This is a fantasy, although any full-blooded boy would call it a nightmare. There are times when you should learn not to go too far when teasing your sister, and the fate that awaited young David was something he would have shuddered to contemplate. Little girls can be merciless sometimes!

Lucy's Revenge

by Andrew B.

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9


My twin sister Lucy was a terror. That's the only way to describe her really. An 11 year old tomboy whose favourite pastime was to push around any boy she could, just to prove she was as tough as they were. In some ways she was more of a boy than many boys her age, good at sport, and able to mix it with the best of them.

But she wasn't just a tomboy, she really did hate being a girl, and would often say enviously "Why couldn't I have been born the boy instead of you? They get all the fun.' She detested wearing dresses of course, and as soon as she got home from school she'd pull off her primary school uniform and be straight into jeans and a T shirt. Then more often as not she'd be out around the village as the leader of the gang, both girls and boys, and could indulge in boisterous, rough and tumble activities instead of mixing with the other girls who wanted to indulge in more feminine pursuits. Needless to say, dolls and dressing up had always been anathema to her. And I certainly didn't help the situation. My sense of humour is always getting the better of me, and I often used to say how cute and pretty she looked when she was made to wear a dress, which used to infuriate her, and on more than one occasion resulted in a fight. Which she usually won. What annoyed her even more was the fact that she was much smaller than me, so I insisted on calling her my little sister, even though we were the same age.

Mum had long ago given up trying to turn her into a young lady, despite her insistence on making Lucy wear her hair long, and the word "demure' just wasn't part of the vocabulary when describing my sister. It took all of Mum's powers of persuasion to entice her into wearing a dress for any occasion, and even then her co-operation was like getting blood out of a stone. But fate was to take a hand, and cause me to pay a heavy price for my teasing in an unimaginable way that I was never going to forget.

My problem originated when she started visiting Sarah Bickford. Sarah was an old lady who lived on her own in a cottage just on the edge of the Kentish village of Hurstville, where we lived. Some said she was a witch, and we kids wouldn't go near the place. No one had ever been inside, but there were plenty of stories about her. Stories of noises and chanting coming from her cottage late at night, and how she'd been seen out under the light of the full moon picking herbs and muttering words in a language nobody understood. But needless to say, the one kid in the village who wasn't scared of her was my sister. Quite the opposite in fact, and I'll never forget the time we were walking past the cottage, and someone dared her to go into the garden of the old lady's cottage and pick a flower.

We all stood back some distance, and watched as Lucy walked up to the front gate and went into the garden. But instead of picking a flower and dashing back as we expected, she walked up to the front door and knocked. We couldn't believe it. A moment later the door opened, and she said something to the old lady, who looked in our direction for a moment, laughed, and then held the door open while Lucy went inside. Then she closed the door. We looked at each other not knowing what to do. This was something we hadn't expected.

Lucy must have been in there for about an hour before the door opened and they both came out. To our amazement, the old lady picked a red rose and gave it to Lucy. They spoke for a couple more minutes before Lucy turned and came out through the front gate. She waved goodbye to the old lady, and then walked back to join us. Well you can imagine how we felt, and we were bursting with curiosity to know what had gone on inside the cottage. But Lucy wasn't saying much. She just gave us a superior grin and said "We just had a chat and a cup of tea, that's all. Actually, she's a nice old lady and she doesn't have any friends. And she's asked me to visit her again. So there.' With courage like that, her street cred went sky high.

And that's how it all began. Mum didn't seem to object to Lucy befriending the old lady, and thought she was being kind, but as Lucy began to visit her more and more frequently I began to have an uneasy feeling that there was something sinister behind it. What confirmed it for me was when one day I went up to Lucy's room to give her a can of lemonade she'd asked for, and found her reading an old book. It certainly looked very old, and I saw a picture of a strange looking creature on the open page. "What on earth's that thing?' I said curiously. Lucy quickly slammed the book shut and put it down on the bed as she took the can from me. "Oh nothing' she said hastily as she opened the can, "It's just a book of old stories that Sarah's lent me.' I was sure she was lying. Before she could stop me I picked up the book and opened it at the title page. "Herbs and Incantations' I read, "That's a funny title for a story book isn't it?' Lucy reached up and snatched the book from my hands. "Oh who cares what it's called!' she exclaimed, "I told you, it's just a book of stories.' I still felt there was something a little odd about it, but decided it wasn't worth pursuing, so with a shrug I turned and went downstairs again, and put the incident out of my mind. A pity really, as things were to turn out.

Lucy's visits to Sarah Bickford continued, and as time passed she became more confident somehow, as if she was becoming more and more able to control events around her. But she never brought any of the old lady's books home again.

But there was one person who even she couldn't stand up to. Aunt Mary. She was Mum's sister, a fearsome lady who lived in Storrington, a village near Worthing, on the south coast. For years, Lucy and I had been taken down there to stay with her for a month every summer holidays, mainly so that Mum could go away on her own. Lucy absolutely hated going there. Aunt Mary was an old-fashioned and strict middle-aged lady who had strongly defined ideas as to how children should behave, and she had a very dominant personality that was not to be argued with. T shirts and jeans for Lucy were absolutely out, and even I still had to wear shorts unless we were going into town, in which case I was allowed to wear long trousers. Lucy was even less lucky. Aunt Mary insisted that she wear dresses all the time, and always kept a wardrobe full of the most childish style dresses that she made her wear. Even worse, she always made sure that Lucy wore hair ribbons to emphasise the fact that she was indeed a little girl. To make sure that Lucy didn't wear jeans, Aunt Mary would always check through her suitcase on arrival and remove any items of clothing that she thought were inappropriate. They would be locked away until our return home. Now you can understand why it wasn't Lucy's favourite time of the year.

This year was the first time that Lucy was going to be staying with Aunt Mary on her own, as Mum had decided that I could go to scout camp on the Isle of Man. Needless to say, Lucy was green with envy, knowing that the activities of bushcraft and other boyish pursuits were exactly what she would have preferred herself. I made things even worse by constantly reminding her of what a great time I would be having, while she was being treated as a little girl with Aunt Mary. But as someone once said, every dog has his day.

I suppose I should have realised that something was afoot about three months before the summer holidays, when Lucy seemed to undergo a miraculous change. Almost overnight she seemed to shed her mantle of rough and tumble boyishness, and began to acquire a decidedly girlish mode of behaviour. She became gentle and quiet, and actually asked Mum to start putting ribbons in her hair every day. But the really suspicious moment came when she cleared out her wardrobe of anything that could be considered remotely boyish. Out went all her slacks and shorts, which Mum gave to a charity shop, and she insisted on replacing them with dresses that I can only describe as more suitable for an 8 year old little girl. Peter pan collars and puffed sleeves became the order of the day. But whatever the reason, Mum was delighted at the transformation, and encouraged Lucy to be as near to the very essence of a little girl as she could.

But this behaviour was so completely out of character that I began to have a creeping suspicion that she was up to something. It just seemed too good to be true. She started to smile and giggle whenever she saw me, but whatever it was, she certainly wasn't letting on. Mum didn't notice anything though, and she didn't even say anything when Lucy started spending every Saturday and Sunday afternoon with Sarah Bickford. Something was definitely going on between those two I was sure.

At last the school summer holidays arrived. I had a few days to go before leaving for scout camp, and Mum decided that before I went away we would drive down to Aunt Mary's to leave Lucy with her. As the day approached I still couldn't understand why Lucy wasn't displaying her usual bad tempered reticence to go. Unfortunately I was soon to find out why with a vengeance.

As we sat around the kitchen table having lunch the day before we were due to take her to stay with Aunt Mary, Lucy suddenly said to me "David, I'm going over to say goodbye to Sarah this afternoon. Would you like to come and meet her? She's often said she'd like to meet you, and she really is a nice person. Please say yes.' I must admit I was curious to meet this woman who'd made such an impression on my sister, and as I considered it, Mum said "Why don't you go dear? Then you can tell me what you think of her.' I fell into Lucy's trap perfectly. "All right' I said, "Why not? I've always wondered what it is about her that you find so fascinating.' And that was that. Or so I thought.

Soon after lunch, Lucy and I set off for the old lady's cottage, promising to be back for dinner by seven o'clock. We soon reached the front gate, and walking up the path in front of me, Lucy knocked on the door. A moment later the door opened and Sarah appeared. "Ah there you are my dear' she smiled, "Do come in, both of you.' We went in, and she closed the door behind us. We were in a comfortable room, if somewhat dark. There were dark burgundy velvet curtains framing the leadlight windows, and the place exuded age. The cottage was over 400 years old and looked it. Wooden beams ran across the ceiling, and a large deep red carpet covered the floor. The large inglenook fireplace was huge, and matched the comfortable and antique furniture. But it was the bookcases that caught my eye. I'd never seen so many old volumes in my life. They were nearly all leather bound, and I guessed that some of them must be valuable.

Suddenly my thoughts were interrupted. "And whom do we have here I wonder?' said the old lady, looking at me with a smile on her face. Her eyes had a twinkle in them, almost as if she had something amusing on her mind.

"Oh Sarah, this is my brother David' said Lucy, "David, this is Sarah.'

"Pleased to meet you' I blurted out, unable to take my eyes away from hers. They were almost hypnotic, and she seemed to stare at me for an age.

"Goodness me, where are my manners?' said Sarah suddenly, "Do please sit down both of you. Here, on the sofa.' Lucy and I sat down together, and Sarah made herself comfortable on a large armchair facing us. "That's better' she said. Then, looking at me, she said "I hear you're off to scout camp next week. You must be looking forward to it.'

"Oh I am' I replied, "I've never been to the Isle of Man before, and it means we'll be going by ship from Liverpool to Douglas. And apparently the camp is really great. We'll be building bridges and things like that.'

"How lovely for you. But what a pity Lucy couldn't come too, she tells me she would have enjoyed it.'

"Lucy? But she's a girl. Girls aren't expected to do things like that!' For an instant Lucy gave me a venomous look before reverting to her newly acquired sweet and gentle self.

"Yes' continued Sarah, "I realise that, but it still seems a little unfair that while you're off having fun and games, she'll be staying with your Aunt Mary. Apparently she's rather strict, and Lucy's not looking forward to it.' "Oh that' I said carelessly, "Well that's the way it's always been. Mum likes to have a break from us kids once a year, and this is the first time that she's decided that I'm old enough to go away to scout camp. Lucy will get her turn to go away when she's older, but for the moment she'll still be staying with Aunt Mary,'

"Yes, she's told me all about her. Apparently Lucy doesn't enjoy staying with her very much because she hates being treated like a little girl, and I must say I can hardly blame her.'

"Well that can't be helped can it? I mean, after all, she is a little girl, isn't she?' Lucy looked daggers at me again, and her stare was unnerving, even in an 11 year old.

"But surely you can sympathise with her can't you? Knowing how much she hates it?' "Oh I don't know' I replied expansively, trying to play the big brother, "Considering how much of a tomboy she's been in the past, I don't think a month wearing pretty dresses under the control of Aunt Mary does her any harm. Quite the opposite in fact. It dents her ego, and at least it teaches her that she can't get her own way all the time.' I was clearly unsympathetic, and Sarah looked at me for a moment with a serious expression on her face. Then she smiled slightly and said "So you think that while Lucy is in your Aunt Mary's care it's all right for her to be treated as a little girl?' "Well why not? After all, that's what she is, isn't she?' I suddenly felt that maybe I was being a little harsh, but I wasn't going to change my opinion now.

Suddenly Sarah brightened and said "Yes, I suppose so. I just wanted to hear from you yourself that you think that's how Lucy should be treated. Now' she said suddenly, "How would you both like to try a glass of my home made dandelion and burdock. It's a special recipe of mine.'

"Oh yes please' said Lucy with an eager smile, "Wait till you taste it David, it's delicious!' "Good' said Sarah, "I'll just go and get it.'

