gently clutching me as she got off the bed, and she spilled me on a paper towel, which had been set on the floor. I saw the columns of Liz's legs, which buckled as she crossed them to sit on the floor in front of me. Jean fabric was stretched tight against her kneecaps, which rested on top of her bare feet. I turned around, and saw Annie remove her socks, and toss them aside. She then sat in a similar position as Liz. There was a hole in her jeans, on her left kneecap. White threads frayed at the edges of the hole. I examined the seated girls' faces curiously, cautiously, wondering what they had in store for me.

  "Will," Annie began. "Ever been to a girls' sleepover before?"
  "No," I replied.
  "Well, here you are. Here's your chance to see what girls do at sleepovers. Mostly girl stuff, as you probably guessed. I hope you have fun doing girly things with us, Will. Don't worry, I won't tell anyone."

  Annie smiled, and set a glass vial on the floor in front of me. It was nearly as tall as I was. There was a deep red substance inside, tinged with orange. The vial had a black cylindrical cap. Gold letters on the front spelled out: Autumn Red. It was nail polish.

  Annie proceeded to unscrew the cap, which became the handle of the brush that emerged from the vial. She lifted the brush through the air above me, toward Liz's waiting hands. I dodged a glob of nail polish, as it fell from the brush onto the paper towel. The thick semi-liquid wasn't absorbed, but merely rested in a thick, metallic puddle. Gazing above again, I saw Annie meticulously painting Liz's fingernails, dipping the brush now and again, careful now to wipe it on the rim of the vial to avoid drips. Annie's face showed concentrated effort. Liz watched her nails, patiently. Finally, Annie finished, and Liz blew on her nails. She proudly showed them off to me. Annie passed the vial to Liz. It was her turn.

  Soon a layer of Autumn Red was drying on Annie's fingernails as well. She laid her fingers on the towel for me to see. Five shiny red plates glistened before me.

  "How do they look?"
  "Great," I replied.

  Annie uncrossed her legs, and set her feet on the floor. Her feet poked out from under her pant legs, her bare toes were lined up eagerly before me.

  "Say, Will, do you think you could give me a hand with these?"

  Her toes curled, scrunching up the paper towel. I looked at the vial next to me. I reached for the cap, but had difficulty removing it. I found myself growing slightly, and found I could more easily lift the brush. I looked up at Annie, and smiled in thanks. I walked toward her feet. The brush was a bit awkward to handle. I set the brush on the big toe of her left foot. I pulled it toward myself in a smooth stroke, leaving a streak of red down the pink nail. Her foot shifted slightly once in a while, reminding me that the giant fleshy form in front of me was indeed alive. I continued painting. I accidentally got some on her toe, which she dabbed off with a corner of the towel. I painted three of Annie's toenails, blowing on them after I finished.

  "Good job, Will," Annie said, taking the brush from me. "I'll do the rest."

  I sat and watched as the girls painted their toes, talking very little, devoting their attention to their pedicure. When the girls finished a toe, they had me blow on it. I took care not to inhale the fumes from the polish. Annie painted her toes, then Liz painted hers. When Liz finished, she sealed the bottle, and I stepped off the paper towel as the girls cleaned up. Annie picked me up, and sat on the bed, placing me on her knee. She raised her foot for me to see. She spread her toes apart, the deep red color of her nails gave her foot a mature femininity that pink or green wouldn't have suggested. I rested my hand on Annie's knee. I felt naked flesh. My hand was in the hole in her jeans. I wondered if there was an interesting story behind that hole. I looked down at my hand, pressed flat against her skin, as if I had tried to grasp her kneecap and it had expanded in defiance. I looked up and saw Liz standing in front of me.

  "What should we do now?" she asked.
  "Maybe we should ask Will," replied Annie.

  Liz looked down at me. I was staring at the wall above her desk. Liz looked up, tracing my gaze to the shelf on the wall.

  "Oh, Will, do you want to see my figurines?"

  Annie carried me along as she followed Liz to the shelf. She placed me up on the shelf with the 7 inch figurines, which were playthings to my giant friends, but which still towered over me. The whole main cast was there. I saw the girls from the Team, as well as Prince Solar and Queen Neutrina. I walked down the shelf, admiring each one, like statues in a museum. I reached the end of the shelf, and stopped, careful not to look over the edge. Across the abyss that cut off my platform was a tall dresser. On the dresser was a shiny trophy, with a little human figure on top. I asked Liz what the trophy was for. Girls' volleyball, she said, from a tournament a few years ago. The little figure stood in a victorious pose. It had simplified features: it had no face, and suggested no particular gender. Somehow, it made me feel confident. I asked Liz about volleyball. She said she enjoyed it. She said her father had always encouraged her to do well in school, whether it was her grades or her extracurricular activities. She shared her father's advice with me: If you want something in life, you have to fight for it.

  I looked at Annie. She was holding the figurine of Prince Solar, examining it closely. I thought back on the time we played Hero Team together. It looked to me like Queen Neutrina had captured Prince Solar again. No, I thought, Annie wasn't Queen Neutrina, she was Princess Rita.

  Suddenly, I heard a voice: "Hey girls, would you like something to eat?"

  I ducked instinctively behind one of the figurines. I saw that Annie had almost jumped at the sound of the voice. She glanced at me for a split second, confirming that I was hidden from view. I peeked around the leg of the Intergalactic Princess, and saw Liz's mom standing in the doorway. She seemed to be in her mid 40s. Her black hair framed a happy face with dark Asian eyes and laugh lines. A few large white teeth were showing. Her lips pushed folds into her full cheeks as she smiled. She had an attractive face. She wore a purple, buttoned blouse, white khaki shorts, and bamboo sandals. Around her neck there was a silver necklace.

  The girls answered her invitation in the affirmative, following Mrs. Kim out of the room, leaving me, helpless, on the shelf. A few seconds later, Annie reentered the room, helped me off the shelf, and placed me on the floor by her things.

  "Don't worry, I'll bring you back something to eat."

***

  I waited patiently for the girls, walking laps around the sleeping bag on the floor, each time passing Annie's book bag, and her white, pink-striped Adidas shoes. Her socks were balled up in the mouths of her shoes. I ventured under Liz's bed. It was very clean under there. There was no dust, not even a stray sock. Suddenly, I heard and saw four bare feet smacking against the floor as the girls returned to the room. The natural light from the window was beginning to fade, and the girls turned on the overhead light. Annie called out to me, and I came out from under the bed, careful to avoid becoming a squish on her or Liz's sole, thereby ruining a freshly pedicured foot. Annie had indeed brought me something to eat, which she shrank for me.

  While I ate on the floor, the girls were busy over by the TV, going through Liz's DVD collection. They started up a movie, and sat on the floor to begin watching. Annie looked down at me, and saw that I had taken a seat on the toe of her shoe. Liz turned out the lights, and sat down to watch the movie.

  I didn't really find the movie that interesting, and my thoughts wandered. I thought of my last encounter with my wife. I felt a strange exhilaration at what I had done. I had asserted control over my life. I wouldn't let her control me anymore. I looked up at Liz's trophy, feeling like that little figure. I looked up at Annie, her face aglow, her eyes sparkling in the light of the TV. I felt she would always be there to protect me, but it wasn't a clinging, selfish protection - she wanted to keep me safe, to preserve something in me that she thought was special. I felt the same way about Annie.

  Restless, I dismounted the sneaker, setting my feet on the wooden floor. I looked through the door, which was cracked slightly, at the mysterious shadow beyond. I walked toward the door, feeling adventurous. I looked back at the girls, whose attention was completely absorbed by the movie. I walked out the door. The light from Liz's bedroom shone through the cracked door, casting a straight path of light on the floor of the hallway. It seemed like a conveyor belt pulling me into the unknown darkness ahead. Around a corner, I saw some light, and a handrail on the wall. The staircase. A carpet slinked down the staircase. The front door was visible far below. I looked back at the door of Liz's room, then over the edge of the top stair. I could probably leap down onto the carpet and not get hurt, I thought. Then I could climb back up by gripping the fibers of the carpet. Feeling like a daredevil, I lowered myself over the edge, and released my grip, landing a little roughly on the carpet. I felt proud of myself. I turned around, and tried to climb back up. I reached up high for some fibers, but they weren't strong enough to hold my weight. They slipped out of my hands, burning slightly with friction. Uh-oh.

  Panicking, I ran through my options. If I waited here, I risked becoming prey to any feet or footwear that happened to come stomping by, including Mrs. Kim's unforgiving flat sandals. I swallowed hard. I knew the girls would come looking for me eventually, but I also knew I wasn't safe where I was. There was nowhere to go but down. I began repeating my daring feat as I descended the staircase.

  After what seemed like an eternity, I reached the base of the stairs. I wondered how long before they noticed I was gone, and came looking for me, but I knew they were still watching the movie. I felt vulnerable in the open space by the front door. The staircase and the hallway met there. It was a high-traffic area. Mrs. Kim could come walking by at any moment. I heard talking. I cautiously followed the voices down the hall. I turned a corner, and saw Mrs. Kim, with her back to me, washing dishes in the sink. She was having a conversation in Korean with her husband, whom I could hear but not see. There were wooden cabinets running around the kitchen. Between the bottom of the cabinets and the porcelain floor, there was a small indented space. I ran into the space, feeling it provided me some shelter. I walked down the space and made a turn at the corner, near Mrs. Kim's feet. I thought she was less likely to see me there. Her feet were noticeably larger than Liz's. They rested on bamboo pedestals, a black Y-shaped strap holding them in place. I vaguely imagined what her toenails would look like in Autumn Red.

  The cabinet overhang provided me cover for the moment, but I had to either find a way back to Liz's room, or find a way to get their attention when they came looking for me. I briefly considered trying somehow to catch a ride upstairs on Mrs. Kim's clothing, but there was too much risk of getting injured or discovered. I thought my best bet was just to wait it out for now.

  I could hear the clink of dishes above me, and the splash of soapy water. In the living room, the TV murmured lowly. I watched Mrs. Kim's feet carefully for any sign of sudden movement. The skin under her toes looked dry, and slightly rough. Her toenails had a dull shine. Suddenly, her foot was lifted off the floor by her leg, which swung to the side. Her powerful leg planted the sandal on the porcelain tile, which creaked slightly under her weight. The other sandal followed. She walked into the living room to join her husband.

  Suddenly, I heard a tapping sound. I turned, and saw a pair of feet enter the kitchen. I looked up, and saw they belonged to Liz. Her feet walked over to me, pausing in front of the counter. I tried calling out her name a few times, to no avail. Instinctively, I didn't yell too loud for fear of alerting her parents, but I realized that the sound of the TV, coupled with my reduced size made it fairly unlikely they would hear me. So I shouted her name as loud as I could. She was getting something from the cabinet above the sink. She walked across the kitchen to the fridge, filling the cup in the water dispenser. She turned to leave, while I continued shouting in vain. She had disappeared from the kitchen, when I heard her mother call out.

  "Liz!"
  Liz walked back into the kitchen.
  "Yeah mom?"
  "Don't stay up too late, okay?"
  "'Kay."

  While this brief conversation was taking place, I ran into the middle of the kitchen, waving my arms and shouting. She didn't notice me, so, taking a chance, I ran right up to her, and dove onto her foot. I stretched out my arms, my chest resting on her soft flesh. I looked up, and saw a surprised face staring down at me. Carefully and discretely, she reached down her hand and picked me up, and we were on our way back to her room. I breathed a sigh of relief.

  She pushed her door open, and I saw Annie silhouetted against the bright TV. Liz set me down somewhere on the floor, and then she took a seat next to Annie, not mentioning to her a word of what had just happened.

  After the movie finished, it was late, so the girls decided to call it a night. Annie had asked me if I needed to use the bathroom, and I said no. She slid herself into her sleeping bag, and she picked me up and laid me on the pillow next to her. I looked into her big eyes. She said good night to me, and Liz turned out the light.

***

  The next morning, the alarm clock woke us up at 6:00. Liz shut it off, and reset the alarm to go off later, and Annie and I got up. She put on her sweatshirt, and retrieved my car from a drawer in Liz's bureau. She placed it in her pocket. She picked me up, and brought me over to Liz, still in bed, to say goodbye. I told Liz I had a good time, and she said she enjoyed having me over. Then Annie put me in her pocket.

  Annie walked out of the room, down the stairs, and made her way out the front door, all as quietly as possible. She pulled me out of her pocket, into the cool, fresh morning air. The sun had not risen yet, but some of its light managed to make its way over the horizon, making the sky a cold, pinkish blue. She set me down on the street, and grew me to my normal height. She then produced my car from her other pocket, and did the same, its rubber tires dragging on the pavement as it expanded.

  "Well, I guess I'll see you tonight, Will."
  "Yeah, guess so."

  Annie stood on her toes, and gave me a kiss on my cheek. She turned around and began walking back to the house. I stuck my key in the car door. It fit perfectly. I thought for a moment.

  "Hey Annie," I said. She turned around.
  "Yeah?"
  "How can you tell when you un-shrink something, that it's the size it's supposed to be?"
  She thought for a second.
  "I can feel it... when something isn't the right size, and I concentrate on it... I can feel it wanting to be the right size... then I imagine a letting-go feeling, like when you stretch a rubber band and then let it go. Then it grows back to normal size."
  "Oh," I said.

  She walked back to the front door, and I got in my car, and started driving to work.

Three Days by littlewarrior

  It was still quite early, and there were only a few cars in the parking lot. I closed my car door and walked up to the entrance. I pulled open the heavy door, and made my way inside.

  I shaved in the bathroom, using the electric razor I had left in my car. I went into the break room, brewed a cup of coffee, and took a bagel from the fridge for breakfast. As I sat at the table eating my bagel with cream cheese, I thought about how, the previous night, I had snuck dow247020 n to the kitchen and hid by Mrs. Kim's feet. I smiled and shook my head. What had I been thinking? It had definitely been a stupid thing to do, yet I didn't regret it. It felt good to take risks. It felt good to stand defiantly before a giant.

  I walked to my office. It was still early, so I decided to get a head start on the work for the day. I powered up my computer, and sat at my desk. If I started working now, I might be able to leave early, and have the weekend to enjoy with Annie. I started working at a steady pace.

  Slowly, the empty silence gave way to a more typical office chatter as mid-morning approached. I continued working, until I heard a knock on my door. It was Linda. She stood in the doorway. I hadn't seen her in two days. We hadn't spoken since our last encounter, which had ended a bit awkwardly. She looked at me sternly, and told me she wanted to meet with me, at the usual time.

  "I have some big news," she said, smiling.

  I approached Linda's office door, which was closed, indicating that she was busy. I took a seat in the stainless steel chair by the door. I looked at the office plant beside me. Somehow, it was hanging in there. When Linda was ready, she opened the door, and let me in. I sat in front of her desk. She closed the door, and then took her seat. I wondered how it would go, considering what happened last time. I was a bit nervous, and kept waiting for any sign or mention of our last meeting. But she just sat straight at her desk, peering through her glasses, at some documents on her desk. She looked up at me and smiled.

  "Will, the deal went through."
  I looked at her, quizzically.
  "The merger, Will, it went through."
  "Oh. That's great."

  Linda began to elaborate on how her hard work had paid off, and how the deal would be great for the company. She seemed quite proud of herself. I complimented her. After all, she had worked hard for this. She had seemed to be respecting me, so I was more than happy to share in her celebration. The meeting was going a lot better than I had expected. I was about to leave, when she spoke again.

  "There's just, mmm... one more detail. In light of the company restructuring, and the new responsibilities I'll be assuming, I will be receiving a higher salary."
  "That's great."
  "Mhm... also, we've had to let a few people go, most of them at the other branch. We've managed to avoid that here though, through a compromise of sorts."

  She handed me a sheet of paper, with the heading "Payroll Updates for 4th Quarter." I scanned the slip of paper, there was a spreadsheet, listing about a dozen employee's names, and their new salaries. I saw the name "Hansen, Linda." Her salary had increased quite generously. I was surprised to see that the name immediately beneath hers was "Hansen, William." Something wasn't right. My pay had been cut to barely 70% of its previous level.

  Puzzled, I looked at Linda.
  "Look at it this way, Will. I had to make a certain amount of cuts. Now you know I can't play favorites, Will. Taking my pay raise into account, our household still comes out ahead on this deal by a longshot. It's win-win."
  She grinned. I didn't know what to say.
  "Oh, and one more thing, Will. The new branch used a different database system from ours. All of their employee data, client lists, et cetera, will have to be integrated with ours."
  Bewildered, I began to walk towards the door.
  "Oh, and Will... we want to be moving forward on this, understand? So, please get this done ASAP, okay?"

  I walked out of Linda's office wondering what had just happened. I had stood up to her, I had refused her sexual domination, and in response, she had cut my pay. There had to be laws against this. I cursed under my breath in bitter defeat. Still, I had to admit, it was a brilliant move. I had been insubordinate, and she had clearly reminded me who was in charge. I was ashamed to admit that she was the one in control, that she would now be the one providing the most for our household. It would have been no use arguing with her, I knew how that would have gone. I realized that as long as I valued my job and our marriage, she held me in the palm of her hand.

  I went into the men's bathroom, and splashed my face with cold water. I wanted then more than ever to escape. But still I held on to her. I looked down at my wedding band. I felt its smooth metal with my fingers. I guess I'm sort of old-fashioned when it comes to marriage, but I believe it's a sacred bond. I was fully aware of the unhealthy state of our marriage, and I wished desperately that it could be repaired. I had pledged my life to her. What kind of man would I be if I didn't honor that pledge? I couldn't forsake that pledge. Not unless...

   I exited the bathroom, and saw Linda walking down the hall. She hadn't seen me. I wondered where she was going. I followed her down the hall, careful not to alert her to my presence. She stopped in front of Cory's office. She knocked on his door, then entered. I snuck down the hallway and stood against the wall outside the office. The door stood ajar. I could see Linda's reflection in the glass window of the door. She started talking to Cory.

  "How are things, Cory."
  "Good, Linda."
  "That's good."
  Suddenly, she lowered her voice.
  "Hey, Cory, I was thinking, maybe we could get lunch again sometime."
  She put a strange emphasis on the word "lunch."
  "We could, um, discuss where the company's headed after this merger."
  "S-sure," replied Cory.
  "How about Monday, at noon?"

  As I turned to go back to my office, I couldn't be sure, but what I thought I saw reflected in the glass looked a lot like Linda wrapping her hand around Cory's pinky.

***

  I actually ended up coming back to the condo a bit late that night. The events of the day had made it hard for me to concentrate on all the extra work Linda had given me. Annie greeted me, cheerful as ever, but it wasn't quite enough to lift my spirits. We had dinner quietly. We sat on the couch together, watching television. I saw moving shapes on the screen, but my brain didn't register the images. I was thinking about Linda. And Cory. I struggled not to admit it, but there it was, right in front of me. She was having "lunch" with him. I didn't want to think about what was happening on these lunch dates.

  "Annie, I..."

  Annie turned to look at me, her eyes full of sympathy.

  "Annie, I don't think I love my wife anymore."

  Annie just stared back at me attentively. What the hell was I doing? She couldn't understand all of this. I didn't want to drag her into my mess of a life.

  "Annie, I... I don't know if I should be telling you this... I'm sorry..."
  "No, Will, it's okay. Please... whatever it is... it's okay."
  She rubbed my shoulder softly.

  I took a shower. I thought about my life. I was unsure of how to move ahead, but I knew I couldn't stand still. I washed my hair, my wedding band rubbing bluntly against my scalp.

"...I don't think I love my wife anymore..."

  When I emerged from the shower, I stood and looked at myself in the mirror. I had a plan. I was ready to fight.

  I changed into some comfortable clothes. I stood in the doorway to Annie's room. She sat on her bed in her pajamas, reading a book. She looked up.

  "Hey," she said.
  "Hey."

  I looked at her innocent face. I hesitated on the decision I had made. Then I thought I would sleep on it. A few measured seconds of silence passed.

  "You okay?" she asked me.
  "Yeah. Good night, Annie."

  I sat in bed, finding it difficult to put it out of my head until the morning. I fell asleep to the sound of my muttering inner monologue.

Are you sure about this, Will? Yes, I'm sure. I need proof. Then I can break it off. Then I can leave all of it behind me. Then I'll be free... They probably won't be gone more than an hour. Of course, I'll have to find a way to... and I can't drive my car there... We'll sneak into my office first... and if I get caught... no, don't think about that... and Annie...

