Rain on the Pavement

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littlest-lily
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Rain on the Pavement

Post by littlest-lily » Wed Sep 07, 2022 7:03 pm

Hello!

This is a sequel to Raindrops (https://shrunken-women-board.com/phpBB3 ... f=9&t=4248)
Which is a sequel to Rain on the Windowsill (https://shrunken-women-board.com/phpBB3 ... f=9&t=4206)

Or if you prefer, here’s a recap of events thus far!
SpoilerShow
Lily was getting to know her dream guy, Leo, through a dating site and after weeks of chatting they finally decide to meet in person. They really hit it off and she eventually goes back to his place - she comes to find out, though, that Leo has his own plans for how the evening should go.

He reveals that he’s acquired a shrinking device and begins reducing her height against her will, making her gradually smaller and smaller throughout the night. It’s always been his fantasy to have a tiny woman to call his own, and he’s become so charmed with Lily that he wants to keep her, take care of her… and play with her. At first Lily tries to protest and escape him, but she quickly realizes how helpless she is in running, hiding or fighting him off. Not only can the shrinking device manipulate her size, but it can also track where she is so there really is no hope in getting away.

She is forced to cooperate for her own safety while Leo has his fun with her. He continues gradually making her smaller, experimenting with different ways of interacting with her and enjoying himself both in a playful and sexual manner. He is not excessively cruel but has little regard for her feelings as he’s too caught up in the excitement.

Lily does try to confront him during some downtime, and Leo reveals that he’s been planning this kind of thing for a while. He knew he wanted it to be with her after getting to know her, and he shrunk her non-consensually because he also knew she would never go along with his plan. He’s very confident that Lily will come to accept and even enjoy this new life with him, and when she protests at the notion, his response is essentially “suit yourself, I’ll be enjoying this either way.” Her spirit is almost broken that night but she is able to confirm to herself that no, she’s a person and she can’t give up on herself no matter how small she gets (which by the end of the night is microscopic).

After he has his fun, Leo brings her back up to three inches tall, which is how he plans to keep her the majority of the time. He has an intricate miniature house for her to live in with electricity, plumbing, etc, which he will be keeping on the desk in his room. She tries to talk to him again about how impossible it is that he wants her to be happy but plans on keeping her captive forever. He begins showing some early signs of shame and acknowledges how much of a horny jerk he’s been all night. But he reassures her that he can still give her everything she would need for a fulfilling life, down to eventually bringing her back to her full size from time to time once they can trust each other. Lily is flabbergasted by the whole thing but has little choice in the matter.

Thus begins their new life together. Leo does listen to Lily’s concerns and their early interactions are a series of compromises, though largely in Leo’s favor just by the nature of their power dynamics. He is enamored with her but still maintains control over her, and she is scared of him and hates her situation but slowly learns to live with it. Things continue to evolve over the following couple of months.

Over the course of “training sessions” where Leo tries to help Lily get accustomed to being at smaller sizes or in certain interactions, he catches glimpses of some of the trauma he’s caused. When they go back to her apartment to gather a few necessities, he sees her have a breakdown over recognizing all that she’s lost. He slowly learns to be kinder and more considerate, remaining playful but nevertheless working on his impulsiveness. He makes more of an effort to make sure her mental health is okay, including giving her a miniature computer to keep in touch with her friends (though he monitors all of it).

Meanwhile, Lily is forced to accept that she’s trapped. She tries to protest against some of the giant’s antics, especially in the early days, and though he doesn’t completely disregard her, at the end of the day he is the one in charge. She attempts to get someone’s attention while riding in Leo’s pocket and in response he makes her much smaller so that it’s impossible to notice her. She doesn’t want to give up on herself but it’s hard to stay hopeful and it’s exhausting to constantly obsess over escaping.

As Lily stops fighting against her new life so much and Leo learns to treat her better, the two begin to bond more and more. Lily is actually the first to initiate sexual interactions in an attempt to take control of something for once, and her giant partner in turn is much more considerate than he was that first night. She opens up to him more while becoming increasingly comfortable with her own small size. She worries about him when he gets sick and is won over by some of the sweet things he does for her. They spend enough time together that she feels genuine affection for him, despite her never quite forgetting that she’s being held captive against her will.

Eventually, Lily lets her guard down about her own sexual discovery (she was quite inexperienced before all this began). They have sex consensually and both enjoy it, although Lily is horrified with herself as she realizes she’s going too far with her kidnapper. She is conflicted and knows that she needs to have a serious talk with him now that they’ve become so close. She hopes that surely after everything they’ve been through, he wouldn’t be okay knowing how much she’s suffering with the fact that she’s being kept prisoner. She’s afraid to face it head on, though, and decides to give herself one week to put off the conversation and just fully enjoy her time with him.

During the following week, the couple reaches the point that Leo had been hoping for - the both of them happy together. He realizes that he loves her, not just as a shrunken woman to play with but as a person. It’s finally his dream come true. Although he has no idea that Lily is planning to have a very serious conversation with him soon…
As usual, you can expect lots of hand, foot and micro content. And some human drama from time to time :P This one gets a little dark… and quite sappy, meandering and dramatic. But I sure had fun writing it! All the better if someone else can enjoy.


Chapter 1

Deep breaths.

I splash water on my face, trying to get my heart rate to settle down. He’s going to be home soon. I’m out of time. I have to face this.

I fidget with the dark strands of my hair before pushing them back and out of my face, staring at myself in the bathroom mirror. I’m distracted for a moment by a water droplet that had splashed up onto the glass. It’s about the size of a quarter to me but the surface tension is strong enough for the drop to stay firmly in place, not yet sliding down the mirror. Details like this are completely normal to me now. When did I get so used to being such a small fraction of my original height?

For a long time I stare at the green of my own irises, forcing myself to take long, slow breaths through my nose. I try to tell myself that I might very well be worrying for nothing. So much has changed in the past couple of months. Hell, even more has changed in the last couple of weeks. Maybe this talk that I’ve been building up in my head is going to go just fine. Still, I wish I felt a little more prepared. My mind is such a mess.

I pull myself away from the bathroom, stopping by the bedroom to give my little Winnie the Pooh phone charm plushie - which is almost half as big as I am - a quick, tight hug. This helps a little. I glance up at the clock, do some math and know he’ll be back at any second. This does not help at all.

Leaving Pooh behind on my bed, I step out onto the balcony, transitioning from my normal-sized house to the stadium-sized room beyond. I glance around, trying to give myself something to stare at, to ground myself. Looking at the distant carpet below still gives me some anxiety and stirs up painful memories so I quickly move on. I pause for a moment as I look at the window - I’d spent a couple of hours hanging out on that windowsill yesterday morning, enjoying the gentle warm breeze that came in while reading a book and my giant roommate did chores. That was nice.

I keep looking around, unsatisfied with any particular item. I’ve been through hell and heaven both in this apartment. It was here that I was first shrunken down against my will, betrayed by the person I was falling in love with. It was here that I had to get used to being mere inches tall at most, forced to learn how to live in this new world and discover all of the good and bad that came with it. And it was here that I spent so much time with the giant man who captured me. Who looked after me. Who cared about me. And who, despite all of my best efforts, I eventually started falling for again.

My eyes finally fall upon a shirt laying discarded on one end of his bed. I like that shirt. It’s really soft and the fabric is nice and airy, so its pocket is probably my favorite one to ride around in. And the blue is a particularly nice, calming color. I stare at it, imagining the texture of its threads beneath my fingers, the gentle vibrations of a nearby beating heart that’s larger than I am, the smell of cedarwood and fresh detergent and him...

God, I wish the past week didn’t have to end. I feel like I’d finally reached a point where I could say that I’m happy again. After so much fear, so much anger and so much hopelessness, I spent the last seven days letting go of absolutely everything. I wasn’t caring anymore that it was wrong of me to enjoy the time I spent with my captor. Instead we essentially acted like… a couple. A pretty happy one. I continued to face trials every day, still had moments of feeling frustrated with him, plenty of times when I was scared of something he’d do. But I’m able to bounce back so much faster than I used to, the good always outweighing the bad. And it certainly helped that he's seemed so happy too.

But it could only happen because I was in limbo. I made a promise to myself that was so tempting to break, but I know at my core that I have to keep it. The anxiety that I woke up with this morning only confirms how unsustainable the past week’s happiness has been. I have to talk to him. I have to advocate for myself if I ever hope to find long-term peace. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to say to him today or what solution I’m looking for exactly. But it’s not fair to me that he’s still holding me prisoner. And it’s honestly not fair to him at this point that I’m hiding just how much I’m suffering over it. He wouldn’t want that… I know he wouldn't.

I’m broken out of my reverie by the sound of the front door opening in the distance. My stomach does a somersault and I’m momentarily stunned by the intensity of several emotions at once - nervousness and dread battling against relief and excitement to see him. He’s taking a frustratingly long time to put his things away after work, but finally I hear the thumping of his footsteps coming this way.

The bedroom door is already slightly open and easily pushed aside by Leo's massive form, as tall as a building but such a familiar sight to me now, and he's looking refreshed and happy to be home. Happy to see me.

I’m trying to tame the stupid butterflies in my stomach. I let a smile appear on my face as I call out to him, “Welcome back. Sounds like work was okay today?”

“Yes,” he says with a grin as he starts walking towards the dollhouse sitting on his desk, “Finally, we met all the deadlines this morning and the rest of the day was absolutely boring. It was glorious.”

He brings both hands down to the balcony, and I hop up onto his fingers, long and warm, so that he can lift me up to kiss my small frame and gently snuggle me against his cheek. I feel a pang of guilt at how good his touch feels after a day full of anxiety.

“Thoughts on dinner?” he asks as he pulls me away and I can look into the deep brown of his eyes.

“Is there still some quiche in the freezer?” I ask.

“Yeah, we can do that if you don’t mind waiting for it to defrost. Shall we?”

We go eat in the kitchen and a part of me is wondering if I’m actually able to go through with this. Every time the conversation lulls I’m telling myself, Come on. Bring it up. Now. But the anxiety flares up and the words get caught in my throat, and before I can pull myself together he brings something else up and I pounce on any excuse to avoid the subject.

“You still down for starting Mass Effect tonight?” Leo finally asks as he’s picking up the dishes. “We can continue your sci-fi education.”

“Ohh that’s right. Sure,” I answer, beating myself up internally at having reached the end of dinner and continuing to chicken out.

“Cool! Real quick before that, I need to change out the water tanks for the dollhouse while I'm thinking about it. Want to join me?”

Knowing the process takes a little while, I agree and he picks me up to bring me back to the bedroom. I sit on the desk, pulling my knees into my chest, forcing a smile despite feeling rather miserable, and he continues to chat with me as he messes with the pipes and the filters of the water tanks attached to the house, coming in and out of his bathroom to clean and refill everything. From the way he keeps glancing in my direction, I think he’s realizing that I’m distracted and seems to be debating internally on whether or not he should bring it up.

He takes a stab at what might have been bothering me. “Oh hey, I’m realizing we haven’t talked about your call with Violet at all. How were you feeling about it?”

I’d almost completely forgotten that I’d had a video call with my sister over lunch today. I’ve been so distracted and wasn’t fully there when I was chatting with her. She was doing most of the talking, though. Leo, who was listening in as usual to monitor me, might actually remember the conversation better than I do at this point.

“I’m glad things turned out okay with her boyfriend,” I say truthfully. “I’m happy they could work it out.” I pause for a moment and my mouth is suddenly moving again before I can properly think things through, “Did you catch that she mentioned coming to visit in a couple of weeks?”

I can tell by the look on the giant’s face that he had actually forgotten about this until just now. “Yeah…” he says, snapping together the last of the pipes and sitting back down in his chair. “I did. Sorry, hon. You did a good job deflecting it.”

This is it. It’s the segue I was needing. My heart rate starts picking up. I can’t back out of this now…

“I miss her,” I say slowly, “That part has been… really hard, man. Keeping so much from everyone. Especially my family. Lying all the time. I just… I feel like I’m going crazy.”

He tries a weak smile as a supportive gesture but looks genuinely sad. “I know, love. I’m sorry. Is there anything I can do to help? Other than the obvious?”

“Leo…” My ears feel hot, and my heart is thumping hard in my chest. I take a breath. Here we go. “Maybe we should talk about the obvious.”

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Re: Rain on the Pavement

Post by littlest-lily » Fri Sep 09, 2022 10:00 am

Chapter 2

I see Leo’s expression shift. We look at each other for a moment. I think he can tell that I’m bringing up something that’s been weighing on me - this issue has been brewing between us for weeks, having gone unspoken for perhaps too long as we became close. I don’t think he was quite aware of it until right now, but in retrospect it should seem obvious. We can’t pretend forever that everything is perfect when there’s still such an obvious elephant in the room.

He breathes in through his nose, sits a little straighter. “Sure. Let's talk.”

I try to tread carefully. “We’ve discussed it before. About getting to the point where we could start growing me back regularly, to my full size. You said that, right?”

Leo’s gaze is piercing, observing me intently. “I did. This conversation’s happening a little earlier than I anticipated, I think. But yes, I figured that once we can trust each other fully that we’d be able to get to that point.”

There’s a heaviness in the air and I try to stay steady. “Do you not trust me?”

At this point he can’t quite keep eye contact, his gaze slipping to the side. “I… I want to, Lily. All things considered, you’ve been handling the transition so well… You've been doing great at staying out of sight in public, and you’ve been keeping quiet on the video calls. But… it’s still only been about two months since you've been here."

Only two months? As if it was a negligible amount of time. As if each day hasn’t been a trial for me. “How long were you wanting to wait?” I ask, gritting my teeth.

He shifts uncomfortably in his chair. “I’m not sure. I hadn’t put a number on it. Can you let me think about this?”

I let out an exasperated sigh. Back in the early days when I was still trying to advocate for myself, it always led to this kind of answer. In general he's so good about listening to me and caring about my concerns… but when it comes to the most important thing to me, he brushes it off. It immediately sets me on edge.

“You don’t really want me bigger at all, do you?” I challenge, tension seeping into my tone. “You like me this small. And you’d rather just keep me this way. Right?”

His gaze softens and he brings his hand up into view. “I do prefer you like this, little one. That’s true.” He gently touches me on the back of the head, and in this moment I feel so frustrated by how he’s acting - petting me like this, using his cutesy names for me. Lately I've been finding these gestures endearing, but right now, when he's being dismissive about something that's upsetting me, it just feels really demeaning.

I shove his finger away from me. “Tell me," I demand, suddenly getting heated, "What exactly do you see me as? Your tiny girlfriend? A… a pet? A sex toy?” That last one slipped out, and maybe it’s unfair, but I’m feeling too riled up to care right now.

Leo pulls his hand back as if I’d burned him. “Jeez, Lily, really?" He looks stung and takes a second to process my tone, my stance, the words I’ve just thrown at him. He lets his hand fall into his lap and says, "I mean, that’s a complicated question to begin with. What do you see yourself as?”

“A prisoner." This one slipped out too. It’s true, but it’s not quite right, and I can tell from the hurt in his eyes that I just did some damage. I immediately want to take it back. “No, it’s…” I sigh. “It’s more than that. Of course it is. Hold on, hear me out.”

He doesn’t say anything, just watches me and waits. I can tell the wheels are turning in his head and he’s starting to question a lot of things about the past couple of weeks. This isn't going in the direction I'd wanted. I have too much pent up and am struggling to control myself. I feel the need to get through to him, I have to make him understand everything I've kept buried…

“Leo.” I pause as I realize my voice is wavering. I clear my throat and try again. “I… I like you. I do. You know how bad I am at lying, you know I've started genuinely enjoying our time together. But… I didn’t… want to like you when this all started. You get that, right?"

He sighs, his shoulders slumping. I’m sensing a bit of frustration in him, maybe because he’s acknowledged and apologized for that initial night several times at this point. "I do. I know I really fucked up that first day. It was way too much shrinking, way too much action, all at once. I know it was terrifying for you and violating and… and I would take it all back if I could.”

I shake my head and press on, wanting to make something clear, something we haven't really tackled before. "That’s not all it was, man. I'm not sure if you realize how… cruel you could come off sometimes. You probably see it more as playfulness. And it's not the same now, but when this all started it was like you were… enjoying taking everything away from me. It just... it still sometimes feels like this is all some kind of game to you."

He considers this. I can tell from the way the expressions dance across his face that I’m presenting him with something he hasn’t fully reflected on before. I give him the time to process it, to realize it wasn’t just the shrinking or even the physical or sexual abuse that was the issue - it was the way he laughed when I was trying to run from him, the way he’d push me past my limits again and again despite all of my begging. How casually he treated my fear.

I start to see a distinct look of shame slowly pass over him as he thinks, and eventually he closes his eyes, taking a deep breath. "I guess I… I think I know what you mean?” he says finally, and it sounds like each word is painful to bring out. “I'm not sure I thought about it that way before. But… the more I think back… I've definitely gotten carried away, especially at first when it all felt so new. I… I was having fun… at your expense. It was just so exciting for me, like all my dreams were coming true, but…" Heavy sigh. "I guess I wasn't treating you like… like a person. I do remember having some 'holy shit, she's really not okay and I need to watch it' realizations later on, so I think it's gotten better over time? I hope it has."

