Part 2 (too big for one posting)

Mark Newman

Jonathan walked up the street, his pace slowing with each ten steps. It wasn’t the fact that he was heading uphill, that his backpack, usually heavy but manageable, was now feeling more and more heavy and less and less manageable, nor that his pants legs were trailing on the ground and that he kept stopping to hitch them up to his waist. It was also that he hadn’t realized until just now how loaded Juliet’s parents must be. The houses on this street were enormous and the further he went the larger they became. How much further would he have to go before he reached number 17?

Everything about Juliet seemed to conspire to make him feel small and insignificant. Just a week ago he felt he was flying high. He was a senior, with reasonably good grades, a good record on extracurriculars including student council, the swim team, volunteer work and participation in the state citizenship conference. That would be at least good enough to get into Rutgers, where most of his friends were going, and maybe even good enough for a place at Penn or Columbia if he got lucky. And then he had tried out and gotten a small part in the school play, something he had always wanted to do. He’d learned his ten lines quickly and enjoyed watching the play develop. He especially enjoyed watching Juliet: the way she moved and talked; the subtle and not so subtle ways she put down Bart and the other players, even Mrs. Paul; the way she always seemed in charge, even as just a junior. Then when she had "fired" Bart and elevated him to the lead male role he was thrilled. Scared a little — with the need to learn so many lines and the inevitable stage fright from being the lead — but thrilled to play opposite her, to hold her and kiss her on stage, and from the way she’d looked at him he had reason to think there would be more of that offstage too.

But it didn’t take long to see just how far she, a mere junior, was beyond him. In intelligence, perception, theatrical experience, of course, but also LIFE experience. She knew instinctively how to make things happen, how to make people do what she wanted. It had been one thing to watch that from a distance. But from right up close it was almost frightening. It WAS frightening. And now the changes in their bodies. Now she was bigger than he was too. Bigger and stronger and a third degree black belt to boot. Just an hour ago she had caught him in the school hallway and said that since all afterschool activities were cancelled today they should practice at her house. Then she leaned over to kiss him, but he had to stretch his head higher and higher, finally getting on his toes to reach her lips. Her hand had felt so large on his shoulder, her tug pulling him close was so strong, irresistible. How could he say no? He didn’t want to say no. But even if he did, could he?

And even since then he had shrunk more. He knew he had. What would it be like now? He was with a girl who was smarter, taller and stronger than he was and, obviously, her family was much wealthier too? He had no idea how to deal with that. Still he trudged on, as he had quickly become accustomed to doing. He wasn’t dealing with it. What was the point? She would.

He reached the imposing white front door and wondered briefly if that was where he was supposed to enter, instead of some side entrance. He looked for a bell. When he failed to find one he just banged the knocker twice. Its deep sounds reverberated inside the house and then there was a shrieking female voice.

"No! Don’t, May, I’ll open it. Shut UP, Juliet! Let me! Ha-HA! You CAN’T!"

There was a rush of footsteps to the door and it opened suddenly. A tall, fresh-faced girl had opened it, her face flushed, her hair slightly wild. She was a head taller than Jonathan, her shirt was stretched tight across her chest, which was less developed than Juliet’s but still shapely, and she looked around and then down at him. She giggled and covered her mouth, quickly regaining her composure.

"So YOU’RE Jonathan. Why don’t you come in? Juliet will be right — she’ll be down in a minute. Or two or three." She laughed again. "She can be so SLOW! Come on!"

Jonathan looked up at her and then at the spacious entry hall, the view through the ceiling-high picture window at the end of the room into the back yard and the pair of curving staircases leading upstairs. Trying not to show how impressed and intimidated he was he stepped inside. "So you’re, uh, Juliet’s big sister …."

"BIG sister!?" She covered her mouth again and leaned forward so that her face was at Jonathan’s level. "We girls must ALL look so big to you now!" She laughed loudly and pretended to slap her cheek. "NOT nice, Penelope! MUST be polite to guests!" She put her hand on her chest, stood as straight as she could, her bust thrust out toward him, and held out her other hand for him to take. "Welcome to our little house. I’m Penelope Masters, Juliet’s YOUNGER sister. I’m thirteen." She gave his hand a little squeeze. His hand was lost in hers, almost crushed by her grip. "Pleasure to meet you," she said, curtseying slightly, keeping her head above his.

Younger sister! But she was even bigger than Juliet. Unless …. Impossible! She COULDN’T be thirteen! He looked up at her, taking in her broad shoulders, her thick arms, her searching, intelligent, blue eyes. She still held his hand, not as tightly before, but firmly enough that he couldn’t easily withdraw it.

"Y-you’re just thirteen?" he said uneasily.

"Uh huh. Last month. September 21st. I’m a Virgo." She grinned at his obvious disbelief. "Come on! I could just as easily say, ‘You’re really 17?’ Because —

"That’s ENOUGH, Penelope!" Juliet said, exasperated, as she strode into the foyer. She was barefoot and wore a silk robe of oriental design, mostly a greenish blue with splashes of pink roses. It barely reached the top of her muscular thighs. She crossed the room quickly and reached for Jonathan’s hand, which Penelope reluctantly dropped, shooting a pout at her sister.

