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Chapter 3

For a second, Katherine felt totally caught off guard. She had forgotten about Perona telling Remilia to get her a glass of water, and, upon entering her office, she had inwardly breathed a sigh of relief that she could finally be alone. Having Perona and Remilia both staring at her, scrutinizing her, as she dealt with Junko (invisible to everyone but her), made Katherine so much more anxious than she already was. At least in her office she could be alone and cloistered with her thoughts…but there was Remilia, at the door.

The 18-year-old tapped at the door again, and Katherine brushed off a twinge of annoyance that spasmed up inside her. She knew it was just her nerves getting the better of her, and she knew that she couldn’t take her fears and frustrations off on the teenager. Even though Remilia was quite precocious, Katherine was sure that the girl’s sidelong glance at her a minute before hadn’t been significant. Remilia couldn’t REALLY be privy to Katherine getting smaller, could she?

“Uh, come in!” Katherine called out, making an effort to make her voice sound as normal as possible. The doorknob immediately rotated, the door gave way, and in stepped the gorgeous Remilia, carrying a full glass of water in her hand. Katherine blinked and smiled brightly at her, again having to make a conscious effort to appear light and cheery. Her sleepless night weighed heavily down on her face, and on her entire body…and that, coupled with the latent fear that Junko could appear again at any moment, made it hard for Katherine to appear peppy and buoyant. But the immediate cause for concern, at the forefront of Katherine’s mind, was the expression on Remilia’s face. If Katherine had been hoping that the teen hadn’t seized on something she had seen a minute before, then those hopes were now being dashed upon jagged rocks. Remilia had a slow, searching grin on her face, and her big, dark brown eyes were narrowed penetratingly, sharply, straight at Katherine’s face. Her eyes once again travelled slowly up and down Katherine’s body; it looked, for all the world, that the crafty teenager knew a secret she wasn’t supposed to know.

“Oh! Thanks so much Remilia,” said Katherine, feeling it necessary to ignore Remilia’s expression and keep up the pretense of normalcy. Besides, this was her office! Hell, she was the Office Manager of this whole company! What did it matter if this little teenager got some idea in her head!? “I forgot about the water for a minute there, haha.”

Remilia didn’t immediately respond; she just walked silently up to Katherine’s desk and passed her the glass of water. Katherine accepted it with an amiable smile, and immediately drank about half the glass down, in an evident desire to show her appreciation. In reality, of course, Katherine was just taking the time to analyze Remilia’s presence some more. The girl was behaving strangely…just standing there by her desk, watching her drink. This wasn’t like the Remilia that Katherine remembered, the one that was always talking, talking, talking, about something or other.

“Ahhhhh…I needed that,” Katherine sighed out after gulping down the water. She put the glass down on the opposite side of her desk, but in doing so, she nearly jumped out of her skin, because, there again, was Junko, seemingly materialized out of thin air. The pigtailed demon was sitting on the far end of her desk, her shapely legs dangling off the edge, eyeing Katherine joyously with those pale blue orbs.

“Oh my godddd!” cackled Junko, clearly in one of her more playful moods, “I can’t believe you just drank all that down! Don’t you realize that I slipped some drops of verrrrrry special formula in there, without the girl seeing, of course…oh geeeeeez, I can’t wait to see what THIS next spurt’ll be like! Oooooooo I really shouldn’t be allowed to have this much fun!”

Katherine’s face reddened in panic, and she was about to open her mouth and respond to the demon before she remembered that she must always remember NOT to talk to Junko when there were other people about. The last thing Katherine needed right now was other people thinking that she was going insane.

“You look different,” came Remilia’s calm voice, oddly incisive for one so young, and it compelled Katherine to turn away from Junko.

“Oh…haha, yeah, your aunt already mentioned that,” she chuckled, allowing a bit of the irritation she was feeling to leak out into her voice. She didn’t really appreciate how forward this usually-polite young teen was behaving.

“I didn’t get any sleep last night,” Katherine continued, looking towards her computer screen as she began opening her email. “And Remilia, when you get to be as old as I am…haha, well, your beauty sleep REALLY starts to matter.”

“It’s not that,” said Remilia instantly, stepping closer still to Katherine’s desk, once again sweeping over Katherine’s body deliberately with her eyes.

