Allison looked in the bathroom mirror and sighed. Her makeup and lipstick were perfect, she was the very image of the prom night debutante. She smiled and blew herself a kiss, admiring the wrist-bound corsage that Ted had presented her with.
Did Ted really like her? She wasn’t sure, she had a sneaking suspicion that Sadie, her next-door neighbor and childhood best friend, had used her own boyfriend Brady to manipulate one of his friends into asking her to the dance. Still, Ted seemed enthusiastic enough for the dance itself, and high school had been hard due to her… condition, at Sadie’s insistence, along with some pushing from her parents, she’d decided to let her guard down, just for tonight she’d be a normal girl.
She took a moment to slip on the fabric gloves, matching her dress, avoid skin to skin contact, the doctor had told her, and try to remain calm, the effect can be influenced by your emotional state.
She looked at her gloved hands and sighed, it was an odd fashion choice, but not one so out of the ordinary that it would turn heads. She would certainly fit in better than she usually did, with her disposable gloves and long sleeves even during the hotter days of the year… she’d managed to convince most of her classmates she was just a germophobe, it made her a bit of an outcast, but at the same time kept her secret safe.
The doorbell rang, and she brightened up, bounding down the stairs to meet her date.
, Sadie, Brady, Ted and Allison had all rented a limo together, and as the four of them laughed and recounted the school year gone by, she felt a sense of euphoria, like this was how her life should have been… She felt a jolt go up her spine as Ted held her hand suddenly, the dreamy brown-haired boy giving her a quick smile as they arrived.
You’re wearing the gloves, she reminded herself, you’re fine, you’re wearing the gloves…
And the night closes in… the band crooned over the auditorium as the final slow dance of the evening began to play. The night had been magical, and, careful to keep Ted at arm’s length, she’d joined him on the dance floor.
Allison gulped, looking into Ted’s smiling eyes as the couples around them entered into the steady slow dance of inexperienced teenagers. Their eyes went wide, and she heard her own heartbeat echo above the slow dance music pumped in via the speakers. Ted was licking his lips, and… he was leaning in!?
What do I do!? Allison thought in panic, she wanted so badly to just bridge the gap, to go to him and give him her first kiss, but… Instinct won out over conscious thought, and she felt his lips meet hers as they embraced.
“What the hell!?” someone said in a hushed voice.
She opened her eyes, parting from her prom date and feeling a pit form in her stomach as she realized they no longer stood eye to eye. More people were murmuring as she looked down at Ted’s diminished form, and he himself seemed to be in shock as he looked at his sleeves, now hanging over his hands.
“A-Allison?” he whispered, looking up at her. His head came up to just beneath her breasts, a single kiss had taken more than a foot of height from him, one of the more powerful episodes she’d had so far.
“I-It’s okay!” she stuttered, looking around in panic.
Everyone in the auditorium was looking at her now, Sadie was panicking, trying to force her way through to her friend, but even the teachers were beginning to notice.
“Did she do that?” someone asked, “fucking weirdo, is that why she wears those gloves?”
“I-“ Allison croaked, blinking tears away.
Allison jerked herself awake, scowling angrily at the dream which had dragged prom night back after so many years. It was a frequent nighttime visitor, one that always left her in a sad or angry mood when she woke up. With a sigh she swung her legs over the bed, seeing no reason to wallow in misery any more than she already would throughout the day.
She booted up her computer, as she did every morning, and quickly checked for messages. The Lab was requesting she send them a blood sample, and would be sending the equipment for it, she frowned and typed a question she’d been pondering for some time.
When can I come in to the lab itself? It would probably be better for data collection if I could provide DNA on site? I might also be able to help with research more directly…
The response on her messaging app from Dr. Kendra, the supposed lab head, was instant.
I’m sorry Allison, but everything we do here is extremely sensitive, and while I know you’re extremely competent in this field of research, bringing in a subject as an outside consultant would be… difficult.
