Mary Christmas 2: Christmas in July – Chapter 11 – by lostandwhatever

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Mary Christmas 2: Christmas in July – Chapter 11
By: lostandwhatever

Continued from Chapter 10.

 

The conference room was notably silent after the noise of the Yootoob video abruptly ceased.

 

Angela broke the silence. “So, what did we notice?”

 

The blonde in the corner spoke up for the first time. “It’s the milk,” she said.

 

Someone turned the lights back on.

 

“Why do you say that, Dr. Schultz?” Angela asked.

 

“Actually, Alice said it, but, like, she wanted me to tell you all, since she’s, like, too small for you to hear her.”

 

“Is Ken awake?” Angela asked.

 

“Yeah, I’m up,” the little girl said. “I’ll put Alice on the table.”

 

“Thanks,” Angela said.

 

Ken, the little girl in the big shirt, set the doll-sized woman on the conference room table. Alice made sure to adjust the tissue she was wearing before walking over to the middle of the table.

 

“It was the milk that did it,” Alice said in her little voice. “That’s the only consistent thing through each of the videos. Play back the start of the Yootoob video again.”

 

The video started over. First, the camera focused on Amy sitting alone. Then, it turned to Jen and Brittany.

 

“Stop it there,” Alice said, and the video paused. “Look, both girls are drinking milk, and we know that Amy was also drinking milk because it was spilled on her. They were all eating different things except for the milk.” Alice turned to Carol. “You said that the daycare kids were drinking milk, right?”

 

“Yeah,” Carol said.

 

“And, all of them changed,” Alice said, “every one of them. How about the middle school kids?”

 

Carol checked her notes again. “Yes, some of them had milk as well.”

 

“And only some of them changed,” Alice said. “It’s the only thing that fits all of the situations.”

 

“It can’t just be the milk,” Steve said.

 

“It’s the only thing it can be,” Alice said.

 

“Then, why are some kids getting older and other kids getting younger?” Steve countered. “Those are two different spells.”

 

“Um, actually…” Candice started to speak, but was cut off.

 

“If there are two effects, then there have to be two causes,” Steve said.

 

“The milk is the only thing that fits,” Alice said. “It’s doing both somehow.”

 

“That might be…” Candice said, before being cut off again.

 

“Maybe what the milk does is random,” someone else suggested.

 

“All the daycare kids got older,” someone else said. “That’s not random.”

 

“Quiet!” little Ken shouted. Everyone turned to her. “I think the elf has something to say.”

 

Angela turned to Candice and said, “You are the only one who’s actually created enchantments here. What are your thoughts?”

 

Every eye in the room was focused on Candice. “Well, what I was trying to say was that Alice was right. The milk can do two things.”

 

“How?” Steve asked.

 

“It’s part of how magic works,” Candice said. “Spells work like… computer programs. They are a list of logical instructions that take inputs and give outputs. Without the instructions to follow, the spells would go wild and wouldn’t accomplish what they’re intended to do. This spell in the milk seems to have two steps to its instructions. The first step is the delay that someone spotted during the first video. When the milk enters someone’s body, it waits a few minutes before the next step of the instructions. The second step must be a conditional statement. You know, like, ‘if this is true, then make that effect happen.’ The spell detects something about the person that drank it and then uses that input to decide if that person will get older or younger.”

 

“So,” Steve said. “What’s the ‘input’ being detected?”

 

Ken said, “Puberty.”

 

Alice said, “Of course!”

 

“What?” Steve asked.

 

“The little kids got bigger and the big kids got littler,” Ken explained and yawned. “I want to go to bed,” she said and returned to Dr. Schultz’s lap.

 

Carol said, “That does fit what we know about Mary. She’s got a sadistic sense of humor. Making kids into adults and adults into kids would be just her thing. Plus, that delay on the start of the spell would make it easier for more people to be affected by it. If the kids changed immediately, then people would stop drinking their milk. That’s also good for hiding the source of the spell. Because of the delay, no one was sure at first what caused the change. I bet she was trying to confuse us even more by making two things happen with one spell. She probably thought we would go testing all the food to find both causes, which would slow us down.”

 

Angela said, “Then, this puts us a step ahead. We know the cause now, and we can track down the source of the milk.” She turned to Carol and said, “Find out where that milk came from. I want the name of the company that packaged it and the location of every single cow that made milk for it.”

 

“I’m on it,” Carol said, gathering up her things. “I’ll call Foodways to see if anyone is still there at this hour. If not, I’ll have the info tomorrow morning.” She opened the conference room door and left the room to continue her investigation.

 

As soon as she was gone, the general appeared in the doorway with his arm wrapped around a garbage can. “I’m all done,” he said. “It was a bit awkward for both of us, but she’s drained now. Where do you want me to put the milk?” he asked, nodding toward the garbage can. “There’s an egg waiting in the conference room as well.”

 

Candice felt that something seemed odd about the general. Then, it hit her. “General,” Candice said. “Didn’t your hair used to be gray?”

 

“My hair?” he said touching the dark black hair on his head. “Did something happen to it?”

 

“He’s younger now,” Angela said. “Did you eat anything in that room?”

 

“No,” he said. “Not a crumb, I swear. I didn’t drink anything either.”

 

An idea came to Candice, then, like a couple of puzzle pieces fitting together in her mind. She asked him, “You got milk on your hands just now, didn’t you?”

 

“A little bit of it,” he admitted. “It’s hard to avoid when you’re milking by hand.”

 

“I know how she did it,” Candice said. “Of course, there’s a chicken and a cow.”

 

“What do you mean?” Angela asked.

 

“There was one thing that was bothering me about the whole situation today. This was a big spell, but I never detected it with my equipment,” Candice said and nodded towards her suitcase. “You see, the other elves have been tracking Mary all over the world. Whenever she performed a large enough spell, they could pinpoint her location. They even came close to catching her one time in Europe. They followed her all the way to the East Coast of the US, but then they lost her. Either she stopped casting spells at least a month ago, or she found a way to hide her spells better. That’s why they brought me down here. I was supposed to help improve their ability to detect her magic.”

 

“What does this have to do with the chicken and the cow?” Angela asked.

 

“Eggs and milk,” Candice said. “They’re basic ingredients for making food. She could hide her spells in food, like she did with the food she left here. That’s obvious, of course, from what we saw today. The really clever thing she did was the way she enchanted the eggs and milk in the first place.”

 

“How do you think she did it?”

 

“If she had just bought eggs and milk and enchanted them, then we would have detected her. Instead, she must have transformed herself into a chicken to make eggs and a cow to make milk. Then, she could enchant the eggs and milk… um, biologically, I guess is the best way to put it. She could create spells with her animal body that were too subtle for us to track down.”

 

“Wait, let me get this straight,” Steve said. “Mary turned herself into a magic cow and got herself milked to make magic milk that would turn other people into magic cows that made age changing milk? And, that’s what happened to Bill and Justin?”

 

“Exactly,” Candice said. “She used the same spells on them that she used on herself. That’s why the general got younger by touching the milk that the cow made. That milk he’s holding must be a super-concentrated version of the milk that transformed the kids. It only took a few drops absorbed into his skin to make him years younger. Somewhere out there, in some dairy, there’s at least one cow making the same milk, and that’s what made all the age changing happen today.”

 

“So,” Angela said. “That’s the source we’re looking for. I guess we should thank Mary for reusing some of her spells in the treats she left for us. Since we now know how Mary transformed everyone today, does that mean that you can find a way to transform everyone back to normal?”

 

“Well,” Candice said, “that’s actually no problem at all. Transformations caused by something like food usually have short-lived effects. Once the enchanted substances are digested and filtered out of a person’s body, the changes should quickly revert back to normal.”

 

“How soon?” Dr. Schultz asked.

 

“Probably a day or two,” Candice said. “It depends on how concentrated the substance was, but you should probably be back to normal by tomorrow.”

 

“Did you hear that Ken?” Dr. Schultz asked the girl on her lap. “We’re going back to normal tomorrow.”

 

“That’s nice,” the half-asleep girl said.

 

“And, the kids in the schools?” Angela asked.

 

“Yeah, them too,” Candice said. “Making people ingest an enchanted substance is a quick means of distribution, but it’s not likely to cause long-lasting effects.”

 

“Well, that’s a relief,” Angela said. “I’ll have to inform the president after the meeting about all of this. He’ll be happy to hear that the cleanup will take care of itself.”

 

“Someone should tell Bill and Justin,” Steve said. “I’m sure they’d be happy to hear that as well.”

 

“We’ll tell them,” Dr. Shultz said and stood up with Ken. Ken picked up Alice from the table and the three of them left.

 

Angela checked the clock and said, “It’s getting late. Do we have anything else to discuss before we go?” No one replied. Angela stood up and said, “Then, we’ll call it a night there, everyone. Tomorrow, we’ll go hunting for magic cows and the elf who made them. Go home and get some rest. Third shift will keep an eye on things here.”

 

Everyone stood up and filed out of the room. Candice waited for the crowd to pass. Then, she grabbed her suitcase and wheeled it behind her as she followed Angela to Carol’s desk.

 

Carol hung up her phone and said, “No answer at Foodways.”

 

“You’ll talk to them tomorrow,” Angela said. “Go home and get some rest. I want you fresh and ready to go in the morning.”

 

“Sounds good to me,” Carol said. “I might just be able to tuck my kids in if I leave now.”  She checked the time on her cell phone. “Actually, no. They ought to be in bed by now.”

 

“Oh,” Angela said. “One more thing. Candice may have figured out how Mary created the magic milk in the schools. How about you drop her off at her hotel? She can brief you on her theory on the way there.”

 

“She’s staying at the Western Hotel just down the road, right?”

 

“Yes,” Angela said.

 

“Sounds good. It’s on my way home,” Carol said and gathered up her things. “Okay, Candice, let’s hit the road.”

 

“Thank you,” Candice said.