“Hoho! I think she knows, Katherine!” guffawed Junko, rocking back and forth in place on the edge of Katherine’s desk as she swung up feet up jubilantly. “It’s only the first day, and already, the teenager’s got you pegged!”

“Oh, well…what is it then, Remilia?” asked Katherine, her eyes still focused on her computer screen as she defiantly began sifting through the barrage of morning emails. She wasn’t going to give Junko the benefit of a reaction…not right now. “And make it quick, alright? I’ve got a heavy load of work to get through today.” She was trying her best to balance a good-natured approach to Remilia’s penetrating curiosity with a firm and decidedly adult imposition of her own authority.

Remilia took one more step up to Katherine’s desk and then leaned down on it, so that she was looking straight into Katherine’s face. This gesture from the young girl was impossible for Katherine not to react to, and she broke her eyes away from her computer, locking them onto Remilia’s, which did not blink as she spoke the next words:

“You got shorter.”

Katherine blinked up at her. She heard Junko giggling at the other end of her desk, but right now, Katherine knew that she had to focus all her energy on getting Remilia under control. She tried to start by breaking into a smile, and she started chuckling, shaking her head.

“Heheh, well you know what they say — you start shrinking when you get older, and —”

“But you’re like only 40,” Remilia interrupted, still staring down hard at Katherine, unblinking. “That’s not very old at all. People only start shrinking when they’re like 80.”

Katherine stopped chuckling and arched her eyebrows, consciously forcing herself to keep smiling. She decided that it was best to go on the offensive a little.

“Oh, you were…you were being serious there, huh?” she asked the teen, smiling wryly up at her. “I actually look smaller to you?”

“So young, yet so serious already,” came Junko’s empty voice from the other end of the desk. Katherine glanced over, and saw that Junko was staring vacantly into space. “The post-industrial age has overstimulated our youth to the point that they’re overcome with the crushing realities of a life where all the physical essentials are freely provided, but the spiritual essentials are vaporized into the atmosphere, impossible to access or touch. So sad…so, so sad…”

“Would you just —” came Katherine’s aggressive reply, as she turned on Junko. She had already had enough of the demon’s crazy ramblings, and had been about to tell Junko to “shut up,” when she remembered that the demon girl was invisible to everyone but her. Katherine turned back to Remilia quickly, who was looking at her quizzically, and she tried to recover herself.

“Would you just…uh, appreciate, Remilia,” Katherine said, trying to make it all work, “How much…YOU’VE been growing recently? Haha, I mean, you were DEFINITELY much shorter when I saw you last, but like you said, you’ve been growing a lot recently, so…haha, so of course I’m going to look smaller to you.”

Remilia darted her eyes over to where Junko was sitting, and for a moment, Katherine actually thought that the teenager might be able to see her. But a split second later, Remilia had turned her eyes back to Katherine, narrowing them again. Katherine was unnerved by how perceptive and fearless this young woman was.

“I don’t think so,” Remilia declared, shaking her head. She blinked her big brown eyes, and a delightful smile emerged on her face. “I KNOW I’m getting bigger and taller, but I think that YOU’RE actually shrinking too.”

“Haha, well alright Remilia,” chuckled Katherine, feeling deeply, coldly disturbed inside herself as she turned back to her emails. “Whatever you say.”

There was a silence that followed between them, with Junko sighing out several times in depressed despair on the edge of Katherine’s desk, as she stared out into a void somewhere beyond the walls of the office. Katherine found it easy enough to ignore Junko when she was in this dark mood, especially when she wasn’t speaking, but just then, she suddenly had the sensation that her clothes were feeling a little baggier. Her watch slipped up her arm a little bit, even though she had just tightened it a couple minutes before, and, with a slow, horrible kind of drawling realization, Katherine felt like her office chair was slowly absorbing her, eating her…and she knew that she was shrinking again.

Now actively shrinking, her stomach twisting and tightening in panic, Katherine knew that she had to tell the young girl to leave, and quick, but the teen beat her to it.

“Stand up!” chirped Remilia.

“Excuse me?” Katherine forced out her best exhaled impression of a laugh.

