Monday, July 2, 2012
"Now?" Rob whispered into his wife's ear while suckling on her lobe.
Miranda moaned and replied, "Not yet."
She dug her fingernails into her husband's shoulder blades, pulling him into closer contact with her, if closer contact were at all possible. His muscular chest was pushing down on her soft breasts, generating great heat between the lovemaking couple. Down below, his penis was rock solid and fully extended inside her womanhood. She wanted deeper penetration, but not yet--not until she was almost over the edge. Rob had almost gotten her to that point, but not yet.
"Now?" asked Rob again in between planting kisses on Miranda's neck.
"Honey," she said, slightly dismayed. "If you keep asking, it won't ever be time."
To make up for his impatience, Rob slowly ran his hands down her sides. Along the way, he gently caressed the outer parts of her breasts, eliciting an aroused purr from his wife. He continued down past her hips and around to her firm buttocks, pulling them up towards him while he thrust his member forward.
"OH!" Miranda panted. "That feels...so good."
He kissed her, opening her mouth with his tongue and letting it slide along hers. She whimpered, feeling both the moist probing inside her mouth and the stiff probing inside her vagina. Hotter and wetter, Miranda reached up for his thick dark hair and coursed her fingers through it.
"Now!" she gasped, allowing her mouth to slip out of their kiss. "Do it now."
He took a quick calming breath and looked her straight in her eyes, which sparkled in the candlelight. Speaking clearly, he said, "Skreppa saman kona."
Miranda's body suddenly grew warmer, and she felt tingles all over. Her heels slowly glided along the satin bedsheet as she bent her knees upward and locked his legs in place between them.
Meanwhile, Rob felt the sensation of his cock pushing deeper within her, but he knew that wasn't the case. Without lingering on it, he grabbed onto the backs of her thighs and held them firmly in place while he started grinding himself into her.
"Oh...oh...OH!" she sighed in rhythm with his thrusts. Looking up at his upper lip, she pleaded. "Say it...again."
Again, he thought. Just the thought of what would happen next almost sent him to an early climax, but he pulled back a bit. His face clenched in withheld release, he uttered the magic words a second time. "Skreppa saman kona."
Miranda's body was awash with the familiar sensation of pins and needles. As she got hotter inside, she closed her eyes and arched her neck back, her mouth agape in pleasure.
As his dick stretched further inside her, Rob could feel his grip on her thighs loosen slightly, so he squeezed tighter. His fingers covered a greater percentage of their circumference now, a notion which excited him to no end.
"I'm gonna come," he muttered.
"OOOOH!" wailed Miranda, squinting up at his chin. "So am I! Say it again, Rob! Say it again!"
Again? In almost two years of marriage, Miranda had never asked him to say it a third time. He had asked her about it on occasion, but she always skirted the issue. Perhaps she was afraid he'd be too big for her after the third time and it would be too painful.
"YES!!!" she shrieked. "I'm coming! Say it, Rob!"
"Skreppa saman kona!" he shouted, trying to hold his floodgates closed until the process was occurring.
Miranda's body was on fire from the waves of pleasure that Rob provided and the extra arousal from her body changing itself. Her pussy closed tighter around Rob's shaft and she moaned, she wailed, she screamed in intense orgasm.
As soon as Rob felt Miranda constricting around him, he grunted and ejaculated within her. His body grew limp, but as soon as he felt her frizzy, slightly sweaty hair on his chin, he quickly balanced himself with his hands so he wouldn't put too much pressure on her face.
Miranda held her head up and planted a soft kiss on his strong, fuzzy chest directly above her. She could feel his heartbeat gradually relaxing. Just feeling its rhythm made her smile. She loved her husband deeply, enough to trust him with her secret. "I love you," she said.
"I love you too."
For safety reasons, Rob waited until he was flaccid before withdrawing. Then he rolled over onto his back slowly and allowed Miranda to climb onto his body. He watched the shortened silhouette of her body in the dim light of the bedroom. How surreal, he thought, that this was the same woman he went to bed with.
Miranda rested her head on his chest so she could fall asleep listening to his beating heart. Her bare feet wrapped around his shin. It felt awkward at first, she thought, having never let herself shrink that much with Rob. How many times had he said it? Three times? That meant she lost nine inches, bringing her down from her normal height of five-five to her current four-eight.
The words, as inscribed on the ugly ornate silver ring in her jewelry box, would cause her to shrink three inches every time they were spoken. Such was the curse placed upon one of her female ancestors hundreds of years ago. The exact reason the family had been cursed had been long forgotten generations ago; only the ring and the curse itself had been passed on from mothers to daughters.
Miranda's mother notified her of the curse the night before her twenty-seventh birthday, the eve of Miranda's "inheritance" of the curse. She remembered the image vividly, being freaked out when she spoke the words and watched her own mother shrink the three inches. How horrifying it was then that such a power could overtake her as soon as the very next day. Then someday in the future, Miranda would pass it on to her own daughter because the curse perpetuated itself by ensuring each cursed female would have only one child--a single daughter.
Miranda had tested the curse upon herself, but never allowed herself to lose more than a foot of height. It was too weird, and she hated looking at the world so grossly out of proportion, especially for so long. Each three-inch shrink lasted for three hours.
She had never intended to tell Rob, then her fiance. But after they were married, her mother had a woman-to-woman talk with her about the sexual possibilities of the curse. Miranda's mother was married when she was twenty-eight in 1970. During the sexual revolution of the decade, Miranda's parents had experimented with the curse, occasionally going on weekend getaways just so her mother could shrink down within a foot tall for new sensations without Miranda ever finding her that way. Just hearing about her parents having sex was enough to sicken Miranda, but envisioning the added height disparity was just plain bizarre.
Miranda was much more conservative. When she first told Rob, she only shrank once. The next night, he tried to initiate lovemaking by saying the words twice, but that only resulted in him spending a week on the sofa. Now they had a pact that only she would decide how small she'd get, especially when they made love on a weeknight.
Rob was already sleeping soundly when Miranda glanced at the alarm clock. It was almost midnight. About an hour had passed, so she wouldn't grow back to normal for another eight hours. "Damn it," she muttered to herself, wishing she hadn't asked for that third shrink for it meant she'd wake up small.
Fortunately, she didn't have to be in court until nine-thirty the next morning. Still, as an assistant district attorney, she liked to be there early, which meant she'd grow back during her commute. She only hoped she'd be able to see above the dashboard in her car.
She sighed, knowing that she had asked for it. She rubbed her large husband's chest. After all, she had never had such an orgasm with him. At least that was some consolation, she thought, slowly drifting to sleep.
Rob dried off the dish Miranda handed him and said, "I still think we could've saved a lot of money if..."
"If I was willing to shrink to child size for the flight?" Miranda rolled her eyes and looked away from her husband, turning her attention to the frying pan she was washing in the sink. "No way, honey. I won't go out in public that small. Do you know how silly I'd look?"
"We're only talking a foot or so."
"A foot or so?" She looked up at him, quivering at the thought of looking even higher up at his face. "Do you know how long it would take me to grow back? Each foot lasts twelve hours!"
"And it's a six-hour flight from here to The Virgin Islands. It takes thirty minutes to get to the airport, then add an hour spent in line at the airport. We arrive at like ten at night, and it's another hour before we get to the hotel. We're exhausted, so we crash, and you wake up good and new!"
Miranda simply groaned. She loved her husband dearly, but sometimes he could be really cheap. He once suggested she shrink down to child size to pay less money at the movie theater! She appreciated his efforts to save money, but the trip celebrating their second anniversary was already paid for. With her job as assistant D.A. and his as a mortgage banker, they had built up a nice savings account, so money really wasn't an issue. They didn't have any children yet, and Miranda knew that her family's curse would see to it that she only have a single daughter. No, Miranda knew Rob's real intentions--he just wanted to see her that small.
"Ain't gonna happen," she said, rinsing off the frying pan. "And if you decide to make it happen without my permission, this frying pan will meet the side of your head." She wielded the pan in the air to accentuate the threat.
Rob chuckled. "You're cute when you're angry." He kissed the blonde hair on the top of her head.
Then suddenly, Miranda could feel the sensations associated with shrinking overtaking her body. She watched as Rob's head slowly drifted upward. The left shoulder strap of the apron she always wore while doing dishes slipped off her frame and down her arm. The frying pan, still held high above her head, grew just a tinge awkward in her hand, so she quickly lowered it to put it on the counter.
"What the hell?" she asked, examining her body after the process stopped. Fortunately the three-inch loss didn't do too much to affect her clothing. She looked up at her husband furiously. "What was that for?"
"What was what for?" He eyed her, noticing that she was shorter and enjoying the view. "I didn't do a thing."
"You must have whispered the words or something!" Miranda fixed her left strap only to have the right one slide off. "Fess up now or the vacation's off."
"Honestly, Miranda, I didn't say the words."
"Then who did?"
The telephone rang. Miranda groaned, knowing quite well who was on the other end. She picked up the receiver and instantly said, "Hello, Mom."
"I'm sorry about that, dearie." She giggled. "Your father's memory ain't what it used to be. He said the words, but I stopped him before he could say 'em again. He was feelin' a little frisky tonight, and..."
Miranda shuddered. "Please, Mom. I don't want to know about you and Dad! That's sick!"
"Don't knock it till ya try it! Hey, when do you and Robbie leave for vacation?"
"Tomorrow night. You know that."
"How long will ya be gone?"
"Until a week from Sunday. Why?"
"Plenty of time to do some 'little' experimentation, if ya catch my drift!"
"I catch your drift, Mom. That's not going to happen."
"You need to loosen up, dearie! Good night. Skreppa saman kona!" Miranda's mother shouted the words and then hastily hung up.
The tingling returned to Miranda's body as she was cursing out her mother. Rob tried to console her by simply putting his arm around her, but she shrugged him off and stepped away. Though Miranda knew Rob wasn't at fault, she wasn't in the mood to be touched at all. She hated when people shrank her unexpectedly like that. Removing her apron, she walked toward the bedroom, already feeling her feet slipping in the slight extra room of her shoes.
All Rob could do was watch her walk away, knowing that she was quite upset. He wasn't getting any tonight, he thought as he quietly dried off the frying pan.
* * *
Miranda and Rob arrived at the hotel before midnight Friday and almost immediately fell asleep, as Rob had predicted in his unused plan to shrink Miranda to child-size. It would have been weird sleeping next to someone that size, he rationalized to himself. Besides, he still loved his wife at her original height--after all, it was the height he was most used to seeing.
And he saw her at her original height for an entire week. He didn't dare bring up the possibility of saying the words while lovemaking because she had been so enraged at her mother's behavior before they left.
It didn't matter much because they were having a wonderful vacation. They had gone sightseeing, sailing, snorkeling and sunbathing. As the week progressed, Miranda's skin had bronzed and Rob couldn't remember her looking more radiant.
Friday night came, and the happy couple started the evening at a popular outdoor bar/restaurant/dance club. Even as early as seven o'clock local time, the place was packed, so while Miranda and Rob were waiting for a table, they ordered a few drinks at the bar.
"Dulce de Leche?" asked Miranda after Rob ordered two of them. Never having much of an affinity for alcohol, Miranda hadn't heard of the beverage before.
Nevertheless, she thought, it was her vacation, so may as well enjoy it. After clinking glasses with her husband, she took a sip. Sweet tasting, so she sipped some more until the glass was empty and the bartender was bringing her a refill.
"Uh, honey?" Rob's eyes were practically bulging out of his sockets. His wife had never downed a drink like that before. "Are you feeling okay?"
"I feel wonderful! It feels great to be away from court and trial and criminals. I'm so happy we decided to go on vacation!" She stood on her tiptoes to kiss Rob on the lips. Then she started on the second drink.
"Are you sure you should be drinking so fast?" Rob was shouting to be heard over loud calypso music. "The night's still young."