  Having a sudden thought, I got out of bed, sat at my computer and quickly typed an e-mail to Gary.

***

  We sat at the table, eating our breakfast in silence. I felt uncomfortable, as if I should say something, and as if Annie was expecting me to say something. I thought for a second, then I spoke slowly, carefully, trying to distill for her all that had been going through my head the previous night.

  "Annie, about last night, I... I said that I don't love my wife anymore. This is something that's been developing for a long time, and... only now am I realizing that I'm in an unhealthy situation and need to get out of it. She's been using me. I don't think she loves me, and I think she's cheating on me. It's been hard for me to face it, but I have to... and staying here with you this past month has given me a chance to see that clearly."

  She watched with sympathetic eyes, and gave me a hug when I had finished.

  "Annie, I need to ask you to help me with something."

  I told Annie my plan, and she got quite upset. She asked if I was crazy, and tried to persuade me to change my mind. I told her about how, at Liz's house, I had snuck downstairs into the kitchen with Mrs. Kim. I would be careful, I said. I would be alright on my own. I had to do this, I said.

  "But this time," she pleaded. "I won't be there if... if something goes wrong."
  "But I have to know what they're doing. I have to see it for myself. And you can help me do that. Then I know I can end it with her. Please, Annie, help me take this important step."

  We talked for a long time. Somehow, she finally agreed.

  "Okay, Will. I'll help you."
  Her eyes showed calm, trustful submission, as she realized that I was committed to my decision.

  I don't think she could have fully understood my situation, but I think she understood how urgently I wanted to change it. She couldn't have known what I had been through, or the thoughts that lead to my decision, but she must have known how I felt. I saw it in her eyes. She knew my plan was crazy, but she knew I was sure of myself, so she trusted me. Maybe I shouldn't have been sure of myself, but I was.

  I had spent the weekend doing work at the condo, to make sure I wouldn't have too much to catch up with on Tuesday. On Sunday, I had Annie invite Liz over, since she had a role to play in this as well. I explained the plan, and asked her if she was on board. After some hesitation, she agreed. Later, I called work, fabricating an excuse for why I would not be able to make it in on Monday.

  I looked at Annie. She chewed her lips, looking at me with unsure eyes. I said good night, running my fingers through her hair, and retired to my room. I fell asleep quickly, thinking of what I had to gain, thinking that anything was possible with Annie on my side, thinking that I was going to win even if everything went wrong.

The Plan (Part One) by littlewarrior

  My body rested limply in the darkness. The buzz of adrenaline was making my limbs go numb. I was in Annie's hoodie pocket.

  Liz was driving; I didn't want to risk anyone seeing me or my car that day. We left early, so the girls could drop me off and get to school on time. When I heard the parking brake click, and the engine turn off, I knew we had arrived. Liz had performed the simple but essential task of getting us to our destination. I reminded myself to thank her, assuming everything turned out okay.

  We were in the parking lot of the adjacent building. When I felt Annie stir, I knew it was time. I heard Liz wish us "good luck" as Annie undid her seatbelt and opened the car door. She began to walk, and I was rocked gently in her pocket. I heard the crunch of gravel under her shoes. I heard the rustle of bushes and the clatter of metal as she snuck through the gap in the chain link fence. After pausing for a cautious survey of the area, she made her way to the back entrance. A co-worker of mine always came out for an early smoke. If we had timed it right, the door should have been unlocked. I heard the knob turn, and the sound of the door closing behind us. We were in. Annie mounted the staircase cautiously, and approached the door that led to the offices. She entered the hallway, and suddenly, I heard her gasp and start to run. Had she been seen? I was jostled about as she ran, until finally we came to a rest. A hand reached in and gently removed me from the pocket. Annie held me close to her face. She was huddled underneath my desk. She looked worried.

  "Annie, what happened?"
  As I sat in her palm, I could feel her rapid pulse.
  "Did someone see you?"
  She shook her head.
  "No..." she whispered. "Almost."
  "Who?"
  "A guy about your age... maybe younger."
  "What did he look like?"
  "He was skinny with dark hair."
  "Cory..." I said.

  I paused a moment. I looked down at her hand. I was probably about an inch tall.

  "Annie, I need to be smaller."
  "No!"
  I knew this might have upset her, but it was for the best.
  "Annie, the smaller I am, the better. I can't risk being seen. Please, Annie, I'll be careful, I promise."
  Her eyes pleaded with me. She wiped a tear from her cheek. She swallowed, and as I looked at the resigned face above me, I felt her hand expanding.
  "That's good!" I shouted, unsure if she could still hear me. I was about half an inch tall.
  "Please be careful, Will. Good luck."

  She lowered me to the floor, and watched painfully as I struggled to lower myself over the edge of her hand. Sure, the smaller size would slow me down, but I couldn't risk being spotted.

  "Good luck, Will," she said one last time, as she carefully crawled out from under the desk. She left the office in a hurry, as if she feared she'd change her mind. A trace of her perfume hung in the air, giving a sweet scent to the otherwise sterile office.

  I still had a few hours before Linda would be meeting with Cory. Should I wait here? No, I thought, I should head to Linda's office now. It was early, so there would be less hallway traffic, which meant less chance of being seen. Or squished. Plus, I needed time to plan. I needed to find a way to hitch a ride with them on their "lunch date". I walked out from under my desk and approached the office door. I had no trouble crawling under the door, and when I emerged in the hallway, I was greeted by a warm breeze from the heating vents. The hallway was intimidating in its expansiveness: a distant sky of ceiling tiles and fluorescent lights above, below, a vast carpet sea of tightly-knitted fabric.

  Not wanting to waste time, I began my trek down the hallway. The journey from my desk to the door took at least two minutes. I realized it would take me a while to reach Linda's office. I could see her office door far in the distance, but my steps didn't seem to be bringing it any closer.

  Suddenly, I noticed something moving behind me. I turned, and saw a female employee walking down the hall. Instinctively, I jolted, thinking I had to hide before remembering I was under an inch tall. I was hugging the wall, so I was out of harm's way. As she approached me, she grew to unbelievable proportions, giving me a startling sense of my puny scale. Her shiny black pumps marched across the carpet, carrying her immense form at an incredible speed. As her pump fell down, I saw her sole for a brief moment, before it smashed the carpet in front of me, the weight of her body bearing down on an area the size of a house. She seemed to shrink again as her gargantuan strides took her further down the hallway.

  I could feel my heart pounding. At that moment it struck me that I was truly on my own now, that Annie wasn't there to look out for me. I thought back to the sleepover, when I had snuck down to the kitchen. God, I thought. If Liz hadn't come down and found me... But now, I couldn't let anyone find me. I would attract way too much attention, and my co-workers would undoubtedly alert Linda. I didn't want that to happen.

  I looked back at my office door. I was moving slowly, but making progress. I inched my way determinedly down the hallway. Feet continued to pass me in the hallway, as I gained an unlikely confidence around my giant co-workers. I was almost there. The familiar office plant outside Linda's office was drawing nearer.

  My confidence went unabated for the remainder of the trip. It was only when I reached Linda's door that an unsettling feeling began to come over me. The door stretched up endlessly, like the drawbridge of some ominous castle. I was about to place myself, as vulnerable as I had ever been, in front of the most formidable authority figure in my life. Here goes nothing.

  Laying down on the hard carpet, I inched my way through the space under the door. I stood up and dusted myself off. Then I looked up and saw Linda, far in the distance, seated at her desk. Her desk rose from the floor, like a solitary monument in the sparse office landscape. Above, I could see her face, stony, but beautiful, concentrating on some task. Below, two feet rested under her desk. Ever the perfectionist, her office was as neat and organized as any you would ever see. The carpet was immaculately clean. I felt uncomfortably visible, like a stain or piece of dust as I stood there. I stared at Linda's eyes. I got the feeling they could snap up in my direction at any moment, and decided I had to find some cover.

  My eyes darted around the room for a possible hiding place. I ran towards a filing cabinet, and placed my back against the cold metal wall. I could see Linda from there, but I still felt exposed. Tentatively, I walked out into the open again, looking for a better hiding spot, but my wife's minimally furnished office didn't present many options. I thought of my wife's business savvy - the way she always seemed to stay two steps ahead of the competition. It was as if she knew one day her shrunken husband would be wandering around her office, and had carefully eliminated all hiding spaces. Come on, that's ridiculous. I repeated this phrase in my head a few times as I tried to collect myself.

  Still searching for a hiding spot, my eyes fell upon the area below the desk. I made my way toward the large rectangular structure. I walked into the space under her drawers. Her feet rested mere inches from where I hid. The smooth, dark leather of her pumps emitted a dull shine. They looked like two black limousines.

  I stepped forward carefully, trying to get a better glimpse of my wife. Her smooth, tan legs hung down from the seat of her expensive leather office chair. Her business blouse and posture exuded authority, but her womanly curves, the curves it had always seemed such a privilege to caress, were alluring. Her face was only two piercing eyes, and full, soft, hungry lips coated in dark lipstick. As much as I knew she was wrong for me, she was a powerful, beautiful goddess. As I gazed up at her, I couldn't help but feel respect for the cunning with which she had controlled her company, and had controlled me.

  Then I reminded myself why I was there: to prove to myself that what she felt for me was not love. To accept it and move on. I think I knew then what was going on between her and Cory. I had been standing up for myself, and she needed someone to fill the void, someone for her to belittle and control in my stead. Who better than her timid, lapdog assistant? I realized that I might see something that day that I didn't want to see, but I didn't care. I knew that I needed to see it.

  Suddenly, I heard a knock. "Come in," I heard Linda say, as I saw Cory enter the room. I listened attentively to their conversation. Linda rattled off a list of things for him to do during the day. She mentioned a project I was working on.

  "...and remember to tell Will I need that done ASAP, okay?"
  "Um, actually, Will called in sick today."
  There was a pause.
  "Hm. It's not like Will to miss work."
  My heartbeat picked up. Shit. Linda knew something was up.
  "Do you think you should call to check on him?" asked Cory.
  Another pause.
  "No, I'm sure it's nothing."

  I breathed a sigh of relief. Just then, Cory left the office to begin carrying out Linda's bidding. I peeked at Linda's wall clock. It was only about 9:30, still a while before noon. I decided there was nothing left to do but wait.

  Slowly, the minutes ticked by. I heard Linda rustling papers on her desk. Occasionally, her feet shifted. Once, she took her left foot out of the shoe and rubbed it on her other leg. I watched as the tremendous sole moved up and down, the sole that I had rubbed, kissed, and even licked. There were slight wrinkles of flesh visible beneath the nylon. During the course of our marriage, I had gotten to know, quite intimately, every detail of her feet. Now, however, I made sure to stay safely out of their way.

  At one point, Linda had a meeting with one of my co-workers, Alice, an attractive red-headed girl. She took a seat in front of Linda's desk. She had made some kind of mistake and Linda was grilling her over it. She didn't yell, but merely spoke sternly and authoritatively. Alice started to cry a bit. I felt bad for her. The way it was going, I thought she was going to lose her job, but finally, Linda seemed to come around, offering her "another chance." Alice seemed much relieved as she left Linda's office. I got the feeling that Linda had no intention of firing the poor girl, but was merely playing some cruel game with her.

 Noon was drawing closer, and I knew I had to find a way to hitch a ride with Linda. Luckily, she had left her purse by the foot of the desk. She never went anywhere without it, so it was probably my safest bet. I approached the expensive Louis Vuitton bag, which I had bought her. There was a single strap that hung down low enough for me to grab onto. I carefully made my way up to the top of the bag, and stared down into the opening at my wife's personal items below. That wouldn't do. There would be no way for me to climb out. I looked around a bit, and noticed a pocket on the side of the bag. Carefully, I slid down the side of the bag and landed safely in the pocket. It was a tight space, so I was sure I could shimmy my way out. Just to be sure, I inched my way up the side of the pocket and poked my head out. Good, I thought. This spot was perfect. It was safe for travel, and I could get out easily. I could keep an eye on Linda from there as well.

  I sat and waited in Linda's purse pocket, climbing up to take a look at the clock every once in a while. Finally, both hands reached the twelve, and, as if on cue, Cory knocked on the door and entered.

  "All set for lunch?" I heard my wife ask.
  "Sure. Uh, would you like me to drive?"
  "No, that's okay. I prefer to drive."

  Cory walked out of the office, and I felt the purse lift off the ground as Linda followed him. They walked down the hallway. As the purse rocked gently, I thought of Annie for a moment. I heard my wife tell the receptionist that she'd be back in an hour. I heard the ambient, outdoor noise of the parking lot, then the sound of the car door, before the purse fell on the floor of the car with a quake, which startled me.

  Once they had both gotten in the car, Linda started to drive. I sat in the purse pocket, listening carefully. The car ride was pretty uneventful, the monotony being broken only by the steady hum of the engine, and the occasional bump in the road. Linda and Cory remained oddly silent.

  Suddenly, the car stopped. Had we arrived? I heard Cory's voice.

  "Okay, I'll be right back."

  I heard the car door open and close. I wasn't exactly sure of what was going on. I felt the purse being lifted up and set down again. I stuck my head out of the pocket. Linda had placed the purse on the passenger seat. Looking up, I could see her rummaging through its contents. I ducked down cautiously. She removed her pocket mirror, unfolded it, and touched up her lipstick. She pursed her lips and then pouted. I looked up out the windshield, and I could see part of a sign on a building that read "Thai." Cory must have gone to pick up the food. Linda must have seen him coming, because she quickly picked up the purse, setting it and me roughly on the floor again.

  Cory had indeed returned with the Thai food, and we started driving again. The scent of spicy chicken curry made its way into the purse pocket. I found it hard to bear, given that I was starving and it would surely be quite a while before I could eat.

  When the engine turned off, I knew we were there. I peeked out to see what was happening. Linda picked up her purse, and carried me out of the car, and towards the front door. My heart started beating heavily as she turned the doorknob, and I watched as my wife lead the way into the house.

The Plan (Part Two) by littlewarrior

  My wife entered the apartment, carrying her purse by her side. The purse contained her personal effects, among which were her wallet, make-up, and, unbeknownst to her, her shrunken husband. I was still peeking out of the purse pocket as we crossed the threshold to our home. I should have found the sight of our apartment familiar and comforting, but I didn't. I could imagine it being the setting of a surreal nightmare where I suddenly shrank, and found myself fleeing the deadly shadows of my wife's feet. As frightened as I was, I tried to remain focused and alert -- I was on a mission.

  My wife's heels clicked on the hardwood floor in calm, stately steps as she marched into the bedroom. She slung the purse off her shoulder and dropped it on the bed. I tumbled roughly out onto the bedspread, and regained my composure in time to watch my wife and boss strut her way out the door and into the hallway.

  Crap. I had to keep an eye on the two of them. How was I going to do that from here? I pondered my course of action. They might come back into the bedroom... or not. But if I get too far away from the purse, I might not be able to hitch a ride back to the office. I decided to take a chance.

  Not wasting any time, I started towards the head of the bed. I moved quickly, while trying to conserve my energy. I approached the bedside table. If I could get over there, I could slide down the lamp cord, but alas, the table was too far away. I peered over the edge of the bed.

  The bedroom floor below, like that of my wife's office, was kept spotless. My eyes searched for a way down to the floor. I could hear Linda talking down the hall, but I couldn't make out the words over the pounding in my ears. Finally something caught my eye: a single loose thread dangling from the bedspread. I could use it to lower myself to the floor. I wondered if it would be too thin for me to grip. Only one way to find out, I thought. Carefully, I began to lower myself down the fabric of the bedspread.

  When I got to the bottom, I hopped down off the bedspread, landing on the wooden baseboard that ran along the side of the bed. I bent down and grabbed the thread that had come loose from the fabric. Even though Annie had shrunk me to a pretty small size, the thread still felt thin in my hands. I wondered if it would hold my weight. Since I still could get a pretty decent grip on it, I decided to give it a try. Holding the thread, I began to repel down the wooden baseboard.

 It seemed to work pretty well, though it seemed to take all of the little thread's strength to support my weight. I prayed it didn't come loose from the bedspread. As I walked down, I placed my hands one under the other, giving each one a brief rest from the stinging friction of the rope.

  Finally, I reached the bottom of the baseboard. Now I had run out of footing, and my legs dangled awkwardly below. It was time for a new strategy. I tried to wrap my legs around the thin thread for support, but this proved more difficult than I had anticipated. My arms and hands were already tired, and I struggled to continue towards the floor. I made it about halfway, and my grip started to give. I clenched the rope tightly, regretting this when I slipped slightly and suffered a painful rope burn. I paused for a moment to catch my breath before continuing. My legs were still dangling in the air. I loosened my grip again, and suddenly I began to slide down quickly. This burned my hands again, but this time, I let go of the rope. Shit. I fell towards the floor, thankful we had a carpet, but bracing myself as I knew this was going to hurt.

  I tried to absorb the fall, but still managed to hurt my leg a little. After pausing to let the pain subside, I started to walk. My legs were still a little sore, but I knew I couldn't stay there, so I set off for the bedroom door. I knew there was no way I was getting back up onto the bed and into the purse, which meant I would have to figure out another way to get back to the office. Now more than ever, I needed to be alert to my surroundings.

  As I made my way down the hallway, the enticing smell of Thai food grew stronger and stronger. I turned into the kitchen and could hear Linda droning on about the company, and generally patting herself on the back for pulling off the merger deal. I hurried across the kitchen floor, and stood against the base of the cabinet. I peered around the corner into the dining room, and could see Linda and Cory's heads over the top of the table. This was the perfect spot. I was hidden from view and relatively safe, and I could see and hear everything that was going on in the dining room.

  The two of them sat there eating spicy Thai food. Cory ate quietly, looking up and speaking only when Linda spoke to him. Beneath the table, Linda still had on her black heels. Her legs were crossed. As in her office, I couldn't help but find them attractive, though now I was glad to be at a safer distance. Cory had on a pair of black shoes, which didn't shine as much as Linda's. His pants didn't seem to fit quite right. He was slouched over in his chair, appearing nervous and self-conscious. Above the table, I could see Linda was still talking. She seemed relaxed and confident, and from the way she looked down at her food, you could tell she thought it was delicious. Oddly, she looked at Cory the same way.

  Linda continued to go on about the merger, and actually started to thank Cory for his help. Cory then thanked her for giving him a job. Linda said she was impressed with him so far, and said that he had potential, though to me, it was unclear what for.

  Suddenly, Linda's foot moved, and Cory jolted; the touch had startled him. She was rubbing her pump up and down against his leg. Cory's body went stiff. Linda looked at him with sultry eyes, and that same look of hunger. A look I had been given many times before, but had never seen her show anyone else. Cory stared at her face, as if locked in hypnosis. He looked like a zombie. I suddenly became uncomfortable at the thought of what I must have looked like under Linda's spell.

  Linda brought her foot down, and slipped it out of the pump. She brought her foot up Cory's leg again, this time with only the stocking. She brought her foot up to Cory's chair, resting it on his crotch. Cory moaned nervously, and appeared almost to be shivering. She began to knead her foot into his pants, while he offered no resistance. Linda cocked her head playfully, and smirked amusedly at his reaction.

  "Yes, Cory," she began, "I do think you make an excellent personal assistant. Hmm... or perhaps 'servant' would be a better word? After all, you do what I ask, and don't ask questions... Hm. Servant. But don't worry. As long as you remember your place, I'll treat you right."

  I watched in astonishment. She had complete control over him. The way she talked seemed like it could have been a game, though it was clear she didn't mean it that way. I wanted to shout at Cory, and tell him to stand up for himself. Linda seemed to draw no line between their professional and personal relationship. She needed to assume a completely dominant role in relation to Cory. The hardest part of watching all this was that I knew it was what she had done to me. I was getting a sobering, outside perspective of my own unhealthy relationship with this woman. And yet, paradoxically, seeing her do it to someone she had known for barely a month, with just as much enthusiasm, broke my heart.

  What I felt most of all at seeing this was anger. I was not angry with Linda. I didn't feel betrayed; she had clearly never loved me. It was a burden off my back for me to be certain of that now. I was not angry at Cory. He was just another victim, just a tool for Linda to use for her own pleasure. I was angry with myself. For lying to myself, abusing myself, and staying somewhere I was unhappy, instead of determining the course of my own life.