She rose and went out of the room, and soon returned with a tray on which stood three glasses of the traditional country beverage. Putting it down, she handed each of us a glass, and taking one for herself she said "Well, cheers. I'm sure you'll both have a holiday to remember.' Lucy gave a splutter and broke into an enormous grin before drinking from her glass. "I'm sure we will' she added with a giggle. I thought that perhaps she had a few bubbles up her nose. Sarah now began to tell us a little about the vast range of folklore she knew, and the ancient religions of the people who lived here centuries ago. As she spoke she kept watching me, and gradually I found myself becoming sleepy. It became more and more difficult to stay awake listening to her hypnotic voice, and then suddenly I slipped into unconsciousness.

I came round slowly, and as I opened my eyes I saw that I was lying down full-length on the sofa. My vision cleared, and as my eyes came into focus I saw Sarah and myself standing over me. Hang on a minute. Myself? How on earth could I be looking at myself? But I didn't panic. This was obviously a dream. Or so I thought.

"Ah you're awake at last' said Sarah, "We were getting a little worried about you Lucy. How do you feel dear?' At this I was suddenly wide awake. "What the...?' I exclaimed, trying to sit up. Then came the second shock. I was speaking in Lucy's voice! This was crazy.

"Don't worry Lucy' said Sarah, "You'll be fine in a minute, I've just made a little change to you and David.' I looked down at myself and suddenly drew in my breath in astonishment. I was wearing Lucy's primrose yellow dress. On my feet were her white ankle socks and rather babyish red sandals, and looking down at my hands I could see that I was wearing her wrist watch. I put my hand up to my head, and suddenly my long hair fell down over my right shoulder and hung down over the side of my face. I ran my fingers through my hair and suddenly a shudder went through me. I was in Lucy's body! And yet in my confusion I wasn't as upset as I should have been.

Sarah immediately knew what was going through my mind and said "Yes that's right David. You are now occupying Lucy's body, and she's borrowed yours. I say borrowed, because at the end of the holidays, if you behave yourself, I'll change you back again. So I strongly advise you to put up with the situation, otherwise I might leave you like that. Lucy wanted the arrangement to be permanent, but I've persuaded her to agree to return to her own body at the end of the holidays. And by the way, in case you're wondering how you are able to take this in so calmly, I've given you a potion to help you accept the situation without any sense of shock.'

She was right, I didn't feel shocked. More like curious really, about the sensation of being inside my sister's body. It was almost a novelty, although it was a novelty that would soon wear thin. I decided to try and sit up, and as I did so I felt suddenly lighter than I was used to being as David. "Once that sleeping draught wears off you'll feel fine' said Sarah, "The spell of transference alone has had no ill effect on Lucy, or should I now say, David, has it?' she said, looking at him.

* N.B. (From this point on, I'll refer to myself as Lucy, and Lucy in my body as David. Otherwise it will be confusing).

David looked down at me and grinned. "No, I feel fine. Much bigger and stronger though. I feel great.'

"But how did you do it?' I said, "How on earth did you manage to switch us around?'

"Oh that wasn't too hard for someone whose been a witch as long as I have' chuckled Sarah, "I did my first body switch over thirty years ago, and with that potion to reduce the feeling of shock when you first woke up, it's actually quite harmless and has no ill effects. I've even done it for one or two couples I know just to let them know what it's like to be in the other's shoes for a while. Literally' she added. "You'd be amazed what it can do for a marriage.'

"And for a brother and sister relationship' chuckled David, "This has worked out just perfectly. I'm now going to go to your scout camp to enjoy myself, while you my little sister, will be spending a month in the tender care of Aunt Mary. A short while ago you were saying what a good idea it was, so now you can find out what it's like. You didn't think that I'd really changed into a sweet little girl did you? That was just a trick to fool you. I've always absolutely loathed wearing dresses and always will. And the lovely thing now, is that since I've got rid of all my trousers, you're going to have no choice but to wear sweet little dresses all the time from now on. It's bad enough for me having to wear cute little girl dresses and have bows tied in my hair, but for you? Oh boy, I almost wish I were going to be there with you just to see how you like it. My goodness, you will look sweet, won't you!' He burst out into a wicked chuckle as he saw the look of dismay pass across my face.

It was then that the full implication of what she'd done hit me. I was now Lucy, and as such was condemned to spend the next month as a strictly regimented little girl, while the real Lucy was off having a fantastic time as me at scout camp. A small tear trickled down my cheek. David spotted it and smiled as he stepped forward and wiped my cheek with his handkerchief. "Excellent' he said, "You're even starting to cry like a little girl. Well I must say it suits you in your new role.' After years of putting up with my teasing, my sister was now relishing this chance of getting her own back.

Suddenly feeling trapped I gasped out "But you can't do this to me, you can't! I'll tell Mum all about this, you see if I don't. I'll tell her you drugged me, and then, and then.....' I suddenly stopped as I started to think it through.

"And then what Lucy?' grinned David, "And then what? What will you tell her? That Sarah put a spell on us and swapped over our bodies? You don't really expect anyone to believe that do you? And don't expect any help from me by the way. I'll just say that of course I'm David, and that my sister must have been reading too many fairy stories again. You wouldn't have a chance of convincing anyone.'

"And anyway' said Sarah taking my hand in hers, "Why don't you just accept it? You can't do anything about it, so you might just as well put up with it. Apart from which, I think it will be rather good for you to know what Lucy's had to put up with all these years. Mind you' she smiled, "I must admit it will certainly be a humiliating experience for a boy. Well never mind, you just behave like a good little girl, and I promise you that if you're good, I'll change you back again at the end of the holidays. All right?'

What could I say? I was stuck like this until she chose to turn us back, and that was that. I looked at David as he grinned like a Cheshire cat, enjoying every minute of it, and with a sigh of resignation said "Well I suppose you win. I don't know how I'm going to stand it for a whole month, but I'll just have to put up with it won't I?' "You sure will' chuckled David, and brushed his hand through my long hair as if to emphasise my new status as his little sister.

Sarah said "All right then, I'll make us a nice cup of camomile tea, and we'll make sure that you're both properly primed for this little deception. After all, now that you've taken each other's place, you need to try and play your parts properly. Just think of this as a little bit of fun.' Some fun, I thought ruefully.

David and I spent the next couple of hours studying each other's mannerisms, and with the wise guidance of Sarah, we soon felt confident enough to pass ourselves off as each other. As brother and sister, we'd lived together for so long that it wasn't all that difficult, and anyway, the last thing that anyone would suspect would be the truth!

Eventually we agreed that we were ready to face the world in our new roles, and taking our leave of Sarah, we slowly walked home. On the way we saw two of Lucy's friends, who just waved at me and said "Hiya Lucy' as if everything was completely normal. Which to them it was of course. David looked at me and grinned at the perfect deception as we walked up to our front door and went into the house.

"Ah there you are you two' said Mum, "Dinner's nearly ready. Lucy, lay the table will you dear?' I paused for a moment, and David nudged me with a grin on his face. "Well go on Lucy' he whispered, "She means you.' I suddenly realised what he meant, and obediently went to the kitchen drawers for the cutlery before laying the table. I was about to understand to the full what being a sister was all about. The next month was going to be quite an education.

After tea, David and I sat in the lounge watching TV while Mum packed my things in preparation for my journey down to Aunt Mary's in the morning. As I sat there, David kept looking at me and smiling broadly, knowing that I was trapped, and there was nothing I could do about it.

I was packed off to bed early, and Mum helped me to get ready for bed. I can't say I enjoyed being put into Lucy's pyjamas, but I knew that for the next month with Aunt Mary, pyjamas would be out. Even they were considered unfeminine, and it would be strictly nightdresses. I was soon in bed, and Mum kissed me goodnight before switching off my light and leaving the door ajar. I lay there in Lucy's bed with a strange sense of curiosity and foreboding. I had to admit it was a unique and novel experience, and I still felt very uneasy. But gradually the events of the day left my mind and sleep overtook me.


The next morning dawned fine and sunny, and the sun streamed into my (or rather Lucy's) room as Mum came in and drew the curtains open. "Rise and shine sleepyhead' she smiled, "It's a lovely day for a drive.' I groaned inwardly and thought not to Aunt Mary's it isn't. But there was nothing to be done, so I got out of bed and stood up quickly, unaccustomed to my newly acquired lightweight body. "Now off you go to the bathroom' said Mum, "And then I'll help you to get dressed. And don't forget, it's strictly dresses for the next month for you.' As if I needed reminding. I padded off to the bathroom and took a shower before drying myself and returning to my room.

As I entered the room I looked at the wardrobe and groaned under my breath. Mum was laying out my underwear on the bed, and already hanging on the wardrobe was one of Lucy's more juvenile dresses, more suitable for an 8 year old than a girl of 11. She obviously had Aunt Mary in mind already.

I walked over to the bed and removed my pyjamas, and Mum helped me to dress. I was too concerned about the clothing I was about to put on to care all that much about my drastically altered physical form. Somehow it all seemed to go together naturally, which of course, it did. I'd been dreading this moment, but knew that I had no choice but to go along with this ghastly charade. First came a pair of plain white knickers with little bows on that I was almost relieved to put on, as at least they weren't pink. Mum held them out for me to step into, and as I did so, she pulled them up my legs and arranged them neatly. Next came a white vest, and that too could almost have been mistaken for a boy's vest.

But there was no mistaking the femininity of the next item. I groaned softly as Mum took down the dress from the wardrobe and removed it from its hanger. She held it up for a moment, and I looked at it with a shudder, well aware that it was the very epitome of what little girls are supposed to wear. It was made of white satin, with short puffed sleeves and a peter pan collar. A row of small pearl buttons ran down the back, and there was a babyish smocked pattern across the front. To finish off the little girl look, a broad pink sash went around the waist and tied in a bow at the back.

I couldn't believe that I was actually going to have to put it on, and for a moment thought I could change Mum's mind. "Oh Mum' I said with my newly acquired sister's voice, "Do I have to wear it? I mean, look at it! It's so babyish. Can't I at least wear a dress that's a little bit, well, older if you know what I mean?'

"Well I'm sorry dear' said Mum apologetically, "But in case you've forgotten, you're the one who insisted on sending all your older style dresses with your jeans to the charity shop, which only leaves these rather babyish ones. It was your choice remember, and I'm certainly not going to replace them now. No, you'll just have to go on wearing these. Besides, it pleases Aunt Mary. She particularly liked seeing you wearing this dress last year, so please don't make a fuss.' I knew there was no point in arguing the point, and remembering how Lucy had been made to dress on previous visits, I knew that things were about to get worse. Mum opened up the dress and held it out for me to put on, and with a sigh of capitulation I put my head into it and put my arms through the sleeves. Mum moved behind me and fastened the buttons up my back before tying the sash belt behind me in a neat bow. Looking at me she smiled and said "Well at least it still fits you. Now sit down and I'll put your shoes and socks on.' I sat down, and Mum picked up a pair of white cotton ankle socks and pulled them onto my feet before turning them down neatly at the ankle. My shoes came next. A pair of white leather T bar sandals which fastened with a strap at the side. Mum slipped them onto my feet and fastened the buckles. "Good' she said, "Nearly there. Now for your hair. Sit down in front of the mirror will you poppet?' I sat down on the stool in front of the dressing table mirror, and prepared for the next step towards my transformation into the very picture of a sweet little girl.

Mum opened a drawer and took out a length of pink hair ribbon. Then she started brushing my hair back, leaving a fringe at the front. She pulled my hair back in a single piece, and deftly passed it through a coloured elastic band that she pulled up the bunch of hair until it was close to my scalp. Then, taking the pink ribbon, she wound it round the base of the pony tail and tied it securely in position, leaving two long tails of ribbon hanging prettily down the back. "There we are' she said, "That looks lovely. The ribbon matches the sash on your dress perfectly.' I looked at myself in the mirror and found it hard to believe that the image of a little girl looking back at me was in fact me inside. I almost began to cry with humiliation, but realised that I had no choice but to go along with what my sister had inflicted on me.

