Jackson hadn’t really ever expected it to happen to him - but then again, nobody ever thought they’d catch the shrinking virus. It was incredibly rare - something like 1 in a million, if that - people heard stories about someone’s brother’s cousin’s neighbor getting hit by the shrinking virus, he had heard about it on the news - but nobody he knew had ever gotten it, and he just assumed it was one of those things that happens to, well - other people.
But that afternoon, he felt a little nauseous. Thinking he might just need a snack or some water, he ambled downstairs, still a little groggy - it was earlier than he usually was awake, enjoying the lazy summer days. His mom Kelly was usually harping on him to get a job and stop lazing around the house, but he wasn’t in any big hurry to give up all this free time for video games and napping any time soon.
After all, you only get to be a lazy layabout for so long! And Jackson wanted to enjoy it while he could.
But as he rifled sleepily through the pantry, the sensation of nausea and dizziness got stronger and stronger. He felt the room spin, and the world seemed to blur before his very eyes - the walls of the kitchen seemed to race away from him at a breakneck speed, the kitchen counter seeming to grow like a time lapse of a great tree, the whole world seeming to expand around him. But that wasn’t it - the world around him was the same size as ever - he was getting smaller.
By the time the initial shock of the transition wore off, Jackson was inches tall on the tiled floor of his kitchen, looking around in disbelief and shock. A single tile stretched out in every direction for several feet around him - he had planned to grab a quick snack and then resume sleeping the morning away, but now? He was in for an entirely different sort of morning.
The cold tile underneath his feet started to tremble, ever so slightly - he felt the hairs on the back of his tiny neck stand up on end, and his heart started to pound a little harder in his chest. Some sort of instinctual reaction fired in the very depths of his brain, before he could even realize what was happening, as the vibrations got more intense - and he began to hear a rhythmic thudding that started to shake his very bones. The wheels spun in his mind, a little slowed by his groggy morning mind and the surreal experience of being shrunk down- and he slowly put the pieces together. It was walking - he was hearing footsteps. His mother, Kelly, went to work around this time - and this rapidly increasing earthquake was nothing more than her walking down the stairs to the kitchen! Jackson felt his breath come faster - and the sound of bare feet slapping on tile was almost deafening to his tiny ears as his mother rounded the corner, clearly in a hurry.
Kelly was a taller woman, a bit on the slimmer side, blonde hair cut just above her shoulders with a slight curl, professional enough for work but still keeping a bit of that fun and flirty energy intact. She always told herself there was no reason she couldn’t be a single mom and look good, after all! Still, the black polish on her toenails was getting a little chipped on the edges, and her eyes looked a little bit darker around the edges from the 9 to 5, but she was by no means unattractive.
Of course, Jackson didn’t care all that much about those sorts of details - he was far more preoccupied with the fact that his mother was making her way into her kitchen as she did every morning - and totally oblivious to her shrunken teenage son who was standing, glued motionless to the tile as he tried to process the sheer scale of her as her shadow blocked out the kitchen lights above.
Her size ten feet slapped on the tile with a rushed pace, her alarm waking her a bit later than usual - she was in a bit of a hurry, and half asleep still - so it was no wonder that she didn’t think to check the floor for say, her shrunken son - after all, why would she? Jackson finally snapped out of it, and started to wave his arms around as her slender soles got closer and closer - but she was heading straight for the coffee maker, blissfully unaware of his tiny voice as he cried out for her attention.
Jackson realized too late that he was right in her path - he scrambled back as her right foot soared over him, the size of a bus as he saw the slightly dusty underside of it in shockingly clear detail, time seeming to slow down. It was fairly clean, but bits of crumbs from his messy lifestyle and lack of cleaning up after himself were embedded in her slightly pink sole - some unfortunate bits of a Pop Tart crushed to nothing more than dust under her heel, raining down tiny particles on him as he looked up, frozen in awe. He had always had a bit of a thing for feet- part of him was scared half to death, but the part that wasn’t couldn’t help but appreciate the finer details of his mom’s delicate arch and slender, lanky toes.
