(From the Diaries of Quiana Carson)

As told to ARthur

Virtual Diary: January 16, 2003.

Hello again! I am still Quiana Carson. I am still a 6-year-old girl with beautiful blonde hair, and will likely stay that way for some time to come. I still live with my stepparents Andrew and Janet Carson and my 10-year-old stepbrother Tony. And all of them still happily work for me on my extremely successful Internet-based business Quiana Enterprises Ltd.

As some of you are aware, I feared this segment of my life might have ended after I, out of boredom, wrote my memoirs, and then instead of deleting the file downloaded it by e-mail to a customer. I worried about what would happen should that file be posted on the Internet. Fortunately, the recipient, that ARthur person, decided to pass the file off as a work of fiction and it ended up on a few Age Regression Story sites. I was so relieved that I hired ARthur as my personal biographer to transcribe my adventures as the world's most business-savvy little girl, knowing that nobody will take anything with ARthur's name on it seriously.

Actually, the day after I wrote my memoir, an incident did occur that almost separated me permanently from my loving family The Carsons and my lucrative collectibles and investments business.

On that fateful day, my stepmother Janet called me out of my bedroom/office to meet somebody. I was surprised to see a tall blonde-haired green-eyed woman who looked remarkably like the image I saw on the monitor during my transformation at the hands of Laird Adler (see "Quiana" on this site).

"Quiana, this is Rebecca Kessler," Janet told me. "Nice to meet you," I politely replied in my best cute little girl manner. "She's just darling! She looks just like my kid sister when she was this age," Rebecca gushed.

"I'm afraid I have some bad news," Janet said, choking back the words. "It seems that Ms. Kessler is your late mother's sister. That was proved when the DNA sample taken from you during adoption procedures was compared with hers. It seems she is your closest living relative, and has won a court order to take custody of you immediately." With tears streaming down her face, Janet added, "I'll pack your things."

That was impossible! At the time of my transformation into my current form, I had no living relatives. Of course, when Adler substituted my genetic CD for that of an unnamed 20-year-old college girl, I became that woman's double right down her DNA. In that Rebecca looked to be in her late 20s, she quite possibly was that woman's older sister, while additional transformation in the computerized machine made me into a much younger version of that woman.

As a little girl, I had no legal standing to oppose having my custody transferred to Rebecca, but that didn't mean I had to go quietly. "But I don't wanna go!" I screamed. "I love you, mommy. Don't let her take me!" I should have received an Oscar for that performance, but instead I, dressed in my best red jumper, was loaded into Rebecca's SUV like my boxes of clothes and personal possessions.

I tearfully kissed my adopted family goodbye, promising them I'd be back as soon as I could. I instructed Andrew to continue my business, provided he didn't engage in any day trading of stocks. But I wasn't sure if I'd return. All I knew is that The Carsons were very nice people, and I'd miss them very much.

Rebecca drove me out of Tampa and across the Florida peninsula. We didn't say much to each other during the trip. All the while, I was trying to remember where I heard the name Rebecca Kessler before. And then, just before my arrival at my new home, it hit. Rebecca was a noted photographer whose calendar and poster pictures of babies in strange costumes were all the rage more than a decade ago. I had bought and sold some of her work in my collectibles business, but not too many. Her work had fallen out of favor.

Pulling up to a Victorian-style house, Rebecca informed me, "Quiana, this is where you will live from now on. I'm sure you'll like it. And you'll have three sisters." Sisters? And I found Tony Carson a pest!

Ushered inside, I was introduced to my sisters. They were all different looking - and all 8-years-old! One by one, I was introduced to Karen, a saucy brunette; Wynne, a demure blonde; and Suzanne, a shy redhead. All were extremely obedient and polite to the grownup they called Auntie Rebecca.

It was a strange household. I was served lunch cooked by the girls, who sat silently through the meal, ignoring my attempts at small talk. Afterward, I watched as the girls did the dishes and swept down the kitchen. When I offered to help, Aunt Rebecca ordered me to sit down, as I was a more important relative.

And then came rehearsal for a musical show Rebecca was planning to stage for tourists. The girls came out in costumes that made them look like infants. They sang songs about how they were proud to be Kessler Babies. As rehearsal progressed, the girls switched to costumes that made them resemble babies dressed as birds, bees, reindeer, flowers, just about anything Kessler had put on actual infants in those calendar photos. Obviously, Rebecca was going to use this musical to revive interest in her work!

I became a little upset when Rebecca lit into Suzanne for losing her place in a song. He scolded her before everyone. "You stupid little snot. Didn't I warn you to learn your songs? You'll get only toast for breakfast tomorrow," she said, ending the reprimand with a swat to Suzanne's rump with a wooden paddle.

