Welcome to the Machine Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5
By Louder (with a tip of the hat to Pink Floyd)
Gloria, along with her eldest daughter, Sara, entered the basement slowly. It had only been a few days since Stan's funeral and neither was truly wanting to start the task of going thru his things. Stan was Gloria's husband of 20 years. His death had been sudden and unexpected. She blamed his death at least in part on his job as a researcher. Gloria didn't have any proof but she knew he was under lots of pressure and likely dealing with all types of dangerous substances. He constantly had to bring projects home to study. She couldn't believe that the seemingly healthy man that she had known could be stricken and gone so suddenly. At 40, she was now a widow with two daughters to take care of. Sara was 16 and Suzi was 14.
She had already managed to go thru his clothes and clean out the closet and drawers in their bedroom. The basement was another matter. It was here where he spent a large portion of his time. It was a cross between a workshop and a labratory. She rarely even ventured into the basement when he was alive. It was 'his' room. She felt more like an invader and left this area to him. Although he never said anything it was obvious to her that he appreciated this 'space'. He was free to experiment, do research, hobbies, whatever he wanted without outside intervention. As such, Gloria still felt like she was invading and even wondered if maybe she should just close the door and never enter the room again. Leave it like Stan left it.
'C'mon, Mom. Let's get it over with. I don't wanna think too much about it. Let's just do it. OK?' Sara told her as she stood at the top of the stairs.
'I'm sorry, honey. It's hard....'
'It's hard for me too, Mom. But I think if we just dig in it'll be easier.'
'I hope' Gloria answered but didn't sound convinced.
Gloria flipped on the light switch and they continued down the stairs. The room was messy. Papers were strewn about. A desk was hidden under a clutter of papers. Another desk contained a computer. Beside the keyboard was an unopened cola and a partially eaten sandwich. Further in the room was another computer on a table and more papers.
'You know, Sara, I bet he knew where to find any paper he was looking for. It looks like a mess to us... but he knows...errrrrr knew where to find whatever he wanted.'
Sara nodded but wasn't convinced. Still, she let her mother believe what she wanted.
'Mom... what on earth is THAT' Sara asked pointing to something in the middle of the room covered by a bedspread.
'I don't know. Let's see' Gloria replied as she walke toward the mystery item.
She tugged on the bedspread and set it aside.
'Well, like, we still don't know....' Sara answered while studying the machine in front of her.
It was dusty, like everything else in the room. There were a couple of angled lights...or what looked like lights on either side. On the back side was a table with a laptop computer that had cables that fed into a large rack of electronics under the table. Another cable ran along the floor to the computer on the desk.
Sara, who had inherited her fathers knack for computers, recognized that her father was linking the two computers but she couldn't figure out why. Why not just use one or the other she wondered?
'Sara, why don't you go grab some boxes and we can start storing some of this stuff. Maybe the school would like to have some of this stuff.'
'Are you sure, Mom? Maybe we outta, like, figure out what it is?'
'I'm sure. It's probably not even finished anyway. The school is always looking for computer donations and we still have yours. We don't need this stuff. Just hurry along and get the boxes.'
Sara hurried upstairs while Gloria looked over the machine. Her first concern was the dust. She straightened the papers by the laptop and began dusting. Her rag hit the powerstrip where the laptop was connected and the computer suddenly popped and then began to reboot. Both computers whirred to life. Gloria just stared as it quickly cycled through it startup routine. Rather than booting into Windows as Gloria was familiar, this machine only booted into something very different.
After the computer had ran a couple of diagnostics that looked much like any computer's boot screen, this machine suddenly printed the text 'Scanning Subject' The 'lights' on the floor suddenly came to life and seemed to move upward. 'Saving Sequence'. Gloria wanted to move but couldn't. 'Beginning Regression Sequence...... DEFAULT Regression..... FULL'. Gloria's eyes widened. The 'lights' suddenly brightened.
Upstairs, Sara noticed the house lights dim. She also heard some activity from downstairs and could see a glow from the basement.
'Mom? Are you OK?' she asked but heard no reply.
She left the boxes and ran down the stairs. As she reached the bottom of the stairs she saw the last of her mother's clothes seemingly fall in an empty heap!
Suddenly, she heard the sounds of a newborn crying..... coming from underneath the pile of clothing. She glanced at the computer screen 'Regression Successful' The computer seemed to be waiting for some type of user input.
'Mom? What's going on? This can't be what it looks like.... Mom? MOM!' Sara voiced cracked with nervousness as she approached the pile of clothing. She reached down and pulled a crying baby from beneath the pile of clothing. 'It's OK baby. Don't cry'
As she lifted the baby something fell from its hand. It was a ring. Her mother's wedding ring!
'What have you done? This can't be.... ' Sara said as she wrapped the baby in the discarded blouse from the pile of clothing.
The baby finally quit crying and Sara softly laid her back down amongst the clothing. 'What am I gonna do with you?' she quietly asked. She then went to check the computer on the table.
