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Orphaned (Commission) – Ch 3 – lostandwhatever

Series commissioned by Areat, originally published on my Patreon.

 

Charlie wiped his eyes dry and tried to control his breathing.

 

“Are you alright?” Dr. Wolff asked.

 

He took a breath. “Yeah,” he said, between sniffles as he calmed down. He avoided making eye contact with her as he felt more than a little bit embarrassed at how surprisingly easily the tears had come. He had been bawling like an actual child. He wondered if it would take more effort now to maintain his composure.

 

“Right, then,” she said. “Let me help you get down off of the gurney.”

 

He looked over at her as she reached for him and recoiled away as he realized how giant she seemed compared to him. If he were his old height, she would have been over 8 feet tall.

 

“Wait!” he said, holding up his little hands. “I can do it myself.”

 

The doctor paused and then stepped back. “Very well,” she said. “But, be careful.”

 

Some part of him felt it was important in that moment to do something on his own. Maybe he wanted to prove to himself that he was still capable of taking care of himself. Maybe he was just tired of other people pushing and dragging him around all day. Whatever it was, he had to maintain some independence.

 

He awkwardly slid his body towards the edge of the gurney, dragging his soaked oversized prison uniform with him like a lead weight. He realized it might be better to take it off now, yet he clung to it as much as it clung to him. It was something adult, and he was starting to realize he should appreciate every little bit of adulthood he could carry with him. Eventually, he dangled his little legs over the edge of the gurney and looked down.

 

He paused. Again, his warped sense of scale made the world seem bigger, and the distance to the floor appeared to be a much higher drop now.

 

As he hesitated, he took a moment to look around the room. It seemed to be a small changing room with lockers on the walls and a bench in the middle. The tile floor below looked like it would hurt if he fell on it.

 

The doctor held out her hand in front of him. “To help you balance,” she explained.

 

He was reluctant to accept her help, but he was afraid he might land badly without it. He put his little hand in her larger one and paused a moment as he remembered shaking that hand earlier in the day. His little fingers were lost in her palm now.

 

With her support, he slipped off the edge of the gurney and landed on his bare feet, causing his oversized prison pants to drop to his ankles and his left shoulder to poke out of the neckhole of his shirt. After he regained his balance, he grabbed his pants and pulled them up again.

 

He noticed a full body mirror on the wall in front of him and recognized the boy reflected in it, but it was a face he had not seen for decades. His hair was matted down with sweat, but he could see it was so blond that it almost looked white. It had darkened to a shade of brown as he got older, but now it was platinum blond again. Once more, he was a “towheaded lad,” as the phrase goes.

 

He awkwardly shuffled closer to the mirror, feeling fascinated by his own young reflection. It was like seeing an old picture from a photo album come to life. He marveled at how he could control every movement it made. He smiled, and the reflection smiled back with a gap-toothed grin. He waved, and the little boy waved right back at him.

 

Then, a much taller woman stood behind the reflected boy. “We need to get moving, Charlie,” she said. “I need to give you an examination, and then you need to clean up before I drive you to the orphanage.”

 

Charlie turned to look up at her and felt momentarily terrified. It was one thing to speak with a giant woman when sitting on a gurney. It was another thing to speak with her when standing next to her. With both of them on their feet, he had to acknowledge just how small he had become. “Okay,” he managed to say.

 

“Take those clothes off,” she said.

 

“Do I…?” He hesitated, feeling reluctant to reveal his boyish body. “Do I have to?” he asked, almost pleading.

 

“Yes,” she said. “I need to measure your height and your weight. The clothes will throw off the measurements.” She crossed her arms and added, “Don’t worry,” in what she intended as a reassuring tone. “I’m a doctor.”

 

If she had been a man, Charlie realized, he might have hesitated less, but exposing his young body in front of a grown woman felt even more embarrassing than he had expected. Still, there was no other option. She was the one he needed to turn him back to normal later. He would just have to bear the embarrassment.

 

He dropped the pants and then pulled off the soaked shirt. Then, he shivered in the cold air as he stepped out of his clothes. Instinctively, he crossed his arms in front of his crotch, but there was little down there to hide. Not a single pubic hair remained, and his genitals were almost too small to be noticed. He had lost so much. He could feel his cheeks getting warm as he blushed.

 

Dr. Wolff looked over his body, up and down, dispassionately, clinically. Then, the slight frown that formed on her lips left him feeling utterly devastated. Was she judging him? She did this to him, after all. How could she be so dissatisfied with the results?

 

The doctor turned and walked over to a beam scale, and he followed behind her high heels as they clicked on the tiles. He stepped up on the scale and was disheartened to find that his head was below the actual beam part of the scale. She swung out the ruler on the scale, which he understood as meaning he should stand up straight with his back against the scale so that she could measure his height.

 

She rested the ruler on his head. “48 inches,” she declared. Then, she pulled out a pen and walked over to a clipboard to note that he was now only four feet tall.

