Sarah sat glumly on her bed staring at the wall in disgust. Another boring night sitting at home with Mrs. Torres while her parents went out to a movie. She was really getting tired of being left home all the time while her parents had all the fun, going to movies, out to dinner, parties, all that stuff. After all, she was eleven and was old enough to go places by herself, she didn't need her parents' permission every time she wanted to do something fun. And Sarah would rather watch grass grow than hang around Mrs. Torres; she was SOOOOOO boring.
Why would a 60-year-old lady want to baby-sit anyway? It's not like she needed the money or anything, she must just like boring kids to death.
A knock on the door brought Sarah out of her doldrums enough to ask, 'Who is it?' 'It's Mom, honey, I just wanted to tell you Mrs. Torres can't baby-sit tonight.'
'Really?' Sarah sat up, suddenly feeling much better. 'Yes,' her mother said as she opened the door and came into the room. 'She called to say she's a little under the weather and doesn't want to get you sick, too.'
'Will she be OK?' Sarah asked. 'She said she'd be fine, it's just a little cold.' 'So I guess you and Dad won't be going out tonight?' Sarah asked. 'Well, that's what I wanted to talk to you about,' her mother replied. Uh oh, Sarah thought as her short-lived relief began to falter. Now what? 'Mrs. Torres was very sorry she couldn't come over, so she's arranged for her niece to come instead,' Sarah's mother said quietly. 'Oh, great,' Sarah said, plummeting back into the depths of disappointment as the doorbell rang.
'There she is now, why don't you come down and meet her?' 'Wow, I can't wait,' Sarah muttered under her breath with a healthy dose of sarcasm. 'A younger version of Mrs. BORE-es.'
As they went downstairs, Sarah asked, 'Mom, why can't I stay by myself? I know what to do if there's a fire or something, and I wouldn't let any strangers in the house or anything like that.' 'I know you're a responsible girl, Sarah, but I'm afraid you're still a bit too young to be left alone.'
'But I could invite Jacquie and Kelly over, so I wouldn't be alone, there'd be three of us.'
'Sarah, you know Dad and I don't allow you to have friends over if neither of us are here. Now I'm sorry, but this is how it has to be.' They had reached the front door and Sarah's mother stood with her hand on the knob as she said, 'Please be nice to Tracy, Sarah. She's doing this as a favor to Mrs. Torres and we're very lucky that she was available on such short notice.'
When her mother opened the door, Sarah could hear her gasp involuntarily in shock. There before them stood a stunningly beautiful young woman who smiled and said, 'Hello, Mrs. Wilcox, I'm Tracy Rodriguez, Mrs. Torres' niece. I hope I'm not too late?' What made Mrs. Wilcox gasp, however, was not Tracy's undeniable beauty, but her...attire. Even Sarah found her own jaw had dropped open of its own volition. Tracy's shiny black hair fell over her shoulders and down her back in long loose curls, framing a gorgeous face with dark eyes. She wore a hot pink halter top that was struggling to contain her ample breasts and deep cleavage and left her firm, flat stomach exposed. Likewise, her full hips and firm, round rear end were tightly packed into a pair of bright red short shorts. She wore nude pantyhose over her long, smooth tan legs, and high heels the same bright red color as her shorts. Her left hand rested on a small handbag attached to a strap over her shoulder. Noticing Sarah's and her mother's stares, Tracy quickly said, 'I'm sorry about my outfit, Mrs. Wilcox. I know it's not very appropriate, but I was on my way out to a party when Aunt Linda called. She said you needed a sitter right away and I didn't think I'd have enough time to change, so I just came right over.'
'That's OK, Tracy, you just caught me by surprise,' Mrs. Wilcox said, laughing. She had to admit that Tracy's outfit did make her a little uncomfortable, but as she said, it was short notice, so it would have to do for now. 'I didn't mean to spoil your plans for the evening.' 'It's OK, I didn't really want to go to this party anyway.'