She clicked the 'next' button and watched as the next prompt appeared. 'Reverse-Load-New Subject-Quit-Info'. 'Reverse' she mumbled under breath 'it's reversible?' She clicked the 'Info' button. 'No Info available' 'Damn!' she said as she slammed the mouse.
Her mind raced. She was messing with something she knew nothing about. 'Reverse' seemed like an obvious choice but maybe that meant reverse aging? Or maybe it wasn't fully working correctly and even if 'reverse' was the proper choice it wouldn't work correctly. She didn't even know what her mother had done to cause this. Another thought crossed her mind.....what if the power went off...or the computer rebooted....would her mother be stuck as an infant? She suddenly imagined the conversation with her grandmother....'Hi grandma. How are you? I'm fine. Mom? Oh she's doing well.... I think she might, like, need changed though!'
'Mom.... please forgive me if this doesn't work, but I gotta try!' Sara said as she clicked the 'reverse' button.
The machine again whirred to life. 'Scanning Subject...MATCH OK....Reversing'
Sara watched as the 'lights' around the baby brightened. Suddenly, the baby began to grow. Her arms and legs lengthened. Her wispy hair began filling in. Soon a toddler was lying amidst the clothing. She was curled in a fetal position and sucking her thumb.
'C'mon!' Sara implored of the machine.
The toddler kept aging. The baby-fat disappeared. She was now a young girl and still aging. In a few seconds the young girl turned into a skinny young teen.... and then a not so skinny teenager.
Sara wished she could stop the process as she saw her mother looking more and more like a young adult. Maybe still a teenager.... or barely 20 she figured. Still, getting her mother back from infancy was the priority. Her features became more distinct as she approached her mid twenties. Muscle tone seemed to start dwindling as she approached her 30's. Then 35...and finally the baby had grown into the woman that Sara recognized as her mother!
'Mom! It worked! You're back!' Sara yelled as she ran toward her mother. But her mother never answered. She was still in the fetal position and sucking her thumb!
'MOM?!' Sara said as she shook her mother.
Finally, Gloria's eyes opened. Wide at first..and then even wider! She grabbed at her blouse to try and cover herself as she quickly scrambled to her feet.
'Uh......did what I think happened.... ~really~ happen?' she asked.
'If you think I was starting to wonder about disposable or cloth...the answer is yes.' Sara answered with a nervous laugh.
'How did you....Uhhhh...I mean get me back?'
'I dunno. I, like, guessed!'
'You guessed? Never mind. I don't wanna even think about it right now. Obviously, we won't be donating this machine ANYWHERE just yet! We need to figure out what Stan's done. I'm not sure if it is even legal!'
'Why wouldn't it be legal?' Sara asked.
'I don't know where this technology came from. I know he was smart.... but this is a little over the top! We need to figure it out. One way or the other this thing has got to be worth some money!'
While Gloria talked, Sara made her way back to the computer and continued messing with it. She clicked the 'New Subject' button.
'Sara, What are you doing?'
'I'm just seeing how it works. How did you, like, end up like that in the first place?'
'I hit the powerstrip with my dustcloth and it just came to life. Before I knew what was happening it started and I couldn't move.'
'Hmmmm well it must've automatically booted into the sequence.' Sara guesssed. 'Full regression is the default but this screen has all kinds of options. Here, I'm gonna make you my age!'
'NO.... You're not!' Gloria ordered as she jumped out of the way just as the machine restarted. 'We don't know what we've got here. I feel pretty lucky this time....This thing is not a toy!'
Sara frowned as the screen informed her 'No subject present. Sequence halted'
'You know a lot about computers. Maybe you can read thru all of your father's notes and make heads or tails out of all this. Try to find out how he figured this out and what his plans are...errr were. I'm going upstairs and freshen up. It's been quite a day... to say the least.
'~OK~' Sara whined as she picked up a pile of papers.
Gloria headed upstairs and Sara began reading. Some of the writings were very technical but others were more down to earth. She tried to separate the technical notes from the others. She also noticed that her father had scribbled dates and times on most of the notes. She sorted thru them and tried to organize them in order. She figured she'd have an easier time of understanding what she was reading if it was all in order. After a couple of hours she heard the voice of one of her classmates from behind her.
'Sara, how're you, like, coming along? Any good stuff?'
It wasn't one of her classmates. It only sounded like one of her classmates. It was her mother.... her teenaged mother!
Welcome to the Machine Part 2
'But you jumped out of the machine before it started. How'd this happen?' Sara asked her now younger mother.
'What're you talking about? Sure I jumped out. You were gonna, like, zap me again or something! No way am I gonna be getting any younger until you figure that thing out!'
'But you ~are~ younger?' Sara replied.
'Quit foolin! As if!' Gloria answered with a sneer.
'You don't know? You look like a teenager. I thought you were one of my friends from school when I heard your voice!'
'~Please~ Knock it off and quit playin' around! I'm, like, back to normal...totally!'