  I felt a sudden strange peace come over me.

  I walked toward the table. Linda still had Cory pinned to the chair with her foot. I was not afraid of her anymore. The whole scene seemed surreal and absurd. I walked past the table. I needed to find a way to get back to the office, I thought. Linda continued talking to Cory, though I seemed not to be able to hear her words. Even her mammoth, sexy legs under the table failed to capture my attention now. I saw Cory's beige canvas bag sitting on the floor. I was able to find a place to hide in there.

  Suddenly, Linda broke the mood. She chided Cory for not keeping an eye on the clock. It had been an hour already, and they had to get back to the office. She quickly retrieved her purse, and Cory grabbed his bag. They walked quickly out of the apartment. I was glad I had the presence of mind to ensure I was going with them. Linda was upset. She was never late. And of course, she placed the blame on Cory. This did nothing to help the poor young man, whom she had just wound up like a spring and not released.

  The car ride back was silent. I was glad, as I needed some time to think. I wasn't sure what they had done before today, or what would have happened today if they hadn't been interrupted, but I knew I had seen enough. I was reminded of that night with Linda in the park. History was repeating itself. But Cory still had a chance to turn back.

  We made it back to the Linda's office, where Linda returned to work without missing a beat. She promptly assigned Cory some menial task, as if their "lunch break" had not just happened. Cory returned to his office, and I hopped down from his bag. I made my way carefully back to my office. My leg still hurt from the fall in Linda's bedroom, but I moved as quickly as I could. It was a little after 1:00 right now. The plan was that Annie would come back for me when she got out of school at 3. For now, I would have to wait in my office.

  I reached the door of my office and made my way inside. I still was a little incredulous at what had just happened. I was glad I was safe, and that my plan had been a success. But most of all, I was glad I finally had closure. I could end things with Linda and move on. Suddenly, I heard footsteps behind me. Before I could turn though, I felt a petrifying shiver run down my spine as I heard a female voice far above me call out my name in surprise.

Annie's Story by littlewarrior

  "Annie!"

  To my great relief, it was indeed Annie standing in the office doorway. Carefully, she knelt down and picked me up, growing me a little to make it easier to get a hold of me. Her protective hand still clutching me, I was promptly inserted into her hoodie pocket. We began to move. I was pretty sure Annie was skipping school, but I wasn't concerned with that at this point. I was just glad to be reunited with Annie, and exiting the office at last. We made it safely outside to Liz's car, where Annie pulled me out to inspect me.

  "Buckle up, Annie," said Liz. "We have to hurry. Lunch hour is almost over!"

  I looked up at her eyes, full of relief and concern. They seemed to be scanning me for any scratch or sign of harm. Thankfully, I was indeed unhurt, and in safe hands at last. We arrived back at the apartment, and Annie carried me inside, and grew me back to my normal height. She started to walk outside. She looked back, then ran over and gave me a hug.

  "I'm glad you're okay, Will."
  "I'm glad I'm okay too, Annie. You better get going now. I'll see you tonight, okay?"

***

  I was glad I had made it out in one piece. I sat in the chair in the living room. Even though I had been here for less than a month, it was starting to feel more like home. I spent the day trying to collect myself. Even though it was foolish, I felt my plan had paid off. I knew now that my wife had been unfaithful to me, and that whatever she felt for me, it wasn't love. It hurt to find all this out, but at least now I could move on.

  Suddenly, Annie came in, a distraught look on her face. She walked up to me, and I began to shrink. Uh oh. I was in trouble now. Soon I was only inches tall. Her hands reached out to me, and cradled me as they lifted me up. She held me firmly to her chest, and began to walk. What was she doing? I saw that we had entered her room, and her chest bounced as she sat down on the bed. She continued to hold me against her body for about a minute, then pulled her hands away so she could see me. I looked up and saw that she was crying.

  "Oh, Will..." she started.
  "I'm so glad you're all right."

  She sniffed and blinked, and a tear ran down her cheek.

  "Did she... hurt you, Will? Did your wife hurt you?"
  "No, Annie, she didn't."
  "Your wife is a mean lady, isn't she? She's done bad things to you, hasn't she?"

  I didn't know if Annie would understand what was going on between me and my wife, but she was a bright girl, and knew something wasn't right.

  "That's right, Annie. She hasn't treated me very well."
  "Will, I wish I could protect you forever."

  She bit her lip.

  "Will... I want to tell you something. Do you remember that night... when you asked me how I discovered my powers?"

  I nodded.

  "I'm going to tell you that story now... It was in elementary school. I used to go to a school down the street from my old house. There was this bully... She used to torment me. She called me names, she took my lunch money, and said if I told anyone she would beat me up. She was so mean to me and the other kids. She would get put in time out, but... the teacher didn't really understand her. This girl... more than anything, she knew how to mess with your head.
  One day, I was walking home from school, and she followed me... I started to run, but she caught up with me. She grabbed my backpack, and pulled it, and I fell over... I got a bruise on my face... I looked up, and saw that she was laughing at me. I didn't feel fear anymore, instead I felt... anger. I stood up, and stared at her, and I just wished that she would shrink. Then she would know what it felt like to be helpless. Then... she shrank... I couldn't believe it. I walked over to her... She looked terrified. She thought I was going to crush her under my shoe. And Will, the scary part is... I wanted to. This was my chance to get back at her for all of that... torment. But when I saw that face, that terrified face, I realized I had become the bully... I was a monster to her. I panicked and tried to help her. I reached out and picked her up, and she kept screaming. I didn't know how to unshrink her. I put her back down, and somehow, just wished she would grow. Finally, it worked, and she ran away. She stopped going to our school. I always wondered what happened to her... I wondered if she went crazy, and I always felt guilty."

  She paused. I was thinking that this was probably the first time she told this story.

  "After that, I learned to control my powers. I decided I would never use them to hurt anybody... That's why I was so worried about you, and I had to come back for you. I never wanted anyone to get hurt because of me, or my powers."

  I looked up at what was undoubtedly the gentlest creature I had ever met. She looked back at me with quivering pupils.

  "Annie, I'm sorry I put you through that, but I'm okay now. I'm safe, thanks to you."

  She smiled. It was a great relief to see that smile again.

  "Annie, could you unshrink me now?"

  She laughed. "Right. Sorry."

***

  After all the excitement, we had both worked up an appetite, so I decided to take Annie out to the fajita restaurant. This had definitely cheered Annie up a bit. We talked and laughed and ate Mexican food. I was glad to be having fun again. Meanwhile, though, I was thinking about the story Annie had told me, and how much we seemed to have in common. We had both faced down our bullies. It had been difficult for both of us, but I was sure in the end it was a positive turning point for Annie, and I hoped it would be for me as well.

Purpose by littlewarrior

  I opened my eyes. The blinds admitted the hint of soft morning light, a gentle salutation waiting for me when I awoke. I lay there observing the room awhile; it seemed funny to remind myself it wasn't mine, that it would be the first sight of only a few more mornings. And after that...?

  I roused my body from the cool, comfortable sheets, and stood up. I walked down the hall, past Annie's room, where she was still asleep. I made myself some coffee, as I had done every morning before, for as long as I could remember. Today, however, it didn't feel like routine. As I poured the hot liquid into my cup, the bitter smell filled the kitchen. Had it always smelled that way? "Wake up and smell the coffee," I thought.

  I sat at the table with my breakfast, and checked my e-mail. Gary had responded.

  Annie appeared, and joined me at the table. I said good morning and smiled involuntarily. She smiled back. I felt as if I lived in another world, a world she didn't yet understand. But she understood my smile. The smile was a bridge between worlds.

***

  The trees were still in the cool of the morning. A fresh silence hung over the parking lot. The silence was punctured by the sound of my car door. The sound was cut off quickly, the trees swallowing the echo.

  When I stepped inside, I saw the familiar face of the receptionist.

  "Good morning."

  She returned the greeting, and I stepped into the elevator. It was the same greeting I gave her every morning, but today, she seemed surprised to hear it, so that she hesitated before responding. Or maybe I was imagining things.

  I stepped out of the elevator. I didn't walk to my office, instead, I stood there, looking at the busy worker bees. They didn't notice me as they sat in their cubicles. A full view of the room was denied them by the lines that sliced its expanse in two dimensions. I alone had a full view.

  I saw my wife appear across the room, standing in her office doorway.

  "Will, can I see you for a minute?"

  She disappeared into her office, and I walked across the room toward the door, calmly conscious of every step. I stepped into her lair, and took a seat. I looked at my wife. Her power and beauty were commanding. I thought of the years I had spent with her. I looked at her face, her hair, her body. I thought of the lust and fear that her features sucked from my being and satisfied. I thought of the uneasy pleasure and safety she had afforded me. Did it really come at such a high price? Then a vision jumped into my head: I thought of her from my vantage point as a speck on the floor. The way she looked yesterday during her fling with Cory. I had the thought that it was the way Cory saw my wife as well. But that image vanished from my head. Now, looking at her, she seemed naked.

  I spoke first.

  "You look refreshed today, Linda."

  She sighed, and said, "quite," before her eyes met mine curiously - the briefest of double-takes. She began to enumerate a list of chores for me, and I listened with boredom, leaning back in the chair, my hands behind my head.

  "So, I'd like you to get this done for me ASAP, okay?"
  "No."
  She paused.
  "...What??"
  "I don't think so."
  "You... don't..."
  "I said it doesn't seem like my kind of work. Why don't you go get that lackey of yours, Cory?"
  Her face was ridiculous. God, it felt so good.
  I stood up and said, "I think I'll take the day off."

  I walked out of her office, and headed for the elevator.

  "Don't you dare walk out on me."
  I turned back when I heard her voice.
  "I will not tolerate insubordination."

  Though her voice was angry, her eyes grinned maliciously as she stood there, in the sight of her employees, knowing that they were watching the two of us.

  I didn't see them. I spoke, making an effort to make the words sound effortless:

  "Shut up, bitch."

  Though she remained standing there, still as a rock, looking at her, one would swear she had almost lost her balance. Then, at a loss for words for perhaps the first time in her life, she slithered back into her office, trying her best to make embarrassment look like indignation. I looked at my co-workers' faces for the first time during the confrontation. I could see shock in some, a silent sympathy in others, a glimmer of hope in still others. They went back to their work without a word. I turned and saw Cory standing by the door, a dumbfounded, wistful look on his face. I winked at him as I walked past.

  A cool breeze greeted me outside. The trees roared in applause. As I sat in my car, I looked at the front door one last time in mockery, as if taunting Linda to come after me. I didn't need her anymore, and I would never fear her or anyone like her again. "Could it really be that simple?" I thought. Could what be that simple? I shrugged and drove away contentedly.

***

  I sat on the couch. I had just finished reading my book. I had once read it as a teenager and not liked it. I don't know what made me pick it up again, but this time, I liked it. The door opened, and Annie entered.

  "Hello, Annie."
  "Hello, Will, how was your day?"
  "Good. Very good."

  She looked at me with a sparkle in her eye, as if she understood the triumph in my face. She went to put her things in her room, then came to join me on the couch.

  "Will," she began, "I think I know why I told you about my powers."

  I leaned back into the couch, listening attentively. She looked grave.

  "I felt terribly alone. I just... I couldn't tell my dad or any adults about my secret, because I was afraid of what would happen... afraid that they would think I was a freak, or dangerous... I'm glad I trusted Liz, though. I had fun using my powers with her at first, but Will... for a few years now, it hasn't brought me any happiness... but I hid it from Liz because I thought she'd never understand what I was going through. I felt trapped, and I didn't understand... I didn't understand... I had this strange ability and no one else did. If other people could do this, I mean, we would have heard about them, right? I felt so alone. I was made different, for no purpose, no reason at all. I thought maybe I was a freak... I was so depressed. But then I met you."

  She smiled.

  "This is going to sound crazy, but... somehow, I decided I had to shrink you. Like it would solve my problems. Maybe I was taking my frustration out on you, like that poor girl from elementary school. Maybe I just snapped, and wanted a way to feel in control again... but you surprised me, Will. I made you small and helpless. You should have been afraid, but you trusted me. I took a chance on a decision... that could have gone horribly wrong... and somehow, this past month, I've been happy again. I feel like life matters again. Do you understand?"

  I felt a sudden jolt, as if the words had brought me out of a dream.

  "Yes," I replied.
  "Annie, you trusted me, too."

  She nodded silently.

  That night, as I drifted to sleep, the image of my giant wife returned to my mind's eye. Her foot hovered over me, about to end me. Suddenly, Annie appeared. Her teenage body had grown to inconceivable proportions. She filled my universe as I looked up, dwarfing both me and Linda many times over. She raised her shoe over Linda, and let it crash down. There was no sign of my wife, not even a pair of Wicked Witch feet sticking out from under Annie's foot. I thought of that poor schoolyard bully. Unlike her, this bully deserved to be squished. I looked up into the heavens at Annie's head, a radiant, hazelnut sun. She smiled, innocent and unassuming. She had made this all possible.

Cardboard Box by littlewarrior

  I opened my office door, and to my surprise, I didn't find my office behind it. It had become Cory's office. My things had been moved out, and Cory's desk and things had taken their place. Cory greeted me with a sheepish grin.

  "Hello, Will."
  I stepped inside. "What is this?"
  "Oh, um... Linda... gave me your office... yeah, she was a bit upset at you... at the way you... the other day..."

  He looked like he was waiting for a reaction, and seemed surprised when I showed none. Now he had a look of pain on his face.

  "Will, that was really cool... how you stood up to her..."

  I closed the door behind me, and took a seat across from Cory.

  "Cory, I want to talk to you about something."

  I wanted to help him. But I knew that only he could free himself. All I could do was to give him a push in the right direction.

  "Cory, I'm going to quit. I've come to realize this is an unhealthy environment. I know you might think that this - Linda giving you my office - feels like you're moving up, but you're not. You're being manipulated. You're trading your independence for security. Cory, do you even like your job here?"

  He was silent. I tried my best to get through to him. I didn't want him to think I knew he was sleeping with Linda, because he might have thought I was angry about their affair, and miss the point. I told him he had to get out of here and find another job. Anything was better than this. He was slowly being broken here. There was so much I had been through this month, so much I had learned through experience, that I didn't know if I could convey it all to him. I told him he had to get away from Linda. I told him it was natural to look to someone with power for security. Someone with power can be a friend, a protector, a mentor. But that's not who Linda was. In the end, I hoped Cory would stand up for himself, but I knew it was a choice he would have to make for himself.

  Before I left, I told him not to make the same mistakes I did.

***

  I opened the door, and saw Linda, sitting at her desk, looking as if she had expected me.

  "Hello, Will. Please, have a seat."

  "I suppose you know this is it for us, Linda."
  She smiled.
  "I'm done with this job... and our marriage. I don't want to be a part of this anymore. I can no longer give you what you want from me."

  She seemed to think for a moment, then said calmly, "I agree."

  "I've seen the way you act around Cory. And I can guess what's been going on with you two. I know you don't love me anymore, if you ever did."

  "You've finally figured it out Will. It's not love that I'm after. What I'm after is much more rewarding."

  I thought she didn't frighten me anymore, but the look she gave me proved me wrong.

  "A relationship like ours can only work as long as one of us is unaware or in denial of its nature. But Cory... Cory is a mouse. Life is terrifying to him. He's intimidated by his freedom, and the responsibility that comes with it. He's looking for someone to hold his leash. And I'm that someone. It's a win-win situation. I'm sure you've already talked to him, tried to persuade him to fight it. But it's nothing I can't undo with a little persuasion."

  "You're wrong."

  "You don't know him as well as I do. Goodbye, Will."

***

  My computer, my printer, my desk lamp, my pens, my calendar, and all my other things - all the evidence of my continued presence in this building - were lying in a pile in the hallway. Searching a supply room, I was able to find a large cardboard box. I carefully arranged my things inside, and using a hand truck, brought the box into the elevator. When I got to the car, I had some difficulty lifting it, and found that I had to leave my trunk open to fit the box inside.

  When I got home, I tried lifting it again, to no avail. I decided to just leave it there for now. It was too heavy, and I didn't want to strain my back. Instead, I went inside and sat down to have a cup of coffee and think. Linda's frankness had surprised me, but I was glad she was finally out of my life. Though a few things still troubled me, I felt free, and more relaxed than I had in ages. Soon Annie came home, and greeted me as she walked past. Then I had an idea.

  "Annie, wait!"

  She paused, raising her eyebrows.

  "Could you help me with something?"

  She followed me outside to my car. I pointed out the box to her. She smiled knowingly, and the box began to shrink.

  "Thanks, Annie."

***

  That night after dinner, Annie called me into her room.

  "There's something I want to show you."

  Spread out on her desk was a collection of pencil sketches, depicting superheroes and heroines. Some were characters I recognized from the anime shows she watched, but some appeared to be original creations.

  "Annie, these are fantastic!"
  "You really like them, Will?"
  "Yes! Annie, why didn't you tell me you were a talented artist?"
  She blushed.
  "Well, I just get nervous, that's all. I get worried that people won't like my art."
  "Annie," I laughed. "You told me about your powers, but you were afraid to share your drawings with me?"

  She made a perplexed expression, then broke into laughter.

  "I guess that is kind of funny..."

  The end of the month was fast approaching. Soon I would say goodbye to Annie. I was already happy at how much my life had changed since I had met her. Little did I know, my chance encounter with a girl who could shrink things would still have a few unexpected consequences.

Sleepover II by littlewarrior

  I sat at the table with my laptop open. Annie's mood was chipper as she joined me for breakfast.

  "Whatcha doin'?"
  "Applying for a new job."
  "You quit your job?!"
  "Yes."
  She looked stunned. "Is that a good thing?"
  "A very good thing."
  She looked off into the kitchen pensively.
  "Then you and your wife...?"
  "We're getting divorced... Another good thing. Annie, I know you might not understand this, but you helped me make this decision. Thank you."
  She smiled shyly.
  "Um... You're welcome?"

  We continued our breakfast.

  "Oh hey, Liz invited me over for another sleepover this weekend..."
  She put on a mischievous grin.
  "...and I'm taking you with me."
  I looked at her blankly. Her grin retreated slightly, and she began to look almost worried until she heard my reply.
  "Sounds like fun!"

***

  We had made it into Liz's house. I tried to listen for familiar sounds as cues to what was happening, and before long I heard Annie bounding up the staircase. After several minutes, I feared that she had actually forgotten me, but before I could finish that thought, her gentle fingers appeared and enveloped me, drawing me out of her sweatshirt pocket.

  Grasped gently between fleshy fingers, I surveyed the familiar sight of Liz's room. Liz was sitting on her bed. Her hand rose to wave at me, before brushing some black strands from her face.

  "Good to see you, Will."

  I held onto Annie's forefinger, with her thumb at my back. It wasn't the most comfortable way to be held, but I felt safe. Annie rotated her fingers so she could look at me, and her big, beaming face filled my vision. Her eyes sparkled with friendly reassurance.

  "Want to say hi to Liz?"

  Before I could answer, she started moving. I quickly found myself deposited in Liz's palm. The surface was warm, soft and safe. I looked up at Liz and smiled. She smiled back. Her eyes, shy and curious, were much more tentative than Annie's; a shrunken man was still a novel thing to her.

  She frowned.
  "Annie, your dad is coming home soon, right?"
  "Yeah, next week."
  "I guess that means... no more fun with Will?"
  I looked up at Annie. The friendly, reassuring eyes had become wistful.
  "Well, next week isn't here yet."

  After all I had been through that month, it was a relief to spend time with the girls again. They had a quality about them that I found infectious - the carefree teenage aura. As the afternoon passed, I thought about what I had asked of Annie. To help me spy on my wife. How worried she had been, reluctant to put me in danger. There was no trace of that worry now, amid the jokes and laughter. I marveled at her untiring spirit.

  Annie had the idea to play a game of hide and seek. Annie left the room while Liz decided where to hide me. Liz spent a few minutes searching for a good hiding spot. Under the bed? No, that was too obvious. I suggested putting me in a drawer. She said that Annie would think of that before long. Suddenly, we heard Annie's voice from the hallway.

  "Ready or not, here I come!"

  Liz panicked.
  "Hang on, Will!"

  Oh no, not there!

  Annie entered the room, and began searching. I could hear but not see her.