When all was over, the girls were ordered to their communal bedroom to study. Rebecca then closed the door - and locked it.

I received a room of my own, but I was worried about the three girls. I sneaked to their room and unlocked the door. Inside, the girls looked worried, trying to hide behind their blankets.

"Don't mind me," I assured them. "I just want to be friends and get to know you better. Call me Quiana," I concluded, offering my hand in friendship. "You're trying to get us in trouble," Karen complained. "No, really, I just want to get to know you better," I explained, curious as to their skittishness.

"We're supposed to be studying these new scenes for Auntie Rebecca's musical. If she found out we weren't, we'd be punished," Karen explained. "We've lived here for seven months, ever since Auntie Rebecca got our parents to sign over guardianship to her so we could perform her musical. She keeps close watch on us; controlling our every move. We're not supposed to talk with others," Wynne added.

I was shocked and flabbergasted to hear that these girls lived in such a restrictive environment. I was especially annoyed at their tales of Rebecca's angry outbursts for slight infractions that usually resulted in corporal punishment for the offenders.

"She looks like the girl in the magazines," Suzanne said, pulling dog-eared copies of Forbes and Business Week from under her mattress. They contained articles about Quiana Enterprises with pictures of me with The Carsons. These articles identified Andrew and Janet as the owners, not me.

"Auntie Rebecca said she has it on good authority that this girl, not her parents, owns and runs that successful Internet business," Suzanne added. "She saw records provided by that Mr. Potter."

Good old Inspector Harold (Don't Call Me Harry) Potter, a defrocked Treasury agent, correctly deduced eight months ago that one of my currency trades caused the Euro to drop 5% in value on a single day. He reported that finding to his bosses, who laughed at the idea that a 6-year-old girl could have that effect on the European economy. His persistence in trying to prove himself right only got him fired, so he's redoubled his efforts to get his job back.

"Auntie Rebecca noticed how much you resembled her, so she fought for your custody to get you so she could force you to sign over your business to her," Suzanne explained.

"If I were you, I'd be extremely wary around here," Wynne added. "Auntie Rebecca has some power to alter you to act according to the dictates contained in some literature she slips you while you are in a daze. She used it on our parents to make us her wards."

"Nobody ever puts one over on Quiana Carson," I assured the girls; not knowing at that moment that Rebecca was preparing me some special lemonade.

Rebecca greeted me as I left the girls' bedroom, which she hurriedly re-locked while inviting me to her room to have a glass of lemonade. We sipped our glasses, while she promised me a wonderful new life as a member of her extended family. As I reached the bottom of my glass, I began to get light-headed. Rebecca smiled sinisterly, as she helped me up and walked me to my room. Sitting me on my bed, she handed me a small book entitled, "Obedience: Key to a Happy Childhood."

I started to glance at the book, but then remembered Wynne's warning. Dropping the book to the floor, I instead reached into a box of my belongings. I pulled out a book Janet had recently purchased that I had not yet read. It was "The Magic Finger" by Roald Dahl.

The book was a real page-turner. It was about a nameless girl who was born with a magic finger that she could not control. It erupts when she got angry, attempting to rectify what made her annoyed. A nasty teacher was partially turned into a cat. A family of hunters was reduced to the size of birds; moved into a nest they built, and then found themselves targeted with rifles by man-sized ducks with arms.

I dozed off, but was soon awaken by a ruckus in the girls' room. Rebecca was punishing Wynne for not performing some chore. "But I'm only a little girl," Wynne cried as Rebecca planted hits on her bottom with the wooden paddle. "Well I expect you to act like a young lady and do what you are told," Rebecca yelled back at her. "But I want to be a girl. You don't know what it's like to be a girl," Wynne protested.

Standing aghast at the door, I was spotted by Rebecca. "Go back to your room, Quiana, and Aunt Rebecca will be along shortly to talk about some financial matters," she said to a cold voice. But I just stood there, seething at the violence being done to Wynne. Rebecca suddenly became worried that I hadn't obeyed. She ordered me a second time. I continued to stand still, my annoyance rising.

"Wynne is right. You don't know what it's like to be a little girl or to be treated like one," I sputtered. The index finger on my right hand suddenly emitted a huge spark. It flew across the room and hit Rebecca square in the chest. To the surprise of the girls, and me, Rebecca began to shrink into her clothes.