"Well there we are' said Mum,' That's you ready. Now let's go down and have some breakfast.' I rose to my feet and she took my hand as if to reassure me as we made our way downstairs. I felt the dress swish against my bare legs as we walked down the stairs and into the kitchen. David was busy laying the table, and turned as came into the room. He looked at me and smiled. "Now that's more like it' he said, "At least you look like a proper girl now. None of that tomboy stuff. And it's nice to see that that dress still fits you from last year. It always was your favourite wasn't it?' His sarcasm was piercing. We both knew only too well how much that as Lucy, she'd absolutely detested wearing it, and how much she'd protested in vain at having to wear it to Aunt Mary's the year before. "And I really like your hair like that' he added with a chuckle, "Such a lovely pink hair ribbon as well. Now that's how a little girl is supposed to look, just as I said to old Sarah Bickford yesterday, remember?' I remembered what I'd arrogantly said the day before as my own words came back to haunt me, and gritted my teeth as he rubbed it in. I looked daggers at him as he added "Aren't you going to just love the next month!' The true meaning of this triumphant point scoring went unnoticed by Mum of course, as we set about having our breakfast.

The meal over, we quickly washed up before getting ready to leave for our drive down to Aunt Mary's. I went upstairs to clean my teeth, and Mum put my wash things into my case before closing the lid. "I haven't put in too many of your own clothes' she explained to me, "Aunt Mary doesn't seem to like most of what you've got, but as you know, she keeps a wardrobe full of the things she likes you to wear.' I knew all right, from what Lucy had said about them during last year's visit. A selection of the most juvenile little girl dresses you could imagine. And this year it was going to be me that would have to wear them! I shuddered at the thought.

Taking a last look around the room, I followed Mum downstairs and out to where David was already sitting in the front seat of the car looking at a road map. I climbed into the back, while Mum put my case into the boot and went back to close the front door of the house. Then she got into the car and we were on our way. David looked back at me over his shoulder and grinned. "Well Lucy' he grinned "Off we go then, holiday time at last.' If looks could kill he'd have been dead on the spot, and I gloomily turned and stared miserably out of the window as I considered what lay ahead.


The sun shone across the beautiful countryside of southern England, and we soon entered the weald of Sussex. Normally I'd have been able to appreciate passing through one of my favourite areas, with its great areas of oak and beech trees, but this time I wasn't in the mood. All I could think about was my terrible predicament and being helpless to do anything about it. From time to time I glanced at David, but that just made it worse as I was always rewarded with a smirk of triumph from my triumphant little sister who now lurked in my body.

The journey took about 3 hours, and as we approached Storrington I could feel myself getting tense at the prospect of soon being alone in the tender care of Aunt Mary. Knowing what our previous visits had been like, I could understand why Lucy hadn't been looking forward to this one. But we arrived at last, and soon we were climbing out of the car before walking up the path to Aunt Mary's front door. Mum knocked, and a moment later Aunt Mary opened the door and with a smile kissed Mum and asked us to come in.

Aunt Mary was a strict lady and looked it. Tall, good-looking and strong, you always had the feeling that on her territory she was definitely in charge. Her house was tidy and spotless, and it was obvious that she was definitely of the old school. As Mum's older sister, she still seemed to dominate even her. Scary. But she certainly knew her etiquette, and as we made ourselves at home, she invited us out into the garden. We hadn't seen her for a year, so she and Mum had lots to talk about. But as we went outside, she looked at me and smiled approvingly. "And how's little Lucy?' she said, "You've only grown a little bit since last year, so you'll still be my little niece for a while yet I think. I'm glad to see that you're wearing my favourite dress down here again. It really is lovely. You're quite the picture, rather like that painting of the little girls by Joshua Reynolds.' I squirmed inwardly, and David caught my eye with a stifled chuckle as he knew how utterly humiliated I must be feeling. Then she turned to David and commented how handsome he was becoming, before the conversation turned to other matters. I was suddenly reminded what it's like to be a small child, where you are virtually ignored and expected to be seen and not heard. So as the conversation droned on I broke away from the others, and wandered off down the garden, deep in thought at my predicament. David decided to use this opportunity to have a private conversation with me. He soon caught up with me and said "Well dear brother, how does it feel to be a cute little girl wearing nice babyish dresses for a month?' I didn't answer. "Now you'll find out what I've had to go through every summer for the last few years' he continued, "Except being on your own with Aunt Mary, I reckon it will be ten times worse than before. I have to admit, all this time I've spent studying the mystic arts with old Sarah have certainly paid off haven't they? I'm going to scout camp as a boy (which I've always wanted to be anyway), while you spend it here as my cute little sister. Well, that'll teach you not to try and lord it over me as you have done, won't it? I never imagined something like this would be possible, and I'm going to enjoy every minute of it. Just wait till she makes you go with her into town looking like an 8 year old, you're going to absolutely hate it, take it from me.' Suddenly I turned and glared at him and said "Look, you've got your way. You're going to camp, which is a trip I was really looking forward to, while you've landed me in your stupid little girl's body to spend a horrendous month in Aunt Mary's tender care. Don't forget, I've seen how she treats you like a little girl on previous holidays, so I've got a pretty good idea what I'm in for. So stop crowing and let me suffer in peace will you? All I want is for you to go home and leave me to get on with it!' David looked at me, grinned for a moment, and then with a shrug said "OK sis, I'll leave you to your fate. But I must admit, I'll be thinking of you all the time. The idea of you taking my place just seems such a perfect punishment for the way you made fun of me. As you said to Sarah, (and I quote), I don't think a month wearing pretty dresses under the control of Aunt Mary does her any harm. Remember? Those were your very words, so now you can see what it's like for yourself, and it serves you right. Enjoy your holiday little girl, won't you?' With that, David turned on his heel and walked back up the garden to join the others, while I stood there, tearfully eating my own words. A few minutes later Mum called out "Come on Lucy, it's time for lunch.' I walked slowly up the garden and went into the house. The table was already laid in the dining room, and we sat down to eat. In my newly acquired smaller body I was reminded how much more awkward it is to eat at the table when you're just not quite as big as you'd like to be, and how large the cutlery can feel in your hand, but I managed. Aunt Mary was as good a cook as she was efficient in everything else, and we enjoyed a very nice salad lunch, followed by fruit and ice cream. Everyone drank wine except me of course, and even David was allowed a small glass, while I was limited to orange juice. I stared enviously at David as he sipped at his wine being quite the grown up. Lunch over, we washed up in the kitchen before Aunt Mary suggested we might like to go for a stroll around the village, so we set off. I was acutely aware of how conspicuous I looked, and as we passed a couple of village girls of about my age I could hear their sniggering as they saw how ridiculous I must feel in such a childish outfit. Little did I realise that far worse lay ahead over the next month. After we'd walked just beyond the edge of the village, Mum said that we'd better get back so that they could head for home. So we made our way back to Aunt Mary's and they prepared to leave. Mum took my case up to my room, and we then went downstairs and out of the front door, where we gathered around the car to say our farewells. As we were talking I heard a rumble of thunder coming from a darkening sky. Mum looked up, and then looking at me said "Oh darn it, we forgot to bring Lucy's raincoat.' "Don't worry' said Aunt Mary, taking immediate control of the situation, "I'll take her into town tomorrow and buy her a new one.' "All right then. Just as well actually, she's just about grown out of her old one. Just a minute, I'll give you something for it.' Mum opened her purse and gave Aunt Mary some money, and then before getting into the car, she kissed me and said "Now Lucy, I want you to be on your best behaviour, do everything that Aunt Mary says, and enjoy yourself.' Some hope of that, I thought wryly. David gave me a peck on the forehead and said with a grin "Have fun little girl, won't you?' Only the two of us knew the significance of that, and I glared back at his parting shot of fun at my expense.

A moment later the car pulled away, and they were soon out of sight. Aunt Mary and I went back into the house, and we sat down in the lounge together. She quietly read a magazine while I flicked through a book of girl's stories that of course didn't interest me a bit. After about an hour, Aunt Mary said "Well, let's go upstairs and unpack your things. Then I'll make us some tea.' We went up to my room where my case lay on the bed, and I opened it. As usual, Aunt Mary checked every item as I took it out, but by now, Mum knew what sort of thing Aunt Mary would disapprove of, so the only item she took exception to was a pair of sneakers. "Too tomboyish' she said disapprovingly, and put them aside.

"Now then Lucy' she said, opening the wardrobe door, "You don't seem to have grown much since last year, so I'm sure that these things will still fit you.' I went up to the wardrobe and looked inside. My worst fears were realised as I saw a neat row of the most juvenile dresses and frocks that would have been the delight of any 8 year old little girl. Except these were going to fit me. In the bottom of the wardrobe was a neat row of childish sandals and mary jane style shoes of various colours, and even a pair of black shiny wellington boots, all ready for use.

Aunt Mary took me over to the dresser, and opened the drawers to reveal neat piles of vests and knickers, together with socks of varying colours. In the top drawer was a plentiful supply of hair ribbons and other accessories, together with a couple of hair brushes. I looked across at the bed and noticed a pink wincyette nightdress neatly folded and resting on my pillow. The room certainly lacked nothing to supply the needs of a little girl, but not an 11 year old boy!

Aunt Mary closed my case and put it on top of the wardrobe, and then took me downstairs for tea. She took my sneakers outside and locked them away, and then came back into the kitchen to prepare tea while I laid the kitchen table. We weren't particularly hungry after our lunch, so I was more than happy with just some sandwiches and cake with some ginger beer and a cup of tea. Tea out of the way, we washed up and put away the tea things before settling down to watch TV. She chose what we watched of course, and I was soon trying unsuccessfully to immerse myself in the world of a fictional girl's boarding school, hardly great fare for someone who's really an 11 year old boy. But I knew that Aunt Mary always had to approve of what we watched, so I didn't have the energy to ask for a change of programme. Finally Aunt Mary looked at the mantelpiece clock and said "Well young lady, time for bed for you I think. Go upstairs and get undressed and I'll be up in a minute.'

Although it was a little early even for an 11 year old, I was tired after the day's events, and willingly made my way up to my room. I stood there for a moment, looking at myself in the wardrobe's full-length mirror. I still couldn't believe what I saw, but I knew that the little girl looking back at me really was me. I was stuck like this for the next month. With a sigh I sat down on the bed, unbuckled my sandals, and removed them before pulling off my socks. I stood up again, and reaching behind me, pulled the bow of my sash belt undone before starting to try and unfasten the buttons down my back. This turned out to be almost impossible. I twisted and turned in frustration, but my unpractised fingers were completely unable to undo even one button. After gyrating round the room in frustration I gave up, and going to the door called out "Aunty Mary? can you come up here please? I can't get my dress undone.' There was a moment's pause before she replied "All right dear, I'm coming.'

She came upstairs and into the room and said "What's the matter? can't you unfasten your dress?'

"No' I said plaintively, "I can't reach the buttons.'

"Good heavens' she said with a smile, "11 years old and you can't undo buttons down the back yet? How on earth do you get dressed in the morning? Don't tell me your mother still has to do it for you.'

"Well it's not that. It's just that I don't wear dresses like this at home.'

"Oh don't you?' she said, "Well you'd better start getting used to it, because that's all you'll be wearing while you're here. Very well then, turn around and stand still.' She quickly unfastened the buttons of my dress and as I raised my arms, I gratefully pulled the dress off over my head. I then stepped out of my knickers and pulled off my vest. Aunt Mary picked up my nightdress and put it on over my head while I put my arms into the sleeves. Somehow it felt warm and comfortable, despite the fact that it was a girl's nightdress. Then I reminded myself that to all intents and purposes I must remember that I was a girl, at least for the time being.

I went along to the bathroom and brushed my teeth before returning to my bedroom, where I climbed into bed and Aunt Mary tucked me in. Somehow she didn't seem quite so strict as she kissed me goodnight. "Sleep tight Lucy' she smiled, "I'll leave the door open and the landing light on, and I'll be in my room next door if you need me. Night night dear.' With that, she switched off my bedroom light and went downstairs.