"He’s so cute! And —

"– and you have someplace else to be, Penelope. As we discussed." Juliet’s eyes flashed at Penelope. Jonathan felt a wave of heat from them and Penelope seemed to blanche slightly.

Her pout returned. "Oh all right!" She walked to the left staircase and went halfway up, then turned to look at Jonathan and Juliet, her eyes theatrically tracing up and down each of them, then laughed and ran up to her room and closed the door loudly. Seconds later, the thump of a hip hop group began to vibrate the floors.

"Sisters! Even ONE is too many!" Juliet took Jonathan’s hand. "Come with me. We can get away from her music through here!" She pulled Jonathan through a doorway and down a long hall, past the kitchen, dining room, tv room and then to a newer part of the house. She stopped and leaned against a door, drawing Jonathan closer. The top of his head reached only up to Juliet’s neck, and beneath the smooth fabric of her robe over her breast brushed against his cheek. "Dear Jonathan." she said softly, stroking his back with her long fingers. She bent her head and kissed him gently on the cheek, then on the lips, her arm hanging down his back, cupping his butt, lifting him slightly and holding him against her. She broke off the kiss. "It’s not ALL bad, is it?" she added, kissing him lightly around his lips, then stopped to let him speak.

"Well," he started. He was slightly breathless, very aroused already and overwhelmed by Juliet’s body. Her perfume was intoxicating and his heart and his hard-on were pounding against her. "I mean, um, there’s nothing bad about this. With you," he continued. He needed to take some initiative and put his arm around her to pull her closer, but nothing happened. She was so hard, so heavy. Her body didn’t move an inch.

Instead, she held her ground and squeezed him to her more tightly and licked his neck, sending shivers down his spine. "Good. Because I had an idea for this afternoon. Do you still like to swim? You were on the swimming team last year."

"Well, sure. It’s not the season yet, of course, but once the play’s over —

"We can go swimming now. The pool’s just behind the door." She opened it and moved them into a large room, with two glass walls facing the dark yard and a glass ceiling showing the purple sky in the west and the half moon above. The pool was twenty-five meters long and twenty meters wide. The cathedral ceiling stretched to the second floor. There were lights built into the walls and under the pool. Only the pool lights were fully lit; the others were dimmed by at least three-quarters. She stepped back to let Jonathan see the whole room.

Jonathan’s eyes took in the rippleless water, almost black in the failing light. His mouth dropped at the scale and beauty of the indoor pool. "I, uh, don’t have a suit, you know."

"I didn’t expect that you’d bring one," she responded. "Well, I didn’t either." She let her robe fall to the floor. Jonathan turned and stared at her, his mouth dropping open even further. "I didn’t really think I needed one this afternoon." His worshipful expression was very satisfying. "Do you?"

He forced himself to take his eyes off her breasts and speak. "I … well … of course not!" His heart pounded even more strongly and he quickly stripped down, able to pull his pants down without even undoing the belt. His other clothes came off easily too and he kicked his shoes to the side of the pool while Juliet watched him. He looked down at his feet and became very conscious both of his firm erection bobbing in front and how thin and narrow his torso was. He looked more closely at his legs in the dim light. They were so bony! And his arms too!

Juliet came up closer, looming over him. "Ssshhh! Don’t mind that now!" She lifted him in her arms, holding him across her, just below her breasts. "You can touch them. Go ahead. No one will disturb us here. No one will see us."

Her breasts were so round, so perfectly formed, erect like bubbles growing out of her broad chest. Yet they were soft, and warm and her nipples were so hard. She let out a deep rumble as he touched them and then he noticed her biceps, also so round, touching her breasts where his caresses flattened them and then realized he was off the ground. "My god, Juliet! You’re so strong! Your muscles are so big!"

"I’ve always been strong, Jonathan. I told you I work my body hard. And now I’m a lot stronger. The same exercise I always do is making much more of a difference." She tensed her biceps once. "You really feel very light to me. I wonder how far I can throw you." She hefted him up and down playfully, testing his weight.


"Don’t you want to see how far you can fly?" she teased. She rocked him back and threw him, and Jonathan suddenly found himself sailing through the air toward the water.

"Heyyy!!" he shouted, but there was nothing he could do now so he adjusted his position and broke the surface neatly. The water was delicious, only lightly chlorinated, heated just enough so it he wasn’t chilled but not so much that it felt like a bath.

"Let’s see if I can catch you!" she called. There was a splash and he saw her shooting through the water toward him. This at last was a game he could play better than Juliet! She’d never catch him until he wanted her to. He pushed off and started his fast crawl to the corner ninety degrees from where she was swimming. She surfaced and changed direction toward him. He poured on the speed but surprisingly found his arms tiring. Already? He stroked harder, curving off away from her to the left. The splashing grew louder. His breathing was becoming more labored and his arms were cutting shorter. He pushed himself harder. Come on, Jonathan! You’re a swimmer! Prove it! She can’t be faster than me! He felt the spray from her strokes against his legs and imagined he heard the "Jaws" music. Then her hand grabbed his calf, pulling him backwards.