'I don't think so.... Mom... Look in the mirror' Sara said as she pointed to a mirror on the wall.
Gloria walked toward the mirror and looked at her reflection. She brushed her hair back with her hand and seemed to admire her reflection. 'Yeah, so I looked... You got me. Ha ha. So'd you find anything in the papers?'
'You think you look ~normal~?' Sara asked incredulously.
'Get off it! I'm fine. Sheesh....'
'You really think you look like a 40 year old?'
Gloria looked again. This time her expression changed. 'I dunno....like.... you're not foolin with me? '
'No....You look like a teenager!'
Gloria looked harder. 'Wow. I guess I do look kinda young for my age...... but, like, you think I look younger than I did?'
'Mom! You look barely older then ME! Something's wrong. I gotta figure it out.'
'Well.... just be careful what ya figure out. If it ain't broke don't fix it!'
Sara watched her mother turn and leave. As she climbed the stairs Sara could see that her shoes were starting to slip. She also noticed how loose her clothing was. She hoped that she didn't get any younger.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Gloria looked at her reflection in the window. She wondered why she was wearing such frumpy clothing. Not only was it dull and boring but it was too big! She turned and made her way to her room. She picked out some clothing but none of it was really what she was looking for. It was all pretty boring and looked too big anyway. She finally had a thought.... a sly grin crossed her face and she headed toward Sara's room. After a few minutes she had picked out a short halter top, cut-offs, and sandals. They fit her perfectly. ~Much~ better she thought as she returned to the kitchen and again saw her reflection in the window.
Sara skimmed over the notes that she had arranged chronologically. She could see that her father had been doing a lot of testing but didn't see anything at first but plant tests and computer self diagnostics. Finally, she found some notes on animal testing. At first the notes seemed to indicate high success rates but then she noticed their tone changed as her father noted some 'instability'. There was a few more references to the instability but nothing describing exactly what he was calling unstable. Worse, the notes were incomplete. The most recent dates were still a couple of months old. There had to be more notes somewhere! Sara glanced around the room. Filing cabinets, desk drawers, there were papers everywhere. The newer notes must be in there somewhere. Apparently, the older notes that she had found near the computer were older notes that her father had been referencing. She wished he could be there so she could just ask him what she wanted to know!
Sara decided it was time for a break. She figured she would break the news to her mother about the instability that her father had noted. She figured her mother would have questions about what that would mean but she just didn't know. She decided that her mother's recent regression must be part of the instability, but she didn't know what else to expect.
'Mom! You're wearing ~my~ stuff?' Sara said upon seeing her mother.
'You mind? You're stuff is so cool and all my stuff is kinda tacky like'
'Uhh No... I don't mind. It just surprised me....that's all. Anyway, I've looked over the notes that I've found. I think there's gotta be more somewhere, but the one's I've got talk about so instability in the process'
'Instability? Like how?'
'Well, I think like what's happened to you. I mean looking like a teenager and all....' Sara studied her mother closely. She wondered if she looked even younger than before. Sara had thought she looked taller downstairs but now they seemed the same height.
'What're you looking at?'
'I think you might be getting younger....'
'Nuh uh! Get real!'
'Mom... I don't know what Dad meant by instability for sure....but I think something like what is happening to you could be it! And if it continues..... I think I better call Grandma because we don't know what is going to happen.'
'What are you saying? That I'm gonna, like, be a baby ~again~. No way!'
'Mom, it's not just your looks.... it's your personality and everything. I think we have to, like, plan for the worst, ya know? I'll do what I can but it's gonna take time! I really think you've gotten even younger. Suzi's gonna be home soon too. I think grandma can help with her. She's gonna have a ton of questions.'
'~Whatever~ To tell you the truth even ~if~ I've gotten younger, it ain't much! I think you're just bein' way to much of a worry-wort. Call mom if you want.' the frustrated teen said as she sat down and crossed her legs in a huff.
Sara called her grandmother and asked her to come over. She didn't explain why just yet, figuring it was better to show her than to try and explain it. She then returned to her work downstairs, hoping to find some newer notes and some answers.
Gloria was pretty bored with it all. She hadn't liked being a baby but now that everything was back to normal she figured that Sara was just worrying to much and they should just leave everything alone. She even wondered if Sara was only going to try and turn her into a baby again just to be mean! Before her thoughts got too far afield, the door opened behind her.
'Sara. What's wrong? You've had me worried ever since you called!'
Gloria spun around 'Mom! You can't tell the difference in your daughter and your grand-daughter?'
The older woman's jaw dropped. 'Gloria? No..... You're a look alike. Sara's playing a joke. Where is she?'
'Joke? ~As if~ ~Right~ I haven't seen anything funny around here today. C'mon. She's, like, downstairs playing scientist or somethin''
She didn't know what to say. If the teen wasn't Gloria, she was a dead-ringer. She started to follow the girl but had to wait as the girl had to stop and tighten the straps on her suddenly looser sandals.