I lay there staring up at the dimly lit ceiling for a while, still hardly able to believe how I'd become my 11 year old little sister, about to stay with Aunty Mary in the country for a month. I wondered what the next few days held, but my imagination wasn't up to it. Just as well. Soon I drifted off and was far away in the land of Nod.


I woke up and looked out of the window to see dark clouds racing across the sky. We were obviously in for some rain, and I lay there for a few minutes watching them until Aunt Mary came into the room saying "Good morning Lucy. It looks as if it's going to be wet today, so I think we'd better go into Worthing and get you your new mackintosh. Now go and have a wash while I find you something to wear. Then I'll help you dress. After last night, it seems that I'll have to help you, won't I? Now off you go.' I got out of bed and headed off to the bathroom, and by the time I returned, my clothes were laid out for me. I groaned inwardly when I saw what they were like. I knew I wasn't going to enjoy this one little bit, and kept saying to myself just try and remember you're a girl.

"Right then' said Aunt Mary, holding up a pair of pink cotton knickers, "In you get.' I stepped into them and she pulled them up my legs and arranged them tidily. Next she helped me into my vest and tucked it neatly into my knickers at the waist. "Now' she said, taking a dress off its hanger and holding it up for me to put on, "Let's see how you look wearing this.' I put my head and arms into it, and she pulled it down around me. It only took her a few minutes to fasten the buttons down the back and carefully tie the belt behind me in a neat bow. Knowing I'd be unable to unfasten the buttons behind me by myself, I felt as if I'd been trapped in a little girl straight jacket.

Aunt Mary sat me down on the edge of the bed and pulled a pair of white cotton ankle socks onto my feet. Then she went over to the wardrobe and took out the pair of black shiny wellington boots. "I think you'd better wear these today' she said, "They've forecast rain for this afternoon, and besides, they'll go with your new mac. Now stand up and put your foot in.' I stood up and she held one boot steady while I put my foot into it. I pushed down hard, and with a plop my foot suddenly slid into the bottom. Then we repeated the exercise with the other foot. Aunt Mary looked at me and grinned slightly. "Well I must say' she said, "Those boots don't really go with that delicate little dress, but never mind, they'll be fine once you've got your new mackintosh.' She was right, It certainly was a delicate dress. It was in much the same very little girl style as the one I'd worn the day before, but this time it was pink, with small rosebuds across the front instead of a smocking pattern.

Aunt Mary looked at me for a moment, and then said "Sit down at the dresser dear, I must do something about your hair.' I sat down obediently, looking at myself in the mirror while she started brushing my hair thoughtfully. Suddenly she brightened up and said "I know. Plaits are what you need. Yes, a nice pair of plaits. Just the thing for keeping your hair tidy, and so appropriate for little girls.' I groaned, remembering how keen she'd been to make Lucy wear her hair in pigtails last year, and I knew just how much she'd absolutely detested it. For a tomboy like her it was the ultimate insult, and now it was going to be my turn. Knowing that any protest would fall on deaf ears, I made myself ready.

Aunt Mary brushed my hair several times before taking a large comb and parting it down the centre, dividing it into two equal bunches. Then she took hold of one of them, divided it into three lengths, and began plaiting it. As she made the first fold over, she pulled my hair tightly, and a pain shot across my scalp. "Ow!' I said involuntarily, "Please Aunt Mary, that hurts. It's too tight.'

"Don't be silly' she replied briskly, "That's how it's got to be done or it'll be untidy. Now sit still or I'll have to start again.' The plait pulled so tightly at first that I felt as if I'd never be able to close my eyes, but after a few minutes I began to get used to it as it began to feel simply tight but not painful. When she'd reached the end of the plait, she picked up an elastic band and wound it around the plait to stop it from coming undone. Then she started on the other one, and before long I had pair of perfectly matching pigtails in typical schoolgirl fashion. Next came my hair ribbons. "Now let me see' said Aunt Mary, looking in the top drawer, "Pink I think, to match your dress.' She took out two lengths of pink hair ribbon, and in a couple of minutes the ends of my pigtails were decorated with two matching sized bows of pink hair ribbon tightly tied around them.

"And now for the finishing touch' she said, reaching into the drawer and taking out two white plastic hair slides in the form of two small bows. She carefully slid each one into place on either side of my head and clicked them firmly into place. "There we are' she said, admiring her handiwork, "Lovely, absolutely perfect.' She brought the two plaits forward so that they hung down either side of my face, with the hair ribbons on the ends resting on my chest at the front. I looked at myself in the mirror and could well understand why Lucy had so hated wearing her hair in pigtails. With the style of the dress I felt more like a 6 year old than an 11 year old. Oh well I thought wearily, better get used to it mate.

But at least Aunt Mary was pleased as she said "All right Lucy, that's you ready for the day. Now let's go down and have some breakfast. I want to get to the shops and get you into your new mackintosh before that rain starts.'

We went downstairs into the kitchen, and were soon tucking into a sustaining breakfast of cereals, eggs and bacon, and toast and marmalade, washed down with cups of tea. I was well set up for the day. As soon as we'd eaten, we quickly washed up and put away the breakfast things. Now the time had come for me to venture out in public in my new physical form of an 11 year old girl. I went upstairs to clean my teeth, and when I came downstairs again, Aunt Mary was putting on a red tartan rubberised mackintosh with a hood, and taking a bright blue umbrella out of a stand in the hallway. She looked at me and smiled. "All ready?' she said, "It hasn't started raining yet, so I think you'll be all right in just your dress until we get into town. If it starts to rain you can use my umbrella. My hood will keep my head dry.' She fastened the belt of her mac, opened the front door, and we stepped outside.

The warm wind didn't feel particularly uncomfortable in my lightweight summer dress, and we set off down the street to the bus stop. We stood there waiting for the bus into Worthing, and soon two ladies joined us in the queue. For a moment I still felt awkward standing there dressed as a sweet little girl, especially conscious of the humiliating pigtails in my hair. But then I remembered that to all intents and purposes I was a little girl, and even Aunt Mary had no idea that I was not in fact what I seemed to be. I almost smiled to myself at the deception, and began to relax a little as I realised that my appearance was completely appropriate to my appearance. Well, if I was going to be stuck as a little girl for a month, I might as well enjoy the novelty. Let's face it, it was certainly going to be a unique experience. I decided to make the best of it, and enjoy the challenge of trying to be as realistic a little girl as I could.

"Do please try and stand nicely dear.' The voice of Aunt Mary brought me abruptly to my senses, and I realised that I was standing in typical boyish fashion with my legs crossed over casually, and leaning on the side of the bus shelter with my arms crossed. This wouldn't do at all. I immediately tried to remember how Lucy and her friends used to stand, and detaching myself from the bus shelter, stood up straight, put my feet together, and held my hands loosely together in front of me, hoping that I'd got it right. Apparently I had, as Aunt Mary said "That's better' approvingly. I realised that this deception was going to need all my concentration and observation. Suddenly I realised that I needed a crash course in deportment, and began to observe the mannerisms and deportment of girls with interest. A few moments later the bus arrived and we climbed aboard. Aunt Mary and I sat down just inside the door, facing the two ladies sitting opposite.

It seemed that my appearance met with everyone's approval except mine. After a few minutes, one of the ladies said to Aunt Mary "That's a lovely dress she's wearing. Special occasion?'

"No, not particularly' replied Aunt Mary, "I just like my niece to look nice.'

"Well she certainly does' said the woman, "It makes such a pleasant change to see a little girl actually looking like a girl these days, what with some of the awful things they wear these days.'

"My feelings precisely. Lucy only stays with me for one month in the year during the summer holidays, but at least when she's with me she behaves like a young lady.' I cringed with embarrassment at the thought of me as a "young lady'. Hell, if she'd only known that I was really her nephew David! I smiled slightly at the deception.

The women continued their conversation in much the same vein, decrying the lowering of standards from when they were young, and I began to realise how lucky I was to have been born when I was, despite my present predicament.

We eventually reached the bus stop opposite the pier on Worthing sea front, and as we got off the bus Aunt Mary said goodbye to the two women before turning to me and smiling. "Yes' she said, "You certainly do look like a proper little girl. Now let's go and find the raincoat shop.' We set off towards the main shopping centre, and in a short while reached a shopping arcade. "Here we are Lucy' said Aunt Mary, "It's just down here.' Just as well, because at that moment the heavens opened and it began to pour with rain. We walked down the arcade, and stopped outside Kendalls, a shop selling raincoats, umbrellas and wellingtons. Everything you could possibly need to keep dry. Aunt Mary opened the door and we went in.

It was an Aladdin's cave of rainwear of every description, and my nostrils picked up a strong smell of poplin, gaberdine, plastic and rubber. Racks of raincoats of every description surrounded us, with neat rows of wellington boots lined up underneath. A large display of colourful umbrellas ran across the end wall.

"Good afternoon madam' said a young shop assistant, coming out from behind the counter, "Can I help you?'

"Yes please' said Aunt Mary, "I need a mackintosh for my niece here.'

"Certainly' said the girl, giving me a friendly smile. "Now let me see, these are very popular with the young girls at the moment.' She went across to one rack, and working her way along, she suddenly stopped and said "Yes, here we are, how about this one?' She pulled out a brightly coloured blue PVC raincoat with a floral pattern of red and yellow flowers, and held it up in one hand while holding up a matching rain hat with the other. It was certainly colourful, and guaranteed to drive away those rainy day blues. I could well understand why any young girl would enjoy wearing it, but as far as Aunt Mary was concerned, I wasn't just any young girl. Her look of slight disapproval told me everything. "Hmmm' she said with a slight frown, "No, that's not really what I had in mind. I'm looking for something more traditional. I expect you know the style, a proper waterproof mackintosh made of rubberised cotton with a satinette finish. They're double breasted with a belt, and have an attached hood with a button fastening under the chin.'

"Oh yes of course,' said the assistant, "I know the ones you mean. They used to be very popular, and nearly every little girl wore one. We don't have quite so much demand for that style these days, but we do still keep them in stock.' She went over to a large rack of raincoats, looked at me, and said "Let's see, how about this one?' She pulled a red mackintosh from the rack and held it up. It was almost exactly what Aunt Mary had described, who nodded as she said "Yes, that's just what I'm looking for, but I'd like it to be about one size too big so that it will cover her properly, and she can grow into it.'

"Certainly' said the assistant, putting the mackintosh aside and taking another one from the rack. She came over to me and said "Here you are dear, try this on.' Aunt Mary stepped forward and rearranged my plaits so that they hung down my back as the shop assistant held the mac up for me to put on, and I reluctantly put my arms into the sleeves. She stood in front of me, fastened the buttons up to the neck, and then threaded the belt through the buckle before feeding it through the keeper to keep it tidy. The sleeves came down as far as my fingers, and the hem hung down several inches below my knees. I felt very small, and even younger than I actually was.

"Very good' said Aunt Mary approvingly, "Now let's just see how it looks with the hood up, shall we?' She stepped up to me and pulled up the hood, buttoned it securely under my chin, and pulled the hood well forward. It was of a style that used to be the standard pattern with girl's regulation school mackintosh hoods, with a square cut about 4 inches long running across the top at the back of the head. She stepped back, looked at me and said "Oh yes, that'll do nicely I think.' I looked at myself in the full-length mirror, and with my face peeping out demurely from under the mackintosh hood, it was hard not to believe that it was being worn by a little girl of about eight. The mackintosh looked very juvenile, and I didn't envy Lucy being condemned to wear it for the next couple of years.

The shop assistant looked at me for a moment, and pleased to have made her sale said "There you are dear, that'll keep you nice and dry.'

"It certainly will' said Aunt Mary, "We'll take it. How much is that?'