Wow. I didn’t think he would ever be able to acknowledge or even recognize any of this about himself. I’m suddenly wishing his hand was near me again so that I can squeeze it. I can’t believe I’m actually getting through to him. It's like we're sitting in therapy or something.

I keep pushing, wanting to get further. We’ve never been so open about all of this before. "I'm really trying to understand what you were thinking before you shrunk me,” I say, “Because, I mean, it wasn't a spur of the moment thing, right? It was premeditated. I've spent a lot of time with you now and I don't think you're a total narcissist or sociopath or… whatever might lead you to do something so insane. You had that shrink ray ready for a year, you’d known me for a month…” I trail off, staring at his face intently.

He’s still not looking at me, gazing down as he continues to slowly reflect. "What I was thinking… is that we're meant to be, Lily. I knew how compatible we were and I had access to this amazing technology that could make all my fantasies come to life. I was so confident I could make this work long term. Maybe that sounds stupid, now that I’m saying it out loud, after all this time. It was just the ultimate dream for me, and I put a whole lot of thought into the bigger picture and then… didn't really think through the transition process."

Leo glances up at me, looking tense and miserable with shame. Then he looks away again before continuing.

"I'm not a complete idiot, I didn't think you would just be okay with getting shrunken down, obviously you’d freak out. I mean, like I’ve said before, that's why I didn't tell you ahead of time. Maybe subconsciously I did try to deal with that by making light of everything in my mind… But in any case. I knew it would take some time for you to accept it. I guess I just saw it as something we had to get through, and that in the end it'd be worth it, for the both of us. The reality turned out… a little more complicated than I expected. Ugh, maybe I am a complete idiot.”

Silence lingers in the air for a few moments. A part of me feels grateful and impressed with how he's able to put his guard down like this and really think things through. But I still don’t feel completely satisfied with his explanation. How could I? What he did was still insane, still unjustifiable.

He’s right about one thing, though. As people, we’re incredibly compatible. That’s why it’s been such a struggle for me to fight against all this. We’re physically attracted to each other, our interests line up, we have a similar sense of humor, we’ve been able to communicate deeply on so many things. In another life, I think we could have been a genuinely happy couple. But he did so much damage when he made all those decisions that weren't his to make. Irreparable damage, I think.

I’m the one who breaks the silence, unable to keep myself from lamenting, “God, I really wish you'd thought through that transition. I wish you'd been more patient and got my consent… I know you're convinced I never would have agreed. But Leo, I… I really think I would have."

His head snaps up and he looks at me with a shocked expression. He wasn’t expecting this confession. Silently he moves forward, slowly sliding out of his chair so that he can kneel on the floor in front of the desk, his head more level with me. He’s reaching a hand up to me as he moves, and it feels different this time when he touches my back. It’s not this demeaning or dismissive pet, it feels like a genuine moment of trying to connect, as two people.

I hate that I’m starting to cry but I can’t help the tears that are welling up, and the words are spilling out of me now, “I mean, I wouldn’t have agreed to this exactly, not just throwing my life away and moving in with you and letting you do whatever you feel like. I don't know what it would have looked like, and it might have taken some time, but after these months of getting to know you, I… I’ve obviously developed… feelings for you.” I wipe an arm at the tears angrily, my chest tightening more with every second, “And I’ve started enjoying so much of this messed up life. As much as I tried to fight it. I couldn’t help falling in love with you.”

I’ve been so afraid of being vulnerable and revealing too much, but here I am, putting it all out in the open. It’s liberating and terrifying all at once. Both of Leo’s hands are up now, cupping around behind me, gently using his thumb to wipe tears off my cheek, and he looks like he might get emotional himself.

“But it’s not real,” I burst out, pushing against his hand while also holding on to it tightly, trapped between needing space and needing him. “It feels real sometimes but it can’t be real!”

“Why not?” His voice is soft, imploring, his eyes desperately searching mine.

I look back at him incredulously. “You don’t see anything wrong with the relationship we have?”

"Not from my end. I've been happy. I thought you were getting there too. It sounds like you are getting there too…?”

In the midst of all my heightened emotions, I feel a wave of anger. "Okay. Can you just… for two seconds… try to put yourself in my position right now?" I'm shaking as I step towards him, pulling away from his hands, "Can you imagine what it's been like? Even if your kidnapper is the nicest, coolest, most beautiful person in the world, they're still your kidnapper. No matter how much I want to pretend that this is all consensual now and that I could be happy with you, that everything turned out just like you were hoping in your grand plan, in the end I can't just ignore the fact that you're holding me captive, Leo! I can't live a lie like that. It's not fair…” I let out a shuddering exhale. “...to either of us."

I’ve thrown a lot his way. It’s completely deserved as far as I’m concerned, but all of his self-assurance has been crumbling throughout this conversation and he’s starting to look as vulnerable as I am. He’s trying to keep it together, but this is all clearly a revelation for him. This is the unruffled, confident guy who I’ve learned has always gotten away with everything growing up. Who’s never had a plan of his go awry, never had to deal with any serious consequences to his actions, never had any life-altering regrets. And he’s now having to realize just how deeply wrong he was with me. Not only that, but he’s realizing that we really could have had it all if he'd done this right.

Leo pulls back from the desk, letting his hands fall into his lap again as he sits on his heels and lets out a shaky breath. He's seriously struggling right now and maybe I should be feeling for him more, but my own emotions are too raw, too much.

"Look," he says finally, "Even if I were to tell you that you're right. About everything... Put yourself in my position now. You get why I can't just grow you back and let you go, right? Even if I wanted to?"

I can’t believe him right now. I know he’s processing a lot, but at the moment I don’t care. After laying myself bare for him, is he seriously going to make this about himself? My tone is tenuous, just on the verge of breaking as I try to reason with him, "It's not like anyone would believe me if I told them what happened.”

There’s a tinge of defensiveness in his own tone as he lets out a breath of wry laughter. "It's not a risk I can take so easily, love…”

And that’s when I lose control. An angry yell suddenly bursts out of me, "Well MAYBE you should have thought of that before you fucking RUINED my life!”

There's a chilling silence as Leo glances up at me and I see a flash of anger in his eyes that stops me short. In a second it's like I'm suddenly remembering the position I'm in. Three inches tall, stranded up on a table, facing a man who has to be careful with his movements to not hurt me. And I may have just taken things too far and pissed him off. I've never really seen him mad before. I take a couple of fearful steps back.

The giant slowly gets to his feet, rising up and up and up, and I notice the tension in his muscles as he continues to remain silent. He's looming overhead now so that I have to crane my neck back, and he just looks down at me for a moment before finally speaking in a strained voice. "I'm going to walk away now. I need some space to think."

And with that he turns and leaves, closing the bedroom door behind him.

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Re: Rain on the Pavement

Post by littlest-lily » Sun Sep 11, 2022 10:44 am

Chapter 3

I'm left reeling and breathing hard as I stare after him. A wave of dizziness washes over me and I try to piece together the last few minutes. I don’t know what I was expecting, but… this feels bad. I should have had a better plan. Why was I trying so hard to dig into the reasons behind his behavior? Why was I so compelled to understand him, to get through to him on a deeper level? I should have just stuck with trying to convince him that we can trust each other enough to grow me back. My feelings got in the way of everything and I lost control.

I hug my arms around myself, feeling chills as I think about the glare Leo just gave me. I’ve never given it too much thought, the fact that he’s not at all quick to anger. I’ve taken it for granted. Even just now, maybe I should be thankful that he was able to keep it reigned in and walk away from the situation before it got any more heated. Then again, if anyone’s anger over this whole thing is justified, should it not be mine? Then again… shouldn’t that be the last of my worries right now? What if he’s the type to hold a grudge when he gets mad? What if things are about to get a whole lot worse for me now? I don’t know. I’m still reeling.

After a while I trudge back into the dollhouse, finding a couch to collapse onto downstairs. I go from breathing deeply to crying to laying silently on the couch and staring up at the ceiling to feeling angry to crying again. At one point I get up to look out the door of the dollhouse and try to listen for any movements, though I hear nothing but silence from the rest of the apartment. The communication device is right next to me, and a part of me is so tempted to try and make contact with him. But I can’t get myself to do it. I wander upstairs, go to my computer to see if he’s online. He’s not. Eventually I’m finding myself lying on the bed, my arms draped over my face in miserable silence. The anxiety of what might happen next is eating away at me.

It’s getting darker in the room as it’s been well over an hour now and Leo hasn’t come back. I half consider getting up and turning lights on within the dollhouse, but I can’t get myself to move. Another hour passes. I wonder if he’s not going to sleep in here tonight. At this point I have no idea whether I’m feeling sad or angry or scared or justified or… or what. I’m just numb. Just waiting.

Another hour. I’m still laying on the bed and today has been so stressful that I’m feeling exhausted at this point. The ball of anxiety in my chest is painful but I think I might drift off into a fitful sleep regardless. As I lay here, half conscious, I feel like I can hear my own heartbeat pulsating in my ears. It’s not until there’s the sound of a distant doorknob turning that I realize I was actually hearing footsteps.

I bolt upright, sitting on my bed frozen. I can’t quite see the giant door opening from my bedroom window, just the movement of shifting shadows in the periphery. I quiver as I’m suddenly feeling terrified right now. There’s a mountain of a man just outside and I have no idea where his mind’s at. Should I hide? No, that’s stupid. I just sit there as the footsteps continue to approach the desk. I hear him sitting at his chair.

“You still up, love?”

I let out a breath I didn’t realize I was holding. His voice is soft. Gentle. I feel so relieved at his tone that I almost burst into tears right then from all the anxious buildup. The terror that had overtaken me abates enough for me to feel a sense of longing for his familiar presence.

Still, I also feel a little wary about jumping back into conversation right now. I can’t quite get my throat to make any sound, but I’m able to slide off of the bed and slowly make my way to the open door leading out to the balcony. I stand in the doorway, peering out, and my eyes fall onto Leo’s form off to the side. It’s quite dark aside from the street lights outside, so I have a hard time making out some of the details in his expression, but his gaze is downcast when I first see him, as still as a massive statue. A second later he comes to life, his eyes glancing up in my direction as he notices my small movements.

I stay in the doorway, hesitant, and he lets it be. He tries to offer me a weak smile and I notice how drained he looks. Clearly he wasn’t having the best time in the other room either.

“I’m sorry for storming out like that,” he says, “I had a lot to think about. Um.” It looks like he may have rehearsed something in his head but is having trouble bringing it out now. He lets out an exhale. “I… wanted to thank you. For being honest with me. Some of that stuff was hard to hear, but I’d much rather have you talk to me than have this weigh on you forever."

I don't say anything, just give him a slow nod and continue staring at him. His gaze slips off to the side as he lets out another breath.

"I think I felt frustrated that it all seemed to come out of nowhere. Everything’s been so great lately and I had no idea you had all these thoughts. I wished that you had just talked to me earlier. Until I remembered that… you did. Right at the beginning. It's like you were saying, I wasn't taking things as seriously as I should have. I wouldn't listen to you and eventually you gave up and then kept it all inside. That's on me.”

He looks down at the floor and leans forward, elbows on his knees, his head dipping low enough that I’m above him on the balcony. “I want to make things better, Lily.” His voice is harder now with determination as he speaks, “I’m sorry, I can’t give you your freedom back completely right now, but… I really want to make a more concerted effort on this. I want to do a better job respecting you. And I want you to be able to see your sister when she visits.”

I stare at him, letting out a small sigh. This is the best I can expect, isn’t it? Actual freedom was never really going to happen. If I had any hope for that I was just fooling myself. That part is heartbreaking, but I shouldn’t linger on it, I should be so thankful - he’s not angry with me, he’s not going to hurt me, he’s heard me out and he still cares, he still wants this to work, he still wants to trust me, he wants things to improve–

“Thank you,” I say, finally finding my voice again as I want to try and bridge the gap. Leo looks back up at me and I think he’s feeling relief too. “Thanks for… for listening.”

He smiles. “Of course. Let’s talk more tomorrow, okay?”

I nod, smiling back. “Deal.”

Leo holds my gaze for a moment longer in the near darkness. I'm noticing something that's particularly out of character - there's fear in his eyes. He's so used to being in control and now he's losing his grip on that. He doesn't try to touch or kiss me the way he usually would, giving me my space, instead getting up from his chair and turning to go straight to his bed.

I watch him go, still standing in the doorway to the balcony. I reflect on the fact that, whatever comes next, he's really going to be out of his comfort zone if he’s trying to relinquish any of the power that he has over me. I'm going to need to be patient and careful from here on out if I want this change in him to last.

Wobbling in place, I realize how tired I am. It’s been a long day and at this point my brain is scrambled. I'm not quite sure what tomorrow will look like, but right now I really need to rest. I walk back to my bed and collapse onto it without bothering to get ready or anything. As I lay there and my muscles begin slowly unclenching in turn, the stress finally flowing out of me, I'm starting to feel hopeful. The conversation that had been weighing on me has finally happened. It was messy but in the end… everything’s alright. Leo finally listened. He legitimately cares about me. I really think things will get better. I slide into deep, content sleep.

I wake up to a surprising amount of noise outside. Feeling groggy, it takes me a moment to realize Leo must be in the bathroom, and from all of the banging and shuffling it sounds like he’s moving very quickly. I frown, glance up at the clock, and I realize why. He should have left for work almost twenty minutes ago. This isn’t like him at all, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him run late for anything.

Wiping the sleep away from my eyes, I hop out of bed and catch a glimpse of the giant, a flash outside as he goes to yank clothes from his dresser. He notices me stepping out onto the balcony and briefly addresses me as he’s moving. “Sorry, did I wake you? My alarm didn’t buzz and I overslept, and of course that 9am recap moved to 8:30 because now the director wants to be there.” Over the course of just that sentence he’s somehow managed to pull on a shirt, pants and socks. “Let me grab you a granola bar or something–”

“I’m good,” I call up to him, “I have stuff here, you go.”

He turns to actually face me now, takes a moment to reach down, to look me in the eye, to brush his fingertips against my back. “I’m going to see if I can leave early this afternoon. Then we’ll talk everything out. Okay?”

I smile as I nod at him. “Okay. Now go!

Despite how stressed and flustered he looks, he manages to briefly flash me a wide, loving smile before he hurries off. He leaves his bedroom door wide open, and a few seconds later I hear the front door open, shut, lock. And then the dust settles in the quiet he’s left behind.

I rub my face, still feeling like I’m not fully awake. I wonder if Leo was having a hard time getting to sleep last night. Poor guy. It's almost like yesterday was a dream, I still feel weird about the whole thing. But even just now he acknowledged our talk and the need for us to continue said talk, and I’m glad to see that he seems just as determined to work things out. The only downside is that now I have another day of anticipation for yet another conversation. But at least it’s out in the open - I don’t have to bring it up, I know more about what to expect from him, and he even plans to come home early so I won’t have to wait as long. I might get restless but it’s still much better than yesterday.

With a deep breath to revitalize me, I set about getting ready for the day. I shower, get dressed, grab a breakfast bar and juice from the pantry downstairs. I decide to eat out on the desk, thinking I’ll read a book as I do so. I’m finding it hard to concentrate on the words though as, sure enough, I’m feeling really antsy. I wonder what Leo’s up to right now. He might still be in that meeting he mentioned. I hope he made it in time.

I get up and stretch after I finish eating, and just like yesterday I take a stab at looking around the room to try to ground myself and calm my nerves. I glance out the window and notice how gray the sky is, threatening rain at any moment. I turn to gaze at the map of Middle Earth on the wall. I follow the contours of the giant's bedsheets, left in a swirling pile from his rushing. I look at the lamp on his bedside table, my eyes making my way down the length of it–

I freeze.

Holy fuck.

Did he really…?

He did. The shrinking device is there. Sitting on the distant nightstand. I’m in shock, in complete disbelief of what I'm looking at. But there’s no mistaking it. Leo forgot to bring the device with him in his mad dash to get to work. It’s here, in this room, left behind, it’s here

My heart is racing. What do I do? I mean, even if I could get to it, it’s not like I can use it, right? He’s said so himself, it’s fingerprint activated so only he can use it. He told me that so long ago, though, on that first day, right after manipulating me into getting shrunk in the first place. What if he was lying at the time? Or… or what if I can find a way around it? I’ve never actually seen it up close, maybe I could figure something out?

I'm having trouble breathing, head swimming. I feel an impulse to stay right here, to even march straight to the communication device by the dollhouse and let Leo know. Just seeing the shrinking machine sitting there is making me feel awful, as if I’ve already betrayed him somehow, just as we're starting to form more of an understanding. But no, that’s not how this works. I didn’t do anything wrong. And… I might never have this kind of opportunity again. If I don’t do something right now, would I regret it forever? I squeeze my eyes shut as I have to ask myself the monumental question. At the end of the day… what’s more important? The feelings I have for Leo? Or my own freedom?

