Time and Punishment
Recommended for 18 years and older.
PART I by Omnibus
Part 2 by Louder Part 3 by Louder Part 4 by Louder
“Tricia, I can’t believe you want us to go in there!”
“Come on Holly, It’ll be fun.” Tricia replied, tugging on Holly’s arm. “Besides, where’s your sense of adventure?”
“Yeah Holly, don’t be such a wimp.” Christy said behind her, piping in her two cents worth.
“Oh, this coming from someone who was too scared to watch “Kiss the Girls” at my house a few weeks ago. For your information Little Miss Rambo, I’ve got two kids to worry about. I mean, what if something happens to us in there? What if some man jumps out of the shadows and mugs us, or worse?” Holly whined, trying to come up with some reason not to go into the building.
“What if a safe falls on your head?” Tricia stated sarcastically. “God Holly, it’s just a psychic reading. Just like the one’s you see on television, except without paying those twenty-five dollar an hour phone bills.”
With that, Tricia pointed at the neon sign blaring with fluorescent green letters that read : MADAME KWAN - MYSTIC HYPNOTIST AND FORTUNE TELLER EXTRODINAIRE : SHE SEES ALL, KNOWS ALL, DOES ALL.
“Who could turn down an invitation like that?” Tricia asked her two friends.
“I can!” Holly immediately turned around and began walking away when Christy stopped her.
“Oh no you don’t.” Christy grabbed Holly and dragged her back to the doorway.
“Come on guys, I . . . I . . .gotta make sure my kids . . .”
“Are safely being watched by your parents, just like they always are when we go out.” Tricia and Christy both replied in harmony, as they each took Holly’s arms.
“But . . . we don’t know anything about this place. Hell, I don’t even remember it being on the strip before.” Holly continued to argue with her persistent friends.
“We haven’t been on the strip in weeks. I mean, taco joint we just passed wasn’t here either the last time we came.” Christy pointed behind her.
Tricia opened the black door. “After you, Madame.”
“I still don’t know?” Holly said uncertainly, moving very slowly the opposite direction of the door.
Tricia looked at Christy, rolled her eyes and tilted her head at Holly.
Christy acknowledged the signal and ran behind Holly. She began pushing Holly toward the entrance as Tricia reached out and grabbed her arm.
Holly squirmed slightly in their grip. “Um, guys, did I mention I’ve got to go to the bathroom?”
Her friends ignored her and continued forcing her inside.
“Did I mention that I’m allergic to black magic?”
“Did I mention I had my fortune read yesterday?”
With that statement, the door slammed behind them and Madame Kwan had three new customers.
“Ahhhhhhh! Come in! Come in! Please sit down! Madame Kwan welcomes you!” A little Asian woman in her fifties, wearing a red dress with yellow trim and her black hair in a bun motioned to three chairs placed around a small circular table.
The three women slowly walked into the dimly lit room. “Guys, I’m still not to sure . . .” Before Holly could finish her statement of disapproval, the two ladies plopped her down in a chair. They both then took seats on opposite sides of her.
Tricia leaned over to Holly and began whispering. “Okay, Cowardly Lion, take a Valium or something. Personally, I came here to have a few laughs.”
“Ah Tricia, ever the skeptic.” Came a voice from across the table.
Tricia immediately looked at her host. Her jaw dropped slightly as her brow began to arch. Stunned and momentarily at a loss of words, Tricia finally managed to respond. “Hey, how did you know my name?”
“Why, I know all about you. Your name is Tricia Adams; age 29; typical suburban upbringing; not married; no kids; you have a boyfriend named Steve, but nothing serious since you both feel the need to see other people; and you live quite the pleasure seeking lifestyle, if I do say so myself.”
Madame Kwan’s gaze immediately fell upon Holly, who began to squirm in her seat. “Holly Wilkins; age 30; parents divorced when you were 10; lived with your mother; became somewhat rebellious in your teens, though I find that hard to believe looking at you now; became pregnant in high school; boyfriend ran out on you; but you married another man at age 21 and had a second child; you have been married to Ron Wilkins for nine years and have two lovely daughters; Nancy, whose 12 and Kathy, who is 8. Only problem is that you don’t spend anytime with them.
“How . . . but . . . could you . . . ?” Was about all that Holly could say.
“And Christy Hammond; age 30; no kids; quite the army brat, I see; growing up from town to town; no real friends, except these two; and now you’re a fourth grade teacher. Oh, and you still believe in giving a good spanking to your students when they get out of line. Have our father’s temper, do we?”