'Well, I do appreciate you being so prompt. By the way, this is my daughter Sarah.'
'Hi Sarah, how's it going?' Tracy asked with a smile as she reached out to shake Sarah's hand.
'OK, I guess,' Sarah said, shrugging. She noticed Tracy's long dark red nails as she shook her hand.
'Well, I'll get going now, I'm meeting Sarah's father at the train station, then we're going to a dinner party, so we probably won't be back until around midnight or so. Is that OK?'
'Oh, that's no problem, Mrs. Wilcox. Take your time, Sarah and I will be just fine,' Tracy said reassuringly, as she smiled again at Sarah. 'Great. Sarah, honey, would you bring me my purse, please?' 'Sure,' said Sarah as she headed for the kitchen. When she was gone, Mrs. Wilcox said, 'Tracy, do you mind if I ask you a personal question?'
'Not at all,' replied Tracy.
'How old are you?'
'Twenty-five? I'm surprised you're still baby-sitting.' 'I know it's weird, Mrs. Wilcox, but I normally wouldn't be baby-sitting. I used to a lot when I was in high school, but now I'm just helping Aunt Linda.'
'OK, Tracy, I'm sorry to seem so paranoid but I just want to make sure you and Sarah will be all right.'
'I understand, don't worry,' Tracy said with a laugh. 'I'd feel the same way. Oh, it looks like Sarah has your purse,' she said as Sarah returned from the kitchen.
'Thanks, honey. I'd better get going now, Sarah's father should be at the station. Here's the number where we can be reached later. Bye, honey.' She bent down and kissed Sarah on the cheek.
'Have a good time!' Tracy said cheerfully as Sarah's mother waved from the car window. After the car disappeared down the street, they both stepped back inside and Tracy closed the door.
'OK, honey, the party's over,' said Tracy in a voice that was suddenly icy cold. 'Here's how things are now. You're going to eat your dinner now and then go up to your room and stay there the rest of the night. Got it?' Sarah was shocked at Tracy's sudden change of mood, and just stood staring at her in shock. 'What's wrong with you? Don't you understand English? Get something to eat and then get out of here. I need to take care of some personal business.'
'But, but..' Sarah stammered meekly.
'What?' asked Tracy impatiently.
'What am I supposed to eat?'
'How should I know? I'm not your mother. I don't have time for this now, honey. It's almost seven o'clock and I have to make some phone calls. Now get your food and go upstairs!'
'But I don't know how to cook anything,' Sarah said. 'Look, little girl,' Tracy said as she bent down and got right in Sarah's face. 'You're really getting on my nerves. If I were you I'd just shut up and do as I was told. I'm not in a very good mood right now so just watch your step.'
Sarah was so taken aback by Tracy's menacing demeanor she could feel her cheeks begin to burn as her eyes started to fill with tears. 'Oh, are you kidding me? The little baby's going to cry now? I'm so sorry, honey, let me get your dinner for you, OK?' Tracy's voice was dripping with venom. She went into the kitchen and started looking through the cupboards. 'Here you go, this should be perfect for you.' She returned with a can of Pringle's potato chips and held it out to Sarah. 'Well? Take these and get upstairs now!'
'I'm not eating those things, I hate those!' Sarah said, getting more upset all the time.
'Listen, sweetums,' Tracy said bending down again and poking Sarah in the chest with her index finger as she spoke. 'Don't...ever...talk...back...to me...again!' Sarah could feel Tracy's nail digging into her chest. 'You're going to take this can, and you're going to go upstairs to your little room, and you're going to lock the door and stay in there all night. Do you understand?'
Sarah was trembling as she said quietly, 'Yes, Tracy, I understand.' She took the chips from Tracy and slowly headed for the stairs.
