Clockworkís Candy

by Libra

Jane, your average 12-year-old girl preteen almost teen, was out tricky-treating like a lot of younger kids a while back on Halloween night. Jane considered staying home with her mother this night, but her mom talked her into going out one last time.

"Jane, enjoy childhood while itís last." Her motherís words still echoed in her head.

"God, she still thinks Iím a little girl." Jane muttered out loud as she walked on and not noticing she was going down a dead end street in her block.

Jane had dress up as a diva after her mom talked her into going out. Her biggest worry was one of her close friends would see her out on Halloween.

Jane looked up at last when she heard the quiet around her. There were no sounds of doors opening and closing or childrenís laughter all around her now.

Jane was about to head back when she noticed a pair of lights in front of her some distance away. Through the mist she saw what look like the outline of a house. Jane was puzzled and confused for moment. She had lived in this area all her life and never remembered anyone putting in a house down the dead end.

Janeís curiosity got the better of her. She had to go to get a closer look at it.

"A store!?" Jane said out loud, seeing the front part in much clearer view now as it loomed out of the mist.

A wave of relief had come over her at that point. Jane expected some creepy house to loom out of the darkness and mist. This friendly looking store with what had to be owner standing in the doorway was comforting.

"Hello there, young miss. Youíre the first trick-or-treater I had all night long. "A man with grayish hair said, spotting her.

Feeling sorry for him for just standing there all night long Jane smiled and walked up. He looked so frail and kind looking, Jane couldnít help but feel sorry for him.

"Hi, this is the first time I have seen this store here and I have lived here my entire life." Jane said innocently.

"Well, itís sort of a specialty store and I only attend to certain customers." He said and slowly reached into a bag by his feet. He pulled out a large handful of toffee looking candy.

Jane couldnít help by gawk at how much he was giving her.

"I got a feeling Iíll have plenty left over so donít you worry about the other kids." The old man said after dropping the handful into her bag.

"Thank you." Jane said and took a moment to look through the glass behind him. She could only see grandfather clocks along the left side of the wall and nothing else inside.

ĎClock repair or salesmaní she thought to herself.

"Look at the time it is getting late." The old man said glancing inside his shop.

Jane couldnít see the hands on the clocks inside and didnít have her watch on. She took his word on it.

"Better run along home before your mother worries." He said picking up his bag and opening the door to his shop then disappearing inside.

Jane started off back toward home giving the shop one last look. Again her confusion was back. Shop seemed to disappear or was hidden in darkness now. Maybe he turned off the lights outside his door.

Jane was back home in no time. After taking a few shortcuts , her mother wouldnít never approve of, she was home again and little worried she was late getting back.

"Honey, back so soon?" Her mother asked seeing her coming toward the house. The mist was now gone and looked like clear skies.

"I had to been out for over 2 hours. I walked the entire block." Jane knowing she had been out a really long time, but unsure how long it had really been. "Well, you must have walked just under 30 minutes." Her mother said glancing at the hallway clock.

Jane looked as well. Only thirty minutes had passed since she had left. Jane could have sworn that much more time had passed. Shaking off the feeling she was out a long time, she set her bag of candy down in the living room and ran up to her room to take off some of the make-up she put on.

Jane smiled as she looked at her slightly over painted face in the mirror. This was part of the disguise just in case one of her friends saw her out.

Washing off her make-up she dried her face and went back downstairs. Jane heard something in living room and turned the corner just in time seeing her mother sneaking some candy out of her bag.

"Mom!" Jane said catching her mother taking candy.

"What?" Her mother said through a mouth full of candy. The word came out muffled.

Jane saw her mother looking embarrassed because she acted like a little kid stealing candy from her own daughter.

"Mom, I didnít even check it yet." Jane said feeling like a responsible girl she always was.

"Iím sure itís safe. I looked before I ate them." Her mom said then clutched her stomach.

"Mom, you okay?" Jane said, seeing her mother holding her stomach suddenly.

"Yeah, I think I just ate too much all at once." Her mother said stumbling her way back to the master bedroom. Jane followed and noticed something odd. Either her momís witchís outfit was getting bigger or she was getting smaller.