"What are you worrying about? Afraid I might pass out early or something?"
"No, it's not that. I, uh..."
"You're hoping we can do a little 'skreppa saman kona' later, right?"
Miranda had read his mind, thought Rob, immediately doing a double take upon realizing that SHE had said the words. Then, right before his eyes, his wife was shrinking. The light blue bikini top and matching sarong she wore covered just a bit more of her golden skin, which glistened in the Caribbean sunset.
"Enjoying the show?" Miranda smirked while sipping her drink. "You know you've wanted to see that all week."
"Yeah, but I didn't expect it in public!" Rob looked around. "What if someone saw?"
"It's not like we're going to see these people ever again. Besides, they look like they're having too good a time to notice. And so am I! It's great to get away!"
"But why here? Why now?"
"Why not?" She finished off her drink. "Skreppa saman kona!"
Rob's eyes bulged as he watched his petite wife become even more so. Her bikini sagged a bit atop her breasts and her sarong, formerly above her knees, now covered them. "Again?" he asked, shocked.
"What's the matter, Robbie? You want a turn?" Miranda stood on her tiptoes and could only reach his neck to plant a kiss. "You try, and you sleep alone." She coyly winked at him and wiggled her index finger in a naughty-boy type of motion. "I make the rules tonight!" With that, she ordered another drink from the bar.
Why was she acting this way? Rob had never seen her like this, and then he figured it out when he saw her gulping down a third Dulce de Leche--the alcohol! Miranda had a pretty low tolerance and her inhibitions were becoming reduced as well.
Before he could protest, they were being escorted to a table for dinner. Sip by sip, Miranda walked ahead of her husband trying not to let her feet step out of her sandals. Arriving at a small circular table, the waiter, a true gentleman, pulled out a chair for Miranda and graciously took away her empty glass.
"Isn't it wonderful?" queried Miranda dreamily, scooting her chair closer to Rob. "The air, the water, the music, the two of us." While speaking, she was secretly sliding one foot out of her sandal and bringing it closer to Rob's crotch.
Rob simply responded with a "yeah" for everything on her "wonderful" list, squealing out after the last item when Miranda's toes suddenly found themselves inside one of the legs of his khaki shorts. Then her feet burrowed deeper and found his penis, already stiff from watching her shrink twice.
"Oooh!" She raised her eyebrows. "I wonder what caused this. Was it 'skreppa saman kona'?"
Slowly, her foot receded away from his member, gently brushing his inner thigh as it passed, finally coming to rest almost three inches away from where it started. "Can we...continue this back at the hotel room?" he asked, gasping for breath.
Grinning, Miranda shook her head. "I think I should tease you a little more first. Skreppa saman kona."
As her foot glided further away, chills shot up Rob's leg into his spine. Similar tingles were pervading Miranda's body as she dwindled once again; for the first time, the sensation was accompanied by some lightheadedness.
Miranda's bikini was precariously balanced on her breasts, significantly reduced from their original size. Had Rob seen them, he would be pleased they were proportionally there in their full glory, but he was quick to toss a napkin over her chest before his wife flashed the patrons of the restaurant.
"How chivalrous." Miranda rolled her eyes and turned her back to him. "You could just tie my top tighter. That is why I wore it."
While Rob obliged, Miranda held the bikini in place, amazed at how roomy it was on her. She crossed her legs, which had become engulfed by the sarong. Fascinating, she thought as the waiter returned with a refill of her drink.
Behind her, Rob was distracted by the looseness of her sarong. No longer snug around her waist and hips, it had sagged in the back, giving Rob a peek at her firm ass. He saw a thin tan line, narrower than any of the bathing suits she had worn thus far on their vacation. As he sat there mesmerized by her skin, he realized that she wasn't wearing any underwear. Sweat beaded on his brow, and he gulped. This would be a night he wouldn't soon forget.
Then suddenly, her tan line seemed to move. Squinting his eyes, Rob watched her entire body shift ever so slightly. "Uh, Hon," said Miranda. "You might want to tighten it a little more."
Sure enough, when he looked up, the bikini was loose once again. Convinced he had tied it securely, he knew she must have said the words while he wasn't paying attention. What did that make it now, he wondered, counting in his head. Five times? Fifteen inches! Holy shit, he had never seen her that small!
When she turned to face him, he was alarmed to see her sipping another drink--one that was already half empty! "Miranda, what are you doing?"
"Having another drink," she replied, holding on to the glass with both hands. "These--what do you call thems--are so good, I couldn't resist. Besides, they keep making them bigger!"
"They're not making your drinks bigger! You're getting..." Rob paused to see if anyone was listening. He continued in a whisper, "Smaller."
"I'll drink to that!" She raised her glass, and before brining it to her lips, said, "Skreppa saman kona!"
Her shrinking was much more noticeable now. Rob watched as her head sank a few inches. Miranda's feet had long since lifted off the ground. Fortunately, she didn't have to worry about her wedding band slipping off her finger for she had left it in the hotel room as part of her plan. It was unusual for her to have even brought the ring since she rarely traveled with jewelry. She was too paranoid something so dear to her would get stolen.
"Whoa!" Miranda put the empty glass down on the table. "I think they're making my drinks stronger too!"
"Maybe you should call it quits for the night, Honey." Rob casually took the glass away from her. "It's probably not a good idea to drink and shrink."
Miranda giggled and then hiccuped. "That's funny! Don't drink and shrink!" She swung her body around toward the bar and waved her arms at the waiter.
"I'm serious. We should go back to the hotel and call it a night."
"Party pooper! It's our vacation! Don't you like me this small?"
Honestly, Rob had never been more turned on in his life. He loved his first time seeing her--what was the total now?--eighteen inches shorter. And she'd be that way for a long time--eighteen hours to be exact. Whether or not he liked her that way wasn't the issue. Would she really like herself that way when she sobered up?
"It's time to go, Miranda."
"I hope you realize there'll be no more 'skreppa saman kona' for you!" The pins and needles all over her body were more intense than ever before. "Oops, I said it again!" She watched in drunken fascination as her feet, dangling above the ground, slowly rose higher. "Wheeeee!"
Rob quickly scrambled around to tighten her bikini top once again, hoping she wouldn't utter the words any more. He had to get her out of there before she got too small and created too much of a scene. It would look weird enough that he was leaving with someone easily mistakable for a child!
But before he could leave, Rob had to pay for all the drinks. Doing some math in his head and fiddling through his wallet, he didn't notice the waiter return with a fifth drink for Miranda. She had already guzzled more than half of the oversized glass when Rob decided it was easiest to leave more than enough money on the table to cover it all. He hated wasting money that way, but it was the quickest way to get Miranda back to the hotel.
"We're leaving now," he announced as he stood up.
"Let me just finish my drink." Miranda tried to take the last few sips, but Rob swiped the glass from her hand. "What was that for?"
"I'm shutting you off. Now we go back to the hotel."
"You're no fun! You're treating me like a little girl!" She cocked one eyebrow. "I guess that is what I am now. Skreppa saman kona!"
Rob bent down to pick her up, figuring it was the only way to make her leave. He waited until her most recent reduction stopped so she wouldn't slip out of his grasp when he lifted her. When he finally did pick her up, he realized he was lifting her right out of the now extremely loose and large sarong.
"Better tighten that," chuckled Miranda.
She was light enough to hold with one arm, so with his other, Rob held the sarong in place around her behind and legs. Amazing, he thought, how the garment almost reached her ankles. His body, particularly his dick, could not deny that he wanted her right now. If only she wasn't so damn drunk!
Miranda kicked and screamed and laughed all the way to their hotel room. She even shrunk herself twice more along the way. Rob had already lost count, but he knew she couldn't be more than three feet tall.
When her feet finally touched down upon the thick carpet of the hotel room, Miranda almost lost her balance. The sarong and bikini top had instantly fallen off her tiny frame, exposing her naked body. The temperature of the room, chilly from the air conditioner, stiffened her nipples and gave her goosebumps all over. She stumbled and staggered out of the puddle of clothes around her ankles until she crashed into a tree trunk covered in khaki fabric.
Rob saw and felt the collision, so he looked down at his nude wife, half his height. She was gorgeous, he told himself, and even more so at her size. Funny, if you had asked him a few years ago what he thought about sex with a shrunken woman, he would have said it was sick. Now that he was married to one, the idea was utterly irresistible. He wanted her smaller, but he couldn't bring himself to say the words. That would be taking advantage of her.
It took a moment for Miranda to orient herself. She looked up and realized it was Rob standing there, twice her height. God, he was enormous. Then she turned and noticed the bulge in his shorts right in front of her eyes. Was he enormous...everywhere?
"Drop your shorts," she said, unable to stand without swaying.
"My shorts?" Rob smiled. Who was he to argue with his wife?
His shorts and boxers dropped, and his member was finally free and at full salute. He couldn't believe how small her face looked in comparison, especially since it was at the same level as her face! Her mouth was at the perfect height...
Miranda couldn't take her eyes off of it; she was in awe by its immensity. She reached out and up a little to touch it, gingerly at first with her tiny fingers until she built up the courage to close her hand around it. Before she knew it, both of her hands were stroking it roughly, pulling it towards her. One hand behind the other, she alternated them--as soon as one reached the end, she returned it to the start. Her hands, barely large enough to surround the solid shaft, were small enough to detect the slightest growth. Her giant husband was definitely enjoying the experience for he was beginning to grunt in pleasure high above her ears.
Miranda was enjoying the experience as well, and she wanted his cock to get bigger, so she said the words again. As the tingling commenced, her elbows bent as she kept her grip on Rob's rising rod, which was slowly inflating within her widening clutches. Repeating the words, she watched it sail further upwards.
Rob watched her dwindle and couldn't help but get both aroused and concerned. How many times had she said the words now, he wondered. Nine or ten? Either way, she would now be stuck so small for at least twenty-four hours. Sure, he wouldn't mind it, but when the effects of the alcohol--probably multiplied by her decreased body mass--wore off, she'd be pissed and probably blame him, even though SHE kept saying the words! How could he stop her from doing that? He supposed he could cover her mouth, but her hands would now cover her entire face.
"Ah shit!" shouted Miranda from down below. Her arms were as stretched as possible and she stood on her tiptoes, trying to keep her hands where they were. She could no longer close them around the shaft! "Get on the bed, honey!"
Rob quickly jumped to the bed, waiting for his wife to join him. The mattress was as high as her chin, but that didn't stop her from climbing up. The giant lay there waiting and beckoning her. She crawled over to his crotch and saw the pole, bigger than ever before. While on her hands and knees, she leaned forward and tried to surround his dick with her mouth, but found she couldn't get the full helmet into her mouth without gagging.
"What's wrong?" Rob abruptly lifted his head upon hearing her choke. "Are you all right?"
"I made myself too small to suck it!" she sobbed and backed away. "Damn that skreppa saman kona!"
"Maybe we should just call it a night." Rob watched with trepidation as she shrank another three inches. Three more hours stuck like that, he dreaded.
"I'v'got abetter idea." Miranda's speech had grown increasingly slurred as the night progressed. "Skreppa saman kona!"
She repeated the words several times, until she got all tongue-tied and couldn't say them straight anymore. Thank goodness, thought Rob, grateful that she stopped shrinking around Barbie-doll size rather than out of existence all together. She was going to be upset in the morning.
But the night was still young, and Miranda was now smaller and hornier than ever before. She stood on the mattress, staggered over to her husband, and climbed aboard his crotch.
"What are you doing now?" asked Rob.
"Relaxand enjoy!" She sat with his upright penis between her legs, grinding her pussy against it and hugging it tightly.
The feel of her tiny firm breasts against the ridge of his penis drove him wild. He had never imagined such a sensation of having an entire female body wrapped around him! And she was trying to fuck him as best she could without true intercourse. After all, she was too tiny for that, but Rob didn't mind. He was already on the verge of explosion. "Don't stop!"