Words cannot describe the look on Rebecca's face as her form-fitted ladies business suit began to sag on her diminishing frame. But that look was only slightly more perplexed than those on the faces of Karen, Wynne and Suzanne as they watched the woman who had been their stern taskmaster and unforgiving disciplinarian slowly lose height before their very eyes. Not having a mirror handy, I have no idea of how I looked; but I do remember Rebecca glancing pleadingly in my direction, silently wondering how I was able to produce the lightning bolt from my finger triggering her ongoing change. All I could do was shrug and tell her, "I didn't know it was loaded."

It was a long few minutes for Rebecca as she stood her ground surrounded by us four. As she grew shorter, she moved only slightly, mostly to adjust her balance. She tottered a bit when her high-heel shoes, becoming like gunboats on her feet, tipped inward, but Rebecca kept upright, kicking the now horizontal shoes to the side.

Then the shriveling stopped, leaving Rebecca no taller than the three 8-year-old girls. What a sight it was. Rebecca's blouse and jacket were still teetering precariously on her shoulders, although they were now exposing them almost to the arms. The neckline on her blouse ran deeper, exposing one nipple on her now flat chest and a portion of her pink satin bra; one cup scrunched concave toward her body. Her skirt now touched the floor, hiding from view her feet.

An uneasy grimace formed on Rebecca's face has she retracted one arm from the sleeve of her blouse and jacket. Movement under the now wrinkled clothing indicated that she was checking out her body and coming to the realization that she had indeed regressed back into a pre-pubescent little 8-year-old girl.

"Well? What are you looking at?" Rebecca shouted at us girls in what was now a higher-pitched squeaky little voice that almost caused me to bust out laughing. "Stop standing around and go back to your chores," she added. Suzanne lowered her head and turned toward the bedroom door, until Karen yelled, "Hold it!"

"She's not a grownup any more," Karen rightly noted. "She's one of us now. And we don't have to take orders from her now because there are four of us, and only one of her."

Rebecca's face turned crimson with anger. "I'm still in charge. I'm still your legal guardian, and as such, you must obey me," she said. Pointing at me, she added, "If I were you, I'd pay more attention to Quiana. She's obviously a witch. Aren't you worried that she'll turn you into mice or something?"

"That's a different Roald Dahl story," I said, adding, "I didn't know I had magical powers until a few minutes ago. And anyway, I'm on your side."

Karen turned back toward Rebecca, causing the rejuvenated woman to flinch. This seemingly tiny movement undid the balancing act engaged by her blouse and jacket, prompting them to finally slide from her shoulders. This provoked a chain reaction, taking Rebecca's skirt, undies and everything else with them. She now stood before the girls naked with all her former womanly couture piled around her legs.

Horridly embarrassed at her sudden loss of modesty, Rebecca flailed through her clothing pile before hoisting up her pink satin panties. Now exceedingly large on her, Rebecca had to hold them up with both hands, lest gravity take them away again.

Karen grabbed Rebecca by one arm. "Now that Auntie Rebecca is one of us, what do we do with her?" she asked. "She looks silly as a little girl with all that makeup on," Suzanne volunteered. Seizing Rebecca's other arm, Wynne cheerfully added, "Come on, let's give her a good scrubbing."

To howls of "No! Stop it! No!" Karen and Wynne pulled Rebecca toward the bathroom, while Suzanne followed with the paddle in hand. Rebecca squirmed mightily while trying to push her feet in the opposite direction, all the while refusing to release her oversized adult panties. Anticipating greater entertainment than even a three-ring circus, I followed.

Inside the bathroom, Suzanne turned on the faucets of the bathtub while Karen and Wynne continued to restrain Rebecca. "Don't worry, Auntie Rebecca. We'll have you good and clean in a jiffy," Wynne said. The statement caused Karen to frown. "She can't be our Auntie now. She's only a girl like us," she said. "Then let's give her a girl's name," Wynne said. Looking directly into Rebecca's face, Wynne grinned, "From now on, we'll call you just plain old Becky."

The mixture of fear and sourness on Becky's face said everything about her opinion of her name change.

By then, Suzanne had completed filling the tub and declared it ready for Becky, who quickly lost her panties to gravity and her struggle to remain among the unwashed. Becky hit the water with a splash and was soon covered with soapy lather by Suzanne and Wynne. Despite Becky's thrashing in the tub, the girls removed every bit of makeup and perfume remaining from her womanhood. Wynne also washed Becky's hair, an act that removed its curl and left her with a straight combed-down hairstyle more appropriate for an 8-year-old girl.

At Karen's request, I visited the laundry room to get two items of clothing for Becky - a plain white girl's panty and a pair of fuzzy slippers. I returned in time to see the girls finish toweling dry a very disgruntled Becky, who solemnly accepted the girlish articles of clothing.