“Stand…up!” repeated Remilia, standing up straight and tall herself. To her horror, Katherine saw that the young woman’s limbs looked longer and fuller than they had ever been, even more so than they had looked mere minutes before, when she had been shrinking again. She looked desperately over at Junko for some sort of verification that this size exchange was, in fact, taking place, but the demon girl had vanished without a trace. And just like that, Katherine felt her shrinking come to an abrupt halt. She sat up as high as she could in her chair, but she had definitely lost some height…perhaps even more than she had lost previously. She thought of the tape measure in her desk drawer, and she longed desperately to measure herself, to see how bad the last spurt had been.

“Uhh…Remilia, heheh,” she said, now not bothering to hide the adult condescension in her voice, “I really don’t have time to play this morning, alright? Like I said, I’ve got waaaaay too much work to do. Maybe some other time, ok? Now why don’t you go ahead and go back to Perona’s —”

“I don’t wanna play,” cut in Remilia, thrusting out her chest (which, to Katherine’s dismay, was now maybe a B-cup), “I just want to measure myself up against you…I think I’m as tall as you are now!”

“Uhm…heh, well how about this?” proposed Katherine, starting to sweat under her baggier clothes, “You make some good progress on your schoolwork this morning, ok…and I get my work done, and then maybe we can have a little…measurement fun this afternoon, alright? Sound good to you?”

Remilia looked down at Katherine doubtfully, with the hint of a smirk on her face, that seemed to acknowledge that Katherine had won temporarily. Katherine locked eyes with her for a moment, and then smiled and turned back to her screen, desperate to be rid of her.

“Deal,” Remilia asserted, and without wasting any more time, the teen had turned heel out of the office, closing the door with energy behind her. Katherine felt the vibration of the closing door run through her body, and she briefly felt sick to her stomach. It was only morning, and already, this is what everything had come to!? She was being cross-examined, pressed…intimidated, by Perona’s 18-year-old niece?? Not to mention the fact that she had definitely undergone another shrinking spurt just then, right in front of the scrutinizing teen.

Katherine looked savagely around her office, searching angrily for any sign of Junko, so she could give that little demon bitch a piece of her mind. But there wasn’t any indication whatsoever that Katherine had company in her office, and so she took a few extra seconds to breathe and get her bearings. She had to remind herself that she still wasn’t sure if Junko was some kind of crazy mirage in her head, and that all of her supposed shrinking thus far had all been a dramatic mental reaction to the psychic stress and trauma of what she had just gone through with her late husband, with Clayton, and with that horrid Asmodeus family.

‘But demons exist Katherine,’ a little voice piped up inside her head. ‘You know this now…and Junko…she’s real. You know this too. There’s no way around it.’

“No?!” Katherine exclaimed out loud to herself, abruptly standing up from her desk as she opened her drawer. “No way around it, huh? Well let’s just see about this now!”

She thrust her hand into her drawer, digging around the pens and binder clips and other accoutrements until she found what she was looking for: the flexible measuring tape that she had kept in her drawer ever since she had supervised a t-shirt fitting for her team as a part of a community outreach program. She unravelled the tape measure hurriedly as soon as she snatched it up, almost stumbling over to the nearest wall so that she could measure herself. Before she got too absorbed in this task, however, she remembered that the last thing she wanted was to draw attention to herself…and she realized that her office blinds were still open. And was that…was that Remilia, peeking through them?

Katherine strode over to the windows, the unfurled tape measure still dangling awkwardly from her hand, and she thought that she caught the sight of the teenager quickly fleeing the window, around the corner of the office hallway…but Katherine couldn’t be sure. Was she seeing things? Had it only been a shadow? She quickly twisted the blinds closed, feeling a fresh injection of anger at her situation, and how it was making her behave. She was the Office Manager at A&W Marketing, for god sakes! What on earth was she doing, letting a little teenager get to her like this?

‘But she’s not so little anymore, is she?’ came that tiny voice in her head again. It occurred to Katherine that this little voice sounded an awful lot like Junko, but at this point, she wasn’t about to give that demon any more of her power. After ensuring that her door was locked, she set her jaw straight and stomped over to the far wall of her office, kicking her shoes off as she stood up tall against the wall. She marked her height at the top of her head with her finger and then stepped back a little, making a tiny notch in the wall with her fingernail where her finger had been. And now, the tape measure…

Katherine’s heart started beating faster as she extended the measuring tape down, stepping on the end of it with her foot and then slowly, deliberately inching it up the wall. On and on, up and up it went…36 inches…48 inches…60 inches…Katherine was starting to feel ok. There was still plenty of space to go…she could feel the weight lifting from her shoulders, from her entire body. Maybe all of this WAS just a dream, some kind of psychotic ruse she was going through. Maybe she had imagined everyth—

65-and-a-half inches.