"OhRob, you'reso..." She moaned. "Huge!"
From where she was seated, she could kiss his tip. A second later, the fleshy volcano erupted and Miranda was doused with the cool white lava. She squealed in orgasm and fell backwards, her head landing on Rob's cushion of a belly. She had passed out.
CHAPTER 2 IS MISSING
"You want me to do what?" shouted Miranda, hands on her hips and her right foot tapping on the mattress below her.
"You wear the Barbie clothes, and climb in here." Rob held up the undamaged box, which he had so painstakingly opened the previously day and preserved overnight. "I put the box, with you inside, in my carry-on bag--carefully, of course. You're never spotted because you look more like a Barbie doll. Face it, who'd be on the lookout for someone smuggling aboard a foot-tall woman?"
As much as she wanted to reprimand him misstating her height--she was fourteen inches tall, damnit, not merely a foot tall!--she was too incensed by his covert master plan. "I thought you said you'd take care of this!"
"Bullshit you did! I thought you would book a different flight. That was what I asked!"
"Too expensive. But this way, you get home tonight, and you have all of tomorrow to get ready for court on Tuesday."
"I'm not doing this, Rob." She folded her arms in front of her bare chest. "I could get hurt, or end up on the wrong plane to Albuquerque or something."
Rob assured her that she would be snugly and safely stashed in his carry-on bag, which he would never let out of his sight. As Miranda raised more concerns, Rob presented an immediate reply for each one. Because they were in the U.S. Virgin Islands, they wouldn't have to go through Customs, so there'd be less of a chance of a hand search through the bag. Miranda hadn't received an X-ray in years, so the dosage from the airport baggage scanner wouldn't be harmful to her. Unless the flight was full and standby passengers filled all vacant seats, her original seat would be empty, so Rob wouldn't have to stuff the bag into the overhead compartment. With each of Rob's answers, Miranda grew more and more outraged that Rob had actually put so much thought into it without telling her.
"It all works out great." Rob was trying to maintain an optimistic attitude, but he could tell from the look on his wife's face that she wasn't buying it. "Our flight leaves at two, we'll land there at eight--well, it'll really be seven at home because of the time zones--and you grow back about two hours later. We'll probably be home by then. It's the quickest and easiest way."
"For you, maybe." Miranda furrowed her brow. "You're not the one traveling in a cardboard box!"
"So you'll do it?"
"What choice do I have? It's not like I can walk out on you, tempting as it may be at this moment!"
"Everything will be all right, Miranda. Trust me."
Miranda rolled her eyes, at least somewhat thankful that he hadn't intended to bring her home in his coat pocket.
* * *
Their departure time quickly approached. Miranda changed back into the coarse but revealing costume, while Rob packed both their suitcases. For the first time, Miranda slipped her feet into Barbie's plastic "high"-heeled shoes. They were extremely tight and offered virtually no support, which Miranda discovered as her knees wobbled and her legs gave way when she took even a single step on the mattress. If the shoes weren't necessary to complete the "illusion," as Rob was calling it, she'd throw them up at his face.
"You ready?" Rob held up the trademark pink box and removed the interior piece of cardboard from it.
Sitting cross-legged on the bed, Miranda nodded then looked away. How did she let him talk her into this mess, she asked herself. The whole situation was a disaster waiting to happen. Had her common sense shrunk too?
Still, she needed to be back in court on Tuesday, and having Monday to prepare was important as well, and getting a full night's sleep tonight was a plus, especially since Rob would be spending the night on the sofa instead of hogging all the blankets beside her.
Reluctantly, she crawled--her walking was too unsteady--to the spot on the bed where Rob had placed the cardboard. He showed her where to lie down, and then he bent over and reached for the plastic twist-tie near her.
"What the hell?" she asked, popping up to a sitting position, her ankles now restrained by the thick cord.
"This is how they keep Barbie standing." Rob was twisting the two ends together. "And if it's good enough for Barbie, then..."
"Go to Hell!" she shouted, lying back down on the cardboard.
Rob proceeded to her wrists, securing them in place. After a reprimand from Miranda about cutting of circulation to her hands, he loosened the restraints, but not enough to allow her to shake loose.
Finally, under her armpits and then across her waist. His fingers gently tickled her stomach, but she withheld any laughter. She didn't want him to think she was enjoying the situation, because overall, she abhorred it.
"There," he said, standing up straight and then bending backwards to get a crick out of his back. "All done."
Miranda looked up at him and wriggled a little. Sure enough, she was unable to escape. "This had better be enough to satisfy any bondage fantasies you have," she said. "Because you're never tying me up again!"
Rob cocked an eyebrow. He had never entertained the notion, being too preoccupied with getting her home. His dick was already stiffening. If only their flight were a little later, he could take advantage of the situation.
With some momentary discomfort in his pants, he shook off the thought and proceeded to the next phase: putting her in the box. He kept her horizontal and slowly and carefully slid her inside. Miranda's heart rate increased as she watched the container slowly slide towards her, as if she was receiving a CAT scan at the hospital.
Eventually, she stopped. Though she could still see Rob through the clear plastic, she knew she was encased within. The most primitive instincts of survival and escape started taking over, and she convulsed, trying to get herself free and at least touch the barrier before her. She couldn't move. It was as if she had been buried alive inside a coffin, especially after she heard Rob close the box top.
Miranda wanted to scream, but her hyperventilating prevented any sounds from escaping her mouth, at least any sounds Rob could hear on the outside. With her hands bound, there was no other way to signal him. She had to stay calm; she had to stop the feelings of helplessness from consuming her; she had to trust him. She closed her eyes, attempting to will herself to sleep through the odd adventure ahead.
Her eyes popped back open and her heart skipped a beat as her chamber suddenly and quickly ascended. She screamed again, and again, Rob didn't hear her. Closing her eyes and clenching her teeth to combat the vertigo, she held her breath until the motion ceased.
Now she was upright, and calming down, even though she was confined in a space about the size of an airplane restroom. Beyond the clear plastic barrier was dark fabric; she was inside Rob's carry-on bag, and before long, he'd close it up and she wouldn't see him again for hours, or see anything in the darkness for that matter!
Rob rolled up some clean clothes and carefully stuffed them around the bottom of his backpack, hoping to keep Miranda's box straight, steady and secure. Giving her a shrugging smirk and a quick wave goodbye, he zipped up the backpack and gingerly put it on his back. She's going to hate this, he thought, what the hell was I thinking?
It was too late for regrets, he told himself. Groaning, Rob picked up his and Miranda's suitcases--how much stuff had she brought with her, he wondered, since they were only away for a week! He tried to navigate out the narrow door of the hotel room, but the heavy luggage on one side of him banged into the doorframe, and then the heavy luggage on his other side followed suit. Each collision translated into an unexpected jolt for Miranda, whose head--the only part of her body not tied down--thrashed around inside the box.
"What the hell?!?" she shouted. "You trying to give me whiplash in here?!?"
Though Rob couldn't hear her muffled shouts, he could sense she was mad at him. Must be that husband-wife telepathy.
After waiting seemingly forever for an elevator, Rob had significantly less difficulty going about his business: checking out, hailing a cab, and checking his luggage at the airport. He even had the good sense to make sure he gave his ticket and not Miranda's to the woman at the check-in counter. It wasn't until he approached the security checkpoint the airport when his pulse rate rose and his breathing quickened. What if he was wrong about the harmlessness of the X-ray dosage Miranda would receive going through the scanner? Worse, what if by some strange twist of fate, the officials discovered Miranda wasn't a Barbie doll but a living, breathing, shrunken woman?
Inside the backpack, Miranda was sound asleep, lulled there by the motion of the cab ride. Her head hung forward such that she'd have a painful crick in her neck upon awakening. As Rob carefully and hesitantly placed the backpack on the conveyor belt, Miranda's head fell back and banged on the thick piece of cardboard behind her, knocking her into consciousness. She cursed out Rob once again, but sensing the motion of her world, she quickly tensed every muscle in her body. This was the test, she told herself, I have to act convincingly like Barbie.
Rob had passed quickly through the metal detector without setting it off. Waiting for his backpack, he was able to catch a glimpse of it and its contents on the video monitor. His wife looked so precious, and had he not known the truth, he believed he would have been fooled.
The flight boarded as scheduled, and their seats were about halfway back, so Rob was let on relatively quickly. Though the seat number printed on his ticket was a window seat, Rob sat in the adjacent seat originally intended for Miranda, placing the backpack on his empty seat. That way, if anyone tried to take his bag--and thus, his wife!--they'd have to get through him first.
The plane filled up, with only a few scattered seats throughout. Then the departure time came and went, but the plane stayed where it was. After fifteen minutes without motion, the pilot's voice finally came over the intercom to apologize for the delay. Due to inclement weather at their destination, flights ahead of them had been delayed landing, so they were trying to alleviate later congestion by leaving a little later.
Rob sighed and glanced at his watch. A fifteen or twenty minute delay wouldn't cause too much trouble, he thought. But fifteen minutes became thirty minutes, and then an hour. Rob was growing impatient and concerned. As it now stood, Miranda would return to normal before they got home and most likely before they even left the airport. If the delay grew any longer, she could grow back while they were still on the plane! What a sight that would be--a naked woman bursting out of a backpack!
He supposed that if they were still on the plane as that moment approached, he could utter the magic words, giving them an extra three hours. But it would mean Miranda would shrink another three inches, thus dwindling below the twelve-inch mark. She'd be pissed off, even more so than she already was. Besides, shrinking her while she was still in the Barbie box would cause her to slide loose from the twist-ties, and Rob didn't want to endanger her further.
During the flight delay, a few more passengers had trickled onto the plane, some of them flying "standby." He nervously looked around as one by one, the number of empty seats became fewer and far between. Then a man boarded, walked up the aisle, stopped at Rob's row, and opened the overhead compartment. Rob glanced at his backpack and then up at the man, who was staring at Miranda's empty seat.
A flight attendant approached, and Rob's heart sank. This was it, he thought. The woman was going to ask him to put the backpack in the overhead compartment. Rob would have to refuse. How could he stash his wife up there, especially with the typical airline warning that objects inside could shift? She could get crushed to death. But if he made a scene about it, they could confiscate his backpack with Miranda in it. What would happen to her then?
"May I help you?" asked the tall, slender brunette with the sparkling white teeth.
The man showed her his ticket while Rob reached for the backpack. As it turned out, the man was seated behind Miranda, so Rob sighed in relief, especially when the pilot announced they were ready to leave.
Sleeping silently and somewhat stiffly and sorely inside, Miranda had been oblivious to what was going on outside. Her pleasant dream centered around a new open-walled house in Malibu and a handsome well-sculpted neighbor named Ken...
* * *
Miranda stayed asleep for the entire flight, while Rob stayed awake, alert and paranoid, keeping his eyes on the backpack, which he had buckled in before take-off. They hadn't made up any time in the air, and unfortunate news came as they descended. The plane had to circle the airport a few times, waiting for permission to land. Then, when it finally did land, they had to wait until another plane left the gate where they were scheduled to dock.
Rob nervously watched the seconds tick away on his watch. Neither he nor Miranda knew the precise moment she had first uttered the words, so it was impossible to know the precise moment she'd start growing. All Rob knew was that it soon. He had to get her off that plane immediately.
Ignoring the lighted signs, Rob had already unfastened his seat belt and clutched the backpack against his chest. The plane came to a stop, and Rob's continued forward just a bit, but he used this inertia to rise to his feet.
Quickly, and somewhat rudely, he climbed over the old lady sitting in the aisle seat. People were already starting to stand before the pilot had announced it safe to do so, and Rob was already making his way to the front of the plane. "Coming through, coming through," he announced, weaving through the crowd and holding the backpack above his head. "Got a connecting flight to make."
Inside the bag, Miranda could feel herself being jiggled around. What the hell is he doing out there, she wondered, and what time is it? She could tell from the darkness she was still playing Barbie, but having been asleep for the flight and its delays, she had no idea her growth would commence any moment.