  "Hmm... not under the bed... not in the drawers..."

  She continued her search for a while. She seemed stumped.

  "Where did you put him, Liz?"

  Suddenly, she caught on.

  "Wait a minute," she began slyly.
  "Turn around."

  Liz turned around to reveal me dangling from her hair. Annie placed her hand out. I slid down Liz's hair, and she caught me.

  "Now it's my turn to hide you."

***

  It was getting late, and the girls were getting ready to turn in for the night. Annie had grown me to six inches, and let me walk around on the floor of the room. Annie stood over me ominously, with arms akimbo.

  "Ready for bed?"
  I nodded.
  "How'd you like to sleep under my foot?"

  She started towards me, and I turned and began to flee the other way. She quickly caught up with me though, and I found myself pinned under her socked foot. I burst out laughing. Though it appeared to be an intimidating gesture, I knew it was just a game, like the mock-fighting of kittens. She lifted her foot off me, and walked back over to her sleeping bag. She motioned for me to come closer. When I got close enough, she grabbed me and snuggled in, clutching me like a teddy bear.

  "Good night, Will."

  As she grasped me tightly, I had a sudden feeling of uneasiness. Like I was imprisoned behind her arms. A momentary flicker of darkness crept over me. I felt weak and inferior. No, I told myself, that was the spectre Linda had left in my subconscious, trying desperately one last time to grasp for me. Annie was a protector. She was not Linda, and would never be. I knew that I was safe now.

  Suddenly, something smashed into my face. In the confusion, Annie had loosened her grip, and I stood up. I looked up and Liz loomed over me, with a pillow above her head. I fled to safety near the bed as Annie got up to retaliate. I watched, genuinely frightened as I watched the biggest pillow fight ever. It was like something out of some bizarre Japanese monster movie. The girls started getting rough as they stomped around the room, trading blows and laughing hysterically. I was hiding by the foot of the bed, when I heard a voice.

  "Girls! What on earth are you-"

  The voice came to an abrupt stop. I was confused for a second, then I heard Annie gasp loudly. Slowly, I turned towards the door, and saw Liz's mom standing there. I looked up and met her eyes. Her face was white as a ghost. This was not good.

Mindy by littlewarrior

  There was a loud thud, then a frozen silence. Mrs. Kim had fainted.

  "Oh my God, Oh my God," Annie repeated quietly. Liz put her hand on Annie's shoulder, trying to shake the stunned girl back to her senses.

  "Quick, bring her into her room!"

  The girls each threw one of Mrs. Kim's arms over their shoulders, lifted the poor woman off the ground, and began trying to move her. They struggled. I started calling out to Annie. She either heard me, or it dawned on her to have me help them. She looked back at me and I grew to normal height.

  I rushed to the girls' aid, and together we laid Mrs. Kim on her bed. Liz was by her mother's side, worriedly clutching her hand. Annie and I stood by the foot of the bed, tense. We looked at each other, struck dumb by the gravity of the situation.

  Suddenly, the woman began to stir. When she came to, and caught sight of me, her eyes widened, and she pulled her daughter in protectively. She stammered for a while, distraught, before she could speak.

  "Who are you?"
  "My name is Will..." I began.
  She raised a trembling finger to point at me.
  "You- you were... !"

  My heart and mind raced as I tried to imagine what this poor woman was going through. She was in a state of shock and terror, and she was looking to me for answers. I knew I had to explain what had happened and bring her peace of mind. Somehow. With a calm, steady voice, I began to speak.

  "I know you must be very confused, Mrs. Kim. But don't be afraid. I will try to explain."

  Mrs. Kim loosened her grip on her daughter who was sitting next to her. She looked alert, still visibly shaken but eager to learn just who I was, and how, mere minutes ago, I could have been six inches tall on her daughter's bedroom floor. I cleared my throat.

  "My name is Will, and I'm staying with Annie at home while her father is away. You see, Annie is a special girl. She... has the power to shrink things. Including... people."

  Mrs. Kim's bewildered gaze was now directed at Annie, who had gone flush with embarrassment.

  "It's true. We don't really know why she has this power. But you need not worry. Annie would never use her power to harm anyone. Right, Annie? Maybe... we could do a little demonstration. Annie?"

  Annie hesitated, looking nervously from me to Mrs. Kim and back.

  "It's okay," I told her.

  I started to shrink, and Mrs. Kim shrieked. Annie collected me from the bedroom floor. As she lifted me up past the top of the bed, I could see the soles of Mrs. Kim's bamboo sandals, and her face far in the distance. Annie made her way over to Mrs. Kim and held me out for her to see. She held her fingers over her open mouth. Although the color was returning to her face, the look of incredulity remained. Slowly, Annie brought me closer to her.

  "See? He's all right. He's just... smaller. Do you want to hold him?"
  "It's okay, mom."

    Mrs. Kim closed her mouth, and cautiously extended her open palms. Annie let me drop into the fleshy bed. When I felt my hands and knees make contact with the skin, Mrs. Kim exhaled suddenly. If she hadn't believed her eyes, her sense of touch was now sending the same message: the little man was indeed real. I sat in the nest of her curled hands, trapped in a bubble of warm air.

  The meek Korean woman's face loomed over me, the most gigantic I had ever seen. For a moment I felt pinned and naked as the dark eyes inspected me. The dry lips that hung over me seemed frightening. Then, reminding myself she was no threat, her features appeared to me fair and benign, if incredibly large.

  "I can't believe this..." she whispered. As I sat there, my gaze transfixed with hers, I felt we were locked together in that moment, in a state of veneration, both of us seeing something very few human beings had ever seen before. Annie really is a special girl, I thought. Suddenly, Mrs. Kim looked up at Annie. She seemed to be recovering from the shock.

  "How is this possible?"

  Annie began to explain her powers, at least as far as she understood them. Mrs. Kim looked at me occasionally, and back at Annie or Liz, to ask them a question, each time blanketing me with a burst of humid air from her cavernous lungs. The carbon dioxide was beginning to make me feel sleepy. It was late, and I was in a warm, safe place. I wanted to to lay down right there in her palm and go to sleep, but I fought the urge, as it seemed some kind of intrusion.

  As the conversation died down, the room was once again overtaken by silence.

  "I still don't understand," Mrs. Kim started, "but I trust you... here..."

  She gave me to Annie. It felt good to be in Annie's hands again, a place I had come to associate with safety and comfort. Annie, still tense, curled her fingers around me for a moment, unconsciously seeking her own comfort. I smiled at her and she smiled back, before placing me on the bed. After I had grown, I continued to talk with Mrs. Kim. She introduced herself as Mindy. She mentioned that her husband was away on a business trip and that she was glad he wasn't here while "all this" had happened. She told the girls they should go to bed, then offered to make me tea. As I followed Mindy down to her kitchen, I noted that, even at regular size, she was a tall woman, having several inches on me.

  She invited me to sit at the table. She turned away from me, and walked to the counter where she began to prepare the tea. As I looked at her, my eyes fell upon her bamboo-clad feet. Suddenly I remembered the previous sleepover with the girls, when I had snuck down to the kitchen, and stood in that same spot, inches from those sandals. I suddenly felt guilty staring at her legs, and I looked away. When the tea was ready, she joined me at the table. She set a small, round teacup before me and filled it with hot tea.

  "I love tea, it helps calm me down." She smiled.

  We talked for about an hour. I told her about the changes that had been ocurring in my life (omitting certain details, of course). I said that I had recently quit my job and was getting a divorce. I mentioned that meeting Annie had played a big part in those decisions. She asked me about Annie for a bit. Then she began to tell me of her life, getting married in South Korea in her twenties, and coming to America to start a new life. Mindy was a very gentle, amiable person. The tea and conversation seemed indeed to have a calming effect on both of us, helping us recover after the surprising turn of events that day. She finally said that she was pleased to have met me, and offered me a bed in the guest room. As I laid on the soft mattress, I looked up at the dark ceiling. In my mind, I could still see Mindy's face looking down on me. I breathed a sigh of relief, and drifted off to sleep.

Alice by littlewarrior

  I woke up early the next morning. The guest room felt very welcoming - small, tidy and cool, bright morning light streaming in from outside - and it was the first time I had woken in this house a guest, my presence no longer concealed by Annie and Liz.

  I made my way down the stairs to find the girls waiting for me. Mrs. Kim, or Mindy as I now knew her, labored in the kitchen. I saw Annie and Liz seated at the table. They wished me good morning and I joined them. Mindy came over to us, and took a seat across from me. We began to eat. No one spoke as we sampled Mindy's cooking - eggs, bacon, and toast with jam. I looked up at Mindy, already chewing some eggs as she worked at cutting some bacon. The silverware glinted in her hands. I looked over at Annie, the girl with interminable appetite, who wasted no time with her own food. Slowly, a light and genial conversation started. There was no mention of Annie's powers, but in all the eyes around the table, I could sense tacit acknowledgement of a shared secret.

  Annie and Liz had decided they were going to the mall. Annie asked me if I wanted to come. I declined and told her that I'd see her at home later. I felt like taking a walk. She seemed disheartened. I told her to have fun and be careful. Annie would be coming back to Liz's house afterwards to spend the day there. I thanked Mrs. Kim for breakfast, and she told me I was welcome to visit anytime. I headed out for my walk.

  The sun shone brightly that Saturday morning as I started walking back to the condo. I passed rows of houses in the Kims' quiet neighborhood. It was an enjoyable walk. The morning air was crisp and clean, and traffic was thin. As I continued walking, it began to rain. The sky had been bright blue only moments ago, now, grey clouds were gathering. I quickened my pace. It was still only a drizzle, but I was less than halfway to Annie's house. The rain seemed to gain momentum slowly as I came to the busy center of town. Pretty soon it was pouring. I started to run. A boom of thunder rattled the ground beneath me. At this point I knew I wasn't going to make it home. I would have to wait out the storm. I ducked into the nearest building.

  I didn't catch the name on the sign as I ran in, but I noticed the graphic on the window - a coffee mug with a fat wisp of steam rising out. The interior was dark and crowded. Its patrons snacked on bagels, read newspapers, chattered quietly. As I stood in the doorway, dripping, no one seemed to notice me. The coffee shop was modern in design. Its chairs, tables and walls were a jumble of brown, pale yellow, and dark orange shapes. A strange piece of art on the wall could have been a mirror. A glint of red caught my eye - a hue out of place among the drab colors. In the corner by the window, sat a woman in her mid twenties. The blue glass seemed a melting cascade beside her as the rain beat against it. The spray on the window came in bursts, growing loud with what seemed like anger, as it tried in vain to extinguish the fire that was the girl's hair. I knew her at once - it was Alice from work. She sat huddled over a laptop screen. She didn't notice me as I moved toward her.

  "Hello, Alice."

  She seemed startled as she looked up. At the office, she always seemed to curl up into herself at her desk, so that I never really got a good look at her. She had a plain yet pretty face, with smooth features. She had strange hazel eyes.

  "Oh," she exclaimed. "Will... hi."
  "May I sit?"
  "Yes... yes."

  Though she didn't smile, and her eyes avoided mine, her face somehow managed to convey benevolence.

  "So, Will... um, how are you?"
  "Good. You?"
  "Good, good," she said with a stiff, nervous nod.

  There was a silence. She waited for me to speak, to explain why I had come over to her. I hesitated, unsure of the answer to that unspoken question myself. Suddenly a memory came to me. I realized that the last time I had seen Alice, I had been less than an inch tall on the floor of Linda's office. The gentle girl before me had been a titan to me then. Her very presence had seemed reassuringly powerful. It had been unsettling to watch Linda make her cry.

  Her eyes conveyed something of that gentle reassurance even now. There was something oddly familiar there...

  "For work?" I asked, nodding at her laptop.
  "Yeah," she replied. "Linda keeps me busy."
  Her eyes met mine in a flash when she said the name.
  "It feels good to be out of there," I said.
  Alice sighed. She looked up at me and swallowed.
  "You have to leave too," I said. "We can't let her control us anymore."

  I knew that what I was saying was too simple, that it might not be so easy for her to leave, but I felt I had to say it that way. My words seemed to bring a calmness to Alice. She sat less tensely in her chair.

  "It's funny," I said. "We've worked together for so long and yet, this is the first time we've spoken."

  Her eyes met mine finally. They quivered, hazel rings full of trust and longing. Her face was beautiful.

  "I'd like to speak to you again sometime," she said, smiling.

  She closed her laptop, then picked up the purse by her heel and placed it on her lap. She rooted around until she found something, and placed it on the table. She was scribbling something. She gathered her things and stood up.

  "See you later, Will."

  I turned my head to admire her pretty form as she left. When she stepped through the door, I noticed that it had stopped raining. I turned back to the table, snatching up the scrap of paper she left behind.

***

  I was sitting on the sofa when Annie returned, my fingers playing idly with the scrap of paper. I heard Annie say goodbye to Liz as she closed the door. We had a quiet evening - dinner and the latest episode of Intergalactic Princess Hero Team.

  The next week passed quickly. It was the last we would spend together, as her father would be returning the following Sunday. By day, Annie would go to school, while I stayed at the condo, making preparations for the changes that lay ahead. At night, we would eat, watch TV together, and only occasionally play her shrinking games. I noticed she kept a slight emotional distance between us during this time. She knew that soon she wouldn't be seeing me anymore.

  On Friday the dam finally broke. She called my name and solemnly invited me into her room.

  "I have something to show you."

  She got on her knees and pulled something from beneath the bed. It was the shoebox lair she had shown me once before. She placed it on the bed and lifted the top. We peered down like giants into the miniature room, which had been furnished and decorated with great care by Annie.

  "Please, Will, you don't have to go. You can live with me. You can sleep in here, I'll bring you food, and... and you won't ever have to worry about money or a job ever again!"

  Her teary eyes pleaded with me, and I could feel her pain as she saw the response in my own eyes. I think part of me even wanted to go along with her plan, but I knew the way it had to be, and I told Annie as much. I held Annie as she cried.

  "Will, promise me we'll go dancing tomorrow."

  Dancing? It took a moment before I remembered. Then scenes of the fair came to my mind. The arcade and the Japanese dancing game. The ferris wheel. Winning her a teddy bear. I wasn't sure what Annie was planning, but I wasn't about to let her down now.

  "All right, Annie, we'll go dancing."

***

  Saturday morning came. My last day with Annie. At breakfast, her mood seemed to have changed drastically.

  "Remember, we're going dancing tonight."

  She gave me an enigmatic smile.

  I spent the day tidying up the condo for Gary's arrival. I packed much of my things. When I left here, I would be staying with a friend for a while before I finalized my plans for the future. In the afternoon, Gary called. He would be taking a flight that evening and would be home the next day. He asked how everything was going and if Annie wasn't causing any trouble.

  "Not too much trouble," I laughed.

  Annie was quiet all day, spending much of her time alone in her room. She came out when I called her for dinner. She came to the dining room, and plopped herself in her seat.

  "After dinner, we're going dancing, okay?"
  "Okay," I replied, still unsure what exactly she was planning.

  After dinner, she led me to her room. The middle of the room had been cleared, and in the middle sat a black and white chess board, a CD player with speakers, and an electric rainbow disco light.

  "Let's dance, Will."

  She turned off the light, and turned on the music. We walked to the chess board, and she shrank us. The disco light sent balls of color dancing around the room as it rotated. The music boomed loudly, the beat rumbling the ground beneath our feet. And we danced.

  Later, we said good night. This night, though, I would be sleeping not in Gary's bed, but in the shoebox beneath her bed - at Annie's insistence. For that one night, I was not Will. I was hers - the precious possession of a girl reluctant to grow up, a childhood doll given life.

  Good night, Annie.

***

  The next day, Gary came home. Annie rushed into his arms before the door had swung completely open, startling him. He laughed helplessly, his arms full of luggage as his daughter clung to him. Gary and I talked in the kitchen while Annie eavesdropped from the living room, watching TV. Soon it came time for me to leave. Annie gave me a hug and said goodbye. As she backed away, she became again that mysterious girl I had met a month ago, with the strange twinkle in her eye.

Down the Rabbit Hole by littlewarrior

  Alice and I started dating. She was a quiet girl; it took some coaxing to get more than a bashful smile from her, but that only made the effort all the more rewarding. Over time, I found her to be as vibrant as her hair, shimmering with laughter and joy. I had some money saved up, and was doing odd programming jobs. I had been staying with a friend since I left my wife and my old job, but soon Alice and I were able to move into an apartment of our own. She continued at her old job for a while, before working up the courage to quit.

  Being with Alice was enchanting. The only other woman I had ever dated had been Linda, and the two of them were as different as any two women could be. Where Linda had been hard and stern, Alice was soft and mild. I found I was able to relax and be myself around her. It was saddening to think how long it had been since I had felt that. It was a refreshing feeling.

  Our first kiss was magical. The smell of her fiery hair intoxicated me, while the touch of her lips left my own warm and tingling, like the taste of cinnamon. I knew I wanted to be with her. I was already making plans for our future together. I told her I had a job offer in another state. I asked her if she would be willing to move with me, and she said yes.

  Our new life was going well. Every day we fell deeper in love. I was in love with the mere sight of her - whether she wore a T-shirt and jeans at home, or earrings, a nice blouse and heels when we went out, she was my woman, she was beautiful, and I hated every minute we spent apart. I wanted everyone to see her sitting across from me in the expensive restaurant; I wanted to feel her delicate body leaning against mine, as we sat alone on the couch at night. She made me feel like a man.

  I was able to open up to her. I slowly began to talk to her about my troubled relationship with Linda. It was good to finally let it out. Alice had seen first-hand how she controlled the office. She was horrified to hear of how she controlled every aspect of my life. She listened attentively and offered me what understanding she could. She seemed a little guarded when it came to talking about herself, but I felt no need to rush her. I felt an intimacy with her I didn't think was possible. I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this woman.

  But there was something I still wondered about. The thing that had sparked my interest that day in the coffee shop. The familiar glint in her eyes - I realized it was the same as I had seen in Annie's. There was more to Alice's eyes though - an unexplored depth - but something familiar was definitely there. One day, I decided I just had to ask. We were sitting at the table after breakfast.

  "Alice..."
  She looked up.
  "You have beautiful eyes," I told her. She smiled at that.
  "They're the same color as Annie's. She was a very special girl. Like you. She..."
  "She... what?"
  "You wouldn't believe me if I told you."

  The eyes looked at me thoughtfully, inquisitively, then darted away.

  "Alice... you have a secret, don't you... a secret you've had since you were young. Something that makes you different."
  The hazel eyes widened. My words seemed to touch something deep inside her.
  "You've been unable to trust anyone... because you felt so alone. I've met someone like you. You can trust me."

  She stared off into the distance. She seemed to be processing what I had said. Then she looked back at me. Tentatively, she reached for her empty coffee cup. She pulled it closer. She placed a hand on either side, and sure enough, it began to shrink before our eyes. I had seen Annie perform tricks like this dozens of times, yet still I was filled with wonder.

  I told her about Annie and her powers. I told her about how she shrank me so I could spy on Linda. She listened with awe. She thought I was crazy and stupid and brave. She couldn't believe there was another like her. She told me a story of discovering her own powers, and feeling confused and afraid, much as Annie had been. She asked me if she could meet Annie someday, and I told her she would.

  One day, she told me of a dream she had. She was in her childhood bedroom again, sitting on her bed. Across from her, above the dresser, was a mirror. The girl beyond the glass was a stranger - though she had the same red hair and hazel eyes, the face was malevolent. Suddenly, the eyes turned red and the mouth widened into a chilling grin, exposing a set of sharp teeth. You're not me, you're not me, Alice repeated.

  Her double was clutching a miniature bed in her hand. Alice looked down and saw that the bed she had been sitting on had somehow shrunk and found its way into her own palm. She looked up again, and saw her reflection become even more distorted. The room through the mirror seemed to fill with dark clouds. My horrible secret. I'm a freak, a monster, some kind of demon, she found herself thinking. I can't let anyone know. She closed her eyes. Make it go away. I'm normal, I'm normal.

  When she found the courage to open her eyes again, she felt a stirring in her hand. She looked down, and saw a tiny version of herself, face in hands, sitting on the bed, weeping. A green wisp of smoke flashed beside the bed, and she saw me appear in her palm. She saw me take the smaller Alice in my arms, embracing her as I looked up to smile at the larger one. As she finished telling me this, her eyes were welling up. I hugged her.