 

She returned to the scale and started sliding weights side to side until she had the beam balanced. “52 pounds,” she said and made a note of his weight as well.

 

Charlie did the math as he waited for her to finish her notes. He was now about two-thirds his old height and one-third his old weight. Although he was no expert, he thought that seemed a bit small for an eight-year-old boy.

 

“Well,” she said when she had finished with her notes. “It looks like we missed our mark a bit with your dosage.”

 

“I’m too young,” he guessed.

 

“By about a year,” she said. “Yes. That’s my best estimate.”

 

“Seven?” he said. The number felt so insignificant. He had a pair of jeans that were at least seven years old. Eight was nearly ten. Seven was barely more than five. It was a small difference, but every year mattered a lot as a kid.

 

“We’re still perfecting the technique,” she explained. “At least we are confident that we can arrive within a year of our target now.”

 

Chuck nodded, thankful that he was still old enough for grade school at least.

 

“Well, the showers are over there,” she said, pointing at an open doorway. “Get yourself cleaned up.” She handed him a large bar of soap.

 

“Right,” he said and walked into the showers.

 

He felt relieved to be out of the doctor’s clinical gaze, but being alone worried him. Childhood memories of being scared of the dark crept back into his mind. He kept peeking into dark corners to make sure he was alone. This was a prison, after all. It was hardly a safe place for a boy to be wandering around.

 

“Are you having problems in there?” Dr. Wolff called to him.

 

“I’m fine,” he said and promptly stood beneath a showerhead. He had to reach up to turn on the water.

 

The water stream blasted him hard and cold in the face, causing him to gasp and stumble back. Maybe it was the prison showerhead with extra power, or maybe it was that he was weaker and the water was relatively heavier, or maybe it was that he was two feet shorter and gravity could add that much more extra energy to the stream at 32 feet per second per second. Whatever it was, the water almost hurt to stand under. It felt like a raging waterfall rather than a gentle shower. At least it got warmer after a few seconds.

 

Charlie began to soap up his young body and took the opportunity to explore how it had changed. His skin was soft and flawless—not a scar or wrinkle to be found anywhere and no real muscle under it either. Also, there was no hair on him anywhere except on his head. Not a trace of stubble on his face. Nothing in his armpits. Even his legs were totally smooth. Somehow, he felt even more naked as a kid than as an adult, as if the hair he had grown had been a layer of protection against the world. Now, it had all been stripped away, leaving him bare and vulnerable.

 

As he cleaned himself, he realized that this was hardly ordinary sweat he was washing away. It was the sweat from his transformation. His adult body had liquified and leaked out of his pores as he had changed. Now, the remnants of his old self were being washed away in the soapy water, the last traces of his adulthood literally going down the drain.

 

When he was finally clean, he shut off the shower and soon felt cold in the empty shower room. He looked around for a towel, but there were none. He headed back to the locker room to find one, leaving a trail of water from his dripping young body.

 

Dr. Wolff was digging around in a locker near the showers when he found her. She had laid out some boys’ clothes on the bench, but she kept on searching. He thought about asking for a towel, but he was still feeling a bit intimidated by her. Instead, he examined the clothes. There were T-shirts with cartoon characters on them whom he could not name. Even some of the underwear had cartoons on them as well. He picked up a pair of jeans and held them in front of himself, noting that they were too large for him to wear. In fact, it seemed that all of the clothes were at least a couple of sizes too large for him now.

 

“Oh, you’re done,” the doctor said. He held the jeans in front of himself to cover his nude body in front of her. She gently but firmly grabbed the jeans from his hands, stripping him of his only cover. He wanted to complain, but he held his tongue.

 

“Can I have a towel, please?” he asked, looking down at the puddle forming at his bare feet.

 

“Of course,” she said and grabbed a towel from a shelf. He expected her to hand it to him, but instead, he was shocked when she began to towel him off herself. He tried to pull away, but she was too strong, frighteningly strong. He was part scared and part angry to have been so dominated by her all of a sudden.

 

“S-stop!” he cried. “Stop it! I can do it myself.”

 

Dr. Wolff stopped. “Oh,“ she said. “Pardon me. I forgot for a moment. I was thinking you were… Well, nevermind. Of course you can do it yourself.” She handed him the towel. “Finish up,” she said. “We need to get you dressed.”

 

She turned back to the locker, as he stood there holding the towel, trying to decide if he should yell at her for treating him that way. What good would that do? He thought. I’m stuck like this until she turns me back to normal. I’ll just have to put up with it until then. He was starting to realize that looking like a child did not feel great, but being treated like one felt even worse. He thought about what he had to do. It would be weeks before most people would see him as anything but a child. As difficult as it would be to be treated like a kid for so long, he would have to bear it.

 

He finished toweling himself off. When he was dry, he draped the towel over the bench and waited for the doctor to finish searching the locker.