"Jane, on second thought, I do feel a little strange." Her mom said taking a seat on the bed and looking into the dressing mirror.

Jane stared in disbelief as her motherís face was getting lighter in complexion. She looked closer, seeing the wrinkles that were starting around the eyes were gone now.

"Mom, your face." Jane managed to mutter out.

"What about it?" Her mom said looking at the mirror. Jane saw her momís face go into a confused look.

"Mom, you look younger somehow." Jane said after a few seconds to think about it.

"I do, donít I?" Her mom said feeling her face and smile forming on her lips.

"Mom, it had to be the candy. I got handful from an old man in front of strange looking store. Iíll be right back." Jane said and ran down the hall back to the living. Picking up a discarded silver wrapper, she saw the words printed in bold on the clockworkís candy with what look like more writing in the twist of the wrapper.

Jane read it fast.

"Clockworkís Candy: makes you act your age." Jane read then dashed back into the bedroom.

She stopped when she entered. No longer was a woman sitting on the bed, but a Teen in an oversized witches outfit.

"Mom!?" Jane asked not believing just teenager was her mother.

"Yeah, I almost didnít recognize myself." Her mother said and enjoying the image in the mirror, feeling her hands and face. Jane noted her motherís arms were covering up her chest. Was she hiding the fact her breasts were smaller.

"Mom, what were you thinking or felt like when you ate this candy that was in this wrapper?" Jane said giving a moment to take in that her mom looked no older then a senior in high school.

"Silly, I felt like when I was a little girl and my older sister had caught me sneaking some candy out of her bag on Halloween night like this." Her mom explained and her voice was younger in sound.

"How young were you thinking?" Jane said looking down at the words on the wrapper then her mother.

"Well, itís was an early memory I have, I guess around 3 or 4 years old." Her mother said and having a much easier time recalling it. A worried look came over her face once she realized she was stilling getting younger. She had only one piece of that candy.

"Mom, itís says act your age on the wrapper I think your going to be a little girl again." Jane said explaining what she thought would happen. The shock of it was still a bit to handle.

"Honey, There is no need to call dad early from work or anyone. We will just go back to where you got this candy and fix this." A very calm 16-year-old teen said looking at her with a serious look.

Jane knew her mom was just acting like she was calm. On the inside she was most likely worried to death.

"Okay, mothÖÖer" Jane said feeling very funny about calling this teen in front of her mom or mother anymore.

"Lauren from now on." Her mom said feeling much more comfortable then hearing the word mom.

"Jane, I need some better fitting clothes. First letís see how young I am going to be." Her mom said returning her attention back to the dresser mirror. The mirror was leveled with the bed so she could her body changing as well.

Jane stared as long she could without blinking. The changes were so subtle and smooth no one would have noticed unless they were watching her like a hawk.

"I think Iím your age now." Her mother said, removing her arm across her chest and looking down at her body. She was forced to shift her clothing around to cover herself.

"We could be sisters." Jane said taking a seat beside her and looking at herself besides her mother. They looked somewhat alike yet a little different here and there.

"This even might be fun until I return to my normal age." Her mother said trying her best to make her 12-year-old voice sound mature and like her adult tone.

Around 8 or 9 years-old, Lauren let go of all modesty. There was no point now in holding up her adult clothing. She was now flat chested again and very skinny in her arms and legs.

Jane saw her start to cry.

"Ití okay. Iím here." Jane said putting her arm around her motherís back. The child beside her was just passing kindergarten age now.

"Iím all right. Itís just looks like everything is getting so big and tall." A 4-year-old Lauren said sounding very funny, like a person who breathed in some helium.

Jane had been stroking the childís head feeling the hair becoming thin and very soft. At long last she stopped getting younger. Jane looked down at the 3-year-old with her head in her lap. Her momís green eyes where there in that chubby little girlís face. She was adorable and there was no other word to describe her.

"You wook so big, Jane." Lauren said looking up at her.