My fingers are trembling but I manage a steady breath as I open my eyes again. I have to try something. I have to. I can’t overthink this. I suddenly launch into action, not wanting to waste any time.

Although in the beginning of my stay here I was at a loss for any kind of escape plan, I'm a different person now, and in this moment I suddenly know exactly what I need to do. I hurry over to Leo’s desktop computer that’s still on the desk, unused, heading around to the back of it. There’s a small gap that I can easily fit through between the desk and the wall, and I peer down at the power cable that snakes its way from the computer to the floor. On day one I would have never dared trying to climb down something like this - and the distance to the floor is longer than any of my climbing ropes. But I think I can do it. I have to do it.

Moving quickly so that I can’t second guess myself, I straddle the power cable, like a thick, bulky rope to me, and back up to the edge of the desk so I can lower myself off the side. I wrap my legs around the plastic, test my grip, and then I start making my way down. By sheer coincidence, this is what I’ve been working on the most lately in my DIY gym - I’d asked Leo to set up some ladders so that I can practice climbing down the ropes. All of the training is paying off in this moment. It’s over a 40 foot descent, and as I get lower I can feel my arms starting to shake from the exertion, but I move steadily down, down, down until I reach the point where the cable is plugged into the wall. From here it’s another 10 foot drop to the floor, but it’s carpet and I’m used to much greater heights. I lower myself down as far as I can and let myself fall, rolling along with the impact on the plush fibers and getting back up completely uninjured.

I start running. I’m hurrying out from under the desk, breathing hard after the challenging climb, not to mention the feeling of overwhelm at being down on the floor. I haven’t been down here since the initial night when I'd thought Leo would crush me underfoot, and the feeling of running across the carpet - even though I'm bigger now than I was back then - is unsettlingly familiar. The furniture stretches up so much higher than I’m accustomed to, everything is so much wider and more open than the surfaces I’m used to being on. Even though I spend most of my time here in this room, it feels like a completely different landscape.

Trying to stay focused, I start looking for ways to get up on the nightstand, feeling less sure on how to go about this part. I look at the bed first, try to see if there’s a way I could maybe climb up to its summit as an initial step. I make my way around the foot of the bed, seeing if any part of the bedsheets is draping over the sides, but I don’t see anything that I can reach. I look towards the nightstand, fixating the lamp that’s on it. Maybe I could make it up to its power cable and climb my way to the top? But my thoughts are interrupted as the worst thing happens just then… I hear the front door open.

Shit. He’s back. Not only does this completely ruin my chances… He’s going to find me like this. What the fuck am I supposed to say to him now? Should I somehow try to convince him that I fell down here? That I was planning another playful scavenger hunt for him maybe? Should I actually be honest? And then my thoughts are interrupted yet again as I see the massive figure stepping into the apartment.

It’s not Leo.

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Re: Rain on the Pavement

Post by littlest-lily » Wed Sep 14, 2022 3:53 pm

Chapter 4

My heart is racing and I’m instinctively backing up in fear at the sight of a new giant. I wonder if this is a burglar. From their demeanor, though, that doesn't seem to be the case, nor does it seem like a maintenance worker or something. I can tell it’s a man from his stature and shape, and he’s surprisingly dressed quite formally in business attire. I wonder how on earth he even got in so easily and quietly as I’m certain I heard Leo locking the front door. The man glances around in the living room before he turns and begins stepping towards the hallway, in my direction.

I see his face. And even more shocking than the fact that this isn’t Leo is the fact that I actually recognize who this person is. Older than me but still quite young, about thirty or so. Dark hair that neatly frames his face. Pale blue eyes, almost gray. I happen to know that his heritage is half Korean, half Swedish. Fair-skinned, tall and slim, he carries a certain elegance to him, always well dressed with good posture and a quiet disposition.

It’s my old boss. Nathan.

“Oh my god,” I whisper, in absolute shock. How is this possible? What is he doing here? Am I dreaming right now?

The last time I saw this man was during my one-on-one meeting with him the day before I met Leo. I presented the latest build of an app feature I’d been working on. We briefly made small talk about our upcoming weekend plans. That was it. It was the most normal, mundane conversation before I was to never see his face again. Until, somehow, this very moment.

I’m frozen in place in the middle of the bedroom, my eyes wide, my brain wild with activity. I’m grappling with what this all means and what I should do, when the approaching giant steps close enough to the bedroom that he can see inside… and his eyes quickly fall on me. He pauses, similarly frozen in the hallway for several moments. But he recovers a bit faster than I do.

“Hello?...” he says tentatively and I jump, startled by the sound of his familiar voice. He's generally soft spoken, and I’d actually always liked the timbre of his speech, deep and subdued, rarely raising his voice even when he was being stern. Hearing it at this volume, echoing intimidatingly, is incredibly bizarre.

He sees my movement down on the floor and seems transfixed, pausing again before taking another step. He’s getting close enough now that his footsteps are starting to boom. I fearfully back away again, and then finally I’m noticing that my subconscious has been screaming at me to get a hold of myself. This is someone new - not only that, it’s someone I know. At long last, I can finally get help!

I jump again at the sound of his voice as he speaks softly, “I’m not going to hurt you…” and he’s reaching the doorway now, just a few feet away from me. “I thought I was seeing things. I saw you at the window yesterday, are… are you human?”

Opening my mouth to answer him this time, I find that my voice isn’t working, and before I can clear it, Nathan begins crouching down from where he's standing. He looks like he’s about to say something else, but our eyes have met now, and as he gets closer I see his brow suddenly furrow. Then his eyes widen a little and a crease appears between his eyebrows as a sense of recognition begins spreading over his face. “Holy shit…” he whispers, “Lily? Lily Tealeaf? Is that you?”

“Yes,” I say weakly, and finally my voice is back and I speak louder, “Yes. Nathan, it’s me!”

“What happened?” He frowns, confused and astounded. “How is this possible?”

“It’s… complicated,” I stammer, taking a step forward.

“Are you alright?”

“I’m fine,” I say, “Well… not so fine I guess. I look like this.”

He presses his mouth into a thin line, still fixating me with his bewildered frown as he takes a deep breath in through his nose and then quickly glances around the room. “I always thought the way you resigned was odd. This isn’t your home... Did someone do this to you?”

He’s starting to put things together pretty quickly. “Yes,” I say, feeling dizzy. Another step forward and I force the words out, “Nathan, please, I need your help.”

His expression shifts to more focused intent as he nods. “Yes… of course. Do you know of any way of restoring you?”

“On the nightstand,” I say, pointing, “There’s a device there that did it. But I don’t think it’ll work, he said only he can use it…”

Nathan’s gaze follows where I’m pointing and he stands back up again - I recoil, my breath coming up short at the fast transition to his full height. He walks across to the bedside table and immediately picks up the shrinking machine. For a moment he fiddles with it, pushing tentatively at the buttons, and I can’t see the screen from down here but I figure from his expression that nothing’s happening. I guess the fingerprint technology wasn't a lie.

“Well, first things first,” he says as he turns back my way, “We should get you to safety.” He’s bending down again, setting a knee onto the floor, and the expression on his face is still focused and full of concern. “Can I… carry you out of here?” He’s a little hesitant as he reaches an arm out, setting his open palm down beside me.

This is it. I stare for a moment, and while I’m very used to being picked up at this point, it’s so weird seeing someone else’s hand in giant proportions. I flash back to a conversation with Leo about my kinks where my ex-manager’s hands had come up as an example of what I found attractive. The universe certainly is working in very strange ways. Nathan’s hand is paler than the one I’m used to, a little more angular, though he has similarly long fingers and a broad palm. Summoning my courage and climbing aboard, I notice his skin is colder than Leo’s too. Even the way he lifts me up is different, so much more hesitant and unaccustomed to the movement. I still feel like I’m dreaming.

“This is just… crazy,” Nathan admits as he holds me up closer to his face, an exhale of a stunned laugh escaping him as he stares at me, “I can’t believe this is real.”

“Tell me about it,” I whimper. Seeing the face of my former boss magnified like this, when I’m so used to seeing a very different giant holding me, is really throwing me off.

"We're going to fix this, Lily," he says quietly, and then he slowly stands up as he holds me aloft. I notice him tucking away the shrinking device in his jacket pocket and then he starts walking. Whipping my head around, I catch a glimpse of the dollhouse on the way out and feel my chest tighten so hard I almost choke. Everything’s happening so quickly.

I don't even think to ask him to look for my phone or any of my other things, I'm just trying to keep my bearings as we zoom through the apartment and Nathan opens the front door. I've always been in a pocket when going out and am not used to the sight of the open sky, still threatening a storm, the line of other apartments in either direction, the sprawling parking lot below. My rescuer starts making his way down the stairs, reflexively hovering a hand up beside me as if afraid he might drop me. We're quite the sight at the moment, though I suppose his hand's technically hiding me from view, and there's no one else around anyway.

We reach the bottom of the stairs just as a light rain starts to fall, and Nathan moves his palm above my head now to protect me from the water droplets. I'm surprised to find his path very familiar, and though I don't really know the way visually, it feels like he might have parked where Leo normally does. I recognize the silver sedan that my ex-boss drives and he briefly removes his hand from above me, leaning his torso over me instead, so that he can open the door. For some reason, though, the door doesn't budge.

"Shoot, not again…" he mutters, "Sorry, it's been having issues, I'm going to need to use both hands. Can I set you down for a moment?"

He crouches to the ground and lowers his hand, helping me slide off of it. I'm in a new landscape, having never encountered pavement at this size. I'm not wearing shoes so the rocky ground is quite rough against my feet, and it's a little cold from the inclement weather. Nathan set me just underneath the car to keep me out of the rain, and the vast metal ceiling looms above like an airplane hangar.

He stands back up, gripping the car handle with both hands and using a good amount of force to lift it up as he pulls outward. The door opens right as I hear the sound of another car approaching, and as I turn around I'm startled to see tires come into view. The vehicle pulls up next to Nathan's car and there's the sound of a window opening.

"Hey there."

I freeze. It's him. Leo must have realized he forgot the device and came home after all. Tears immediately well up in my eyes at the sound of his voice. Out of pure instinct I almost run out into the rain to see him, having to hug my arms around myself instead, and my whole body is trembling with emotion. I stare at the concrete as it changes color from the raindrops that are starting to fall harder.

"Oh, sorry," Nathan's voice responds, "Am I parked in your spot?"

"No worries, man. Yeah the sign's not super clear - guest parking is that way."

"Understood. Thank you."

I’m crying in earnest now. No matter how this all plays out, none of it can be taken back at this point. Leo's made terrible decisions, but he’s not a terrible person. I’ve spent enough time with him now to know that. He’s about to go upstairs and have no idea where I am or where the shrinking device is to track me. It'll probably send him into a panic. At the very least… I’m about to completely break his heart.

I jump with a yelp as a loud metal something hits the ground not too far from where I'm standing. I hardly have time to realize they're a set of keys that Nathan intentionally dropped as an excuse to bend down to me, an urgent expression on his face.

"That's him, right? Let's hurry." He doesn't give me the chance to climb onto his hand myself, reaching behind me and scooping me up onto his palm. He whooshes me out from under the car and I grab onto his thumb, gasping from the vertigo.

And then we’re inside the car, another new environment, and I’m set down onto a flat, soft surface that’s as wide as a tennis court. He’s put me on the passenger car seat.

Nathan soon follows, his dark hair damp with rain, sliding into the driver's seat and slipping the keys into the ignition without bothering with a seat belt. The car rumbles to life, growling like a great beast, the vibrations running through my body with intensity.

“Sorry, I know this isn’t the safest… I’ll be slow and just find someplace close by to park for now. Can you hold on to something?”

I quickly grab onto the nearby seatbelt strap, and I’m finding myself looking up towards the passenger window. I just want to see him again, just one more time… But I’m too small, too far down, all I can see is the swirling, gray sky and water droplets hitting against the glass. Then we’re moving. I’m jostled a bit but not enough to pose any real danger. Even though I’m not in a pocket I still can’t tell where we’re going, ever at the mercy of the driver as the car turns and rumbles along. We’re in silence for a few tense minutes and then he’s pulling up alongside the road, leaving the car on but slowing it to a stop.

Nathan lets out a sigh, and I stare ahead of me, my gaze unfocused. Now what?

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Re: Rain on the Pavement

Post by littlest-lily » Fri Sep 16, 2022 10:01 am

Chapter 5

“We made it out at least…” This new giant’s voice, however familiar, is taking some getting used to. I’ve gotten so accustomed to one person over the months. And now he’s gone from my life. “Are you alright, Lily?”

I look up at Nathan, who’s now turned in my direction with an elbow resting on the steering wheel, frowning as he looks over my small frame. I suddenly realize my face is still covered in tears. I wipe them away fervently, knowing I have to pull myself together. It’s done. I’ve escaped. I’ve finally gotten away from my captor, I finally have a chance to go back to my old life, to find help in restoring my size, to see my loved ones. Why am I not feeling any more relieved?

“Don’t tell me you were actually falling for him?”

I stop breathing. Slowly turn my head towards my rescuer. It was an odd thing to say, and there’s something about his tone that takes me by surprise.

His expression has changed. He’s giving me an almost pitying look, and his posture has noticeably loosened up as he looms above me. At work he’s generally been professional and polite with me, only every so often letting out a more casual air, but this is different. Unfamiliar. I suddenly feel this deep, growing sense of uneasiness.

Nathan continues, “This is the man who kidnapped you, right? He’s been holding you captive for, what, weeks now if not months? Playing with your size, treating you like his little pet, posting pictures of it all online. Are you to tell me you’re upset about leaving him now?”

The uneasiness is quickly turning into dread as I stare at him in confusion. “What… how do you know about…”

He leans forward with an icy stare, a shadow of a smile appearing on his face.

“Lily, how do you think I found you, really? That I just happened to walk by? At a point when you just happened to be sitting at the window and I happened to notice your tiny figure three stories up? Come now. What are the odds of that?”

My heart is racing. It's true, things aren't adding up. Even if he thought he saw a small person through a window, why go to the lengths of breaking into someone's place to investigate? I realize it intrinsically now. I’m not being rescued. This is another betrayal. I feel cold. Numb. Terrified.

The titan smiles in earnest and he lets out a breath of laughter as he observes me. “The look on your face right now…”

I almost want to laugh, join in on his amusement. I’m so desperately looking for this to be a horrible joke. For him to reveal a side of himself that I hadn’t known before as just a prankster, someone with a sick sense of humor and nothing worse. But I know that can't be the case. Instead he's revealing a very different part of himself.

I find my voice. “Nathan…” I say, trying and failing to keep steady, “Hold on a second. I really need help right now. Please… You know me…”

I’m slowly getting to my feet, but he doesn’t react to this at all, looking completely unperturbed. His eyes narrow as he sits back up a little straighter to look down his nose at me, relishing in this moment.

“Yes. And I did quite miss seeing you at the office, Miss Tealeaf. You were one of my favorite employees, you know. Good at your job, kept your head down. Docile. Easy on the eyes and already quite petite, so perfect for this whole… fantasy. In fact, I think it’s precisely because I know you that I’ve been so looking forward to having you. Ever since I first saw those photos circulating online. I recognized you right away, I could tell they weren't just photoshopped, and then I knew I had to find you... And your keeper made it all too easy. He’s an idiot, really. The guy doesn’t even use a VPN.”

There it is. He wanted to find me, have me? I feel like I might throw up. Images of my time working with him flash in my mind. I’d never suspected he secretly harbored any kind of fantasy about me, much less this one. It doesn’t make any sense.

Nathan moves and I flinch as he takes his arm off the steering wheel to reach his hand into his jacket pocket. “You made it so easy for me too,” he says nonchalantly, pulling out the shrinking device and holding it up. “This was quite the stroke of luck, I must say. A locked door I could handle, but I figured he would carry this with him wherever he went. He truly is an imbecile. I had contingencies planned, but acquiring this makes things so much cleaner.”

With his other hand he silently reaches forward, and I stumble back in fear, but he’s not reaching for me, instead aiming for the glove compartment to my right. He opens it and immediately finds what he’s looking for: a pair of pliers.

I watch in horror as he puts the device in position and only manage to yell out a “Wait!” before he squeezes the tool and there’s a sickening crunch of metal and plastic. Bits go flying like shrapnel, and I immediately see a huge gash in the device as the screen goes blank. I can feel my mind go blank too. That machine was the cause of so much of my suffering, but now with it gone… I’m stuck like this. I’m trapped at three inches tall and have no idea if that can ever change again.

Nathan looks at me, smiles at the hopelessness on my face, and as he sets down the pliers and broken shrinking device on the dashboard, he uses a fake soothing voice to reassure me. “Oh don’t worry, little Lily. I have no use for this device. But there's plenty more where that came from.”

He reaches into his other pocket. No… no, no, no... But there it is… Out comes another machine. Slightly different in color and shape. But it’s unmistakable. The extent to which this man has come prepared is truly dawning on me.