 

“Well,” she said as she turned around. “It seems as though we don’t have any clothes here that will fit you. You’re just too small.”

 

He felt like she was expecting an apology, as if he had become too young on purpose just to spite her. He kept his mouth shut.

 

“Just put on what fits you best,” she said. “And, quickly now. It’s getting late.”

 

He sighed and dug around the pile for the smallest clothes on the bench. When he was done, he wore a cartoon covered pair of underwear on that fit him well enough, a cartoon T-shirt that hung loosely from his shoulders, and a pair of jeans that kept slipping down his hips and covered the tops of his feet. He rolled up the cuffs of the jeans and held them up by the waist with his hand. Then, he stepped into a pair of oversized flip-flops, and his outfit was complete.

 

He felt ridiculous, as if he were playing dress up in his older brother’s clothes. What was worse, he felt even smaller in the too large clothes, not something he needed right then when he was already feeling tiny.

 

“That will have to do,” Dr. Wolff said. She walked to the door and said, “This way.”

 

He followed behind her, trying not to trip on his sandals or let his jeans fall down, and resenting every minute of the trip. After what felt like miles of walking, they exited the prison. It was just after sunset and the sky was getting dark. They headed for a car that was waiting in the parking lot. The driver got out and left the door open for Dr. Wolff.

 

She thanked him and got into the driver’s seat. Charlie awkwardly climbed into the front passenger’s seat. As he struggled to put on his seat belt, Dr. Wolff interrupted him. “What are you doing?” she asked.

 

“Putting on my seat belt,” he stated.

 

“You can’t sit in the front seat,” she said. “Not at your age.” Again, there was that frustrated air about her as if he was intentionally inconveniencing her even more.

 

Charlie sighed again. “Fine,” he said, not bothering to hide his frustration. He opened the heavy door and slid out of the seat, losing his sandals in the process and letting his jeans drop to his ankles on the pavement. The man who had brought them the car could see Charlie’s cute cartoon underwear, he realized.

 

Charlie pulled up his pants as he blushed, and once more, he climbed into the car, this time, into the back seat. He put on his seat belt and tried not to think about how he was too short to see much outside of the window or how his little feet would not touch the floor of the car. He was feeling exhausted and annoyed. Though, more than anything else, he felt ridiculous and just wanted to be alone.

 

“Right,” the doctor said and put the car in gear. “To the orphanage.”

 

They pulled out of the prison parking lot, and Charlie yawned. Now that he was sitting again, he was aware of how incredibly tired he felt. He had been through a lot today, but he was not ready to surrender to sleep. Maybe conversation would keep him awake a little longer, he hoped.

 

“So,” he said. “What’s this orphanage called?”

 

“The Wilson Youth Home,” Dr. Wolff said. “It’s a pretty old institution. One of the few of its kind that’s still operational. I suppose foster care is more common now.”

 

Charlie could feel his eyelids drooping. “How many kids do they have there?” he asked.

 

“Nearly a hundred,” she said. “Enough that you should be able to blend in without drawing too much attention.”

 

“How do I… you know… contact you?” he asked.

 

“I’ll come find you,” she said. “All you need to do is investigate. Just remember: you need to find out why the children are misbehaving. What is the orphanage doing wrong? Got it?”

 

He yawned again. “Yeah,” he said. “Got it. Find out what’s wrong.” Then, he allowed his eyes to rest for a moment and promptly fell asleep.

 

***

 

He was vaguely aware of being shaken awake. A woman called him, “Carlie? Charlie?” again and again.

 

“What?” he said. He tried to look around, but his eyes refused to stay open for long. It was dark outside, and he felt very tired.

 

“Take my hand,” the woman said.

 

Charlie did not know what was going on. Still, he was willing to comply. He gave the woman his hand, and let her lead him out of the car. His jeans fell down again, but he pulled them back up with his free hand and followed her towards a building.

 

He wondered where he was and what was happening. He felt as if he were dreaming. Everything seemed huge, while he seemed strangely small. He remembered dreaming about being an adult and then becoming a kid again. It had been a very realistic dream, but, obviously, it must have been only a dream. Becoming a kid again would be impossible, he reasoned.

 

Once or twice as he walked, his eyes closed completely, and he had to hang on the woman’s hand to stay upright. They went up a flight of stairs, on which he lost both of his sandals. He did not bother trying to put on again, preferring to walk barefoot instead.

 

Then, they entered a dark room, and the woman led Charlie to something soft. He sat on it and realized it was a bed. Briefly, he wondered if this was a hotel room or a hospital.

 

“Lie down,” the woman said. “Get some sleep. We’ll talk in the morning. Okay?”

 

“Okay,” Charlie whispered as he lay on the bed and let the woman tuck him in without him bothering to take off his clothes.

 

Then, as he listened to her walk away, sleep took him again.

 

Chapter 4

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