'Sara...mom's here. Ya satisfied everything's OK yet?'
'Sara what is going on?' her grandma asked
'It's this machine. It's something dad built. Mom accidentally got zapped by it and.....'
'And everything is OK now and everybody is, like, bein stupid or somethin! I'm goin' back upstairs. See ya later alligator!' An increasingly impatient Gloria said before turning and leaving.
'Grandma, it's really her. I swear!' Sara said.
'So you're telling me that she got zapped and turned into a teenager?'
'No.....not exactly. She got zapped and turned into a baby. I figured out how to reverse it and I thought everything was, like, back to normal.... and then a few hours later Miss Teen Personality appears. She doesn't even seem to notice how much younger she has gotten. And I think she's still getting younger. And I ~know~ her personality is getting younger. I'm hoping to figure it out....'
Her grandma listened to the story. The most convincing part was the personality. How would a look-alike know how to act out Gloria's teen persona? How would any of them even know how Gloria was a teen? And the girl was absolutely a dead-ringer!
'...So I was hoping you'd help with Suzi and maybe even mom if she gets like, you know, ~too~ young!'
'Isn't there anybody you can ask about this thing?'
'Mom is afraid dad might've stolen some of this technology. We might end up in trouble talking about it and besides, who could we ask? Dad was the only one and he's gone.'
'Well, I'll help however I can, honey. I'm here for you. Just tell me what to do'
'Well, first... why don't you get Miss Teen Personality back down here with me so you can catch Suzi and tell her what is going on. It's probably not a good idea for those two to meet without a little warning, you know?'
'You're probably right. I'll send her down here and wait for Suzi. You keep studying. Heavens, what a machine your father built!'
Sara nodded and went back to work. She found a huge pile of papers in the filing cabinet. Some of them looked related to the machine but none of them that she had checked were very recent.
'So, you want me down here with you, huh? Whatsa matter.... Miss Brain not smart enough to figure it out by herself?'
Sara looked up to see Gloria looking even younger. She obviously was younger than Sara now. Probably 15 at most Sara decided. 'Mom, can't you just be quiet and let me find the missing notes. I'm sure if I can find the notes I can figure out what we need to do'
'Do? Why do anything? You probably just wanna make me a baby or somethin' so you can be in charge! I'm fine. Everything's back to nomal so why are ya so pig-headed about it?' Gloria asked as she again had to tighten the straps on her sandals. She also had to adjust her halter top because it was growing progressively looser.
'~Please~ Just be quiet and let me look thru these papers.' Sara pleaded as she continued sorting notes.
'Sure ~whatever~' Gloria sarcastically replied and went about fidgeting were her ever loosening clothing.
Soon, Sara was able to divert all of her attention back to the notes as Gloria had finally quieted. After a while the silence made Sara curious. It was TOO quiet!
'Mom.... what are you doing?' she asked as she saw her even younger mother inside the machine. 'You better be careful messing around in there'
'I'm just checkin' it out! Sheesh! It's, like, boring down here. I know what I'm doin!'
'Yeah, well, we wouldn't be in this mess if that was true.'
'Yeah. Sure. Whatever.' Gloria replied as she stepped out of the machine. Her shorts were dangerously close to falling off. Her narrowing hips could barely keep them up. The halter top was growing flatter against her chest. Her shoes slipped worse than ever. She'd already tightened them as much as possible. This time the 14 year old just kicked them off as she moved closer to Sara. 'So, ya find whatever stuff you're lookin' for?'
Sara was surprised to hear how much higher her mother's voice had gotten. She reminded her of Suzi. 'Ummm I found some more info but I'm still missing some stuff.'
'Like more notes or stuff?'
'Yeah, Dad had notes everywhere.'
'What about those?' Gloria asked pointing to some papers in the machine lying on the laptop.
'Where'd those come from? I looked over there.' Sara asked.
'I dunno. I found 'em'
'Found them where?'
'Over there by the laptop somewhere'
'Well, would you bring them here please?'
'No. Get 'em yourself. You always want me to do stuff for ~you~!'
'~Mom!~ C'mon. Can't you just help me a little bit?' Sara asked as she got up and went to retrieve the papers.
As she entered the machine she heard a click. She turned around to see her teenaged mother grinning wickedly as she watched the machine come to life. 'Gotcha!'
Sara tried to speak but the machine seemed to paralyze her. She felt a chill as the light brightened. The room seemed to be growing. At first she was able to concentrate on what was happening but the longer she was in the light the harder it became.
Suzi had arrived home. Her Grandmother did her best trying to explain what had happened. She finally decided that she had prepared her as well as possible. Suzi looked a little disbelieving but trusted her grandmother. They headed for the stairs. They were curious about the glow from the basement. Upon entering the basement they saw Gloria behind the main terminal.
'Mom?' Suzi asked haltingly.
'Hi, Suzy!' She replied as she readjusted her halter top.
Suzi ran to get a better look at her mother. She looked the same age as her!