“Fuck this!” Christy shouted, as she stood up suddenly. Her face was turning a nice beet red, not that you could see it in the dimly lit room. Christy did not like being in situations she had no control over. It was probably one of the reasons she became a teacher. The need to have complete control and respect from other people, something sadly missing while she was growing up. While not the noblest of reasons to teach, it was either that or the police academy, it still fulfilled her needs. “I didn’t come here to be insulted by some Jean Dixon wannabe!”
“Well, why did you come here?” Madame Kwan asked, Her arms folded in front of her.
Christy became silent.
“Quite the spitfire, I see. Please sit down Christy.” The little Asian woman drew her attention back to all three women. “I know why you come here. It’s to know about your future. And that is what I will tell you, for twenty dollar, group rate.”
“Well, we’ve come this far.” Tricia reached into her purse, pulled out a twenty dollar bill and threw it across the table.
Madame Kwan quickly snatched up the money and drew her attention toward Christy.
“Christy, your quick temper, controlling nature and need for perfection will isolate you from true happiness. You will have relations, but they will be empty and meaningless. You will live to a ripe old age, but be ever alone and ever bitter.”
Christy just sat there with her mouth wide open.
“Holly, your job as a Design Consultant occupies most of your time, day and night. You see your children maybe ten hours a week maximum. Your kids will grow up and move out soon, with most of their childhood memories consisting of babysitters and your parents who watch them constantly. The future you will have with your girls will be strained at best, eventually you will grow old, with your kids visiting you once a year on Christmas, maybe.”
Holly just sat there silently, as a single tear rolled down her cheek.
“And finally Tricia, who future is the saddest of all. Your decadent lifestyle will lead you into a downward spiral of depravity and sexual exploits. With so many multiple partners and your lack of concern for protection, you will soon be infected with HIV and will be lucky to see your 4oth birthday. Tsk, tsk, such a waste.”
That was the last straw for Christy. “Now hold on just a god-damn minute, Linda Hunt!” Christy stood up fast, knocking her chair to the floor. “Where do you get off insulting my friends like that? We come in here to have our fortunes told, and you sit there all nonchalant and tell us our lives are going to be even shittier then they are now.”
“I don’t make the future, I just see it.” Madame Kwan replied calmly.
“Well, do you see all three of our asses walking the hell out of here?” As if on cue, Tricia and Holly’s chairs both squeaked across the floor as they stood up.
“Wait!” Madame Kwan motioned to them. “Before you go, there is something I must show you.” She placed her hands beneath the table and a few seconds later revealed a polished quarter.
Christy looked at the coin and shook her head. “Well, that’s great! Now you can call your swami friends and have a good laugh on our accounts.”
“Oh, this isn’t for me.” Madame Kwan then proceeded to reflect what little light there was in the room off the coin and into Christy’s eyes. Instantly, Christy froze on the spot with her eyes wide open.
Tricia and Holly were dumbfounded. “What the hell did you . . “
Another flash of light and the other two ladies were also froze in their tracks.
“Now that I have your undivided attention, allow me to continue. Each of you have squandered away the precious lessons of youth. Though you are all only in your late twenties and early thirties you have burned many a bridges. I feel the need to help you repair some of the damages you have done, not only to yourselves but other people too. Even with the future I have told each of you, I believe nothing will change, for you see nothing wrong with your lives. But I believe I can make you see things differently.”
Madame Kwan put the quarter and again reached under the table. She pulled up a leather pouch with a strap on it. A squeaked emanated from her chair as she got up and walked over to Tricia.
“Tricia Adams, your sexual lifestyle, I believe, is a cry for help. Sex is one of the greatest pleasures in life, but not if it’s every night with four different people in one week. Tsk. Tsk. I believe you need to reexperience the innocence of youth. When sex was a mystery and getting to first base ONLY referred to baseball.”
Madame Kwan reached in the bag, pulled out a handful of red dust and blew it into Tricia’s face.
“Tricia Adams, from now on, everytime you become sexual active or aroused by another person, you will regress back, both physically and mentally, to when you were 10 years old. You will then stay 10 years old for say . . . two hours before you change back into your normal adult self. You will remember nothing of your adult life as a child, otherwise what would be the point, you would probably worry the whole time about your predicament and never have any fun. You will however, remember everything you did as a child when you become an adult again. This will happen every time you are involved with someone sexual, including yourself.”
Madame Kwan moved on to the next girl. “Holly Wilkins, your problem stems from your lack of parental influence and interest in your daughter’s lives. I know you love them, but lately, it seems that your girls place second or even third on your important things to do list. The mailman is a more visible presence to your girls than you are. I believe you need to reexperience the fun and abandonment of youth.”