  The first time she shrank me is still a warm, vivid memory. Her hands were a soft temple, the safe haven I had been seeking for so long. Her face was a clear summer sky. Her pupils were swirls of autumn, floating sentinels that watched over my whole world with an impossible benevolence. She seemed like something from a fairy-tale: the gentle giant princess at the top of the beanstalk who was strong and protective, yet delicate and in need of protection herself. It was an odd and wonderful feeling.

  "Will, you look just like you did in my dream."

***

  My hands rode the waves of her body. The taste of her saliva was on my lips as her tongue teased mine. The bed creaked as I shifted my weight, before she rolled over again, placing herself on top of me. I felt the warm bedsheet beneath me and the gentle, pliant weight of her breasts above me. She took a taste of my lips and looked at me with sultry eyes and a hungry smile. Suddenly she stopped and sat up, resting her arms on my chest.

  "Will," she sang, as she gave me a suggestive leer. "I have an idea."

  She backed off of me, and placed her nude behind on the mattress, and the soles of her feet on the bed between us. The bed stretched out beneath me as I shrank. All the while, Alice's mischievous feline eyes were watching me.

  "How's the view?"

  It was majestic. I admired the sight of the womanly mountain before me. The crimson strands of hair flowed down from the peak of her head, like the first rays of sunlight creeping over the horizon. The pale slopes of her legs became the summits of her knees, where a miniature climber could get a breathtaking view of the feminine terrain. Straight ahead of me, through the valley of her legs, lay the narrow mouth of a cavern, the entrance crested with red bushy growth. My stomach grew heavy with excitement at the thought of exploring that cave.

  Her eyes watched me, amused, as I took it all in. I now found myself staring at the two gigantic feet in front of me. She must have noticed, because one of them began to inch towards me. I found myself entranced by the sight of it: the gentle curve of flesh around bone, the heavy boulder of her heel, the nails, smooth as porcelain above each toe, the rough, intricate texture of the skin beneath. The sight of it made me alert, aroused, and weak. The big toe extended towards me inquisitively. The mass of flesh, wide around as a car tire, made contact with me, pressing gently against my chest. My heart pounded as I reached out my hands to touch the toe, my fingers finding the grooves of her toeprint. Suddenly the toe grew heavier, and before I knew what was happening, she had me pinned to the bed. A giggle resounded from above. My heart began to pound more loudly, though now from fear, not excitement.

  I glimpsed Alice's playful smirk for a second before her foot rose. As her sole loomed over me, I felt helpless and insignificant. This is all wrong, I thought. I thought she was sweet, gentle Alice. I realized with horror that I wanted her foot to come down on me. My reluctant prayer was immediately answered, as the behemoth foot of sweet, gentle Alice descended, swallowing me, along with all light, sound and air.

  She was still smiling as she lifted her foot to check on me. Now's my chance, I thought. I wanted to shout out to her, but my voice caught in my throat. Why can't I shout? I was paralyzed. Her foot descended once again. The moment before impact was an uneasy mixture of fear and anticipation. This time it was longer and more intense. She pressed and kneaded me into the mattress. A wave of fear consumed my body as a sudden realization came to me. Alice had a power over me that Linda could never have imagined, an unearthly power I could not comprehend. She was quite literally a goddess. The gargantuan form of her foot conquered me gently, teasingly.

  Tears came to my eyes as I finally found my voice.

  "ALICE! STOP!"

  She lifted her foot. Alarm was apparent in her face as she unshrank me.

  "Oh Will, I... I'm sorry," she cried, distraught, as she realized what she had been doing to me.

  I sat up against the pillow. Alice curled up next to me, rubbing my arm. I told her about how Linda had used her feet to control me. She seemed to think about that for a while.

  "Will, do you remember that dream I told you about?"
  I nodded.
  "You don't want to be controlled... any more than I want to be that red-eyed monster."
  "I don't..." I replied, "but... I do..."

  That night we had a long talk. I told her that feet made me feel strange things, and that Linda had used that to control me. Alice suggested that I had suffered some emotional damage, and promised to help me work through it.

  "There's nothing wrong with liking feet," she told me, rubbing my back comfortingly.

  The next couple of days Alice seemed quiet, almost pensive. She seemed to be giving me some space. We refrained from our intimate activities, instead, we went about our daily life, going to work, coming home, eating dinner and cuddling on the couch.

  One night, I had undressed, and was brushing my teeth, while Alice waited for me in the bedroom.

  "Oh, Will," her voice rang out. "I have a surprise for you."

  I spit into the sink and wiped my face with a towel. I walked into the bedroom, and was shocked to find Alice standing there, naked, except for a pair of black thigh-high leather boots.

  "Come here, Will," she beckoned, and before I could react, she shrank me.

  Alice loomed over me. The black bulbous toes of her boots rested on the carpet before me. Black laces snaked their way up thick black columns, zigzagging through small metal clasps before ending in ornate looped knots just below her knee. The leather creaked as she took a few impending steps towards me. I heard the faint clack of lace ends bouncing against boot as she settled her weight. What was she doing?

  "Will," she began, her eyes full of gentle love.
  "Do you love me?"
  "Yes," I answered.
  "Would you do anything for me?"
  "Yes," again.
  She smiled softly.

  "I love you too, Will. You're a very special man. I'm the luckiest girl on earth to have you. But we're still getting to know each other. We may not end up together... I hope we do, but... time will tell. The only way we'll find out is if we are open with each other. If we trust each other. If you decide to love me, to make me your woman, that is your choice. I have powers... powers that I am still trying to understand. But it is not within my power to make you love me. Do you understand, Will?"

  She paused. I knew she was right. Real love wasn't something you could take from someone. Linda had never truly loved me. That explained why she could move on so easily to Cory when she was bored with me. I looked up and nodded to Alice, and she continued.

  "But if you do decide to love me, I expect commitment. I expect you to commit to taking a chance, trusting your heart, sharing your world with me... I know I have these powers, but I don't want you to be afraid of me, Will. I'm not a monster, I'm not a goddess. I can be kind of a klutz sometimes."  She smiled. "I might boss you around now and then, but I promise, I won't be like her. So, Will... what do you say?"

  I pondered a moment, then leapt onto the toe of her boot, giving it a hug and a kiss.

  Alice smiled down on me benevolently. She lifted her boot, and me, as she strode carefully towards the bed. I sat on the boot, resting my behind on the lowest rung of laces, with my little feet flat against the smooth curved surface of the toe. Our massive bedroom whirled around frighteningly as she swung her leg onto the bed. My body rested awkwardly on the now-horizontal boot, the black leather cold against my bare skin. I stared up at the womanly landscape beyond the shaft of the boot, my gaze rising over pudendum, breasts and face. The boot began to tilt as she lifted her leg off the bed. My grip began to give, and I found myself tumbling helplessly down the rugged slope of the boot, over her kneecap and onto the soft belly below. The ground gave a spasm when I landed; my impact must have tickled. After recovering from the fall, I looked up and saw Alice's pretty face. Her humongous lips stretched into a smile. I responded with my own little smile.

  The fleshy earth beneath me was incredibly warm. I got on my hands and knees and began kissing it. I looked up to see her reaction. I stood up, entranced by the sight of her plushy smiling lips. I began to walk toward them. I reached her left breast, struggling against the slope before she helped me, placing her fingers beneath my feet so I could scramble up. Atop her breast, I made my way to the nipple. I knelt down for a while to let my hands and mouth greet it before continuing.

  I walked towards her mouth. She lowered her face when she saw me approach. I made to kiss her, and she pursed her lips in response. Suddenly, a gust of warm wind seized me and sent me tumbling between her breasts. A giggle shook the ground, jostling me about before I settled. I smiled up at her in playful reproach.

  Fingers grasped me from behind. Though they startled me, they were gentle. They placed me on the bed, and the giantess sat up. She began to remove her boots, untying the laces and slipping them down her legs and off her titanic feet, before placing them upright on the bed. She wiggled her toes and rubbed her feet with her hands.

  "Will, do you trust me?"
  "Yes, Alice."
  "I want to try something with you."

  Her fingers clutched me once again, and they placed me on the bed facing her feet. She stood her soles up in front of me.

  "Will, I want you to play with my feet. You can massage them, kiss them... or do anything else you want to do. While you are doing that, I want you to go inside to that vulnerable place, that place where Linda hurt you. I want you to try to feel some of that pain again... and try to heal it. I want you to remember that I love you and that you're my strong, brave man. I want you to know that I would never hurt you. I want you to think about the love and understanding we have. About what you feel for me. Can you do that, Will?"

  I gulped, and nodded. I walked gingerly toward the wall of wrinkled flesh. Huge toes curled and uncurled overhead, playfully, invitingly. I placed a hand on the sole, which twitched in response. My heart was pounding. I stepped closer to the foot, closed my eyes and planted a kiss upon it. A wave of memories and emotions washed over me. I thought of Linda, and the things she made me do, and did to me, with her feet. I thought of my friend, Annie, and the games we played. She had me under her foot and I called out for help, just as I had with Alice. It was just an innocent game. I felt ashamed. I turned to look behind me at Alice's black boots resting on the bed. They seemed to be alive, to have a personality; they seemed to be watching me. They reminded me of Linda. What was a nice girl like Alice doing with boots like those?

  I stepped around the foot, giving Alice a worried look. She responded with an almost sad smile. Then I remembered what she had said. Do you trust me? Go to that vulnerable place.

    I stepped towards her foot. I touched it, then pressed my body against it. A shiver ran through me. My heart pounded. I started out slowly, but soon I was kissing and licking and rubbing against her foot. I had to struggle with myself not to feel guilty, inferior or even silly about what I was doing. She told me to do what I wanted, and I tried to convince myself that I didn't want to do these things, but I couldn't help myself. I wanted to rub my hands, tongue and body against her foot, and I did. Was she becoming... my new Linda?

  I paused to peer around her sole again. She still had that sad smile; those gentle, nonthreatening eyes. I just stood there for a while, until a curious thought came to me.

  We're both looking for trust and understanding. We're both sharing a dark, secret part of ourselves that we don't quite understand... and how well those parts fit together! Alice is letting me explore that part of myself... so I can understand it... and let it be whatever I need it to be...

  I gave her a smile... and the side of her foot a few soft kisses. I looked at her eagerly, and she unshrank me. I climbed on top of her, and began to pepper her face, neck and hands with kisses. Her breaths came slow and deep. "Will", she whispered, a single tear streaming from her left eye, "my big, strong little man."

***

  As time passed, we grew closer. We found joy in the small details of our life. Going for walks, going to the movies, having dinner at home and out. We had fun, joked around, teased each other, and argued, as any couple does. I began to feel a sense of normalcy in our relationship that I had never known with Linda. We got so caught up in our happy life together that sometimes we would almost forget about her powers. But every now and then she would throw me a sideways glance and a knowing smirk which seemed just to serve as a simple reminder of our secrets. She seemed to enjoy shrinking me, and I grew used to seeing her tower over me. I grew to love the feeling of those humongous silky lips kissing my chest, her crimson hair draped around me on the pillow as she looked down on me. A different side of her seemed to shine through those eyes then - something seductive, possessive, almost frightening. It was exciting.

  I felt something slowly changing within me. Alice and I began to share a deeper sense of trust and love, and the scars that Linda had left on me began to fade. There was still something beneath them that wouldn't go away, something that wanted to be vulnerable at the hands and feet of a powerful woman - though now it had taken on a different meaning. That woman was Alice now, and I wanted to feel that way and to share that part of myself because I loved her, not because I feared her. Alice was very attuned to the way I was feeling, and seemed pleased that she could use her powers to help me.

  Sometimes I needed reassurance. I needed her to hold me, in her arms or in her palm. And I strove to be that little wisp of smoke that had comforted her in her dream. When one of us was upset, or we had a fight or a rough patch in our relationship, we often found it helpful to use her powers to play little games and act out scenarios. Sometimes, she would be the one who shrank, and I would let her sit in my palm as I rubbed her back with my finger. We had our own weird little world, our own wonderland, where we could go to escape the stresses of life.

  One time, we got into a particularly heated argument and she got so angry with me that she shrank me. She had me on the carpet between her sneakers. But when she saw how frightened I was, her face softened. I felt relieved until I saw her sole ascend. My body stiffened in fear as she brought her shoe down on top of me and pressed me gently into the carpet, mock-crushing me, before picking me up and assaulting my head with a kiss. She gripped me tightly in her fist, looking at me with an amused, annoyed smile. That episode taught her the importance of not losing her self-control... and it taught me the importance of respecting her point of view.

  That night I lay in bed with her, cradling her from behind.

  "Love you." I kissed her neck.
  "Love you too."
  "I'm sorry we fought."
  "Hope you learned your lesson, babe. Linda's one thing, but you better not get on my bad side. They'd never find you."
  She laughed like the little firebrand she was.
  "The next time you speak to me that way, you're going in the boot," she teased.
  "I thought that was my reward for being good."

  She wrapped her legs around mine playfully. She squeezed my arm, and gave my knuckle a kiss. I let myself drift into a blissful sleep, remembering all I had been through, and knowing that the most exciting and challenging of adventures still lay ahead.

Embrace by littlewarrior

TWO YEARS LATER

I opened the car door, and Alice stepped out, a brisk wind upsetting her hair. She looked beautiful that day, as she did every day.

Sometimes, when I looked at her body, I got the strange feeling I was viewing a captivating landscape from above. It was not far from the truth; I had walked miles across her arms, ankles, breasts and neck; I literally knew the back of my girlfriend's hand better than my own. How many guys could say that?

The past two years saw a lot of changes in our lives. Alice found work as a receptionist at a nearby medical center, while I continued to work at the game company. One of the projects I worked on ended up being very successful. It was a mobile game, which was a relatively new thing at the time. The game generated some fame for our company, which ensured us steady business. What began as a risky venture turned into a solid company in a niche market. The difference between my new job and my old one was dramatic. I loved my work, and we were well off financially. We continued to live within our means; we still lived in the same apartment and I was paying off my student debt and saving money.

 

That day the sky was overcast, but my world was lit by the girl standing next to me – my own ray of sunlight. She wore a dark green knitted wool sweater with large black buttons, blue jeans, and a pair of low cut leather boots with buckles.

"I'm so excited," she said, giddy, as she took my hand.

Today she would be meeting my good friend Annie.

It was a small college campus in hilly upstate New York. Our feet found the stone path, which slithered through a sea of well-tended grass as it dodged old brick buildings. Small planted trees lined our way, twiggy things with bare branches. It was a Friday afternoon, and the campus was quiet. A few students were ambling to or from their last class before the weekend. A cool wind was pressing on us. Alice huddled up against me.

Suddenly before us was the library, where Annie said she'd meet us. There was a brown-haired girl standing there, wearing a light blue hooded sweatshirt and yellow flip-flops.

"Hi Annie!" I called out.

She waved when she saw us. We climbed up the short flight of steps to meet her. She walked up to me and gave me a warm hug.

"I missed you, Will!"

It felt good to hug her again. Good and... different. Strange, I thought.

"Annie, you've... grown!"
"Oh...” She shook her head. "Just a late growth spurt. Completely natural."

 

She gave me a wry smile that I found hard to read. I introduced her to Alice. Annie wasn't shy about giving her a hug as well.


"It's great to finally meet you," Alice said. "Will's told me so much about you."

 

Annie lingered in her hug for a moment, before stepping back to look at her.

 

“You're very pretty, Alice.”

 

For a moment they just looked at each other. I tried to imagine what was going through their minds then.


"Come on, guys! Let's go back to my dorm. This way."

The sky was just beginning to darken as we followed Annie. She had definitely changed since I had seen her last. She was eighteen now. She was no longer quite as petite as when I had met her two years ago. As we walked, and listened to her talk about college life, I couldn't help but notice a change in her personality as well. She seemed a bit more serious than the playful girl I had known. She's just growing up, I told myself. Still, I couldn't help feeling disappointed. I wanted Alice to meet the unpredictable, carefree Annie that I remembered.

A change of scenery brought me out of my ruminations. We had entered Annie's dorm room. I stepped inside, and barely had time to register my surroundings before I saw a creepy grin appear on Annie's face. In a flash, she was ten times her size and plodding towards me. For a moment, it seemed I was hovering in midair like Wile E. Coyote, before Annie's chest collided with me and her arms engulfed me in an affectionate if forceful embrace. The soft blue fabric of her sweatshirt was imbued with a clean linen scent, and the residual coolness of the autumn air. I probably would have found it quite comfortable had she not been hugging me so tightly.

"Oh Will! I missed you so much!" she sang, twirling about, oblivious as I struggled for air in a vice of shirt fabric.


There's the Annie I remember.

My towering friend made her way to the bed, and let me slip from her arms onto the soft mattress, before clambering up herself. She sat with her feet on the bed, and her arms resting on top of her knees. The legs of her jeans were a deep, mottled blue, and seemed a little too long, like heavy curtains draped over her feet. She looked down at me with peaceful eyes, orbs of living glass painted with fall twilight. Her skin was smooth; her cheeks, jaw and neck were sheets of peach snow. A set of ten chubby digits was lined up before me, poking out from under her jeans, and resting on yellow foam-rubber platforms. A faint odor hung in the air, musky but inoffensive. I noticed her toenails were unpainted. A task she had saved for me? I looked up and saw that familiar smile of hers, enigmatic and benign.

Next to her bed, I noticed a large desk. Alice had taken a seat there, and was admiring some of Annie's artwork which had been hung on a cork-board. The drawings depicted various superheroes and heroines of her own design. I had seen some of her drawings before, and I noticed a marked improvement in her style.

 

I turned my attention back to Annie, who was still staring at me. Something about her smile made me uncomfortable.

 

I jumped.

 

Something had lunged toward me. Regaining my composure, I realized it had only been Annie's foot, which she had unconsciously shifted a few centimeters. Annie's smile widened at my reaction, and she let out a giggle, but continued not to speak. I swallowed, and laughed nervously. I turned to look at Alice, who had apparently found the scene amusing as well. Then something flashed in her eyes, and she gave me a different smile. The one with narrow eyes. That smile? She only gave me that smile when she was going to –

 

Whomp.

 

Well... I had asked for it. I had turned away from Annie and given her a target. I found myself sandwiched between the bedspread and the dirty flip-flop sole. All right, Annie. You had your fun. I tried pushing on her sole. I got it to lift a little. There was something almost affectionate in the way she brought it down even harder in response.

 

Ugh!

 

I let my body relax. I sometimes found myself in situations where all I could do was think. What I had been thinking about that day was whether Annie and Alice would get along. Both of them were dear to me; I knew they were eager to meet each other, but something inside of me was worried that... I don't know, that they would get jealous over me or something. I had been unsure of what to expect that day, but the girls' muffled laughter told me they were going to get along just fine. I gathered what air I could through the fabric of the bedspread, and breathed a sigh of relief.

Girl Talk by littlewarrior

“All right, Annie, I think that's enough,” said Alice, finally mastering her laughter.


I watched the bottom of Annie's car-sized flip-flop rise as she lifted her foot off me, placing it on the bed beside its twin.


“Sorry, Will, I couldn't resist.”


As she watched me stand up and dust myself off, Annie looked apologetic, but her remorse wasn't strong enough to suppress a smile. She was still a little devil, and she knew it, but I could never get mad at her.


Alice shifted in her seat.


“Will told me you used to play games with him. Was that one of them?”


“Yeah...” she said with a giggle.


“What other games did you play?” Alice leaned forward with interest.


“Well, we had this game where Will had to climb onto my bed with me... bu-ut, for some reason Will just wanted to hide in my shoe.”


That's not how it happened! I fell in her shoe while trying to climb her bed. Alice gave me an amused look. Since I was too small for her to hear, I tried to signal to her that that wasn't the whole story.


“And a few times he painted my nails, and oh yeah, Will and Liz and I used to play Intergalactic Princess Hero Team! Do you like that show? I have the first four seasons on DVD. Maybe we could watch it later!”


“I'd love to.”


“Let's see, what else did we do? Um... Oh. There was that one time... I'm sure Will told you about the time he...”


She was of course alluding to the time she shrank me so I could spy on my cheating ex-wife.


“Yes, Will told me. He was very brave.” Alice tilted her head and gave me an angry look. “Very brave and very stupid. He could have gotten hurt. Or worse, found.”