'Where's Sara?' their grandmother asked.
Gloria smiled wickedly and pointed toward the machine where a 2 year old was struggling to free herself from a pile of clothing.
'You made her little?' Suzi asked with a giggle.
'Yip, sure did. She was being too much of a pain so I fixed her good!'
'But she is the only one who knows anything about computers!' their grandmother replied sounding very worried.
'Nuh uh! I know a bunch about computers too!' Gloria argued.
'Sara, can you talk...do you remember me? I'm gramma'
Little Sara shook her head yes.
'Do you know what your mother did to you?'
'She make me wittle with the 'puter'
'At least you still have your mind. Maybe we can straighten this out still. How do I change you back?'
Little Sara's face screwed up and her 2 year old emotions took over. 'I..I...I...don't 'member how to work it' she bawled.
Gloria and Suzi didn't seem to share in her concern for her eldest grand-daughter.
'So can that machine make people older too?' Suzi asked.
'Yeah, I think so. ~I~ can make it do it' Gloria answered as she clicked thru the various windows.
Welcome To The Machine Part 3
'You two quit messing with that and get upstairs' Grandma Jane sounding more than a little angry.
'Awwwwwww whatsa big deal? She'll be OK!' Gloria argued.
'Listen here young lady. You've caused enough problems. I have half a mind to swat your bottom and Heaven knows it's been a long time since I've considered that!'
'~Sorry~' Gloria answered half heartedly. 'C'mon Suzi, let's get outta here and leav mom with the ~baby~'
The two girls laughed and ran up the stairs. Gloria tugged on the loose waist band of her shorts to keep them from falling off as she climbed the stairs.
'This is really neat, mom! I mean you like getting younger and all' Suzi told her mother.
'Yeah, it was a surprise at first but I'm glad to be back to normal now and stuff' Gloria answered. 'I sure didn't like bein' a baby!'
Suzi was confused but shrugged it off. Her mother didn't seem to realize that she was younger. Actually, Suzi didn't mind because the two of them were hitting it off so well and she liked how her mother had finally put Sara in her place! She kind of enjoyed the idea of being the older sister.
'You wanna try on some of my clothes and then walk down to the mall?' Suzi asked.
'Your clothes? You think they'll fit?'
'Sure, those look kinda big and you're about my size'
Gloria seemed confused but decided Suzi must be right. 'OK, I'll bet you got some cool stuff, but we don't have to walk cuz I can drive us'
Suzi wasn't sure about THAT! 'Ummmm I'd rather walk, that way we can pass the basketball court and like check for cool guys'
'Oh. Cool! I never thought about that!' Gloria replied with a smile.
Once in Suzi's room she found a pair of shorts and a T-shirt for Gloria. 'Here ya go...these should fit better.'
Gloria took the items and Suzi found a pair of sneakers for her. She then helped her tie her hair back in a Pony-tail.
'Wow, you really look cute!' Suzi told her as she looked over her youthening mother.
Gloria blushed and then said 'Let's go before mom comes lookin' for us'
The two young teens quietly slipped out and were off to the mall by way of a detour thru the basketball court.
'Don't cry Sara gramma Jane will figure this out. I just need you to be a big girl and help me'
'B-B-B-ut I don't 'member how' Suzi cried.
'Shhhhhhhh We'll figure it out. It'll be OK' she told Little Sara as she picked her up and carried her to the computer table. 'Ok, now how do we work this big 'ol thing?'
'Mousey...' Sara said as she pointed her pudgy finger at the mouse.
'So THAT'S a mouse? I always wondered what those computer people were talking about. So how do I work it?'
Sara grabbed the mouse and moved it around the screen. 'This way grammy. Mousey go all around. Seeeeee?'
'But then what?'
'Ummmmm I dunno.... I don't 'member 'zactly!'
Sara tried to read the words but they all looked like squiggly lines. 'You read, grammy....pleasssssse'
Her grandmother started reading the words to her. When she read 'Reverse' Sara squealed ' Yay! That one. Show me'
Grandma Jane pointed to it and Sara clumsily placed the mouse over it. 'OK, now I go in machine and you press mousey...K?'
'Are you sure, honey? We don't need any mistakes!'
'Uh huh... you gotta do that'
She picked Sara up and sat her back in the machine 'OK, I hope this works' She then sat back down at the table and fumbled with the mouse until she figured out which button to use.
'OK, here you go' she said as she clicked the 'reverse' button.
The machine immediatelty came to life. Jane watched as the 2 year old began to age. 3-4-5-6.... It was an amazing transformation, seeing a child age so rapidly. 10-11-12... soon Sara was developing curves and heading toward womanhood....14-15-16. The machine shut down 'Reverse Successful'
'Grandma...this is embarrassing!' Sara said as she quickly dressed.
'So is everything OK?' Jane asked her grand-daughter.
'For a little while, probably. But I don't see any reason why I shouldn't start like getting younger the way mom did. And I don't have so many years to lose like she does!'