 

As she followed Carol from her desk, Candice noticed the cow and chicken in the conference room with Dr. Schultz, Ken, and Alice. Dr. Schultz had her arm draped over the cow’s back in a sort of hug. Ken was gently petting the chicken as Alice sat on the table next to them. All of them seemed relieved as they waited for life to return to normal.

 

To be continued…

 

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Mary Christmas 2: Christmas in July – Chapter 10 – by lostandwhatever

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Mary Christmas 2: Christmas in July – Chapter 10
By: lostandwhatever

Continued from Chapter 9.

 

Much like with the previous video, the junior high video was a silent pixelated security camera view of tables. Though, in this case, the tables were full-sized with attached benches, and the cafeteria room was much larger than the playroom had been. Children of various sizes walked into the frame holding trays of food and began to sit down at the tables. Most welcomed friends and started chatting. Others looked to be loners.

 

As with the previous video, the first change occurred a few minutes after the students had sat down. It was hard to spot at first. A relatively smaller boy who had been eating alone on the side of the screen stood up from his table. He looked down at his hands and his body as he grew taller and his clothing became tighter, much like what had happened with the kids in the other video.

 

Then, something new happened to a girl at the table behind him. She began to shrink. At first, she had looked to be in 8th grade. Now, she appeared to have regressed to 6th grade and looked to be still going down. Her shirt hung loosely on her flat chest as she looked around frantically for some kind of help.

 

Other students backed away from the changing kids, but then a few of the retreating kids began to change themselves. As with the first two students, some grew older, and others grew younger. In a few minutes, at least a dozen kids in the frame had either entered adulthood or passed back into early childhood. The rest of the students had escaped the cafeteria, leaving behind trays full of partially eaten breakfasts.

 

***

 

“Thoughts?” Angela prompted again.

 

Someone asked, “Why were some of them growing older and others getting younger?”

 

“There must be two spells going on this time.” someone else suggested. “They were probably eating different things,”

 

Candice was about to challenge that idea, but Angela spoke up first, “Carol?”

 

Carol checked her notes again. “The menu for breakfast today was a bit long if you include all of the sides and drinks and snacks for sale. The options for the main course were either waffles or pancakes.”

 

“There’s way too many variables to narrow down what they were eating,” someone said. “Is anyone interviewing them about what they ate.”

 

Carol said, “We have the police covering that, but it might take a little while considering how many students were affected.”

 

“Keep us posted on what they find,” Angela said. “Did anyone notice anything else?”

 

Candice held her tongue. She suspected that only one spell could be responsible for both changes, but she was far from sure.

 

“Let’s see the Yootoob video,” Angela said.

 

“This one is trending around the world right now,” the analyst at the projector said. “Wow, already 5 million views, and its only been up about an hour. Unfortunately, the girl didn’t turn her phone sideways. High school kids… What can you do?”

 

As the video started, Candice decided to keep a close watch on what everyone ate.

 

***

 

Sound filled the room, the murmur of a cafeteria slowly filling with students, and the screen showed the shaky vertical video of a cell phone camera, which focused on a girl sitting by herself at the end of a cafeteria table. She appeared to be a bit small for high school. The fact that she was hunched over her sandwich and trying not to be noticed made her seem even smaller.

 

“Hey, is that her?” said a girl’s voice from near the phone. Based on how loud it was, it probably belonged to the one holding the phone.

 

“That’s her,” said a second girl, offscreen.

 

“So, that’s Little Amy, the freshman?” said an unseen third girl. The camera quickly turned to face a pair of teen girls on the opposite side of the table. Both of them were as scantily clad as the school dress code would allow and had their makeup carefully applied. “She looks like a 6th grader,” the blonde girl on the right said and took a sip of her milk.

 

As the second girl, the brunette on the left, picked at her salad, she said, “Yeah. Fuck that girl.” She took a bite of lettuce and glared in the direction of Amy as she chewed.

 

The blonde asked, “You want to go mess with her?”

 

The brunette took a sip of her milk and said, “Hell yeah!”

 

The camera swung back around to Amy, still sitting alone. This time, Amy noticed the phone pointed at her. She blushed and looked back at her food.

 

“Come on,” said the brunette off camera. She walked back into frame in the direction of Amy followed by the Blonde.

 

The video shook wildly as the camera girl stood up and approached Amy. The two girls stood on the opposite side of Amy’s table as the camera girl lined up her shot to document what was about to happen between the three of them.

 

The brunette said, “Hey, freshman? What’s up?”

 

Amy took a nervous sip of her milk and set it down. “W-what’s up, Jen?” she said to the brunette.

 

“Well,” Jen said. “Brittany and me were just talking over there.” She pointed back to where they had been. “We wanted to know if you would like to go to Adventure Park with us this weekend. We’ve been planning to go all week.”

 

“Me?” Amy said incredulously.

 

“That’s right,” Brittany said.

 

“Um,” Amy said, cautiously. “I guess so… if my mom says it’s okay.”

 

“Oh, wait!” Jen said, feigning disappointment. “I can’t go now.” Her voice filled with anger. “And, it’s all your fault, you bitch.”

 

“W-what?” Amy stuttered. “W-what are you talking about?”

 

Jen crossed her arms. “I’ve got a detention after school today, and I’m grounded this weekend, all because you snitched on me to Mr. Morrison.”

 

“Snitched? I-I never…”

 

Jen rested her hands down on the table and stared at Amy. If looks could kill… “You caught me looking over your shoulder during the test yesterday. I know you saw me when you looked at the clock on the side of the room. Then, you ratted me out after class.”

 

“I didn’t. I swear. I…”

 

“It’s not my fault you’re such a midget of a freshman that I could see your answer sheet without even leaning over. And, you’re such a teacher’s pet for Mr. Morrison. You’ve got to have your hand up after every stupid question he asks. The rest of us sophomores are just trying to make up Algebra 2, while here you are trying to get a year ahead. You preppy little bitch.”

 

“Jen, listen,” Amy said, holding her hands up defensively. “I didn’t say a thing to him. I swear.”

 

“Well, I know he didn’t see me during the test. He’s was too busy grading stuff to notice anything. But, then I get called down to the office this morning, and Mr. Monroe is there with the vice principal, and he’s holding two answer sheets in his hand, yours and mine.”

 

Brittany said, “Uh oh.”

 

Amy was silent.

 

“He’s all like, ‘You and Amy had the same answers.’ And, I was like, ‘Well, that’s just a coincidence or something.’ And, he says you couldn’t have cheated off of my test ‘cause I was sitting behind you.”

 

“See,” Amy said. “He just figured it out himself. It’s not my fault.”

 

“Then,” Jen continued, “Mr. Morrison said that you and me both had three questions with the same wrong answers.”

 

Amy blanched and said nothing.

 

Brittany pondered aloud, “When was the last time Little Amy got less than an A on anything in Mr. Morrison’s class?”

 

Amy remained silent, but she had begun to sweat.

 

“I’ll tell you when,” Jen said. “Never. You knew all the right answers, but you got those three answers wrong on purpose just to make sure I got caught. Didn’t you?”

 

Amy started to slide off the bench to get away from Jen, but Jen screamed, “Answer me!” and knocked over Amy’s carton of milk, soaking the front of Amy’s white T-shirt. The transparent wet fabric clung to Amy’s skin, revealing her bare chest and small nipples to everyone. Amy stood up and grabbed a napkin to try to dry herself off.

 

“Oh my God!” Brittany said, pointing at Amy. “She’s not even wearing a training bra.”

 

Amy crossed her arms over her wet shirt, but already other students around her had begun to laugh.

 

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” Jen said, sardonically. “You poor little girl. You spilled all your milk. How are you gonna to grow up big and strong now?”

 

“Did you get that?” Brittany asked the girl with the camera.

 

“I got it.” The camera girl said.

 

“You hear that, Amy?” Jen said. “If you try anything like that again, or if you even look at us funny, we’ll put your itty bitty titties up on Yootoob for everyone to see.” Then, Jen coughed and rubbed her throat. Her voice had started to sound different, almost as if it had gone up an octave higher than it normally was.

 

“Jen, what’s happening to you?” the camera girl asked.

 

Jen’s face took on a more youthful appearance as her body became gradually shorter. She looked down in horror as her breasts shrank away, deflating her tight shirt. Next, her jeans started to slide down her narrowing hips, but she held them up with one hand. She dropped down in height quickly as she passed through a growth spurt in reverse, leaving her looking like a young middle school girl wearing her big sister’s oversized clothes.

 

“What’s happening to me?” she squeaked in her girlish voice.

 

“Oh my God!” Brittany said, but her voice cracked up an octave as well. She gasped and looked down at her own chest as her breasts disappeared as well along with inches of her height.

 

The small crowd that had formed around the girls had begun to mutter to each other in low tones. Then, someone said, “Look at Amy!”

 

The camera turned to focus on Amy again. Unlike the other two girls, Amy was growing taller. Her skirt popped a button as her hips and ass spread out wider. Her hands gripped the waist of her skirt, revealing her milk-soaked chest again, where her once immature little nipples grew larger and darker as a pair of breasts swelled beneath them.

 

“No!” Jen cried, the camera swung back to her again. Now, she looked as young as one of preschool kids from the first video. “Make it stop!” she wailed like a kid throwing a tantrum. “Make it stop!”

 

The video became more shaky now, but a few things were briefly visible. Brittany was only a little older than Jen now. Other gasps and cries came from the surrounding crowd as more students started growing younger as well. Only one other student was visibly growing older, a boy rapidly becoming a man. The crowd grew louder as panic spread through the cafeteria.

 

Again, the camera whipped back to Amy. She now looked old enough to be a teacher herself. She stood there, her mouth open in shock, looking down at her large breasts, which stood out clearly under her tight wet T-shirt.

 

Someone shouted, “Run! Get out! It’s spreading!” and the recording became a screaming blur in the middle of a stampede of students.

 

The video ended there.

 

To be continued…

 

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Mary Christmas 2: Christmas in July – Chapter 9 – by lostandwhatever

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Mary Christmas 2: Christmas in July – Chapter 9
By: lostandwhatever

Continued from Chapter 8.

