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She just needed five minutes.

Five minutes away from the lights and noise of the party below, five minutes to regroup. MJ threw a cautionary look over her shoulder, peering through a fall of dark purple hair, before stealing away from the hallway and into the darkness of the bedroom beyond.

The door closed behind her with a click. A street light half illuminated the space, allowing her enough vision to make it to a bedside table and switch on a lamp. Warm light bathed the room as she sat carefully upon the edge of the bed, the springs making the slightest of squeaks as they bore her weight.

She stretched her slender legs out in front of her, letting free a sigh of relief as the muffled sounds of the party faded beneath the floor boards. She brought her glass to her lips, taking a restorative sip as she let the quiet wash over her. The white wine danced upon her tongue, tugging her pink lips into a smile.

MJ drew her phone from a tiny clutch bag barely large enough to hold it and let the white screen light wash over her. Pictures of the night were already being uploaded. She scrolled through them idly, sipping as she went.

A sound outside the door drew her from her screen. Two girls were talking.

MJ stood, slipping her phone back into her clutch. Would she be in trouble for being in here? It had taken so much to get back into the group, some much careful social navigation. To be caught in one of the host’s bedrooms, what had she been thinking? She glanced around the room, trying to gauge who slept there.

She waited, a statue, until they moved away. She breathed out, a sigh of relief.

Her eyes fell upon the dressing table and the huge wall mirror behind it. She ignored her reflection, instead pouring over the pots filled with makeup brushes, the jewellery tree, the plastic box that squeaked when she looked at it.

Oh shit, what was that?

She crept over to the dresser, skipping across the cream carpet like a cat. Her fingers moved the pictures aside to reveal a plastic aquarium. Within it stood a tiny human man.

‘Oh wow,’ she breathed as he looked up at her. The inside of the aquarium resembled a doll’s house complete with table, chairs and an unmade bed. The Shrinky stood beside it, staring up at her with wide eyes.

She crouched, her face coming closer to the plastic wall. He took a step backwards but didn’t seem overly afraid. Instead he was angry, it was so odd.

MJ hadn’t had much interaction with Shrinkys, not really. There was one time in college but that didn’t really count; she had mostly watched while the girls had their fun. It had barely lasted an hour.

The only other time, well that wasn’t her fault. She hadn’t noticed until she had gotten home and went to take off her boot. It was then that she saw the arm.

It was bloodied and bent, protruding from a red mass of viscera that had been pushed into the treads. Dust had turned the blood into a half dry cake. Her fingers danced lightly across it before settling on something less organic. Gently she teased a scrap of paper, part of a movie ticket stub, out of the wad of compressed meat.

There was a word crudely scrawled upon it: HELP.

Once, when she was much younger, the Afflicted had been cared for, treated as best science could. Now they were everywhere and, with no chance of a cure, few considered Shrinkys to be human anymore. People just got used to them and they learned to stay away from people. She had some friends who kept them as pets in high school but she had just assumed the novelty eventually wore off.

‘You shouldn’t be in here!’

The little man’s words surprised her, raising a smile across her lips. He stood with fists balled, a haughty expression on his tiny face.

She took another sip of wine, emptying the glass and setting it down beside his enclosure. The glass was taller than his living space.

‘Oh yeah?’ she purred at him, boosted by the alcohol buzzing through her system, ‘What are you gonna do about it?’

MJ was surprised by her response. There was something fascinating about the little creature that stared up at her from within his enclosure.

There was an otherworldly nature to them, something impossible. He was a fully formed man, probably in his early twenties, in good shape and handsome. He also stood no taller than her little finger.

Someone downstairs had put him in there, had provided furniture and nourishment, had kept him for who knows how long. Someone owned him, owned another human being as if he was nothing more than a pet mouse. The idea, now it stood before her, was intriguing.

Her thoughts turned to her lifelong avoidance of Shrinkys, had she been missing out?

MJ’s hand was moving before she even realised, unclasping the lid and diving in to snatch him up. He tried to run from her, his bare feet slapping on the plastic floor of his cell. She smiled at his squeaks of protest, the sound muffling as her fingers enclosed him. He never stood a chance.

The Shrinky weighed almost nothing, it was insane.

His confidence stalled as he fell back against her open palm, her thumb folding over to press against his abdomen and pin him in place.

MJ giggled, the alcohol fizzing through her mind. She watched as his arms pushed against her, his legs kicking in vain as he tried and failed to escape her grip. He was so small and fragile, she could have crushed him in her fist.