She paid the bill, and a moment later we stepped out into the arcade. As we reached the entrance facing the sea front I unbuttoned the hood of my mackintosh with the intention of taking off the humiliatingly juvenile style little girl's mackintosh, but Aunt Mary saw me and was having none of it. She quickly pulled my hands away and said "Don't be silly Lucy, it's still raining, so keep your mac on. And that includes your hood.' She refastened it under my chin, and pulled it well forward. I peered out demurely from under it, hating every moment. The mackintosh smelt of rubber, and the idea of having to wear it filled me with dismay. As we came out into the open street opposite the pier it was still pouring quite heavily, and I felt and heard the rain drumming on my mackintosh and running down my bare legs into my wellingtons, soaking my feet.

"Now then " said Aunt Mary, looking at me approvingly, "That's got that sorted out. I must say Lucy, you look very much as I used to look in the rain when I was a little girl. My mac was just like yours, and actually, you look quite sweet with that hood framing your face. Now let's go for a walk along the sea front before we have some lunch, shall we?'

And so we set off along the sea front, the wind blowing against our faces and the rain lashing down. What possessed Aunt Mary to want to go for a walk along the sea front in the wind and the pouring rain escapes me, but that was what she wanted, so that was what she got. I must admit that my newly acquired mackintosh and rubber boots did a pretty good job of keeping the weather out, but nonetheless I still felt humiliated in the body of my little sister as I peeped out demurely from under the hood of my mackintosh. We walked along the promenade for about 15 minutes with my mac slapping against my bare legs going schlock schlock before Aunt Mary said "All right, I think we'd better turn back. Let's go and have some lunch.' We retraced our steps, and were soon back in the centre of town. We walked up the road for a few minutes until we reached Lyons Corner House, an old fashioned looking cafe opposite the town hall.

Aunt Mary was obviously familiar with the place, and led the way into the warm, large cafe that smelt of lunch. We walked ahead to the end of the room and reached a vacant table, where Aunt Mary turned to me, unfastened the hood of my new mackintosh and threw it back. Then she unfastened my mac and removed it before she removed her own mac and hung them both up on a nearby coat stand. Then we both sat down at our table, both facing into the room.

Suddenly revealed to public view dressed in a sweet little pink dress, with my white ankle socks and pigtails, I panicked for a moment until I remembered that to all the world I actually was a little girl, and should try and act as naturally as possible. For a moment I thought enviously of Lucy masquerading as me, going on the ship to the Isle of Man, and probably gloating at this trick of fate. I ground my teeth in humiliated frustration, but then realised that since there was absolutely nothing I could do about it, it would be best to simply go along with it and be Lucy as best as I could, and bide my time until we were switched back again. Then I'd teach her a thing or two! My eventual revenge was the one thing that enabled me to keep my self-control. "Now then Lucy' said Aunt Mary, interrupting my thoughts, "What would you like for lunch? You can have shepherd's pie, fish and chips, or salad. Which would you prefer?' After the day's events the last thing I'd thought about was food, but suddenly realised that I was hungry, so chose shepherd's pie. It was interesting to find that my liking for my favourite dish had accompanied me into my sister's body, particularly since I knew she would have chosen salad. Curious. As we sat there waiting for our lunch to arrive, I looked around me and almost smiled at the deception. There I was, an 11 year old full blooded boy who loved nothing better than to smash his way through a football defence, sitting demurely as an 11 year old little girl with her aunty, dressed in a sweet little girl's frock with her hair in plaits and a pair of children's black shiny wellies on her feet. I almost burst out laughing at the absurdity of it until I realised that this was something I was going to have to live with for the next month. Yuck.

Our lunch arrived, and I attacked mine with gusto, frequently admonished by Aunt Mary regarding my unladylike table manners. It seems that my ingrained habits had accompanied me into Lucy's body. But it certainly tasted good, and after consuming an ice cream with chocolate sauce on top of it I felt much better.

Our meal over, we rose, and Aunt Mary took down my mackintosh from the coat stand and held it up while I obediently slipped my arms into it. It was still wet, and I hated the clammy feel of it. Then she fastened me into it as if I was a toddler, before she arranged the hood so that it hung neatly down my back, with my two plaits hanging over the top. We went to the cashier's desk, where she paid for our meal before we went out into the high street again.

Aunt Mary is a bit of a bookworm, and we soon entered a bookshop, where she soon became engrossed in various books while I wandered along the shelves. Soon I found a section of boy's books, and quickly became engrossed in some ripping yarns, much beloved by boys. Much more interesting than girly tales of fairies and school chums. I was just becoming absorbed in a bloodthirsty tale of Britain's past military glories in the Sudan when the familiar voice of Aunt Mary came over my shoulder. "Good heavens Lucy, you don't want to read about such horrid things. I see I must take greater care with what you read. Now come along, we must be on our way home.'

I reluctantly put the book back on the shelf and accompanied her out of the store. By now it had started raining again, and so I once more had to endure the humiliation of having my mackintosh hood put up by Aunt Mary, who secured it firmly on with the button fastening under my chin. Somehow I felt so humiliated as I peeped out from under it like any other little girl, which to me anyway, I certainly wasn't. I blushed with embarrassment as we set off through the rain swept streets, and soon arrived back at the bus stop where we'd got off earlier. I stood there demurely like a little girl, my feet neatly together and my hands in my mackintosh pockets while we waited for our bus.

After about 15 minutes our bus arrived and we climbed aboard. I hated the rubbery smell and feeling of my damp mackintosh hood closely surrounded my face, and was relieved that Aunt Mary didn't object when I unfastened it and threw it back over my shoulders.

The bus journey home completed, we arrived back in Storrington and walked back to Aunt Mary's house. We went inside and took off our wet macs that we hung up in the hall before we went into the lounge. Aunt Mary looked at me feet and said "Well I don't think you'll need to wear your wellingtons any more today Lucy. Pop upstairs and bring down a pair of shoes to change into.' I was relieved at the suggestion, and ran up to my room, where I opened my wardrobe and looked over my collection of footwear. The trouble was they were all very little girlish in style, and in the end I chose a pair of juvenile looking black T bar sandals. I took them downstairs, and Aunt Mary pulled off my wellingtons and replaced them with the sandals, firmly fastened on with the buckles at the side of the foot.

We spent a while talking, until Aunt Mary switched on the radio to listen to her favourite woman's hour programme. I was of course expected to sit there quietly listening with her, and although utterly disinterested in the programme, I did as she expected. The programme over, we went into the kitchen, where she prepared our tea while I laid the table, trying to be the ever attentive and polite little niece. Some hope! But our tea of mushrooms on toast, bread and jam and cake went down well, washed down with orange squash and a cup of tea. Tea over, Aunt Mary made me put on a white frilly Alice in Wonderland style apron, and I helped with the washing up. That done, we went back into the lounge, where Aunt Mary switched on the television, and we watched the news, followed by a couple of comedy programmes.

Eventually, Aunt Mary looked at the mantlepiece clock and said "Come along Lucy, it's time you were in bed.' Bed? At 8 o'clock? But I wasn't against the idea by then, as I was not only tired after the stressful emotions of the day, but eager to be on my own.

We went upstairs to my room for me to undress for bed. As Aunt Mary unfastened the buttons of my dress down my back she said "You really must learn to fasten and unfasten the buttons of your dresses yourself Lucy. And how to tie your belt in a neat bow behind you. And I also think it's time you learnt to plait your pigtails by yourself as well. We'll make that our task tomorrow morning. You'll soon get the hang of it.' Great I thought sarcastically, I'm going to learn to do up my dresses and put my hair in plaits with cute little bows on the end. Yuck!

I was soon in bed, and had little trouble drifting off to sleep. I certainly was tired.


I leave the rest of my stay with Aunt Mary to your imagination. Let's just say that for any boy it was about the ultimate in humiliation. No boy likes to be dressed as a girl, even for a few hours in a school play. How much worse then for me, where I was not only trapped in my little sister's body, but made to be the very picture of a cute demure little girl at the incessant insistence of Aunt Mary. Nothing could have been better calculated to give my sister Lucy full revenge for the way I'd teased her in the same situation in the past.

Naturally, I was expected to make friends with some of the other little girls of the village and join in their tea parties and other girlish pursuits, while I looked at the boys with envy as I saw them kicking footballs and climbing trees. All off limits to me of course. That month was a continuous round of walking through the streets in the most babyish of little girl dresses, with my hair in pigtails, and my feet usually encased in white ankle socks and mary jane type shoes or sandals of various colours. Needless to say, I frequently had to wear the hated little girl style mackintosh, and when Aunt Mary used to put the hood up I used to feel particularly embarrassed, as I knew how cute and demure it made me look.

And visiting certainly didn't make it better either. Aunt Mary used to delight in dragging me round to her friend's houses for tea, where they used to compliment her on how sweet I looked. Even worse than that, many of them had daughters of their own, and those girls used to take great pleasure in teasing me about my babyish appearance. Little girls can be very catty and cruel, especially when there are no adults around to hear them.

But despite that, I learnt to endure everything as I patiently counted the days to my return home, where I would at last be restored to my own body and more dignified status. As each day passed I compensated my feeling of continued humiliation by planning what I would do to Lucy the moment we were changed back. I dreamed of being able to inflict a degree of humiliating teasing on her that would make the past seem like a picnic. Or so I thought.

The weeks ticked by slowly, and then it was only a matter of days until I heaved a sigh of relief when Mum finally arrived to take me home.

One of the ways in which I intended to get my revenge on Lucy was to tell Aunt Mary that I loved my dresses and mackintosh so much that I wanted to take them home with me to wear all the time? Aunt Mary readily agreed, and I could well imagine how Lucy would feel about that idea when she found out what I'd set up for her! I positively gloated with glee to myself as I imagined her indignation at being made to wear pretty little childish dresses all the time, especially now that I knew that inwardly, she hadn't really changed her repugnance at being dressed as a cute little girl. And as for the childish little mackintosh, well, I couldn't wait to see her face when she found herself wearing that! She'd be the laughing stock of all the kids in the village, and I could hardly wait. I kept chuckling to myself as I imagined how she'd feel when she found out. But, as someone once said, "If something can go wrong, it will.'

When Mum arrived she was as happy as Aunt Mary to hear that I actually wanted to take my wardrobe of childish dresses home with me. And when she saw the mackintosh that Aunt Mary had selected and my enthusiasm for wearing it, she was delighted at this seeming miraculous change in her daughter's behaviour. To add to her pleasure, and so as to leave Lucy in a situation she was going to absolutely hate, I told her that from now on I insisted on wearing my hair in little girl plaits with ribbons on the end. She couldn't have been more pleased. I of course knew that the more enthusiastic I sounded now, the harder it would be for Lucy to apparently change her mind once she was again trapped securely back in her own body. I couldn't wait.

With the new additions to my wardrobe safely packed into a large suitcase, Mum and I said goodbye to Aunt Mary, and set off on the drive home. I sat in my seat, smiling complacently to myself as I anticipated Lucy's reaction to her new wardrobe. I could just imagine her having to go shopping with Mum in the pink dress that I'd found so utterly humiliating to wear, with a cute pair of pigtails hanging down her back. And as for having to wear that mackintosh as well, I grinned at how I was going to tease her about that!

The miles sped by as I impatiently waited to meet up with my "brother' again, and let him discover what he was in for. On the way I reinforced my wish to Mum that I was to wear the little girl dresses and have my hair in plaits from now on, and that no matter how much I might protest in future, she wasn't to take no for an answer. I really laid it on thick, and by the time we arrived home, there was no chance that Lucy would be able to dissuade her from ensuring that she remained demurely presented as a little girl.

We arrived home, and as Mum and I struggled up the path with my wardrobe of recently acquired clothes, David opened the door and helped us. We took the cases up to my room, and impatient to return to my true form I went out into the garden with him and said "Well, how was scout camp? Good?'

"Good? It was great' he said, "Fantastic. We built bridges, had campfires and everything. I'll tell you what, camping is just the best!'