 

In Department 8, Candice rode the elevator up to the fourth floor, flanked by the general and the nice woman who had greeted her and given her a photo ID badge to wear, which Candice had dutifully clipped to her sweater. It was still warm from being printed.

 

Candice looked up at her companions. She was doing her best to get used to the size of humans relative to her. All her life, she had been surrounded by elves, all with the same childlike appearance as her. In the North Pole, the only adult-sized people around were Santa and Mrs. Claus, which explained why most elves referred to him as “the big man.” It was literally true. He was the largest one around. Since Candice had left the North Pole, everyone was big, except for the occasional child she encountered. The unnerving sense of being the odd one out was starting to worry her in the back of her mind. She had committed to it, though. Her glasses were now stowed away in a pocket, leaving her elf ears visible to everyone.

 

The elevator reached the fourth floor, and the doors parted. Candice pulled her suitcase behind her as she followed the other two passengers across a hallway to a pair of doors guarded by two heavily armed men in uniform. The guards carefully checked all three ID cards, and gave Candice and her suitcase an extended skeptical look. Then, the doors were opened, and Candice followed her companions into an office space full of cubicles that stretched over her head. A quick peek into the cubicles they passed showed bare unoccupied desks. They headed further back into the office until they approached a conference room where the nearby desks started to show signs of use.

 

It was there that the smell hit Candice, a distinctive barnyard musk that anyone who had spent time around livestock knew all too well. Candice knew that pungent mix of manure and animal sweat from her time around the reindeer. The source of the odor was clear the moment Candice could see through the glass of the conference room. A large cow stood in there with a chicken next to it on the table, both surrounded by ordinary office furniture. The cow had its face stuffed into a plastic waste paper basket and appeared to be drinking water out of it.

 

Angela, the woman who had greeted Candice and given her an ID badge, called out to the room, “Everyone, your attention please.” Heads poked out of cubicles all around them to listen to Angela speak. “The agent from the North Pole is here. I want to give you all a chance to meet her, and then we will have a presentation to bring her up to speed on the investigation. I know it’s getting late, but her magical expertise could be a big help to us.”

 

“Um,” someone said from the back of the room. “I can’t really see her.” Candice could not see him either.

 

Angela found a nearby chair without wheels and positioned it next to Candice. “Excuse me, Candice. Would you mind standing up here so that we can all see each other?”

 

“Oh,” Candice said. “Sure.” Angela offered her a hand, and when Candice took it, she was practically lifted up into the air onto the chair. Now, she could see everyone. No one was smiling.

 

Angela continued her introduction, “This is Candice Cain from the North Pole. She was sent to help us track down Mary. And, yes, she is an elf. I expect everyone to treat her with the same respect that you would give to anyone else working here. She is a part of our team now. Any questions?”

 

No one said a word.

 

“Let’s go around and introduce ourselves. Just say your name and explain your job briefly.”

 

Candice was hit with dozens of names and job descriptions, but she gave up trying to remember them all after the 10th person.

 

Finally, Angela turned to Candice, “Would you care to tell us a little about yourself, Ms. Cain?”

 

“Oh,” she said. “Well, I am an expert in magical tracking spells. I’ve been developing some new equipment to detect magical energy. Also, I have some practice with enchanting, and I’ve been living in D.C. for the past couple of weeks.”

 

“How old are you?” a man asked from the back of the room. Candice thought she remembered his name was Steve.

 

Angela told him, “That’s not a nice question to ask a lady.”

 

“Well,” the man said. “She looks like she’s in grade school. I would hope she’s older than that.”

 

“Steve, drop it,” Angela said.

 

“I’m 25 years old,” Candice said. “I know I don’t look it, but that’s a part of our glamor, the spell that elves in the North Pole all share. ‘We look like children so that we might serve children best.’” The last sentence had bubbled up from memory. She had heard that explanation so many times in school, yet this was the first time that she had said it out loud. As soon as the words left her lips, she started to doubt them.

 

A few people muttered comments to each other quietly. Then, there was silence.

 

“Right, then,” Angela said. “We’ll start the presentation now. Join us if you’ve received an invite.”

 

Angela offered Candice her hand again, but Candice stepped down off the chair on her own, deciding it was best to demonstrate she could handle the situation without extra help. She had become aware of the need to make a good first impression.

 

At first, Candice headed for the conference room with the cow in it, but then she noticed that everyone was walking the other way. She followed the crowd.

 

“Ma’am,” the general said to Angela. “Do you have a stool and bucket I could use?” He looked back into the cow’s conference room uneasily.

 

Angela replied. “I think there are some little plastic garbage cans that might work. That’s probably the best we can offer.”

 

“Right,” the general said.

 

“Make sure you save the milk,” one of the analysts said. “We’ll want to test it.”

 

“Right,” the general said and headed back towards the cow as he searched for garbage cans.

 

“Also,” Angela called back to the general. “Don’t touch any of the boxes in there, and definitely don’t eat anything!”

 

People filed into another conference room, and Candice followed close behind Angela. After Candice set her suitcase in a corner of the room, she waited for Angela to sit down before taking a seat next to her. Then, Candice tried to sit up straight and keep her legs from swinging. She noticed a blonde woman sitting in a chair in the corner of the room with a girl sleeping on her lap, holding what looked like doll in her hands. She wondered what they were doing there.

 

Angela started off the presentation with a quick summary of the events of the day. Candice listened attentively. Although she had heard much of this information from news reports, there were some new details, like how they suspected that the food was responsible for the transformations. Additionally, she learned about how Mary had attacked Department 8 and about the different magical tools Mary had used. Now, Candice looked sympathetically at the blonde woman and the sleeping girl in the corner. The doll-sized woman stretched her arms and tried to get comfortable in the girl’s hands.

 

“And, that’s about all we know so far,” Angela said as she wrapped up her presentation. “We are analyzing the food we collected, and we should be investigating the source of the food. Have we started that yet, Carol?”

 

Carol Marx, the head field agent, said, “We have narrowed the source of all the food down to a local distributor named Foodways. They have shut down distribution and will let us in for a search first thing tomorrow morning.”

 

“Any suspicious activity reported by them?” Angela asked.

 

“Nothing so far,” Carol said. “No signs of a break in or tampering of any kind were found… yet.”

 

“Keep on them,” Angela said. “Have we been able to figure out anything new about the ring Mary took?”

 

Steve said, “Dr. Schultz might need a day or two to clear his… or her… head before we can do more research on the ring. Some of the writing we have on it is written in dead languages, and Dr. Schultz is the one who’s most fluent in them.”

 

The blonde woman in the corner remained silent, but she turned her head away from the conversation.

 

“Candice,” Angela said. “Do you think your tracking equipment can find the ring?”

 

“Maybe,” Candice said. “It didn’t show up on my equipment before I came here, but I might be able to adjust some settings to track it down if I can get more specific information about it.”

 

“You’ll have to wait until Dr. Schultz is ready to help you. We’ll let her rest for now,” Angela said. “Do we have anything new from the schools?” she asked the room.

 

“We have some surveillance camera footage from a couple of buildings,” said one analyst. “And, there’s a trending video on Yootoob that seems pertinent.”

 

“Can we put those on the screen?” Angela asked.

 

A few people went about setting up speakers and a projector, the blinds were closed, and the lights were shut off.

 

“This first one is from a daycare,” the woman operating the projector said. Then, a video started to play on the screen across the room.

 

***

 

The image was unclear and heavily pixelated, but it became immediately obvious that it was security camera footage of a daycare center playroom. Preschool kids sat on kid-sized chairs around low tables as a few women handed out plates with some indiscernible breakfast food on them. These were followed by cups of fruit and, lastly, a small carton of milk for each child. The kids began to eat, while their caretakers watched them and tried to minimize the mess they made, all of it happening in eerie silence as the video had no recorded sound.

 

The first sign of trouble came from the end of one table by girl in a bright yellow shirt and denim skirt. The table she was sitting at jumped up in front of her. It appeared that her knee had hit the bottom of the table, knocking around everything on it. Soon, it became clear that the little girl was rapidly growing larger. Her shirt became skin tight as she grew a head taller than the kids around her. The caretakers approached her, but froze when they saw her growing older. Already, her age had reached double digits.

 

Then, the change spread around the room. The boy next to the first girl began to grow as well, followed by other kids at their table, then the next table, and then the whole room exploded into chaos as tables and chairs were overturned by bodies that had quickly outgrown them. All manner of clothing began to tear and split apart as it became too small to contain the aging children.

 

Candice focused her attention back on the original girl, as her yellow shirt split apart like a popping balloon, revealing a pair of growing breasts on her maturing chest. Her skirt tore away, revealing her stretched underwear that finally snapped off under the tension created by her spreading hips and ballooning backside. In only a few minutes, the preschool girl had aged into a full-grown woman.

 

And, so had all the rest of the children in the room. Some appeared to have stopped growing at some point in their teens. Others were mature-looking adults.

 

The room went wild. A few of the former kids began to cry, looking like adults play acting as sad children. There were some that jumped for joy and ran around, letting newly grown parts of their naked bodies flop and swing around wildly. Still, others stood in amazement and examined their mature bodies, innocently touching themselves somewhat inappropriately. Meanwhile, the overwhelmed caretakers tried in vein to regain control of the chaos.

 

That first girl, now a woman, stretched her arms towards the ceiling and stood on the balls of her feet, apparently relishing her new height. Then, her heels touched the ground, and her hands slowly ran down the sides of her body, caressing her unfamiliar new curves. She smiled contentedly.

 

The video ended there.

 

***

 

“Well,” Angela said, breaking the silence. “That was something. Thoughts?”

 

“It has to be the food,” said one unseen analyst in the darkened room. “But, it’s strange that it started on only one side of the room? I wonder why.”

 

“Oh!” said another analyst in a burst of insight. “Those were the first kids to get their food. They started eating first, and they changed only a few minutes later.”

 

“Right,” the other analyst said. “Then, the change followed the path the caretakers took around the room. Good eye. There must be, like, a set time for the spell to activate after they eat.”