"Got you!" she cried. "Ha!" She held him up against her. "Mmmmm, isn’t this fun?" She kissed him, her hand pressing his face into hers while her other hand touched his back, her fingers probing his body. "I LOVE being in the water." He was still breathing hard. "Why, I’ve got you all out of breath! Is something wrong?"

Jonathan panted. "No … I … must be more … out of shape … than I thought. I don’t … know what’s … the matter!"

"Oh." She regarded him seriously, watching his thin chest rapidly rise and fall. "Well, I wouldn’t worry about that now, if I were you. I’m sure it’s just more of these changes. Relax. I’ll hold you up." Juliet lifted him slightly so he broke the surface of the water and then she submerged him again so that his body pressed against her breasts with only his head out of the water. "I can stand here. This is so amazing! I never used to be able to do that. It’s nearly six feet deep." Juliet looked at him closely. "You’re still breathing so heavily!"

"I know!" Jonathan said unhappily. "I feel like I’m completely out of shape … like I haven’t worked out for months! But I HAVE been swimming! Just because I’m not in … competition training —

She smoothed his wet hair. "Don’t get so excited, Jonathan. It’s obviously not your fault. I’ve told you before; this is something that’s happening to all the guys."

"That doesn’t make me feel any better!" he said more heatedly. Then, unable to suppress his emotions, continued, "Look at my arms! I’ve got hardly any muscle!"

Juliet lifted her hand up to Jonathan’s arms and held his biceps, compressing them with her thumb. "Well, they have gotten pretty small," she agreed. "But they haven’t disappeared entirely. They’re just like the arms most girls have. Or had. Girls did just fine with that most of the time. And if it really bothers you –well I’m sure if you exercise you’ll get stronger." She lifted him and kissed his arms. She liked the way they felt so soft beneath her lips. It was really very easy for her to adapt to the changes. He’d just have to do the same. After all, they were still male and female, boy and girl. That was why he was here. "You should just try to relax. There’s a lot to enjoy. The water. The privacy. Me." She touched his chest and lightly ran her fingers down his torso, pausing at a particularly sensitive point to play with his body. "I’ve forbidden Penelope the pool this afternoon, and Mother won’t be home for hours. Hmmmm?" She wiggled her fingers on him. There was certainly nothing wrong with THAT bit of his equipment! She started walking them toward the shallower end, holding him so he couldn’t escape. "Like it or not, you’re not getting away from me, Jonathan," she said playfully. "But do you really want to?"

"I’m so weak!" he said, more factually and with less emotion.

"Well then, I’m not complaining. Do you really have anything to complain about right now?" She was stepping out of the water now and laid him down on one of the lounge chairs and then lay next to him, her muscular leg across his hip. "I’ll let you catch your breath, but then I’m going to make you lose it again. Any objections?"

The questions swirling around his mind were getting less and less distinct. Surrender had never sounded so good.

Michelle and Martin were in her room. Martin held the dull-looking pendant in his hand and looked up to Michelle, who was now six inches taller than he was. "This is it? This little thing?"

"That’s it. It looked different before, shiny and special. That must show that the magic is all used up."

Ignoring her, Martin gripped it tightly and closed his eyes. "I wish, uh, males and females would go back to the way they were before." He looked at Michelle hopefully.

"We felt something, I think, before, when it worked."

"I didn’t feel anything just now."

"Me neither. I told you, Martin. It doesn’t work anymore," she said, taking it back and putting it back in her jewelry box, then into her drawer. "It’s not like it came with a recharger or anything. It’s a piece of jewelry, not a gameboy."

"I know that!" He looked forlorn. "There’s got to be something we can do to get it going again. Look how much taller you’re getting. Look at how your legs are getting so long … and so thick! Meanwhile, I feel like I’m going to shrink away to nothing!"

"Martin, don’t worry. Nobody wished for that! I promise!" She put her arms around him and held him. He felt so small now, so soft. She really tried to be gentle, not knowing how strong she was. Although she hadn’t wanted to say it, what if he was right? It did seem to be accelerating. She could almost feel their bodies moving against each other, hers growing and his getting smaller, but maybe was she imagining it. "I still love you, no matter how much we change."

"I love you too. But when is this changing going to stop? I’m so small, so weak." He held out his arm. "Look at it! It’s … it’s .

"It’s like mine used to be," Michelle said quietly. She put her hand on it. It was so soft. It was so hard to resist the temptation to squeeze it a little, but somehow she managed to resist. Poor Martin! "Oh god! Did you feel that?" she said, pushing away slightly, holding him at arm’s length so it was easier to look down at him.

He nodded. "Um, I think so."

"It was sort of like what we felt on Friday afternoon." She looked at the clock. Four-thirty. "You know, I think it’s exactly four days after our last wish. This was the fifth day. Maybe that’s just how long it took to work and it’s stopped now. The shrinking and growing, I mean."

Martin nodded. "You could be right." He put his hand on her desk to steady himself. "I think so. I think I’m not getting any smaller. But I’m not growing either, like from my wish." He took a deep breath, trying to control his emotions. "Do you know what this means? I’m going to be like this for the rest of my life!" He banged his hand on the desk. "I’m so small!!" He was trying very hard not to cry.