Once off the plane, Rob sprinted up the jetway. Running in an airport wouldn't be too suspicious, he hoped, especially if he stayed with the connecting flight excuse. He stumbled a bit, almost sending the backpack airborne. Close call as he bobbled it and caught it by its shoulder straps, praying Miranda was still safely inside.
She was starting to feel a little queasy--a sensation usually accompanying her return to normal height--but she wasn't sure why. Her stomach was empty from not eating since they left the hotel, so that was one possibility. Also, the trip while Rob was obviously hurrying was extremely bumpy, so that could cause the feeling. Hurrying? Why would he be hurrying, she wondered, unless it really was time for her to grow back. "Rob!" she screamed. "Get me out of here now!"
Unable to hear her, Rob was already in the airport concourse. Now the difficulty was in trying to find a private place for the transformation. Holding the backpack over his shoulder with one hand, Rob checked his free wrist to see the time. Though the precise moment was unknown, he could tell it was any second, so he veered into a nearby mens' restroom.
Rob locked himself in a stall, closed the toilet lid to lay his backpack down, and unzipped it. Gently, he slid the box out into the open, and inside he could see Miranda squinting her eyes and trying to look away from the sudden influx of bright light.
When he opened the box top, he could already hear her reprimanding him for running so fast, putting her in the Barbie box in the first place, and letting her shrink herself so small while drunk.
Rob remained quiet, diligently trying to free her from her restraints. First her chest, then her wrists. As he untied her waist, Miranda pushed herself up into a sitting position, and then she groaned and reached for her stomach.
"What's wrong?" Rob stopped what he was doing to look at Miranda's pale face.
"I don't kn..." Her voice trailed off as she heard something faintly crackling behind her. What was it?
She looked down at her chest and could see it ever-so-slowly expanding within Barbie's already short tight top. The crackles grew louder and Miranda realized they were from the shirt's Velcro clasp pulling apart. "I'm growing!" she screamed. "Get me out of this!"
Quickly, Rob went to work on untying her ankles, which he could now see were tightly bound by the twist-tie. Once the Velcro down the back of her top split apart, Miranda had no difficulty removing it and baring her breasts. Because the shoes were backless, she was able to kick them off with ease. The skirt, slowly creeping up her thigh and chafing it, was constricting around her widening hips. To remove that, she had to wait for Rob.
He freed her second ankle and announced, "Done!"
"Not yet." Miranda was wincing in pain and trying to clench the waistband of the skirt, but it was now so tight on her, she couldn't wedge her fingers inside. "The skirt, Rob!" She panted. "Pull it off!"
She must have grown about two inches or so, and the skirt barely covered her private parts. With his thumb and forefinger, Rob grabbed the hem of her skirt, accidentally pressing against her almost-exposed bush in the process. Though he was completely aware of what he did, the look of anguish on her face hinted that she hadn't noticed.
There was some resistance, but Rob was able to tug the skirt from her hips. Releasing a deep breath of relief, Miranda helped her own cause by bringing her legs close together. A second later, she was completely naked and watching the stall shrinking around her.
It wasn't long until she was back to normal. Standing steady was a chore, since her legs had fallen asleep from the combination of spending several hours tied down in a cardboard box and the recent lack of circulation there from the tight skirt. Either way, she was thrilled to be back at her own height, glancing up at her husband instead of craning her neck up at him.
And he was glancing down at her, in her full glory. My wife's a blonde bombshell, he told himself, having forgotten the fact slightly while she was so small. A part of him had enjoyed the experience of her being doll-sized, but she was much more attractive at full-size. And much more huggable too.
Miranda didn't want anything to do with his attempt to hug her. A part of her was still fuming over being treated like a toy. All she wanted to do was get dressed, get home and get to bed.
When she discovered that the only pieces of clothing packed in the backpack were Rob's, she was furious. Had he expected her to grow back to normal fully clothed?
With no other choice, Miranda slipped into his socks, shorts and shirt, the latter two being a few sizes too big for her. When the hell was she going to wear clothes that fit her once again?
After they picked up their luggage, Miranda changed into some of her own clothes and felt wonderful about it. Riding home in the taxicab and not speaking to Rob, she was already imagining herself at home in her nice warm bed, with a pillow under her head instead of under her entire body.
But when they finally arrived home, they were shocked and concerned about seeing two police cars, with their blue lights flashing around the neighborhood, parked outside their house
"Is this your house?" asked one of the police officers.
"Yes," answered Rob. He could hear the burglar alarm inside his home wailing loudly. "What's wrong?"
"About a half hour ago, something triggered your alarm. There's a broken window in the back. We believe the perpetrator has already fled the scene."
"Someone broke into our house?" Miranda was on the verge of tears. With everything she had been through that weekend--being fourteen inches tall, an uncomfortable plane ride inside a cardboard box, and almost not being undressed in time for her return to normal--all she wanted to do when she got home was collapse on her bed and sleep. Now it appeared that wouldn't happen any time soon.
"Do you know if anything was taken?" asked Rob.
"It is possible," replied the officer. "There've been a string of burglaries in this neighborhood all week. Haven't you heard?"
"We were on vacation." Miranda was hugging herself to stave off the shivers of the cold night air. "Why did this have to happen to us?"
"We'd like to search the house," said the cop.
Rob let the police inside, and when they had confirmed the coast was clear, they allowed Rob and Miranda to enter. It appeared that the burglar had only been in their bedroom, but he had trashed the room. Shards of broken glass lay on the floor below the window, which was fully opened. Dresser drawers were opened and their contents rummaged through and tossed on the floor, the bed sheets and mattress were all overturned, the closet doors slid open, and everything in every little box and container on Miranda's dresser had been dumped onto the floor.
"This is going to take forever to go through and figure out what's missing." Miranda rubbed tears away from her tired, red eyes.
"And I'm afraid we're going to have to do some fingerprinting first," said a deep voice from the doorway. "With all the burglaries and all."
Miranda thought she recognized the voice, so she turned around. Sure enough it was an officer from the crime lab who had often supplied evidence to the district attorney's office. "I'm glad you're here, Frank," she said to him.
"Nice to see you, A.D.A. Wright!" He smiled broadly. "Sorry it’s under these circumstances. I hadn't realized this was your house."
Miranda introduced Rob and Frank to each other, and then gave the police free reign over the room. In an isolated case, the police mightn't have made as much a detailed effort, but with so many break-ins in the neighborhood, it was standard procedure. And with Miranda working on the side of law and order, Frank was going to take extra special care to find any shred of evidence to bring the guilty party or parties to justice.
Rob and Miranda tried to get some sleep in the guest room, but Miranda kept tossing and turning all night, even after the police had left. The next night was the same for her. Even though she was back in her own bed, she couldn't help but feel violated and vulnerable knowing a crime occurred in the room.
* * *
When Miranda awoke Tuesday morning from a restless sleep, even a tall cup of strong black coffee couldn't offset her grogginess. In her gray business suit, she left the house hoping her day in court would preoccupy her mind enough to keep out thoughts of the robbery.
The case itself was pretty straightforward--a first time drug possession charge on some stupid 19-year-old kid who would rather face a jury than plead guilty. The arraignment had been about a week before her vacation, and Miranda wished the kid's lawyer had gotten him to cop a plea while she was away so she could stay at home instead. As it stood, Rob was at home trying to itemize everything that was missing, of which they estimated most of it was hers.
At nine-thirty, court was in session, and first they had to wade through the jury pool to get six people in the box. Hopefully, as Miranda had seen many times with first-time offenders, the process itself would scare them into a plea.
The judge asked his litany of questions to eliminate people from the jury pool. It took its usual hour, and then both sides had to opportunity to strike any of the potential jurors. One man caught Miranda's eye. She hated to stereotype, but his multiple facial piercings, unkempt spiked hair, and arms completely covered by tattoos suggested he might be a little sympathetic to the defendant. As she stood to make her motion to strike this guy, her body was overtaken with tingles.
Horrified, she froze, hoping no one would notice her slight loss of height. Her clothes shifted, not enough for anything embarrassing such as panties or nylons slipping off, but enough for her to feel uncomfortable. Her business skirt now covered her knees, and the sleeves of her barely roomier jacket just covered her wrists. The differences in her clothing were probably imperceptible to onlookers' naked eyes, but her smaller stature wasn't. She looked around, and it appeared no one noticed she was now five-foot-two.
Damn it, she thought, wondering who on Earth would say the words while she was in court. It had better not be Rob, though she couldn't imagine him having the guts to do so after the vacation incident. Her parents? They had done it before, but never during the daytime, let alone while she was in court. She could conceal the one-time shrink, but if it suddenly happened again, she wouldn't be able to hide it. She had to find out who did this to her and stop them from doing it again.
"Is there a problem, Ms. Wright?" asked the judge.
Snapping out of her bewilderment, Miranda looked up and around. Apparently, she had caused a momentary pause in the flow of events. She wanted to forsake propriety and blurt out that something was indeed wrong and that she needed to tend to it, but that wouldn't help her case. Instead, she behaved correctly: "Your Honor, may I please approach the bench?"
The judge, a white-haired older gentleman in bifocals approved. The defense attorney, a tall, thin, balding man about Miranda's age, joined her in front of the judge.
"Your Honor, may I have a quick recess to tend to a..." Miranda whispered, searching for a reasonable explanation. "A personal problem?"
"A personal problem?" asked the judge, his glasses now resting on the tip of his nose.
Placing her hands on the front of the judge's bench, Miranda leaned forward. To her dismay, she was chin-level with the surface, even on tiptoes in her one-inch pumps. Whispering, she replied, "A...a female problem?" Sure it was a little white lie, but Miranda figured a man wouldn't question her.
Straining to hear her whisper, the judge also leaned forward. "A female problem?"
Just then, as unexpected as the first time, the sensation returned. She mouthed a swear or two, but withheld the air to make her cursing audible. The second shrink was usually when her clothing started to slide. Sure enough, she felt one bra strap off her shoulder and her nylons starting to bunch up. She quickly glanced down and grabbed onto the waistline of her skirt, holding it and garments underneath it in place.
"Oh!" gasped the judge in comprehension. "A female problem! Yes you may." He sat back in his chair to address the whole courtroom as Miranda looked back up at him. "We will break for a short..." Quizzically, he glanced at Miranda, now only seeing her from her eyes up over the bench's edge. Had she gotten shorter, he wondered. "...fifteen-minute recess."
As soon as the gavel banged, Miranda dashed out of the room with her briefcase, leaving one of her shoes behind as her foot stepped out of it.
In the ladies' restroom, after making sure it was empty, she was impatiently talking to her cell phone, waiting for Rob to answer. "Come on, honey, pick up."
He wasn't home. Vaguely recollecting him saying something about going to the hardware store to fix the broken bedroom window, Miranda left a quick call-me-immediately message and then frantically dialed the only other person who could've "accidentally" said the words.
"Nope," said her mother. "Not us this time."
"Well if it's not you, and it's not Rob, then..."
"How do you know it ain't Robbie? You've been tense since you got back. He might be trying to relax you a bit. You know those tingles can be quite a turn-on!"
Miranda groaned and rolled her eyes. "Mom, Rob knows better. Is there anyone else who knows the words?"
"Not that I know of. Heck, those words are gibberish. I doubt anyone would just say them. Must've been Robbie. Heck, he has balls..."
Miranda tried to convince her mother of her husband's innocence, but her mother continued babbling. "Mom, I gotta go. I'm due back in court."
She hung up on her mother and rolled up her sleeve to check her loose watch. Eight more minutes. While adjusting the watchband around her thin wrist, she took a closer look at the time to determine she'd return to her normal height a little before five in the afternoon, smack dab in the middle of her commute home. How was she supposed to get through the trial--hell, how was she supposed to get through the rest of the day--half a foot shorter than usual?