 

Candice was impressed by how observant the analysts were. She had been so focused on the first girl that she had missed that pattern. She mentally told herself to watch the next video more closely.

 

“Yeah, nice catch you two,” Angela said. She addressed Carol again, “Do we know what they were eating there?”

 

Carol flipped through a notepad, squinted at it in the dimly lit room, and replied, “The menu posted on their website says it was French toast, grapes, and milk.”

 

“And, that all came from Foodways, right?”

 

“Yes.”

 

Angela said, “Lets see the next video. Where is this one from?”

 

“This one is from a junior high,” the woman operating the projector said. “And, these kids are in a summer school enrichment program.”  She started the next video.

 

To be continued…

 

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The Farmer’s Daughters

The Farmer’s Daughters

by Planet

 

“Oh, Daddy, I told you we should have eaten those marrows!” cried 14-years-old Mary-Ann.

Her family owned a farm in Texas where they cultivated every kind of vegetables. That morning, they had gone to their field to make an astonishing discovery: every one of their marrows had mysteriously grown overnight to roughly the size of a 1-years-old baby.

“We’re going to make a fortune with these!” said her Father happily, cutting one to prepare their breakfast and taste its flavor.

Mary-Ann had thought they shouldn’t eat it until they discovered what had happened, but her family objected, and happily: the marrows were incredibly tasty.

While her little sister, Daisy-May, waited at home, Mary-Ann helped her father load the vegetables into his truck and they drove downtown. True enough, the marrows sold in a matter of minutes, and they made a great amount of profit.

It was when they were driving back to the farm that the strange things began to happen. Her father started to sweat like crazy and to say he wasn’t feeling too good.

“It had to be the marrows!” repeated Mary-Ann, as his father stopped the truck and got out to take a bit of air.

Then, miraculously, his body started to shrink. They watched in terror as the man lost more and more of his height, but also his corpulence. Even the hairs on his arms and face were thinning down to nothing. His features were shifting, youthening. In little more than a minute, he looked like a 7-years-old boy in very large clothes.

“What happened to you, Daddy?”

“I… I don’t know!” even his voice was childish.

“We all had those marrows. Are we… are we going to be affected too?”

“I don’t know, baby girl.”

“Oh, no! Daisy-May!” shrieked Mary-Ann. “She’s all alone at the house. We need to get there!”

“I can’t drive, Sweetie. I’m too small. I need you to do it for me.”

Mary-Ann was scared, but she nodded. She had practiced in the truck a couple of times.

“Okay, Daddy, let’s… Oh! It’s happening to me!”

Mary-Ann doubled over, her body shaking as her father’s had. But instead of shrinking, the opposite was happening to her.

Her shoulders broadened suddenly. She looked down and could see her collarbones emerging, and for a moment she was afraid that they were going to tear through her flesh. But nothing was hurtful. It all felt pleasant. Enjoyable, even.

Her waist was lengthening impressively, which was a good thing since her arms and legs were doing the same. She was looking proportionated, if yet thin, as she shot up to be 6 feet tall. Her boniness was changing, though, as muscle swelled everywhere.

Her thighs and calves became extremely thick and powerful, as did her hips and buttocks, straining her short pants. She lifted her arms like a bodybuilder to see her biceps enlarging, strong but still very feminine.

“I’m growing like crazy!” she said, and the voice that emerged for her elongating throat was deep and womanly.

Her blonde hair also grew down a bit, and her face was reshaping into that of an adult, almost a decade older than she was. She could see her reflection in the rear view mirror of the truck, and she marveled at her beauty.

Mary-Ann’s waist was still narrow but also becoming supremely fit. She could feel the contours of her abdominal muscles getting defined under her soft skin. Her white top had gotten tiny on her Amazonian frame, and the emergence of breasts did nothing but worsen its state, especially since she gained several cup-sizes in a matter of seconds. Suddenly, she felt like she was sporting a couple of melons on her chest, but luckily her back muscles were very strong.

She panted, holding the truck’s door for support, shocked about the radical change her physique had undergone.

“Mary-Ann…” her tiny father was looking at her with eyes wide open.

“Come on, Daddy,” she said in her commanding new tone. “We need to get to the farm to see if we’re in time to help Daisy-May.”

She helped him up inside the truck (he barely weighed anything to her!) and took her seat. She still wasn’t very confident about her driving skills, but at least her longer legs would help her do it.

It wasn’t as rough a drive as she had thought, despite her haste and nervousness. She stopped the old truck in front of the house and got out, taking a few seconds before she could register what she was seeing.

Daisy-May was laying against a wooden wall, a bewildered expression on her very blue eyes. Except this Daisy-May wasn’t the tiny 9-years-old who had been left at the house by her sister in the morning. She had also been transformed into a tall and extremely curvy adult woman, pretty much in the same way as her big sister had.

Her blonde locks now cascaded down her back, and she looked way too smug inside her small clothes. Despite her new sexy visage, her gorgeous face still looked innocent as she plead to the new arrivals.

“Please miss, help me. I don’t know what happened to me! I got all big!” he voice was like a purr.

“Daisy-May, it’s me, Mary-Ann!”

“Mary-Ann?”

“I also changed! It was the marrows! And look what happened to Daddy.”

Daisy-May looked down in disbelief at the minuscule boy who barely reached her peeling short pants.

“We have to try and warn everyone who bought those marrows,” Mary-Ann said. “I hope we’re on time.”

But it was already too late. By the time they could spread the word, countless people had already tasted the vegetables. And though it triggered extreme growth on females, making them bigger, stronger and more beautiful, it did the opposite on males, rendering them into young boys.

The effects were permanent and the cause never discovered. But it was a bizarre and unforgettable episode in Texan history.

Mary Christmas 2: Christmas in July – Chapter 8 – by lostandwhatever

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Mary Christmas 2: Christmas in July – Chapter 8
By: lostandwhatever

Continued from Chapter 7.

 

Santa appeared on the screen. He wore white long underwear and red suspenders and his head was bare, but there was no mistaking the round old man with the white beard for anyone else. He did not appear jolly, though.

 

“Good evening mister president,” Santa said.

 

“Good evening,” the president said. He left out any honorific. What the hell do you call santa anyway? Your Jollyness? “I take it you have heard about the trouble we had today.”

 

“We have been monitoring the situation from up here and at our embassy.”

 

The embassy, that was another thing that irked the president. After setting up diplomatic ties with the North Pole, it was only customary to allow the elves to open an embassy in D.C. He did not sleep easy knowing that there were magic users living only 15 minutes from the White House, though. “It’s comforting to know that you are watching out for us,” the president said.

 

“We are also aware there was some sort of problem at that new facility you just opened up recently.”

 

The president kept his poker face on. Damn, the elves knew about Department 8. So much for top secret. “There was an attack,” he admitted. “It seems that your former employee has returned from hiding to cause us some more trouble.”

 

“Mary again,” Santa said with barely controlled anger. It was chilling to see a childhood icon like him appear to lose his cool, even for a moment. “That’s what we suspected as well.”

 

“We will keep you informed if we are able to determine her whereabouts. We would appreciate your help in apprehending her as we have discussed before.”

 

“Yes,” Santa said. “Of course, we will help you with her capture, but…”

 

Here it comes, the president thought. “‘But?’”

 

“We feel that it is time for us to work more closely together to stop Mary. She has eluded you for too long now, too many lives have been damaged by her. We could be of great help to you.”

 

“We have spoken about this before,” the president said. “And, my answer remains the same. While I agree that we are all frustrated that she is still on the loose, we do not require your help in finding her. We have some leads already relating to the attack. We will find her soon, and we will call for your help, then.”

 

“Mister president,” Santa said and let out a sigh. “When Mary attacks you, it is an attack on us as well. She damages our standing in the world. For centuries, we have only wanted to bring joy and happiness to you all. She is putting that holy mission in jeopardy. We cannot stand idly by when we know that we can do something to stop her. I insist that you allow at least one agent from the North Pole help you in your search.”

 

The threat in that last sentence, though implied, was quite obvious. If the president said, No, the elves would go looking for her on their own, unsupervised. Plus, it would damage relations with the North Pole. As much as the president disliked having elves as allies, he feared having more of them as enemies. “Well, if you insist, we will gladly accept the assistance of one of your agents.”

 

“Mister president…” the secretary of defense interrupted.

 

“Not now, Taggart,” the president replied.

 

“That is excellent news,” Santa said. “My agent will be arriving at the White House shortly. We would appreciate it if you would have someone greet her and take her to meet with your search team as soon as possible.”

 

“Amy?” the president said to Secretary of State Purcell.

 

“I will go greet her,” she said and left the room.

 

“Thank you,” Santa said. “I’m sure that cooperating together like this will bring a swift end to this whole mess.”

 

“I agree,” the president said. “We will contact you as soon as we learn more.”

 

“Good evening and good luck,” Santa said, and then the teleconference disconnected.

 

“Mister president,” Taggart said again. “I am concerned.”

 

“You don’t think I’m concerned?” the president said. “You think I want another elf anywhere near Department 8? Of course I don’t, but what choice do I have? You heard him.”

 

“But, sir…”

 

“After all, if one elf could break into one of our most secure facilities, what do you think a group of them could do to the White House?”

 

“We have other options,” Taggart said, giving the president a knowing look.

 

“We can discuss those options privately, later,” the president said. “For now, we play nice with this elf, and let her help us. We just need to make sure that she only sees what we want her to see.”

 

“Yes, sir,” Taggart said. “You had better tell Department 8 that as well.”

 

The president called to an aide. “Get Department 8 back on the teleconference. Let’s get this over with. I need to be on TV soon to address the nation.”

 

The teleconference turned back on to Angela at the conference table in Department 8. The cow had wandered off again, and she was alone at the table.

 

“Angela,” the president said.

 

“Yes, sir?” she replied.

 

“I just had a chat with St. Nick. I’m afraid he’s going to be sending one of his little helpers to join you.”