"Oh Martin! Martin! I’m so sorry!" Michelle held him. He was shaking. She let him cry onto her breast. She felt so bad for him. She held him tight, but not too tightly. They stood there for several minutes not saying anything. He felt so small, almost like a child. She wanted so much to comfort him.

"I … uh … sorry … I … I’ll be right back." He walked quickly to the bathroom. Michelle heard the door lock and him crying again inside. Poor Martin! He must be so embarrassed. She looked at the bathroom door, wondering whether to knock and offer to hold him some more. Then something occurred to her. She pulled out her jewelery box and looked for the pendant. The iridescence was back, just like before. Her heart skipped a beat and she gasped and then quickly covered her mouth. She took her hand away and almost called out to him, then closed it again. She took a step toward the bathroom, then stepped back. She looked at the pendant long and hard and ran her thumb along the odd design, then turned it face down and put it back in the box and into her drawer, closing it very quietly.

Poor Martin!

Cecile brushed her hair for the seventeenth time, as lightly as she could. Oh WHY was her hair so thick! If only she had thinner hair, like Marie, instead of that thick, tangly mop! It needed a hard, vigorous brushing to make it straight and soft, but that only made things WORSE. HE was coming. He would BE here soon, Cheryl had said, and she HAD to look good. But if she brushed hard for fifteen minutes, like she really NEEDED to, it would end up even BIGGER. If only she could brush with her left hand, then at least they would be a little balanced and the right one would grow so much but she’d tried that and her hair had looked AWFUL. And now her right one was SO much bigger than her left. Even if DAVE wouldn’t mind, SHE hated it. But her WOULD! It was so big and bulgy. It made her sleeves look all tight and funny. And it was ABSOLUTELY the first thing ANYONE would see. ESPECIALLY Dave, who was such an athlete. He always looked her over so carefully. She ALWAYS LOVED that about him. She didn’t care that he stared at her tits. That was fine. She KNEW it was her best part. She LOVED her tits. Why shouldn’t HE love them too!

But now he’d be looking at something ELSE. How could he NOT look at it?

Cheryl told her not to worry, that he’d love her anyway. What did SHE know? Sure she was pretty and popular, but SHE’D never been able to get the guy SHE wanted. Why did SHE think SHE was some kind of expert! Just because she was head cheerleader and was smart enough to get B’s in class didn’t mean she knew ANYTHING about how GUYS think!

Oh no! There he WAS. Mom would get it. They had agreed he would wait in the TV room while Cecile finished getting ready. But what about her hair? They were talking. Now Mom was coming up.

"Oh Cecile, dear! You’re still not all ready!"

"Oh Mommy! Look!"

"Don’t do that with your arm, dear, it just makes it worse." Her mother bit her lip. "I’ll brush it for you tonight, dear, although, you know, I’m having the same, er, problem as you. We have to be so careful all of a sudden." She ran the brush through Cecile’s hair, trying as much as possible to keep her arm stiff and use her shoulders and body weight instead of her biceps to pull the brush. "Honey, listen. You have to prepare yourself. Dave — he’s smaller too. Even more so than your father. Although god knows what’s become of HIM today."

"Mommy! What should I do?!"

"Well, dear, you must try to remember that however small he is, he is still the boy. And that this will be a shock to him. You need to make him feel as normal as possible. And let him feel that he is still in charge." She sniffed twice. "Although I don’t know how!"


"I mean, er, I don’t know how long he will be able to stay tonight, dear," she said, trying to master her anxiety.

Poor mommy! She’s as nervous as I am! I have to be brave. For BOTH of us! "Well, I’ll let HIM decide, so long as it’s not TOO late!"

"That’s right dear. Now you go down. I made some nice dip for you to take in with some pretzels and chips. I know he didn’t have practice today but it’s still football season. He must really work up an appetite. And he’s a growing … I mean, he’s such a nice little — Well, there! You look lovely! I’m so so proud of what can do with your sewing machine."

"But what did he … ok Mommy. Thanks for everything!"

Dave was sitting on the sofa. He started out on Cecile’s father’s chair, but the big Barcalounger made him feel even smaller even though he didn’t think he had shrunk any more in the past hour. What would she think of me? Would she notice that I’m wearing my little brother’s clothing? What if she’s grown as much as Cheryl? He heard her footsteps. Were they always so loud, or was he just jumpier than usual? The door opened.

"Hi Dave!" she said brightly. Oh GOD! Were those PETER’s clothes?

"Hi Ce…cile," he said, shocked. THAT was Cecile?! She was bigger than he EVER was! He recognized her top and her skirt, but they didn’t fit the way they used to, with holes cut on the sides and shoulders and slits on her arms to allow room for her chest and shoulders and — were those her BICEPS?!! He’d been working out for years and he’d never developed muscles like those. And her calves! He just stared.

"Dave?" Cecile said, her voice trembling. "Dave? Ar-aren’t you going to at least … h-hold me?"

Dave blinked a few times and then stood up. That was worse than either had expected. Dave had lost two inches until the changes started accelerating Tuesday afternoon. Since then he had lost three more inches, leaving him no more than 5’6". Cecile meanwhile had grown six inches, so that instead of being four inches shorter than Dave, she was seven inches taller. His eyes were only at the level of her chin.