Surrounded by us girls, Becky glumly walked back through the girls' bedroom when Karen noticed the pile of woman's duds still on the floor. Lightly tapping Becky's hind end with the palm of her hand, Karen sternly noted, "Don't you know its unladylike-like to leave your clothes piled on the floor. Put them away where they belong or there'll be no dessert at dinner."

Becky complied, but I noticed a look in her eyes that she was up to something. Walking into her adult bedroom, Becky put the blouse and woman's business suit on hangers, her bra and garter belt in a drawer, and her sheer nylon stockings in a laundry hamper. Karen was grinning at how quickly she had turned Becky into an obedient little child; but that satisfied smirk was soon wiped off her face.

As I suspected, Becky had a surprise for us. She ran for a window, opened it and jumped out. I looked out to see Becky in only panties and slippers hurriedly climbing down a trellis in a bid to escape her wards. Karen went down the trellis after her, while the other girls and I dashed down the stairs for the front door.

Arriving on the front porch, I saw the nearly unclothed Becky run down the front walk, and make a left turn outside the gate. Hoping to cut her off, I cut diagonally across the lawn, then hopped over the white picket fence. Landing in Becky's immediate path, I held out my right hand, the fingers forming a pretend gun. With my index finger pointed directly at the fleeing former woman, I yelled, "Stop or I'll shoot!"

Having seen my magic finger in action, Becky knew I wouldn't be shooting blanks. She stopped dead in her tracks. I walked my captive back to the house, her hands raised high in the air. Clint Eastwood would be so proud of me!

Back in the girls' bedroom, Wynne issued Becky a green gingham dress, anklet socks, black sneakers - and an apron. "Tonight, you'll be cooking dinner for us for a change," Suzanne informed her. Becky scowled. "I am not a cook," she protested. "Fair is fair. We made you dinner every night for seven months. Now its your turn to be scullery girl," Karen said.

Grumbling under her breath words that should never be said in the presence of 6-year-old girls like myself, Becky busied herself in the kitchen, boiling rice, opening cans of cream of chicken soup, dicing vegetables, and adding spices to the resulting mixture. I became suspicious when Becky used a chair to pull one more bottle of spice from a high cabinet, which she abundantly added to the dish.

Becky brought this gruel to the table and loaded up our plates. I insisted that she fill a plate for herself and join us at the dining room table. I then watched as Becky just sat and waited for the rest of us to dig in.

"Excuse me, girls, but I think our chef should sample our meal before us," I said. "She did the work. She should be the first to enjoy it." I then sat back as Becky began to sweat. She took fork in hand, but just moved the contents around the place. I picked up my fork, took up a quantity of that rice dish, and moved it to Becky's mouth. She made a horrible face as she pulled away from the fork.

"Now what did you put in this food that you don't want to ingest?" I asked. As Karen secured Becky in her chair, I had Wynne climb to the high cabinet to remove the mysterious bottle. I contained a strange herb labeled as "onkruid schan'dalig" from Patagonia.

"What is this? A poison?" I asked Becky. "No, just a little something to make a stupid little girl like you smart," Becky shot back with a hint of anger on her face. Not finding any additional information in the cabinet as to what the herb was supposed to do, I headed to Becky's bedroom. As for Becky, Karen and Wynne had some other ideas.

"You've been a bad girl, Becky," Wynne told her reduced guardian. Picking up the wooden paddle, Wynne uneasily explained, "You tried to slip something bad in our food. That was extremely naughty. If I got a half-dozen swats with this paddle for not scrubbing behind the toilet, what should altering our food merit?"

Becky swallowed hard, but then looked Wynne in the eyes. "I can do what I want around here because I'm the adult," Becky said. "I make the rules, so I say I deserve no spanks for adding a little herb to your rice casserole." Becky then grinned sinisterly at Wynne. "And you don't have it in you, either," she said.

Karen had heard enough. She twirled Becky around, putting her flat on her stomach on the chair. Pulling Becky's dress up to expose her pantied rear, Karen said, "Okay, let her have it." Wynne flung the paddle down on Becky's rear with a resounding crack, followed by a second smack. And then she stopped.

"This is brutal," Wynne admitted. "I didn't like being spanked like this, so I don't think I should spank others with this…this weapon," she added as she flung the paddle into a corner. "Never mind," Karen said to her comrade. "I think I have another way to punish little Becky."

My short rummage through the drawers in Becky's room uncovered a locked box. As Suzanne now held Becky's key ring, the box was quickly opened, revealing a large ledger. And bingo! Inside was a full explanation of what onkruid schan'dalig was and how Becky used it.