 

“An elf? Here?” she said. The president saw the fear in her eyes. “Are you sure about this?”

 

“We don’t have any choice. Just make sure she doesn’t see anything she’s not supposed to see. Do you understand?”

 

“Of course,” she said.

 

“She’ll be coming by this evening. Get ready.”

 

“I’ll go inform the staff and start preparing,” she said and stepped away from the conference table.

 

“All right,” the president said, turning his attention back to the situation room. “Where’s the draft for my speech?”

 

“Right here,” said his head speechwriter, handing the president a laptop.

 

“Hey,” said a female voice from the teleconference with Department 8, catching the attention of the president and the rest of the situation room. “What’s this?” The ditzy blonde professor walked into the frame holding a large white box.

 

The young blonde girl, still holding poor little Alice like a doll, joined the professor at the table. “Oooh, is it a present?” she asked, excitedly.

 

“Lemme see,” said the professor. She set the box down on the table and started to open the lid.

 

“Wait!” Alice screamed in her tiny voice. “Don’t open it! That’s-”

 

But, it was too late. The lid came off, and the object in the box was visible to everyone. Lost in hypnotic wonder, the professor stared at the cutest thing in the world. So did young Ken and little Alice in her hands. So did everyone in the situation room.

 

“Oh,” the president said, smiling madly. “It’s so… cute!”

 

***

 

Secretary of State Amy Purcell waited at a gate to the White House for an elf to arrive. The sun had already set, and the elf was late.

 

A secret service agent stood quietly by her side. She asked him, “This is the gate the embassy said she would arrive at, right?”

 

“Do you want me to check again?” the agent asked.

 

“Yes, better check again,” she said. “We’ll wait here a little longer. The car should be here soon.”

 

The agent called into a hidden walkie talkie to check as a little redheaded girl walked down the sidewalk and stopped by them. “Excuse me?” the girl said.

 

Secretary Purcell looked down at the girl in her school uniform and glasses. “I’m sorry, sweetie,” Purcell said. “The tours are done for the day. Come back later with your parents.”

 

“But-” the girl said.

 

The secret service agent said, “According to them, this is the correct gate.”

 

“Well, where is the car?” Secretary Purcell asked. “Are they caught in traffic?”

 

“Uh,” the girl said. “My name is Candice.”

 

“That’s nice, honey,” Purcell said, not looking at the kid but scanning the street for cars.

 

“I think I’m the one you’re waiting for,” the girl said. “I’m from the embassy.”

 

The secretary of state looked down at the girl. She appeared to be an ordinary school girl, prepubescent and innocent looking. She was dragging a large suitcase along with her on wheels. “Oh,” Purcell said. “You’re the agent from the North Pole?”

 

“Yes,” Candice said. “I’m sorry I’m late.” She held out her hand. “I’m Candice Cain.”

 

“I beg your pardon,” Purcell said shaking Candice’s hand. “I didn’t realize you were an elf. I mean, your ears…”

 

“Oh,” Candice said. “Yeah, I put a bit of a glamor on my glasses.” She took off her glasses, and suddenly the girl had pointy elf ears poking out of her curly red hair. “I thought it might help me be a bit more discreet. You know, to blend in better.” The girl put her glasses back on, and her ears appeared human again.

 

“Well, it worked. I thought you were an ordinary child. That’s very clever.” The secretary turned to the secret service agent and said, “Tell them to pull the car over here to pick up the girl… I mean, the agent.” She turned to Candice. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to call you a girl.”

 

“That’s fine,” Candice said and smiled. “I’m starting to get used to it. I think the cab driver was confused as well. He brought me to the visitor’s center instead of here. I didn’t realize the mistake until after he had taken out my suitcase and driven off. It was a bit of a walk to get here.”

 

“I’m sorry about that. I would have thought your embassy had its own cars.”

 

“We don’t exactly have licenses to drive,” Candice said. “Looking how we do, we’d probably get pulled over a lot.”

 

“Oh,” Purcell said. “Of course.”

 

A black SUV arrived from the White House and pulled up next to them. The secret service agent opened the hatchback and asked Candice, “May I take your bag, miss?”

 

“Here you go,” she said passing the handle to the agent. As strong as he looked, he grunted a bit as he lifted it up into the SUV.

 

“Looks like you’ve got something heavy in there,” Purcell said.

 

“All of my gear is in there… and my clothes,” Candice said. “I hope you can find me a place to stay temporarily so that I can be close to the building.”

 

“We’ll set you up with a hotel room nearby,” Purcell said. “Don’t worry, and let us know if you need anything.” She pulled out a business card. “Here is my personal number. Call me anytime.”

 

The secret service agent opened a door to the back seat as Candice pocketed the card. “Thank you,” she said to them and climbed into the big car. Candice put on her safety belt, and the secretary of state noticed that the elf’s feet did not touch the floor.

 

“Good luck,” Secretary Purcell said and gave the elf a little wave. The secret service agent shut the car door. As the SUV drove off, Purcell stood there wondering if she should not have waved.

 

***

 

In the SUV, Candice looked out the window at the world passing by outside, but at her height she could not see much of the dark landscape through the shaded glass. Then, she noticed that she was not the only passenger in the SUV. An older man in a military uniform was seated in the row in front of her.

 

“Hello,” she said, holding out her hand to the general. “I’m Candice Cain.”

 

He turned to look at her as if he had just noticed she was there. Apparently, he had been preoccupied when she had entered. “Why, hello there, little girl,” he said, shaking her hand. “Are we dropping you off at home?” he asked. “It’s a bit late for you to be out. Isn’t it? Even for a Friday.”

 

She forced a smile again. “Actually,” she said. “I think we’re probably going to the same place. I’m an elf from the North Pole. I’m going to be helping with the investigation to track down Mary Cole.” She removed her glasses to show off her pointy ears again.

 

“Oh,” the general said and eyed her suspiciously. “Well, excuse me. I just assumed you were a schoolgirl because of the outfit. That’s kind of an odd thing for an elf to wear.”

 

Candice looked down uncertainty at the sweater and plaid skirt she wore. “Are these not the type of clothes a normal human child would wear? We ordered them from a human clothing store.”

 

“Yes, those are human clothes,” the general said. “The thing is you normally only see kids wear those if they go to a private school with a uniform dress code. You wouldn’t usually see a kid wearing those unless they were heading to class, though.”

 

“I see,” Candice said. “We were looking for something formal to wear to fit in better.”

 

“You look good in that outfit,” the general said. “I’m not one to complain. I’ve worn a uniform most of my life.”

 

“Right,” Candice said. She realized that the clothes might have been a mistake. She started to question other assumptions she had about dealing with the humans.

 

“Hey,” the general said. “Did you say your name was Cain?”

 

Candice’s stomach fell. She knew where this question was leading. “Yes,” she said.

 

“Candice Cain?”

 

“Yes.”

 

The general smiled a little. “Anyone ever call you Candy?”

 

Here it comes, she thought. “Sometimes,” she said.

 

The general chuckled. “So, you’re Candy Cain? Get it? Like the sweet?”

 

“Yep,” she said. “That’s a good one.”

 

“Oh,” the general said, realizing that she was not particularly amused. “I guess you’ve probably heard that one before a few times, eh?”

 

Too many times, she thought. “My parents were trying to be a bit cute,” she said.

 

“Sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean any offense. Candice is a fine name.”

 

She decided it was time to change the subject. “So,” she said. “Why are you going to this Department 8 place?”

 

“Well,” he said, appearing faintly embarrassed. “As it turns out, I have a cow to milk.”

 

To be continued…

 

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Mary Christmas 2: Christmas in July – Chapter 7 – by lostandwhatever

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Mary Christmas 2: Christmas in July – Chapter 7
By: lostandwhatever

Continued from Chapter 6.

 

Secretary of Defense Taggart spoke up first. “Sir,” he said. “Our team from Department 8 is back from the field, and they have secured their facility after the break in today. They have some ideas about how the attack may have happened, but they have been a bit… hampered in their ability to analyze the situation due to the-”

 

“Due to the fact that half the staff were turned into barnyard animals and toys?” the president interjected. “I had a briefing earlier. Is that what you mean?”

 

Taggart braced himself. This was going to be bad. “Yes, sir.”

 

“Now, I can understand how someone could attack our schools. We live in a free society. That’s an unfortunate part of the deal,” The president said. “What I can’t understand is how our own top secret department developed specifically to deal with magical attacks was itself attacked and crippled by one God damn elf. Care to explain that to me?”

 

“Well, we are still evaluating the situation. Obviously there were unexpected vulnerabilities that were exploited. I don’t have all of the information yet, but we do have a teleconference set up with the team at Department 8,” the general said. “They could explain what happened more clearly than I could.”

 

The president waved his hand. “Put them on,” he said.

 

A large screen in the room turned on, and a camera was set up in front of the president. Angela Martinez, Head of Department 8, appeared, sitting at a conference room table. She looked composed but exhausted.

 

“Angela,” the president said. “Can you hear me?”

 

“Yes, mister president,” she said. “I am prepared to brief you on what we know so far about the events of today.”

 

“Brief away.”

 

“Well,” she said. “It appears that the attack on the schools was meant as a diversion for our response team to get them out of the way so that Mary Cole could infiltrate our building.”

 

“I see. So, how the hell did she get past all of your security?”

 

“What we know at this point is that she had help from the inside. One of our analysts was…  compromised and used as a mole to help Mary infiltrate the building. We are interrogating him right now.”

 

“Unbelievable,” the president said. “That still doesn’t explain why the guards didn’t stop her or at least set off an alarm.”

 

Angela said. “She seems to have used a combination of a new type of Youth Gun on some guards and a hypnotic object on the rest.”

 

“‘Hypnotic object?’” the president asked.

 

“Anyone who looks at the object becomes hypnotized to the point of losing the ability to look away or do anything else but look at the object. The guards at the door were hypnotized by it first. After that, it seems to have affected the guards in the camera surveillance room. The object works over a television screen as well, it seems.”

 

“What does this thing look like?”