The obvious impediments had to go. Off with her jacket, and then out of her blouse sleeve came her bra. Her panties and nylons were off and buried in her briefcase. Hiking up her skirt so it hung right above her knees, she strategically safety-pinned it to her tucked in blouse. A glimpse at herself in the mirror showed that apart from her blouse's minor bagginess, she looked at least semi-presentable in her new petite form.
With two minutes to spare, she composed herself and walked back into the corridor towards the courtroom, all the while keeping her chin up and her back straight. Maybe this way she'd give the illusion of height through good posture and a confident walk. Or maybe she was kidding herself. She felt a little naughty about returning to court without any underwear, but she let the common joke about what judges wore beneath their robes allay her feelings somewhat.
The defense lawyer met her outside the courtroom. "I've been looking for you. Do you have a moment?" he asked, furtively sizing her up. Something was different about her, but he couldn't quite put his finger on what it was.
"We have to be inside." Miranda was straining her neck looking up at him.
"This concerns the case. Is your offer still good? My client is having second thoughts about facing the jury."
Under normal circumstances, Miranda would have simply said no, letting the moron suffer the consequences, but this was no ordinary day. She didn't want to be at the courthouse. All she wanted was to get away and hide for the next six hours.
It didn't take long to get everything settled. The defendant got off with the minimum punishment--community service and a mandatory drug rehabilitation program. Then, Miranda left the courthouse and headed back for her office to stay locked inside until it was time to go home.
When Rob eventually returned her phone call, he declared his innocence, suggesting it was probably her mother that said the words. After explaining the whole story to him, she vowed that when she found out who was responsible, there'd be hell to pay.
The hours slowly ticked by, and Miranda couldn't help but feel uncomfortable. Never mind the sensation of her bare thighs rubbing her private parts when she sat. Concentrating as hard as she could on her work, Miranda couldn't block out the reminders of her shrunken state: shoes slipping off feet that didn't touch the floor when she sat back in her slightly oversized chair, objects like pens and pencils feeling a tad awkward in her hands.
Eventually, she couldn't take it anymore, so she left work a little early. How aggravating it was to adjust the seat of her car to compensate for her six-inch loss, knowing that at some point during the drive, she'd grow back and her legs would become too cramped. She really didn't care, as long as she didn't get pulled over before she grew back because the 5'5" as printed on her license wouldn't be believed.
* * *
Despite how long her drive seemed to be in her condition, traffic mustn't have been as bad as Miranda thought. She must have traveled quickly since she arrived home before returning to normal. That meant at any minute she'd be her full size again.
As she walked to her front door, she looked at her watch, only to stop dead in her tracks. It read half past five. She should have grown already, but she hadn't. There was a definite physiological symptom to growing back; her stomach should've felt queasy.
But it hadn't. Something was wrong.
She ran into the house and straight for the telephone to call her mother. Hearing her enter, Rob appeared. "Honey, I think I know who..."
"Not yet." Miranda frantically dialed and then broke into hysterics over the phone. "Mom, I haven't grown back yet. What happened? Why didn't I grow back?"
"Calm down!" shouted her mother. "There's a simple explanation. It happened to me before."
"What happened to you before?" asked Miranda sternly.
"Oh, when you were four or five years old, I was stuck at three feet tall for about a week."
"No you weren't, Mom. I would've remembered my mother being my height back then."
"Remember that week you spent at your grandparents because I was sick with a bad case of the flu and we didn't want you to get it?"
"We lied. We didn't want you to see me three feet tall. We thought it would be traumatic for you back then."
"Not as traumatic as it is right now wondering why the hell I'm still four-eleven! Are you telling me I'm stuck like this for a week?"
"Oh no, it could only be a few more hours."
Miranda sighed in relief.
"Or a few months. It all depends."
"Depends on what? Is this some part of the curse you neglected to tell me about?"
"Well, with your organization--and let's face it, dear, you can be pretty anal at times--I thought this would never happen to you."
"You thought WHAT would never happen to me? What aren't you telling me?"
"Once, your father shrunk me a few times while I was washing dishes, in preparation for a game of half-size-wife that weekend. I was wearing the ring and unbeknownst to me, it slid off my finger and down the drain. I didn't grow back when I was supposed to, and we spent most of the week searching for the ring. Obviously we found it, because..."
"I did not misplace the ring, Mother. I keep it in a safe place..."
"Forgive the interruption," said Rob meekly. "But I have some bad news, Honey. I think the ring was stolen the other night."
"Stolen?" echoed Miranda, the color draining from her face. Slowly, she turned to her husband. "What do you mean stolen?"
"Did he say stolen?" asked Miranda's mother. "Oh Heck, that explains a lot. That's why you haven't grown back, and I'll bet that's why you shrank in the first place! Your burglar must've read the inscription..."
While her mother babbled on about solving the mystery, Miranda dropped the receiver and started to laugh. Then the laugh became a cackle. Then the cackle became a scream. Then Miranda broke into tears and collapsed on the floor.
Rob ran to her and hugged her tightly. "It's alright, Honey," he said, caressing her blonde hair.
"No it's not alright! Don't you understand, Rob? I'm gonna be this tall until we find the ring? And what if that asshole who robbed us says the words again? Do you want me permanently reduced?" For a moment, there was silence until Miranda looked up at Rob. "For God's sake, please don't answer that!"
"Honey, we'll find the ring." Rob kissed his wife on the forehead. "I promise."
First, Miranda tried to calm herself down. When that didn't work, she tore apart the bedroom hoping and praying that Rob was wrong--that the burglar had seen how ugly the ring was and dropped it somewhere. After two hours of searching and crying a river of tears, she demanded Rob take her to the mall.
"Uh...okay, Honey." Somewhat puzzled, Rob shook his head. He knew that some women tried to relieve depression by shopping, but he never knew Miranda to act that way. "If you think it will help..."
"What do you mean if I think it will help?" Miranda stood up straight, the top of her head a few inches below her husband's chin. "If I'm stuck this way, I'm gonna need clothes that fit better than this!" She pulled on her blouse to accentuate its bagginess.
Rob's forehead crinkled. "Exactly how much stuff are we talking here?"
"I may be four-eleven for the rest of my life, Rob. I might need a brand new wardrobe." By this time, Miranda had put on a pair of sneakers, tied extra tightly. "Shoes too."
"Do you have any idea how much that's going to cost?"
Already out of the bedroom, Miranda was paying no attention to him. He just didn't get it. Money didn't matter to her at this moment; only her stature did. Her colleagues, the judges, the police all knew her as an average-sized woman, yet a professional and skilled assistant district attorney. How could she command that same respect being six inches shorter? And more importantly, how could she explain the loss in height to them?
"You're driving." Miranda handed Rob his car keys when he finally caught up to her in the kitchen. "And we're not going anywhere nearby. I don't even want to risk running into anyone we know."
The drive lasted almost an hour, and Rob was at least grateful that Miranda let him stop at a fast food drive-thru to get something to eat. After all, they had been too preoccupied at home to think about making dinner.
Rob spent most of his time at the faraway mall outside the fitting room in the ladies' petites department. He knew from occasional shopping expeditions with Miranda that she would normally wear misses regular clothing, a point she reminded him of several times as she went in and out with a variety of pricey outfits. Silently, Rob prayed they found the ring before she wore them all so at least some of them could be returned.
When she closed out a shoe store, Miranda had enough three- and four-inch-heeled shoes to match every piece of clothing she had bought. Rob was dozing on a bench outside the store when she nudged him. "Wake up, Honey," she whispered.
He mumbled something, yawned, rubbed his eyes and stood. As things slowly came back in to focus, he could swear he saw his wife standing before him like nothing had ever happened to her. Groggily, he asked, "Miranda? You found the ring? Everything's all right?"
"You're sweet." Miranda stretched just a tad more than she was accustomed to and planted a kiss on Rob's cheek. "But I'm still four-eleven, dear."
Rob looked down, noticed the added height provided by the shoes, but spent more time fixating on her legs. Even though they were, he guessed, about three inches shorter than they should be, he never remembered them looking so good. Maybe it was the shoes, or maybe it was the shorter than usual (for Miranda) business skirt. Together, the illusion she created was succeeding, making her appear tall. But there was more. Her legs were more slender than usual.
The ride home was quiet. Miranda was calm, with a small grin on her face. The shock of her predicament worn off, she actually felt secure in the smaller clothing, fitting so snugly on her body, and making her feel a little sexy too. She knew Rob was furtively eyeing her legs, purposely crossed so he could see as much as possible. He probably thinks he's going to get lucky tonight, she thought with a smirk.
* * *
The next day, Miranda cautiously walked into the office, wearing a pale yellow blazer and skirt ensemble, with matching three-inch pumps. As long as no one looked down at her feet, the charade would work.
"Good morning Miranda," said a tall, thin, brunette colleague of hers. "Haven't seen you since you left for vacation. How are you?"
"I'm doing fine, Judy." Miranda spoke through somewhat clenched teeth.
Judy Meyers was also an assistant district attorney. She went to law school with Miranda, so they were well familiar with one another. There was a silent competition and dislike between them, but at work they kept their mutual feelings under wraps. As much as Miranda would claim to everyone else she didn't care, she knew exactly how many more convictions Judy had under her belt. Judy knew it too, and would only flaunt it in private. If Miranda could fool Judy's scrutiny of her, she'd fool everyone.
"Something's different about you." Judy tapped her finger to her chin. "But I can't quite figure out what it is."
Stop looking for what it is, Miranda prayed to herself, hoping Judy could read her thoughts. Since Judy stood about five-foot-ten, she always was looking down at Miranda, so hopefully the slight difference from Miranda's original height the heels provided wouldn't be noticeable from Judy's vantage point.
Just then, a man carrying a briefcase in one hand and reading an open legal folder held in his other hand walked by. "Morning, ladies," he said, not really looking at them.
"Hey Paul," said Judy, grabbing the man by the shoulder and turning him around. "Doesn't Miranda look different to you?"
Paul took a step back and looked down into Miranda's eyes. Since he was the same height as Judy, Miranda wasn't too worried about him noticing the height difference. She was more concerned about Paul probably undressing her in his head. After all, he did have a reputation of being a little bit of a player, but being in the legal profession, he purposely stayed away from secretaries, paralegals, and especially interns in the D.A.'s office.
His eyes surveyed Miranda's body down to her legs, and when he made eye contact again with her, he was smiling. "Nice tan," he said.
Miranda sighed and smirked. "Thanks, Paul."
"No, no, no." Judy shook her head. "It's not that. The tan was to be expected. She went to the Virgin Islands, after all."
"Well all I see," Paul turned to Miranda. "Is that you look great, Miranda."
He walked away, but Judy kept her eyes focused and squinted on Miranda. "I don't know what it is," she said. "But I'm going to figure it out."
With that, she turned and strutted away, leaving the scent of her perfume in the air behind her. Miranda sighed in relief and wiped her brow, noticing some beads of sweat had formed there. This one had been a close call, she thought, heading off to her office.
Miranda avoided Judy by spending most of the day in the law library, looking up laws, statutes and previous rulings that may be pertinent for her next case--a simple armed robbery that would probably be settled long before making it to trial. The evidence against the defendant, including a clear security video showing his face, was incriminating and pretty cut and dry. Still, it didn't hurt to be well-prepared.
While scanning the shelves for a particular law book, Miranda's cell phone rang. "A.D.A. Wright," she answered.
"Hey, Hon, how're you holding up?" asked Rob's warm voice.
"So far, so good. No one seems to notice." Then she groaned. The reference book she needed was just out of her outstretched reach. Normally, she would have been just tall enough on tip-toes to pull the book out of its place. "No one except me, that is."
"But how are you doing?"