“Mom, wait - stop! I’m -” He doesn’t get to finish his cry, however, as Kelly finishes her step without another thought - the absolutely insane weight of her entire body coming down on Jackson like a cruise liner, flattening him against the cool tile like nothing more than an unlucky bug. He can feel the heat of her skin, the slight tinge of her natural body odor on the air, the ever-so-faint sheen of sweat from her rush down the stairs - and then immense pressure that makes him think he’s going to be a fine red smear on the tile at any moment.
But, miraculously - he is not. He had heard about this - those affected by the shrinking virus were also almost indestructible - something about molecular compression or something that he might have understood more if he had paid attention in biology or chemistry class - but, at least it meant that he wasn’t immediately reduced to a paste on the kitchen floor by his unaware mother’s sole.
Still - even with a burgeoning foot fetish and invulnerability, the sensation of being flattened against the tile like a cockroach wasn’t a pleasant one. Jackson could feel his body struggling underneath the colossal sole of his oblivious mother as she walked towards the coffee pot without bothering to investigate that strange sensation under her left sole- the slight dust and crumbs that Jackson was so nonchalant about cleaning up getting pressed into his skin in some strange poetic justice. The slight scent of his mother’s sole wasn’t awful, so to speak - but the night of sleeping with them wrapped under the covers followed by a rushed shower hadn’t exactly made them smell like roses, either - not to mention that Jackson was being given the most front-row seat imaginable to the sensory display. He felt himself almost sink into the slightly yielding wall of the flesh above him as Kelly completes her step - and as her sole lifts away from the unforgiving kitchen tile, he lingers - almost indented into the ball of his mother’s foot as she yawns.
Dazed, but still quite thankful to not be a stain on the kitchen floor, Jackson watches as his mother’s slightly dirty soles lift up from the kitchen tile,and to his shock - he goes with them. Virtually stuck to his mother’s sole by the sheer force she had stomped on him with, trapped like a sticker - Jackson is treated to another slam down against the tile, smothering weight flattening him even further against the wall of flesh - and again…. And again - and something stirs in him. He had always had a bit of a soft spot for feet - but seeing this so real,in such vivid detail - something clicked inside him, and he felt his face flush. Since he couldn’t really be killed - what was the harm in exploring his interest a little? But, he’d have to get someone’s attention, or figure something else out before-
THUD - Jackson’s train of thought is quickly interrupted by the slightly calloused heel of his mother’s sole thudding into the tile nearby, shaking his entire world. She had retrieved her coffee and was walking over to the toaster -taking Jackson along for the ride as a passenger, unaware she had been stepping on her shrunken son.
SLAM! Just like before- the massive sole of Kelly’s foot was like an unstoppable tidal wave of flesh and slight scent - he could smell the vanilla lotion his mother used to try and keep her feet smooth and silky, even as it mingled with the natural scent of her body oils and the sheen of faint sweat - all this and more as he was ruthlessly pressed down into the cold tile below. This time, however - his mother notices something is amiss. A little more awake after her first few sips of coffee, she starts a little - her eyebrows raising as she lifts up her foot to investigate the strange sensation. Had Jackson left something out on the floor? She grumbled under her breath and moved her foot aside, inspecting the object that had been firmly indented into the soft flesh of her sole - only to find it to be nothing other than her own son! She gasped, nearly dropping her coffee mug.
“Jackson?!” She exclaims, covering her mouth with one hand. The teenager un-glues an arm to wave up sheepishly. “Hey, mom.” He says with a shy grin, managing to unstick his head from the skin of his mother’s bare foot with some difficulty.