Alice's eyes, normally gentle and full of love, seemed to darken and fill with storm clouds when she got angry with me. Very seldom though did she get really upset with me. There were a few occasions when I had to endure a terrible look from her (made even more terrible if I happened to be shrunk), a look that seemed to say, “I'm going to grind your bones to make my bread.” I knew she would never really hurt me, but that look made me think of all the things she could do to me if she wanted, and that was more than enough to keep me off her bad side.


Maybe it was stupid. But I had to. Otherwise, we might not be together.


My surroundings began to return to their ordinary scale. Is Annie growing me, or shrinking the entire world? I thought half-seriously. I was now sitting beside Annie on the bed. As Alice watched me return to normal, I saw the storm clouds in her pupils dissipate, leaving behind the gentler darkness of a clear night sky. She greeted her now normal-sized boyfriend with a smile and a melodic hum. She looked at Annie with eager interest.


“So, um... Annie, how did you first learn about your powers?”


Annie's face grew thoughtful and serious, and she was silent for a while. Then she told her story, the story she had told me once, about facing down a bully, and getting her first shocking glimpse of how frighteningly powerful she really was. Alice's eyes grew wide, and she covered her mouth in shock.


Oh my God!


A pang of sympathy was evident on her face as she got up from her chair to give Annie a hug. She cradled Annie's head to her breast for a moment.


“Look at me, Annie. Don't you ever think you're a freak or a monster. We didn't choose to have this... power. I know it can be hard to bear sometimes, trust me, I know. But it can't control you, or tell you who you should be. Only you can decide that.”


It was a heartwarming moment, watching the two new friends repose in their long-awaited understanding, but I suddenly began to feel ill. A strange sense of dread came over me, and the room seemed to disappear, leaving the three of us floating in space. Annie turned her head to look at me. She seemed to sense my unease. I had the sudden, strange feeling that she was reading my mind, answering a question I couldn't put into words. My unease began to subside, but I was left feeling just as perplexed as ever.


“Will... How did you know? How did you know Alice had the shrinking power?”


“How did you know I knew?” I almost said. Instead, I thought for a moment. I don't know how I knew. I just knew when I looked into –


“Her eyes. There was something strange about her eyes... something that told me she was different. Something that reminded me of you, Annie.”


Annie's face lit up at that.


Of course...


Alice seemed just as intrigued by Annie's response as I was. When Annie's eyes met mine again, she looked as if she had said something she shouldn't have. It was clear she knew something she wasn't telling us.


Before I could ask her about it, we heard the sound of a door open and close in the common room adjoining Annie's bedroom. We heard the sound of footsteps growing louder, and then a girl appeared. She was slightly thickset, with Asian features, dark hair and glasses.


“Hi Will!”


“Alice, I'd like you to meet my best friend and roommate, Liz.”


“Nice to meet you, Liz.”


I had gotten to know Li-Na Kim, or Liz, during my stay with Annie. She was the first one Annie told about her powers, so I knew they had a close friendship.


“My mother was asking about you, Will,” Liz said as she put her backpack down by her bed.


“I'm sure Mrs. Kim would like to see you again,” teased Annie, grinning. “Maybe this time you could paint her toenails.”


The girls laughed, and I just wondered how long Annie was going to keep embarrassing me during our visit. I had of course told Alice about how I had given Liz's mom, Mindy, the shock of her life when she walked into her daughter's bedroom and saw me shrunk on the floor. What I had told neither Alice nor Annie was that, on a previous night at Liz's house, I had snuck out of Liz's room out of curiosity, and ended up in the kitchen by Mindy's gargantuan feet. It wasn't until Liz appeared that I was rescued and returned safely to her room. I thought Mrs. Kim was a kind, sweet woman, and, though I felt a little guilty admitting it, I thought she had very attractive feet.


“I'll be right back, you guys,” said Annie, exiting the room. Liz followed, leaving me and Alice sitting on the bed together.


“She's really sweet, Will. I can tell she really cares about you.”


She slipped her hand through mine, and gripped it gently.


I thought back to that strange, dreadful feeling I had felt a few minutes earlier. Between that and Annie's strange comment, I had the inkling that something big was going to happen this weekend. I knew that there were at least two women in the world who had these powers – powers that should be impossible, powers that defied explanation. I felt the dread lurking again. I knew that I was part of something bigger than me, and something told me I would soon find out what that was.

Vertigo (Part One) by littlewarrior

“She didn't hurt you, did she?” asked Alice.

We were sitting on the bed where, moments earlier, Annie had me pinned beneath her flip-flop.

“No. She didn't hurt me. Though sometimes she can be a little rougher than she realizes.”

Alice brushed her hair behind her ear, and leaned in to kiss my cheek.

“You know I would never hurt you either, even though I play a little rough sometimes, too.”

She squeezed my hand, and rubbed a boot against my leg.

We decided to go out for dinner. Alice and Annie sat in the back of my car, chatting away. It was like they had known each other for years. Alice was usually a little timid when meeting new people, so I was surprised at how quickly she had warmed up to Annie. They told stories, often involving me, and often embarrassing. Annie told Alice about the anime series Intergalactic Princess Hero Team, which she insisted Alice watch. She said we were having a marathon when we got back to her dorm.

Liz sat in the front seat next to me. I asked her how her mother was doing. I had often thought about Mindy, since the day she accidentally found out about Annie's powers. Liz told me her mother was doing well, and that she had become fascinated with Annie. She had even let Annie shrink her. Liz recounted holding her mother gently in her palm, like a tiny grasshopper. I asked her what her mother thought about the experience. “She was a little frightened at first,” she told me. “but I think she liked it.”

I took the girls out to a nice family restaurant not far from campus, and we had a good time. It was refreshing to have a night of normal fun.

***

Princess Mua jumped.

“Oh! You startled me!” It was only her big sister, Princess Rita.

“My darling sister, what in the nine galaxies are you doing here? You know you're not allowed in the celestial gallery!”

The younger princess pouted. “It's not fair. I just wanted to look around is all...”

Rita gave her sister a stern look. “Mua, please tell me you didn't touch anything.”

Mua looked her sister in the eyes, then looked away, pouting once more. She knew her face had given her away.

“I just ate a candy I found.”

“What candy?”

“Over there.”

Rita looked where her sister was pointing. Everything in the gallery seemed to be in order, until her eyes fell on the crystal dish sitting on a marble plinth in the center of the room. The Nexi system. She walked over to the dish and counted the marble-sized orbs circling the bright light in the center. Seven. One missing. A pall fell over her face as she turned to Princess Mua.

“Oh dear sister, what have you done? That was no candy. That was a planet! That was the homeworld of the miniature Valandori people!”

“Oh God and Goddess! I am so sorry!” Princess Mua wailed, as she started to weep.

“Father rescued their system from a dimensional rift,” Rita explained. “Their home universe is still young, and hasn't yet expanded to the same proportions as ours... hmm...”

Rita thought for a moment, then pulled out a hand-held scanning device, and pointed it at her sister.

“Just as I had hoped. You see, the Valandori experience time differently from us. A second to us is several days to them. They had plenty of time to escape on their starships. It seems they've established a colony in your ear.”

“What? Get them out!”

Rita gave her sister a sour look. “They are people, not germs! You've destroyed their planet, where else are they to go?”

“But I don't want them there!”

“They are a protected civilization under Article 25 of the Second Galactic Treaty. We are not to interfere with them in any way. Since no lasting damage was done, I will not tell father, but you must not attempt to remove them. Do you hear me?”

The Valandori were a major subplot of season three. The microscopic race formed a symbiotic relationship with Princess Mua, giving her enhanced powers.

I enjoyed watching Hero Team. The four sisters, the princesses Rita, Lepta, Photina and Mua, each had a special power. Together they protected the Universe from the forces of evil. They were intelligent, caring, and they could kick ass. I thought they were good role models for girls.

“Will, start the next episode!” Annie said, grabbing another handful of popcorn.

From my seat on the couch between Annie and Alice, I reached over to the remote on the table in front of us. The table seemed to move further away from me. I was shrinking. I hopped off the couch, took a step towards the table and just managed to grab the table edge as the ground fell out from beneath my feet.

“Hurry up, Will,” said Annie, laughing.

I scrambled onto the tabletop, turned around, and glared at the girls accusingly. Both girls smiled innocently, and each pointed at the other. Liz sat by herself on a chair, watching me with sympathy. I walked over to the remote, and struggled with it for a while, mashing my hands on its over-sized rubber buttons. I eventually got it to work, and as I saw the title sequence of the next episode begin to play, I turned around and tried to get the attention of one of the girls. They seemed to be ignoring me. I waved my arms and called out.

“Alice, a little help please?”

She looked down at me, smirking. A booted foot rose from beyond the table's horizon. The leather mammoth was carried forward by Alice's titanic leg muscles, in a breathtaking defiance of gravity. She let her foot drop onto the table, sending a tremor through my body, which caused both my feet to leave the ground momentarily. My muscles jolted as I regained balance. I saw a second leather mass rise through the air and settle over the first, as Alice crossed her legs. Alice's eyes were on the television, but her smile was directed at me. Come on over, it said. I'm waiting.

I smiled to myself, and stepped forward with confidence. With a bit of a struggle, I was able to pull my weight up onto the leather strap that fed through a brass buckle on the side of the boot. I put my foot down, using the strap as a step to boost myself up. I stretched an arm and a leg up the black, flesh-like curve of the boot, and with a tenuous grip on the material, I made it to the top of Alice's foot. The feat had felt something like mounting an especially large elephant. I looked ahead and saw the monstrous felled logs that were Alice's legs, forming a jean-covered bridge that spanned the abyss between the table and the couch. I began to cross, keeping my eyes on Alice.

Alice was gentle, and always mindful of my safety, but over time we had grown to enjoy introducing a little danger into the games we played. I wanted her to shrink me down on our apartment floor and go about her day, waiting for me to climb her or otherwise get her attention. At first, she was reluctant. But eventually, she learned to walk about the apartment without watching her step. There were close calls where I found myself a few precious steps ahead of her falling foot or behind, but I found it thrilling. I would eventually find my way into her palm, onto the page of the book she was reading, or onto her pillow, to whisper in her ear as she lay waiting for me in bed. She always thought I was romantic and brave when I appeared suddenly, like a gift she had been waiting for the whole day.

On this occasion, by contrast, there was little danger. I was about two inches tall, and Alice knew where I was. There was little chance of me getting lost or injured. Alice kept her legs remarkably still as I made my way across. I walked on the taut surface of her thigh to where her leg met her body. The jean fabric ended where a sweater wall began. I looked up and saw my girlfriend's chest and the serene features of her face. Seeing her from this angle always comforted me somehow. I stepped forward, ready to grab onto the sweater fabric.

“Here I come, Alice."

Just as I was about to begin my ascent, something bounced off Alice's jeans and landed right in front of me. In the dim light it was hard to make out, but as my eyes adjusted, I saw it was a piece of popcorn. For a while I pondered the oddity before me, noting how strange-looking everyday objects became when you were shrunk. Then I saw a massive shadow looming above me. It was Alice's hand, its fingers searching for the stray piece of popcorn. I stumbled backwards, making way for the grasping digits. The hand hovered just over the popcorn, pausing for some reason. Then, without warning, a finger flicked me. My chest stung dully as I careened backwards, landing in the crevice between Alice's legs. I felt the ground below me spasm, and heard a soft grunt from overhead, followed by a giggle and the crunch of popcorn.

I tried to get up but slipped, falling back against the strip of jean fabric concealing the zipper. Alice giggled again, and I couldn't help but laugh myself at where I had become trapped. I knew she was going to tease me about it later, and probably make some joke about our relationship. I turned over on my stomach, and began to inch upwards towards her cross-knitted sweater, at last gathering some of the soft fabric in a firm grasp. Alice was an adventure full of surprises, and I was her little warrior, resilient and determined.

Vertigo (Part Two) by littlewarrior

The forest-green wool felt soft underfoot, like a fibrous moss, a terrain at once familiar and alien. I had made it to the couch, and now stood on the portion of sweater fabric draped over my girlfriend's lap. Looking behind me, I saw a pair of legs crossed casually – a bridge leading back to the footrest. Off in the distance was the TV screen, its image partially blocked by two sets of feet: Alice's, clad snugly in low-cut boots, and Annie's, bare and wagging with nervous energy. I turned and looked up at Alice. Every now and then her hand would descend into the bowl beside her, collect a pile of popcorn, and carry it to her face, to send it into the shadows beyond her lips.

I began my journey up her sweater, walking, crawling, then climbing as the surface started to slope. The fabric was a patch of thick woolen vines, growing up the shirt in criss-crossing patterns. My ascent was barred by a black plastic disc jutting out from the shirt. The button was held in place by two threads looped through its center. I happened to notice Annie looking down at me curiously from her seat beside Alice. I smiled at her and pretended to shine Alice's button with my shirtsleeve. She made a face showing a lack of amusement before she turned back to the TV.

I clutched a tangle of fibers to my right, and pulled myself in that direction, navigating upward and around the button. The wall beneath me moved with Alice's breath, in and out in a slow rhythm as I climbed. I heard a muffled gurgle from her stomach, like the grumbling of some subterranean beast. There was no sentient beast in there, but rather Alice's digestive tract, a hungry, impersonal pit waiting for some morsel to fall in. Alice's belly groaned again, as if sensing the prey beyond the wall of skin, just out of its reach. I felt a stirring in my own stomach, and the buzz of adrenaline, which prompted me to continue my climb.

As I made my way up, Alice's sweater curved around the form of her breasts, temporarily changing the angle of my climb. The fabric hung loosely there, the network of woolen ropes sagging under my weight as I fed my hands and feet through. I freed my left foot from the shirt, and sent it searching for the next foothold. I thought I had found it, but my foot slipped, and the sudden force of my weight yanked the other foot free as well, leaving my legs dangling over the open space below. Alice must have felt the sudden tug of distress on her shirt, because I felt her body stir, and when I looked down, I saw her cupped palm waiting for me to drop. Though it wasn't a long fall to her lap at my size, it reassured me that she would be ready to catch me if I fell. With a bit of effort, I was able to get my minuscule socked foot back into the sweater, and when Alice was sure I was safe, her hand retreated to its resting spot at her side.

As I reached her chest, I felt the radiant warmth of human flesh once again, and the beating of a tremendous heart. I pictured the mass of muscle, which I could surely fit inside, pulsating powerfully as it sent oxygen to each of trillions of giant cells in this giant body, this wonder of nature. How is this possible? I loved Alice, but there were moments when I feared her, something which I mostly kept hidden. I found myself thinking about physics, chemistry, biology... mankind's attempts to understand the universe. There was a power among us, towering over us, laughing at all of that. A power that just happened to take the form of two sweet young ladies. Did they truly understand what they were?

I felt my head start to spin. My mind tormented me with thoughts of shrinking away to nothing and getting lost in the threads of Alice's shirt. I imagined calling out to her in vain as I got smaller and smaller, until I blipped out of existence. My hands betrayed me, growing weak and sweaty, threatening to send me falling towards the couch. Summoning my courage, I gripped the shirt firmly. I felt my knuckles make contact with the skin behind the green wool, still alive with an obdurate pulse. I fed my hand through to feel the beating. I imagined an energy flowing through us, from a big heart to a small one, feeding me life. I felt a calmness come over me. I sensed then that the only solace I could find in this life would come from trusting and submitting to this greater being.

With a newfound resolve, I followed the fabric to her left shoulder. I reached the summit and stood up, her hair forming an alcove around me, like the fronds of a willow. In the light of the TV, her fire-red hair became a soaked brown, and her pale neck and cheek beside me took on a ghostly blue aura. I had scaled Alice more times than I could count. Each climb was different. The clothes and shoes she wore, and whether she was sitting, standing or walking, were the factors affecting the strategy I chose. She seemed to pick her outfits based on their ease or difficulty of climbing. Sweaters, pajama pants, and fuzzy slippers were all friendly terrain. There were times, however, when she challenged me almost to the point of cruelty. One time, she was walking around the house in shorts and sneakers, putting away dishes, doing laundry, and staying away from anything climbable, with one of her shoelaces dangling noticeably lower than the others.

Looking up, I saw Alice's ear. It looked about as tall as I was. I gathered a handful of hair in my fist, turning the lavender-scented silk into something resembling a rope, and began to climb. Soon I was level with her ear. I thought hard about what I was going to say. I wanted to say something simple that conveyed the fear and awe I had felt while climbing her. I thought for a while, and then the word came to me. I hesitated – I was afraid to say it. But it was the only thing that seemed to capture what I was feeling.

“I love you... my goddess.”

I slid down her hair and felt my feet hit her shoulder. I looked at her face for any sign of reaction, but she calmly continued to watch the TV. What was she thinking? I never called her goddess. There was no doubt that she had power over me. Our relationship was a game, an exciting mixture of trust and danger. But we had a tacit understanding that there were places we were both afraid to go. There were plenty of conceited women who used that label for themselves, and plenty of people who used it sarcastically on others. This wasn't like that. In my mouth, “goddess” stood for my deepest fear and noblest desire.

I stood there for a moment, unsure what to do next. I peered over her shoulder, down at her lap. I saw her hand reach into the popcorn bowl. I then saw Annie reach in for some. I watched a crane in a light blue sweatshirt sleeve drop into the bowl. Its mighty fingers enclosed a mouthful of the buttery snacks, and lifted them through the air to their destination. Even distracted by the television, Annie's face seemed kind and gentle as always. I noticed the back of the couch, like a bridge spanning the distance between Alice's shoulder and Annie's. I hopped onto that bridge and started to traverse it, staying closer to the right edge, so that a cushion would break my fall, rather than the hard floor over the left edge. I looked back at Alice one last time. I started to feel some trepidation about what I had said to her. Her face still offered no clue to her feelings. Was she shocked, amused, or – ?

As I drew closer to Annie, I passed over the bowl of popcorn below. Its contents were mostly eaten, and the girls were finishing what remained. I took care not to fall in. Though I was large enough to be recognized as a foreign object by the girls' searching fingers, being that close to giant food just made me uncomfortable. Thankfully, I made it to Annie without any mishaps. Her right shoulder rested against the couch, and her thick neck rose like a massive column supporting her head. I stepped toward her shoulder, and prepared to make the short leap. Off in the unfathomable distance, the out-of-focus TV screen lit the front of Annie's body. I counted to three and leaped. On three, I heard the girls laughing loudly, and I saw Annie's back as she bent forward, away from the couch. Shit!

I found myself tumbling, my arms grasping the air in vain, until my fall was cut short by the immense force of Annie's back. My cry of pain was silenced as I found myself in a vacuum of darkness and pressure. I struggled for breath. My body ached and my head was spinning. This was not good. I was in trouble, and neither of the girls knew where I was. My body was pressed flat against the couch, and my head was turned to the side. I could have easily broken my nose or a bone, but had somehow managed to fall just the right way. I tried to move, praying that I could get Annie to notice me, but my limbs grew weaker, and the muffled sounds grew distant until they finally faded.

I was floating in darkness. I couldn't remember anything. I felt a jolt. I awoke disoriented and sore. I was lying down. I turned my head up and saw a large pink object. After a few seconds, I recognized the plastic popcorn bowl sitting on the couch. I lifted myself up, and tried to make out more of my surroundings. I was in a narrow alley between two tall walls. As my eyes adjusted to the sparse light, I realized one of the walls was the seat of Annie's jeans. She must have scooted forward, letting me fall to the couch. Thinking quickly, I ran towards the giant bowl. I looked back into the narrow space. If she had slid back against the couch, her rear-end would have been the end of me.

Still a little dizzy, I sat down next to Annie, leaning back into the over-sized couch. I took some deep breaths to calm myself. I rested there for a few minutes, until I felt I could stand. I started to walk forward. My body was still a little sore, but not too beat up. Annie's right leg formed a pant wall extending from the back of the couch to the front and over the edge. Her left leg was crossed under it, and her left foot stuck out from under her jeans, resting on the couch a few feet in front of me. I stepped towards the bare foot. I walked around the heel, and stood in front of the wrinkled sole and the five toes, and looked up at Annie. I decided not to tell her about what had happened. What had happened was due to my own carelessness. Annie was always careful with her powers; she was sensitive and caring toward her friends. I didn't want to upset her. I decided to get her attention. I picked up my foot, and pressed it against her sole. In the contest for foot size, Annie had me hopelessly beat. Through my sock, I could feel the flesh give slightly, like a leather couch cushion. The toes twitched in response to the slight tickle, and I saw Annie look down at me. Before I knew it, I was scooped up in her hand, and brought up to her face. She held me in her palm, with her fingers curling up behind me. She paused for a moment, her pale lips smiling, her eyes twinkling. I knew that this weird giant was as good a friend as I would ever have, and I knew that I had missed her greatly these last two years.