'Oh dear! So you both just keep getting younger?'
'Probably. I gotta hurry. You saw how mom's gotten. I mean like with her personality and stuff. I know she really wouldn't have done this to me if she was thinking right. I don't know how long I've got!'
'You get to work and I'll try and settle that young 'un....errrrr your mother down. This is crazy!'
Jane went upstairs to find Gloria while Sara went back to work.
The basketball court:
'Wow, he's ~cute~' Gloria said while pointing at one of the boys who was obviously the best player on the court.
'Yeah, he was the leading scorer in Jr High. His name is mark. He got to start as a freshmen. Usually our coach doesn't let freshmen play on the varsity team for nothin''
'~Cool~' Gloria sighed as her eyes followed his every move.
Finally one of the players signaled for a break. The guys all came over and started talking with the girls that had gathered.
'Hi, Suzi' mark said politely 'Is this your little sister? You guys look so much alike and all!'
'Ummm yeah' Suzi answered as she looked over at Gloria who obviously wasn't happy being called the ~little~ sister. Gloria DID look youger than her now. Not a lot younger, but younger none the less.
'So you're gonna be starter like on the team and everything this year?' Gloria asked sounding like a teen meeting the members of Hanson in person.
'Ya, No big deal. It looks like they're gonna feature my offense more this coming year. Last year I passed off a lot. I had 25 points against Forest High though!'
'~Wow~ That's a lot!' Gloria cooed.
'So what's your name?'
'Me? Ummmm I'm Glo'
'Glo... that's cool' Mark replied.
Suzi wasn't sure about this turn of events. Although Mark seemed to be humoring 'Glo' more than anything, she still didn't like the competition. She looked at 'Glo' again and was sure that Mark couldn't be interested. After all, 'Glo' looked like barely a teenager and Mark was going to be a sophomore. Gloria was becoming completely flat-chested and skinny. The T-shirt was hiding the slow transformation but the retreat thru puberty was starting to get obvious.
'Ummm , Glo, we better take off' Suzi insisted.
'Take off? Already?' she whined in a slightly higher voice.
'Ya...we're late....' she said as she grabbed her shoulder in an effort to move her along. 'See ya 'round, Mark' Suzi said as they hurriedly left.
'What'd ya do that for? I was talkin' to Mark!' the 13 year old complained.
'Because, you're getting too young!'
'Nuh uh! You just didn't like me talkin' to Mark!'
'No.... People were gonna start noticing. That's all...'
'You're just as bad as dumb 'ol Sara!' Gloria argued as they continued walking. Her T-shirt was inching closer to the cuffs of her shorts. 'Waittttttt' she whined as she stopped to tighten her shoelaces.
'Mom...ummm Glo? ummmm You think that machine could make me older?'
'Yeah, prob'ly Why?'
'I dunno... just asking'
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Back at the house:
Jane was frantically searching the house for her youthening daughter and Suzi. This is not good she thought as she searched inside, outside, and all around the block.
A 14 year old Sara was starting to have trouble deciphering some of the math on one of her father's notes that she had thought looked like it might be important.
Welcome to the Machine Part 4
Gloria continued to slowly grow younger. Probably no more than 12 now, freckles were appearing across the birdge of her nose. Her legs had grown skinnier and her clothes were looking larger.
'Maybe we shouldn't go to the mall?' Suzi offered.
'Why not?' Glo whined.
''Cause I was thinkin' maybe you could use the machine to make me older?'
'We can do that later!' Glo countered.
Suzi looked at her mother an realized that she might not be old enough to know how to do it later!
'I bet you just don't know how to do it!' Suzi replied, trying to use psychology.
'Sure I do! I'm just as smart as Sara!'
'I don't know. She's pretty smart with computers'
'Well, she's not as smart as me... 'sides she's just a 2 year old now!'
'Hmmm I bet she's figured out how to get back to normal by now' Suzi replied.
'You think so?'
'I wouldn't doubt it. She knows how to do it and Gramma could help her'
'Yeah... she's how I got fixed back to normal' Glo said as she thought about it.
'Maybe I should have her make me older since you might not be able to?'
'No! Ummmm I can do it. I'll show ya!'
Suzi smiled. She knew her mother's child-like persona had been no match for her more mature psychology. It had been too easy she thought!
Glo's T-shirt had now dropped even with the cuffs of her shorts. She constantly had to pull on the shorts to keep them from sliding off. Her sneakers were easily a size too big now. No amount of lace tightening was enough! Her age was approaching single digits and she was much shorter now!
'Maybe we better take a different path home...a shortcut?' Suzi said hoping to avoid having to try and explain to the guys how Glo had grown younger.
'Yeah, it'll be faster'
'I told ya I coulda drove...then it woulda been a lot faster' Glo answered.
Suzi wanted to laugh at the thought of this child trying to drive but figured she had better not make her angry.