"Yes I know' I said dryly, "But you've had your fun now, so when do we go and see old Sarah and get back to how we were?' David looked at me for a moment, and then grinned. "Back?' he said, "What do you mean by back?' "Oh don't be daft' I said, "You know what I mean. When is Sarah going to switch us back into our own bodies again?' "Switch back?' he said with a broad smile, "I don't know what you mean. All I know is that you're my little sister Lucy and I'm your brother David. So what's the problem?'

"Look, stop acting simple Lucy' I said, "The month is over, you've had your fun, and it's time to change back. You agreed.' David looked at me and said "Yes, I suppose I did, didn't I? But you see, I've always longed to be a boy, and for the last month I've never been happier. This body suits me just fine, so I'm afraid I'm just going to hang on to it. If you think for one moment I'm going to go back into that cute little girl body you can think again.'

A chill went through me. This was something I hadn't anticipated. My sister intended to stay in my body, which left me stuck as a little girl of 11 indefinitely! For a moment my head raced as I tried to gather together all my powers of persuasion. "But you can't!' I exclaimed, "You can't do this to me!'

"Oh yes I can' he said, looking at me triumphantly, knowing that he held all the trumps, "As long as somebody inhabits my body I don't see any problem, and being my brother, you know enough about me to carry it off.'

But I don't want to be a little girl!' I wailed in desperation, "I'm a boy!'

"Of course you're not' grinned David, "You're my little sister Lucy Turner aren't you? So I suggest you just get used to the idea. Oh and by the way, old Sarah Bickford's moved back to be with her relatives up north, so there's no way you can change back anyway. Mind you, before she left she gave me the potion for turning us back again, just in case I decide I want to be a girl again after all. Which at the moment I don't.'

She looked at me and began to chuckle as I gasped at this revelation. I couldn't believe it. Being a little girl for a month had at least been bearable with the prospect of being turned back into myself at the end of it, but now, to face the prospect as a permanent arrangement, well, that was quite different, and tears began to run down my face. But there was even worse to come. It suddenly occurred to me that to maintain our present status indefinitely would mean us going on to secondary school in our present state, and I couldn't imagine Lucy wanting to go through life at a boy's high school with its tough regime. I was wrong. "Look' I said as persuasively as possible, "You know I'm due to go to the boy's high school next month. Have you any idea what it's like being a new boy at a school like that? It's tough as anything. You'd hate it. I've been speaking to Harry and John, who are in their second year there, and they said it's really horrible. Inside, you're still a girl, and I know you just couldn't handle it. So why don't you just change us back and save yourself the trouble? It's no fun, believe me.' Nice try dear brother' she grinned, "Except for one thing. You're supposed to be going to the boy's high school as a day boy, but because of the way I've misbehaved over the last few years, Mum's sending me to Santa Maria Convent as a boarder to make me more ladylike, and there's no way I'm going through with that. I was desperate to find a way out of going there, and now you've given me the perfect opportunity. I can't think of anything better than for you to go there in my place, and I think it's a wonderful idea. No, this situation's just perfect. I know I can handle being a new boy at the high school, and you can endure the pleasure of life in a girl's boarding school. I know where I'd rather be, and I don't intend it's going to be there.'

She looked at me and I knew there was nothing more to be said. Then I suddenly remembered the way I'd been insisting to Mum that as Lucy I wanted to dress in the most babyish of dresses and have my hair kept in cute pigtails, with the idea of the real Lucy having to put up with it. Now my plan had completely backfired, and it would be me that would have to continue appearing as a sweet little girl. Indefinitely. I cursed myself for trying to be so clever.

There was obviously no way that I was going to change Lucy's mind, and I disconsolately walked back into the house and went up to my room. I looked into my wardrobe and saw that Mum had already hung the dresses I'd brought back from Aunt Mary's. A row of the most girlish little dresses you can imagine, and they were all just for me. I took one of them out and looked at it. It was the pale pink one with little rosebuds all over it. Yuck. With a sigh I hung the dress back in the wardrobe and closed the door. Then I walked downstairs, and paused for a moment as I saw my new red mackintosh already hanging on the coat stand in the hall where Mum had put it. Double yuck. But there was now absolutely nothing I could now do about my present situation unless the real Lucy chose to switch us back, and as things were, there wasn't much hope of that.

I went into the kitchen to where Mum was preparing tea. "Oh Lucy, there you are' she said with a smile. "I've received your school uniform list from Santa Maria Convent, so I think we'd better go up to London to the school outfitters tomorrow and get what you'll be needing. It's quite a lot, so David can come too to help carry the bags. We bought his new uniform last week, so he's already fixed up with what he needs.' Great, I thought bitterly, my sister occupying my body will be happily wearing my trousers, tie and blazer, while I'll be wearing some ghastly girl's school uniform. I'd seen the Santa Maria Convent school uniform before, and the idea of having to wear it made me shudder. But I mentally shrugged my shoulders with resignation and meekly said "OK Mum.' At least I knew when I was beaten.

Tea was a pretty quiet affair. I kept looking at my erstwhile little sister, now my big brother, with envy, as I began to realise how she must have regarded me for all these years, and for the first time I was truly sorry for all the teasing I'd indulged in. But it was far too late now. Here I was in the body of a little girl of 11, dressed in a sweet little dress with my hair in pigtails, about to go to a girl's convent boarding school for as long as Lucy chose to keep me there. And there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. I realised that my fate lay completely in her hands, and that any attempt to threaten her would just antagonise her, and make my chances of a return to my normal sense non-existent. So I decide that I had no choice but to get used to my new status until something happened to persuade her to return us to the status quo. For the moment the chance of that happening was zero, and I knew it.


Next morning was wet. When I woke up I lay in bed looking at the rain running down the window. Great day to go shopping I thought sarcastically, as I remembered that we were going up to London to buy my Santa Maria Convent school uniform. Not something I was going to enjoy. But soon Mum popped her head around my bedroom door and said "Come on Lucy, stir your stumps, we've got lots to do today.' I gave a grunt of resignation and got out of bed before walking along the landing to the bathroom for a shower. Clean as a new pin, I returned to my bedroom and with a sigh opened a drawer and took out a pair of white cotton briefs with a vest to match.

I opened my wardrobe, looked at the row of little girl dresses hanging there, and realised that by now I'd become so submissive that I no longer cared how babyish I looked. I took out the white dress with the pink sash, and thanks to Aunt Mary's vigorous training, had no trouble fastening myself into it. Once I'd put on my dress, I pulled a pair of white cotton ankle socks onto my feet, and buckled on a pair of white leather T bar mary jane shoes. Then I sat at my dressing table and brushed back my hair into a pony tail at the back before fastening it in place with a pink hair ribbon. I suddenly realised that I was dressed just as I'd been when I was taken down to stay with Aunt Mary a few weeks before. I stood up and looked at myself in the full-length mirror. Aunt Mary had trained me well. I certainly no longer had any difficulty in presenting myself as a little girl. As I looked at myself I smiled for a moment as I realised that despite really being a boy inside, I was in fact quite pretty. I went down to breakfast, and as I went into the kitchen, Mum looked at me, smiled and said "Oh you do look nice Lucy. Now sit down and eat your breakfast.' A moment later David came into the room, looked at me and said with a grin "Oh sis, you look delightful don't you? Pity you'll soon have to wear that awful Santa Maria Convent uniform isn't it?' Trust him to spoil everything. As if I needed reminding.

We finished our breakfast, and I went upstairs to clean my teeth before going shopping. I came downstairs again to find David putting on his new navy blue school gaberdine raincoat, while Mum was wearing her blue mackintosh. As I reached the bottom of the stairs she took down my new red mackintosh that I hated so much and held it up for me to put on. "Here you are Lucy' she said, "Your new mac. Almost like mine, isn't it? You won't be taking it with you to your new school though, because they have one of their own that you'll be wearing.' Yes, I know I thought, as I slipped my arms into my mackintosh, I've seen them, and they look absolutely awful. Mum soon had me fastened into my mac, and put up my hood in preparation for the downpour outside. A moment later we set off down to the bus stop to go to Canterbury station, where we would catch the train to London.

As we walked to the bus stop, the rain poured down and ran in rivulets down my mac and onto my legs and feet, which were soon soaked. As we walked along, my wet mac slapped against my bare legs, and felt awful. We waited at the bus stop, and eventually our bus arrived, so we climbed aboard, Mum paid our fares, and we sat down. I unfastened my hood and threw it back, and began to realise that as time passed I was adapting to my new role as a little girl, and was coming to feel more natural about it. But I still blushed when David kept looking at me and grinning. He was certainly enjoying the situation to the full.

Getting off at Canterbury station, we went inside and Mum purchased our tickets. We only had a few minutes to wait, and were soon making ourselves comfortable on the train. We took off our wet raincoats, and as I removed mine I was acutely aware of how juvenile I looked in my sweet little dress, with my feet encased in their white ankle socks and little girl style shoes. I looked miserably out of the window staring at the rainswept countryside.

The journey into London only took about an hour, and I was soon putting on my hated mackintosh before we arrived at Victoria Station. We walked down into the tube station, and took the underground to Oxford Circus. As we came out of the tube station, we noticed that it had stopped raining, so I was spared the humiliation of having to wear my mackintosh hood up. It only took a few minutes to walk to the school outfitters, and we soon found ourselves in the girl's schoolwear department. I knew that this was going to be humiliating, and so did David, who leaned on the counter with a wide grin on his face as he saw me about to undergo what he would have disliked intensely himself if he'd still been my sister. But he wasn't, and I gritted my teeth as I prepared for the worst.

A pleasant young lady came up to us and said "Good morning madam, can I help you?'

"Yes please' said Mum, "My daughter's starting at Santa Maria Convent next week, and needs to be fitted out with her new school uniform. I've got the list here.' She pulled out the list provided by the school, and the girl checked through it. "Fine' she said, "I think we've got everything here in stock, so we'll just measure her first and I'll get everything together. Then she can try them on.' I was already feeling embarrassed at the thought of having to put on an entire girl's school uniform in full public view, the very idea of which would have been anathema to me as a boy. Then I remembered that at the moment I wasn't a boy, and would have to make the best of it.

The girl took a tape measure and measured my bust, waist and hip size before going from drawer to drawer taking out various items, and gradually a small pile of clothing accumulated on the counter. After a few minutes the girl said "What I suggest is that you go into the cubicle and dress her in the underwear and blouse and tie first. Then we'll follow up with the other items.' She opened the changing cubicle curtain, and placed some items of clothing on a bench inside. Mum and I went into the cubicle and the girl drew the curtain closed behind us. "Right Lucy' said Mum, "Let's get you changed.' She quickly removed my mackintosh, hung it up, and then proceeded to strip me down until I was wearing nothing but my shoes and socks. Then she started to dress me for the first time in my new school uniform.

First came a pair of maroon school knickers, followed by a white vest. Next came a crisp white cotton blouse, and a maroon and silver diagonally striped tie. Mum fumbled as one does when trying to tie a tie around someone else's neck, but she managed it eventually. A moment later the girl handed her a grey gym tunic through the curtain. Mum held it up with the back opening towards me and said "Here we are Lucy, in you get, I used to wear one of these when I was at school.' Yes, I thought ruefully, but you weren't a boy were you? I stepped into the gym tunic and she pulled it up my body before putting my arms through the armholes. Then she stood behind me and fastened the buttons running up the back. Turning me round, she did up the buckle belt and secured the button which held the end of the belt in place. She put her hands up under the tunic and pulled my blouse and tie down neatly. Then she smoothed down the hem of the tunic so that the pleated skirt hung properly. "Good' said Mum brightly, "Now I think we can do everything else outside.'