She dropped back onto the bed, smiling down at him as he spat curses at her. Clearly whoever had put him in the container hadn’t trained him well.

Her hands moved fluidly, faster than her could comprehend. Her fingers manipulated him, catching him by the leg to dangle him upside down. He squeaked his protests as she lifted him into the air before releasing him. Her deep brown eyes watched with amusement as he tumbled through the air, screaming as he fell towards the floor.

He had sped past her knee when she caught him, the impact against her soft hands driving the wind from his naked body. He cried with pain, the sound muffling as she closed her fingers around him. A drunken laugh bubbled over her lips as she rattled her fist, feeling the featherweight creature slam against the inside of her hand.

The tiny man was already screaming as she threw him again, tossing him up into the air. Her eyes followed him, wide with fascination. She had never before seen a human face, albeit a small one, twisted with such all-encompassing fear.

MJ watched as he arched through the air, her hand darting out to snatch him as he once again began to plummet towards the floorboards. Her stocking clad toes scrunched with enjoyment as his body fell against her hand. His journey this time brought him to her face, a tiny human shivering before her smile.

‘Having fun little one?’ she jeered, taking another sip of her drink.

She flattened her palm giving the shrunken human a moment of respite. She couldn’t help but chuckle as he rose to his knees; the previously pampered and, she had to admit fairly attractive, man now covered in bruises.

From something so simple as being tossed from hand to hand she had closed one of his eyes and turned his lips into fat, blood covered worms. His bronze skin was pink and purple, his movements trembling as he tried to steady himself on her swaying palm.

The control she had over him was strangely addictive.

‘Maybe I need to get my own little man,’ she mused, ‘you’re a lot more fun than I thought you would be.’

She watched as he tried to stand, steadying himself against her thumb. The slightest movement sent him falling back against her palm, the slapstick causing fresh laughter to dance from her and out into the otherwise empty room.

‘You know’, she smiled dangerously, ‘maybe I should take you with me?’

The look of horror that fell upon him was hilarious, it made her snort into her drink. In truth she would have to return him any minute now. She was already somewhere she shouldn’t be and was flirting with danger by staying in here as long as she had.

Besides he belonged to one of the three women that lived here, she couldn’t risk them coming back and finding him gone. MJ had worked hard to get back into the clique and wouldn’t risk her social status for a Shrinky, no matter how handsome and malleable he was.

The house she was in was the nexus of society as far as she was concerned, a hub in which every party you needed to be at was held or planned. The man in her hand would have belonged to Kerri, Clare or Nikki; any of whom could cast her out with a word.

She cast her eyes back over the tiny man, she was pretty sure she had seen him before but couldn’t place him. The mess she had made of his face didn’t help. Perhaps he was that guy who Kerri used to date or maybe Clare’s brother? She couldn’t be sure, she would have to be careful.

Still, there was no reason for the Shrinky to know that.

‘Would you like that? She cooed, turning over her right hand and letting him fall into the palm of her left, ‘Would you like to come home with me and be my pet?’

MJ repeated the question over and over, tossing him from hand to hand pausing only to drain the rest of the wine from her glass. It was only when she settled it onto the hardwood floor did she realise how long she had been tormenting her helpless victim.

‘Oh shit,’ she blurted, the faintest hint of a slur against her words, ‘I had better get back. I don’t want anyone to find me now do I?’

The shrunken man was folded back into her hand, her thumb once again upon him. This time she moved the digit up his body, the thumbnail resting razor sharp beneath his throat.

‘I guess this is all the time we have little guy,’ she beamed, ‘I guess I had better put you back. I can trust you though can’t I, you won’t say anything about our game tonight will you?’

Her thumb moved closer to him, the nail larger than his head. With the slightest movement she could have slit his throat or removed his head.

‘No,’ he croaked through the pain she had inflicted, ‘I won’t say anything, I promise.’

MJ was confident she would get away with this. The room was dark enough to hide her tell-tale purple hair, the lamp tinging everything a pinkish orange. Still, it didn’t hurt to scare him straight.

‘Hmm,’ she put a finger to her lips, considering the situation with a theatrical air fuelled by alcohol, ‘do I trust you? Hmm, hmm.’

The tiny human could only watch, his chest pumping with fear driven breaths as the huge woman pondered his fate.

MJ stifled a smile, it was clear how much he feared her. He wouldn’t rat her out, she was confident of that. Still, it didn’t hurt to instil a little extra fear.