The measuring tape had run out of room. Katherine looked down in alarm. Nothing was amiss — the end of the tape measure was right under her foot, where the wall began, and it went straight up, ending at the little notch she had just made in the wall with her fingernail. 65-and-a-half inches!? Just over 5’5?? Katherine felt herself beginning to panic. She dropped the tape measure and checked her height again, over and over, just to make sure that she had calculated her initial height correctly. Each time, her finger was right at the little notch she had made. Her eyes widening in horror, she took a step back from the wall, gaping at how short the mark on the wall actually looked to her, from her vantage point.

So it was all real. Once again, the nightmare had been proven true…she WAS shrinking, and she had just gone through a spurt that had seen her lose at least a full inch of height in a matter of seconds. To say nothing, of course, of the obvious weight that she had lost. Katherine looked down at her clothes, which were now (at least to her) starting to look quite roomy. She felt her hips in a series of despairing gestures, and it was clear that the curve and fullness of her figure was beginning to markedly diminish. And her wristwatch…it was sliding all over her forearm again. Katherine grit her teeth as she tightened it yet again, for the second time that morning. How could she possibly ignore this all now!? There was no way around it.

“Hah! You think you have it bad right now?” came the sharp, derisive laugh of Junko, “Wait until you getta load of Perona!”

“What the—…wh-where…where ARE you!?” shouted Katherine, whirling around like a madwoman in her office, still in her bare feet. “What the FUCK are you doing to me??”

“Oooooh, might wanna keep your volume down there,” Junko laughed musically. “It’s only your first day as my special little assignment…and it would TOTALLY bum me out if you went crazy a few hours into the start of my project. The ravages of true despair are only enjoyable when the subject fights with every weapon in their arsenal, only to see them all, one by one, fall by the wayside as pitiful and hopeless imitators of the single, inescapable truth of the human condition: that total, lasting despair that waves its dark and glorious design through every strand and fabric of human ambition!”

Katherine was turning around and around wildly, the anger boiling inside her as she tried to locate the source of Junko's trilled words. The demon girl was speaking in such a sweetly mellifluous high pitch that Katherine almost felt herself calming down on the inside. Such a bright, charming teenage voice would have otherwise been a source of delight, but it was the words that Junko was saying that made Katherine’s anger start to boil over. She knew the demon was taunting her, and it was starting to make her feel quite crazy indeed.

“You won’t break me,” Katherine growled under her breath through gritted teeth as she forced herself to sit back down at her desk. “You think you’re getting to me, but you’re not.”

“Oh I KNOW I’m getting to you, Katherine!” laughed Junko. A sudden popping sound came from the ceiling, and Katherine looked up to see Junko poking her double-pigtailed blond head out of the air vent in the far corner of the office.

“Oooo, hiding in the air vent,” came Katherine’s acrid, sarcastic response, as she settled herself determinedly into her work. “REALLY clever there, Junko…reeeeeally sophisticated. What is this, hide and seek?”

“No, you diminishing, over-the-hump, has-been!” cackled Junko meanly, retreating back into the air vent and shutting the ceiling grate closed with a bang. “I wouldn’t expect a 40-year-old woman, whose best years are behind her, who can’t find a younger man because she’s starting to get VISIBLE wrinkles, to understand or accept the game that I’M playing! Hahaha, ohhhh no, Katherine Williamson…our little game has just begun.”

“Just…shut up, will you?” said Katherine in a muted voice, blinking at her screen as she strove with all her power to push Junko out of her head. The demon’s words had hurt, though…there was no denying that. Junko’s malice had come as a shock to Katherine, who hadn’t yet realized that she could be so cruel at the drop of a hat…but apparently she could, and Katherine had to admit, as she ground herself into her work, how close to home Junko’s words had been. As an older woman, she DID have trouble finding younger men to go on dates with. She was a beautiful middle-aged woman, yes, but it seemed like all the cute, hot younger men these days were dead-set on dating little starlets who looked like they were a few months past their 18th birthday. As a 40-year-old with wrinkles…(yes, Katherine thought, deflated, visible wrinkles), well, she didn’t stand much of a chance anymore. And even though she knew that Junko was simply there to torment her, the truth of the demon’s words stung.