She opened the curtain and we went out onto the shop floor. The girl looked at me, pulled on the hem of my gym tunic and checked the fit. "Oh yes, that's a very nice fit' she said approvingly, "Now let's see about footwear. The school uniform list specifies brown T bar shoes for the first two years, so let's measure her feet. Sit down will you dear?' I sat down, and Mum removed my shoes. The girl measured my feet, and then went across to a rack of shoe boxes before returning with a pair of the regulation style shoes. She knelt down, and soon my feet were firmly buckled into a pair of juvenile style girl's school shoes and white ankle socks. I stood up and they felt comfortable, so Mum purchased two pairs.

Next came my blazer. Maroon, with the school crest emblazoned on the pocket. Mum deliberately bought everything a size too large, and as the sleeves extended down to my knuckles I felt even smaller than I was. I stood in front of a full-length mirror, and even though I was imprisoned in a girl's body, I blushed at the image of a typical junior schoolgirl staring back at me. David looked at me and gave a slight chuckle and said "Oh yes, very nice,' and I went deep crimson with humiliation. It was awful. "Now then' said the girl, "All we need now is the school hat and mackintosh. Your daughter will need both a summer and winter hat. Would you like to take them both now?'

"Oh yes, I think so' said Mum, "We might as well.'

The girl measured my head size with a tape measure and went across to a shelf of straw panama hats, selected one, and brought it across to me. She checked the hat size on the label inside and carefully placed it on my head. The hat had a maroon hatband with the Santa Maria Convent school crest on the front and fitted me perfectly. "There we are' said the girl, "A perfect fit.' "Oh yes' said Mum with approval, "That's very good. My goodness Lucy, isn't it nice to be wearing a senior school uniform instead of your primary school one?' What could I say but agree? "Yes Mum' I said without enthusiasm. But David had to put his contribution in of course. "You look great' he smiled, "A proper schoolgirl. And to think that you'll be able to wear it every day for the whole of the next term. Aren't you the lucky one?' He knew exactly how I must be feeling of course, and I smarted at his reminder that I would indeed have to wear it for the next three months. I sighed with resignation at the idea of wearing this awful school uniform, so typical of a strictly run girl's Convent boarding school.

The shop assistant went to a stack of maroon velour winter school hats next to the summer hats, and selected one for me. She brought it across to me and placed it on my head. It too fitted me perfectly, and once again I had to put up with David's sense of humour. The girl removed my hat and said "Now, you'll be needing your school mackintosh, won't you? These are very good at keeping out the rain, even if they are a bit old-fashioned.' She went to a rack containing the Santa Maria Convent gym tunics, blazers and mackintoshes, and looking at me for a moment said "Yes, I think this should be about your size.' She pulled out one of the mackintoshes and put the hanger down on the counter before holding the mac up for me to put on.

It was a typical, rather old-fashioned single breasted girl's school mackintosh made of unlined light grey rubberised cotton. It featured a buckle belt supported by two keepers attached to the mac, one on either side of the waist. From the shoulders hung a non-detachable hood with a square top, which was a common style on girl's school raincoat hoods. The hood had a maroon lining, and tie tapes to secure it under the chin. I obediently put my arms into the sleeves, and standing in front of me, the girl fastened the buttons up to my neck. Then she passed the belt through the buckle, pulled it tight around my waist, and did up the securing buttonhole at the end of the belt.

I stood there examining the very juvenile style mackintosh I was now wearing, and like the rest of the uniform, it was too large for me. The hem hung down about eight inches below my knees, and the cuffs of the sleeves came down to halfway along my fingers. I certainly looked every inch the junior new girl now, and Mum was pleased. "Oh yes' she said, fingering the rubberised cotton mac, "That'll keep the rain out all right, won't it?'

"It certainly will' said the shop assistant, "Let's just see how it looks with the hood up shall we?' She pulled the hood up over my head before tying the tie tapes under my chin in a neat bow, and I looked at myself in the mirror and groaned as I saw what a typical little schoolgirl I'd become. David had to make a comment of course. "Oh yes' he chuckled, "There's no mistaking it Lucy, you definitely look like a schoolgirl now, don't you?' This meant nothing to the others of course, but I knew just how he was enjoying my humiliation at having to be a boy trapped in the body of a schoolgirl, dressed in the very essence of girlhood. I glared at him from under my mackintosh hood as I smelt the rubberised cotton enclosing me like a cocoon. I hated it.

But there was nothing I could do about it of course, except quickly untie the tapes under my chin and throw the hood back off my head. I went to take the mackintosh off, but Mum stopped me saying "No, leave it on dear, you might as well wear your new uniform home, and I think it's started raining again.' I glanced out of the window, and could see the rain falling heavily outside. Yuck! I thought. The shop assistant gathered up my multiple items of school underwear, blouses and socks, together with my new shoes and hats, and packed them all into several bags, along with the things I'd worn when I came into the store. Then Mum paid the bill, and we were ready to go home. As we left the store, Mum put my mackintosh hood up again, and fastened it firmly on with the two tie tapes tied in a bow under my chin. I certainly looked like a typical English schoolgirl, and as a boy, I absolutely hated it.

Because we were laden with bags, Mum decided that we wouldn't stay in town, so we caught the tube back to Victoria, and were soon back at Canterbury station, from where we made our way to the bus stop, and soon the bus arrived to take us home. I lowered my mackintosh hood, but was still self-conscious about my new role as a schoolgirl. Even when we arrived home there was to be no relief for me. Although I was allowed to remove my wet mackintosh and hang it up in the hall to dry, Mum insisted that I keep my new school uniform on for the rest of the day to get me used to it. I hated it already. The weather being so bad, we spent the rest of the day indoors, although Mum sent me down to the local grocers to get some bread and milk, so I had to wear the childish red mackintosh that Aunt Mary had bought for me. I hated it when the lady in the shop told me what a sweet little girl I looked with the hood of my mac framing my face. As if I needed reminding.

For the rest of the afternoon we played monopoly, and after tea we watched television. Finally it was my bedtime, and Mum helped me to undress, hang up my new school uniform, and put away my underwear and blouses, along with all the other items. She brushed my hair before I climbed into bed, and kissed me goodnight. For a while, I lay there in the gloom looking at my new gym tunic and blazer hanging on the back of the door. The thought of having to wear it for the next three months filled me with apprehension. I knew that for someone who was really a boy, life at a strict Convent school as a girl was going to be anything but pleasant. But tired as I was, I put the whole thing out of my mind and soon fell asleep.


The next few days flew by as Mum prepared all my things for my first term at Santa Maria Convent. She carefully sewed name tags into all the items of my school uniform, and gradually, everything came together. Eventually the Sunday came when my trunk of clothes and other items was packed and ready in the hall. I was fully dressed in my new school uniform, and Mum had arranged my hair in plaits, as the school's strict regulations insisted that girls with more than shoulder length hair must always wear it in pigtails with either white or maroon hair ribbons.

Mum and David carried my trunk out to the car, put it in the boot, and we were ready to go. We got in, and set off on the three hour drive to the school, which was an old country house near the village of Cranham, in Buckinghamshire. David could guess how I was feeling, and rubbed it in by frequently looking at me and giving a slight snigger. He obviously found the whole thing highly amusing, which is hardly surprising. The thought of my going to a strict girl's boarding school instead of him filled him with delight.

We arrived at the school at about 4 o'clock to find that many of the girls had already arrived. Mum parked the car in the broad driveway, and we made our way to the bursar's office. Mum and Lucy had already visited the school several months before for her interview, so they knew the way. We came to a large wooden door, and Mum knocked. A voice inside asked us to enter, and we went in.

The bursar, a kind looking middle-aged lady, was sitting at her desk, and rose as we entered. She smiled and said "Ah, Mrs. Turner, how lovely to see you again.' Then beaming at me she said "And Lucy, how are you dear? All ready for your first term at Santa Maria?'

"Yes Miss' I said quietly, not knowing what else to say. "And who is this?' she added, "Lucy's brother?'

"Yes' said Mum, "Miss Fraser, this is David, Lucy's twin brother.'

"Twins? One boy and one girl. How lucky you are. So does that mean that David's starting at a new school as well?'

"Yes, he'll be attending the local high school as a day boy.'

"Mmmm. Well I expect it will be rather different from this school!' Everyone laughed but me. I didn't find the idea in the slightest bit amusing.

"Well now' said Miss Fraser, "Let's see about getting Lucy settled in shall we? You brought her luggage with you?' "Yes' said Mum, "Her trunk's in the car.'

"Good' said Miss Fraser, "Now let me see, Lucy will be in the junior dorm in the main building, where her bed has a label with her name on it. Would you like the caretaker to take it up there for you, or would you prefer to do it yourself?'

"Oh it's not very heavy, we'll manage it ourselves.'

"Well that will certainly be helpful. Do you remember where it is from your previous visit?'

"Yes, we'll find our way there all right.'

"Excellent. Perhaps you'd like to help Lucy unpack, and then join me with the other teachers in the school hall for a cup of tea before you leave. We'll be there at 5 o'clock.'

"That's a nice idea' said Mum, "We'll see you again shortly then.'

"Indeed.' Turning to me, Miss Fraser smiled and said "And welcome to Santa Maria Convent Lucy. You'll probably find it a little strange here at first, but don't worry, you'll soon love it here I'm sure.' Some hope of that I thought bitterly, if you only knew.

We made our way out of the room, returned to the car, and Mum and David took my trunk out of the boot. Then we made our way up to the first year dormitory. There were 20 beds arranged in two neat rows of 10 each, all lined up along the walls opposite each other. Each bed had a small locker next to it as well as a taller clothes locker. In the corner of the dormitory was a closed off compartment with a curtain at the entrance for the dormitory captain, a senior girl whose duty was to keep the girls in order. We soon found my bed, clearly labelled, and then opened my trunk and started to put away my things and hang up my clothes in my locker. There was a row of coat hooks along a wall at the end of the room, and I hung my school mackintosh and hat on a hook already marked with my name. This school was obviously very well organised, which probably meant that the discipline was strict as well, and I gave a sigh of resignation. Once all my things had been put away, we went for a stroll around the spacious grounds surrounding the old main building, and then made our way to the school hall, where trestle tables had been laid out with sandwiches, cakes, and pots of tea and coffee.

The hall was filled with teachers, parents and new girls, and the informal get together was designed to soften the blow of the new girls, many of whom wouldn't have lived away from home before, and who no doubt would go through a bout of painful homesickness before they became accustomed to their new lifestyle. So what about me? I thought ruefully, how am I going to feel? A boy having to live as a schoolgirl. I couldn't imagine anything worse. Oh well, there was nothing I could do about it, so I'd just have to grin and bear it.

The teachers circulated among the new girls and their parents and chatted, trying no doubt to allay any fears they may have had at being separated from their daughters. Finally, the headmistress made a speech welcoming the new pupils, and then informed the gathering that it was time to say goodbye as the girls were due to join an induction class shortly. I went out to the car with Mum and David, and Mum gave me a long hug and kissed me goodbye. "Now don't forget Lucy' she said, "I want you to be on your best behaviour. None of your old rowdy behaviour. Do exactly as you are told, and work hard. I want to be proud of you. This is a good school, so it's a wonderful chance for you to go on to university one day. All right?' "Yes Mum' I said meekly, "I'll be good, I promise'

"That's my girl' said Mum, giving me a final hug. "Now go on David, give your sister a kiss.' The last thing I wanted was to be kissed by the very source of my anguish, but I allowed him to give me a brief peck on the cheek as he whispered out of earshot of Mum, "Have fun my sweet little sister. Just think, five or six years in this place! Aren't you lucky? Enjoy yourself, won't you?' And with a final chuckle of triumph, my erstwhile little sister who was now my big brother drew back from me and climbed into the car next to Mum.

They gave me a final wave, and as the car disappeared down the long drive, I turned and walked back into the main building to join a throng of girls dressed identically to me in their white blouses and ties, grey gym tunics and maroon blazers, all chattering in lively fashion.

A moment later, a teacher clapped her hands for silence and called out "All right everybody, would all the new girls please go to room 7 along the corridor for their induction class.' That included me of course, and I made my way along the corridor and into the classroom. Everyone found themselves a seat, and the teacher there handed out various pieces of paper with the multitude of school rules and timetables printed on them.