Allison frowned, she’d only ever been to The Lab once, a squat building huddled amidst the urban blight of downtown, with black suited security guards and a tall chain link fence that had kept the neighborhood’s rougher looking denizens far back. The interior had seemed almost futuristic, and she’d been examined by Dr. Kendra herself, wearing a biohazard suit of course…
She still wasn’t sure if they were government, corporate, or what, the secrecy unnerved her a little, but they’d found her over a year ago at this point and had promised to be working on a cure for her condition. Eager for any sort of hope, she’d gladly cooperated, and kept regular correspondence with them about their, and her own, research into…
My condition, she thought miserably, looking at her hands, when did it start exactly, I wonder? She tried to think back, the first warning signs were sometime around the beginning of high school, people losing an inch or two of height after shaking hands with her, but not every time, and in such small amounts that one really only noticed if they were looking… it had gotten worse of course, leading up to the prom incident.
The Lab’s big breakthrough had been isolating the chemical her body produced which caused the effect, it lingered all over her, on her skin, her hair, saliva, sweat.
She giggled to herself, thinking on Dr. Kendra’s report, now be very cautious with any… partners, the woman had explained, the greatest concentration of the chemical is in fluids from your…
Well, that was a pointless warning, it wasn’t like Allison had men lining up to date her anyways, and if she had she’d have turned them down. Friends, lovers, you couldn’t have those when you were some kind of man-shrinking mutant.
Her phone rang, and she looked at the caller ID with a sigh, “hey Sadie,” she said, answering it.
“Hey, how’s my favorite girl?” Sadie called excitedly.
“Same old, same old,” Allison said, pulling a pair of disposable gloves on, “just suiting up to go get some groceries. I talked to the lab this morning; they want to do more tests.”
“I don’t know about those people,” Sadie said, “you sure they don’t want to give you the ET treatment one of these days?”
“If they did it would at least get me out of the house,” Allison joked, “if they ever do put on the white suits and snatch me, get on your bike and come rescue me.”
“Will do,” Allison laughed.
“For real though,” Sadie said, “I do kind of worry about you, living all alone…”
“Any burglar who breaks in here is going straight into barbie clothes,” Allison laughed. She blushed a moment, she’d had some… fantasies about something like that, some punk breaking in and then a few kisses later groveling at her feet. In those imaginings the burglar always looked improbably like a young Brad Pitt, all ready to be played with and shrunk further at her leisure… She fought a giggle.
They talked for a few more minutes about odds and ends, the new boy Allison was dating back in their hometown, and finally they bid each other farewell. Allison sighed as she hung up the phone, Sadie was probably her only remaining point of social contact, and while she always talked about Allison moving back home, the truth was Allison was staying away for Sadie’s sake too.
I’m dangerous, she thought bitterly, don’t you get that you goof?
She shook her head, clearing her thoughts as she slipped a face mask on, it didn’t matter, she was here, isolated, safe.
Clark buckled his seat belt and took a sip of his coffee, mentally preparing himself for another dull day of work. He glanced up a moment, seeing the neighbor girl walking slowly down the steps from her apartment above his. Like always she was wearing a face mask, a pair of blue disposable gloves, and a long sleeve shirt and pants despite the forecast calling for heat that day.
Weird girl, he thought, not for the first time. They’d moved into the complex the same month, but he’d never said more than hello to her, he didn’t even know her name, odd given that they’d been neighbors for at least a year now. She seemed to keep to herself, scurrying from her car to the apartment eagerly before he’d ever had a chance to introduce himself.
He shrugged, you’d ruin your chance with her too, he thought with a chuckle. He was fresh off the latest failed date, and he groaned as he realized he was going to have to recount it for his coworkers.
“So, she said she didn’t see a future with you because you work at a storage place?” Brick asked incredulously over his sandwich. “Did you explain you’re a part owner?”