 

“I don’t know,” Angela said. “I would not dare look at it. The guards are still recovering from seeing it. Some of our team from the field were caught by the object as well when they came back into the building. Thankfully, one of them figured out what was going on and managed to cover the object without looking at it.”

 

“What a mess,” the president said. “Now, why would she want to infiltrate a building full of people trying to capture her besides trying to slow you down or take you out? She didn’t kill anyone did she?”

 

“No. She did not kill anyone, but she did manage to break into our vault to rob us,” Angela said. It was clear that the following words pained her. “I am sorry to say she… compromised me as well, sir.”

 

“I see,” the president said and paused a few seconds, quietly letting Angela know that she would probably be in big trouble once things had settled down. “So, Mary has stopped giving and started taking… turned burglar. I guess we could add that to her list of crimes after breaking and entering, assault, and grand theft sled. Mind telling me what she stole? Did she clear you out?”

 

“No, from what we could tell, she took only one item, a ring.”

 

“Why only that? Don’t we have tons of stuff collected? What’s so special about that ring?”

 

“We are not entirely sure,” she said. “Some of the analysts have theories, though.”

 

“All right then,” the president said. “Put one of them on.”

 

Angela hesitated. “A few of them are… unable to speak at the moment,” she said. As if in response, a moo was heard in the background. Then, a black and white cow wandered into the frame behind Angela. A clucking chicken flapped its way up onto the cow’s back and let a few feathers float down onto the table in front of Angela. “They were transformed by the food that Mary left.”

 

The president sighed. “Who do you have that can speak?” he asked.

 

Angela turned to someone behind the camera. “Dr. Schultz? Dr. Schultz, could you come explain what we know about the ring to the president?”

 

“Oh, okay,” a woman’s voice said. A gorgeous blonde woman wearing a man’s shirt walked into the frame and stood behind Angela and next to the cow and chicken. Her shirt was unbuttoned down to her cleavage as her breasts were so large that the shirt could barely contain them. The shape of her nipples were clearly visible under the fabric. “Um, can they see me here?” she asked. Her voice had a sort of uncertain airheaded levity that seemed to fit her body perfectly.

 

“Yes, Dr. Schultz,” Angela said and then addressed the president. “This is the senior researcher on our team. He has been examining the history of the ring.”

 

“‘He?’” the president asked.

 

“I used to be an old guy,” the very female blonde professor said slowly. “I ate a little cake, and now I’m all weird and sexy and stuff… but it feels kinda good, you know?” Her hand subconsciously cupped one of her breasts for a moment.

 

“No, I don’t,” the president said.

 

“Please, forgive him,” Angela said to the president. “His… or her mind is a bit foggy after the transformation.” Angela turned to Dr. Schultz and said, “Tell him about the ring.”

 

“Oh, that ring?” Dr. Schultz said. “Um, lemme see…” She put a hand on her chin and appeared to really concentrate. Then, a look of realization filled her face.  “Oh, that’s that one we found at the Smithsan… Smithington?”

 

“The Smithsonian Museum,” Angela corrected her.

 

“Yeah,” Dr. Schultz said. “That big ol’ place. The ring was in their old stuff room the… storage. And, they said it was from when they first made the place. In fact, it’s really really old, like, from sandals and horsey times. From that summer place. Wait, what’s it called?”

 

“Sumeria?” Angela guessed.

 

“Yeah, that,” Dr. Schultz said excitedly. “It’s this metal that they call… um…”

 

“Can we get to the point?” the president said. “I don’t need a metallurgy lecture from a stripper. The ring, what is it?”

 

“Oh, it’s magic. It’s, like, super magic. We had some magic finding stuff we made, you know, de-tec-tors,” she said, carefully pronouncing each syllable the last word. “They don’t work so good yet, but, if there’s a lotta magic in something, and it’s, like, really really close, they work okay. But, this thing is so magic, like, the detectors found it as soon as we got to D.C.”

 

“I see.”

 

“We think it’s kinda like a magic battery. You can charge it up with magic and then, like, use it somehow. We don’t really know, though,” Dr. Schultz said and then put an hand on her head. “Ugh, this is hard. My head is tired.”

 

“Why don’t you go sit down? That should be enough,” Angela said.

 

“Thanks,” Dr. Schultz said. She gave a little wave and walked out of the frame.

 

Angela said to the president, “That’s about all we know so far. The ring is immensely powerful and potentially very dangerous.”

 

“And now Mary has it,” the president said. “How the hell did you all let this happen? How did she even know that Department 8 exists?”

 

“We believe that Mary was able to detect the ring in our building somehow. It’s clear she has more skill with finding magic objects than we do. Then, she approached and seduced one of our analysts as he was on a short personal trip. She transformed him with the swap necklaces and threatened him, telling him she would not turn him back unless he helped her. We never realized that he had been captured, since he was still supposed to be out of the office this week.”

 

“And then she pulled this stunt at the schools to distract you,” the president said.

 

“Exactly,” Angela said.

 

“How the hell did she transform all of those kids anyway? She must have been nowhere near the schools if she was busy robbing you.”

 

“Our working theory is that she magically tainted the food at the schools,” Angela explained. “Most of the transformations happened during lunch and snack times, so the food would be the most logical cause. Especially, if you consider what happened here as well.”

 

“Do you some kind of have a food expert there to explain how she might have done that?”

 

“Uh, well, Alice is studying the enchanting of objects. She might be able to explain,” Angela said. She called to someone behind the camera. “Ken, can you bring Alice over to the table?”

 

A little blonde girl wearing an adult man’s shirt walked into frame holding a doll in her hands. She set the doll on the table, and the doll began to move on its own. Angela walked over to the camera and pulled it in close to get a good view of the doll. It became clear then to everyone in the room that it was not in fact a doll but a doll-sized woman. She appeared to be about six inches tall judging by the relative size of the pen on the table next to her. She wore a white tissue wrapped around her like a large towel, and she looked very nervous.

 

“This is Alice,” Angela said as she sat down behind the small woman. Angela’s face was not visible only her hands, which only emphasized how small Alice had become. “As you can see, she has also been transformed by the food Mary left.”

 

“Alice,” the president said. “What do you think Mary did with the food?”

 

“Well,” Alice said in a tiny voice. “We have been looking into what you might call magic potions to figure out how they are made. Our theory is that they’re something like poisons in that they contain certain chemicals in them. For some reason, these chemicals can be charged up magically to cause specific effects, such as what happened to me and the other people in here.”

 

The cow mooed again.

 

Alice continued, “We’re preparing to analyze the school lunches and the food Mary left here to see if we can find some chemical or chemicals that might have done this. Of course, we might be wrong. It is just a theory right now.”

 

“Let me know what you find,” the president said.

 

Angela readjusted the camera to show her face again and nearly knocked over little Alice in the process. The little blonde girl returned to rescue the doll-sized woman from the table.

 

“We should have a preliminary report ready by the day after tomorrow,” Angela said. “We would get it to you sooner except we are short-handed at the moment.”

 

The cow mooed even louder.

 

“Oh for crying out loud,” said a four-star general sitting near the president. “Can someone help that cow out already?”

 

“What are you talking about, Bob?” the president said.

 

“Well, she clearly needs to be milked,” the general said. He addressed Angela. “Is her udder almost touching the floor there?”

 

Angela looked down at her coworker’s udder. “It’s hanging a bit low,” she reported.

 

“Go on and milk her then,” the general said. “That’s gotta be seriously uncomfortable. I mean hasn’t anyone there lived on a farm?”

 

“I… don’t know how to milk a cow,” Angela admitted and then addressed the room she was in. “Does anyone here know how?” No one replied.

 

The president chuckled. “Well, Bob,” he said. “It looks like you just got drafted into cow duty. You can milk that cow, right?”

 

“Yes, sir. I can, but-”

 

“Great,” the president said. “You have your orders. Get over there and milk that analyst.”

 

“Yes, sir,” the general said reluctantly.

 

He got up and walked to the door. Just as he exited, an aide entered the room then and whispered something into Secretary of State Amy Purcell’s ear.

 

“Sir,” the secretary of state said. “We have just received a phone call from the North Pole. Their leader would like to speak with you.” Purcell had learned to use the phrase “their leader” in place of Santa Claus as the name had a way of irritating the president.

 

“Wonderful,” the president said. “Just what I wanted today, another chance to sit on Santa’s lap.”

 

“We are setting up a teleconference connection with him right now,” Purcell continued. “Are you ready to speak with him?” she asked.

 

“Ready as I’ll ever be,” he said to the secretary. He addressed Angela one last time. “I’ll expect that report ASAP. Keep me informed if you discover anything new.”

 

“We will,” Angela said.

 

The teleconference ended, and the president mentally prepared himself to chat with Santa Claus.

 

“Okay,” he said. “Put the big guy on.”

 

To be continued…

 

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Mary Christmas 2: Christmas in July – Chapter 6 – by lostandwhatever

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Mary Christmas 2: Christmas in July – Chapter 6
By: lostandwhatever

Continued from Chapter 5.

 

Friday, June 29th, Evening

 

President George Gale sat quietly watching a row of muted TV screens. Around the table with him were various aides and cabinet secretaries as well a number of generals wearing enough stars to collectively make up a US flag. They were all busily passing around documents and pointing at screens and discussing the attack from earlier in the day.

 

The country was on alert, and the government had been moved underground to a collection of bunkers as they assessed the attack and decided on a response. Therefore, this meeting was occuring in a windowless subterranean “situation room” as opposed to the Oval Office.

 

President Gale scanned the TVs. Each one was tuned to a different cable news network. All of them showed helicopter feeds hovering above various schools. Occasionally, they were interrupted by an interview. He even saw himself appear briefly when they replayed his short message from earlier in the day announcing the attack and assuring the the country that a response was imminent. But, what the hell were they going to do?

 

He picked up a remote. “Can I get some quiet for a minute?” he said to the room at large. He did not need to raise his voice. Soon, the room was silent. He unmuted one of the screens to listen to the news.