“Oh my goodness -” Kelly continues. “The shrinking virus? Oh, Shannon at work was just telling me that her brother’s cousin lives near us, and he was shrunk -!” She says, talking in circles as she frantically looks at the clock. “Oh, for the love of - Jackson, I’m already running late for work, and the doctor’s appointments for the reversal are going to be booked out for at least a few days -” Kelly fumbles around her pencil skirt for a moment, mumbling under her breath. “And I don’t even have any pockets - “ She scrunches her foot anxiously, making Jackson’s plastered body move around like a puppet. “I’m not letting you out of my sight until we can get you back to normal size, mister -” she adds, pressing her finger down into the small of his back, and sinking him deeper into the sole of her foot. “You get into plenty of trouble as it is when you’re normal size!” She sighs. “But where on earth am I going to put you?”
Jackson feels a small flush creep up in his cheeks. “Well - you could put me in your shoes?” He suggests, slightly muffled as his mother unwittingly recessed his tiny face deeper into her arch. “Since, I’m indestructible and all that -” He adds. His mother raises a brow.
“In my shoes…?” She says, as if the idea had simply never crossed her mind. “That’s a bit - odd, but I suppose it would keep you out of trouble - no, no, I’m sure we can think of something else - my feet get quite hot in my work shoes, and I’d hate for you to - “ she is cut off by the alarm on her phone ringing loudly. She swears. “I’m going to be late!! Alright, alright - just for today, come here -” She says, as she hurriedly scoops up her work loafers in her free hand, and her coffee thermos in the other. Hopping awkwardly on one foot, she sets her shoes down on the tile, a little worried about stepping on her son - but, if he really was indestructible, she had nothing to worry about.
Her work shoes were a pair of dark leather loafers, professional and quite well-loved. Jackson was about to have a front-row seat to what these shoes had endured every day, for years - and he felt his face flush a bit. His mother gingerly lowered her foot into the divot made by her heel - and to his shock, it was still slightly damp from the day prior, cool, room-temperature sweat pooling in the small divots made by her feet after years and years of repeated wear. The second thing he noticed was the scent. It wasn’t horrible, by any means - but it was certainly noticeable, and permeated every inch of the new cavern he was in. It smelled strongly of worn leather, sweat, his mother’s favorite lotion, and more - but he wasn’t given very much time to get acclimated before his mother glances at the clock. “Oh, shoot- okay, hang on tight, Jackson!” She exclaims, and slowly scraaapes him off of her sole against the back of her loafer, letting him fall into the damp heel-print. Soon, five long, lanky toes complete with black polish slowly slide into the over the opening of his new home for the day - wriggling in the open air as they blot out the light from the kitchen.
Jackson barely has time to notice that she hasn’t even made time to put on socks - before the tremendous sole arcs down to fill the shoe, coming towards him like a tidal wave of flesh. He starts to run, but there was no outpacing his mother’s foot as it bowls over him, knocking him flat on his back and running over him like a slightly sweaty freight train. The sound of creaking leather and skin on fabric is deafening to his tiny ears, as the light grows dimmer and the temperature immediately starts to rise- and then an immense, heavy weight as his mother shifts her entire weight onto the foot on top of him, tugging on her other loafer. She winces. “Oops- Sorry Jackson - still alright in there?” She feels movement, and nods. “Good, alright - I’ve got to get going!” She taps the toe of her loafer on the tile to fit it more tightly - cramming her bare foot further inside and smothering Jackson under the wall of flesh that rapidly seemed to grow hotter in the confined space. He squirmed around, the sensation of literally being under his mother’s foot new, strange - and exciting. At least… for now.
As she takes her first step towards the garage, he feels the soft ball of her foot press down directly on his face, smothering it beneath the fleshy pad as the ridges of her skin roll across his nose and mouth, pressing him into the insole below, a few tiny droplets of soaked in sweat bubbling up to the surface from the pressure. Kelly rushed to her car, unlocking it and throwing her things in the passenger seat - and Jackson was quickly made aware of the fact that his mother was a rather aggressive driver - her foot slamming down on the gas pedal and brake without much care for his tiny form, as the temperature started to climb.