“Didn’t get the chance,” Clark said with a shrug, taking a bite of his own lunch.
“You’re better off without her man, trust me,” the other man laughed, bits of bread spilling down his chin. Brick was an old high school buddy of his, a hulk of a man who had been a high school linebacker when they’d met, and today still spent absurd amounts of time in the gym. The two had jokingly bought a lottery ticket together on graduation, and while they hadn’t wont the jackpot, it had been enough for them to go into business together, and while storage lockers weren’t anyone’s idea of a dream career, they did pay the bills.
Clark heard the sound of high heels and rolled his eyes in annoyance, “If you two are done yakking, maybe we can clear out the back of the warehouse?” Angie said, crossing her arms and tapping her foot on the tiled breakroom floor, “the company that rented those units folded, and they’re packed with old office furniture that someone’s picking up tomorrow.”
“After lunch,” Clark said waving dismissively and causing her to scowl.
Angie, Brick’s older sister, rounded out the warehouse’s ownership, and usually dealt with the paperwork side of the business. Like her brother she had fiery red hair, but whatever genes had made Brick a giant had left her standing barely five feet tall, a fact she tried to compensate for with heels. Clark generally got along well with her, but she had an annoying tendency to assume she was the boss rather than co-owner.
“Give Clark a break, his date walked out on him!” Brick said, putting his sandwich down.
Angie’s face softened a little, “ouch, sorry… did you try speaking in Klingon to her or something?”
“I don’t speak Klingon,” Clark said defensively, “for the record, we didn’t even talk about science fiction, she left because she said she didn’t want to date a warehouse worker.”
Angie snorted, “Look, Clark, you’re a catch, even with all your nerd stuff, forget her!”
“That’s what I said,” Brick nodded.
“Now, if we’re all done moping, can we get back to work?” Angie asked, crossing her arms.
Allison finished typing a report on her computer, sending it off over the remote work VPN. Work from home was an obvious necessity for her, and she’d found some easy clerical work that allowed her to support herself without taking up too much of her time. She stretched and pushed herself away from the computer, glancing around the room as she tried to decide how to spend another lonely evening.
There’s always another Deep Space Nine marathon, she thought glumly, looking at the television, maybe I’ll order a pizza or something… She frowned as she noticed her laundry basket was full. The complex had a coin operated washer out in the common area between the units, she always tried to use it when the other tenants weren’t home, the last thing she needed was for someone to accidentally touch one of her running socks and start asking questions about how they’d shrunk to four feet tall…
With a sigh she stood up, walking over to the basket and hefting it up with a grunt. It was heavier than usual, and she struggled with at she headed towards the door, cursing her own laziness and reminding herself not to wait so long between laundry days next time.
Clark had left work early, still feeling down about his disaster of a date. Neither Brick nor Angie had given him grief about it, and he twirled his keys idly on his fingertip as he tried to decide what he’d make for dinner that night.
Microwave cooking for one, he thought with a self-pitying smirk.
He heard a feminine grunt overhead, and he looked up the stairs leading to the complex’s second level to see the neighbor girl struggling with an overloaded basket of laundry. She didn’t seem to see him over the tower of dirty clothing stacked high in front of her.
“Hey, do you want some help with that?” he called cautiously.
He could swear he heard a squeak of surprise, then a nervous voice, “N-No, I’m okay!”
“It’s no trouble,” he said, “I lift heavy stuff all day-“
“Please just go back in your apartment,” she said in a voice that he had to crane to hear.
He blinked, “Uh… yeah, okay,” he said, turning to go around the stairs and towards his own apartment door.
A moment later he heard a creak as she started down the stairs, then a scream. He whipped around, seeing the basket and the girl tumbling. Without thinking he leapt to the bottom of the staircase, catching the falling girl as the dirty clothes cascaded around him. He grunted as she impacted him, and their faces pressed together as she bowled him over. He grimaced; she was a lot heavier than he expected…
“Ugh…” the girl moaned, sitting up.