'It's about time. And don't let me catch you trying to sneak out of there, either. You're already on dangerous ground. Oh wait, you need something to drink, too.' Tracy took a bottle of V-8 out of the refrigerator and gave it to Sarah. She secretly smiled when she saw Sarah's facial expression; obviously she was about as fond of V-8 as she was of Pringle's potato chips. 'Thanks,' Sarah said as she took the bottle. 'You're welcome, Sarah.' Tracy's words were betrayed by her mocking tone of voice. She waited until she heard Sarah's bedroom door close, then ran into the living room and dialed the phone.
'Hi, Keith? How are you?...I'm OK, I just got stuck tonight baby-sitting this little brat kid because my aunt couldn't show up...Yeah, it's definitely not fun. I tried to get out of it, but my aunt got really pushy and tried to lay this guilt trip on me, so I just figured I'd do it and get it over with...' As Tracy was talking, she was unaware that Sarah had sneaked back out into the hall and was listening to the whole conversation. 'Thanks, I appreciate that. Hey, I wanted to tell you, this little runt's parents won't be home until around midnight, so if you wanted to come over for a while that would be nice...Yeah, 1186 Glen Avenue...Great, I'll see you soon then, bye!' Tracy hung up the phone and sat back on the couch with a smug smile on her face.
Upstairs, Sarah was fuming as she went back into her room. She never thought she'd say it, but she missed Mrs. Torres; she might have been boring, but she was never mean or nasty. There had to be some way to get back at Tracy for being so mean, but how? She thought about telling her mother about Tracy, but then she thought better of it. Her mother probably wouldn't believe her anyway, she'd think it was all a made-up story. She could hear her mother now: 'Sarah, you're just exaggerating things again. Why can't you just get along with Tracy? I'm sure she's a very nice person. Stop complaining all the time and try to enjoy yourself.' Sarah rolled over on her bed and stared out the window. It would be getting dark very soon, and she could already see a star glinting in the dim purple sky. 'Why can't Mom just let me do what I want sometimes? I wish I could have a friend over instead of some awful baby-sitter.' With that, Sarah rolled back over and popped the top on her dinner.
Downstairs, Tracy felt a slight chill as she sat watching TV. She shivered a little and rubbed her hands up and down her arms. 'Man, it's getting cold in here, what do they have the heater set on?' She got up and adjusted the thermostat to 75 degrees. 'That should do it,' she said, returning to the couch. Something seemed odd, but she couldn't figure out what it was, as she adjusted her halter over her abundant breasts, not noticing that they weren't stretching against the halter as much as they did a few seconds ago. After a moment Tracy felt another, stronger chill. 'Now I'm even colder. Is that thing working?' She got up again and checked the thermostat: it was still 75. 'Maybe I should drink something to warm up. Let's see if they have anything in the fridge.' She opened up the refrigerator and smiled. 'Beer! That works for me.' She grabbed a bottle and twisted off the top, taking a large swig. 'Mmm, that's much better,' she said contentedly and once again took a seat on the couch.
As the minutes went by, however, Tracy felt increasingly uncomfortable. She had to keep adjusting her top, and then her shorts as well. It felt as if they were moving around on their own. The halter was now a perfect fit on her, in fact it was starting to look a little loose, and her once tight shorts were starting to wrinkle a bit as well. Tracy's hair had also become slightly shorter and her face, although still beautiful, didn't look quite as sophisticated or sexy as before; it was getting more...girlish. Another chill struck even stronger than before, and Tracy wrapped her arms around herself and shivered. 'Am I getting sick?' she asked. She was starting to feel somewhat nervous, she had never experienced this before. She could feel hot air blowing from the heating vent, but it didn't seem to warm her up at all. 'What's going on?' She sat back on the couch, took the afghan off the back and wrapped it around her shoulders.
Over the next few minutes, Tracy was looking more and more like a college student and less and less like the twenty-five-year-old who came to the door a few minutes before. Her halter and shorts were getting progressively looser and her formerly tight-fitting pantyhose started to wrinkle as her legs grew thinner. She started to lose interest in the TV news and began flipping through the channels looking for something interesting. 'It's too bad Melrose Place is off the air,' she said. Another chill struck her as her outfit seemed to grow on her, and now Tracy looked like a high school senior. She was sitting with her legs crossed, and her pump was starting to dangle off her shrinking foot. Her wrinkled pantyhose were getting baggy, as were her halter and shorts under the afghan.