As the teacher droned on with the multitude of things we were supposed to remember, I scanned the backs of the girls sitting in front of me and looked at the row of maroon blazers with several pairs of plaits hanging down over them, neatly ending in two bows of white or maroon hair ribbon. I almost began to cry as I realised just what I'd got myself into, and how I was now trapped with no way out.

It was going to be a hard thing to get used to.


Now you may think at this point that I was now condemned to becoming permanently female. But my sister wasn't that cruel. Apart from which, under all that pre-teenage bravado she began to realise that she still really preferred to be the girl she was born as. Luckily for me.

I won't go into the details of how I went through the process of being an 11 year old new girl in her first term at a typical all girl's English boarding school in the 1950's, but I leave it to your imagination. Being trapped in your sister's body is a unique experience for any boy to say the least. But strangely enough, it gave me a respect for the female species that was to stand me in good stead for the rest of my life, and eventually resulted in a very happy and understanding marriage to my loving wife. But that was far in the future.

Before that pleasure was to come the pain. I can't say that my three months living as a lowly new girl in a strict English girl's school was pleasant. On the contrary, the regime of the most ridiculous and demeaning of rules only intensified my humiliation at having to spend every day living as a little girl. But as I said, my sister wasn't cruel enough to leave me like that forever. The autumn term came and went, and it was with huge relief that I eventually found myself going home for Christmas on the train with the other girls, many of whom I'd become good friends with.

Mum met me at the station, and we hugged each other. She drove me home, and soon I was back in familiar surroundings. The feeling of relief was wonderful, and as I sat in the kitchen having a cup of tea with her, wearing my by now familiar grey and maroon school uniform, who should walk in but my brother David. He took one look at me, and I stood up as we hugged each other. "Welcome home sis' he whispered, "Am I glad to see you.'

Tea wasn't due for another couple of hours, and David suggested that he and I go for a walk. We set off up the street, and it wasn't long before he brought up the subject of our present situation. He broke the ice by looking at me, smiled wryly, and saying "Well, how was your first term at Santa Maria Convent?'

My chance had come. With no one else within earshot I poured out my feelings. As you can imagine, the feelings of a boy forced to live as a new girl at boarding school were not exactly pleasant, and as I poured out my pent up emotions, he listened impassively, almost as if it was just what he'd expected. Finally I ground to a halt as I ran out of things to say about my indignation. We arrived at the park, sat down on a park bench, and David took both my hands in his, looked me straight in the eye and said "Lucy, you can't imagine how glad I am to see you. I've just gone through three months of misery that may not match your own, but it's been more than enough to tell me that we should change back into our own bodies again. You were right, life in a boy's school isn't to my taste at all. Nothing but fist fights and aggression, and frankly, you're welcome to it. If that's life as a boy, well, you can keep it.'

I suddenly began to realise the way in which the conversation was moving, and a glimmer of hope began to flicker in my mind. Was it just possible that my vindictive little sister was having second thoughts about being David after all? Suddenly my hopes of being rescued from my predicament rose.

I assembled all my powers of persuasion with desperation. "So' I said, "Are you telling me that being a boy isn't quite as cracked up as you thought it was?' Her face told me everything. She looked at me, and with a tear trickling down her cheek said "It's awful! How can you bear to actually be a boy? They're revolting. They're rude, dirty, and they actually revel in it! I've just had the worst three months I've ever had in my life, nothing but fights and pushing and shoving. If you show one ounce of sensitivity, the other boys call you a cissy, and as for what they think of girls, well, I just can't take any more!' It seemed that there was a glimmer of hope on the horizon, and I was quick to grasp it. As delicately as I could, I took her hand in mine, and in a truly brotherly feeling of comfort I put my arm round her shoulder and said gently "Well Lucy, you're the only one that can get us out of this mess, aren't you? Do you still know how to put us back where we really belong? Do you still have the potion that old Sarah gave you?' (I chose my words very carefully). In the body of little Lucy I pulled out my handkerchief, reached up, and gently wiped David's eyes in the fervent hope that they would soon be my own again. He sniffed and looked at me with a look of tenderness I'd never seen before. It was strange. Although we'd exchanged bodies, somehow we could still recognise each other's personalities in our eyes. I knew that although I was looking at David physically, the eyes betrayed the resident soul as Lucy. It was a touching discovery, and something I'll never forget. It was a moment of truth, and fate had decided that enough was enough. David looked at me, sniffed for a moment and said "Well, I suppose we'd better get back to where we belong, hadn't we? I assume you'd rather be back in your own body. Or would you rather go back to Santa Maria Convent in January?' There was a spark of humour there, and I was quick to make the most of it. "Well' I said, "If you've had enough of copping a few black eyes as me, I've certainly had enough of upsetting Miss Markham with my lousy needlework!' Lucy laughed and said "Fair enough dear brother, you take the fist fights, and I'll try and improve my needlework. How's that for a bargain?'

My heart leapt as I realised that she was as fed up with the situation as I was, which I assumed meant my imminent release from my present situation. But there was much to be done. "Sounds like a pretty good exchange to me " I said, "But are you sure that you really can turn us back?'

"Oh yes of course' she laughed, "Couldn't be easier after what Sarah's taught me over the past year. I've still got the potion, and I remember the incantation to reverse the spell. But she did tell me that it would help if we do it on the same spot where the original transference took place. So I reckon we should put up with how we are just for a couple more days. Mum's going over to Julia Betford's on Saturday isn't she?' I recollected that was what Mum had in mind. "Yes, I think so' I said, "So is that the best time d'you reckon?'

"Yes, definitely. We'll wait until Mum's gone, and then we can pop over to Sarah's cottage and do what we need to do to reverse the spell. I've got to say David, you can be a boy as much as you want. As far as I'm concerned, give me being Lucy any time.' "Likewise' I said fervently, "I reckon we've both learnt our lesson not to meddle with what we are. By the way, you are quite certain you can turn us back aren't you?' She gave me that winsome mischievous grin that I was so familiar with, and said teasingly "Well you'd better hope I can, hadn't you? Because if it doesn't work, you've got six more years at Santa Maria Convent ahead of you. How would you like that for the next few years David?'

"At Santa Maria Convent? You've got to be kidding! No Sis, you be Lucy and I'll be David, and we'll both be happy. Which is how we were supposed to be in the first place I suppose.'

"Yes, I know' laughed Lucy, still looking like me. It was still unnerving to talk to a boy who was actually my sister, while I was me inside the body of his little sister wearing her school gym tunic and blazer. Crazy but true. Never mind, at least we shared the same problem. We'd swapped places, tried each other's way of life, both hated it, and couldn't wait to get back to where we belonged.


The following Saturday morning couldn't have looked better. A cold, crisp December morning with a clear blue sky. Mum made sure that David and I were out of bed in good time for her to make sure that we had a good breakfast with her before she set off to visit Julia Betford, and it gave me some satisfaction to think that this was the last time she was going to see me wearing a demure little pink dress with a peter pan collar, short puffed sleeves, and a sash belt tied in a big bow at the back. The white ankle socks and the blue T bar sandals only added to this epitome of a cute little girl, along with the pigtails with pink ribbons on the end. I heaved a sigh of relief as she disappeared round the corner at the end of our road and said to David "Right then, let's get on with it.'

"My goodness' he laughed, "You are in a hurry aren't you? Well don't worry, you'll be David again soon enough. But let's get the washing up done first shall we?' It was as if the real Lucy wanted to spin out the agony, but I had no choice but to be patient. The washing up out of the way, David said "All right then, my little sister for the last time, I'll just go and get the key to Sarah's cottage and we'll be off.' I stood there in the hall while he disappeared for a moment, but soon returned holding the key to Sarah's cottage in his hand, along with a small bottle of liquid that I assumed was the potion that Sarah had left him for the purpose of reversing the spell. We left the house and walked up the main street of the village towards Sarah's house, and without hesitation, David (or Lucy as she was about to become I hoped) walked up to the front door. He took the key out of his pocket, opened the front door, and we went inside.

David now took charge. He seemed to know exactly what he was doing. "All right David' he said, suddenly starting to use our actual names, despite my appearance as a little girl, "This shouldn't take very long. Sarah said that it would be best if we lie down on the floor with our heads close to each other, preferably touching. Then we both drink half the potion each while I recite the incantation. After that, we'll go to sleep for a few minutes, and hopefully we'll be back in our own bodies. And that's about it.' I couldn't believe it could be so simple, but then, when I'd first found myself transferred into Lucy's body it had seemed just as simple. Apart from which, this was my only hope of getting back into my body anyway, so I had nothing to lose.

"All right then' I said, "You're the boss. So what do we do? Just lie down?'

"Yes' she said, "Here on the carpet will be fine. Down you go.'

I felt completely in her hands as I lay down on the carpet in front of the large fireplace, and looked up at the ceiling. In the meantime, Lucy picked up two sherry glasses and carefully poured out equal amounts of the liquid from the phial she'd been given by Sarah. Then she knelt down and put one of the glasses into my right hand. "Now then David' she said seriously, "We're only going to get one go at this, so please do exactly as I say. When I give you the word, take hold of my hand, drink the potion, and close your eyes. You'll hear me mutter some words, and then you'll pass out. In a few minutes we'll both wake up, and just hope and pray that you find yourself in your own body again. All right?'

I gulped with nervousness. The cottage around us certainly reminded me of how I'd come to find myself in this state, but I was well aware that I must follow Lucy's instructions to the letter. "OK then' I said, "Just tell me when.'

"Good' she said as she lay down next to me, our right ears almost touching. "Now " she said, "Drink.'

I distinctly remember her calling out the words retiu em sesh keper nefer chem before I quickly poured the draught down my throat, and the bitter tasting liquid heated my throat before my head was filled by a huge overpowering burst of a million sensations. I heard a loud hissing sound, and saw a burst of colour before I felt as if I was riding at breakneck speed through a brightly lit tunnel that gradually dwindled away to a black nothing and unconsciousness.

I came round. For a moment I looked up at the ceiling from my position on the floor, and then turned my head to see next to me the head of my sister Lucy. Fighting back a short wave of nausea I raised myself on one elbow and looked around me. A wave of joy went through me as I realised that I was lying next to my sister. I looked down at myself, and true to all my hopes I saw me. Me! I was me again! It was really true, Lucy had done it, and I heaved a sigh of relief. A few seconds later she stirred, and opened her eyes with the sort of bewildered frown you often see in a child woken from her slumbers.

She looked at me through narrowed eyes and saw my smiling face. "Hi dear brother' she said sleepily, with a lazy smile, "Looks like we did it.'

"We sure did' I said, "Or rather, you did. I can't believe it. I'll tell you what, I'll owe you forever for this.' "Oh don't worry' she said, quickly recovering her composure, "I owe you just as much. I've just spent three months in your body, and I'll always be glad that I did. But I must say you're welcome to it. I think that's enough time being a boy to last me a lifetime.'

"Well' I chuckled, "Believe me, three months as a girl at Santa Maria Convent didn't suit me either. All those stupid rules and regulations. I mean, they even decide what colour your hair ribbons are. How petty is that! Oh well, you'll be going back there next month, so you have my sympathy.'

"Oh I think I can take it' laughed Lucy, "I'll swap hair ribbons for black eyes any time!'

We were both well satisfied to be back in our own bodies at last, and soon made our way home, where no one would ever be the wiser for our little adventure, which always remained our personal secret that neither of us ever divulged to anyone else. Except old Sarah, who eventually returned to the village and became both friend and mentor to the pair of us. Lucy and I grew up, but we always had time for Sarah. A few years later she passed away, and some of her relatives came down from Northumbria to see her given a decent burial in the local churchyard. Lucy and I went to the funeral, and I'll never forget the posy we placed on her grave together with a card on which Lucy wrote the words retiu em sesh keper nefer chem. And the meaning of the words? "Return me to where I belong'.