The herb stimulated the brain, causing cells to function more vigorously. As a result, a person could absorb information more readily. But the brain also becomes more susceptible to programming and foreign ideas. Because the brain continued at it's accelerated level for a while after ingesting the herb, the programmer could more readily elicit a programmed response from the person who consumed the herb until its effects left the person's system.

The box also contained a diary describing how Rebecca (now Becky) slipped the herb into tea and coffee consumed by the parents of Karen, Wynne and Suzanne. It described how she gave them literature while they were under the herb's peak effect that put forward the idea they could best assure their daughters' success by signing away their parental rights to someone like Rebecca. And they did within 24 hours.

The final entry told of how Rebecca slipped the herb into my lemonade. That, I thought, would explain why she gave me that tract on child obedience. Quickly absorbing that data, I would go out of my way (against my better nature) to obey every order I received from my Aunt. And Rebecca did say she wanted to talk about a financial matter - getting my business as Suzanne had suggested.

But I put that booklet down in favor of that Roald Dahl book. It seems strange now, but in its accelerated state, my brain was convinced that I too, like the girl in the book, had a magic finger I couldn't control when exposed to horrible behavior. And I actually gained that power.

My investigation was cut short by a ruckus occurring elsewhere in the upstairs area of Rebecca's home.

"You can't make me wear that! I'm an adult, not some immature child," Becky was screaming. "You'll put this on right now. You made us wear it. Now that you're our size, so will you," Karen yelled back.

Karen and Wynne had Becky in the rehearsal room, and they were trying to force her to put on one of those baby costumes that were part of the Kessler Baby Revue. "Get away from me. I'm no baby," Becky whined. Karen began to walk toward Becky, who staggered backwards until she found herself next to me. I held up my right hand in "gun" formation and blew across the "barrel" of the index finger.

Suddenly terrified by my gesture, Becky stopped dead in her tracks. She looked unsettled as Karen approached with part of the Kessler Baby costume used in the opening number - a large diaper. Ducking behind a curtain, Becky soon emerged wearing the diaper. She then put on the rest of the costume, which included a frilly shirt that didn't quite meet the diaper, lacy socks and black leather shoes that attached by straps around the ankles.

Becky looked viciously at Karen, who responded; "Now you know how we felt, having to wear these silly and embarrassing costumes." She then added, "Sing the song." Glaring at the girls, Becky began to croak out the opening tune. "I'm proud to be a Kessler Baby," she rendered off key. "No, no, Becky. The lyric is now, 'proud to be THE Kessler Baby.'"

After Becky grumbled out the new lyric, Wynne announced it was time for a costume change. She brought out the daisy head covering that she had been required to wear in the still unfinished second act. "Let me help you into this," Wynne offered. Becky pulled away. "That thing's silly. I won't been humiliated," Becky threatened.

"That's funny. That's how I felt having to wear these costumes, especially the teddy bear one whose nose is revealed to be a giant pacifier," Wynne said. "I thought little girls like to play dress-up," Becky scowled. "Not like this. You gave us no choice, in that you kept us locked up in the house and away from our parents," Wynne countered. "If we felt humiliated, you can image what all those babies you photographed in even stranger costumes felt," she added.

"Babies don't feel humiliation. They don't feel anything until their 30 months old or older," Becky sternly said. "Well, let's see how you feel," Suzanne said as she ran up with the bear nose pacifier. She offered the nipple end to Becky, who jerked her face from side to side to avoid accepting it.

And then Becky exploded. "You ungrateful brats," she screamed. "Don't you realize I'm the adult! I'm in charge! I make the rules! You don't tell me what to do. I tell you," Becky screamed as she launched a mighty tantrum. She ran a lap around the rehearsal room, and then grabbed one of the baby costumes and began to rip it to shreds. "Stop that! Stop acting like a spoiled brat," Wynne yelled as Becky began kicking the props, eventually putting a hole in one piece of scenery.

"Now stop this tantrum," Karen advised in soothing tones, acting more the adult than Becky at this point. But Becky wouldn't listen. Throwing herself to the floor, she landed on her stomach, continuing to kick and cry. "I've seen enough. Where's that paddle," Karen said in disgust.

Jumping back to her feet, Becky, whose face was now tear-stained, ran past Karen to grab the paddle. "This is mine… MINE!" Becky screamed, waving the paddle over her head. "Everybody line up for spankings, especially you, Quiana," she added, only to be shocked as Karen grabbed the paddle and disarmed her.

"I'll show you," Becky bellowed as she ran toward the girls' bedroom. Following Becky as best they could, the four girls were shocked by what they saw. Their rejuvenated guardian was thrashing the place. She was stomping on their dolls, smashing their personal possessions, even trying to rip their better clothing.