Again Madame Kwan reached in her bag and pulled out a handful of purple dust and blew it into Holly’s face.
“Holly Wilkins, from now on, everytime you ignore or brush off one of your daughters for any reason, you will regress back, both physically and mentally, to when you were 10 years old. All the rules apply for you as they did Tricia and eventually you may become a great playmate and friend to Nancy and Kathy.”
Finally Madame Kwan approached the last woman. “Christy, Christy, Christy. You are the hellspawn of the group. Cocky, abrasive, self-defensive, sarcastic, and quite a short fuse, indeed. Everything to you is a means to an end. I feel you need to reexperience the happiness of youth.”
Once more Madame Kwan reached in her sack and withdrew a handful of green dust.
“Christy Hammond, from now on, everytime you get angry or upset over a situation and feel the need to lash out, be it physically or verbally, you will regress back to when you were a 10 year old just like your two friends.”
Madame Kwan then walked back to her chair and sat down. She looked at all three women still frozen in place like wax figures. “You three will remember everything I said to you just now, after your first transformation. Don’t try to find me to help cure you of this problem. If I don’t want to be found, I won’t be. This process will continue until I see fit, this is, until you have learned your lessons. Then, and only then, will I appear, no sooner, no later. It may seem unfair, but that is life. I bet you will try and fight it as time goes on, but I wouldn’t if I were you. Just go with the flow and enjoy your new lease on life.”
With that, Madame Kwan bowed her head down and clapped her hands. The room went dark instantly.
Holly opened her eyes slowly to the distance sounds of her two friends waving at her to catch up with them.
“Come on Holly, hurry up! There’s no cover at the Blind Pig before eleven. We’ve got three minutes to make it.” Christy yelled down the street at Holly.
Holly was still in somewhat of a daze and composed herself a little before proceeding to join up with her friends.
“Come on!” Both ladies yelled at her.
Holly caught up with her friends, still feeling a little dizzy and little concern over her momentary blackout a few minutes a go. “Guys, did something just happened back there. I mean, did I pass out or something. I feel a little dizzy all of a sudden.”
“Sounds like someone started early on the boozin’.” Christy teased, slightly messing up Holly’s curly brown hair.
“I’m serious guys.”
“And I’m serious Holly, about meeting some major boy toys in the bar tonight.” Tricia purred.
“And every other night, right Tricia?” Christy added.
“Ha, ha, ha. Oh my side, it hurts.” Tricia laughed dryly with a straight face.
“Well, that’s not all that’s going to hurt if I have to pay full price to get into this place tonight.”
“Ooooooooo! I’m shakin’.” Tricia stuck her hands out and shook them at Christy.
“Laugh it up, fuzzball! Hell hath no fury like Christy Hammond scorned.”
A loud beeping noise interrupted the two women bickering. Holly grabbed her beeper and looked at it.
“Your kids?” Tricia asked.
“Yeah. I suppose I should call in and see what’s up at my parents.”
“Well, wait until we’re in the bar before you do. Christy told her as they reached the end of the short line into the bar. “Anyway, didn’t they call like thirty times when we went out last time. And you spent two hours settling an argument over who was tougher, ElectraWoman and DynaGirl or Xena and Gabriel.”
“Don’t remind me.” Holly said as she fixed her hair. “God, I hate it when Nick-at-Nite has a Sid and Marty Kroft marathon on.”
The three women laughed as Holly brushed some purple dust off her shoulder.”
End of Part One
"Time and Punishment"
PART 2 by Louder
The three women each ordered their favorite adult concoction from the bartender and then Holly excused herself to use the phone. Her friends watched her as she found a payphone in the club.
'Mother? What is it?.... SicK?.... Are you sure?..... What about Nancy?.... Well, OK... we really just got started....Yeah, Bye now....' Holly put the receiver back on the hook and dejectedly went back to her friends.
'It looks like I'm going to have to bail out of here. Kathy's sick and mom is pretty insistant that I pick them up. There's no use arguing with her! Damn!'
'What? You gotta be kidding me!' Christy said
'They ~are~ her kids, Christy' Tricia added.
Holly excused herself, going outside and hailing a cab. The remaining two shrugged their shoulders at their friend's bad luck and began the party without her.
'So what do ya think about him?' Tricia asked her friend as she motioned toward a young man standing at the bar......
Holly arrived at her parent's hous and went inside to retrieve her kids. 'You surely don't look sick....' Holly said as she gazed down at Kathy.