"On the one hand, I'm relieved that no one seems to notice." Miranda pulled a chair over to the shelves and stood on it to retrieve the book. "On the other hand, I'm frustrated that I'm less than five feet tall." She sat down in the chair and ran her hand through her hair. "And on the other hand, I'm terrified. What if whoever said the words says them again? And again? I don't want to be stuck any smaller than this."
"You've got to try not to think about it."
"That's easy for you to say! You're not the one who might unexpectedly..." Miranda glanced around and continued with a whisper, "shrink...at any moment without warning."
"Just do your best, Hon, and when you get home, I’ll wrap my big, strong arms around you to protect you. Will that help any?"
Miranda chuckled as she wiped her eyes. Rob could be so adorable at times. "It can't hurt."
* * *
Over two weeks passed, and not only was there no news from the police, but there was also no change in Miranda's height...in either direction. Whoever had read the inscription on the stolen ring probably dismissed the words as gibberish. As far as Miranda was concerned, the words were lethal gibberish, and she was relieved they were yet to be repeated.
Not that she was enjoying being only four-foot-eleven--far from it--she was merely tolerating it, but reluctantly growing more and more accustomed to it. Having a career in criminal law, she knew the statistics on home burglaries, so the inevitable truth was slowly sinking in. The likelihood of their recovering the ring was dwindling.
But Rob was reassuring, though a tad overprotective. She loved the oversized oaf, especially the way he was helping more around the house: putting away dishes--mainly ones on higher shelves, going food shopping--to reach items on higher shelves, and doing laundry--carrying baskets of clothes that would be much too heavy for Miranda. He had even offered to drive her to work if, for no other reason, to cease her frustration with sitting closer and higher than usual.
Miranda was going to work as usual, and with the exception of Judy, no one had caught on to her height charade. Judy hadn't figured out the truth yet, but given her legal expertise, it would only be a matter of time.
"I've got it!" exclaimed Judy, pointing at Miranda returning from lunch that Thursday afternoon. "I know what's different about you."
Miranda froze and cautiously looked around. Fortunately, everyone else in the office had lost interest in Judy's daily rant about Miranda's mysterious new appearance. But if Judy were to mention Miranda were shorter, all ears would perk up. Quickly, Miranda looked down at her feet, thinking maybe she had accidentally put on flats instead of her heels, thus making her condition too obvious. Nope, that wasn't it, she thought, looking back up at Judy.
Judy clapped her hands together. "You've lost weight!"
"You've caught me," replied Miranda, sighing in relief. Miranda knew that her weight loss was a direct result of the six-inch height loss, so she hoped Judy was satisfied with the weight explanation.
"You look fabulous. I'm sorry I didn't notice earlier," Judy lightly took hold of the lapel of Miranda's lavender business suit. "And you've got a brand new wardrobe to go with the new look. Second time you've worn this one."
Miranda had no idea Judy had paid that close attention to her the past two weeks, so she tried to slither away. But it was Paul who saved her. "Miranda," he said as he approached. "The boss wants you as my second on a new case. We're off to the police station."
"What's the case?" Miranda, now free from Judy's clutches, was following. She had just wrapped up the armed robbery trial a few days earlier, and this seemed too quick for her to get onto a new one.
"I'll explain on the way. Police have the guy in custody and are ready to interrogate."
At the police station, Paul and Miranda stood in the dark room behind the two-way mirror, unseen by the two police officers, the seated public defender, and the alleged criminal--an unshaven, scrawny man with greased-back dark hair.
"So, Willy, why were you bringing the VCR to the pawn shop?" asked the taller cop.
"To sell it," replied Willy, the shady character. "Whadda ya think I was doin' with it?"
"Why'd you want to sell it?"
"Needed the money."
"Can you explain why the serial number on the VCR matches one registered to an Alex Maston?"
Miranda furrowed her brow. Alex Maston? Why did that name sound so familiar?
"Me and Alex go way back." Willy looked at the public defender, who was shaking his head. Ignoring the signal, Willy added, "He sold it to me a few months ago."
"Oh, HE did?" The first cop nodded and turned to his partner, a stocky, balding man. "Interesting, isn't that."
"You bet." The second cop finally spoke and stepped towards the table in the room. "But Alex Maston is a SHE." He slammed his fist down on the table.
Miranda rolled her eyes. Any minute she knew this would digress into a classic good-cop/bad-cop routine.
"And SHE reported it stolen last week." The second cop was hunched over, his face directly in front of Willy, who was looking away.
"Alexandra Maston," read the first cop from a manila folder. "Lives in the Highlands neighborhood of Beaconsfield. That's quite a ways from the pawn shop you were going into."
Miranda did a double take. Beaconsfield? The Highlands? That was Miranda's neighborhood! Then she remembered where she knew the name Alex Maston! She lived down the street from her!
"We think either you stole her VCR," said the second cop. "Or you know who did."
If this guy robbed Alex's house, reasoned Miranda, then maybe he also robbed her house as well. The police on the scene when Miranda and Rob returned from vacation said there had been a string of burglaries in the neighborhood. And if this guy robbed Miranda's house, then he may have been the one who read the inscription on the ring! More importantly, he might know where the ring was! Miranda had to speak to him!
"You know something?" asked the first cop. "There's been a lot of houses broken into in that area lately."
"Well, I ain't talkin' no more," said Willy.
"You might want to talk to someone from the D.A.'s office and cut a deal," said the second cop. "'Cause sellin' stolen goods is a serious crime. And if you're the one robbin' the houses in the first place, that's even worse."
That was their cue. While Paul was there to ascertain information to make the appropriate jail bargain, Miranda was more concerned about the ring. Her heart was beating rapidly as she realized there was only one way to do it without asking this guy to incriminate himself, thus violating his rights. She had to say the words and watch his reaction.
Her throat was dry as she sat at the table. She couldn't focus on the task at hand, instead carefully thinking out her risky plan. What if he had some partners, and he wasn't the one who had the ring? Then she would say the words, shrink another three inches to four-foot-eight and potentially be stuck there for good. She was barely getting away with hiding the six-inch loss, so any more would be impossible to cover up.
Then, she perked up. She didn't have to say the exact words. What if she said something that was close enough? Rob had told her that in the Virgin Islands, she eventually became so intoxicated she slurred her words, unable to say them straight, and this inability stopped herself from getting smaller than the fourteen inches. As long as what she said wasn't "skreppa saman kona" but similar to it, she figured she was safe.
At a pause in the conversation, Miranda looked Willy right in the eye and slowly said, "SKEPPA SAMAN KOONA."
The room fell silent, all its occupants staring blankly at Miranda trying to figure out what she said and why she said it. Miranda was the only one watching Willy, and she saw the color in his face draining away. Quickly, he turned away, and Miranda knew he knew! And more importantly, she wasn't shrinking!
"What the hell?" asked the second cop.
"Excuse me, A.D.A. Wright," said the first cop. "But was that skreppa..."
Before he could even possibly get the correct pronunciation, Miranda hopped up and turned to her partner. "Paul, we need to talk outside!"
The first cop knocked on the door, giving officers outside the signal to open it. Miranda pulled Paul outside and waited for the door to close.
"What was that all about?" asked Paul, slightly upset. "I think he was going to rat out his partner, but you blew it with your...your whatever the hell you said! What was it? Skeptic Santa...?"
Miranda covered his mouth, just in case. "Never mind what I said! Just listen." She removed her hand. "I have to step down from this case."
"That woman lives in my neighborhood. This could be the guy that robbed my house."
At that moment, the first officer cleared his throat. He had been standing there with the door to the interrogation room open. "I think he's still willing to cut a deal."
"Paul, I can't be here," said Miranda. "I'll go back to the office and explain. You'll get a new second chair. See you later."
She left the police station as quickly as possible and called Rob, but he was out of the office and not answering his cell phone. No matter, she thought, knowing she could tell him the news when he got home. After talking to her boss, who had no new assignments for her, Miranda was quickly in her car, leaving early from work. Heck, she could surprise Rob with the new with a candlelight dinner.
The meal was almost ready, and Miranda checked her watch. Rob would be due home any minute. Candles were kept in a cabinet above the sink, which under normal circumstances, she could reach on tiptoes. Fortunately, they owned a step stool. As Miranda stood on it and reached up, her body felt all warm and tingly.
To her horror, the cabinet slowly rose three inches away from her.
Posted at Monday, July 02, 2012
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Eustus looked up at the early morning sky. It was a clear one. The sun beat down on the West Virginia hills, woods and fields. The farmer, a wiry man in his early thirties, strolled his land like a king as he set about doing his chores.
First, there were the horses to be fed, then the sheep to be turned out. Good grazing today, as the May weather had been fine lately. He stopped, sweating, to repair a gate. He considered his wife. He hadn't seen her yet, and she might be awake by now.
He walked down the hill to an outbuilding, one he hadn't used for many years. But now it was where she lived, after the trouble. Eustus hadn't known what to do at first, when he realized she couldn't live outside. Then it came to him: he would fix the roof and patch a few wall cracks, and she could live in there.
He reached the door and slid the latch open. Opening the door, he peered into the gloom and tentatively called his wife's name.
Curled in the fragrant hay was a naked woman roughly twice the size of Eustus's biggest horse. She did not reply, so he tried again. This time a massive head rose; she squinted at the man, seemingly not recognizing him. Then she closed her eyes and put her head back down.
“Time to eat old girl,” he said, and went to the cereal barrel to prepare her breakfast.
Her voice came in a tired groan. “Don't wanna eat. Wanna go out. Let me out, hon.”
He did not answer but filled a large trough with enough cereal for someone of her size. “Well, we'll see. Maybe later, May. I still got important things to do.”
She looked at him oddly. “More important than me?”
He reached for a wide shovel and brandished it behind his shoulders like a baseball bat. Then he swung and smacked it hard on her bare bottom. She cried out; Eustus put the shovel back in its corner.
“Don't get wise with me, Maybelline. If you wanta get out of here, you act real nice. You hear, woman?”
Maybelline looked at her small husband through her tears and nodded.
Eustus seemed calmer. He walked up to her and lay a hand on her cheek.
“This won't be forever, darlin'. Oncet we figure a way to get you shrunk it'll be all right. Till then, it's the best way. Trust me, May.”
As he closed and locked the door behind her, he could hear her chains rattle as she set about eating her breakfast.
That's my girl, he thought. Eat up, hon. We'll get you better one way or 'nother.
Paul and Sara drove across the pretty Appalachian country, seemingly so far from the New York City they had left the previous day. In their convertible rental car, Paul drove as Sara kept up a steady flow of chatter. He liked listening to it; it made the time go past. It also took his mind off their assignment.
Back in New York, their editor had given them their final instructions. It was a different kind of assignment for both of them - a road trip that would take them to most of the United States. They would investigate, report and photograph a series of women who had grown into giantesses. This strange phenomenon has been reported sporadically before, but not in depth. Their editor, Kenneth Graves, had even given Paul and Sara the option to a book if they chose to write it. Little was known about these women, and the magazine would be informing and educating readers with the answers.
Near the end of the meeting, Graves called his secretary and asked her to send in another person. “Paul, Sara; I want you meet the Inspector.”
The Inspector walked in, shook hands, then stood near the editor's desk. He was young, about mid-twenties, with a blond, short hair and a serious expression. He wore a dark suit and tie, with a small badge clipped to one pocket.
Graves sat down again. “Now look,” he said to the couple. “This young man is your first contact in times of trouble. You'll be checking in with me on a weekly basis, but whenever you need help, or want to report something unusual, the Inspector's your man.”
Sara spoke next. “What kind of trouble?”
The Inspector answered. “Could be anything. We just don't know enough. But I do know there's a woman in West Virginia who is missing, and might be held captive. That's where you come in.”
“Yes, in fact that's your first destination,” said Graves. “Try to interview the husband, then see about the wife. Confirm the reports we've been hearing. If she is being held, call the Inspector.”
At this, the Inspector got up, handed his cards to the couple, then headed for the door.