Tracy's hair had gotten even shorter and was just below her shoulders. It had also lost its wavy curls and was becoming straight, just as she wore it in high school. Her makeup, which enhanced her sexiness as an adult, looked rather odd on her sixteen-year-old face. 'When is 'The Real World' on? That's like my favorite show and I never get to see it,' Tracy complained in a much higher voice. 'And I wonder how the cry-baby's doing upstairs?' Tracy didn't realize that she was only a few years older than that cry-baby, though; everything seemed normal.
The chill returned and passed, leaving Tracy at the same age as a freshman.
'This is like so weird, I mean, why am I wearing these huge clothes?' She removed the afghan and stared down at the tentlike halter and shorts covering her increasingly skinny body. 'My boobs'll never fit into this top,' she said sadly looking down at her optimistic A-cups. Ironically, her statement was strangely prophetic, since just a few minutes ago those same breasts barely fit with no room to spare. As Tracy reached up to her diminishing chest, the nails that she just had done yesterday started to loosen and fall off; her fingers were getting too thin for them. 'I don't know why I had those on anyway,' she said as another chill hit her.
A bracelet slipped off her thin wrist, and her feet started to rise from the floor as she grew shorter and shorter. Tracy's voluptuous figure had dwindled down to that of a gawky seventh-grader with barely a hint of her old figure remaining; just a very slight curve around her hips, and her A-cup breasts had shrunk to small cones on her chest. Her oversized pumps finally fell off, leaving her pantyhose hanging several inches below her feet. Her makeup was completely out of place on her rounder, more innocent face, and her false eyelashes were coming off as her face and head grew smaller. Tracy reached over and took another sip of her beer, then promptly spit it out. 'Yuck! Why would anyone drink this stuff, it's so gross! ' She stood up and had to grab hold of her shorts and top to keep them from slipping off her narrow hips and shoulders. 'I've gotta find some clothes that fit, maybe Sarah has something I can borrow.'
As Tracy started toward the stairs, she felt another chill and started to shrink again as more years fell away, and soon she was just a fifth-grader, the same as Sarah. She had completely lost her womanly figure and was just a skinny eleven-year-old with bony arms and legs.
Her chest was totally flat without a trace of development, even the cone-shaped mounds had disappeared. Her hair had shortened to just above her shoulders. It was getting more and more difficult to walk in her pantyhose, which were dragging behind her, so she just let them fall to the floor and easily stepped out of them, along with her oversized red silk panties. 'Where did I get these stupid clothes anyway? I'm too old to play dress-up,' said Tracy in a high thin childish voice. Her earrings felt heavy on her small ears, and she stopped to pull them off, almost forgetting that they weren't the clip-on kind. The holes closed up as soon as they were taken off. She reached the top of the stairs and called out, 'Sarah? Where are you?'
Sarah had fallen asleep on her bed after eating a few of the potato chips, and stirred when she heard someone calling her name. 'Huh?' she asked, sleepy-eyed. 'Did someone call me?'
'Sarah?' Sarah heard a knock on the door and said, 'Who is it?'
'It's Tracy,' she heard a young girl reply.
'What? Tracy? You don't sound like Tracy.'
Sarah got up and unlocked the door, opening it slowly. She saw a short dark-haired girl wearing what looked like clown makeup standing in the hall. 'Who are you?' she asked the girl.
'What do you mean? You know who I am, I'm Tracy!' Tracy said, looking at Sarah strangely.
'Tracy's a grown-up! There's no way you could be Tracy. Tell me who you are and how you got in my house!' Sarah said, getting annoyed at this intruder. She shouted toward the stairs, 'Tracy! There's a girl upstairs! Did you let her in?'