He holds up the device, turning it between his fingers as he admires it. “This one’s a more recent model too. I’m sure you’re eager to know what it’s fully capable of. All in due time, my dear…”

The titan turns back towards me, leaning forward, and I see an excitement in his eyes that freezes me to my core. He begins reaching a hand out, towards me this time, not in a quick snatching motion but slow, deliberate. I’m completely frozen in place. His forefinger extends, longer than I am tall, and this time his cold touch feels practiced as he gently caresses my face, lifting my chin up. The gaze we share is so intense that my knees almost give out from under me.

“We have so much work to do, you and I.” His voice is soft, chilling, and then he’s pulling his hand away as he continues, “Honestly I think your little boyfriend was wasting your potential. He also kept you at too large a size if you ask me…”

I snap out of my frozen state and start backing away again, even though I know there’s nowhere to run. "Please…” I beg, my voice breaking. “Nathan, don't do this, please…”

A red circle of light suddenly appears between my feet. Like a laser pointer. He’s aiming the device my way, tilts it slightly higher so that the light moves up to my stomach now, and I back away further but I’ve already felt the warmth right where it hits me and then the light turns off again.

“All synced up,” he murmurs, seemingly to himself as he ignores my pleas. And then a second later I feel it. A wave of dizziness. A tingling. A heat. This feels slightly different from what I’m used to - my vision doesn’t become clouded, the warmth is a little sharper in my chest. But the falling feeling is unmistakable. My knees really do give out and I trip backwards onto the slope of the car seat as the surface I’m on moves against me, stretching out, all of the walls of the car pulling back and away, Nathan’s form is growing, growing–

This is a nightmare. It has to be. I’m going to wake up any second now, in the dollhouse. Leo’s probably already up and making breakfast. Wake up. Wake up…

I’m so disoriented that it’s hard to say for sure but I think I’m an inch tall when I stop shrinking. The titan has already started moving, coming closer as he leans forward, and he puts a hand down on the passenger seat, a little ways ahead of me. It’s a casual movement to him, but the impact shakes me and makes me slip again on the slope I’m sitting on. His fingers are a couple dozen feet away and I’m only about as tall as a single phalange, his manicured fingernails almost big enough to be full-sized mirrors. Using his hand as leverage, he leans further, looming above, and I stare straight up at his face and his cold, uncaring gaze flashing silver as he eyes his prey.

A smile plays over his lips and his voice is certainly booming now that he’s three times bigger than he was a moment ago. "Much better. I usually tend to prefer my toys at an inch or less. Especially with where we’re headed - I’d rather you not be so noticeable. Now come here…"

His other hand comes into view, closing in on me, and despite knowing that it’s hopeless I run, scrambling back and along a seam in the ground, deeper into the car seat so that I’m about to hit the back wall of it. I’m struggling and thrashing even as his forefinger and thumb close in, encircling me, but I'm helpless as I’m pinched between his fingertips and he lifts me up.

I can’t believe how well he was able to fake his shock when he first saw me in the apartment. Clearly he’s very experienced with handling a tiny person. He knows how to hold me just so, tightly enough to keep me from falling or escaping him, gently enough to not completely crush me. His movements are slow enough that I don’t black out from the g-force, though he's not worrying about making sure I’m particularly comfortable. My legs and most of my torso are completely pinned between the walls of skin while my arms are free, and at first as he lifts me up I’m hanging on to him, but as soon as he levels out his movements, pausing to hold me in front of his face, I’m pushing against his fingers, wriggling as much as I’m able to. Yes, he’s not crushing me, but his grip is too tight, I’m struggling to breathe…!

He doesn’t offer relief - in fact for a moment I’m squeezed tighter in response to me shoving against him. I cry out in pain, collapsing forward for a moment before looking back up at him in fear. His pale blue eyes, striking in their own right, fixate me with a quiet, calculated iciness that robs me of breath faster than his suffocating grip.

Even back when Leo was at his most abusive, it was different from this. He was delighted about the whole thing. Playful. Nathan certainly looks excited, enraptured even, by the sight of me in his grasp, but there’s a cold cruelty there that chills me to the bone. If Leo ever hurt me, it might have been due to recklessness, but it was always unintentional. Nathan looks like he wants to hurt me on purpose.

“It’s been too long,” the titan says softly, and his fingers shift as he starts rolling me slightly between them. “I almost forgot how good it feels. A tiny woman at my mercy. And how amazing it is that it’s you, Lily. I’ve never reduced someone I know. Much less someone I've worked with… You used to be under me before. This is a whole new level, isn’t it?”

The question’s rhetorical, and I don’t think I could gasp out an answer if I tried. He takes his eyes off me, and there’s movement as he does something with his other hand, behind me and out of sight even if I were to try and look. I hear shuffling, a zipper opening, and I close my eyes for a moment now that he’s distracted, try to take some breaths and get a hold of myself.

Nathan starts talking again as he moves, making me jump and look back up at him. “I certainly wish I could be more open about this. How fun it would be to parade you around. For all of your old coworkers to see the pathetic state that you’re in right now. I’m afraid that will have to be left up to the imagination.” He looks straight at me and I flinch. “Regardless. I’m late enough to work as is. And you, my dear, are very, very overdue for your shift.”

With zero warning, he brings his fingers apart and I scream as I fall a good ten feet onto a hard surface. I wince, breathing fast, looking around wildly. I’m in some kind of square black plastic box, not very much bigger than I am, maybe the size of a large closet. I only have this split second to get my bearings before suddenly I’m in darkness, there’s a loud clicking sound, and everything’s shaking as the box is moving. I slide and slam into a wall, and from outside the box I hear another zipper sound and shuffling as Nathan stuffs me into his bag and starts driving once more.

littlest-lily
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Re: Rain on the Pavement

Post by littlest-lily » Sun Sep 18, 2022 10:46 am

Chapter 6

For the first several minutes in my dark prison all I can do is hyperventilate. It all happened so fast and it’s impossibly horrifying to process. I quickly worry that I’ll surely suffocate in here, but despite it being pitch black there’s just enough of a gap at the seams of the box that I get a bit of air flow. Everything’s constantly shaking, and I find myself bumping against walls or the entire chamber slowly tumbling every time the car turns a corner. At some point we must be on a highway as things seem to level out, and the box is oriented so that I’m forced to sit right over a corner. I curl into a ball and press the heels of my hands over my eyes, though it’s not any darker this way.

I think of everything I know about Nathan, trying to reconcile the person I knew with the one I've just witnessed. He generally kept to himself, but he wasn’t unfriendly. He’d carry an air of formality and poise that led to a few people - and I counted myself among them - to find him very attractive. He seemed gentle when he spoke, and although he could be firm and wasn’t afraid to speak his mind when offering feedback, he was never mean for the sake of it. He didn't particularly go out of his way to be a supportive boss, but he seemed to care enough about his team.

At the same time, I know next to nothing about his home life, his hobbies, his personality outside of work. And come to think of it… Is it possible that he would get the occasional power trip over being a manager, asking me to do a mundane task he could have easily done himself? Were there any weird moments between us, maybe the odd casual comment referring to how much taller he was than me? Did his gaze ever linger on me too long, like when I caught him staring at me in a meeting, seemingly lost in thought as he twirled a paperclip between his fingers again and again and again?...

A sob breaks out of me as I go from hyperventilating to taking slower but gasping breaths. Am I really that bad at judging someone’s character? How could this kind of treachery happen all over again? Am I even going to make it out alive this time?

If only I’d called for Leo when the impulse came. He might not have gotten home before Nathan arrived, but maybe he could have intercepted us earlier. He has no idea where I am right now. Maybe there’s some hope in the fact that he saw my new captor’s face before we left, but so what? There was no real reason in that moment for him to pay any attention to the random guy who was parked in his spot. Even if he suspects that I was taken against my will and didn't just manage to escape, it’s not like there’s any chance he took note of a license plate number or any other information that could help. He wouldn’t know where to start. He can’t track me. He can’t contact me. This is it. I’m on my own. Kidnapped yet again but the situation feels far, far more foreboding this time.

After a while I try to calm down, to get a hold of myself. I start feeling around the box that I’m trapped in, seeing if there’s any gap or mechanism or something I can work out to escape. Nothing. I feel like I’m going to go crazy in here. Soon I’m getting flung around again as the car resumes twisting and turning. And the only thing worse than being trapped in this small dark prison is the feeling of the car slowing to a stop.

More shaking. Upwards movement. And then there’s a swaying motion, accompanied by the echoing sound of shoes on pavement, then tile, then carpet. Outside I hear activity - muffled voices, doors opening and closing. I wait… and wait…

Suddenly I flinch at a loud noise, a zipper opening nearby, and now it’s just the plastic box that’s getting lifted. Everything is being handled so casually, so carelessly, the dark room I’m in tilting sharply so that I slide back and hit a wall. With a click the lid of the box opens and blinding light floods in. I squint and don’t have time to blink away the brightness before the floor shifts yet again, and with a yelp I fall forwards, tumbling out as I’m dumped onto a new hard surface. Wood, this time.

It’s cold here. The lighting is intense and harsh. I look up and around myself and see a variety of semi-familiar objects - pens, pencils, a mug. There’s a large stage nearby that I soon process to be a keyboard, buildings that I figure out are a computer monitor and various forms of storage. I see half an avocado the size of a parade float, and as I notice the plastic sheen of it, I actually recognize it as a stress toy that I’ve seen get squished hundreds of times. This is Nathan’s desk.

“Look familiar?” The thunderous voice rolls in from above me and I turn to look up at my newest keeper, sitting at his desk chair and gazing down at me with amusement. “I was just trying to remember… you quit back in April, correct? Or, well, were forced to quit I assume. Not very much about my office has changed...” He brings his hand up into view, leaning an elbow onto the armrest of his chair and pointing his index finger out, hovering it over my head as he makes lazy little circles in the air above me. “In fact, I could use a new desk toy…”

He lowers his finger and it’s like a giant to me in its own right, knocking me to the ground with ease. The digit lays on top of me, pinning me down, and then he slides me slightly along the surface of the desk as I wince in pain under the weight of him.

“You didn’t answer me,” he says calmly as his finger slides me back the other way.

“W…what?” I gasp and my voice feels dry, straining.

“You left in April?”

“Y-yes… Ahh, stop, that hurts…”

He doesn’t respond to me, and when he stops sliding me it seems more out of idleness than out of listening to a concern. He keeps his fingertip on me and his thumb joins in now, running along the side of my body and pressing against my legs.

“Hmmm, let me catch you up then…” Nathan’s tone is unhurried as he idly messes with me under his fingertips. “Ravi finally got promoted, that one was well deserved. Lauren was too, she’s a director now. Less deserved. We’ve had to shuffle some projects arounds as a result. What else… Your old position is still open. It turns out you’ve been rather difficult to replace, I’m sure you’ll be happy to know.”

I try to crane my neck back, towards where I know is the door to his office. It feels weird that he’s talking to me so openly, but the door is closed and I'm aware of how well sound-proofed the room is, plus he has me positioned behind a tray of papers so no one could see me if they looked through the window. Still, some people aren’t shy about waltzing in, surely someone will come by at some point…!

My ex-boss notices where I’m looking and smirks. “There’s no one out there right now. Most of the office is out for the summer tech fair. Honestly lately it’s been so boring…” I flinch, whimpering as the giant hand changes tactics again, fingers lengthening out and the entire thing moving up and over me. He covers my whole frame with his palm, positioning it so that I’m right in the center, and while he doesn’t put all of his weight down, I’m completely immobilized as I’m pressed into his skin. It’s dark and the pressure quickly feels unbearable, but my writhing only seems to entertain him.

I’m saved by the sound of an email reaching his inbox, making his computer ding. The hand lifts away to reach for the computer mouse instead, and I gasp for air, flipping over to my stomach and struggling to get up to hands and knees.

Nathan continues talking to me, even as he keeps his attention on his screen. “What a coincidence - I just received a note from HR, they’ve set up an interview next week for your old position. Let's see… Yes, I remember seeing this girl's resume. Seems promising.”

I’m hardly listening to him, looking around as I try desperately to think, to see if there’s anything I could possibly do to help my situation. He doesn't seem to be watching me. I begin crawling towards a box of pushpins, not much of a weapon but maybe it's something–

I'm yanked backwards again as suddenly one of my legs is pinched and pulled across the desk surface. I look up but the titan is still focusing on the screen, merely keeping an eye and hand on me in his periphery as his laid-back voice continues to boom.

“I wonder what she’ll look like… It would be nice to find a good fit for the job who’s as attractive and petite as you were. Not quite as important now that I have the real thing, though. And now I can make you as 'petite' as I want…” His fingers are on top of me again as without warning he scoops me into them and lifts me up.

This is the beginning of an incredibly long day with this unrelenting titan. I’ve become his new stress toy. Even as he’s working quietly on the computer or leans back in his chair as he takes a break or a phone call, he has me in his hand whenever he can, poking and kneading my too-small body, rolling me between fingers, pinching at my limbs, pressing me into his palm or opening and closing his fist around me. He holds me closer to his face from time to time so that he can watch me scramble around on his hand to get away from his finger, nothing but cold amusement in his eyes as he torments me tirelessly. Whenever he needs to use the keyboard, he either gives me a merciful break by briefly placing me down on the desk between his forearms, or he drops me right onto the keyboard itself, where I have to dodge his fingertips lest I get knocked against the keys as he types.

He's careful not to cause serious injury, but he's being anything but gentle. It’s horrible. Humiliating, painful, terrifying... Does he not realize just how much bigger than me he is when I'm an inch tall? His hands are as large as houses, each finger as long as a killer whale, just the fingertips are over half as tall as I am. The ridges of his fingerprints rub painfully when he presses too hard. His fingernails are thick enough to me that they don’t quite scratch, but they can still dig into my skin when he wants to, hard and unyielding. The occasional abrasion appears on my body, and I can feel many bruises already forming.

At first I try pleading with him, getting angry with him, anything I can think of to get him to stop. But not only do my shouts fall on deaf ears, they’re typically followed up with some kind of punishment. He knocks me over or pinches me roughly - he even flicks me once after I scream at him to “fucking listen to me!” just to get me to shut up, and my leg explodes with pain as the sharp whack of his fingernail sends me sliding across the desk. I quickly learn my lesson and stop trying to speak out against him.

He has a few meetings throughout the day and does not bring me with him - instead he opens a desk drawer and dumps me right in alongside the pencils and post-it notes. The first time I spend the entire length of his meeting trying to climb out, making my way to the back of the large cave to look for a gap to slip into, or attempting to leverage a paperclip that’s as tall as I am to pry the drawer open. Nothing works. I’m too small, too weak. Future sessions in the drawer I spend resting instead of trying to escape.

After an agonizingly long morning, the only time I come even close to getting help is just around lunch time. I’m kneeling in Nathan’s palm, and he’s using the ring finger of that same hand to roughly pet my back as he clicks away at the computer, when suddenly the door opens. My head snaps up in shock as I see someone I know - it’s Ravi, an old coworker, one of the nicest guys here, a jovial smile on his face as he strolls into the room.

“RAVI!” I scream immediately, “HELP, I’M-” but the new friendlier giant doesn’t seem to notice a thing before massive fingers curl in on me, closing me into a dark fist and muffling my cries as the hand drops below desktop level.

“Hey, Nathan. Just wanted to see if you'd like to grab lunch with those of us who are here. We’re getting tacos down the road.”

“Sure, I’ll be available in about… ten minutes?”

“Sounds good. We’ll meet you in the atrium.”

My heart sinks as I hear the door closing again, followed by the sound of light laughter that vibrates against my skin. Nathan brings me back up, opening his hand as he coos mockingly, “I’m afraid that won’t work, my little Lily. Even if he heard something, it's far easier to believe it was someone yelling outside. You’re much too tiny for anyone to take note of you.”

Feeling my sanity start to crack, I try to fight against the tears welling up as we make eye contact. I don’t say anything but glare at him as defiantly as possible.

He just looks at me with that infuriating amusement in his icy gaze. “I must say, you've been quite energetic this morning. Normal enough I suppose, but even the feisty ones settle down eventually. Although I am starting to think that your previous master truly just spoiled you… I guess it’s up to me to show you just how helpless and insignificant you are now. We’ll see how confident you look in a few days’ time.”

And with that he unceremoniously dumps me back into the drawer so that he can get ready for his lunch break. I land hard on a notepad, curl onto my side as the drawer closes, and once I’m out of sight I let the tears fall, crumbling into despaired sobs, lamenting at how hopeless it all feels.

How? How could someone who I knew for years turn out to be this much of a monster? I’d seen how messed up certain peoples’ fantasies could be on the forums, but surely for the vast majority of people that’s all it is - a fantasy. How did I end up with someone who really could be so cruel and treat me like nothing more than a plaything? What else is he capable of?