"Becky! Calm down this instant! You're acting like a baby," Karen warned. Becky whirled around quickly, throwing at Karen her prized music box. She ducked, but the box hit the wall breaking apart. It breathed its last gasp, playing a section of the Elton John song "Ballerina." In slow key, it said, "Hold me tight, I'm tired of dancing."

In the wake of Becky's tirade, Wynne choked back tears as her favorite doll was beheaded. Suzanne held a ripped Afghan made by her grandmother. "You big baby," Suzanne stuttered at the rampaging Becky.

"Karen's right! You're acting like a mean, vindictive baby," I screamed. With that, my finger again erupted in sparks, which again zapped Becky, this time in her back. And she again began to shrink.

Smaller and younger Becky grew as she continued to dash around the room, looking for things to smash. First she lost her left shoe, then her right one. Her oversize diaper slid down her legs until she deftly stepped out of it. But when her shirt went off her shoulders and down her body, she tripped onto the floor.

"Whaaaaaaaaaah!" Becky began to wail, while kicking her bare feet on the floor. All of us girls gathered around to watch this strange sight. Our guardian was now our junior. She was an actual baby!

"I don't know how you did it, but way to go, Quiana! She's been acting like that for months. Now her age matches her temperament," Wynne told me. I admitted that I wasn't so sure how I did it either, but I did know that we now had a baby to care for, and had to assume that grownup responsibility immediately.

"It looks like she's about 12-months-old. Now she needs diapers for real," I added. On hearing that, Becky stopped her tantrum and rose to her feet. Standing naked before us, Becky was a good foot shorter than I was, and I was a head shorter than the other three girls were. And Becky had a startled look on her face. Karen looked down at her guardian and glowered. "Maybe we had to do what you ordered when you were bigger than us, but you're shorter than us now. Now you'll have to obey us," Karen observed.

"I don't think so," baby Becky squeaked as she toddled off, taking short uneasy steps in her escape. I could only smile at her gumption. Here was a woman who had taken pride in controlling her environment; of calling all the shots. But now she had the body of an infant, a mere 28 inches tall. She was now so young and small that she would need the help of us four girls just to survive, but she wasn't giving up. She would not cede control over her life to anyone. All I could do is watch and make sure she didn't hurt herself on her fool's errand.

I slowly followed, watching Becky as she explored her environment that was now unfamiliarly huge. Reaching one of the girl's beds, she tried to climb onto it, but it was now mountainous terrain to her. And the blanket wasn't anchored. It began to give way. Becky was swept away by the woolen avalanche. A resounding bonk on the floor was followed by a muffled infant's cry. After a little flailing under the fallen blanket, Becky dug herself out. At first providing me with a puzzled look, the ex-woman resumed her run.

Trying to lose me in her dust, Becky accidentally stumbled and ended up in the "arms" of a large Raggedy Ann doll left on the floor. She shrieked as she quickly raised her head and found herself staring face to face with the doll's head. Giving it a few pokes with her baby-size fist, Becky was off and toddling again.

"Scram! Lemme alone," Becky squeaked as I continued Golem-like in her wake. But I was beginning to enjoy the chase. Since being transformed into a little girl, I have always found myself to be the smallest person in the room. Now at 42-inches tall, I felt like a giant next to Becky. The feeling was empowering.

Apparently, it was too empowering for Becky's taste. She stopped, turned around, and with her diminutive arms planted on her hips, confronted me. "I've never met a 6-year-old like you. You act more like an adult than a child. Where did you come from?" she pleaded. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you," I smiled. "Go way," Becky said while trying to shove me, and we were soon off to the races again.

Becky was now picking up speed, apparently getting used to locomoting on her stubby infant legs. She bounced into her bedroom and went for the window. Stubbornly climbing onto a chest by the window, Becky now faced the same trellis she earlier attempted an escape. But the climb now looked treacherous for a girl her size.

Seeing me behind her, ready to grab her if she did something stupid, Becky panicked. Attempting a fast getaway, Becky stumbled and dropped a few inches onto her rump on the bedroom floor. I could see tears forming on the corners of her eyes, but my sight made Becky more determined to flee. Now crawling, she quickly disappeared under her bed. I looked after her, only to get a slipper in the face for my efforts.

Exiting on the other side of the bed, Becky was again on her feet and trotting that wobbly pace of hers. She tried to use the stairs, taking one at a time. But looking toward the bottom, she saw Suzanne. "Look what I found for you in your photographic studio," she remarked, holding a box of disposable diapers.