 

***

 

“We want to welcome you if you are just joining us,” a silver-haired reporter said. A bar on the bottom of the screen read, “Magical Attack.” The reporter continued, “An apparent magical attack reminiscent of the one from last Christmas has occurred in the DC area, this time targeting schools and daycares. So far, we have reports of over a hundred affected summer school students and staff in a dozen schools, some as young as 2 years old. Amy Chung is live now outside of one of the schools.” The screen displayed a woman holding a microphone in front of a school building. “Amy, what do we know now at this hour?” the newsroom reporter said.

 

“Well, Andrew,” Amy said. “Authorities are not providing much information about the exact nature or cause of the attack, but we have multiple reports from within the schools that some sort of age changing magic had been used on students. Of course, this is similar to the Christmas attack from late last year. So far, we have no direct confirmation that the two events… these two attacks… are connected, but there are undeniable similarities.”

 

An edited video began then, narrated by Amy Chung’s voice: “It has happened again, a magical attack.” The video cut to shots of nearly naked young adults covered only in emergency blankets, some in tears, followed by images of young children and babies, some wearing oversized clothes. They all looked upset and disorientated. “Over a hundred people of ages varying from 2 to 40 have found themselves suddenly either growing older or younger randomly. The cases of these transformations seem to be centered around schools in Virginia, Maryland, and DC. Some adults have found themselves thrown back into childhood and some children have grown to adulthood in a matter of minutes. No cause has been found yet for these transformations.”

 

“President Gale addressed the country earlier from the White House.” The screen cut to the president. “Once more we have witnessed a magical attack on US soil. Our investigators are on the scene right now to find the cause and the culprit of this heinous attack so that we may bring those responsible to justice. Rest assured, we will do everything in our power to help those afflicted and prevent this sort of attack from happening again.”

 

The screen then cut to old stock footage from Christmas last year. “We all remember the attack from Christmas last year. Millions around the world found their lives touched by magic for the first time in recorded history.” A stream of images followed of crying babies and children in oversized clothes, including one short clip of a talking purple pony toy held in someone’s hand. “What had once been the realm of fantasy and myth was proven to be all too real and true. An elf, an actual elf from the North Pole was the culprit.” A picture of an unsmiling young girl with pointy ears appeared on the screen. “Mary Cole, pictured here, stole Santa’s sleigh and traveled the world distributing magical presents much like the legend of Santa Claus had described. Only her presents were anything but jolly. Each one included a dangerous magical curse for those unfortunate enough to open them. Some found themselves transformed into children and babies. Others discovered they had the power to trade physical qualities with other people to sometimes unpleasant effect. Still others found they could trade bodies with their own toys: a dream come true that could quickly turn into a nightmare.” Again, the little purple pony was shown. This time she spoke, “I just wish I could go back. I wish this had never happened. Why did I do it?” She broke down in tears interrupted by cute little neighing sounds.

 

“In response to the chaos, Santa Claus, the legendary figure himself, revealed himself to the world.” A video of a white-bearded old man wearing red and white played. “Hello,” he said in a wizened deep voice. “I am the real Santa Claus. I am speaking to you today to calm you and assure you that we at the North Pole mean you no harm and that we plan to work with you to help you following these terrible attacks. I have been in contact with the leaders of the world, in particular with the United States president, to explain what had happened and to discuss ways to assist those in need.” A picture was shown of Santa shaking the president’s hand in the Oval Office.

 

***

 

The president grumbled to himself then. There had been many things he had hoped to accomplish as president to cement his legacy as leader of the greatest nation in the world. He had plans for health care, immigration, and employment. What he did not have plans for were magic, elves, and Santa-fucking-Claus. Less than a year into his presidency, the whole world had gone crazy, and he was left scrambling to respond. Of course he had welcomed Santa. What the hell else could he do? Declare war on Christmas? Blow up the North Pole? The old man was offering peace and assistance. He had to take Santa at his word. It wasn’t like he had a secretary of magic in his cabinet. Diplomacy was the only answer, but he was far from happy about it. It was all a giant mess that he had believed was coming under control at last… at least until today.

 

***

 

The story continued. “Elves, like the one who had perpetrated the attacks, worked with government officials to try to repair the damage caused by Mary Cole.” Video clips played showing child-like elves examining people and using strange objects to cast spells. One clip showed the purple pony again, only this time she was standing on her hind legs and growing larger. Soon, she was the size of a child again, but she still appeared to be an anthropomorphic purple pony. In spite of that, she happily hugged her mother and wiped away a tear with a hoof, grateful at least to be human-sized again.

 

The narration continued, “What became of the magical gifts themselves? Many were confiscated by the North Pole. Others simply disappeared. Rumors swirled around the rich and famous who suddenly appeared much younger and fitter than they had looked in years. One famous Hollywood starlet even mysteriously disappeared from the public for a time until paparazzi snapped a picture of her looking too young even for high school.” A picture was shown of a young girl looking shocked and trying to cover her face.

 

“Yet, as time passed and no other attacks occurred, the mood of the public shifted from fear to childlike wonder. What had once been the dreams and fantasies of children was proven to be real, and many people declared themselves to be Santa fans and elf lovers.” Video clips of people holding signs and wearing T-shirts with phrases like “Santa’s Helper,” “What I want for Christmas is world peace!” and “Put me on the ‘Nice’ list!” were shown. “Across the world, Santa-mania has spread online like wildfire, and magic has become a new obsession for many.” The video then ended and cut back Amy Chung still broadcasting live from in front of a school.

 

“Although after the attacks of today,” she said into her microphone. “It is not clear what the response of the public will be to the magical world we find ourselves living in now. Andrew?”

 

The reporter in the studio replied, “Thank you for that report, Amy. Do you know if there will be any official briefings happening there soon?”

 

“No,” Amy replied. “All officials we had spoken to told us to wait for an official statement from the president later tonight.”

 

“Well,” said Andrew. “We will be waiting for that briefing when it comes. Thank you, Amy.”

 

The video then cut to a desk full of people with Andrew. “Now, we turn to our political panel to discuss the effects of this attack and our expectations of the president’s response. Paul, we’ll start with you. What do you think the president can say tonight to the nation that will calm their fears after another attack like this, happening less than a year following the last one?”

 

Paul responded, “Well, I’ll say this. I don’t envy him right now. After all of his speeches and assurances that we would be safer from magical attack, already a second attack has happened under his watch. He had better have some explanation and some solid plan of action for people tonight or he might find himself in real trouble following the midterm elections.”

 

***

 

President Cole hit the mute button and did his best to control his anger as he tensely set down the remote. He glared around the room at his staff and military leaders. “Well,” he said after a long pause. “What is our plan?”

 

To be continued…

 

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Mary Christmas 2: Christmas in July – Chapter 5 – by lostandwhatever

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Mary Christmas 2: Christmas in July – Chapter 5
By: lostandwhatever

Continued from Chapter 4.

 

While everyone in the breakroom suffered from the treats Mary had left for them, she was keying in the code for the vault. “Open sesame,” she said as she finished. The heavy door clicked and clacked as it unlocked and then swung open slowly.

 

The dimly lit room beyond the door seemed to buzz with intensity. Inside it were shelves of boxes of various sizes, each carefully labed to describe its contents. All of the boxes radiated a gentle stream of magic, which Mary could sense after years of casting spells and enchanting objects herself. Mary walked past them all to a small pillar at the end of the vault room. On the pillar was a single little box kept separate from all the others. Mary approached it slowly and lifted it up gently. She felt a sense of warmth or a light breeze coming from it as if it were radiating more power than the box could hold. Its power was so much more intense than any other object in the room, like the difference between the sun and the moon. She flipped the box open carefully revealing that it was a ring box. Held in the white fabric inside was a single ring. It looked ordinary, even ugly. It seemed to be made out of some dull grey metal, possibly pewter. The metal was dented and scratched and seemingly worthless, but the real prize was the rough-hewn stone set in it. It was a strange opalescent purple and green color with some unnamable third color that existed between the other two that was not to be found in nature.

 

Mary pulled out the ring and reverently slipped it on her finger. It felt at home there, and immediately the power radiating from it seemed to dim. It did not go out, it only went mostly dormant, as if it were a pet that knew its master wanted it to be quiet for the moment.

 

Mary smiled.

 

She dropped the box. Then, she pulled poor little John out of her pocket and let him cower in her palm for a moment as she grinned down at him.

 

“I-Is it over?” he asked. “Did you get what you wanted?”

 

She nodded.

 

“C-can you give me back my body now?” he asked and then quickly added, “Please!”

 

Mary set John down on the pillar where the ring had been. Then, she turned and walked away.

 

“Wait!” John screamed. He wanted to chase her, but he did not dare get close to the edge of the pillar. “What about me? What about my body? I did everything you told me to do! We had a deal!”

 

Mary paused at the heavy door to the vault and spoke to him over her shoulder. “Your body is where you last had it: in your apartment on your bed. I never moved it.” Then, as she walked out of the vault, she waved at him behind her, and he caught a brief glimpse of the ring on her finger. When she was out of sight, the vault door began to slowly swing shut. “I couldn’t have done it without you,” she said. “Thank you.”

 

“No!” he said. “Don’t leave me in h-” But, his last word was cut off when the vault door shut with a low boom followed by a series of clicks and clacks as it locked John inside alone.

 

***

 

Mary was about to make her getaway when a room next to the vault caught her attention. It was unmarked, but there was a faint but noticeable magical charge coming from this room as well. The vault certainly outshined it, but she wondered what they might have hidden in this separate room. She used Martinez’s card to unlock this other door and peeked inside.

 

“Oh, my!” she said and smirked as she realized what they had stored in the room. “Would you look at that? Naughty, naughty.”

 

She took a souvenir from the room to examine later and shut the door.

 

***

 

Mary walked back through the office, past the empty desks and the commotion coming from the breakroom, past the bathroom with Angela trapped inside it, and through the security doors. She slipped carefully around little Private Jones as he knelt on the floor with poor little Corporal Miller laid over his lap to discipline her. The boy was so caught up in spanking the sobbing girl that he only noticed Mary as the elevator door was closing. He caught only the briefest of glances at the shape of her beautiful chest, and then the elevator doors shut, and he was left to deal with the consequences of his actions.