As the tiny droplets of his mother’s perspiration started to bead on the surface of her foot, Jackson felt himself starting to slip- down towards the arch of her foot as she took the onramp to the highway. It was less rough than the other parts of her foot - but the wall of slightly sweaty flesh came down on him when she flexed, almost sealing him in the cavern of musky foot flesh as she drove, making it hard to even move an inch. By the time she pulled into the parking lot - he was already beginning to wonder if this had been the best idea.
But now, there was no backing out - he would have to endure the entire workday under his mother’s feet, slowly baking in her loafers as she went about her day. He was going to find out that she wasn’t exaggerating about how rough it was going to be as her personal insole - and faster than he might expect.
It had already gotten stuffy and cramped in a matter of moments - but by the end of his mothers’ commute to work, the conditions at the start were looking more and more like a 5 star resort by comparison. The sole of his mother’s foot was starting to get downright slick with perspiration, droplets visibly beading in the dim light that Jackson had from the tiny gaps of the outside world peeking in through the stitching of the loafer’s leather sides.
It certainly didn’t help matters that his mother was somewhat of a nervous sweater - and between her being late for work and her son’s sudden contraction of the shrinking virus, she was understandably a quite a bit nervous - a detail that Jackson had ample evidence for in the increasingly swampy interior of her work loafer, the air growing so hot and humid, he felt like he was in the depths of the Amazon rainforest.
But of course, he had to remind himself - this was an exciting experience! He never imagined he would get the opportunity to be so up-close and personal with a foot - he should take it in stride, right? Even if it was a bit more intense than he expected, being slammed between the soft folds of her arch every time she hit the gas or the brake, starting to get light headed from the vinegary scent of sweat mingling with the musky tones of leather until they overpowered the scent of his mother’s favorite lotion. But, now that she had finally arrived at work, surely the worst of it was over!
Kelly had all but forgotten her son underneath her right sole as she put the car in park, checking her hair in the rear view mirror hurriedly before throwing open the car door, in a rush to make it in without being spotted - maybe nobody would even notice she had been late.
She walks briskly, just shy of breaking into a jog - and Jackson is thrown from the relatively still experience of driving into a frenzied, chaotic hell. Each step was like a rollercoaster on fast forward - he felt the pit of his stomach lurch as gravity seemed to shift rapidly, pressing him down against the worn insole of his mother’s loafer as she swung her foot up, and before he could even process the rapid pulse of g-force, it reversed - throwing him upwards into the slick “ceiling” formed by the shallow arch of his mother’s sole as she worriedly checked her watch. Then, her stride would end - the whole of her weight coming down onto Jackson’s shrunken form, slamming him into the leather insole underneath the immense sole of his mother as she simply took a single step, sandwiching him between a cloying, yielding wall of increasingly sweatier flesh, and the thinly worn insole of her loafer that did almost nothing to cushion the concrete below her.
It was a good thing that he was indestructible, or his body might not have lasted any longer than 3 or 4 steps before he became nothing more than a red smear on Kelly’s insole - one quickly washed away by her nervous sweat.
But, since he was indestructible - he got to experience every single step from the parking lot to the office lobby, thoroughly mashed and ground into the insole under the active, hurried steps of his mother’s foot.
He groaned weakly as she speedwalked over to her desk. Jackson hadn’t been listening last week when his mother was complaining, or he might have remembered that her office A/C had been on the fritz for quite some time now. And he was about to discover just how badly he had miscalculated.
The weight of his mother’s sole came crashing down like the hammer of god onto his tiny frame, and he was once again intimately acquainted with each and every wrinkle on her sole as she finally reached her desk. With a heavy sigh of relief, she tossed her puse onto the top of the desk - it looked like she had managed to sneak in without anyone being the wiser as to her tardiness.