I felt the hand jerk suddenly, and instinctively grasped two fleshy stalks for support. I saw Alice come into view, and look down at me, squinting in the darkness to make out what Annie was showing her.

“I believe this is yours.”

Annie's hand tilted, and I dropped into Alice's. She brought me to her face, and smiled, acknowledging me for the first time during my long journey from the footrest. Her smile was sweet like Annie's, but a little mischief lurked in her eyes. She brought me to her lips, and planted a quick, soft kiss on the side of my head. She placed me next to her on the couch, and I grew to my normal height. I placed an arm around her shoulder, and we finished watching the last episode of our marathon.

I heard a click, and the room suddenly filled with bright colors. Annie was now standing in front of the couch, stretching. She looked at Alice.

“So what'd you think?”

“Oh, it was great! I just have a hard time picking a favorite Princess. They all work so well as a team!”

“I know! Don't you wish you could be an Intergalactic Princess?”

Alice smiled.

“Well, we've already got the superpowers...”

Annie looked thoughtful and serious.

“We are superheroes, aren't we... I want to use my powers for good... I want to protect the world from evil.”

I thought for a moment, and I realized that I would indeed feel safe if I knew Alice and Annie were watching over the Earth like the girls from Hero Team.

“Well,” I said, “if the Earth ever gets attacked by a giant space monster, we'll know who to call!”

“Yeah...” said Annie. She was still in a serious mood. I could tell something was on her mind.

“Hey guys... I have something I want to tell you.”

Questions Answered by littlewarrior

Annie took a deep breath and released it. She had something to tell us, and I could tell it was something big.

“A few months ago, I told my dad about my powers. And the thing is... he knew... he knew because... my mom has this power too.”

Alice and I listened in awe. I couldn't believe it. There was yet another person with these incredible abilities.

“Will, Alice... I'd really like you to meet my mother. And she's really excited to meet both of you. She lives here in New York with my step-father.”

Questions bubbled up inside me.

“Does your mother know anything about your powers? Like how they work?”

Annie's face lit up. “Mm-hmm!” She absentmindedly played with the drawstring of her sweatshirt hood as she answered my question.

“In fact, my step-dad is a physics professor here. He's been trying to figure it out in his free time. He belongs to a group of scientists who are working on it in secret... That's kind of how he met my mom. It's an interesting story... He says that our current understanding of physics can't explain all of it. But they've done experiments, and he says we're not shrinking matter, that's impossible. We're distorting the spacetime around objects. Almost like we're creating a mini-wormhole in the shape of that object. They're working on a theory that we're creating some kind of energy in our brains... a kind of energy we don't even know how to detect yet.”

“That's incredible!” I said.

“Yep, and there are more of us with these powers. And scientists – who study physics and biology, all of that stuff, trying to figure it out... there's a whole community, but it's all top secret for now, because... well, we don't know what will happen. People will panic. I've heard stories about people who have done very bad things with these powers. We have to figure out more about them so we can stop that from happening. Alice, we're not alone! We're not alone and we're going to change the world!

Annie's tone of voice as she told us all this was hopeful and optimistic, but as I listened to her, I felt a sinking in my stomach. When she had first revealed her powers to me, it had been quite a shock, to put it mildly. But I quickly came to take our little magical world for granted. It was sobering to learn that there were others out there, besides Annie and Alice. Most unsettling of all, however, was the thought that some of those others could be abusing that power – a power not yet fully understood.

Annie suddenly remembered something.

“Oh, I have some pictures to show you.”

Alice and I followed her as she led us to her bedroom. Liz remained behind, and began tidying up the common room. Once we entered the room, Annie opened the bottom drawer of her dresser, and retrieved an envelope stashed towards the back and underneath her clothes.

“Come here,” she said, hopping impishly onto her bed.

We sat next to her as she pulled a stack of photos from the envelope, and began to flip through them, pausing to let us see each one.

“This is my mother, Catherine.”

The photograph showed Annie with her mother, who could have passed as her twin, or at least her future self. They sat in wrought-iron chairs on what appeared to be their back patio. The older Annie looked to be in her mid-40's, with the same brown hair as her daughter, and deep, hazel eyes. Her eyes, like her daughter's, were lit with an otherworldly mixture of wisdom and mischief that somehow made her look younger. Alice commented on how cute they looked together.

“Here's mom with my step-dad, Professor Bernhard Sorensen.”

The professor's appearance fit well with his name – a hale Scandinavian man, with blond hair, a square face, and behind a pair of glasses, eyes that suggested intelligence and a sense of humor. He looked a little older than Annie's mother. He smiled, leaning in his chair to put his arm around his wife.

I knew Gary and Annie's mother had gotten divorced. I brought up the topic, and Annie explained:

“Mom and dad got divorced when I was young. Dad said they were in love once... they had me, and she told him about her powers. Dad was fascinated with her, but a little scared, too. There was a rift between them. They wanted to take different paths in life. When they separated, they fought about me. Dad said he wanted me to have a normal life. When mom saw how much he loved me, she agreed to let him raise me. She thought he was right, that I could have a more normal life with him. She came to visit us once in a while.”

She seemed thoughtful for a moment, then continued with the photos.

“Here's us with some of our friends. They all have the size-changing power, too.”

The photo showed Annie, her parents, and four other people seated smiling around a dining room table. The strangers looked to be in their late twenties or early thirties. There were two young men, one of them black, bald, and smartly dressed, the other tall and lanky with red hair. Across from them sat two young women, one who was pretty, if slightly stout, with black hair and freckles, and the other thin with dirty blonde hair and glasses.

“And here's mom showing off her powers.”

This photo, taken from a distance, showed Catherine, huge and beautiful, against a bright blue sky painted with clouds. Far off behind her were dark green hills. The perspective was such that it seemed she might take a seat on those hills, resting the weight of her gargantuan form on the horizon. She wore a large-brimmed sun hat and a white floral print dress. At her feet was a standalone garage, the roof of which peaked just below her knees. The giantess stood with arms akimbo, a devilish grin on her face as she rested a buckled, leather, high-heeled clog delicately on the roof of a car beside the garage. I looked at the photo with awe. Being shrunken around the girls was incredible, but seeing a woman actually grown to such a stupefying height was something different altogether. I have to confess that I felt attracted to her. There was something about her size and pose that I found paradoxically feminine and alluring. I knew I wanted to take a similar picture of Alice.

“We have to be careful when we take pictures like this,” Annie explained. “Luckily our house is in a very rural area, so nobody will see us.”

She showed us the next picture. “And this is me pretending to crush dad.”

The photo, shot in the same place as the preceding one, showed Annie by the garage, wearing a T-shirt and jeans, as she raised her pink-striped Adidas sneaker above the Professor. Her father had a nervous smile on his face, clearly uncomfortable about the whole situation. Alice giggled.

“It's sort of an inside joke,” Annie continued. “Sometimes when we argue, or just for fun, I tell him I'm going to step on him, or I shrink him and pretend like I'm really going to do it. Dad doesn't think it's funny. And mom tries really hard not to laugh and tells me to stop.”

Annie was certainly becoming less inhibited with her powers. I felt happy that Annie had found an environment where she was free to be herself, superpowers and all, but I couldn't help but feel a little disturbed by the thought of her playfully threatening to mash her father's body into the rubber grooves of her faded white sneaker sole. Sure, it was cute in a weird way. But it was alarming to think of a teenage girl so casually and thoroughly subverting her parent's authority. I found myself worrying that Alice and I would one day have a daughter with these powers.

“And here's one with mom.”

The next picture showed Annie now pretending to crush her mother, who was clearly a better sport about it. Catherine smiled at the camera, cowering in phony fear, with her hands lifted up futilely against her daughter's descending foot.

She showed us a few more pictures, many of them more ordinary, but there were a few more that showcased the family's magical side, such as Catherine holding her shrunken daughter and husband in her palms, or Annie with her parents on her shoulders. We talked for a little bit after Annie was done with the pictures. Alice and I asked her questions, but she was very reserved when we asked her about her powers. She said that her mom and dad would explain more when we met them.

I was both eager and nervous to meet Annie's parents, people who seemed to know more about this mysterious, whimsical world I had stumbled into. I had been frightened and fascinated by the powers these girls had for the last two years. Somehow, seeing those funny photos of Annie's family made that power more human and less threatening. It was comprehensible, even if fantastical. And yet, I felt that the strange anxiety I had been feeling lately had grown, and finally revealed its source to me through a sudden thought. What did it mean for humanity that there was a small group of people with the powers of gods? When would they choose to reveal themselves? And what were they planning? Imagine what they could do!

The question hung heavily on my soul. I instinctively wrapped my arm around Alice's waist. Whenever I touched her, I felt safe. She seemed to emit an energy that somehow reassured me that everything was all right, even if I couldn't understand it.

“We'll leave first thing in the morning,” said Annie. “It's getting pretty late. Let me show you where you'll sleep. I made up a special room just for you two.”

***

I held Alice's hand as Annie lowered us into the shoe-box. The fleshy platform hovered in space, allowing us to walk down her fingertips and into the room below.

I recognized where we were at once – the room-inside-a-shoe-box, which I had first seen back at Annie's house. The interior was completely revamped – a large bed sat in one corner, covered with a nice bedspread and decorative pillows. At the other end of the room were a dresser, a table, and chairs. The shrunken furniture created the illusion of normal scale, which was offset by the pattern on the wallpaper, which looked too large by comparison, and by the “lamp” on the nightstand – a working lantern key-chain. Annie lowered her hand into the room, and gently placed our duffel bag beside the bed.

“Well, how do you like it?” asked Annie.

“Annie, it's wonderful!” said Alice, beaming. “When can we move in?”

I had to agree with Alice. Annie had indeed done a good job of making the former home of her shoes feel homey. Life might not be so bad living under Annie's bed. I knew she would take good care of us. Our utility bill certainly made it an attractive option anyhow.

“Annie... you did all this?” I asked, echoing Alice's sentiments.

She smirked and said, “Aw, c'mon, it's not that great... Good night, you guys.”

She brought her pointer finger to her lips, kissed it, and then touched it gently to the top of Alice's head. She got a second goodnight kiss ready for me, but turned it into a noogie instead, bringing her fingertip down roughly on my head and grinding it in a circular motion. The force of the girl's gargantuan finger caused me to tense up. I grimaced, my neck and knees buckling, a sight which elicited laughter all around.

Annie looked down at us one last time, before replacing the roof of the shoe-box. The room was bathed in a dim LED ambiance. We then felt a sudden quake as Annie carefully slid the shoe-box under her bed, leaving me alone with Alice.

Room for Two by littlewarrior

I sat on the bed, changing into my pajamas as Alice walked around the shoe-box room, admiring Annie's decorating.

“So, what do you think of Annie?” I asked.

“She's really sweet. I can tell she really cares about you. ”

She smiled sweetly.

“She shared something big with you. She treasures you, Will... when I saw her stomp on you like that... well, I knew you were special to her.”

She sat down on the bed, letting her shoulders sink back with a relieved sigh.

“Oh Wi-ill...”

As she called from the other side of the bed, I saw the upturned corner of cunning lips, and a hazel pupil in the narrowing gap of dark eyelashes.

“...care to help me with my boots?”

I got up, walked to where she sat on the bed, and knelt down before her knees. I looked up, and she gazed down, feminine and powerful, a booted Venus. I lifted her boot from the floor, cradling the curve of the sole with my palm, and the heel with my fingers. I brought it slowly towards my face, preparing to plant a gentle kiss on the toe. She used to blush and look away when I showed my love for her boots. Now, she sat there, calm and elegant, with her hands folded on her knees. As my lips made contact with the cold black leather, I heard that word in my head.

Goddess.

I removed the ankle-length shoe, undoing the metal clasp and slipping it off, revealing a bare foot. I placed the boot on the floor and reached for the second. I brought it to my mouth, as before, and kissed it.

Goddess.

I knew it was just my imagination, but now it was distinctly Alice's voice. I thought back to earlier that evening, and I remembered all the things that were going through my head as I had whispered that word in her ear. I found myself plunging into her eyes. There was a darkness there, but as I swam deeper, it gave way, and I just found myself looking at... my girl.

Once I had removed her boots, she reached over and grabbed them from me, with a playful, chastising glance. She started to swing her legs back over the bed, to the corner where she had been undressing. Some mischievous whim seized me, sending me forward, and as my hand closed, tightening the jean leg around her shin, she collapsed belly-first onto the mattress...

“eugh!”

...losing one of her boots over the side of the bed. She still held the other to her chest as she turned over, her giggles punctuated by my kisses.

“Will! Ha ha! Please... let me get undressed.”

I had quickly abandoned my pajamas, and now I watched with anticipation as she removed her forest-green sweater and her jeans. She fidgeted with her bra clasp; I suspected her of delaying on purpose. I reached out to help, and she fought the uninvited offer, laughing the whole time.

“No! ...Will!

She gave me a look that said I was in trouble, and I shrank, landing in between her legs. Now only about an inch or two to her (and less than a centimeter in real scale), I ran into the wall of her lacy underwear, pressing against her fragrant crotch impatiently as she finally unhooked her bra. I looked up to see the doubly-gorgeous sight of her breasts and face.

She brushed her hair out of her eyes.

“Hold on!”

I felt fingers wrap gently around my waist. The mattress dropped out from beneath me, as I traveled backwards, tracing a ferris wheel arc in the air, before being set down on the bed a distance from Alice. She drew her legs together protectively, placing her feet together on the bed. She then pulled at her underwear, freeing them from her buttocks, and slipping them up, then down the curve of her legs, and under her feet. She then lifted the garment with her toes, dangling it above me for a few seconds, before letting it drop.

I fought to get free of the silky snare, emerged through the leg hole, and headed for her toes. I tried climbing them, but they were not very cooperative. I was squeezed and fondled between the pudgy boulders, which wrestled me to the ground in short order. I was then steamrolled by the ball of her foot, grateful as it kneaded and smothered me. Once timid and careful, she had learned not to give in as I struggled, my arms batting uselessly against her sole.

An image came into my mind. I remembered the photos Annie had shown me, of her and her mother as giants, towering over their garage. I became conscious of the power these women had, that Alice had. It was dangerous. I felt a shot of adrenaline begin to pulse through me.

After another minute of playful torture, Alice's toes lifted, setting me free. I stood up, a little light-headed from the sour fumes as I tried to regain my composure.

“Wanna try again?” she asked.

I approached her toes for the second time with some caution. I had learned not to put it past her to tease me two or even three times before she was done playing with me. I drew closer, expecting to be caught in the vice of her toes once more, and hoping that she didn't get any ideas involving the one boot of hers that was still resting on the bed. Well, half hoping. As it happened, the toes were cooperative this time, jostling only slightly at the touch of my hands as I clambered over them onto the top of the foot. My girl extended her legs slowly, and I crawled onto her shin as her foot became vertical behind me. She then laid back, spreading a beautiful and remarkably smooth human landscape before me. I walked along her leg, over her kneecap, and up her thigh. I felt the ground ripple curiously beneath my feet. Goosebumps. I came to her pelvis, where I saw the bush at the crest of the dark valley between her legs. I was tempted to cut through the copper thicket and slide down her lips, but I pressed on, knowing Alice was waiting for me.

I reached her stomach, a breathing dune of faint shadows. I leaped across her navel, continuing towards the face over the horizon. Alice's hand landed on the flesh in front of me, impeding my path. The fingers glided towards me. I pressed my toes downward, letting my feet sink into the foam-like flesh for leverage before throwing myself over the oncoming barrels of her pinkie and ring-finger. I was carried down her stomach a short distance, before her fingers curled up. I was lifted in the air, turned and manipulated until I found myself enclosed. When her fingers pulled away, I landed upright on her breast.

Her eyes surveyed my tiny, masculine form with fascination. All my life I had been on the thin side. Over the last few years, however, I had built up some muscle. I lifted weights at home, but had also taken up an interest in climbing – whether it was Alice's clothes, our furniture, or the electric cords around the house. The eyes seemed pleased, and were apparently sharp enough to discern the evidence of my growing excitement, for her lips split open, eagerly revealing the gigantic woman's fearsome white teeth.

Understanding by littlewarrior

  Alice pet me gently down my back. I felt her fingertip ridges gliding against my shoulder blades, sending a shiver right through me. She dug her finger playfully into my buttocks, pushing me forward, and snorting in amusement as I briefly lost my footing. A finger hovered into view, and tapped her breast three times – a signal for me to sit. As I crossed my legs on the warm, pale hill, she looked distantly into some corner of the room.

   “Something on your mind?” I asked.

   “Just thinking about tomorrow. I'm... excited... and a little nervous.”

  The next day we would meet Catherine, Annie's mother, someone who knew a lot more about the girls' powers than we did. I sensed that both Alice and I were going to play a part in events much larger than ourselves, a thought which made me excited as well, and more than a little nervous.

   When Alice spoke again, her mind seemed somewhere else.

  “I've told you, Will. I spent... I don't know how many hours, when I was a teenager, when I discovered my powers... trying to make sense of myself. Trying to figure out who I was. I've been able to put it out of my mind for a long time... somehow... but meeting Annie brought it all back. It's very... surreal.”

  I studied her ear, a frozen, vertical whirlpool. The red wisps of hair that floated around it appeared brown in the dim light. I felt the flesh below me fall suddenly, as her lungs let loose a relaxed sigh.

   “Surreal” I replied, “was meeting you and Annie in the same month.”

   Her face lit up at Annie's name.

   “I can feel her, you know.”

   “Feel her?”

   “Yeah. Like how I can feel it... when I shrink things. I can tell... you know... that it's shrunk. It's hard to describe.”

   “Annie once told me something like that..."

  She nodded. “Well, I think it's the same with people who have these powers. I guess I can tell when one of them is near. Right now I can feel Annie above us, lying on the bed. It's almost like she's watching over us... Keeping us safe.”

   Keeping us safe. I did indeed feel safe. This power the girls had – it was inexplicable. A primordial paradox. But whatever was behind it – I could somehow sense that it was benevolent. I looked into Alice's eyes, still fixed on some point in the darkened room, to see if I could detect some presence or spirit, some hint of something that suggested another world...

   “You're amazing, Alice. You're – a goddess.”

  She turned her head towards me, raising an eyebrow, as her countenance turned from thoughtful to intrigued.

  “I was wondering when that was going to come up. I've heard you say a lot of things to me, but that was a first.”

  She sat forward, and I tumbled trustingly off her breast, back-flopping onto her hand, and feeling the buoyant give of flesh beneath me. She raised me to her face.

  “Stand up.”

  She grew me slightly as I stood, and I found myself naked in both soul and body before those all-seeing goddess eyes. I could smell the overpowering mixture of lavender perfume and humid breath, a fog I loved to dwell in at any size. I marveled at the overwhelming closeness of her face. I could make out the thin blood vessels in her eyes. The muscles in her cheeks lifted pounds of flesh with every smile. She scooted back, and carefully sat up against the pillows that leaned against the bed's backboard.

   “So tell me, Will. What do you mean by goddess?”

    Upon hearing the ominous question, I sensed that this was a critical moment. I groped for the words to convey what I was feeling.

   “It means... you are my everything. You are the meaning of my life. You are beautiful... powerful... You are the highest thing to me... more than an angel; you are the ruler of my universe.”

  I paused, searching her eyes, waiting for a sign that my words had made an impact. Nothing. I thought again, digging within myself for the truth.

  “No, that's not right. I mean... that is how I feel, but those are just words. Alice... when I look in your eyes, I see magic. I don't mean your powers. You'd still be my goddess even without these powers. I mean the way you brighten my world when you smile. When you come out of your shell. You're sweet, gentle, funny, and a tough cookie.”

  She chuckled at “tough cookie”. She blinked, and the reflected light in her eyes became distorted.