“I hope I broke your fall at least,” Clark said, forcing a chuckle as he sat up in the midst of the dirty clothing. He frowned, something felt… off, the neighbor girl was a lot taller than he’d thought.
“Oh god no,” she whispered fearfully.
“What?” he asked, starting to get up. He blinked a few times, looking up at her as she started to stand up too, “Hey, what the hell,” he muttered. He lifted his arms, suddenly realizing that his clothing was getting looser. His mouth went dry, this isn’t possible… he looked up at the neighbor girl, now an amazon looming over him, a nervous expression on her face.
“I-I can explain!” she said.
“I’m shrinking!?” Clark said in a breathless voice, “we need to call a doctor or something, what the hell is-“
“I’m sorry,” the neighbor girl said in a pained voice, and before he could ask for what, her lips locked with his. In spite of everything the kiss was… amazing, and he closed his eyes, enjoying the brief moment before he realized what was happening.
“Mmff?” he grunted against her lips, his eyes going wide as her hands, now massive appendages the size of his torso, seemed to scoop under him, pulling him out his clothing. He struggled against her, but she held him tightly in her kiss, shrinking him into her hands until he could find in her palm.
She pulled away with a breath, looking with awe and terror at her handwork, a tiny Clark, naked and struggling in the grip of her gloved hands.
“Y-You did this!” he said, eyes wide as he looked up at his titanic neighbor.
“Sorry!” she repeated, terror taking her as she gulped nervously. She looked around, then scurried back up the stairs two at a time and bounded inside her apartment. “Shitshitshitshit!” she muttered under her breath, throwing her cuppard open and tossing plastic cups aside as she searched for…
“TUPPERWARE!?” Clark shouted, “wait, please don’t-“ His protests were ignored as the giant woman deposited him in the food container, sealing the top with a click.
“I’ll be right back!” she said in a pleading voice, running out of the apartment again. A moment later she returned, tossing the laundry basket to the floor, and he noticed fearfully that she’d added his own clothes to it.
She’s covering her tracks, he thought, licking his lips, maybe this is what she does, she just shrinks people and kidnaps them!?
I just shrank a guy and kidnapped him! Allison thought madly, running her hands through her hair as she slowly walked to the counter. Her hands shook a she peeled the lid of the Tupperware off, exposing her prisoner to the air again.
“H-Hey,” she said with a weak smile, “so… let’s just all take a deep breath and-“
“What the hell is this?” Clark demanded fearfully, “look at me, I’m a goddamn doll!”
“Look uh…” she gulped nervously, “it wears off, I promise!”
“How long does that take?” he said, looking at the plastic walls of the food container around him.
“Uh… well you’re pretty small so… maybe overnight?” she said weakly.
He felt numb, collapsing to the transparent floor of his prison, “This is… this is wild,” he managed.
“So… I’m Allison,” she said, biting her lip, “I’m sorry I kind of panicked… and… well, I made a mistake!”
“A mistake? You made me tiny!” he said, “and why didn’t you shrink my clothes too?”
“I can’t shrink clothes!” she said a little defensively. She blushed as she took in his tiny body, then giggled, causing him to go red too. He suddenly placed his hands over his privates, but she’d already gotten a good look. “Let me get a tissue and some string or something,” she muttered, opening a kitchen drawer.
“Thanks,” he said as she handed the materials down to him. It wasn’t ideal, but tearing a hole in the middle of the tissue let him fashion a toga of sorts, using the cut piece of string as a belt. He looked up at his captor and frowned, she didn’t seem like she wanted to hurt him, in fact her nervousness was palpable.
“Are you an alien?” he asked suddenly.
She blinked, “Uh… I don’t think so,” she said slowly, “my parents never told me they found me in a space capsule or anything.” She giggled nervously, “I guess I’d call myself a mutant? I mean if mutants were a thing…”
“Cool, like the X-Men,” he said. He snapped his fingers, suddenly understanding, “that’s why you wear the gloves! You’re like Rogue, it’s the skin contact that shrinks people!”