He’s so little! She stood, unsure what to do, afraid that if she held him she would end up picking him up. ME picking DAVE up! NO!! She COULDN’T do THAT!

Awkwardly he went to hold her, but his arms couldn’t even reach all the way around her back, where instead of the familiar soft flesh, he felt hard ridges of muscle that stiffened and hardened as she moved, trying to find the right position. Her hands covered his whole back. And her arms were so thick! But HOW??!!

"Oh Dave!" she cried. "What’s HAPPENED to us?!" She leaned down to put her head on his shoulder, and out of habit put her weight on him.

"Cecile!" he said, "I can’t hold you!" as his knees buckled almost immediately and they both crashed to the floor with Cecile on top.

"Dave? Dave! Are you all right?" She got off him and knelt down next to him as he groaned. She leaned over him and touched his face gently. "Dave? Dave!"

He shook his head slowly. "I … I’m sorry Cecile. I … I guess I’ve gotten kind of … weak." He started to get up but Cecile put her hand on his shoulder and held him on the ground. He didn’t want to let her but it was useless to resist.

"You’d better stay there a moment. Make sure you’re not hurt. Oh Dave! This is my fault!"

"Your fault? How?"

"If I … weren’t so … big …" she gestured helplessly.

"If I weren’t such a damn weakling now," he countered. He tried to get up again. It was hopeless. He couldn’t move an inch. She wasn’t even trying to hold him down and he still couldn’t move. This was horrible. "I’d better go."

"Why?!" She held him down. "Don’t go now!" Why it really didn’t take any effort at all. She knew she shouldn’t … but he COULDN’T go. Not yet!!

"Come on, Cecile, you … you don’t want such a weakling for a boyfriend."

"But I … It’s you, isn’t it? You don’t want me … a hulking gorilla. That’s really it, isn’t it?" she said, crying.

"No, no! THAT’S not it at all. I just feel … silly. Being smaller than you." He pushed again. "And so much weaker. Please let me get up."

She let go and helped him to stand up. "You shouldn’t feel bad! I’m the one who’s ridiculous. I HATE my body!"

"You do?" He stared at her imposing chest, her broad shoulders, her powerful arms and then at her face, which was still lovely, still framed by her luscious blond hair.


"But you shouldn’t," he insisted.

"But you don’t want a girlfriend who looks like me." He didn’t answer. "See?"

"I don’t know what I want." He stared at Cecile’s arms and shook his head. "Yeah, well, I guess what I really would want would be to have muscles like yours." He shook his head. "Especially the biceps on your right arm. They’re fucking incredible."


"Sorry about the language, Cecile." He grimaced with the effort of telling her. "I’m trying to be honest."

"YOU’RE the one who SHOULD have muscles like these. Not ME!" She started crying again. "I HATE them!!"

They stood there. Slowly Dave put his arms around Cecile and held her, as best as he could. "C’mon Cessy. Don’t cry," he said gently.

"You HATE me, don’t you. I KNOW you hate girls with muscles!" she continued, sobbing.

"I don’t hate YOU," he said softly.

"What about what you always said about Sandy? How her body was so gross!"

It was amazing. Even with her just talking and breathing he could feel her muscles bulge, her chest push into him. Hanging on to her was like hanging on to a bronco. But still exciting in a way. And her breasts were still wonderful. Even better. Rounder, higher, firmer. "I’m not talking about Sandy. I’m talking about you."

"I don’t WANT you to talk about ME! I just want things to be like they were before!"

"Me too! But they’re not! I don’t think we’re even going to have a football team anymore. At least that what Marie said."

"She told me too. That’s so horrible! Why?"

"Look at me! Would YOU want to see me play football?"

"Of COURSE I would!" Cecile said. "I love watching you run and catch the ball."

"Yeah, well not the way I was running today. And not the way Frank was throwing it either." Cecile was looking at him glumly. "Yeah, you probably think I’m pathetic the way I am now."

"That’s NOT what I was thinking. I just wish … oh, what’s the point!" She pouted.

"I guess there’s no point in wishing. But, well, it’s strange and all, but, I still think you’re sexy."

"Oh sure!" she said unhappily. "You’re just saying that to be nice."

"I mean it. You still have the greatest breasts!"

Cecile looked down at her chest, smiled a little and looked at Dave. "You think so?"

"Absolutely. And … well, there is something sexy about your arms now. More than before. The way your biceps curve around." He touched them, feeling their solidity, their warmth. "Do you mind?"

"No," she said softly. "You really mean it?"

He was touching them, kneading them, wondering about them, just as he’d always wondered about her breasts. What WERE they? Why did he like them? He never understood what was so special about a breast, but he couldn’t resist them, couldn’t help but want to feel them, suck on them, look at them. And now, weirdly, now that he had no real muscles and she did, he was finding hers sexy too, wondering how big they were, how hard they were, what they could do? Was that sick? He certainly wouldn’t admit it to Frank! But Cecile wasn’t Frank. "Yeah, I mean it."

"Do you … want to see it … big?" she said in a small voice.

"You mean flexed?"