For the next hour I think of Leo. How much more gentle his touch was. The feel of his kisses, so tender and loving. I picture that last moment we shared this morning before he had to run, how he made a point to pause in his rush, to look at me, to smile at me, to make sure I knew that he cared. I go back through every warm memory with him that I can summon. I’m sorry, I think to him, my heart aching, I’m so sorry I left you…

I know my captor must be back when I hear the office door open and close in the distance. For just a moment I allow myself a small hope as footsteps approach. I remember a time when one of my coworkers was dared to sneak into this office and steal a pencil during a manager’s meeting two doors down, and to her credit she came out successful. Maybe it's someone else who's coming in right now. Anyone else, I pray as the floor shifts, the entire room I'm in sliding to the side and the ceiling opening up above me.

But reality hits hard as I squint against the light and am faced with Nathan's tall torso, faraway face, pale blue eyes that stay so frigid even as they light up with interest at the sight of me. Giant fingers appear over the edge of the drawer, and they hover nearby, not quite touching me yet as he enjoys the way I recoil from him.

"You came up in conversation today," he says softly, the smile on his face growing as he circles me with his index and watches me cower, "Everyone misses you, Lily. Such a shame I couldn't bring you along. Could you imagine, scurrying around on the table? Forced to just eat the crumbs off our plates?"

He chuckles and finally picks me up, rocketing me up the length of his body to hold me up in front of his face. I'm breathing hard, having to summon all of my courage yet again as I face him. He examines me for a moment, looking absolutely fascinated by the familiarity of my features, so much tinier now than when he was my manager. I try to take the opportunity to make contact with him, try something while I have his attention.

I put my hands on the thumb pressed up against my chest, stare at him intensely. "Nathan…" I say, struggling to keep my voice steady. I know trying to talk him out of this is pointless, but maybe getting a conversation started could still help somehow. "Please, I just want to talk. What… what are you going to do with me?"

His eyes focus in on mine and narrow slightly. While I don't know the details (and don't want to think about it), I figure that he's had multiple victims at this point. Perhaps he's more used to his toys being completely overwhelmed with fear and had assumed that, after the trials of this morning followed by an hour in solitude, I might have been closer to broken by now. Meanwhile, yes I'm terrified, but I've gotten used to being tiny for many weeks. I probably am able to stay more composed than the average person.

Nathan doesn't seem displeased by this, though. He smirks and brings up a gigantic pinkie to brush against my cheek. I shiver, both from the cold of his skin and fearful anticipation of whatever pain he might inflict on me. But instead he decides to answer my question, his voice little more than a whisper. "Oh, there is so… so much I plan to do. Turn a profit, for one. You know, I’ve made quite a name for myself in certain corners of the internet as a video producer. It's been a nice hobby I must say. I’ve remained completely anonymous of course, unlike that imbecile of an owner you had. I think it’s time I opened my commissions back up…”

This takes me aback, not quite an answer I was expecting. I have no idea what this will mean for me, but a desperate thought comes to mind. If I end up back online… what if Leo sees it? If Nathan was able to track me down this time, could the reverse be true? Based on how he’s been talking I doubt it would be so easy, but…

“What kind of videos?” I ask, trying to keep him talking.

“Well that depends on the customer. I tend to be selective, though. I’ll see what requests come down the pipeline… You’ll find out soon enough.” He’s still petting my head with his pinkie and now he moves it around my face so he can push my chin up, and I wince, the force of it enough to make my teeth clatter together. “Not to mention… I think I’ll be enjoying you in many ways beyond my average pet. Somehow you mean a little more to me, Miss Tealeaf. I certainly hope you’ve gotten used to becoming smaller again and again. Rest assured that I’ll be pushing your limits…”

I'm seething with hatred. And shaking with fear. My resolve to maintain a conversation dissipates.

Nathan returns to his work, sitting down and keeping me in his grasp. The afternoon crawls by and I’m starting to memorize every detail of his hands, the light smell of aloe from the soap he uses, every line of his palms, the surface of each fingertip as he continues to knead and poke and squeeze and pet. The torture leaves me breathless, battered, exhausted… I transition from him to the desktop to the drawer again and again as the hours drag by.

"Hmm.” I'm in the darkness of his hand closed around me when the sudden sound of his voice makes me bristle. “I'm actually wondering if you can help me with something here..."

I cry out as he whips me upwards, holding me right up to his computer screen. I try to catch my breath as I stare up at the 60 foot wall of light and attempt to make sense of what I’m looking at.

"You worked on this project last, right? The Kamtech one. The new dev made an update and now apparently the whole build is broken. The error is in this method but she can’t figure out why there’s a conflict.”

I shudder at his tone as it causes a disconnect in my brain - he's sounding more like my boss used to at the moment. He’s pointing at the screen, at a section of code that I apparently wrote a few months back. I’m feeling woozy, disoriented, and rack my brain with difficulty as I try to figure out what he wants from me. But miraculously, after staring at the oversized symbols for a few moments, things slowly start coming back to me.

“Um… the UI on the original build for this wasn’t great… I was trying to improve latency here…” I slowly explain my thought process, sounding almost zombie-like as I don't know what else to do but follow his orders.

As I try to help with the problem, Nathan smiles approvingly. He sets me down at the top of his keyboard so that he can type an email, musing as he does so, "Perhaps there's no need to hire anyone new after all. I'll just bring you to work more often. And you've been such lovely entertainment too. I think I've gotten quite addicted to this new little desk toy of mine..."

I don't say anything, just stare ahead of me, barely reacting to his fingers flying over the letters in front of me, each keystroke punctuating my growing headache. I vaguely realize that I'm very dehydrated and haven't eaten anything since that breakfast bar many hours ago. Between that and the stress and all of the rough handling I'm starting to feel really dizzy.

A minute later a wave of nausea hits and I see spots for a second. Slipping forward as I lose my balance, I hit the F5 key, not enough to push it down but just enough to make a noise. Nathan glances down at me and pauses in his typing so he can pull back a little and lower his head my way.

"You're looking rather pale, Lily. Too much excitement for one day? We haven't even gotten home yet. Though we'll be leaving in just a couple of minutes, don’t worry…"

I let out a groan as he reaches for me. I need a second. I need to breathe. I've had enough of him touching me. But I can't stop the forefinger from resting against my back, thumb up against my front as the titan muses, "Ah, come to think of it, I haven't fed you today, have I? Must have slipped my mind."

The vice of his fingers grips me just enough to lift me up, too fast. I squeeze my eyes shut against the vicious vertigo and when I open them again I can't see for a moment. Even as I’m trying to blink the black spots away, everything’s blurry, the edges of my vision are closing in, and there’s a rushing sound in my ears as my heart races. I catch a glimpse of Nathan's amused smile and his voice sounds far away as it echoes, "Uh oh... Looks like you're about to–"

And everything goes black.

littlest-lily
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Re: Rain on the Pavement

Post by littlest-lily » Tue Sep 20, 2022 3:58 pm

Chapter 7

I’m not quite sure that I’m coming to when my eyes blink open. I’m in total darkness and there’s a buzzing in my ears, almost like the sound of white noise. But I start taking notice of various sensations - the stuffy air quality, the pounding in my head, the churning in my stomach, vibrations against my skin - and I slowly come to grips with the fact that I’m conscious again. I try to push myself to sitting and it’s a struggle at first as my muscles are feeling shaky and sore. I’m reminded that, no, today wasn’t just a terrible dream.

It would seem that I’m back in the plastic box, and from the ambient sounds outside I can tell that we must be on the road. A little confused by the papery texture of the floor, I figure out that Nathan must have put a tissue in here too as a lining. Maybe to make sure I don’t crack my head open as my limp body gets thrown around while he drives. Thankfully I didn’t roll too deep into it and suffocate instead.

I wonder how long I’ve been out, but I don’t have much longer to spend with my own thoughts as the car is already slowing down. I try to take a few deep breaths, steeling myself even as I feel my heart rate picking up.

When the box lifts up I notice I don’t get jostled quite as violently as the last time I was in here, more like a steady elevator in the darkness. There’s a click and I squint preemptively against the light as the lid swings open.

“Oh good, you woke up. Did you have a nice nap in there?” My vision clears and I take in the massive face looming above me. Nathan observes me intently before glancing at something off to the side, apparently the shrinking device which monitors my vitals as his next comment is, “Looks like your oxygen levels are back up too. Much better. I do prefer you to not be unconscious.”

He really doesn’t sound all that worried about the fact that I’d fainted and proceeds to promptly tilt my cage so that I slide out onto his palm. He gathers his things as he loosely wraps his fingers around me and then gets out of the car.

From the sun shining almost mockingly despite it being evening, I can see that the weather has cleared up, the rain having vanished just as swiftly as my previous life did. I peer out through the gaps between the titan’s fingers and catch glimpses of things that are actually vaguely familiar. I’ve been to Nathan’s apartment exactly once as he hosted a holiday party here this past December for his team. The parking garage is just across the street from his apartment building, and the general area is quite nice, dotted with a variety of trees and greenery despite the otherwise urban setting.

We enter the building and from there it’s a quick walk as the target destination is on the ground floor. I stare at the dark wood of the apartment door before it opens, taller and more intimidating than an actual fortress, and I feel a distinct sense of dread. This is another prison. My new world. I wonder what awaits me beyond this threshold.

A wave of cool AC hits us as Nathan steps inside and says, “You remember the layout, I don’t need to give you a tour? I can do a refresher later if you’d like.”

I don’t answer, looking in every direction. Everything feels so wide and distorted from my perspective, but from what I see and can remember I do get my bearings. The entryway leads right into a hallway, the entire apartment on the rather long and narrow side. There’s a coat closet and small bathroom to the immediate left, and then the hall opens up into the living room and kitchen, with his bedroom, which I've never entered, far in the back. The place looks immaculate, and I remember noticing last time that he seems to keep things particularly clean and tidy. Even the air feels sterile. I don’t see a scrap of carpet here, everything is cold and hard and nothing like the cozy space I’ve gotten used to living in.

We enter the kitchen area when the fleshy platform I’m on starts lowering and tilting, and I brace myself as I know what’s coming - Nathan rests his hand on the dining table and dumps me onto its surface before he continues walking on. I hurry to my feet, still feeling a little faint and preferring the more stable ground, but also intimidated by the empty, open landscape. To this day it’s easy to feel as vulnerable as a prey animal, especially when dealing with such a mammoth predator as my new captor has proven to be.

I stay on my guard as the titan returns after having tinkered around in the kitchen and he’s holding something - an almost comically tiny bowl to him that I quickly realize is a dipping sauce plate, a flat and circular one that might typically hold soy sauce. Except in it there’s water. He sets it down in front of me, the clatter of the ceramic sharp against my eardrums. Like a kid feeding his pet hamster.

“Drink up. I’ll be making dinner now - this won’t take long. I recommend you stay put.” Even before he’s finished his sentence he’s started walking away again, moving around the kitchen to pull something together. His movements in the background disconcert me, but any break I can have from him is appreciated.

I hurry over to the round dish. As small as it was to him, it’s closer to the size of a fish pond to me and I have to fully stand to reach over the edge of it. I dip my hands into the water and take avid gulps, relishing in how it feels against my dry throat. My body's grateful for the hydration after the long day I’ve had. I still feel tired, the headache lingering, but this is definitely helping. The table is otherwise completely empty and I saw how far the drop is to the floor, so I don’t bother exploring the area. I sit beside the dish, leaning against its cool surface to rest while remaining wary. And I wait.

Noise and smells start filling the room, and just the aroma of plain rice in the rice cooker makes my stomach complain loudly. I wonder how this is going to go down. Is he going to put something on a plate for me like he did with the water? Is he going to make me wait? Make me earn the food somehow? I’m not sure what to expect from him.

After about ten minutes or so Nathan comes back to the table with a simple meal in tow - some kind of vegetables and meat in a sauce over rice. He just has the one basketball court-sized plate along with his own set of chopsticks and water glass, nothing that seems meant for me. That is, outside of a wet wipe that he pulls out for himself but then tears a corner off and places it on the edge of his plate.

He turns his attention to my small form on the other side of the table and waves his hand out. “Come here. I’m sure you’re starving at this point. I’d rather not have you passing out on me again.”

He’s inviting me right to his plate. Not only would Leo usually make sure I had some amount of utensils or dishes of my own, he would generally cut up smaller pieces for me to make things easier. Not that I expected that amount of care and attention right now, far from it, but the unfamiliar territory as I make my way towards the pile of food is nerve wracking.

The lip of the dish is high enough that I actually have trouble getting myself on top of it, especially with my muscles so sore and weak. I try to hurry, anxious to do it on my own to avoid testing Nathan’s patience or inviting his touch. But I’m still not quite fast enough.

“So pathetic,” he mutters, an elbow propped on the table so he can lean chin against hand as he enjoys watching me struggle. Two long wooden poles appear on either side of me, making me gasp as they pinch my torso. The titan's using his chopsticks to lift me up and onto the plate.

He then proceeds to pick food up instead, starting his meal without addressing me further. I sit on the edge of the dish for a moment, watching a piece of chicken that’s as big as I am disappear into his mouth, making me shudder. I’m not fully sure what's expected of me… but I’m also very hungry. I slowly inch towards a couple of grains of rice, reaching out and snagging a crumb before scuttling back. These aren’t the most relaxed eating conditions but survival mode kicks in as I take in the sustenance.

I notice that as Nathan eats he’s scooting the food more in his direction, forcing me to travel a little further to get the next morsel. I crawl to the closest thing - a tiny piece of broccoli - and suddenly there’s the wooden pole shoving me over, not hitting me hard but knocking me off balance. I scramble away, hearing a sharp exhale above signaling amusement from my tormenter. He toys with me like this for the entire meal, pushing me around, occasionally snatching me between the chopsticks to relocate me, clearly entertained by whatever little game he’s playing.

I’m determined to fill my stomach and manage to do so bit by bit, and my body is once again grateful as I regain some strength. The flavors aren’t nearly as good as Leo’s cooking, but that’s the last thing I worry about right now. My hands are sticky by the end since I wasn’t offered any utensils, and I figure that’s what he provided the scrap of wet wipe for, so I use it. It’s a harrowing meal, but I get through it okay enough.

Nathan’s almost done eating himself when he finally starts talking to me. “Hmm, I’m just remembering that you’re vegetarian. You might have to get over that at some point, I’m afraid. Any actual allergies I should be aware of?”

I glance up at him and just shake my head no.

“You’re being awfully quiet,” he says, mouth curling up on one end. “Earlier I couldn’t get you to stop whining.”

I finish cleaning myself off as I glare at him. “What do you want me to say?” I wasn’t quite meaning to give him attitude, and I wince at the sound of my own tone.

But there isn’t retribution quite yet, his smile only widening at my demeanor. “Honestly I’m rather curious to hear how you ended up in your situation. Let me guess - you never actually had the flu?”

Ugh. I don’t really feel like chatting right now. I just want to be left alone. But I force myself to converse. Building a relationship with Leo ended up benefiting me, after all. This is a very different situation, but I still have to try what I can... Maybe the more he hears me talk, the more he realizes this is me, someone he knows and surely gives a shit about on some level? Maybe he’ll second guess himself eventually.

“No,” I say, answering his question. “It had already been a few days by the time I sent you that email.”

“He gave you access to your email? And that’s what you decided to do with it?"

“No, he… We answered messages together.”

“I see.” He leans back in his chair, eyeing me with keen interest. “You know, it certainly sounds like you two had quite the connection. If I didn’t know better, I’d say you’d entered your shrunken arrangement willingly, Lily. Don’t tell me you also share in this fantasy, from the other side?”

My temper flares up. Not only is the taunt absurd, but I don’t want to talk about my relationship with Leo with him. “I don’t,” I respond, tense, “We weren’t… like that.”

He laughs at this. “Fair enough. I suppose you wouldn’t have been so eager to come along with me if that had been the case. Still, the way he wrote those forum posts, the way he’d dote on you… such an odd way to treat his shrunken prisoner.”

I glower. “What, like a person?”

“Oh, is that what you still see yourself as? I’d meant more as a beloved little pet. I mean, look at you… how could you count as anything more?”

This gives me anxiety. I try and insist, “I mean, I… we’re talking right now, aren’t we? As people?”

He leans forward again, lowering his head slightly, and I reflexively recoil, almost falling backward off the edge of the plate. His tone is smooth and controlled as he looks at me with a mirthless smile. “See, that’s what makes this so enjoyable. You have all of the mental and emotional faculties of a human. But absolutely no amount of power. No autonomy. No say in anything that happens to you.”

He abruptly reaches towards me, taking me by surprise, and this time I do fall off the plate, knocked down by an index finger that’s suddenly on top of me, pinning me against the table, crushing against my chest and pushing up on my windpipe. I gasp for air but find none, eyes widening with panic as I struggle against the impossible weight. Nathan lowers further, hulking over me, staring at me with his icy stare.

“It would be so easy to snuff you out of existence,” he says softly, “Just the slightest bit of pressure…”

I stare pleadingly into his silvery gaze, unable to say anything, unable to breathe, only weakly writhing against him. The pressure releases and I’m coughing, putting a hand up to my throat as I push myself up on my elbow, my whole body shaking.

The titan straightens back up. “Have you ever heard of a real person ever being that weak?” He chuckles at the look on my face and terrified demeanor. “Don’t worry, my dear Lily. I don’t plan to kill you.”