'I ~am~ sick, Mommy! My tummy hurts....~bad~'
'Well, let's get in the cab and get you home to bed!' Holly ordered
The cab ride home was uneventful. Holly was skeptical of Kathy's illness. The girl was smilong and seemed in good spirits to Holly.
'Off to bed.... BOTH of you' Holly told them.
Kathy's head dropped and she trudged up the stairs. Nancy followed slowly.
'What's the matter? Chop Chop!' Holly said, clapping her hands.
'Aren't you gonna tuck me in and rub my tummy so it'll feel better, Mommy?'
'I wanted to watch TV...I don't wanna go to bed yet! I'm not even sleepy!' Nancy said
'OK, you two! ~I'M~ not ready to go to bed either..... But that is all there is left of my evening ~NOW~! I was with my friends and now I'm stuck with you two! You BOTH need to get to bed and you're old enough to do it on your own!' Holly felt a chill as the words left her mouth.
Kathy sniffed and tried to hold back her tears.
Holly shivered again.
'Mommy...what's wrong?' Kathy asked as she saw her mother shiver.
'I dunno... it's, like, I felt, like, cold all of a sudden...'
Nancy's and Kathy's eyes widened. With each shiver their mother looked younger and younger. She looked like her picture from her high school year book and was still changing.
'Mom? You look.....~younger~' Nancy said in disbelief.
Holly shivered again. 'Mom? Like, I'm fifteen.... gimme a break! As IF!'
Nancy and Kathy looked at each other. 'Mom.... Something's happening to you! If you get any younger you'll be my age' Nancy told her. 'Or ~MY~ age!' Kathy added.
'Puh-lease. Quit calling me ~Mom~..... ' the 15 year old stopped in mid sentence as she shivered again.
Kathy and Nancy watched in shock as the young teen that was their mother dwindled in front of their eyes. Her clothes seemed to be growing. Her skirt finally slid off her narrow waist as the last of her female curves gave way. Her shirt now hung on her like a short dress. Her face, still covered with the makeup of a 30 year old, now looked comical...like a little girl palying dress-up with her mother's make-up.
'Mom?' Nancy asked.
'Huh?' the small girl replied, obviously confused.
'Do you know who our mommy is?' Kathy asked.
Little Holly shook her head 'no'
'YOU don't know?' Nancy asked.
'Huh uh' Holly answered slowly.
'It's a miracle, Nancy! Like we learned about in Church! It's coz she didn't have time when she was a grown up for us so now she's a lkid!' Kathy reasoned.
Nancy wasn't so sure but she couldn't think of any other reason.
'You wanna play with my Dollies?' Kathy asked excitedly.
Little Holly's eyes lit up! 'Yeah!....'
'You mean we don't have to go to bed now?' Nancy asked.
Holly looked at her with a funny expression 'Does your mommy want us to go to bed?'
'Ummmm no.... I'm in charge... I guess... We can do whatever' nancy answered.
Kathy grabbed Holly's small hand and pulled her up the stair. Shoes and jewelry fell off as she climbed the stairs. Nancy picked up the items as she folowed. 'I'll put your rings and bracelets in the bedroom...OK?'
'Ya... They don't fit me too good anyway'
When Nancy returned she saw Kathy giving Holly a tour of her dollhouse. Nancy had wet a wash cloth and wiped the makeup off the child. 'I... think you need washed up a bit'
Nancy surveyed her work and wet her finger to get the last of the make-up off the child. 'There... you look better now....'
She stepped back to look at the scene. No one would ever believe that the little girl, barefoot, shoulder length hair, wearing only a top that hung like a dress, was their mother. Nancy wouldn't have believed it either if she hadn't seen the transformation with her own eyes!
Nancy turned on the TV that was in their bedroom and began watching videos. Kathy and Holly played with the dolls. They laughed and giggled and played until their eyelids got too heavy to stay open.
Holly awoke to the sound of static coming from the TV. Flashes of the dream she had just experienced came back to her as she looked around...and then UP to see the Nancy asleep in the chair in front of the TV. The station was off the air and was the only light in the room. She realized she was lying on the FLOOR of her daughters' room!She was clutching something fuzzy next to her stomach. It was a TEDDY BEAR!!! She looked down at her body in the dim light of the TV. She had on only a shirt that was barely long enough to cover her modestly. She jumped up and ran out of the room...still clutching the Teddy Bear! At the bottom of the stairs she saw her discarded shoes and clothing! It all came back to her....... Only a short while ago...Somehow.... she had been a child.... not even as old as her oldest daughter!