"Um … yeah. If you don’t mind."

"If you won’t laugh."

"Why would I laugh?"

"I don’t know. ‘Cause it’s weird. A girl with muscles." She looked down at him. He was still cute. In a different way, sure, but he was still Dave. "All right. You won’t tell anyone?"

"OK." She tightened her arm. "Wait Cecile. Not like that. Lift it up a little so I can see it. Yeah, like –" Oh god! Look at them! He touched them, lightly at first, then pushed harder and harder. How did she get muscles like those? His fingers traced the outline of her biceps, ran over the curve on top, cupped the top of her biceps and the bottom of her triceps. They were amazing.

What was he thinking? What was he doing? It was cute the way he was touching them, so lightly. Just like she like him to touch her breasts, but not as rough. And it was a different feeling. Somehow, him touching her muscles like that made her feel more like a woman, more grown up, more in control. She liked that. Not like he was a child or anything. Of course not! But she was much stronger. She could do things now that he couldn’t. And that was attractive to him. What did THAT mean? She always felt her attractiveness was a kind of power. But now she felt her strength, her muscular power, was a kind of attractiveness. Like he was admiring her power, being turned on by it. That made power something good, something sexy. And all at once she felt much better about being strong! She couldn’t wait to brush her hair using her LEFT arm too. And there must be LOTS of things she could do to make her muscles ever bigger!

"Oh Dave! You are so CUTE!" She picked him up and hugged him. Not too hard. He was probably so delicate now. But hard enough so that he knew what she could do.

Celia held her two captives even more tightly, her hands gripping their upper arms hard enough to hurt. They pulled with all their strength to get away, but she kept them in place, prevailing in the competition between the muscles of her arms and the efforts of their whole bodies. They didn’t dare try to hit her, not after she’d bloodied the nose of one with a single punch and knocked the wind out of the other. Poor little boys. They looked SO unhappy, while their hapless struggling made her feel warm and alive. There might not be as many opportunities for this as time went on. The boys would get used to being weak, and if they were smart they’d probably get more careful about where they went and who was around. But right now it was so easy to catch them, while they still thought they could take care of themselves or could resist a girl’s strength.

Or perhaps they just had thought girls were too "nice" to engage in bullying. Some of them probably were. But Celia felt pride in graduating, in her own mind, from "pest" or even "Superpest" to "Bully." It was so much more fun to overpower boys instead of just sniping at them with petty insults and tattling.

"Can you imagine! YOU played FOOTBALL with THESE little muscles?! So mushy! So squooshy!" She squeezed more tightly. "Like jello!"


"Awwww. Did that little squeezy wheezy hurt? C’mon, hut! Hut! Hut!" She pulled them down onto the floor and tackled them. "Touchdown! That’s 24-0. Celia leads! What do I see? Tears? Are these LITTLE boys CRYING?" Insulting them was fun too, so long as she could combine it with physical domination. She stood up and dragged them up with her, maintaining her grip.

"What do you WANT from us? We’ve given you all the money we came to school with!"

"So you think now you DESERVE to be let go?" The two said nothing. "You think the ONLY thing I want out of you is your little bits of MONEY?"

"What DO you want? Owwwww!"

"Mushy and squooshy! Mushy and squooshy! Those should be your names, boys. Instead of Frank and Harold. What do you think, boys? Do you like your new names? Say ‘yes’ boys!"

"Yes!" they said in unison.

"Very good!!" Celia smiled. "I bet you wish you were still strong! That you still had muscles like mine! Hmmmm?" They looked at her, trying not to show how angry they felt or how afraid they were that she would hit them again. Their eyes couldn’t help but look at her imposing biceps, almost as large as Harold’s used to be. How did she get so strong so quickly? What was happening? Why didn’t anyone know what was going on?

Theresa felt a bit nervous. The last time she’d confronted them it was a disaster for her, and it was just three days later. Her face hadn’t healed yet, and Sandy had begged her not to go home, but to wait with her for at least a couple more days. But she didn’t want to wait. She was so angry, and she wouldn’t be able to concentrate on anything else until she’d dealt with her brothers. She’d grown a lot even over the past few hours. She could take care of herself now, she thought. She walked quickly, more confidently through the neighborhood, feeling no one would try anything on her now. The men she’d seen on the way seemed small and scared, their pants legs dragging on the ground, their shoes slipping as they walked. Ha! She tried to dampen the excitement she felt but she couldn’t help imagining her brothers shrunken and weak, and her fearsome father as a thin shell of his former self. But she had to be careful. Maybe they weren’t as weak as she thought. Maybe they had weapons.

She circled around to the back, and peered in through the kitchen window. Plates and food were scattered everywhere, even on the floor. The disgusting pigs! Beer cans. Coke. Flies buzzing. Ugh! Just looking at it made her tired. All the work to clean it up. No! THEY were going to clean it up. All of it! Tonight!

She hoped.

She couldn’t see well into the living room. The TV was on, of course. Maybe only one of them was home. That would make it easier. She took a deep breath. Should she wait or go in? Then she saw it. Her vase, the one her mother had left her, the one special thing she had from her mother, lay smashed on the floor. They had taken it from her room and smashed it. Her eyes burned with tears, then she blinked them away. She marched to the front and opened the door; the slobs hadn’t even locked it, and glared at the three of them, Dominic, Alan and Charles, sitting around pizza boxes and beer bottles.