"Well, yeah. I imagine to a baby Iím pretty big." Jane said letting out a sarcasm remark.

"Iím not a baby, Iím more of toddwerís age." Lauren said taking great offense.

"Lauren, where you potty trained yet?" Jane said jumping up from the bed.

"No." Lauren said while sliding off the bed. She nearly fell down, but stayed on her very short legs.

"So youíll need diapers or trainers?" Jane said rising her right eyebrow.

"Guess so, but Iím not planning on staying this way. Lets find something I can wear and quick." Little Lauren said walking toddler-like out of the room.

Jane followed and easily beat her mother to her room. There they both went thru the drawers and closet in search of clothing. After a furious search for about ten minutes, only Janeís oldest and smallest shirt would fit without sliding down her body through the neck hole.

The shirt still puddle around her feet hindering her ability to walk right.

"Maybe we should go to the drugstore around the corner. They are open till eleven and they had some childrenís clothes last week." Jane said quietly after her mother stumbled trying to walk in the oversize T-shirt.

"Yeah, wets go." Lauren said struggling again as they both were now in the living room again.

"Be faster if I just carry you." Jane said and picked up the toddler with both hands. Lauren had a scared or worried look at the moment.

"We need some money." Lauren said reaching out for her purse some distance away with her little chubby hands.

"Think a twenty will do it." Jane said fishing out a bill and getting a cold stare from her mother that she was taking too much out. Jane ignored the accusing gaze and turned toward the door.

Jane shut off the lights outside and stuck the bowl of candy by the door before locking it from outside.

It was slow going on their way to the drugstore. It took twice as long because Jane couldnít carry Lauren for very long and little Lauren couldnít walk very fast or far without tripping over.

Once they were on the more well lighted street where the drugstore was, Jane put Lauren down and grabbed her hand. Now she would look like a big sister taking her little sister out.

Lauren hated being on her bare feet with the cold concrete almost as much she feared being carried. Quietly they entered and only saw a middle aged lady behind the counter.

"Hello, May I help you?" The salesperson said looking from the homemade rag a muffin costume on the toddler and what appeared to be some movie star get up on the older girl.

"Childrenís clothes for my sister. She had a little accident" Jane said seriously.

"Sorry, we wonít have anything in her size till next week. Sold out just yesterday." The sales woman said sighing.

Jane felt a tug on her arm. Looking down she saw Lauren turning her body toward the small corner of the store.

There were Halloween costumes at half off price and one of them looked it would fit and it came with itís own pair of Halloween style shoes.

"What about that one?" Jane asked out loud.

"Looks like her size. Is there anything else your need."

"Got any training pants?" Jane asked, seeing Lauren out of the corner of her eye going red in the face and saw her move behind her as if to hide.

"No, we only sell diapers. Youíll have to go to the store in town to get those." The sales woman said smiling.

Jane only looked back down at Lauren after she had the diapers and pumpkin costume on the counter. Lauren was sucking her thumb looking up at her with an expression of I want to leave.

Jane wonder if her momís old habit of nail biting had now been changed into being a little thumb sucker.

"Since Iím out of free candy I just throw in this package for free, because she really shouldn't suck her thumb and you can pick out a candy bar from the shelf on the house." The sales woman said looking from the toddler back to who she assumed was her older sister.

"Thanks." Jane said eager to go. Lauren was now tugging on her arm more then ever. Eager to leave and get dress in some warmer clothes.

After paying for everything except the freebies, Jane took Lauren to a spot just behind the drugstore. Hidden from view, Jane dressed her mother and even convinced her to open the pacifier packaging for her.

Jane had just finished diapering her when she saw her mother had the pacifier in her mouth.

"Guess you were curious to see whatís it like?" Jane asked.

Little Lauren shook her head yes and suck on the pacifier like it was second nature.

"Mom, do you still understand whatís going on? Are you still you?" Jane asked very worried her mother was turning into a real toddler mentally.

Again Little Lauren shook her head yes.

"Good, because Iíll have a hard time explaining this to dad." Jane said helping her into her toddler size costume of a little pumpkin then putting the pumpkin color shoes on her feet.