“Yeah,” she said, allowing herself a smile, “I’m not usually into superhero stuff, but I really like the X-Men and Rogue in particular for obvious reasons.” She glanced at the laundry basket, “Up until I kissed you though, I think you lost most of your height from being pelted with my dirty clothes… usually skin contact doesn’t shrink people that fast.”
“So, who all knows about this?” Clark asked excitedly, this was… this was something insane, something most people, for better or for worse, would never experience…
“My parents, my family doctor, and my best friend,” Allison said, “and The Lab, I’m not really sure if they’re with the government or not but… I don’t like to take my chances.” She bit her lip nervously, “soooo… could you maybe keep this whole thing a secret?”
“And if I don’t?” he asked, a little playfully.
“Then I’ll kiss you every morning to keep you small, and you’ll be my little pet!” Allison said, feeling bold, “it won’t be so bad, I’ll get you a really nice dollhouse to live in, and you can date my old barbie!”
“Tempting as that offer is, I guess I’ll just keep your secret,” he said with a smile. “So, do you fight crime or anything?”
She laughed, “I’ve never tried, but I’m pretty sure bullets and knives will still hurt me, so no Clark, I don’t fight crime, so far Professor X hasn’t reached out to me either.”
“Ah,” he said nodding, it made sense.
“Do you umm… want to come out of there?” Allison asked nervously. “I can handle you with my gloves on so you won’t get any smaller…. We could watch a movie or something while we wait for you to grow back?”
“Yeah, that sounds good,” he replied, “X-Men aside, what other kinds of stuff do you like?”
“Well, given how odd my life is it’s probably not a surprise to you that I’m into science fiction,” she said with a smile.
No way, he thought, his heart skipping a beat. This was by far the strangest meeting with a girl he’d ever had, but despite the fact that she was the size of a skyscraper and holding him in one hand, she was also easy to talk to…
He started involuntarily as those blue gloved fingers curled around him, picking up his tiny body and carrying him delicately to her couch. She gently sat him on one of the cushions, careful not to rock it as she sat down across from him.
“So,” she said with a warm smile, “trek or wars?”
“Trek,” he said, still stunned. She towered over him, and here in the comfort of her home, with her long sleeved layers gone, he could see she had a lithe and beautiful form, her frazzled brown hair free of the usual bun as she let it cascade down her back.
He’s taking this all so well, Allison marveled, sneaking a glance at the tiny man on the couch next to her, most people would be terrified… maybe I should keep him? She fought a giggle and felt a little warmth at the thought… she couldn’t help but notice his physique when he’d been naked, and she’d also gotten to feel his little butt when she’d picked him up. Even though the shrinking condition ruled her life, it also tended to factor into her fantasies… and she had a lot of ideas about just what she’d like to do to a tiny man helpless at her mercy…
No, she scolded herself, bad Allison! He’s been so understanding about this whole thing and you can’t stop thinking about shoving him up your- She blinked, realizing that she’d been staring at her shrunken guest, and he’d noticed.
“Everything okay?” he asked nervously.
“Food,” she said suddenly, “are you hungry?”
“Sure,” he said, a small smile forming on his face.
“Let me go make some popcorn,” she muttered, her face still red as she got up.
They passed the night watching their favorite old movies and laughing at shared fandom jokes, each surprising the other at the overlap in their interests. At the end of the evening, when neither of them could stand to be awake any longer, Allison had gotten him a football field sized blanket, draping it over the couch.
“You’ll grow into it overnight,” she promised, yawning. “I’d offer you my bed, but… I haven’t washed the sheets yet this week, the last thing you probably want is to roll around on my dirty bedding and end up shrinking more.”