'What's the matter with you, Sarah? You know I'm Tracy!' the girl said with a frown. Sarah looked closely at the girl's face, and something about her looked eerily familiar...no, there was no way she could be Tracy. She couldn't have been any older than Sarah.
'Look, I don't know who you are or what you're doing here, but get out of my house!' Sarah grabbed Tracy's arm and started toward the stairs, but Tracy stopped and jerked her arm away.
'Sarah, why are you doing this? You're really freaking me out!' 'How do you know my name, anyway? I've never seen you before,' Sarah asked. She tried to grab Tracy's arm again, but was surprised when Tracy took hold of HER arm.
'Listen, Sarah, I don't know why you don't recognize me, but it's me, Tracy. I've been here for at least an hour. I'm your baby-sit...' She stopped and shook her head, suddenly her mind was spinning as her thoughts and memories reorganized themselves. Why would she be baby-sitting someone her own age? 'Er...your friend,' she finished.
'My friend?' Sarah asked, puzzled. 'Like I said, I've never seen you before, and besides, my Mom doesn't let...' She stopped in mid-sentence as her mouth flopped open. 'Oh my gosh, it's you!' She put her hand over her mouth. It all fell into place. Her wish on the star she saw must have come true and turned Tracy from her baby-sitter back into a girl to be her friend! Then she saw for the first time that Tracy was still holding up her old top and shorts. 'Tracy, I can't believe it's really you!' She stared at Tracy in speechless wonder until Tracy said impatiently, 'OK, Sarah, will you quit acting so weird and let me in so I can borrow some of your clothes? I really don't like standing around like this.'
'Uh, sure, Tracy,' Sarah said. 'But first, you might want to wash your face. You kind of look like a clown.'
'What?' Tracy ran to the mirror and said in horror, 'Oh no, I look really stupid!' Her lipstick had spread all around her smaller mouth. Her eyeshadow was smudged and she looked like she had two black eyes, and her blush had gotten all over the sides of her face. The whole thing gave her the appearance of a little girl who had gotten into her mother's makeup drawer and made a mess. She ran into the bathroom, hurriedly splashed water on her face and started rubbing it all over with a washcloth, but all that did was smear the makeup even more. 'This is even worse!' she moaned.
'Wait, Tracy, I've seen my Mom use cold cream when she takes off her makeup, let me get you some, OK?' She ran into her parents' bedroom and came back with a small jar and gave it to Tracy. Tracy thanked her and sighed with relief as the cream seemed to work. Soon the makeup was gone, and Sarah was amazed at how much younger her former baby-sitter appeared; she looked even younger than Sarah, she could have been a fourth-grader. 'OK, let's get you dressed, now,' said Sarah. She led Tracy to her closet and they started looking for an outfit Tracy could wear. Luckily, she was now Sarah's size, maybe a bit smaller, so it didn't take long. They picked out a navy blue T-shirt, a yellow skirt with matching socks, blue Keds, and of course a pair of Sarah's underwear. They were a little loose, but fit pretty well, and much better than her old things. With Sarah's clothes on, Tracy was so innocent-looking that Sarah almost couldn't believe that this fresh-faced girl was a very well-built sexy woman just a couple of hours ago. She even forgot about how nasty Tracy had been when she first came over, and almost felt sorry for her in her situation. But what was so odd was that Tracy acted like she'd known Sarah for years, like a real friend. 'What's wrong?' Tracy asked.
'Huh?' asked Sarah,
'Why are you staring at me again? You've been acting totally weird today, Sarah.'
'Uh, nothing, I'm just thinking about something, no big deal.'
'So what do you want to do?'
'Well, we can go downstairs and watch some TV,' suggested Sarah.
'Great, let's go!' And the two girls went downstairs and started a new friendship, watching Cartoon Network over a pizza they bought with some money from Tracy's purse. 'I wonder how that got there,' said Tracy, as Sarah smiled.