Somehow, Katherine managed to actually get some work done that morning, and well into the afternoon. Junko had apparently decided to go occupy herself elsewhere, even though Katherine sometimes got the sense that the demon girl was watching her, through the vent, through the blinds, under her door…anywhere, really. Katherine knew enough to realize that if she focused too much on it, she WOULD actually lose her mind. And in that sense, at least, Junko was right. She really did need to put up a fight. Soon she was absorbed in her work, and before she knew it, Katherine noticed that she needed to go check up on Perona, to see how her tasks were going.

‘Just…take a deep breath, and…take it easy,’ Katherine thought to herself, rising up out of her chair and making her way to the door. She hadn’t realized it before, but she hadn’t risen from her chair at all in the past four hours. It was a kind of “safety pod” — as long as she was in the chair, no one could tell that she had shrunk. But her professional duties overcame her anxieties, and she resolved to meet any questions or challenged head-on. She was the boss here, and no one…NO ONE…could get under her skin.

“Wowwww,” breathed Junko’s voice at her ear as Katherine opened her office door, “I bet everything looks a little…BIGGER than it did before, huh?”

Katherine shut her eyes briefly and then opened them again after a couple seconds. She wasn’t even going to look at Junko, even though she knew the demon girl was leering at her over towards her right shoulder. And so Katherine ignored her, pressing on down the hall and straight into Perona’s office.

“Oh! K-Katherine!” Perona’s anxious exclamation made Katherine feel warm and vindicated…and in charge. The Assistant Office Manager had apparently been surfing through cat videos on the internet when her boss came in, and she quickly (but too late) tried to change the tabs on her computer. Usually, Katherine would have expressed her frustration at such idleness, but in her current situation she felt her mouth curling into a smile. It felt good to inspire that kind of anxious reaction.

“S-Sorry!” continued Perona, fumbling around with the papers on her desk as she blushed, letting out an awkward, air-headed laugh. “Hahaha, I was, uhh…just, uhh…haha, looking up some…some stuff.”

“Some…stuff,” repeated Katherine, her eyebrows going up. “Ok Perona, so…what I THOUGHT I saw when I walked in was you watching, um…w-watching…uhhhh…v-videos of…of…”

But Katherine wasn’t able to finish her planned take-down, because a strange expression had developed on Perona’s face. Her anxiety upon seeing Katherine had vanished, and in its place, a curious expression was starting to materialize, an expression Katherine couldn’t quite read. Was it a pausing smile…? A brow-creasing smirk? No, none of those, surely…But whatever it was, Katherine didn’t like it.

And now, Perona was standing up. Katherine had to bite her tongue as she fought to keep her mouth closed. Her Assistant Office Manager was noticeably taller, but it wasn’t just that. She was CURVIER all over, particularly in her ass, hips, and breasts, and as Perona made her way over, Katherine couldn’t help but notice the alluring and inescapable wobble and jiggle in Perona’s hips, and the arrestingly erotic way her newly-bulbous and fleshy ass cheeks bounced and undulated behind her, up and down, up and down. It didn’t matter that Perona was walking TOWARDS her — her ass was already so noticeably bigger that Katherine could see it moving behind her stride.

Katherine could feel the moisture evaporate out of her throat as her heart started beating faster and faster. She felt rooted to the spot, unable to move, as Perona appeared bigger and bigger, with each step towards her she made.

“I heard you, like…shouting at someone in your office,” Perona said, her eyebrows creasing searchingly. “But your door’s been closed the whole time. And…and hey wait…waaaaaaait a second. Something’s going on here, Katherine. Uh, what…hehheh, uhhh, what’s up with all THIS!?”

Perona’s mouth had now definitely twitched into something like a cat-like smile. She didn’t seem to know what was going on, but evidently, she was enjoying it, whatever it was. She had reached her boss, and now the truth was clear: a day before, Katherine had been a full 4 inches taller than the skinny blond. But now, Perona had curves…she had a big ass to boot…and both women were the exact same height.


Chapter End Notes:

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