“I wish the two of you luck,” he said, and left the room.
They had stopped at a motel in western Pennsylvania for the night. Now they had been on the road for about six hours and were closing in on their destination; the hilly farm country of West Virginia.
“There it is,” said Paul. To their left was a small weathered sign that spelled out “E & M Farm.” He took the narrow dirt track that led uphill toward the farm.
At the farmyard, no one was around. Paul and Sara got out, stretched their legs and looked around. Chickens pecked in the dirt around them, horses neighed from nearby pastures, and sheep could be heard in the far hills. But there was no sign of either E or M.
Paul walked around one of the barns and sighted something far off in a field.
“Sara,” he called out. “Look, there he is.”
He pointed to a tiny dot - a man on a tractor. Sara thought he might be a mile away.
“I guess we wait,” she said.
So they waited, enjoying the spring day. They were tempted to enter the main house and look for the giantess there. But that would be illegal; if caught they might tangle with the husband, not to mention the local authorities.
By mid-afternoon, Eustus felt in need of a break, a bite to eat and cold drink. He took the tractor to the yard and there discovered a strange car in the drive. As he shut the engine off, a strange man and woman got out. Eustus approached them warily.
“Hello,” Paul began. My name is Paul Manners and this is Sara Will. We're on assignment for NewsWorld magazine and we'd like to talk with you. Are you Eustus Gage?
“We'd like to ask you about your wife.”
Eustus' amused smile quickly turned off. “What about 'er?” he grumbled.
Paul looked at Sara, as if to say, 'Your turn.'
“There have been reports that several women nationwide have begun to grow, far taller and larger than normal. We're trying to tie loose ends together, help those that we can, and document each case.”
Eustus' eyes registered astonishment. “Ya mean there's been others?”
“Yes. Possibly as many as fifty,” said Sara.
Paul took over again. “Where is your wife, Mr. Gage?”
The farmer shuffled his feet. “Away. Ain't seen 'er for a week. Visitin' her kin folks.”
No one spoke. Chickens clucked. A blue jay scolded in a distant tree. A slight wind blew a weathervane atop the barn, causing it to creak as it turned.
Paul used a diplomatic tone. “Are you sure, Mr. Gage? It is very important that we find her, make sure she's all right.”
“Yes,” said Sara. “It is important. We want to help.”
But Eustus would not unbend. “Ain't here, I said. Now I got work to do.”
Driving away from the farm, Paul sounded dejected. “Sara, she's there. I don't know how you hide a giantess, but she's got to be in one of those buildings.”
“Well,” Sara answered, “we could always call the Inspector.”
Paul shook his head. “Not yet. We need to verify things. Let's think.”
They thought the rest of the day and into the night. They rented motel rooms in the nearest town and after a period, left for a meal out. They found a pleasant diner down the street and took a corner booth. A gum-cracking waitress took their order and left them alone to talk. There was no one else nearby.
“So, Paul,” said Sara. “Any ideas yet? About verifying things?”
Paul smiled. “Yeah. If you don't mind a little trespassing.”
Sara didn't look surprised. “I thought you'd suggest that. It was my idea, too. I thought we could park real close to the property line, hike across those woods and check the outbuildings.”
Paul took a sip of water. “Sounds like a plan.”
All through dinner they discussed the specifics. They would set out early next day and try their best to find Mrs. Gage.
In the early morning darkness, Paul and Sara left their motel rooms and packed the rental car quietly, in order not to attract attention. They drove the ten miles of county road, then pulled over to the designated spot on the highway. They both wore sneakers and casual clothing. Sara brought her camera, Paul a small backpack of necessities. They locked the car and started through the woods in the direction of E & M Farm.
A half-hour later, they emerged into a meadow. No buildings in sight. Both felt they should skirt the meadow's right edge and follow it uphill.
Their instincts proved right when the couple did come upon a building not seen the day before. Tractor tires had been through here recently, Paul judged.
They walked right up to the building. Sara looked through a crack in the wall and said, “Hello? Mrs. Gage?”
A small, pleading voice answered them. “Help me.”
Paul was quick to flip open the latch and open the heavy wood door. What Paul and Sara saw was enough to make them lose their breakfast, if they had eaten any.
Maybelline was on all fours, in the process of scavenging the remains of yesterday's meal. Her hair was scraggly, face smeared with food, skin unspeakable dirty. And she was very large. Feces clung to her thigh, pools of urine festered nearby. Paul guessed that if she were to stand, she'd easily exceed twenty feet.
The giantess's eyes were wide as the couple approached. “Who…who are you?”
“Don't be afraid,” said Paul in a reassuring voice. “We're here to help. My name is Paul and this is Sara.”
The giantess looked from the normal-sized Sara to her own huge self, and started to cry. She curled into a ball, body shaking.
It was then the couple noticed the chains.
“Damn!” said Paul. “Let's get these things off of her.”
“Wait, Paul.” Sara spoke in a quiet voice. “I want her out of those things, too, but maybe we should call the Inspector first. If her husband did this, we'll have to deal with him soon - and we'll need reinforcements.”
“Good idea,” said Paul. “I'll go outside, keep a lookout, and also make a phone call. You stay here, try to calm her down.”
Sara nodded, and Paul left to use his cell phone.
Sara walked over to Maybelline and touched her on the shoulder. “It's okay. We're calling for help right now. What's your name?”
The giantess lifted her tear-streaked face. “Maybelline. But most folks call me May.”
Sara rubbed her back. “There, there, May. We'll get you out of here soon, and you can tell us all about it.”
The Inspector arrived three hours later with the local chief of police. By then Paul had removed May's chains and taken her outside to wash in a nearby stream. Sara had slipped down to the house, breaking and entering be damned, and found a linen closet with sheets. She took a armload and came back to the outbuilding to help dress the giantess. Newly washed and covered in clean sheets, she seemed a different person from the helpless waif they'd first encountered.
The police chief located Eustus on a far field, on his tractor. It was mid-morning; evidently he'd forgotten to give May her breakfast. “I bet it wasn't the first time,” said Sara. The chief brought the farmer in, fighting and protesting, to the yard where the others were waiting.
May trained her sad eyes on her husband. “You should have taken better care of me, Eustus. Wasn't no need to lock me up like a critter.”
Eustus, now in handcuffs, was unrepentant. “I done the right thing, May, you'll see. These folks here ain't gonna help you none. You'll starve without me.”
The police chief yanked the farmer towards the car.
“Thank you, officer,” said the Inspector. “I'll make sure the young lady is taken care of. And I'll check in with you before I leave town.”
He looked at May as the police car pulled away. “Are there any relatives or friends that you'd like us to contact...that you can stay with?”
May shook her head. “Just my ma, but she's old and sick. I kin stay here. Can't these nice people stay with me?” She nodded her immense head at Paul and Sara.
The Inspector looked at the couple and spoke quietly. “If you can stay here tonight, you could get your story and pictures while keeping her company. By tomorrow I'm sure I can make other arrangements for her.”
“Sounds perfect, Inspector.”
Once the Inspector had gone, Paul spent the rest of the afternoon making a tarp lean-to against the side of the main barn, while Sara cooked what food was left in the house. May was famished; she ate heartily and it made Sara feel good to see May's strength and good humor coming back.
The weather was warm and clear, and in the early evening May settled under her lean-to. But she had a invitation for the couple.
“Y'all are welcome to go inside and sleep on my old bed. Actually, it's Eustus and me's bed. But I'd rather you stay out here. I've been so lonesome for so long, it's real nice to be with folks like you.”
Sara and Paul went inside and brought out every blanket, quilt and wrap they could find. Paul made a campfire in the yard and they all sat watching it. Finally, the couple lay next to Maybelline, who curled her twenty-foot body around them like they were teddy bears. Paul did not move; Sara discreetly moved away.
As May drifted off to sleep, her arm fell on Paul and throughout the night shifted him closer to her sheeted body. It was there that Sara found him in the early morning: tucked into her armpit, the giant's cheek brushing his head. Both were fast asleep.
Later that morning, after breakfast, a shampoo and a warm bath, Maybelline was looking much better. Her hair shone, and she smiled more. She had also taken a liking to Paul.
Sara snapped as many pictures as she could, either May alone or with Paul. Also, to give the giantess a break, Sara trekked back down the hillside to take photos of the outbuilding that served as the farm wife's prison.
Paul began his interview in earnest. He asked how long she and Eustus had been married, what the marriage had been like, and the sequence of events that followed her mysterious growth. She said the five-year-old marriage was a good one, except there were not children, which May wanted desperately. Eustus could be headstrong - she made a point of not riling him and that seemed keep the marriage working.
Until the growth. Eustus insisted that May hide in the barn so that unexpected visitors would not see her. She talked of visiting the doctor, but he claimed that there was no money for such luxuries. At first, May had a measure of freedom and could come and go at will, but Eustus panicked. He brought chains to the building and put them on her, promising her it would not be long.
It ended up being three months.
Paul had one final question for the giantess. What had made her grow? Did she have any ideas as to what the cause might be?
May shook her head. “I don't rightly know. It's not something I et, that's for sure. I just don't know, Paul.”
Sara came back from her excursion. All that remained to do was to wait for the Inspector. He turned up an hour later with a trailer truck and the promise of a new home.
Sara turned to Paul. “Can we go see her new home, Paul? Might make a nice ending for the story.”
Paul consulted his notes. “Afraid not. We're behind schedule as it is. Possibly we can check on May later, but for now we better hit the road.”
They were off to Rhode Island. The smallest of the fifty states in the southeast corner of New England. Sara joked that Rhode Island might have the tiniest of the giants, or maybe the largest. Paul laughed and agreed with her.
They came to the small town of Narragansett in the late afternoon. Set on the ocean, it brought to mind every calendar picture Paul had ever seen of a seaside town, with boats lined up dockside and dozens of gulls soaring and floating around.
The house of Nancy Pettigrew was a few blocks back from the sea, and easy to find; a small bungalow-type structure.
Sara knocked on the screen door, which looked in on a darkened living room. A female voice called, “Come in!”
Paul went first, with Sara behind.
They stood in the living room and waited. Then the voice said, “I said come on in! Don't be shy.” They through a passageway they saw Nancy seated at the dining room table, eating an early dinner. She seemed to be finished. The large woman pushed the plate aside, then grabbed a napkin and dabbed at her lips.
She stood, making Sara gasp involuntarily. Nancy must be eight feet, easy, thought Sara.
Paul smiled. Maybe this Rhode Island girl was the tiniest giant.
Nancy invited her guests to sit on the aging leather furniture and brought them cold sodas. She sat down herself, her long legs stretching across the room. She's not beautiful, thought Paul, but she is attractive in a way. And friendly. He wondered how an unfriendly giantess might behave.
But there were no worries tonight. Nancy sat and chatted with the couple far into the night. Sara took lots of pictures, and Paul got his story.
Nancy lived with her steady boyfriend. When she started to grow, he became alarmed but stuck by her, earning her devotion. Now they were inseparable. He would never leave her, she knew that now.
“Where is your boyfriend?” Paul asked.
Nancy smiled. “Well, he's had a hard day, and he's asleep right now, but if we're quiet, we might take a peek. But I think you'll be surprised.”
They all got up and followed Nancy to the bedroom. There they came to a king-sized bed covered with a colorful quilt. Atop the quilt lay Tom, her boyfriend.
Paul and Sara froze. Tom was roughly two-thirds the length of the bed.
Nancy grinned. “That's my little man. He never was a tall one and after I grew, we were even more different than before. Last I knew, Tom was five feet, one inch.”
Sara had fortuitously brought her camera. “May I?” she asked.
“I'll do you one better.” The giantess carefully got into bed and wrapped her sizable arms around Tom. The diminutive man stirred only slightly as Nancy cuddled him. Sara took picture after picture.
It was late. Paul and Sara said their good-byes and headed toward town to find a motel. Paul asked Nancy the same thing he asked Maybelline back in West Virginia.