  “You taught me to trust, to feel, to be myself,” I continued. “I don't think I could ever find someone else like you... You were given this power, and you can't bear it alone. Whatever it is, whatever it means, I will be there beside you.”

  She lowered her head, her lips forming a beautiful smile, and took a moment to compose herself. When she responded, her voice broke with sadness and humor.

  “That's really sweet, Will... I don't know what to say. You have been there beside me... You're brave, you're sweet, you're understanding. You've stuck with me this far. You helped me accept... this. Accept myself... I'm not a freak of nature... I'm a goddess. You showed me that. You're a perfect little gentleman... My little hero.”

  “Little... hero?” I asked.

  She gave a labored sighed, and grinned a sarcastic half-grin. Her eyes seemed to glow in the dark, pregnant with love and everything she wanted to say to me. She replied with a contagious, sincere joy.

  “Yes! If I'm your goddess, then you're my little sweetheart! It's not all of who we are, but it is a part of who we are... It doesn't make you weak, or puny or whatever... Will, I understand what you like. And I know you're a little afraid of me. That's okay. It means you're being vulnerable. But you never let fear stop you. You didn't let fear stop you from standing up to Linda. From finding a new job. From starting a new life with me... Your idea of being romantic is risking injury, or worse, on a regular basis, climbing me and everything in our home just to surprise me! That's what a little hero is.”

   As I listened, and watched this giantess overcome with emotion, I felt as light as a cloud. I realized that what I called her didn't matter. What I felt for her... what I did for her was everything. She was my Alice. It was such a poignant moment that I was not at all prepared for what she did next.

  She braced my back with her fingers as her lips approached me. I gasped sharply as I felt the petrifying warmth of her tongue. I had long been intimidated by her giant mouth; her gentle kisses were enough to send my heart galloping. Even a simple smile caused my stomach to flutter. But oral sex at this size was just dumbfounding. I winced, my senses sharpening as her army of sticky taste buds captured my genitals. My legs stiffened as her lips and teeth dug playfully into my knees and chest. I gasped for breath, placing a weak hand on the bulb of her nose in affection and gratitude. I could feel her tongue changing shape as it licked me, becoming by turns convex and concave. My abdomen was now dripping in a goo that smelled faintly of butter. Between laps of her tongue, I was given a glimpse inside her mouth, where I saw the contracting, glimmering walls of her throat. Teeth hung like porcelain ornaments from the ceiling. A popcorn hull was wedged between two of her molars.

   She pulled her tongue away, taking my taste inside her mouth before smacking her lips. She pulled her fingers away, letting me stumble backwards onto her palm. She looked down her nose at me, concerned, yet amused by my exhaustion.

“Make love to me, Will.”

Don't Wake Annie by littlewarrior

   We were the same height now, kneeling upright on the bed. As our lips met, so did our bodies, and I felt that deep warmth in my stomach. That feeling that you are where you belong, that you are safe. Our breathing deepened. Then turned to panting. I gripped my red-haired seraph by her thighs, and she placed her hands on my shoulders, helping me guide myself into her moist opening.

  We gasped together.

  Her hair was a mess, her eyes earnest. I held her thighs, as she held my head, our lips pressing together, and breaking apart to draw from the air supply of our shoe-box terrarium. She began to rock into me, and I started thrusting back, like a piston gaining momentum.

  “Wait... Slow down, Will.” she panted.

  I lifted her thighs like wheelbarrow handles, and tipped her over onto the mattress. Her hair splayed out onto the pillow. Her hands landed near her head; her fingers curled inward, as if too weak to make fists. I kissed her neck, and watched her eyes, which seemed to grow drowsy. She tried to speak, but failed.

  I kissed Alice one last time before crawling back from her. She lay in front of me, looking vulnerable and pleased. Her legs were apart; her chest rose and fell steadily. By her foot was the boot whose toe I had kissed, abandoned earlier in our scuffling. I picked it up, drawn to its texture. I held it sideways, bringing its loosened buckle into view. I brought my tongue to the boot, driving it along the groove where the black leather met the rubber sole, and guiding it around the toe.

  “I said make love to me, not my shoe,” said Alice, pouting.

  “Jealous?” I asked. She motioned towards her crotch.

  “Come here. And bring that tongue.”

  With some reluctance, I dropped the shoe over the side of the bed. I lifted her foot by the heel, and brought my tongue to the sole. Her toes squirmed excitedly as I ingested the layer of shoe-incubated excretion coating the wrinkled skin. Alice gasped in helpless, horny laughter. I pressed the big toe to my tongue, then brought my lips over it, and sucked until the taste of salt was gone.

  I brought my lips to her ankle. I slowly traveled the length of her leg, leaving a trail of saliva and kisses. My woman watched with anticipation as I drew closer to her, and let out an ecstatic sigh as I began feasting on her womanhood. I felt the red hair brush against my nose as I nourished myself on her moisture. A leg rested on my back possessively, and hands fell on my head, holding me between her thighs. I managed to free myself for a breath of air, only to spend it on a word.

  “Goddess!”

  “Yes!”

  I could continue like this, I thought. I could continue to please her, and afterwards, I could be laying on an insole, staring up through the hole in the leather. Waiting for the heat. The smell. The pressure. I knew we'd both enjoy that... some other night.

  I lifted my head, and she pulled her leg away. I looked up at her, sweating and breathing. In her eyes I found something like the fear of a cornered animal. Except that to spare her would not be to show mercy. I pounced in slow motion, feeling the gap close between our skin. I let myself sink into her sweetness as into a cleansing bath. I entered her again, knowing I would not withdraw without fulfilling my purpose.

  Our hands followed the paths we had forged over many months of silent negotiation. We didn't speak; instead traded short vocalizations, sufficient to convey everything needing to be said. Our hands and tongues communicated as well, in an intimate way that was lost when I was not her size. I knew I had found in Alice my partner and playmate for life. Her moans and sighs grew into yelps and howls. In a flash, I remembered where we were.

  “Alice! Not so loud! Annie'll hear us!” I said.

  She broke into roaring laughter. I continued trying to hush her, without success.

  “I don't care!!!” she shouted. “She's a smart girl... she'll leave us alone.”

  I thought about it for a second, picturing Annie in my mind, dreaming innocently above us, clueless to the raucous, naughty fun her two shrunken friends were having in a shoe-box a few feet below her. I couldn't help but see the absurdity of the situation, and soon I was cackling along with Alice. I let go of all worry, all self-consciousness, and any tenseness still left in my body.

  There was a look of concern in her eyes, as I continued digging into her. The look slowly died as she was overtaken by the feeling. I knew I wasn't stopping, no matter the consequences. Her womb was begging me to release, and I couldn't refuse it.

  When we reached our moment of union, it felt like I had opened my soul to her. Everything made sense in that moment. All the questions that had vexed me evaporated. I knew who I was. I knew my purpose in life. Not knew, felt. To be with her. To be the best I could be for her. I wanted us to have a life together. To have fun together. I wanted to be her protector, her provider, her lover.

  I recalled what I had said to her earlier.

  You taught me to trust, to feel, to be myself...

  Whatever it is, whatever it means, I will be there beside you.

  She was a goddess, a force of nature, but still a human being. My Alice. And I was in love with all the strange things she made me feel.

Magic Sandal Ride by littlewarrior

  I woke to the warmth of her skin. I lay in bed, Alice curled up beside me, in our shoe-box apartment beneath Annie's bed. I lifted her limp hand from my chest, kissed it, and moved it aside. She nuzzled her head against my chest, still not awake. I gently freed myself of her grasp, and set about getting dressed. Some dim light spilled through the crack of the cardboard door. I stepped through the doorway into Annie's massive room, and began to walk. I was careful to stay under the bed, and out of the open, where I knew Annie's feet could come down without warning. I've found that spending so much time in my shrunken state has given me a unique set of instincts about the giant world.  

  The air smelled fresh and cool. The bed rested against a wall of cinder block, thickly coated in dull cream paint. Four square columns of light pine held up the bed, one at each corner. Annie's shoes were parked neatly beside one of the columns at the far end, and her yellow flip-flops were set more carelessly nearby. I wandered towards the foot of the bed, eager to walk the sleep out of my limbs. I found myself heading towards Annie's sneakers, the only notable landmark in view.

  I stopped a pace from the side of the right shoe. I had become acquainted with this particular set of shoes two years earlier, when I had stayed a month over at Annie's. I had used their toes as chairs on a few occasions. I had even fallen inside one while trying to climb her bed. I felt like I was seeing old friends again. They were well-worn, their color faded through contact with the many elements encountered on their journeys. Three stripes of pink ran diagonally across the off-white wall in front of me, indicating the gender of the shoe's Olympian wearer. The shoe's highest point was about two feet over my head. That put me at about three inches tall. I stepped closer. I placed my hand against the leather, marveling at the texture of the monumental, mass-produced article of footgear. It was tactile contact with everyday objects like this that reminded me how extraordinary it was to be shrunken.

  I ran my hand along the surface as I walked to the front of the shoe. A lace vine hung in my path; I swiped at its plastic baton end and continued walking until I stood in front of the toe. Shoelaces criss-crossed up from the top of the toe to the tongue that bore a pink Adidas logo. Curious, I stepped up to the textured plastic shell. I placed my minuscule fingers under the rubber lip below the toe and tried to lift. I felt the pliant sole bend slightly, but that was all I could manage before my arms started to shake. It was heavy. Not that I was surprised. I knew from experience how the weight of common objects was affected by size changes. Shoes, even unworn, started to become noticeably heavy at about this size.

  I was walking back to the shoe-box when the mattress creaked above me. I froze. Annie drew in a full breath, and released it slowly. As I heard her continuing to stir, possibly preparing to leave the comfort of her bed, my eyes caught her flip-flops again, sparking an idea. Acting quickly, I ran over and grabbed the rubber toe-strap of her left flip-flop and began to pull. Thankfully, it was much lighter than her sneaker. I dragged it about ten feet backwards. I stepped onto the toe section of the foam platform and waited.

  Before too long, Annie's heels descended into view, dangling briefly before her bale soles plopped against the linoleum floor. She turned around to face the bed, and extended her right foot under the bed to retrieve the sandal, grasping its strap between her toes. She slid it out and slipped her toes through the strap. She sent the other foot forward, its toes groping in vain for sandal number two. At one point, she came within an inch of her target. I let out a soft chuckle. Frustrated, the girl got on her hands and knees, and peered under the bed. When she spotted me, standing on the yellow bed of foam rubber, she rolled her eyes, and extended her arm. I grabbed onto the strap as her pudgy fingers gripped the heel of the sandal, and dragged me carefully out into the open.

  “Hang on tight,” she said.
  I did.

   She inched her fingers up the sandal, gripping it more securely, and lifted it, carrying me upwards. Annie's body and the dorm room rushed dizzyingly downward. My stomach tossed with every jerk and tilt of my unconventional aircraft. Annie turned, and her hand set its cargo on the desk next to the bed, allowing me to climb onto its cluttered surface. Once I had stepped off, she collected her flip-flop, and lifted her leg in the air, shoeing the one foot while hopping on the other. She managed to get it on just before she lost her balance, and her grip on her foot, which hit the linoleum with a reverberating snap.

  While Annie slipped on her blue hooded sweatshirt, I took a minute to survey my surroundings. Above Annie's desk was a bookshelf that held about twelve books. Among them were How to Draw Anime Characters, a graphic design textbook, and the novel Demian. On the wall across her bed was a window, open slightly. The morning sky glowed softly, and a leaf sailed by now and then. A mechanical pen lay on her desk near me. I placed my foot on top of the rubber casing near its tip, rolling the pen forward and backward, clicking its pocket clip against the pine desk surface. Annie pulled out the chair, and sat at the desk in front of me, somehow managing to look ominous despite her sleepy eyes.

  “So, how'd you sleep?” she asked.
  “Great!”
  “Did you like your room?"
  “Yeah, Alice and I were impressed with the work you did.”
  “I'm glad.”
  The titanic teen stretched her arms up, and let out a yawn. She looked down at me again, blinking, with a smirk on her face.
  “Did you guys have sex?”
  I fumbled for a response, taken aback by her question. She broke into laughter, amused by her own bluntness.
  “Oh my God! I knew it!” she said, taking my stammering and evasive eyes for a “yes”. She poked my stomach sharply.
  “I knew you were a little stud.”
  Not wanting to dwell on the subject, I quickly looked for another one.
  “Where's Liz?” I asked, noticing the empty bed on the other side of the room.
  “Saturday class.”
  “Bummer.”
  “Alice is really cool. I like her.”
  “She likes you, too, Annie.”
  “How did you guys meet? How did she discover her powers?”
  Annie became more animated at the mention of my girlfriend.
  “When she wakes up, you can ask her.” I told her. “She loves to tell those stories.”
  “I can't wait! I'm sure she has some funny stories about you!
  She poked me with her finger again.
  “Hey, careful with that thing!”

  She smiled defiantly, and lifted her hand over my head, fingers spread. Though I trusted her, I couldn't help but wince a little as she dropped it suddenly, her palm stopping in the air just above me.

  “Gssh!

  She leaned forward, resting her head on the desk, and stuck her tongue out at me. Her beach-ball-sized eyes bulged comically. I returned the gesture, regretting it when I saw her hand approaching. I held my own hands up defensively, only to find my arms folding as her meaty fist enveloped me. I was just tall enough for my head to poke out the top of her curled fingers.

  “Annie – e-e-eugh!

  I let out a high-pitched whimper as she clenched me tightly. She pulled her hand away, startled and giggling at the noise I made.

  “Oh, sorry!” she said with sympathy. “I didn't mean to do it that hard!”
   “Yeah, sure, Annie...”
  I turned my back on her playfully.
  “Aw, don't be like that, Will. I only try to hurt you a little bit... 'cause I like you.”
  “You have a lot in common with Alice.”
  “What's that supposed to mean?” she asked, an intelligent grin on her face.
  “Uh, nothing... forget I said that... Hey, um... speaking of Alice, we weren't... making a lot of noise last night, were we?”
  She shook her head “no”, and smiled. “I'm a heavy sleeper, remember?”
  I was somewhat relieved to hear that. She scooted the chair away from the desk and stood up.
  “Hey Will... I'm gonna go brush my teeth.”

  She flip-flopped out of the room dramatically, abandoning me. A few seconds later, she leaned her head into view from behind the door frame. Her eyes caught me, and I began to grow rapidly. I hopped clumsily from desk to chair, then to floor as I reached my full height. Annie stuck her tongue out once more, and winked before making her exit.

Minor Adjustment by littlewarrior
Author's Notes:

Well, here it is. The last chapter. Thanks for reading! Let me know if you enjoyed it!

  I looked out the window, admiring the old brick buildings. The sun was still beginning its ascent, casting its faint light over the campus. The college was still this Saturday morning, only those diligent souls with morning classes, or those seeking an early breakfast were to be seen walking its stone paths.

  “Good morning, Will.”
  I turned to see Alice standing behind me, looking cute in her green wool sweater and jeans.
  “Good morning, goddess.”

  She tried to suppress a smile in vain, attempting to downplay her delight at the sound of her new moniker. She paced towards me, her boots plinking on the linoleum. She wrapped her arms around my neck and gave me a good morning kiss. Even with her boots on, I was the taller one by a few inches. She stood on her tiptoes for a boost when she kissed me.

  “I had fun last night,” she said.
  “Me too.”
  “That was risky, though. We should be more careful.” She thought for a minute. “So from now on, only your tongue. Or all of you.”
  We laughed. I didn't expect her to follow through on her suggestion. I knew she wasn't really that cruel, just an aspiring master of the art of teasing.
  “Where's Annie?” she asked.
  “Brushing her teeth.”
  “I'd better get ready, too.”
  “I think I'm gonna take a shower.”
  “Oh, here are our things.”

  She pointed to our duffel bag, which she had un-shrunk and placed beside Annie's bed. I retrieved some clean clothes and a towel, and made my way out the bedroom and down the hall. I heard Annie gargle and spit into the sink before she emerged from the bathroom. Her flip-flops smacked her heels as she walked briskly back to her room, toothbrush in hand, smiling silently as she passed me.

***

  I could hear Alice and Annie talking as I approached the bedroom. When I opened the door, I saw the girls sitting on Annie's bed, laughing hysterically. I was glad to see them bonding so well. Alice sat with her legs crossed, resting one black boot on top of the other. Annie, now wearing her sneakers, bounced her heels against the bed frame excitedly. She hopped off the bed when she saw me.

  “Ready, guys?”

  We followed the winding walkways of the campus to the parking lot. We passed the library, with its marble steps and tall clock tower. As we reached the edge of the campus, the brick walls of the school's buildings started to give way to trees. A group of three girls spotted Annie, and called out to her.

  “Hey, Annie!”
  “Hey guys!” She turned towards us. “Guys, hang on one second, I'll meet you at the car.”

  Alice and I continued walking as Annie ran to meet her friends and started talking with them. Every so often one of the girls would look at Alice and me curiously.

  “So, what was so funny?” I asked Alice.
  “Huh?”
  “You and Annie before. Back in her room. You seemed to be enjoying yourselves. What were you talking about?”
  “That's girls' business.”
  “Oh?”
  “We were exchanging stories. A lot of them were about you. I think we both learned a lot about you.”

  When we came to the parking lot, I heard Alice's footsteps stop. She stood by the low wooden fence separating grass from gravel. She looked towards our car, about thirty feet from where we stood.

  “Okay?” I asked.
  “I'm a little scared,” she admitted.
  “Come on, Alice. We're going to meet Annie's parents. And maybe some other new friends. Remember the photos? I know they're going to like you.”
  She ground her boot into the grass indecisively.
  “You and Annie are important. I don't know how, but you are. You can't run from it. Come here.”
  I extended my hand. She looked at it, and then at me.
  “Will... promise me it's going to be okay.”
  “I promise, goddess. It's going to be okay.”

  She hesitated a while longer, her eyes searching mine for truthfulness. Taking my hand seemed to give her the last bit of courage she needed to cross the boundary of the campus. As she stepped towards me, I could tell she felt safe. I admired her dazzling hazel irises, her fire red hair, her soft cheeks. She gave me a kiss, standing on her toes as I felt the warmth of her body and the softness of her wool sweater press into me. When the kiss had ended, she seemed to think for a moment, looking down at her shoes.

  "Hey, give me your things a sec – what's in your pockets. I have an idea.” A grin slowly spread over her lips.

  I retrieved my wallet from my back pocket, and my phone and keys from the front, and handed them to her. I was curious what was she up to. I saw a faint sparkle in her eyes before she came in for another kiss. That's funny, I thought. This time, she didn't need to stand on her tiptoes.

  “Hm!” she said, sounding satisfied. “That could work!”
  “Alice, did you shrink me?”
  “It's only, what, two, three inches? And I'm wearing my heels, remember. We'll be careful! I'll change you back for doctor's visits and that sort of thing.”
  “I don't know about this...”
  “Give it a month, and I'm sure you'll get used to it.” She looked me over from head to toe. “Although, we may need to buy you some new clothes.” She winked cutely. “I'm pretty sure you dropped an underwear size.”
  So it was an excuse to go shopping. I should have known. She grasped my hand by the wrist, and with her other hand, positioned its palm vertical, with fingers pointed up. She placed her own hand against it. They were about the same size. She grinned.
  “What if our friends notice?” I protested.
  “We'll just insist you've always been that height. They might be suspicious for a while, but they'll get over it.”
  “Maybe if it's just around the house or –”
  “Maybe I should take another inch off. Let's try without my boots on...”
  “Alice... I, uh... we'll talk about it later.”

  She gave me one last kiss. I could tell she had regained her confidence as I felt the electricity of her aggressive lips. I was a bit disconcerted, and strangely exhilarated, to still be the wrong height – my new normal height, I would learn. I would indeed get used to it, and more. It would be a constant reminder of what a lucky man I was. Her face was filled with devilish glee as she handed me back my things. We saw Annie hop the short fence and walk up to our car. The mischievous girl smiled at us, a blue hood pulled over her brown hair.

  “Annie's waiting for us,” Alice said, extending her hand. “Shall we?”

  I slipped my hand around hers, and felt her clasp it. As I escorted my girlfriend to our car, I was filled with joy and a sense of purpose. Whatever would happen at Annie's parents' house, whatever we would learn, I knew I would remain as committed to Alice as I was at that moment. She walked next to me, her head held high, thoughtful, a beautiful mystery.

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