She sat at the bottom of the stairs and tried to think of HOW it could have happened. 'That damn fortune teller.... she must've caused this' she thought 'But how? It's not possible....'
'Mommy.. you're big again....'
Holly turned to see Kathy standing at the top of the stairs rubbing her eyes.
'Get yourself a glass of water from the bathroom and go back to bed! I've got to figure out what the hell is going on! Wellllll? Didn't you hear me? Leave me alone so I can think!' Holly barked....and then felt a shiver....
A FEW MOMENTS LATER
'You wanna sleep in my bed with me?' Kathy asked little Holly.
'OK... I'm really sleepy' she said as she let out a yawn.
Kathy took the child's hand and led her back into the bedroom. Holly's other hand tightly gripped her Teddy Bear.
Time and Punishment
PART 3 by Louder
Holly awoke as she bumped her head on the headboard. She kicked at the covers that only partially covered her legs. Groggy and confused, she realized she was in Kathy's bed! Everything came back to her. She fought back a scream as she hurriedly got out of the bed and ran downstairs. The sun was just starting to light the morning sky and Holly didn't feel like going back to bed until she knew just what was going on. She fixed a cup of coffee and sat down at the breakfast table to try and think. She wondered if it had all been her imagination...but looking at how she was dressed, she realized it was more than in her mind. She grabbed a pair of sweat-pants from the laundry and made her way back to the coffee. 'Could that psychic ~really~ do something like that? Was it a curse?'
Holly finally decided to call her friends.
'Christy... Ummmmmm has anything ummmm strange happened to you?'
'No.... what do you mean?'
'I don't know....nothing ~funny~?'
'Everything's fine.... Why?'
'Uhhhhh what about Tricia?'
'I guess nohing strange happened. She found a ummm ~friend~... like always... and they left'
'Oh..... I just really had some strange ummmmm dreams or something...'
'Really? Not me'
'I must've been sleepwalking... I guess... I was just wondering if someone might've put something in our drinks...... I don't know really....'
'No.... not mine... And I taste-tested plenty!'
'I guess I'm just being silly.... It all ~had~ to be a dream....'
'What kind of dream?...... Oh! I'll have to call you back, Holly. Those damn kids are playing in my yard again! Damn brats! I guess I'll hafta talk to you later. Bye now'
Holly sat back. It all seemed so real.... but it couldn't have been real! 'Impossible' she thought. The next couple of hours were uneventful. She fixed the kids breakfast and they were glued to the Saturday morning cartoons on TV. Finally, the phone rang.
'Holly...my God..... What kind of strange things were you talking about?' Christy's nervous voice was on the other end of the line.
'Oh nothing. It was nothing'
'Uhhhhh are you sure.... I uhhhhhh.... Damn it! I'm shaking like a leaf!'
'This sounds stupid..... Those damn kids were in my yard playing and I went to run them off. The next thing I know.... I'm in a tree... Like, I climbed there! I about broke my neck getting down!'
'You... You climbed a tree? But the trees in your yard aren't THAT big!...???'
'Well, I thought I was a kid.... I mean I WAS.... I know it's impossible.... I ~felt~ like a kid anyway.... '
'That is what happened to me! It happened to me TWICE! I thought I was losing my mind!'
'Ummmm Not to disappoint you... but I haven't heard anything to make me think that we BOTH aren't losing our minds! I'm coming over right now. We have to figure this out! See you in a bit'
Holly buried her head in her hands. 'What is happening?' She mumbled. She turned the portable TV on that was in the kitchen and waited on her friend.
In only a few short moments Christy arrived. 'This is TOO weird!' she said as she sat down. 'Have you checked with Tricia yet?'
'I tried earlier but only got her machine. I figured she found somewhere else to stay last night.... if you know what I mean!'
Holly related her experiences. Nothing stuck out as the trigger. Both women agreed that the Psychic must be involved... somehow! 'This is awful.... at any time we could find ourselves in the sandbox'
'What if we even get YOUNGER sometimes????' Christy asked.
'Oh shit! I hadn't thought of THAT! Maybe it's all over?....'
Just then a special report came on the TV:
'This is Martina Childress reporting. Behind me, we've learned, Jason Kennedy, son of Mayor Tom Kennedy is being questioned regarding his role in the whereabouts of a missing girl. The girl, as yet un-named, was seen running from the younger Kennedy's car by multiple witnesses at around 2 AM this morning just outside a local nightclub. The girl has not been found despite a massive search. Apparently, she was not fully clothed. Mr Kennedy has denied any wrong-doing. Police say the girl was approximately 10 years old and appeared to witnesses to be very frightened.