Jane was still searching. She stopped and asked neighbors if they had seen the two girls. Some thought that they might've seen them but no one was for certain. Some sent her one way and others sent her the opposite way. It was getting very frustrating and she didn't know how much more time that she had! All she could do was keep looking!
Back in the basement:
12 year old Sara was working harder than ever. Things didn't make as much sense as earlier. She realized it might be because of her regression but she wasn't really sure if it had started yet. She thought it might just be because her father had used bigger words and harder math on these last notes she was studying. It was all starting to get kind of boring to her.
Suzi took the lead and urged Glo to hurry. Glo was having a hard time keeping up. First the shoes and then shorts fell off causing her to trip and skin her knee.
'Hey...waitttt... my stuff......' she cried but Suzi didn't care.
'Get up. Leave 'em. They didn't fit anyway and that T-shirt covers you fine!'
Glo put her hands on her hips and in her best angry voice told Suzi 'Next time I'm drivin!'
'Sure, mom.... next time you can drive' Suzi said trying not to burst out laughing at the 9 year old. 'Now we need to hurry. C'mon!' she said grabbing the girl's hand.
Once they got back to the house Suzi wanted to be careful. She didn't figure her grandmother would be approving of her plan. She wasn't sure about Sara...would she still be a 2 year old she wondered? Peeking in the window she saw no sign of her grandmother.
'Shhhhhh Follow me' she told the barefoot 8 year old who's T-shirt was encroaching on her knees.
They went around back and looked in through a basement window. Still no sign of her grandmother but she saw a girl setting at the computer. Sara?
'Look, Mom..... Sara's not a baby anymore!'
Glo looked in the window and saw the 10 year old Sara doodling on a piece of paper.
'C'mon... let's go make me older.' Suzi said as she grabbed Glo's hand.
Sara had been having more and more trouble with the notes. The words were getting harder to read and some of the math was using letters instead of numbers. She was quickly losing interest in the project even though she was afraid any minute she might start regressing herself. Still, she hadn't yet so she figured that maybe she'd be OK?
'Hi Sara' Suzi said as she entered the room. She didn't much fear any repercussions from a 10 year old. 'Me and mom were thinkin' maybe I should use the machine to get a little older. Just a couple of years. You don't mind do ya?'
'Ummmm I dunno. It might not be a good idea. Is that ~mom~?' Sara asked without finishing her sentence.
'Yes I'm your mommy and if Suzi wants to use the machine you hafta let her!'
'Why?' Sara asked
'Ummmmm Cuz!' Glo shot back not liking to have her authority questioned.
'Mom? Just a couple of years OK?' Suzi asked as she stepped into the machine.
'Gee, I dunno Suzi. This might not be a good idea. I mean I'm all normal and stuff after using it but mom's still gettin' littler!'
'Am not!' Glo yelled back.
'Are too!' Sara added.
'Girls....errrr Mom... Sara. Just make me a couple of years older an quit fighting'
Glo walked over and joined Sara in the seat. There was easily enough room for the two children in the seat.
'I wanna do it!' Glo argued.
'No I wanna do it!' Sara countered.
'Girls...errrr whatever! You two both can do it but you better hurry.' Suzi told them as she saw Sara's shoes fall off as her legs dangled over the edge of the chair. She figured both girls to be in single digits now!
'OK, I'll click this one and you do the next.... OK?' Sara offered.
'K!' A 7 year old Glo answered as she watched Sara click the mouse.
'Now you do that one' Sara said as she pointed at the monitor .
Glo took the mouse and positioned it over the button that Sara had pointed to and then clicked.
'Ok, now I'll choose 2 here' Sara explained as she selected 2 from the options. 'Now we both press this one at the same time' Sara added as she positioned the mouse on the 'Progression' button.
The machine fired to life.
'Hey, I didn't say push yet!' Sara complained.
'I'm mommy and so I don't hafta wait on ya!' Glo replied.
Suzi's clothing strained at its seams as she aged. Her height increased as did her feminine curves. Her hair lengthened and seemed to get fuller as it flowed loosely in soft curls. In a short time Suzi was a 16 year old in VERY tight clothing!
She stepped out of the machine carefully. Her clothing wasn't going to take any sudden movements. 'Well, little Sis, I'm gonna be borrowing some clothes. I believe I'm gonna watch some boys practice some basketball'
16 year old Suzi headed for Sara's room to find something to wear. She found a short dress and some pumps that seemed perfect. After modeling her look in the mirror for a few minutes, she left for the Park.
In the basement:
'Should we go with her?' Sara asked.
'Nahhhh... There's just some dumb 'ol boys playin' basketball or somethin'. Maybe we can do somethin' else that'll be ~real~ fun!'
Jane decided to return to the house hoping that maybe the girls had returned. She didn't see them upstairs but hoped maybe Sara had them downstairs. Upon entering the basement she saw two little girls wearing only huge T-shirts staring at the machine. One was maybe 5 and the other maybe 7...maybe!
'Mommy.... Suzi got in the machine and now all there is is a pile of clothes!' Glo said while pointing to a pile of Suzi's clothing.