I’m not so sure about that. He almost just did. In fact, at this point I’m not sure he hasn’t already taken someone's life.

“What happened… to the others?” I ask him in a strained, shaky voice as I slowly get back to sitting. “Obviously I’m not the first.”

His eyes narrow. I think he’s continuing to be surprised by my resilience. Again, not displeased, just interested. “You're only my seventh, actually,” he says casually, “All of the others I’ve sold off. Which I’m not exactly supposed to do, but I think I’ve done a particularly good job at being discreet. I'm not sure I’ll ever want to get rid of you, though. I’m getting much more enjoyment out of this than I did with strangers.”

Lucky me. Something he said catches my attention. “What do you mean, you’re not 'supposed' to?” Obviously, human trafficking is illegal, but it sounded like there was more to it than that.

He frowns, looking a bit perplexed by my question. “Did your boyfriend never tell you? Acquiring a shrinking machine comes with all sorts of strict rules and regulations. The most important of which is to stay extremely secretive, so that word of this technology doesn't reach the public sphere. Could you imagine the chaos otherwise?”

It’s in this moment that I realize just how little I know about the shrinking device and where it came from. “No, he didn’t… didn’t ever mention that…”

The laugh this time is a mocking one. “Jesus Christ, how is that man still alive? It’s not exactly in the fine print. Breaching some of these rules can literally result in a hit man being sent after you. Well, that’s not exactly stated verbatim, but the severity of the consequences are heavily implied.”

I stare into space, stunned by this new information. Did Leo really not know about this? If he did, no wonder he was so paranoid about trusting me to be bigger again and risk me speaking out. It’s not just about getting arrested on the off chance someone believed me. If word got out he could be… killed? Why didn’t he tell me about this?

But then my thoughts start to fizzle out. Why am I even worrying about it? I can’t speak out anyway, not anymore. None of it actually matters.

“But the risk is so worth it,” Nathan continues, “The power one yields with these devices is absolutely incredible. I’ve upgraded twice now, and the technology has only improved more with time. Speaking of which… I’m sure you’re curious about what my device can do that his older model couldn’t.”

This certainly gets my attention. I’m still recovering from him almost crushing me and the trembling across my body only intensifies. “No, I… please, Nathan, today’s been… too much…”

But he’s already reached into his pants pocket and I’m whimpering as he brings the shrinking device up into view. “Oh, relax,” he says, “I’m sure you’ll be happy about this one.” To my surprise, instead of aiming it my way, he sets the device down next to the plate. He props both elbows on the table, leaning forward as he gazes smugly down at me. “What if I were to have you… grow. To a foot tall.”

I gasp audibly as I feel a sudden tingling against my skin, along with an intense warmth and accompanied dizziness. I’m getting taller as I sit there, everything shrinking around me, my legs bumping up against the dinner plate, the titan looking more like my old boss by the second. I look down at the device, shocked that he’s not holding it or even touching it. I’m also reeling from the fact that since I’ve been shrunk I’ve never been taller than six inches, and now I’m about to double that. The dining table is only the size of my old apartment and shrinking. Everything feels closer, I’m feeling… stronger…

“There,” says Nathan as I reach Barbie doll size, “I bet that feels like a bit of a relief, doesn’t it? Voice activation is particularly useful, I'll mostly be using that to change your size. Ah- hold on, now.”

I’m hurrying to my feet at this point and start backing away from him, looking wildly around, trying to see if I can jump down to a chair or something. Large hands are reaching for me but they look so much less intimidating compared to a few seconds ago, and I try to push against him, my adrenaline spurred on by this new size. Annoyed, he swipes forward faster than I can react to and grips both hands around me, pinning my arms down and immobilizing my legs.

“Let’s not get any funny ideas,” he says, his voice frustratingly calm as I thrash against him, “I just figured I’d bring you up here so I can really show off this next part.”

I’m not listening, fighting him desperately, wanting to hurt him, even if it’s all for nothing, kicking fruitlessly and wiggling hard. I manage to pull an arm free and claw at his wrist, and in response he roughly yanks me off the table, holding me out above the tile. It’s not a fatal drop, but it would hurt, and then the hand that’s around my torso is squeezing, and I cry out as there’s a searing pain in the arm that’s still pinned down. He pinches his thumb against it hard, nail digging in.

“Stop struggling. Now.”

The pressure in my arm is getting excruciating, the joint in my elbow bending farther than it should and any second now he’s going to break it. I’m still far too small to have any chance of besting him. I wince. Relent. And become pliant in his grasp.

“That’s better,” says Nathan, relaxing his grip. He continues to glare at me and hold me aloft, as if waiting to make sure I’ve calmed down. He’s also spending an extra few seconds to take in my features, particularly the details in my face that are big enough to catch at this size. I’m sure I’m looking more like his old employee, too. But this moment doesn’t appear to be at all helpful to my situation. If anything, for the first time, I think I’m noticing… lust?

Shit.

Satisfied at my submissive demeanor, he lets go of my legs, just holding me around the torso now, so that he can bring a finger up to my face and then slowly run it down the length of my body, following every curve with an intimacy that leaves me shivering with disgust. And then he brings me back to stand on the table, setting me down, and I don’t try to run this time when he pulls away.

“As I was saying,” he says with a curt smile, reaching for the shrinking device. “Let’s continue with the demonstration, shall we? Just a quick setting change…” A few button presses later, he puts the device down again. “Alright. Shrink back down to an inch for me.”

My heart sinks along with the rest of me as I head back to miniscule status. But something feels different this time. It’s the same dizziness and tingling and warmth, but… the surface of my skin feels weird too. A tickling, a… shifting… I realize it’s my clothes moving against my skin. My clothes… are getting looser…

I'm shrinking but my outfit is not. This is a new kind of horror as fabric starts billowing around me, hanging over my too-small body, and the collar of my shirt is dipping lower, revealing too much. I pull the fabric up against my chest, but as I take a step back to do so, my leg gets tangled in my shorts so that I trip backwards. I fall into a heap as my clothes take up more and more space, becoming tarp-like, then tent-like, until I’m drowning in the fabric.

I’m left in darkness as Nathan’s voice, growing in magnitude once again, echoes with his laughter. “This one’s rather fun isn’t it? Unfortunately I can’t quite isolate any item that I want. That upgrade is prohibitively expensive, for now. But for whatever reason clothing and other fabric seems to work quite well."

I'm done shrinking now and frantically try to push my way through the dark, stifling maze, looking for some kind of seam that might lead to an exit. But I'm getting assistance whether I want it or not. The fabric shifts violently and I yelp as I tumble, rolling right out of the giant garment that's getting lifted into the sky.

I lay faceup, taking in the bizarre sight of my massive shirt looking puny between Nathan's fingertips. He looms over my small, now completely naked form sprawled on my own pile of clothing, a look of satisfaction playing on his face.

"There you are. And even more enticing now without all those clothes…"

I want to cover myself up, but survival instinct takes precedence as I see Nathan set down the shirt and reach for me instead. He pinches me between his fingers, rubbing them gently together so he can feel every part of me. But gentle for him is still incredibly rough for me, especially against my bare skin. I think I might start hyperventilating from the overwhelm of the nudity and fear of anything remotely sexual on the horizon–

After less than a minute of this, though, he sets me back down on the table, where I scramble to my feet and hug my arms protectively over my chest, pointlessly trying to cover up. I watch as the titan gathers up my oversized clothing into one hand.

“As much as I’d like to enjoy that little naked body of yours," he says coolly, "I think I’ll wait for a different evening, I have other things to attend to tonight. Let’s give you some dignity back, shall we? Adjust clothing to match subject.”

The AI of the nearby device obeys, the pile of gray and black fabric retreating on their own and becoming a tiny pile in the center of Nathan's palm. This has certainly been quite the demonstration. I shiver as I'm starting to feel cold, all the more anxious to get dressed again.

Cruelly, he reaches his arm out several inches further, depositing my clothes a good thirty feet away from my perspective. Left with little choice, I turn and head in that direction, away from where the giant's sitting.

“Wait, Lily. There’s one more setting I want to show you first.”

No more… Nerves frayed and not thinking straight, I pretend I didn't hear him, stubbornly continuing my trajectory. If he could just give me a minute…!

I stop in my tracks. Forced to stop. There's a brand new sensation inside of me. At first it feels like a ball of anxious energy, akin to the pressure I might feel during a panic attack. But it's a different kind of pressure, an insistent force of some kind that I feel in my upper back. I take a stumbling step backwards. There's something… pulling me. As if there was an invisible string looped through my shoulder blades and yanking me back. What the fuck?

I turn to look back at Nathan, my eyes wide with confusion. Bizarrely, I feel the pulling sensation shift as I move, the ball of pressure swooping around to my chest now. He sits there, calmly, back to leaning his chin on his propped up hand as he smirks. In his other hand that's resting on the table is the shrinking device, aimed right at me. His thumb is pressing the button, despite my size staying the same.

The pressure is unbearable and I stagger as I take another step. I try to dig my heels in and resist the pull of my own body, but it's like there's a magnet inside of me and I can't control it. I stumble forward again, try to stop, fail, and continue inching towards the device. Fighting back is becoming too painful and soon I'm taking slow but steadier steps, staring up in horror at my captor as I involuntarily make my way to him.

As I get closer, Nathan brings his hand down, laying it flat before me on the table. I'm forced to climb up onto his fingers, forced to walk down the length of them to his open palm.

"There's a good pet," he purrs, "Such an obedient little thing…"

Only once I reach the center of his hand does he take his thumb off the button and the painful pull finally vanishes. He lifts me up, slow enough that I manage to stay on my feet, and I can do little else but try to hug my arms around my naked chest again as his eyes bore into me. Even this he doesn't allow - he goes to try and pinch my hand to pull it away, but I relent before his ridiculously large fingertips can get a grip on me, throwing my arms aside in frustration at my helplessness and just letting him look at me.

I don't think his face is capable of reddening, but I certainly notice his pupils dilating ever so slightly with arousal, sharply visible against the light blue of his irises. “I can't believe this is the body you’ve been hiding away all this time," Nathan says softly, holding me too close to his face so that he can take in my minute features. "From what you were wearing at work I'd always thought you must have been scrawnier. You are going to be so much fun to play with, little one.”

I can feel the bile rising up in my throat. I hate hearing Leo's nickname for me coming out of this man's mouth.

He smiles coldly and lowers me down again, and I descend much further than I was anticipating, past the table, down, down, down to the floor. He slides me off of his palm and I land between his sock-clad feet on the cold tile, looking around wildly at the new landscape. His other hand appears to dump my clothes down too, this time dropping the pile right on top of me.

"Get dressed. It's time to introduce you to your new living arrangements."

littlest-lily
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Re: Rain on the Pavement

Post by littlest-lily » Thu Sep 22, 2022 9:56 am

Chapter 8

Being on the floor feels particularly dangerous. The tile is like smooth stone beneath me, frigid against my skin. And while I’ve become used to heights, I’m less used to being completely underneath everything, having to crane my neck to make sense of any of my surroundings. I can’t even see the ceiling from here as it’s blocked out by the wood of the table, and the furniture of the living room looks more like mountains in the distance.

I’m hurrying to pick my clothes up when I jump at the explosive sound of Nathan moving his chair back so that he can stand, and the titan stretching up and up above me like a skyscraper is the most intimidating part of all. Being at the mercy of his hands is terrifying enough, but it would be beyond easy for him to crush me even by accident down here. His feet are on either side of me, like large boats, and he slides one of them back so he can peer down at me a bit more easily.

“You’re closer to bug status when you’re down there,” he booms, “The first rule I’d recommend following is to watch where I step.”

Right. Cool. You got it, boss.

I’m getting dressed as quickly as I can and he continues talking as he watches me. “At night and when I’m out I’ll be keeping you contained, but otherwise I’ve tiny-proofed this place so you’re free to go where you wish in the apartment. I’m a little less careful in the bedroom though - there’s carpet so it’s harder to see you in there. Enter at your own risk.”

Now fully clothed, I look around with newfound wonder. He’s really going to let me run around wherever? It’s such a different setup than I’m used to. While this leaves me open to new dangers - mainly, getting stepped on - maybe it will allow for opportunities too. I’ve gotten good at climbing… if I could access a phone or computer while he’s looking away…

“There is a little home base for you, if you will. I’ll show you, it’s in the living room.” I flinch as the giant black mass of Nathan’s socked foot lifts into the air just enough to step closer to me, and I’m backing away quickly even as it lands just ahead and makes the ground shake on impact. “Climb on.”

“W-what?” I yell up at him as I continue to shuffle backwards, trying impossibly to make eye contact despite his face being so, so high up. “Can’t I just-”

Nathan interrupts me with a sigh. “I can’t understand you from here so don’t bother… Which reminds me. I saw that your first owner had an earpiece linkup from his photos. I have one too, I do try to wear it sometimes, but don’t count on that always being the case.” He slides his foot towards me again to bridge the small gap I’d been forming. “Now. Don’t be difficult and climb onto me.”

I gulp, mustering my courage to obey. Maybe it’s better to be on top of his foot than risk ending up under it… Damnit, why didn't he just carry me to where he wanted me to be before putting me down here?

I step up to the fabric of his sock, aiming for the middle of his foot as I would probably struggle to climb up on his big toe right now. There’s mild relief in that the smell isn’t awful - like with his apartment, Nathan seems to really value cleanliness. The sock fabric allows for easy enough handholds, although after today’s trials I’m still finding it harder to hoist myself up than I normally would. I feel particularly worried at a sharp pain in my elbow when I put pressure on that arm, a remnant from when he almost broke it.

Once I get onto his toes, which are big enough that it feels like I'm climbing onto a tall bed, I rush to get further up his foot as I can already feel his muscles clenching and know he’s about to move. I cling to the sock tightly as everything lifts up and turns in mid-air, and the following drop and impact rattles me and almost knocks me off. The titan is walking perhaps a little slower than he normally would, though not by much. We’re definitely covering a lot more ground than if I were to walk on my own, but I still feel anxious to get off of this ride.

In a few steps we’re out of the dining area and into the living room, passing over a threshold in the floor where tile becomes hardwood, and he brings me to the side of a black leather couch. Without warning, the foot I'm on lifts up once more but this time he tilts it downward so he can dump me off. I don't know if he quite realizes how high up he's holding it, though - I see that the drop will be significant for me and as I start sliding down I'm scrambling for a handhold, digging my fingers into the black threads.

"Wha-"

Nathan's voice is a cross between bemused and annoyed as he sees me dangling off the end of his toes, clinging to his sock for dear life. He'd just been pulling his foot away after thinking he'd already rolled me off of him, and in his surprise he has to put a hand out to the couch to maintain his balance. The pain in my arm is searing to the point that I consider letting go despite there being a two-story drop to the hardwood below.

"You seem rather attached to me, Lily," the rumbling voice teases, "How touching."

I'm crying out for him to set me down despite knowing he can't hear me, but thankfully the foot finally slowly lowers so that I can let go from a more reasonable height. Everything has been such small movements for him but I'm left breathless and sore.

As I recover and try to look around at my surroundings, Nathan leans over a little so he can observe me. "It's so interesting to have someone who's already used to being so small. You have some rather impressive reflexes. I hope they serve you well."

I'm going to get a crick in my neck from having to stare up at him. Him towering over me at his full height like this, without bothering to crouch down or anything, is not only disconcerting but demeaning. At least he probably can't make out the hateful looks I'm giving him.

The titan reaches a hand out, finger pointing past where I'm standing. "Now, just here, see this? That's your bathroom. I expect you to keep yourself and your environment clean. Understood?"

I look, having to walk just around the corner of the couch to see what he's talking about. It's a weirdly familiar sight. I'm reminded of one of the rooms from the dollhouse that can detach and serve as a portable bathroom. The door's half open and I glimpse a toilet and sink inside, notice the water tank on the outside. It looks a little different than what I'm used to, a little rough and simpler, probably since it's built for a one-inch tall person instead of a three-inch one.

"This is also where I'll leave food for you if we're not eating together. Otherwise, as I said, you can scurry around wherever you like. Do keep in mind that I can track you at any moment. Not to mention I can make you come straight to me, as you've noticed. If I were you I would be careful about trying to get to any high places for that reason. Wouldn't want you suddenly forced to walk yourself off a cliff, would we?"

I hadn't even thought of that. Could that insane setting on his device really do that? I remember how powerless I was to control the invisible pull on my body… Of course it can.

"Now. I have some work to get done. There's so much to set up if we'd like to get filming started… I trust you can keep yourself entertained."

And with that he walks away. I stare after him for a moment warily, flinching at every footfall, since even as the distance between us grows I can feel the vibrations through the floor. Being down here is going to take some getting used to. But at least - at long last - he's leaving me alone. I can finally start getting my bearings and attempt to settle my nerves.

I go into the miniature bathroom to look around. There's no shower or anything, no hot water. I find a couple of very basic supplies like soap and other sets of clothes, and this is all clearly from the same manufacturer that made Leo's dollhouse - I'm sure there aren't too many options out there to buy from after all. But my captor doesn't seem to have bothered with any kind of other furniture or appliances, probably considering them unnecessary luxuries. I briefly wonder where I'm supposed to sleep, but I remember him mentioning I'd be "contained" at night and quickly realize it's a bad idea to start theorizing.