'What a creep!' Holly stated as the report continued.
'Mr. Kennedy failed a sobriety test sources tell us, although we have no specifics on the test or tests. The only official comment from the police has been that 'We are only questioning Mr Kennedy at this point. He claims no wrong-doing on his part. He claims that he feels this might be an exthortion attempt.' Police say they are looking at all possibilities although they clearly are not looking at the case from that point of view... in this reporter's opinion. My sources tell me that adult female clothing WAS found in Mr. Kennedy's car. While this could be exculpatory in nature, some whispers have been heard that claim Mr. Kennedy was known to be a cross-dresser. We haven't been able to confirm that but that would be consistent with the clothes found in his car. The Mayor has issued this statement:
'While we certainly stand by our son, we understand that sometimes good people do bad things. Our son as been living away from home for a number of years and thus we have not been able to, and shouldn't be expected to monitor his every move. While he lived under our roof he was a normal teenager and gave us no reason to believe he could be involved in anything like this. We hope for an innocent explaination and pledge our full support to the police department of this fine city. We know they will do what is necessary and just. Right now the focus should be on finding the little girl. Our hearts go out to her and her family.'
'Reading between the lines, it could certainly be said that the Mayor is distancing himself from this potential scandal. A source at the Mayor's office tells me that the son claims to have left the club with a woman and...... Oh, here he comes down the courthouse steps now... Get a camera up there.... I believe he is handcuffed...Yes... He is in handcuffs.. If you look you can clearly see he is in handcuffs... and is being escorted by local police.... I'll try and get a comment..... Jason! Jason Kennedy...'
Christy's eyes about fell out of her skull!!!!! 'That is the guy that Tricia left with! That's him! The ~little girl~ could've been Tricia!.... Oh no! We have to do ~something~'
The noise brought Kathy and Nancy into the kitchen. 'What's goin' on?'
'Nothing...None of your business. Go back and watch your TV' Holly told them.
'But we wanna watch ~your~ TV.... Something's goin' on!' Kathy whined.
'Back to your cartoons!' Holly again ordered as she felt a shiver.
'You kids shouldn't be in here watching news like this. Do what your mother says! I'm sorry to be so direct but you have no business in here with us! Move along!' Christy added and then shivered.
'Ya, like, go back, ya know... Like, leave us alone' a younger Holly ordered as she felt another chill.
'We need to discuss somethin' and we don't need, like, little kids hangin' 'round!' A teenaged Christy told them.
While she spoke, Holly's feet lifted from the floor as she again returned to her childhood. Another shiver and Christy joined Holly in her renewed childhood.
Nancy and Kathy only laughed, growing accustomed to the strange happenings.
Christy's shorts were now huge and her tank top threatened to slide off her shoulders. Her tennis shoes barely dangled from her now smaller feet that no longer touched the floor.
Holly's sweatpants had slid over her feet and hung emptily on the floor.
'I see you're back' Nancy said to Little Holly. 'And brought a friend!'
'Uh huh' Holly answered as she sipped her coffee and then made a face. 'OOOOOOH YUCK!!!'
'So whatcha watchin'?' Kathy asked.
'Yucky Ol' news... I think.....' Christy answered.
'We've got cartoons on our TV' Kathy stated proudly.
'Yeah!!! Much better than this stuff!' Holly said excitedly.
Both girls hopped down and tried to make it to the Family Room. They were slowed considerably by their much too big clothing. Holly could barely walk as the legs of her sweatpants flopped under her feet as she had to pull them up. Christy shorts were no match for her smaller body and slid off leaving the tank top for a dress.
'I think I have something for you two' Kathy said as she headed down the hall. She soon returned with some clothing that Nancy had outgrown. Holly always saved Nancy's old clothes for Kathy. Kathy resented having to wear her sister's 'hand-me-downs' and so she felt a bit of revenge making her MOTHER wear them! Soon, the two new children had on faded shorts and T-shirts.
After watching TV for a while, Nancy suggested they go out back. Her mother always hated for the kids to play with the garden house. 'Too messy' she always said. Nancy decided to see what ~Little~ Holly thought of the garden hose. She soon found out....she loved it! The girls ended up turning the sprinklers on and each of them were soaked as they ran thru the shimmering water.
Nancy felt a bit of retribution now also. Whatever was causing this was allowing her a better than any payback than she could ever imagine. Whenever it happened, SHE became the oldest in the family!
The girls were having a blast playing in the water when their giggling and laughter was broken up by a voice from the patio.