 

Mary emerged in the lobby. Again she avoided looking at the cutest object in the world that still entranced the guards. They had not moved or blinked since she had last seen them. Her companion stood up and joined her as they both exited the building through the same doors they had entered. They got in their van quietly.

 

Her companion drove the van back to the security gate, while she sat in the passenger seat and adjusted the settings on her raygun. As she had feared, the guard at the gate was on his walkie talkie, and he seemed agitated.

 

“Security, this is the gate, over. Please respond, over,” he said, but there was no reply. He saw the van approach and held out a hand to signal them to stop. “Wait right there,” he told them.

 

“Actually,” Mary said. “We need to be going now. Open the gate, please.”

 

“I said, ‘wait!’” the guard said as he tried to contact the building security again.

 

“Very well,” Mary said. “If you won’t listen…” She aimed her raygun at the guard. He only noticed the gun a second before it fired, but it was too late for him to do anything. He immediately felt his body contract down to the size of a baby, and then he fell to the ground, landing roughly on his ass. Mary had set her gun to full power this time. Unlike with the other guards, this change had been instantaneous.

 

Mary left the car and headed for the gate controls, stepping over the baby guard as he sat there dumbfounded in his oversized uniform. Before he could even comprehend what had happened to him, Mary had opened the gate, returned to the van, and been driven away.

 

No alarms sounded. No one followed them. They simply disappeared.

 

To be continued…

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Mary Christmas 2: Christmas in July – Chapter 4 – by lostandwhatever

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Mary Christmas 2: Christmas in July – Chapter 4
By: lostandwhatever

Continued from Chapter 3.

 

Just a short distance away from Angela in the bathroom, a team of analysts and researchers were filing reports and completing other boring but essential work. Ken Yeong took a moment to look at the clock and sighed. “I’m starving,” he said. “Wasn’t someone going to order food? It’s getting near lunchtime.”

 

“Everyone’s been too busy,” Alice Jefferson replied.

 

“I’m hungry too,” Bill Johnson said.

 

“Same here,” Justin Richards agreed.

 

Just then an older gentleman emerged from his office. “Well, how are we doing? Situation report?” he asked.

 

“Hi, Dr. Schultz,” Alice said. “Things seem to be under control for the moment. We haven’t detected any new cases, and officials are on scene for the ones we have found.”

 

“Hmm,” Dr. Schultz replied.

 

Ken sighed again and stood up from his desk. “I’m going to check the breakroom,” he said. “Maybe someone brought in cookies or something.”

 

“What’s that?” Dr. Schultz asked.

 

“Ken’s hungry,” Bill replied.

 

“We’re all getting hungry,” Justin said.

 

“Didn’t anyone bring a lunch?” Dr. Schultz asked.

 

“We were all planning on going out to eat for Alice’s birthday,” Bill said.

 

“Oh,” Dr. Schultz said and then turned to Alice and said, “Happy birthday.”

 

“Thank you,” Alice said.

 

“Of course,” Bill continued. “Those plans were cancelled after the mess this morning.”

 

“I see,” said Schultz.

 

“Hey! Guys?” Ken shouted from the breakroom door. “Good news! It looks like someone ordered cake and cookies for Alice’s birthday. They’re all laid out in here.”

 

Everyone went to look at the food in the breakroom. There were open white boxes containing many frosted dessert treats including colorful cupcakes, oddly shaped cookies, and even a few drinks.

 

“When did these come?” Alice asked. “I didn’t notice them earlier.”

 

“I bet Angela ordered them for your party,” Justin said. “Anyway, who cares? Let’s eat.” He picked up a cookie.

 

“Shouldn’t we wait until the team in the field returns?” Dr. Schultz said as he examined a pink frosted cupcake.

 

“We can leave them something,” Ken said. “I just need a snack to keep going. I’m getting hungry. You don’t want to see me when I’m hungry.” He grabbed a pink cupcake and a bottle of some cold coffee drink.

 

“Hey, Alice,” Bill said, smiling. “Look at these two.” He handed her a cupcake that had the words “EAT ME” written on it in frosting and a bottle with a tag on it that said “DRINK ME.” “I think these were meant for you,” he said. “You know, because of Alice in Wonderland?”

 

“Yeah,” Alice said. She had heard the reference before at least once. “I get it.”

 

“Well,” Justin said. “Do what it says. Eat it.”

 

“Oh, alright.” Alice took a bite from the cupcake. The frosting was very rich and creamy. “Delicious,” she said.

 

“Happy birthday, Alice!” Ken said, toasting her with his bottle and taking a swig from it.

 

“Happy birthday!” everyone else said, and then they sang the birthday song. Alice thanked them, and they all started eating some treats. The doctor had his pink cupcake as did Ken, who kept drinking his creamy cold coffee. Bill and Justin started munching away at cookes, ignoring the cow and chicken decorations on them.

 

“Oh,” Alice said. “I’m feeling a bit funny.”

 

“What’s the matter?” Bill said.

 

“I don’t know,” she said. “I just feel a bit… strange.” A feeling of pressure built up inside of her as if her whole body was filling up with something. It was like feeling bloated, but the sensation was all over her body. Her clothes started to feel tight. The pressure felt as though it would burst out of her skin, but, instead of bursting, her skin stretched. Her whole body stretched, and she felt herself growing taller and larger in every way. Buttons popped from her shirt. “Oh, no!” she cried. “What’s happening?”

 

Everyone else stopped and stared at her as she grew. She quickly went from just over five feet tall to nearly seven feet tall, and her growth showed no signs of slowing down. Seams tore on her clothes, and her shoes burst apart. Soon, she was over eight feet tall and standing nearly naked in the tattered remains of her outfit, leaving more and more of her dark skin visible to everyone as time went on. She moaned as her underwear gave way to the pressure at last and snapped off her now ten foot tall body. Her head bumped into the tiles of the ceiling, and she crouched down as her growing continued. The walls seemed to close in on her as if the room wanted to crush her, but, just before panic caused her to scream in terror, the growing slowed to a halt. Although no one had a yardstick or tape measure on them, they could all see she was over 15 feet tall now and totally naked.

 

“Oh, my God!” said Bill. Everyone else was too shocked to speak.

 

Alice noticed her nudity and pulled her knees up to her and hugged them to her chest as she sat on the floor in the corner of the room. She looked ready to cry. “W-what do I do?” she said.

 

“How did this happen?” Dr. Schultz asked. “This is powerful magic.”

 

“The food!” Justin said in a flash of insight. “That cupcake. It’s like the story. She ate the cupcake, and she grew larger.”

 

Alice looked down in horror at the empty wrapper of the cursed cupcake on the floor.

 

Bill picked up a bottle from the table. “Does that mean this would make her smaller?” he said as he held up the “DRINK ME” bottle.

 

“Maybe,” Justin said. “But-”

 

Before Justin could finish, Alice had snatched the bottle from Bill’s hand with only her finger and thumb. It felt smaller than a little energy drink shot bottle now.

 

“No,” Bill said. “Alice, wait! We don’t know-”

 

“I’m just going to drink a little,” she said as she opened the cap. “Just a little drop.”

 

She put the little bottle to her lips and tried to take a small sip, but accidentally gulped down most of the milky liquid inside. She waited a moment. No one dared move as they watched Alice to see what would happen to her now.

 

“Hey,” said Ken. “We all just ate some of the food here. Doesn’t that mean we should have grown too?”

 

Justin thought about it. “Well, she had a different type of food than we had.”

 

“And,” Bill said. “She ate hers before we did.”

 

“But, I had my drink before she ate her cake,” Ken said. “And, nothing hapPEneD tO mE.” His voice cracked up an octave as he finished his sentence. Everyone looked at him and were shocked to see that he now appeared to be only a young teenager. Ken held his throat and felt his Adam’s apple shrink and all traces of stubble vanish from his neck. He sprouted in reverse through a growth spurt, leaving him at just over four feet tall. His clothes hung on him loosely as he looked up at his coworkers fearfully. Thankfully, he did not appear to be getting any younger, but he was not exactly thrilled to be eight years old again.

 

Anyone who was still holding their food immediately put it down. They all waited and watched each other nervously to see if they would be next.

 

“Oh!” Bill said. “I feel strange.”

 

“Me too,” Justin said.

 

Bills ears grew pointy and became covered and black and white fur as a furry tail burst out the rear of his pants. It too had the signature black and white pattern of a Holstein cow on it.

 

Meanwhile, Justin’s skin was rapidly being covered by brown feathers.

 

“I feel it!” Alice said ignoring the rest of them. “I’m changing again.” She could sense her body pulling in on itself, as if her skin were shrinking and compressing her body beneath it. It was almost painful, but strangely relieving as well, as if she were using the bathroom. She became shorter and smaller. Soon, she was small enough to stand up again without bumping her head. “It’s working!” she said, relieved that she was no longer too big for the room.

 

“Oh, God!” young Ken squeaked as he watched his friends transform.

 

“Just stay calm,” Dr. Schultz said to calm the boy. “We’ll figure out something.” Unfortunately, his comforting words were overshadowed by the newly blonde hair that sprouted from on his formerly bald head, which grew longer and longer. Also, there were the pair of lumps swelling on his chest. “Oh, my!” he said in a decidedly more feminine voice.

 

“Wait a minute,” little Ken said as he realized that he had eaten the same type of pink cupcake that Dr. Schultz had eaten. He could feel his hair starting to grow longer as well. “Shit!”

 

Alice sighed happily as she reached her original height again. Then, she started to look worried as the rest of the room seemed to grow around her. Everything was getting taller, and all the furniture seemed to be expanding. “Oh, no!” she said. “I took too much.” As she shrank below three feet tall and kept on going, she cried, “Help me!” But, no one was paying any attention to her or each other by that point. They were all too focused on their own transformations.

 

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