"Come on my little pumpkin, we have another store to visit." Jane said grinning and started to really enjoy this odd situation. Jane had to stop herself from laughing out loud as she watched her mother waddle down the street just ahead of her.

"We going to the dead street, Pumpkin." Jane said giggling a little at her motherís waddling.

They reached the dead end street in just ten minutes before nine. Like before, the store lights loomed out of the darkness and a mist seemed to line the edge of it.

Jane pushed open the door and with little Lauren at her feet, they were inside.

"Iím sorry, but I only allow one hand out to a person, but the pumpkin girl can get a handful of candy if she likes." A young male voice said as a young man stepped through the doorway to the back.

Jane saw a man about 20-years-old smiling as he took his seat behind the counter.

"Of course. If you can make yourself old. You can be young too, Mr. Clockwork." Jane said realizing who it was.

He nodded a little.

"Well fix this. Look at what your candy did to my mom." Jane said pulling her mother to stand in front of her.

"Oh such a beautiful child. I simply canít undo what has happened." Clockwork said leaning back.

"Why? I canít have a toddler as a mother." Jane said starting to feel angry inside her.

"Calm yourself. The effects are only temporary and will wear off in 3 hours time. Unless you eat more then one piece. Then itís 3 hours for every piece of candy you eaten." Mr. Clockwork said giving a small smile.

"Weally?" Little Lauren said once she had taken her pacifier out.

"Oh yes, madam. I do these things for certain reasons. Iíd suggest you take some of your own advice. " Mr. Clockwork said quietly.

"Enjoy childhood while itís last" Jane said repeating her motherís words.

"Yes. Very wise words I must say. So what are you still doing here standing around? Go now, enjoy my little gift." Mr. Clockwork said grinning at their relieved faces.

"Mr. Clockwork, why?" Jane asked not wanting to leave just yet.

"Because time is short and there is so much in life to experience." Mr. Clockwork said as he was getting up from his seat.

"Jane, lets go." Lauren said wanting to leave. This store with its grandfather clocks and such was making her skin crawl.

Jane didnít fully understood the reasons behind his amazing candy and led the way out anyway. Once they had step through the doorway, the store vanished.

Jane and Lauren stared back at an empty lot with tall weeds and a small forest of trees in the distance.

"Come on, Pumpkin." Jane said liking the nickname she had for little Lauren.

"Where we going?" Lauren asked feeling timid.

"First weíll go home to drop off this bag with diapers in it and then hit every house we can for candy and get back home before you grow up again." Jane said lifting up the plastic bag in her other hand she had been carrying.

"Okay." Lauren said then put her pacifier back into her mouth.

Some hours later back at Janeís house. A toddler girl slept on the floor on top of some soft blankets. She was a cute toddler girl dressed only in a diaper and was drooling a little on her pillow as she slept on.

"Fresh from the dishwasher." Janeís mother said quietly as she walked into the room. She was now back to her old adult age and wearing her regular nightly robe.

Quietly she bent down and put the pacifier in her daughterís mouth and in an instantly the toddler closed her mouth on it out of instinct or a desire to suck on it.

"So nice to have my little angel back even if itís only for tonight." Lauren said looking at her daughterís little cherub face.

Lauren heard the front door and her husband was home at last from work.

"This working overtime and on holidays is murder." He said seeing his wife coming around the corner.

She had her index finger to her lips and pointed to the living room.

Recognizing the gestures to be quiet, he looked in the other room at the baby girl sleeping on the floor. Three empty candy wrappers laid beside her

"Honey, who is that and where is Jane?" He said and looked down the hall toward her bedroom. This was the first time in a long time his daughter hadnít been there to welcome him home.

"First have some candy and Iíll explain it all" Lauren said to her husband holding up a silver wrapped piece of candy.

"Sure." He said taking the candy and unwrapped it quickly. Out of habit, he bit down hard on it and could feel it melt in his mouth.

"Well, it all started when I ate a piece of candy out of Janeís bagÖÖÖÖ" Lauren said launching into the whole story.

End