Becky re-scaled the two steps she had conquered, and plodded right into my arms. I held the squirming ex-woman until Karen arrived and took matters into her own hands.

Karen deposited Becky on her bed atop one of the diapers and proceeded to apply powder to her bottom. This prompted Becky to become boisterous, twisting turbulently to avoid her fate, all the while screaming, "No! No diaper! I'm a grownup, not a baby."

"Stop it!" Karen growled. "Is little Becky going to obey her Auntie Karen?" Reassessing how large Karen now appeared, Becky went into a deep sulk. She had no choice but to obey Karen. Her diaper was taped tightly with no further opposition.

Karen then handed me what could have best been described as a bundle of non-joy. I leaned over to coo the baby now occupying a portion of my 6-year-old lap, only to hear it whisper, "You're really going to get it, once I get my adult size back."

Rebecca had unknowingly provided us with many of the things she needed as an infant. In her years as a popular calendar photographer, she had stocked her studio with items the keep her infantile subjects occupied, fed and corralled. There were baby bottles, pacifiers, toys, a playpen and even a crib.

Suzanne brought me one of the bottles now filled with warm milk. I rammed the nipple into the crotchety baby's mouth and advised her, "Don't make empty threats on an empty stomach." Becky must have agreed, since her rapidly moving cheeks indicated vigorous sucking on the nipple. The milk disappeared in minutes, after which I coaxed an almost seismic burp from her.

Sated, Becky now appeared nicer, cuter and, well, sleepier as she yawned and stretched on my lap. I almost wished I could keep her that age. But I was sure that Becky wanted to return to normal. I then remembered that in the Roald Dahl story, the hunters-turned-birds were restored to human size after they apologized to the ducks and vowed to beat their guns into scrap metal.

If my herb-accelerated brain could cause magic to emanate from my finger, would it not grant Becky her old age back if she apologized to the three girls and vowed to be a nicer, more loving guardian - or allow them to return to their parents? It was worth a stab. I would try to coax an apology from Becky.

But getting Becky to apologize and make up with the girls was harder than it seemed. She was not in a forgiving mood. In fact, she was still doing everything she could to escape our tender-loving care; although she probably had no idea of how at her 12-month-old size she could survive long without some adult care.

While the girls examined the photography studio, I watched from afar as Becky tried to escape from the playpen in which we had placed her. She desperately tried to pull herself over the netted side, but it was too high for her to scale. After succeeding in getting a leg up, Becky lost her grip and fell back into the pen. She cried in frustration. In fact, all of her actions were becoming more juvenile. The longer she remained a baby, the more infantile she behaved.

That night, I prepared to sleep on the living room sofa so I could watch Becky in the crib that the girls had pulled out of the studio. Getting her attention, I told Becky, "You know why you are a baby, don't you? The fates are punishing you for the nasty way you separated Karen, Wynne, Suzanne and myself from our families; and the terrible way you treated us all under your care. Maybe if you apologize and sincerely promise to reform, the fates will allow you to grow back into a woman," I suggested.

Becky answered with an eight-letter word that little girl's would get their mouths washed out with soap for repeating.

The next morning, Becky was acting as stubborn as ever. She was still fighting the girls for control, even though she kept losing. But she did get Suzanne soaking wet while she tried to give Becky a bath. Becky also pushed the first dish of Farina served her onto the floor while Karen tried to feed her.

I took Becky aside and warned her that if she didn't apologize and reform, she might remain stuck as a baby. "No apowgize. Me wight. Me adult, no baby," Becky screamed, not noticing that her verbal skills were now rapidly deteriorating to match her infantile body and temperament.

In the midst of all this, a ring of the doorbell interrupted our solitude. It was Inspector Potter! Wynne answered. "Your Aunt phoned me yesterday, saying she had something important to show me about that little girl case I've been pursuing. Is she in?" Potter queried. "In the living room," she answered matter-of-factly. "I hope her cold is better. She sounded like a little girl," the inspector added.

Not wishing to confront Potter, I picked up a newspaper and held it before me, hiding all but the soles of my Reeboks. Potter entered the room, his neck craning to locate Rebecca. From her playpen, Becky excitedly tried to get his attention with cries of "Hawow, Hawow." Obviously, she was calling out Potter's first name "Harold," but her baby talk rendition sounded like "Hello" to him.

Potter smiled at the baby, then walked over to the playpen and tickled her under the chin. Becky became agitated that she couldn't communicate her plight to the one person who might help her. Suddenly noticing that she was wearing only a diaper, Becky clasped her arms across her infantile chest as if it mattered, while continuing to babble animatedly to the adult who only wanted to coo her.