"Well look who’s …" Alan started, then stopped. "Shit, she’s —

"You broke my vase!" The boys lay there, frozen. "Get up! Now!"

"If you think …" Charlie started.

"Jesus," Dominic said. "Look at her!" He swallowed and stood up, slowly. "It wasn’t me who did it, Terri, honest. I told them it wasn’t right. I said –"

"Shut up, Dom. You’re such a wuss," Alan said. But he didn’t look at Theresa. At least not in the eye.

Theresa spotted the barbell where she had left it three days ago. She marched over and picked it up and easily pressed it above her head. "Do I need to throw something? I said ‘Get UP!’ ALL of you." She shook the barbell. It felt so LIGHT now!

Alan stood up smartly, while Charlie glared at his brothers. "You guys are letting HER boss you around?"

"Charlie, LOOK at her. She’s got muscles now, and we don’t! She’s bigger than BOTH of us."

"I AM," Theresa said, happily. She towered over the two brothers, more than a head taller than each of them. Their thin arms swam in their sleeves, their trousers held up only by a belt notched together with new, clumsily made, holes. She put the barbell down and put an arm around each of them, pulling them roughly next to her shoulders. "I want you boys in the kitchen now. You have one hour to make this place presentable. The way I USED to clean it!

"But Terri, we don’t know –"

"That’s Theresa. I BET you’ll learn fast, Dominic." She squeezed his arm. Oh he was so thin, so soft! They had no chance against her now.

"Y-yes, Ther-esa." He nodded at Alan. "C’mon. You helping?"

Theresa looked down at Alan. He glared at her, and she tightened her grip on his arm too. He drew in a breath sharply, obviously in pain, but not wanting to give in. Theresa laughed. "Oh, tough guy, hmmm?" She shifted her grip slightly, so that her thumb rested on top of his biceps. "Alan, do you know what the difference is between girls and boys?" She rolled her thumb along the top of his biceps, steadily increasing the pressure. He stifled a cry in the back of his throat. "Don’t you know?" she said, more harshly.

"Girls … have … tits!" he spat out defiantly.

She grinned, bearing down harder. "NO, Alan! Girls have muscles. Boys have MUSH!"

"AAGGH!" he cried out. "STOP, please!!" he said. "Oh my arm! AAAAGGHHH!" He started blubbering and Theresa let go. "Oh god! I can’t even move my hand! What did you do!"

"Not as much as I’ll to you do if this place isn’t clean in, let’s see, 57 minutes left now!"

Alan and Dominic scampered into the kitchen. Theresa put her hands on her hips and laughed. This was going to be so easy! She looked down at her other brother. "Aren’t you going to help them, Charlie?"

Charlie stayed seated, his hands on the floor. "Who are you kidding, sis? You think you’re some big shot all of a sudden? Cause you and other girls just sprout up and grow muscles? You think that changes things? We men all work around here. We bring in money. You keep house for us. That’s the deal."

"That was the deal. I work too, at school. I do tons more than you do, and it’s only fair that the boys work around that house too. Dominic and Alan sure think so."

"They’re idiots. If you don’t know that, you’re one too."

"Maybe they’re smarter than you are. Maybe they see something you’re missing." She stepped closer and thrust out her chest.

Charlie looked up at her. He raised his hand and slammed it down on her foot, his hand gripped tightly around a pool ball. Theresa screamed in pain and hopped on one foot. Charlie leapt to his feet and swung his pool ball-filled fist at her face, but he misjudged her height, or his lack of it, and hit her in the shoulder instead, before his swing had reached its full speed.

Theresa groaned again, but the second blow hadn’t hurt nearly as much and now Charlie had lost the element of surprise. He went at her again, but in his weakened state the weight of the pool ball slowed his swing considerably and Theresa managed to catch his forearm before he hit her, deflecting most of his speed. She gripped him hard, digging her nails into his arm and Charlie’s eyes went wide with pain.

"Aaaii!" he said, as she raked her fingers across his skin, leaving four lines of bloody cuts along the inside of his arm. She grabbed his wrist, bending it back and forcing him to release the ball into her waiting hand. "You’re gonna break it!" he cried as she relentlessly forced his hand back. "Aaagh!"

"Which is what you tried to do to my foot!" she growled, testing it with her weight. "DAMN you, Charlie! That really hurt! You’ll PAY for that, I swear!"

"Stop! Mercy, please, Terri. Please! Oh, Jesus. Terri, please, just … think of our mother, what would she … oh Jesus!"