''Morning girls. I just stopped in to see if you were feeling any better, Kathy. I guess you ~are~!' The voice was Kathy's grandmother...Holly's mother!
Nancy's expression suddenly changed. She saw Little Holly staring curiously at the older woman. She then saw her Grandmother staring just as curiously at Little Holly.....
"Time and Punishment"
PART 4 by Louder
Nancy watched as her grandmother examined the two strange children. She paid particular attention to Holly. Holly was staring back, just a quizzically. Nancy decided to say something before one of them did.... It was too late!
'Mommy? Mommy you look ~old~.....' Holly told the older woman.
'Ummmm She's just playing...' Nancy said, hoping to head off the problem at the pass.
'Holly? Holly? It can't be..... what have you done?...'
TOO LATE! Nancy braced herself for whatever questions would be coming.
'Are you Christy?' she asked.
The other little girl shook her head to indicate 'yes'.
'How did you do this? Can you uhhhh change back?'
Holly's expression changed. She looked like she feared she was about to be in trouble. 'I'm sorrrrry...' she wimpered.
'I think I'm losing my mind. My adult daughter looks likes a 10 year old! How can you be a parent if you look like a child?'
Holly looked very confused. Her face scrunched up and she looked scared. 'I said I was sorrrry.... I shouldn't have gotten in the water.....'
'The water?!!!!! I'm not talking about THAT!..... Holly... do you know how old you are?'
10!??? Christy, do you know how old you are?'
'Uh huh... I'm 10'
The older woman's eyes opened wide. She realized that the girls had not only physically regressed but mentally as well!
'Nancy...Kathy... What do you know about this?'
'Well, gramma. It started last night. It was a miracle... I think mommy got little so we could spend more time together' Kathy answered.
'A miracle? How'd did she do it?'
'I dunno. She was big and then she just got little. She was big again this morning and then she got little again with Aunt Christy'
At this point a strange thing started to happen..... Holly and Christy started growing! Their clothes tightened as their bodies got bigger.
'My, Oh my...they're ~growing~!' the older woman stated 'Girls! Get inside...'
She hustled them inside and grabbed a couple of robes to replace Holly's and Christy's shrinking wardrobe. The two young teens fought their way out of their now too small clothing and wondered what was happening. Aging at the rate of about a year a minute, in 20 minutes they were back to their normal selves.
'It happened again!' Holly sobbed 'What did she do to us!?'
Christy's mental state wasn't much better. 'I'm sorry, Barbara. We can't control it! Believe me.... Neither one of us chose THIS!'
'I believe you... I have to.... I saw it with my own two eyes! But how?' Holly's mother, Barbara asked.
'It was this mystic... or fortune teller.....She put a curse on us!!!' Holly answered.
'You mean like a ~witch~?' Barbara asked.
'No, witches aren't like that! They are 'one' with nature and don't cast 'bad' spells. It would take more energy than one witch could muster to even think about something like this!' Christy answered with authority.
Christy felt everyone's stares as she finished her statement. 'Ummmm I ~read~ a lot... OK?'
'It seems to me we need to head straight to this ~mystic~ and get this straightened out!' Barbara declared.
'But... Umm... She's scares me!'
'Damnit, Holly! You can't live like this! What about Ron...your husband? Do you want him to get home and find a 10 year old wife? What if you get even YOUNGER!?' Barbara made her point.
'You're right.... and we've got to help Tricia!'
'Tricia? She's affected too?'
'I think so, Mother. We haven't seen her since last night and she never made it home'
'Well. that settles it! We'll find this ~mystic~ or whatever she is. She needs to straighten this ALL out!'
Soon, Christy was in the back seat of Barbara's car with Nancy and Kathy beside her. Holly sat in the passenger seat as her mother drove.
'I ~knew~ you girls were headed for trouble... Late hours! Parties! Selfish, selfish, selfish! All your life you wouldn't listen to me! What an example for Nancy and Kathy!'
'MOTHER! Please be quiet! It's not like you were the best example of parenting!'
The two women continued to argue while Christy occassionally gave Barbara directions.
'OK, there it is' Christy pointed out.
Barbara pulled the car to the curb and looked up the street at the small shop Christy had pointed out. 'OK, this is it. Nancy, you stay here and watch Kathy and we'll be right back. Keep the doors locked!'
'OK, gramma' Nancy dutifully answered.
The three women made their way to the shop and entered without knocking.
'Ahhhhhhh... Welcome back' Madame Kwan greeted them. 'Can I assume you've had an eventful morning?'