As the relief flooded over her, she found a stray thought nagging at the back of her mind - what was it that she was forgetting? Was there a report she was meant to have on her person, or something? Then, the dots connected, and she nearly jumped a foot in place. Jackson! He had been underfoot for her entire frenzied run to the office, and she hadn’t even thought to check on him!
With a mental note to be more aware in the future, she started to work her left loafer loose to check on her son - she tugged out her foot, just catching a glimpse of him - he seemed to be in one piece, at least - but before she could check on him any further, a voice behind her nearly made her leap out of her skin.
“Kelly? You okay over there?”
Jackson was quickly and violently crammed back under the unforgiving arch of his mother’s sole, pressed nearer to the toes this time as they clenched nervously around his head. “Aha, nothing serious, Shelly!” His mother’s voice rang out above him, muffled by walls of leather and flesh. “My insole just came loose in the rush over here, just had to - smush it back on!” She says, nonchalantly grinding the ball of her foot down on the carpet.
“Ugh, I just hate when that happens!” Her coworker says, commiserating, before dropping her voice down to a whisper. “But, I just came by to tell you that Don, the floor supervisor - was asking if you were late today, and I told him that you were in the bathroom!” Shelly winks. “You can make it up to me some time with a coffee.”
Kelly smiles thankfully. “Co-worker of the year award, I swear!” She says, and the two laugh as they part ways, Kelly’s loafer growing more and more inhospitable by the moment. Relieved to hear that her coworker had covered for her, she tried to make up for it by working extra hard in the meantime - a decision Jackson would find himself wishing she hadn’t made.
Already, it was getting harder to think straight in the oppressive heat, and the break from being slammed between the sole of his mother’s foot and the bottom of her loafer like the world’s most humid panini press was unfortunately short lived.
As soon as she sat down, a coworker asked her if she could grab some copies from across the office - normally, she would make up some excuse, but she felt like she had to make up for being late today - much to her son’s misfortune.
With a friendly smile and a hop up from her chair - his mother agreed, the intense weight of her sole slamming back down on him once more, off like a shot towards the copier.
It was only the first of many ordeals that he would be subjected to inside the virtual sauna of his mother’s work loafer. As she worked, the thought of her son being battered and crushed under her busy sole grew further and further from her mind - after all, she was quite busy with her job, and she knew where he was - feeling him faintly in the back of her mind every time she took another step, reminding her that she could easily take care of his problem later.
Her shift ran long, and the day was packed - the hours seemed to pass by like molasses as Jackson was made to have second, third, and fourth thoughts about the arrangement he had proposed to his mother - regret washing over him with every sweaty press of her sole. By the time her day was half over, Jackson was absolutely certain that he never wanted to endure anything like this ever again - and that was solidly reinforced as the second half of the day smothered, squashed and flattened him all the more thoroughly.
By the end of her day, her son was almost indistinguishable from her worn insole - having been pressed and smeared against the bits of dead skin and grime, caked in drying sweat and bits of dust and dirt that had found their way into the shoe with him, and altogether bruised and battered- he was almost indented into the insole - but of course, otherwise unharmed.
In his sweltering, muggy prison, Jackson could faintly make out the contents of his mother’s phone call- talking with the doctor about returning him to normal size - hope fluttering in his chest that this nightmare would soon be over. He could make out bits and pieces between the sound of his mother’s toes scraping against the sides of her loafer, the sounds of creaking stitches and leather on skin drowning out the outside world.
“I see…. — yes — cancellation… — well — no — days — okay — thank you—--” CLICK
Kelly hung up with the doctor’s office - collecting her things and walking to her car, forgetting to check up on Jackson entirely. She felt strangely energized, having gone through the entire day with a bit of an extra spring in her step - she chuckled a little bit at the thought, scrunching her toes around the son-shaped lump under her left foot. With a smile, she got in her car, and started to drive back home - subjecting Jackson to another chaotic pedal-slamming bout with her sole.