My next step is to survey the area for any sort of communication devices. It's next to impossible to glean anything about what's on top of tables and counters from here. I make a mental note to try and pay better attention the next time I'm not on the floor. At this point Nathan has settled on the couch in a more casual outfit with his laptop, playing classical music at a low volume. I actually recognize the track, remembering how on occasion he'd have music going on in the background in his office...

It's painful to remember a time when we got along. It feels like I must have run into his evil twin, that there's no way this is the same person who I've known for so long. But disconcertingly he seems to fully lean into the fact that we have preexisting rapport. It's such a twisted thing that him knowing me seems to be part of the appeal. I don't think I'll be getting over the dissonance anytime soon.

I explore for a little longer, assess that he has his computer and phone with him and don't find anything elsewhere that's promising. I briefly consider trying to get in his room to investigate more - I think I could squeeze under the closed door. But the built up exhaustion and physical pains in my body are starting to be too much. I don't think I'll be able to accomplish much more tonight. Perhaps the best thing I can do right now is rest…

I eventually make my way back to the couch and slip just underneath it like it's an outcropping. I take stock of my battered body. The more significant issues are the large bruise on my leg from when he flicked me this morning, major tenderness around my throat from when he almost choked me and especially the arm he almost broke, in an even worse state after that moment of dangling from his sock. There's too many bumps and bruises to count, though, and it even feels like my heart is sore from all the times it has sped up. I'm feeling numb from today's trauma, too worn out to break down or cry right now.

As I sit and gaze out at the kitchen, I think of Leo again, wondering what he's doing right now. I can't believe that, just 24 hours ago, my biggest concern was him bringing me back to my old size and getting him to understand that I was sad or whatever. It all feels so petty now. What I would do to go back to how we were. Being his prisoner was paradise compared to what I've dealt with today. My heart aches as I long for him, but thinking about my previous keeper still feels better than thinking about my current one, so I revisit old memories as I lay down and rest.

A couple of hours pass and I've started drifting in and out of consciousness, giving in to the exhaustion, when I suddenly feel a pressure in my chest that rouses me from my fitful sleep. At first I'm confused, but as the feeling grows more insistent and I start rolling backwards despite myself, I snap awake, immediately recognizing the invisible tug in my torso. Fuuuck.

My body is thankfully doing what it can to recover quickly so I'm feeling better than I did when the evening started, but I'm still in no hurry to face my new master again. For just a moment I try to fight the magnetic pull, scrambling to find purchase against the floor, but it's no use… and I should be conserving my strength where I can. So I get to my feet and follow the tug, walking underneath the couch to the other side. I notice that one of Nathan's feet is resting flat on the floor ahead of me, now bare, and I'm heading straight for it. I fight the insistent pull for a moment when I get to the edge of the couch so that I can try and look around, but then I stagger forward, the device not caring about me getting my bearings.

I don't have a choice in how I approach him, he must be holding the machine in a position that won't allow me to circumvent this obstacle - I'm forced to walk right up to the heel of his foot and then I'm pressing up into his skin, just under his ankle, and I'm trying to push away from him with my hands even as the rest of my body shoves me into him. He feels me though, noticing little tickles, and he stops summoning me with the device, allowing me to stumble back and look up at him.

Nathan's leaning over his knee to look down at me in turn, and I see the closest thing to a fond, gentle look on his face since my capture. "There's where you went. I was about to go looking for you myself. My, you do seem to be quite attached to my feet, don't you? That's perfectly fine by me, I rather enjoy it."

His other foot had been propped against the side of the coffee table in front of him, and he puts it down on the floor now with a boom, so that I'm standing between them. This is starting to feel uncomfortably familiar. An inch tall, surrounded by massive bare feet, a giant gazing down at me with a playful glint in his eye.

He slides a foot my way so that I'm facing off against his toes now. As big as cars, the digits are long and have slightly less of an arch than Leo’s do - I also notice there’s less warmth emanating from them than what I’m used to. They're clean and his toenails are just as well manicured as his fingernails, but that doesn't make them any less monstrous and threatening. I'm slowly backing away but Nathan keeps bringing his foot closer to knock against me, entertained by how easily he can push me around.

"Should I make you worship them?" he muses when I actually fall over, and panic rises in me as he slips his big toe over me and pins me against the floor, covering me completely. This blocks out light and his voice is muffled as it remains nonchalant, "That's a theme that has come up time and time again in these commissions. I was just writing a script for something like that right now. I could use a little break, though, and maybe some inspiration…"

The toe stretches, pressing against my ribs painfully, before it shifts so that I'm laying between his big and second toe instead. At least I can breathe now, and I try to stand up… but this is a mistake. As soon as I'm vertical enough he pinches his toes together, trapping me between them.

He lifts me slightly and keeps me there for far too long, rubbing the digits together, experimenting with different amounts of pressures as he pinches me. It feels similar to the way he played with me between his fingers back at the office, except this time he's paying closer attention, smirking at me from above, enjoying every second of his power over my tiny body.

"Stop it…" I moan, feeling like I might throw up if for no other reason than the unrelenting pressure against my stomach. I try to glare up at him but my expression is probably more pleading than anything. "Can you hear me?" I call, wondering if my voice can reach him now that he's sitting down.

"A little. I don't particularly care to, though. In fact, why don't we make those vocal chords a bit smaller... Shrink to a quarter inch, would you?"

No... Just no… Forget my body. How much more of this can my sanity take?

The reducing sensations take over, and I’m whimpering and breathing hard as I grow smaller between two already massive toes. He’s settled his foot back down to ensure my feet are against the ground, parting the digits so that I shrink down on the hardwood. If there was carpet here I would quickly be disappearing into the strands. Instead I watch walls of flesh stretching higher and higher until they’re over twice my height. Beyond is the titan’s leg, stretching up to where a hand loosely drapes over his knee, and past that his face is growing, larger than ever, especially as he leans forward to watch the show. It's getting difficult to take in very much at once, my gaze darting between the anticipation in his eyes, the slight curve of his mouth, the dark strands of hair shifting on his forehead as he moves.

"Much better,” he rumbles, and while he knows how important it is to watch his volume, the vibrations of his voice still overwhelm me with the prospect of this particular giant having gotten so mountain-like. “This way I can't hear a thing anymore. You're little more than a speck now, Lily. An insect…” His toes flex threateningly on either side of me, the twitch startling me, and his smile sharpens as he watches my reaction. “One that must obey. Start climbing.”

He shifts his foot forward ever so slightly, moving towards me as if to make his point, inviting me to climb the space between his toes. Normally - if I could just stay calm - I’d be able to do this without issue. But right now I’m afraid my arm might give out if I attempt it.

I’m shaking, and in my hesitation Nathan sighs and admonishes me. “I thought you'd be an expert at this? Come, this should be easy for you.”

I try, approaching the wall of skin with trepidation, and reach a hand out to a wrinkle in his flesh. I attempt to do this quickly, get it over with, and I get up slightly before I grab with my injured arm and there's a stab of pain giving me a jolt of a warning. Not wanting to push it, I slide back down. The titan lets out an annoyed tsk, the sharp click of his tongue reverberating and making me cower.

“Maybe you just need the right motivation…”

There’s movement above me and I see his giant fingers holding the shrinking device in my direction. I thought he was threatening to make me even smaller until I feel the horrible pull high up in my chest, making me lurch onto my tiptoes as my body is compelled to move up towards the machine. I have no choice anymore. For a moment I’m just pressing myself up in that small space between his toes, refusing to use my arms, but the pull is painful, it’s impossible to fight and I’m finding myself reaching up, grabbing, climbing, my elbow on fire, and even as I’m crying out in pain I’m still moving up…

Just as I reach the top he lets go of the button on the device, and I collapse onto his big toe, gasping and wincing as I clutch my arm against me.

"See? I knew you could do it. You know, the more you simply listen to me the less I have to use that setting.”

If he would just listen to me for a second maybe he’d understand that I'm fucking injured. Not that he would give a shit. Clearly.

He jostles his foot, tilting it just enough to make me roll to the side. I yelp, tumbling before his toe settles out again as I slide onto the slick surface of the toenail. It’s as wide as a house and slightly paler than his skin - perhaps a spot that makes it easier for him to make out the shape of me. Whatever. I lay there, curling onto my side and taking ragged breaths.

Nathan's settling in above me, leaning elbows onto knees so he can gaze at my tiny form. "Heh. Look at you down there. Are you prostrating yourself? Somehow I doubt that, but you're so small that it's hard to tell. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. This is… quite the sight for sore eyes… I've always enjoyed these more extreme sizes. It's not always the most practical thing but, putting you in your rightful place like this… there's nothing like it, Lily. Come to think of it, your boyfriend also liked to make you quite small, didn't he? How unfortunate for you. Just goes to show that this is what you're destined to be."

I tense my shoulders, trying to just let his thundering words roll over me. It's not like I can answer him anyway.

"I only wish I could have been the one to first bring you down to size. I was fantasizing about it today at work… Could you imagine? You come into my office for our weekly one-on-one. Realize that you've missed a deadline. You give me that look of yours, that adorable apologetic look, always with the slightest hint of fear at my authority. Except I don't take it so easy on you this time. I make you smaller. Perhaps I give you new tasks to carry out for me, simpler ones, attending to me as an assistant for the day. But the coffee machine is too high up on the counter, and unfortunately you fail even something that basic and I have to punish you, which means you get smaller. The copy machine becomes too large for you to operate, and you get smaller. You're too low to the ground to hand me the file I request. Smaller. You can't even lift the pen that I need off of my desk. Smaller… Soon I wouldn't even use you for work, just put you under my desk so you can massage my feet. But even that would prove too much for you and down you go... Tinier and tinier. And now here you are, my speck. Unable to do anything for me but grovel."

I'm still trying to block him out, but I jump at the sight of his fingers appearing around me. He's not touching me but has brought a hand down to taunt me with his two-story tall fingertips. "You used to be one of my best workers - smart, resourceful, beautiful, well-liked by everyone. And now you're nothing but a piece of dirt on your superior's toe. Where you belong."

"Shut up…" I growl, and the pain in my arm has abated, maybe numbed by the adrenaline stemming from my anger and fear. I sit up on my hands and knees, recoiling as he slides the finger alongside me, but he still doesn't try touching me with it.

"My imagination is running away with me…" Nathan mutters, "But unfortunately it's getting late. I need to show you to where you'll be sleeping… and I think I have just the place. You know, this little play session of ours has been giving me plenty of ideas for the script I'm writing. So thank you for that. Now. Come here, tiny thing…"

The finger he keeps threatening to poke me with moves to the far edge of his toenail, and he curls his toe so that the platform I'm on tilts and I slide down it, bumping up against his fingertip. Ready to be off of his foot, I cooperate from here, scrambling onto the dome of his fingerpad.

He moves slower than usual as he lifts me up, but not enough to compensate for how much smaller I am, and during the ascension I grit my teeth and squeeze my eyes shut, clinging to the ridges in his fingerprint. I don’t even really see where we’re going as he stands up and starts walking. I hear what I think is a door opening and venture to raise my head and look… It seems like we’re in his bedroom now but I don’t have time to make sense of the blurry shapes shifting all around me. I wonder in a panic - is he not going to make me any bigger than this? Is he keeping me at a quarter inch?

It’s a roller coaster as Nathan fetches something from a drawer, handling me too casually as he makes his way around the room, and then we’re back in the living room again and he's crouching down now. I manage to keep the contents of my stomach inside me by the time he finally puts me down - or rather, drops me - onto a soft surface.

I try to get up, sinking into some kind of black carpet-like fibers, and I try to figure out where I am. In front of me is a 40-foot wall leading up to a wide view of the sky where I can make out pieces of the room beyond. Behind me is the opening to a cave, a tunnel of staggering proportions that goes so deep that it’s hard to make out the end of it since all of the walls are black. There’s an odor to the area, a slight musk that isn’t particularly pleasant. Nathan’s put me in a… shoe?

The titan looms above, studying me as he kneels on the floor. “I was going to put you in a sneaker I use for the gym,” he says, “But after the day you’ve had I thought that might be a bit too much, even for me. It’s only your first night here, after all. I thought you might appreciate the softness of a slipper instead.”

How. Fucking. Sweet.

“Oh and one last thing. I’m sure you’re aware already, but according to the device’s readout, you're just on the brink of a sprain in your arm. Not that it would matter for filming tomorrow, but I'm guessing you'd rather let it heal. So. Let's not try anything foolish in the night, hmm? If you’re good and rest up, I’m sure you’ll feel much better by morning.”

I look up at him in angry shock. I didn’t realize the device could be that precise. He knew?

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Miss Tealeaf. I hope you’ve enjoyed the warm welcome to your new life.”

I don’t even wait for him to walk away, he can’t hear me anyway - I let out a long, loud string of curses, infuriated by the humiliation of it all. He really is going to leave me this tiny. He's storing me in his goddamn footwear. I've never heard him talk so much before this evening and it was all just to demean me. And the sick bastard was apparently all too aware that he was injuring my arm and forced me to use it to climb him anyway.

I look up at the walls of the slipper. Since there's a fluffy interior lining, despite being a bit matted with use, there are plenty of handholds that I could have potentially used to climb out of here. Not that I'd know what to do outside of the shoe, but with the state of my arm I probably don't even have the option. Almost as if he'd planned it that way. I continue shouting and cursing and letting everything out until I'm exhausted.

Soon it's like the sun suddenly vanishes as Nathan turns off the lights and thunders away to the bedroom. As I slowly calm down again, I go ahead and explore the little that I'm able. The fibers of the slipper's lining are almost as tall as I am so it's a little cumbersome getting anywhere. I make it to the outer wall, trying to see if I can maybe use my legs and one arm to do the bulk of the work in climbing. But there's no way, especially considering how high I'd need to get - not just on this wall but also to get back down on the other side. I continue to look around for a hole in the fabric or something, but there's nothing of the sort.

I'm so anxious about what tomorrow will bring. But there's nothing I can do but wait. And I'm so… so drained. After an hour of wandering and worrying I finally collapse, just underneath where the distant ceiling of the shoe begins. And I succumb to the oblivion of sleep.

littlest-lily
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Re: Rain on the Pavement

Post by littlest-lily » Sat Sep 24, 2022 11:27 am

Chapter 9

It's a rough night. My anxiety wakes me at multiple points, not to mention that the slightest ambient sounds - the AC turning on, a car driving by outside, any kind of noise coming from a neighboring apartment - are all immensely magnified to my particularly tiny ears. Even once the morning light starts brightening the room, I think I'm getting woken up by something that’s outdoors until I realize the thumping is starting to get much louder.

I hurry to my feet as the ground starts to shake considerably. And then the mountainous form of a giant suddenly comes into view above me, the sight enough to take my breath away. What a way to start the day… feeling utterly insignificant. I wait for him to get me out of here, to grow me back to anything other than this ridiculous quarter-inch height.

Nathan's looking straight at me as he approaches the slipper, a cold yet anticipatory smile on his face. It feels like the sky is falling as he begins to crouch down and his face gets bigger and bigger. He must have just gotten out of bed, his slightly ruffled hair giving him a casual look that’s better suited for a kpop star than my always-put-together manager. He's squinting his eyes as he approaches, looking for me down in his shoe, until he finally seems to spot me.

He doesn't say anything for a moment, just observing me from his squatting position, and I in turn process his overwhelming presence with bated breath. Then he smirks a little and gestures with his chin, as if pointing to something beyond me. And he says one word, softly and simply.

"Run."

It takes me a second. My initial reaction is a sense of confusion - I'm immediately tense while not completely understanding why I should be. But my brain's done a lot of work in the background, coming up with all sorts of terrible things that might happen to me. And one of those scenarios becomes immediately present in my mind. He’s about to put the slipper on.

I turn and sprint away, into the depths of the cave. The titan has already started standing back up again, and he's moving quite slowly but not nearly slowly enough. The soft floor and thick fiber strands are a problem, impeding my speed considerably. The full length of the slipper is almost a quarter mile long for me. This is insane. I don’t even know if I’m making the right move, just hoping that the deeper in I go the more space there will be…

I’m just over halfway through the tunnel when the light dims and I’m suddenly knocked over by the ground shifting underneath me. I know there’s no time to lose and I’m hurrying to get back up, but I still manage a quick glance behind me… Sure enough, his humongous toes have touched down at the heel of the shoe. Shit, shit, shit.

He’s savoring this, taking his sweet time, wriggling his foot forward bit by bit, his toes stretching and curling with each movement as they crawl towards me. It’s getting darker and darker. The air’s getting harder to breathe. The rumbling movements are constantly threatening to knock me over, even as I try to use my arms to bounce against the fabric fibers and stay on my feet. I’m focusing on what’s ahead but I can feel the digits closing in, and it’s like being chased by a massive bulldozer that’s better suited for hauling boulders than young women.