'I don't know who the HELL you think you are...and I don't even care actually... You can't be doing things to people's lives. You're EVIL and I want you to make things right!' Barbara yelled.
'Such anger! How bitter you are! But you are in ~my~ home.' Madame Kwan stated.
'We didn't want to be turned into kids...we were just ummmmm looking for a good time' Holly added.
'I'm ordering you to boil your brew or whatever you have to do to take this curse off these people! And their other friend too!'
'My brew? How crude!'
'Your evil can't bother me. I've lived a good wholesome life! I don't fear you!' Barbara calmy argued.
'Wholesome? Divorced back when divorce was still considered taboo? Running around using your body like a whore? THAT was a ~wholesome~ life?' Madame Kwan shot back.
Barbara was taking aback. She didn't have an immediate comeback because the statement was true...but how could Madame Kwan have known?
'I told you girls not to come looking for me....'
'You, you ummmm said we'd find you if you wanted us too....' Holly answered.
'Yes, I did. Didn't I?'
'You bitch! Just erase your evil and lift the curse!' Barbara screamed.
'Bitch? Evil? Such foul language... tsk tsk....' And with that, Madame Kwan once again grabbed her shiny quarter from underneath the table. The reflection flickered in each of the women's eyes, freezing them in their tracks.
'Ahhhhhhh such fools! So many lessens to be learned.... tsk tsk.... ' Madame Kwan made her way to Barbara. 'Barbara Howard. Such a rough life you've lead.... most of it of your own making. I think you can help teach your family a lesson....and maybe you can learn something yourself. Ooooh and that language of yours... You need more sugar and spice, so you will now regress both mentally and physically until you reach the age of 5. For the course of this spell you will know Holly as YOUR mother. ' Madame Kwan took out a pouch containg a blue powder and sprinkled it on Barbara. Almost immediately, Barbara began youthening. Her gray hair turned became streaked with blond and then finally, fully blond. Her sagging skin tightened and her body seemed to get taller as her posture and muscular improved. Her rear and breasts tightened also. A young woman of maybe 25 stood there oblivious to the changes.... then she was no more than 20.... curves disappeared as she became 15...then a freckled 10 year old....and finally a smiling five year old girl stood in baggy oversized clothing.
'And now Holly.....You must now take care of little Barbara just as one of your own. Should you ignore her needs, it will be the same as ignoring your own children.'
Madame Kwan proudly surveyed her work. 'You will not remember coming in here today' she said as she led the three to the door. They all followed blankly, still victims of Madame Kwan's trance. She placed Little Barbara's hands in each of the two adult's hands and then quickly flashed the refelection from her coin into their eyes. She then shut the door.
Holly began shaking her head. 'What happened?'
'Uhhh I don't know???' Christy answered, just as confused.
'Mother, we have to be careful....' Holly's voice trailed off as she noticed the different make up of the group. She looked down to see the blond haired youngster smiling back at her.
'Mommy, where are we going?' Little Barbara asked.
Christy's jaw dropped 'What's your name?'
'I'm Barbie' she replied smiling.
'We've been tricked! We've got to get in here and make her fix this! Pay her whatever she wants' Holly said as she looked at the door more closely. It was old and dirty. The building didn't look like anyone had been there in years.
'What the.... This is IT.... I ~know~ it IS!' Holly screamed as she beat on the door. The door easily flew open revealing a room full of cobwebs and no sign of occupants!
'Whatcha doin' Mommy?'
'Noooooooooooooooooooooooo!' Holly screamed in vain.
'Your honor, I don't see any need in charges. She's obviously a disturbed young woman. No one runs naked through that part of town at 2AM. I beg the court to order her to be hospitalised for observation. She needs help...not an arrest record!' The young public defender argued.
'Your honor. We have reason to believe this woman may have something to do with the Jason Kennedy case. We are in the process of examining his car and some of the items from therein to see if we can place Ms Adams in the vehicle. This could be excuplatory in nature for Mr Kennedy or could lead to show Ms Adam's role in the crime. Without releasing unsubstanciated reports into the public record, at this time, I feel that we should keep Ms Adams incarcerated until we can determine her role in all of this. The prosecutor countered.
'How soon will you have the evidence examined?' The judge asked.
'It should be ready by tomorrow. I certainly don't want to keep a mentally unbalanced young woman from getting help, If THAT is all she is, but I feel a day...or two... in our control would be in the best interests of public safety'
'Bailiff, take her back to her cell!' the Judge ordered.
'Noooooooooooooo' Tricia Adams yelled as she was led back into the jail.