“Yeah, the couch is fine,” he said, yawning himself and tucking his lower half beneath the immense blanket. “Good night Allison,” he muttered.
“I’m sorry I ruined your night with all this,” she said apologetically.
“This is honestly the nicest evening I’ve had in a long time,” he said truthfully, “it was worth getting shrunk.”
She felt her heart flutter, “G-Goodnight,” she stuttered, giving him one last glance as she left for her bedroom.
Clark wasn’t sure exactly when he’d regrown, but when he woke to the light streaming in through the blinds, he was at his old size again, naked beneath the blanket. He glanced at the laundry basket, and with a quick look around to see if Allison was watching, he got off the couch and began putting on his clothes from the previous day.
“Allison?” he said softly, glancing at her open bedroom door. She was still asleep in bed, a smile on her face as she hugged one of her pillows. I’ll let her sleep in, he decided, slowly creeping out the door.
“Well, someone’s looking up,” Brick remarked, seeing his smile as he walked into the storage offices. “Did you meet someone?”
“Yeah actually,” Clark said.
“About time,” Angie muttered, looking up from her computer, “when are you going to see her again?”
He paused, “I don’t know,” he said, sitting down at his desk. He chewed his lip as he thought over the encounter with his upstairs neighbor, “we had fun but… I’m not sure if she wants to date someone.”
“Then ask her,” Angie said in exasperation.
“Yeah man,” Brick agreed, “you’re coming in here practically glowing, whoever this girl is you need to shoot your shot.”
They’re right, he decided, mutant or whatever, Allison seems great… I want to get to know her more.
Allison had been in an odd mood all day. On the one hand she was terrified that Clark would come back with police officers once he’d regrown, on the other… it had been nice to spend a night with someone, even if it was just watching old movies together.
He was understanding, she told herself, and he probably had a good time but… you shouldn’t expect to see too much more of him. She sighed; he’d probably be scared off-
A knock came at her door. She got up curiously, walking to the peephole and looking out. Her heart skipped a beat when she saw Clark waiting there, shuffling nervously back and forth on his feet as he waited for her to answer.
Her hands were shaking as she undid the deadbolt, cracking the door and peering out, “Hey!” she said a little too eagerly.
“Hey,” Clark echoed, scratching the back of his head, “Uh… I…” he cleared his throat. “I had a lot of fun the other night, in spite of everything,” he said with a grin.
Oh god, Allison thought, her knees going weak, he’s going to… HE’S GOING TO….
“I was thinking I wanted to go out with you sometime, if you wanted,” he finished.
HE DID, HE ASKED YOU OUT!
Allison’s brain threatened to shut down, and her face went red as she blinked in confusion a few minutes, trying to determine how to respond. She hadn’t so much as talked to a guy since high school, and years of self imposed isolation had left her unprepared for the nuances of dating.
He was looking at her eagerly, and she sighed, I can’t do this, not to him, she decided. Dating me is… it’s going to be a burden, I need to show him.
She opened the door, stepping outside, “Are you sure you want to date someone like me?” she asked quietly.
He blinked, “well yeah, that’s why I came to ask you out.”
She sighed, holding her thumb up to her mouth. She gently licked the tip, then pressed it into Clark’s forehead. He frowned, but held his ground as he slowly shrank. She held the digit, still sticky with her saliva, on his face for a moment, letting him dwindle until he came up to her chest. With a scowl she wiped the mark away, rubbing her damp thumb on her jeans as his shrinking came to a halt.
“Well?” she said, crossing her arms and looking down at him, “this is the kind of thing dating me comes with, do you think you can handle it?”
“Two things,” he said, “first, you look great from this angle, and second, I’ll pick you up tomorrow at seven.”
She blinked, “Uh… o-okay,” she stuttered, defeated, “seven…”
He smirked, then walked back down the stairs, holding his now much looser pants up as his clothes hung off him. She watched him go, still stunned.
I guess I’ve got a date…