The far wall of the slipper is less than 50 feet away when I realize I’m not going to make it. His big and second toe enter my periphery to the left of me, signaling that I’m out of time. Instead of blindly continuing to run, I try to look backwards and aim myself to be between two of the towering fleshy pillars before diving to the floor. Like a tidal wave, the force of his foot crashes over me and now I’m pushing myself down into the ground, covering my head protectively as I cry out in fear. His third and fourth toe are settling above and around me, and I’m in just enough of a gap that I’m not completely crushed. Not yet.

I’m breathing hard and fast and know I have to keep moving. I crawl forward even as the ground rumbles again as he settles his posture, and then the titan slides his foot and the entire slipper backward. This actually helps propel me forward, and I’m grabbing at the fibers, pushing with my legs, crawling my way up under the mounds of flesh that are my ceiling until I reach the edge of them and can get back up to my feet. The toes flex behind me - thankfully I’m no longer underneath them - and then they stretch out again as I’m now feeling the vertigo of the entire cave moving up. He’s starting to walk.

I’m no longer standing and just cling to the lining of the slipper, bracing myself for the impact that comes a moment later, the BOOOM of the shoe landing on the floor again. There’s barely any light, just a few rays here and there that let me know that there’s still a bit of a gap left within the shoe. While his other foot is moving and this one is relatively calm, I’m inching forward towards the wall of the slipper, wanting to get as far away from him as possible. I have to pause and hold on during every other footstep and even when I finally make it to the wall I don’t feel safe.

It’s impossible to tell what Nathan is doing or where he’s moved to, but at some point things start to slow down… relatively. He’s not completely motionless, but he appears to be staying in one general spot instead of actively walking. I hear more noises from high up, a shuffling and clanging of some kind, but I can’t make sense of it. How long is he going to keep me in here??

I think at one point he purposely lifts and slams his toes down just for the hell of it, and I lose my grip for a moment and slide towards the monstrous digits before catching myself and backing up. I let out a cry of anger as I curse at my tormenter, “Motherfucker!

Unexpectedly, I hear an echo outside, slightly muffled from in here but still so loud, and I realize it’s a light laugh. “Good morning to you too,” the titan booms from above.

I almost lose my grip again. I’m so stressed out by my situation that it takes me a moment to register what’s happening. He just responded to me. He must have the earpiece in.

“What, no more insults?” the thunderous voice continues, “I’m perfectly open to hearing them. It’s rather hilarious coming from you. Since when have you been employing such vulgar language, Miss Tealeaf?”

“Nathan,” I gasp, my voice hoarse and strained, “I’m going to die in here. You hear me? You’re going to fucking kill me.”

There’s more "soft" laughter coming from outside. “Such drama. You’re not going to die, Lily. I think I felt you crawling under me a bit ago… but it seems you’ve found a safe little spot now, yes? Just sit tight and enjoy the ride.”

A couple of bigger steps leave me unable to respond, just holding on for dear life.

“Besides,” he continues, “I’d be shocked if you hadn’t noticed before, but… you do know you're more durable when you're smaller, correct? So relax.”

Relax? Why do all these giants think that they can just handle me so carelessly because I'm “more durable” when I'm smaller? Nathan has no idea what it’s like down here. How real the danger is. Sure I might be able to handle a higher fall or greater pressure proportionally than I did at my original size, but the sheer scale of him right now is a thousand percent deadly.

After a moment where I have no idea how to respond, I recoil as the titan begins idly tapping his big toe inside the shoe as he stands there, a rhythmic boom… boom… boom…

“This really is too funny…” he muses, “Now you know what an ant might feel like caught in a shoe. Except you can’t even sting me. You can’t do anything. Let’s see if I can just...”

Everything suddenly starts tilting as Nathan lifts the front side of the slipper up higher and higher, and as I hold on to the fibers desperately I watch in horror as he lifts the digits again like it’s a giant maw below me, ready to swallow me whole.

“...No? You certainly have a good grip.” He sets his foot back down again and my teeth clatter at the impact. “It seems your arm is doing better then? I’m no longer seeing the injury warning on the device.”

With all the adrenaline I hadn’t really checked in on my elbow. I haven’t exactly had the time. Though at least it hasn’t given out yet as I cling here.

“How much longer?” I demand with a pleading tone to my voice, changing the subject.

“What, don't tell me you're not enjoying yourself? Just another minute or so, I’m finishing getting breakfast ready.” There’s a short pause as I hear the shrill sound of something sizzling. “So how did you sleep, little bug? Was it nice and comfortable in there?”

Are we seriously going to just have a casual conversation like this? Nathan takes a step again and I can’t answer, wincing at the up and down of it, trying to catch my breath. I’m sure he’s mostly just been hearing my gasps and whimpers as he moves around, and he’s beginning to lose patience with how long I take to respond to him.

This time, he tilts the slipper so that the toe side is pointing downward. I’m laying on my back now against the wall, but to my horror his toes are above me and start to descend, easily reaching me as he pushes his foot deeper into the slipper. I scream, slipping back between two toes, the masses of flesh heavily making contact with my miniscule body…

“Answer me, Lily…” he says with a sardonic, sweet tone.

My voice is shaking from the pressure and the terror and I have to tilt my head back to respond, “Y-Yes! Yes, it was fine!”

“That’s good to hear. Mmm, looks like I finally made my mark. That’s you I’m feeling, right? It’s not a piece of dirt? Wriggle for me, just to be sure…”

And I do, thrashing and pushing against him until his chuckle is vibrating through me and he finally pulls back, the shoe leveling out. I scramble back from his foot again, panting. Every moment that I’m in here it feels like a miracle that I’m not dead.

"You'll be disappointed to hear that you won't be joining me at work today," the titan goes on nonchalantly, "Seems like one of the devs got sick and they need someone to fill in at the tech fair for the last couple of days."

It’s been hard to fully pay attention to his words, but this is the best news I've heard so far. "A-am I s-staying in the apartment?" I ask breathlessly.

"Afraid so. Don't worry, I'll work you extra hard next week to make up for it. Not to mention we'll have lots of fun tonight during filming… I'll be craving to play with you even more after a long day of work."

There's one last flourish of clanging up above before it gets much more quiet. I get one silent warning, the giant toes ahead of me clenching as the foot gets ready to push off the floor. And then Nathan's walking in earnest again.

The roller coaster ride continues and I'm starting to get dizzy from the vertigo and how stuffy it is in here. Every footfall is painful. I'm about to start begging him for mercy again when he finally stops moving and - thank all that is holy - the toes begin to retreat. Light and fresh air filters back in and I collapse in a heap, relieved and exhausted in the wake of this latest bout of torture.

Nathan's not quite done, though. I should have stayed on my guard. In one abrupt motion, the slipper tilts sharply, the toe side lifting up. Unable to catch myself in time, I fall forward and begin tumbling down the length of the massive slide. It's not a straight shot as my tiny form gets bounced against the fibers, pinballing me down as I slide and roll and fall for hundreds of feet down the length of the cave. The sky suddenly opens up overhead as I reach the heel area, and that's when the titan lowers his hand again, setting the slipper back down so that it levels out.

"There you are. Look who's decidedly not dead. And you were so worried."

The world is spinning after the dizzying tumble, and it takes a few seconds for the blurry image of Nathan's looming face to come into focus. He’s squinting again, trying to make out more of the details in my puny form. Then in one smooth, overwhelming motion he gets all the way back to standing.

“I’ll be getting ready for the day now. I suggest you do the same. You can go ahead and grow back to an inch tall.”

I feel another huge wave of relief. This time I try to stay on my guard, but the titan’s walking away now and the machine has reacted to his words, making me larger and larger in the space until I’m no longer drowning in the fibers below me, no longer quite so oppressed by every ambient sound in the vicinity. I lay there for a moment and just breathe. I sincerely hope that I’m not going to be woken up to this kind of treatment every morning. But I don't have a good feeling about it.

Getting out of the slipper still proves to be a bit of a challenge. Now that I’ve calmed down, I can feel the pain in my arm again - it’s not nearly as bad as it was yesterday but I still want to be careful. Not to mention I’m now feeling the rest of my battered body’s soreness, the entire length of my frame having developed a variety of bruises. I’m glad I’ll at least have a good chunk of the day by myself, though.

I finally manage to climb my way up and out of the shoe. Nathan’s dropped me off in the living room, right next to the bathroom he has for me. I go ahead and do what he says, stepping inside and shutting the door.

Blocking out the rest of the world helps a little. The sink is rudimentary and I do wish I at least had hot water to clean with, but it gets the job done, not to mention the cold is actually helpful for some of the swelling and soreness that I’m feeling. I have a drink of water and go ahead and get changed into one of the outfits provided too - I notice that every item of clothing that’s here is just in plain black. The stuff back at Leo’s place wasn’t exactly high fashion either… At least all of these are relatively comfortable.

Once I’m dressed, I go ahead and launder my old outfit too, cleaning it off in the sink with tender care. This is the last remnant I have from my previous life. These clothes are my only connection to him. I run my fingers over them, try to really be in the moment for a few minutes, feeling the texture of the fabric just as I try to pull together the threads of my sanity. I don’t want to lose myself to despair here. For better or worse, I’ve been through so incredibly much in the past couple of months, and I’ve grown from it. I’ve learned to be more resilient than I’ve ever been before. I have to lean on that now. I have to stay strong.

Despite closing myself up in here, I do still hear noises outside, feeling slight vibrations in the ground whenever Nathan walks no matter where he is in the apartment. He can’t exactly sneak up on me, and yet I’m still never quite sure what to expect when his footsteps eventually begin approaching. I’m just finishing wringing out the water from my old outfit, and I protectively stash it away on a small ledge I find under the sink.

Suddenly the whole room quakes. I fall over, my head missing the edge of the sink by a hair, and lay there tense on the floor as the bathroom lifts up into the air. The door is still closed so I don’t see where he’s taking me. A few moments later, with much less of a descent, the room touches down again, and any of the toiletries that were still up on the counter are promptly knocked off by this point.

“I’m heading out now. Try to make the food last since I’ll be gone until dinner. Not that it should be difficult for you at your size.”

I don’t respond, continuing to sit on the floor of the bathroom. He’s been shuffling around and packing up to leave so I’m hoping he’s just going to exit without further fuss. But of course, no such luck… There’s a sudden knocking on the roof of my hiding place, the sharp tap of fingernail against plastic.

“What, no goodbyes for your master?”

There’s no way this ends well if I keep hiding in here. I take a steadying breath and promptly get to my feet to hurry out the door. I take one quick glance around and I see that he’s placed me up on the kitchen table, and I’m guessing that’s the plate he used for breakfast nearby. Looks like he’s leaving me whatever scraps he didn’t finish. How kind of him.

He's standing nearby and I face him. My heart thumps hard against my ribcage as I can’t help but feel incredibly intimated by the sight of this monster. But I try to force as calm and casual of an air as I can. Like I'm making small talk at the office.

“Have fun at the fair. This is the convention that's downtown, right?”

I'm giving Nathan pause. His eyes narrow slightly as he tries to figure out what I'm up to.

“...Yes.”

“Don’t forget to check out the Firefly Games booth. They always have really good swag."

The corner of his mouth curls up. I'm not sure if amusing him is the right thing to do but I figure I might as well try… something.

"Good thinking," he responds, "Especially since I believe their latest app is a game about little toys coming to life. Might as well get some inspiration for things we can do together, hmm?"

Oh. I didn't know that part.

Nathan reaches out to the nearby counter to pick up a set of keys. "I'm leaving you up there today. Be good and stay away from the edges. I know we've established that your tiny body can handle quite a bit, but that kind of fall might be pushing it."

As if he needs to tell me that. Just leave already, I think bitterly.

He reaches into his jacket pocket, a devilish smirk on his face as he gazes at me, "And you never know, when I get bored…" I suddenly feel the sharp tug in my chest, my body jerking towards him, and it's enough to knock me off balance and I fall hard on the table’s surface. "I can do that from anywhere. I can do any of it from miles away. So stay put. Understood?"

I get back to my feet, trying to look as unruffled as I can. I meet his gaze and respond with the phrase I've always used with him when he gave me a new task at work. "Yup. I'm on it."

He smiles coldly, giving me a small nod, and I'm honestly not sure if I'm entertaining him or getting under his skin. But he seems satisfied enough with my obedience and it's at this point that he finally turns and walks away, boom-booming his way until he’s out of sight down the hall and leaves his apartment.

I sigh and sit on the table, letting myself slump to the side. I’m not sure exactly how I should be behaving around him, I hope that I wasn’t taunting him just now. The screaming and begging didn’t seem to work, though, so maybe a certain amount of obedience is better. I have no idea what I’m doing.

After a few minutes of letting myself rest, I get back up and try to focus. I don’t just want to sit around and wait all day for him to get back, I'll go crazy. Even if it’s placebo effect, I want to tackle the day with intention. Gotta keep my head above the water.

I go ahead and approach the plate he left out for me so that I can eat something. Looks like he had toast of some kind and he’s left the crusts along with bits of egg and avocado. I’m revolted for a moment by some of the bite marks left behind, but this is no time to be picky. I climb onto the plate, and at an inch tall there really is plenty of food here for me to pick at, even while managing to avoid the edges that have touched Nathan’s mouth. I go ahead and prep other portions for myself to snack on throughout the day, setting them off to the side.

Next I take a look at my immediate surroundings. Outside of my bathroom and the plate he’s left the table completely bare, but I still find things to do. I try to see if I’m able to climb on top of the bathroom, and while the building is almost twice as tall as I am, I find a dent in the plastic that’s a good enough foothold that I can climb up. I also discover that, because the building is quite narrow and the walls are made of plastic and not wood or stone, I’m actually able to move the bathroom itself if I push against the corner, needing to use considerable force but being able to rotate it slowly with the right leverage. It would be a lot of work, but if I had the time, I have a two-inch boost that I can move somewhere if I need it. For whatever that’s worth.

I examine every detail within the bathroom. There’s solid blocks of soap and tiny boxes of toothpaste powder that don’t seem particularly helpful outside of their intended use, but I keep inventory nevertheless. There’s a mirror attached to the wall above the sink, and as I knock on it I think it’s actually a thin layer of glass, not acrylic. I bet I could break this if I wanted to. Not much of a weapon, I’m sure, but maybe it could end up useful for cutting things? I keep a mental note of it. There are a couple of towels, and although there's no underwear I count twenty pairs of shirts and shorts. I methodically start tying everything together into one long rope. I figure I could just untie an outfit when I need to change, but otherwise this gives me a few inches of string to work with if I need it. I have zero plan on how I could utilize any of these tools but I do feel the slightest bit more prepared having them.

I take a good look around the kitchen and the living room beyond, climbing on top of my plastic bathroom to help me get a better view. The counters are all pretty bare, though I do notice about a foot up on one side of the kitchen counter there’s a keypad of some kind. A security system maybe? If I ever found a way to get up there could I make it ring? His bedroom door is closed, so while I wish I could look inside for anything useful, that isn’t an option for now. I do manage to glimpse from my perch that over in the living room, sitting on the coffee table, is a laptop. I don’t think it’s the same personal laptop I saw him use last night, though - this one actually looks familiar as I used to have something similar, including the giant sticker adorning the back of it with a picture of a green rocketship. It’s his company laptop, and I guess he left it behind since he wouldn’t need it at the tech fair. If only I could get down from here…

I briefly try to calculate if it would be at all possible for me to use my makeshift rope to reach a chair and climb down from this kitchen table, though I do stay wary about getting too close to the edge after what Nathan threatened. I quickly figure out that there’s just no way. Everything’s just so far away, so unattainable. And even if I could get down I’m not sure how I would get up on the coffee table, much less actually open the laptop to use it.

At least I’m getting the lay of the land, I tell myself. I’ve been spending quite a bit of the morning trying to be productive, and I’m starting to feel fatigued. I didn’t sleep well, and my body is still needing so much more recovery than I’ve been able to get.

I eat a little more, and it’s while I’m kneeling on the plate again that I get my first taste of being summoned from afar, the abrupt tug between my shoulder blades making me fall back. He does it a few more times until I’m starting to crawl back off the plate, letting loose a string of curses under my breath as Nathan continues to toy with me even when he’s not here. After a minute or so of intermittent jolts, he finally gets bored and I can finish eating.

Once my belly’s full, I make my way back to the bathroom, well in the center of the table, and then eventually use the fabric of my clothes rope as a little pillow to try and take a nap on the table. My aches and pains are feeling better when I wake up a few hours later, but along with feeling more energized I’m also feeling more anxious. The clock on the wall is an ever present reminder of my captor’s inevitable return approaching. On the one hand, being stuck up here with so little to do is starting to become maddening. On the other hand… the alternative is so much worse. I’m starting to feel the dread of evening approaching.

The last hour is particularly horrible. I end up sitting in the bathroom, feeling at least somewhat sheltered, and just curl up with my head between my knees, trying to breathe and travel somewhere else in my mind. Trying not to think about what’s coming. Trying not to wonder what he might do.

Until I hear the front door opening. Then I no longer have to wonder.

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