"You’re pathetic, damn you, Charlie!" She jerked him to his knees. "Get your fucking face on the floor. Lick my foot. LICK IT, I say! NOW! Not THAT one, the good one! BETWEEN the toes too! Alan! Dominic! Get in here! Now! No, wait. First bring me some ice, Alan. You, stay down there, Charlie. Keep licking. I don’t CARE if they’re dirty. Clean them with your fucking tongue. That’s right. Faster. Now hold the ice there. I don’t CARE if it’s cold. Just hold it." She took a deep breath. "That’s better." Alan and Dominic watched in amazement as Charlie busily licked Theresa’s foot clean. "I need another ice cube. Alan. Come on. HOP to it! That’s right. Give it to Charlie. Hold it closer to the ankle. She was breathing easier. "That’s much better. Just keep doing it. You boys see what Charlie’s doing? You’re ALL going to serve me now. I’m going to ask for things once. And if you don’t do them, I’m gonna hurt you so bad." She held out her arm. "Look at this muscle. This is REAL stuff, boys. This is a fucking big strong muscle and it’s going to get bigger and stronger every day. You’ll see. And I’ll use it on you, my dear brothers. My weak, helpless little boys. I’ll use my muscles on you guys to hurt you and break you and maim you with NO hesitation at all, I swear, if you don’t snap to whatever I say. Is that understood? You will drop whatever you’re doing and serve me when I ask. No questions, no delays. Understood?"

The three of them look at her mutely. Dominic, then Alan, then Charlie nodded their heads.

"No, that’s NOT what I want. When I tell you something, you say, ‘yes Ma’am.’

"Yes, ma’am."

She smiled. "Very nice." She withdrew her foot. "I’m going to have a bruise. And so will you, Charlie. Put your right foot forward. NOW!" He complied, nervously. "You’re forgetting ALREADY!" She slapped him across the face, leaving another jagged cut. "What do you say?"

"I did what — yes Ma’am!"


"Y-yes ma’am."

"Take this pool ball and smash it onto the top of Charlie’s foot. And if you don’t do it hard enough, then I’ll do the same to you, ten times as hard."

"But how hard … ma’am? How do I know –"

"– what it will take to please me?" She smiled. "Well, you have to figure it out. Like I always did with you guys. You decide — just how much of a margin of error do you want to leave?" She flexed her biceps a couple of times. "I can hit pretty hard now, in case you were wondering. You need to figure out what it takes to please me. It’s time you started learning. And you better learn quickly."

Dominic looked at Charlie fearfully, then back at Theresa even more fearfully.

"I’ll give you ten seconds. Then I’ll smash your foot and let Alan try. Same deal."

Dominic looked like he was going to cry. "Sorry, Charlie!" He lifted his hand as high as he could and pounded the pool ball onto Charlie’s hand. The crack of a bone resounded followed by Charlie’s scream.

"Well! You sure hit him hard. I think that will do."

"My foot’s broken!" Charlie screamed. "You broke it!" he screamed at Theresa.

Theresa shook her head. "No, Dominic broke it." She stood up. "How much money do we have in the house? Didn’t Charlie get paid yesterday?"

"Y-yes ma’am," Alan said, looking at Charlie as he grimaced and writhed on the floor.

"Take his wallet and give me his money. All of it. $211? That’s all? From now on, the three of you will give me all the money you earn — on the day you get paid. I will give you some back to shop for food. I’ll tell you what to buy for me. I eat a lot now, lots of protein too. NO ONE eats MY food, understood? The rest of you can manage on what’s left over. Charlie, you’ll be on disability for awhile. You can sign your checks over to me. Right?"

"Yes ma’am," Alan and Dominic said.

Theresa glared at Charlie.

"Yes ma’am," he said, gritting his teeth.

"You better put some ice on that foot. Alan, Charlie, finish cleaning. When you’re done, I’ll give Alan my shopping list, and Dominic, you can take Charlie to the hospital emergency room. Here’s $10 for a taxi. You’ll give me $2 change." She crossed her arms and tapped her feet. "I’m waiting."

"Yes ma’am," they all said.

She felt her own foot. "Just a black and blue mark for me. I guess my bones are stronger."

"Wh-what about Dad?" Dominic asked.

"You will explain to him the way it’ll be done from now on. Move his things into my room. He’ll be too drunk to do it himself. I’m taking his. And if he has any ideas about arguing, well, you can tell him I remember every time I’ve been in that room since Mom left. Every fucking time." Her eyes narrowed. "Make sure he knows I remember everything."

Meanwhile, at a prominent NY newspaper ….

"So the NIH took the embargo off the story?"

"Yeah, Ken. For tomorrow’s edition. Drudge already has it up, but we play by the rules, and we’re supposed to hold ours until midnight. Then the President speaks Wednesday night."

"What’s the point of holding us up now? Everyone can read about it on the internet, just by checking out the Australian papers. Or the London ones. They all have health services too."

"They’re not the US Government. Or the New York Times. The newspaper of record." He sighed. "And don’t you forget it. The greatest story of the 21st Century. And still a complete mystery."

"We’re reporting the facts, Ed. That’s where reporters are supposed to start."

"Everybody KNOWS the facts, Ken. But nobody knows WHY!" He shook his head. "I can’t WAIT to hear what the President makes of it. Should be good for a laugh. Will it be one of Saddam’s WMDs? Something the radical feminists cooked up?"

"Maybe a message from God!"

"You never know. One thing for sure is he’ll find some way to use it in the campaign."

"Jenna and Barbara look pretty good with muscles, Ed."

"I know." He grinned. "That’s Friday’s story."