Sara put her hand over her mouth in order to hide her snickering.
'What have you girls done!?! You did too much!' Jane cried out as she ran into the machine searching thru the clothing.
Welcome To The Machine Part 5
Jane had a sick feeling as she heard the two girls giggle as soon as she dropped 'No...girlsssss.....' she said as she tried to stand but was paralyzed by the machine.
'How old is gramma?' Sara asked.
'Ummmmm she's ~old~' Glo said 'But this'll fix her up!'
Jane's hair darkened. The grey vanished replaced by a dull but dark mane of hair. Her skin tone changed. It became healthier in color and tightened. Her dark hair began to regain a youthful lustre, no longer dull and fine but rather full shiny! All the lines on her face were rapidly disappearing. By the time she had regressed to 25 she had regained the looks that she had prided herself on before having children. EVERYTHING tightened and lifted. 24-23-22-21-20. A young woman barely of age was left in shock at what had just happened.
She examined her young hands and traced her smooth and unlined face with her hands. 'My.... I'm young....' She could barely find the words for what had just happened to her.
'Is that 'nuff, Mommy?' Sara asked Glo as she looked over her rejuvenated grandmother.
'Boy. I dunno.... more?' Glo said.
'No...... stop!' Jane said as she crawled out of the machine before the girls could restart it.
She quickly scrambled to her feet. 'You girls. This is not a toy. I forbid either of you to mess with it without adult supervision' She tried to sound authoritative but her 20 year old voice oozed with sweetness.
'I'm 'dult!' Glo protested even though she looked like anything BUT and adult.
'Let's try this again. Don't mess with this unless I'm here and give permission! Otherwise I ~will~ spank both of you!'
Sara looked sheepish but Glo only sneered and looked away.
Considering how young Glo had gotten, Jane didn't see her being much of a problem for much longer. Sara wasn't far behind.
'So where's Suzi?' Jane asked.
'Awww she went to the dumb ol park!' Sara answered and then explained how Suzi had made herself older.
Suzi had planted herself in view of the players. She made sure that her dress had allowed a view of plenty of thigh. She also constantly 'arranged' her cleavage. It was a different experience actually having ~real~ cleavage. She knew she was having an affect on the game because turnovers and airballs were much more plentiful. Finally, Mark called for a break.
'Suzi? You look...different.' he told her.
'Oh... I just threw this dress on. It didn't have much else to wear.'
'What about what you had on earlier?'
'Oh...Ummmm... That stuff got dirty and nothings washed' she answered feeling good that she had dodged that question.
'Still, you look... ~older~?'
'Oh? Is that bad?'
'No.... You look great.... kinda sexy even!'
Suzi blushed at the compliment. She ~felt~ sexy and Mark's comment made her feel even better.
Mark sat down beside her on the bench and worked his way closer. Soon, his arm was around her and she wasn't offering any resistance. She was on cloud 9! ..... Until she heard another girl yelling for her. She nervously jumped up and spun around to see a very young mother pushing an antique stroller with one small child while another toddler held onto her leg.
'Suzi! What do you think you are doing? You come here right now young lady!'
Suzi wasn't sure who this young woman was but she could tell that she was mad! Mark quickly excused himself.
'I don't know who you are but you just ruined EVERYTHING!' Suzi whined.
'I'll tell you who we ~all~ are! This is your mother here in the stroller. This little tike holding on to my leg is your older sister and ~I'm~ your very angry grandmother. Now we are all going to go back to the house and you're going to show me EVERYTHING you can about computers. We're gonna straighten ALL this out before it's too late!'
'NO BUTS!' Jane screamed in a youthful but angry voice.
Suddenly, Suzi didn't feel so sexy or mature anymore. She reluctantly followed.
On the way home home Suzi finally spoke. 'So how'd you get to be a teenager?'
'The two girls here did it when they were a little older. They tricked me. But I'm not a teenager. Pretty close though... assuming that machine works accuratley I'm, like, 20'
'I don't know. I wouldn't have guessed you were 20!' Suzi told her.
'Thanks... I ~think~. So why'd you want to be like 18 or whatever?' Jane asked while readjusting her blouse.
'Just 16 actually.' Suzi corrected her.
'16? You look older than 16 to me!'
'Maybe it's this dress?'
'Excatly! You ~fill~ that dress awfully well for a 16 year old!'
'Grams... you don't think we're both still changing do you?' Suzi asked.
'Oh... I think I could like tell. I'm the same as when I like got out of the machine'
'Yeah? Well, me too......' Suzi said as she reached down and picked up 2 year old Sara.
'But..... You know those two didn't seem notice ~their~ changes' Suzi added as they arrived back home.
'Well, the sooner we can like get started on that computer and all those notes the better!' Jane said before suddenly stopping in her tracks.
'What's wrong?' Suzi asked.
'I ~locked~ that door!' Jane replied pointing to the door swinging wide open.