‘Ok little guy, maybe I believe you for now. I’m gonna put you back for now but I will be back in shall we say an hour? By then I want you to come up with a convincing explanation for those bruises, ok? I need it to be good because if not.’

She lowered her face towards him, her lips curling into a vicious smile, ‘If not I’ll tear your little body apart bit by bit, real slow like. Is that what you want?’

‘No’ he screamed, visibly trembling, ‘no, please! I’ll think of something, please’

‘Ok then, good boy. Time to go back in your cage.’

The bed creaked as she leaned forwards, conveying him back to the dresser top. In her grasp his eyes fell upon his living space, his body calming. MJ’s own eyes never left him.

Despite her inexperience with Shrinkys, this interaction had woken something within her. The feeling of having complete control over a living, breathing and thinking human was something she couldn’t describe. It was more than having someone to command and boss around. The sheer power she held over him was something else; the ability to manipulate him, to bend and break his body with the slightest touch excited her.

First thing tomorrow, she would get one of her own.

He was halfway between the bed and the dresser when she spoke again.

‘So close to home,’ she announced, attempting to feign a thoughtful tone through the fog of wine that sloshed about her, ‘and yet so far!’

The tiny man became a blur as she threw her arms upwards, sending him screaming into the air, higher than before. His body bent double as G force hammered upon it, a miniscule trail of vomit spiralling through the air behind him.

MJ had been careful not to throw him too hard. He soared close to the ceiling but did not impact upon in, his arms and legs spiralling as he moved through the air and began to fall towards her. She whooped as loud as she dared, holding her hands together to receive him one final time. She would be careful to handle him gently, snatching him from the air before he built up too much momentum. Despite her threats and, to a certain extend her hidden desires, she didn’t truly want to break him.

She did after all have his owner to consider.

The screams of the Shrinky was like a faint chime in her ears as he fell towards her open hands. MJ reached for him, her slender fingers eager to feel his featherlight weight upon them.

She snatched at him and missed.

Her eyes widened, matching his own as time slowed. His tiny body slipped through her fingers, spiralling as he plummeted towards the floor.

Her hands followed him, her reflexes straining as she tried to catch him.

His scream was a piercing whine, high pitched as he dropped through the air.

It ended with a soft thud.

MJ stood, petrified, as she looked down upon the broken body lying still beside her foot. Gingerly, she moved her toe towards him.

A scream of agony burst from the shrunken human as she connected with him. It was loud, far louder, than it should have been; filling the space with sound.

‘No!’ MJ hissed, panic rising in her chest, ‘No, stop, I’m sorry, please, they’ll hear, just stop, please!’

Her breath caught in her chest, her heart beating faster and faster as the Shrinky’s cries of pain and fear rang about the room. Surely they could hear it?. If they found out, if they found her here.

Tears pricked her eyes as she imagined her social life crumbling around her. Why had she come in here, why couldn’t she just be like everyone else and handle social events like a normal person? Why had she even taken him out of his cage, played with him, thrown him around? She had never been too good at sports, why did she think she could catch him?

She was so stupid. She needed to breathe, to think, to find a way out of this. If only he would stop screaming for one second, just one second so she could think.

The useless little Shrinky was so loud, it felt like his voice was inside of her head. She looked down at him, both legs twisted and broken. His arm was at an unnatural angle. He hadn’t even fallen that far, how could he be hurt so badly? People had been hurt worse before, she was sure of it.

‘Shut up!’ she hissed down at him, ‘shut up, they’ll hear you!’

He continued, louder than before. He was crying in agony, crying out for help. He wanted them to find out what she had done.

‘Shut up, please!’ she was begging him now, anything to make the sound stop.

‘Just, just,’ her mind was reeling, her body moving before she was even conscious of what she was about to do, ‘just shut up!’

The soft thud of her foot hitting the floor was the only sound that answered, the screaming cut short.

MJ could feel the warmth of his body, now nothing but compressed flesh, through her skin coloured tights. Blood seeped between her toes.

Without thinking she added more weight, imagining a squelch as the dead Shrinky was crushed further beneath her foot.

What had she done?

MJ lifted her foot, dreading the sight that awaited her.

She stood on one leg, conscious not to leave a second bloody footprint. At the centre of the first, bright red against the pine floorboard, was the outline of a human being.

Her single footstep had broken him entirely, smashing every bone and crushing every organ in less than a second.

In a moment of panic she had reduced her friend’s pet, a clearly loved possession, to nothing more than blood and bone.

She was fucked.

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