While sitting in close proximity to the two, I too became agitated. There was Harold Potter, the one person who could wreck the financial empire I had built since being converted into a little girl. His meddling was the reason I was at Rebecca's home, not with my family. I then felt a tingle roll up my body, down my arm toward my index finger. I quickly sat on that hand, not wanting to zap Potter with my magic finger.

I cringed at what it might do to him. Having a rat's tail might not be unusual for a government career worker, but what if I turned him into a giant blueberry, had him commingle with bacterium, or even made him the same age as Becky. Ugh! Think of the mess!

Potter dropped his business card over the top edge of my newspaper and asked, "Call me when your Aunt Rebecca is home." As he exited the home, I pulled my hand out from under my seat. But it exploded in a gigantic spark anyway. Flying through a glass window, the spark hit Potter in the rump. His pants and jockey shorts morphed into a huge diaper, of which Potter remained unaware. "Eek!" a neighbor lady shrieked as she spotted Potter. He merely smiled, tipped his tweed hat, and continued on his way.

By 11 a.m., it was all over for Becky. Karen asked Becky if she was ready for her bottle. Defiant as ever, she waved her arms, but could only respond in baby babble. Realizing that her statements weren't making sense, Becky burst into loud wails and buckets of tears. It took Karen nearly a half-hour to calm her down.

"We need some help," I told the girls. Scanning Rebecca's book of personal telephone numbers, I found only one that was listed as a single name, "Rita." I phoned that number first.

By early afternoon, another blonde-haired, green-eyed woman arrived at Rebecca's house. She was younger, and was the exact image of the woman I saw in the monitor during my transformation into Quiana more than two years ago. I had no doubt this was the college girl, whose genetic structure was substituted for my own in Adler's machine.

"My but you look familiar," Rita told me. "But not as familiar of this little girl," I added, pointing at the baby sitting a few feet from us on the carpet. Rita glared at the baby, trying to decide what to make of the child with short blonde hair and a not-so-innocent smile.

"That is your sister Rebecca," I told Rita, who responded, "You're kidding! This is a joke?" I shook my head to the negative. "As a result of the misuse of a Patagonian herb, she was regressed back into an infant, essentially in punishment for her fits of temper against those younger and smaller than her," I explained.

"I know my older sister has a horrible temper," Rita explained. "I was on the receiving end of her rages all too often while we were growing up. How I wished I was big enough to oppose her."

"You are now," I explained. "As Becky's closest relative, she in now your responsibility to care for and raise as you see fit. And you can do it from this house. It's yours now."

Rita picked Becky off the floor and stared deeply into her eyes. A grin then crossed her face. "Things are going to a lot different this time, Becky," Rita seemed to be saying as she assumed control of the infant. The fearful look that formed on Becky's face seemed to indicate her realization that she had just gone from the frying pan into the fire. The three girls had only seven months of her despotic treatment to avenge. But Rita had a lifetime of memories, and now she was in total control.

"Ooooh! I think my sister needs a diaper change," Rita said at this point.

All that was left was for me to arrange for Karen, Wynne and Suzanne to be returned to their families. Me too! I called my home, and within hours, Janet and Tony arrived to take me back to Tampa.

Stepbrother Tony was his usual self. He greeted me by grabbing me around the waist and wrestled me to the lawn. Sitting on me so I couldn't move, he said, "Not like I really missed you." This trait of Tony's always annoyed me. I then felt the juices racing through my body to my right index finger. "Oh no! Now what will my magic finger do to Tony," I worried.

Nothing happened! Not even a little phfffttt! from my finger. The effects of the herb had worn off.

Back home, I noticed the media reporting on the apparent disappearance of famed baby photographer Rebecca Kessler. There was speculation that she might have met with foul play, or had become lost in the Everglades. Within days, Rebecca's baby calendar photos were once more in big demand among collectors. There is nothing like knowledge that an artist will produce no more works to raise the value of his art. I couldn't meet demand for Rebecca's older work on my collectibles web business.

Knowing a good prospect when I saw it, I decided to back production of a new Kessler Baby calendar for 2003. I phoned Rita and asked her to supply some photos, especially some never used before, in return for a 50 percent share in the calendar's profits. She complied.

As of this morning, the police say they still have no idea of where the vanished Rebecca is. I assure you that they are not looking in the right places. Here! Have a copy of the 2003 Kessler Baby calendar. Turn to the month of May, the one with the baby sitting in a nest wearing bright yellow canary feathers, the cute tyke with the equally shocked and confused look on her face. Gee, doesn't she look familiar?


© 2000 ARthur Tales Ltd.

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