Deep in the swampy confines of her loafer, having stewed in the sweat and scent from her feet all day - having been intimately acquainted with every single crevice and wrinkle along his mother’s slender sole, Jackson found himself wishing he could pass out. But, he was not so lucky- he spent every minute of the drive getting plastered like a sticker to the ball of his mother’s foot, sliding down the wrinkles of her arch, being hammered by the flesh of her heel - until she mercifully pulled into the driveway, finding herself feeling more energetic than normal. Usually she felt drained after work- but today, she felt energized - she wanted to do more!
She set her bag down on the counter, and Jackson heard the sound of her keys jangling as she hung them on the hook by the door- signaling that his nightmare was finally about to end. He exhaled a deep sigh of relief from between his mother’s toes, and let himself sink down into the soaked insole from exhaustion.
He felt the leather shift and move around him as the huge mass of his mother’s foot began to retract from the shoe’s opening. Jackson is nearly blinded by the sudden beam of light from the opening - after spending nearly 10 hours in almost complete darkness, it was dazzling. He blinked as his eyes slowly adjusted,feeling the refreshingly cool air on his skin - given almost no time to react as Kelly dumped him out onto her waiting palm.
Squinting in the light, soaked, battered and bruised, he landed in her palm. She couldn’t hide a small, stifled laugh at his state. “Well, it looks like we both had one heck of a day, huh? Not so easy working for a living, is it?” She says playfully. “I must admit, I wasn’t really sure about it when you first suggested it, but you were wonderful in there today!” She beams. “I haven’t had this much energy in ages!”
Jackson struggles to speak, lips glued together a bit by the film of his mother’s dried footsweat in the open air. “What did the doctor say?” He croaks.
His mother waves her hand dismissively. “Oh, the office said they can’t get you in for an appointment for at least a couple days.” She leaned down and grabbed a pair of her old running shoes with her free hand. Jackson hadn’t noticed at first, but it looked like she had changed into workout clothes before taking him out.
“What? What are you doing? Can’t we get in sooner?” Jackson says, stirring in her palm.
“I - well, we - are going for a run!” His mother answers enthusiastically. “And I think it’ll be a good lesson on appreciating the value of hard work, in the meantime!” She says, swinging him over the opening of her well-worn running sneaker. It had been a while since she had found the time to go running, but there was still the visible imprint of her foot dug deep into the insole, a dark patch where her heel had rested, greeting Jackson’s eyes.
Before he could voice any concerns or protest, his mother’s fingers casually tossed him into the purple-and-white jogging sneaker, letting his shrunken form fall into the abyss below. “Don’t worry! I’m sure the next few days will just fly by!” His mother says, putting in her earbuds as she prepares to go for a jog. “And tomorrow, I think I’ll wear my doc martens.” She says, thinking aloud as Jackson looks up in disbelief.
Heh had scarcely escaped the confines of his mother’s shoe only to be thrown directly into another - and this one was shaping up to be even worse!
“Wait! Mom, come on, stop! I changed my mind!” He shouts as loud as his tiny form can manage, cupping his hands around his mouth like a megaphone.
“Hmm? Sorry, can’t hear you - I’ve got my tunes on!” His mother replies, pointing to the earbuds she had just put in. “I’ll see you tomorrow!” She says, and looms her slender foot over the opening of the running shoe - with a sigh of disgust, Jackson noticed, she still hadn’t bothered with socks.
The shadow of her foot slowly moved down to block out the light, her long toes wriggling in the open air as she slipped her shoe on for a refreshing jog. The heat and smell intensified almost instantly as Jackson was bowled over by the toes, crammed under the curve between the end of the shoe and the ball of her foot, sandwiched between the lanky toes and the worn fabric of the insole that quickly muffled his protests.
If only he hadn’t suggested she keep him in her shoes - but now, he was in for hell until the doctor’s appointment. Far above, his mother tied her laces tight.