“I honestly don't know. Why did I grow? No idea. But I can tell you this: I've never been happier, and neither has Tom.”
The next leg of their journey took them to the top of Maine, a logging town called Eagle Lake. Heavy tractor-trailers loaded with logs passed them as they made their way northward. Pine trees seemingly grew hundreds of feet high, and houses were few and far between.
They came to a dirt road off the highway and took it. It was lined with trees and the stone walls associated with New England. At the very end was a log cabin with a carport. One unusual thing about this place; in the back yard was a tent. A large tent. The kind you rent for big parties.
Paul went to the door while Sara stayed in the car. “I have a strange feeling about this place,” she told Paul. Paul didn't feel so good himself. Their remoteness and the odd surroundings gave him a feeling of foreboding.
After knocking twice, the door opened. A middle-aged woman stood there behind a screen door, staring at the stranger on the front step. “Whaddya want?” the woman asked in a suspicious tone.
“I'd like to see your daughter, please.” Paul held his breath and waited. This might not be so easy.
The woman frowned. “Syl's not here. Takes a hike twice a day. Goes to the pond to wash up and answers nature's call. Only really comes here to eat and sleep.”
By this time, Sara had studied the woman and joined Paul on the front step. The woman noticed her too and seemed to thaw a bit.
“I suppose you want to see Syl, too.” said the woman. “My name is Norma, by the way. Husband's dead. Other daughter's married off. Only the one girl left, and she's eatin' me out of house and home!”
Sara nodded. “It must be very expensive.”
The woman nodded. “By God, it is, and I never asked for any help.”
“But maybe we can help,” added Paul. “We're doing a story on the women affected by this growth epidemic. With some publicity, donations might start pouring in.”
Norma thought. “Well, maybe it can't hurt. You might as well come in and wait. Sylvia might be a while.”
Sara eagerly went inside as Norma held the door open. But Paul hesitated. “Would you mind…would you mind if I went out to look for her?”
Norma shrugged. “Suit yourself. The trail to the pond starts out back. Just follow the path, you'll find her.”
Paul found his way to the backyard and stopped to study the tent. It was the rental type all right. It didn't seem a suitable home for a young woman, but all the victims of growth had to improvise. He peeked inside. Several old, used mattresses pushed together to make a bed, piles of rumpled clothing tossed here and there. Sylvia was evidently not a neat freak.
Following the path through pines, oaks and birches, Paul grew both apprehensive and excited as he walked. Any time now he might see her. Then a thought struck him. He forgot to ask how tall she was! But judging by the tent, she was bound to be bigger than Maybelline, perhaps as tall as 25 or 30 feet.
He came to a stream that seemed to feed the pond; perhaps he would find her there, bathing or playing in the water. And here Paul's imagination took hold.
What kind of bathing suit would she have on? Would she have any clothes on at all? Would she be alone or with others? Was she modest, or would she bathe with half the town watching?
The stream got bigger and wider and seemed to reach a clearing. Sylvia, he felt, was not far off. Then, in a open and very private field set back from the stream, there she lay, fast asleep.
Paul was transfixed. She was buxom and pretty in a country girl way. Her wavy blonde hair lay across the grass in all directions, her arms and legs splayed to soak up all available sunshine. His eyes took in her whole body, naked and tanned, her supple breasts, wide stomach, thatch of pubic hair that actually reflected sunlight. Her legs were not to be believed, trunk-like thighs that rivaled the trees he'd seen along the way, tapering down to her large but delicate feet.
He sat in the grass in a shady spot and waited. He did not wake her up, but drank her in steadily. Paul's plan was to wait until she stirred, then run for a hiding place until fully awake. But the plan backfired. Paul fell asleep himself and the next thing he knew, she was standing astride his small body.
A lighting bolt went through him. Yes, she had wrapped a sheet around her waist, but those breasts still remained, and he could almost see through her clothing. Paul was relieved that she wasn't angry, but very curious about her male visitor.
Paul broke the ice with, “Hello, Sylvia. Your mom said I'd find you out here.”
A magnificent eyebrow shot up. “Mom sent you? That's hard to believe. She doesn't take to strangers.”
“But it's true,” Paul said. “I'm a writer and I'm traveling with a woman photographer. Her name's Sara and she's with your mom right now.”
Sylvia changed her stance, and then knelt on the grass. “Hmm. A woman, eh? I'd like to meet her.”
Paul thanked the personal angel who dictated that his traveling companion would be a woman, then got up, dusting the grass from his clothes. “Let's go then. I'll let you lead the way.”
Sylvia's strides were many times the length of Paul's; he had to run to keep up. And it was a hot day. Puffing and sweating, he wished she'd slow down just a bit.
She beat him to the house. Sylvia stood outside the back door and called out. “Mom, I'm home. Send out the woman in there with you. I want to meet her.”
A moment later, just as Paul was entering the back yard, Sara stepped out the back door as Norma looked on from inside. Sara's eyes grew wide when she saw the full, tanned breasts and Sylvia's knockout body.
The giantess crooked a finger at Sara, motioning her to come into the tent. Paul was not invited. Sara looked at Paul, who nodded. Sylvia entered the tent, leaving a flap open, then Sara went in too. All went quiet.
Paul went to the back door and spoke to Norma. “Can I trouble you for a glass of ice water.”
Inside the house, an electric fan enclosed Paul in a delicious wind. He sipped his water as he listened to Norma talk on and on. Mostly about her daughter, independent minded, nonconformist Sylvia, and many of the things she said and done over her twenty-two years.
“What about men?” Paul asked nervously. “Is she…er…seeing anyone right now?” Paul fervently hoped she was unattached. He had never seen a woman so lovely.
Norma made a “humph” sound, then said “Men? Naw, Syl's got no use for 'em. She likes the girls though.”
Paul looked at Norma's face to see if she was joking. But it was plain and impassive. And she stared right back at Paul.
Paul froze in horror. Sara! He sprang to his feet.
“Excuse me, but I gotta get out there. My friend might be in danger.”
Norma was having none of it. “Nonsense, young man. You just sit right down. Sylvia may be independent, but she's a sweet one. Nothin's gonna happen to Sara.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah. Trust me. Now you just relax and I'll start dinner.”
Paul had a restless night, sleeping in Sylvia's bedroom, surrounded by her things. The bed was too short; his feet hung over. But the main thing was that Sara was still in that tent. What was going on in there?
He didn't find out until they drove away the next morning. He could see the Sara was drowsy and might fall asleep the second they hit a smooth highway. So he resolved to ask her as soon as her could. Curiosity was killing him.
“So,” he ventured. “You spent the night out there…in the tent. How was it?”
Sara opened her eyes and looked at Paul. “Oh, it was fine. I got a good night's rest. Did you?”
“Actually, no. But that's not what I meant. Sylvia's mom told me that she likes girls. So when you didn't come back inside last night…”
Sara smiled broadly. “…you just figured we were having passionate sex out there. The thirty-foot Maine woman and me. I can imagine what you were imagining.”
Paul blushed, but just a little. “I was concerned for you. I thought she might be forward with you, even a little rough…but I guess everything turned out all right.”
“Yes, it did. Sylvia was lovely to me. We mostly chatted like old friends. She told me what it was like to grow up here in the sticks and I told her about my childhood too.”
Paul drove for a while, then said, “Well, that's good. Just a nice conversation. Then sleep. Good, just fine.”
Sara cleared her throat. “It wasn't just talk, Paul.”
He almost drove off the road and into the shoulder. “Not...not just talk?”
“No, Paul. There were backrubs, too. She did mine with her finger and a dab of oil. It felt soooo good. She did my legs, my shoulders…mmmmm. And then I did hers.”
Paul's throat constricted but he managed a small croak. “You did…hers?”
“Yes, her whole back, and buttocks, too. She took the sheet thing off. She's got the most beautiful ass I've ever seen. Sylvia asked me to get way inside with oil, down between her legs…”
“Her legs,” he intoned. Paul remembered those.
“Yes, fabulous legs. So there I was, deep inside them, smoothing on the lotion. And suddenly, she closed them on me! I was trapped! And I was her slave all night.”
Something made Paul look over at Sara. “You're kidding.”
Sara burst out laughing. “Yes, I'm kidding. I made it up. Just talk and sleep, that's all we did.”
After a minute to cool down, Paul said, “All right, you got me. You can go to sleep now.”
And sleep she did, as Paul drove south on I-95, west on Rte 2 across the tops of New Hampshire and Vermont, and into upstate New York. Sara woke up as Paul was doing a fast clip southward on I-87.
“Where are we going?” Sara asked groggily.
“Albany, New York. Should be there in a hour or two.”
Albany was a typical big city. Much smaller than New York City, Paul thought. Anyway, they were headed for a neighborhood on the outskirts. And that's where they would find Tracy.
Tracy was the main attraction at Johnny's Sports Bar and Grill. One end of the bar held a large wrestling ring where 12-foot Tracy took on all comers. No one was turned away. She would wrestle men, women, groups, it didn't matter. And she always won.
Paul and Sara found the place in the early afternoon and went inside. All was dark and cool there; a few men played billiards while two others watched baseball on the TV behind the bar. The couple sat at the bar and Paul signaled the bartender.
“Two light beers, please.”
The man behind the counter immediately filled two glasses and set them down. Paul thanked the man, and said, “Do you expect Johnny soon? Or Tracy?”
The man, heavyset and cheerful looking, responded. “Tracy appears tonight, 8 o'clock. And I'm Johnny.”
Paul introduced himself and Sara, and briefly explained their assignment. “Can you tell me about her? How she ended up working here?”
Johnny gave a wry smile. “Well you know, this ain't such a bad place. I'm a friend of Tracy's boyfriend, at least he used to be her boyfriend. That was before the growth spurt. He asked me to put her to work, I said yes and he took off. That's the short version.”
Paul asked a few more questions, and Sara got her cameras ready. Yes, said Johnny, take as many pictures as you like - good publicity. Then the couple took their leave, found a hotel and had dinner before returning for the eight o'clock show.
When they got back at a quarter to eight, the place was jumping. Parking was at a premium, the bar filled to capacity. Paul and Sara wedged themselves in and tried to find a place to stand. To their relief, Johnny came right over and brought them to a good spot. “You can take your pictures from here,” he told Sara.
A few minutes past eight, Johnny grabbed a microphone and the lights went down. The crowd became electric. “Hello, friends. Glad you could make it. Tonight, Tracy the Giantess takes on the meanest, strongest dude we could find. At 285 pounds, Tony Bruscotti!”
The crowd cheered as Tony, exhibiting fearlessness, entered the ring to await his opponent.
“And here's the lady you came to see. All twelve feet, eight hundred and sixty pounds of her, the Mother of all Wrestlers, here's Traaa-cyyyy the Giiii-aaaan-tessss!”
The place erupted as bombastic music played from somewhere. Sound effects like enormous footfalls came from the wall speakers. The lighting changed slightly to reveal a curtain in the back, and when the curtain moved the men cheered louder: “Tra-cy, Tra-cy, Tra-cy!” Then the woman herself parted the curtains and strode to the ring.
She was tall, well-built and highly muscled. She reminded Paul of a female Hercules. Tracy's brown hair flowed to her shoulders where it parted ways; some fell to her back with the rest touching the sides of her breasts. Her skimpy costume resembled the cavewoman outfit Rachel Welsh wore in that movie of the sixties.
Tracy looked out at the men (and a few women) who came to see her. Then she whooped as she waved an arm over her head. Tony, already in the ring, watched her. The match up seemed ridiculous. Tracy dwarfed her opponent; it was like a normal man taking on a Clydesdale horse. As soon as Tracy stepped over the ropes and into the ring, Johnny made his way to a bell on a side table.
Ding-ding! The fight was on.
Clearly it was pure entertainment. Paul realized it after a few minutes. No one was really getting hurt, and Tracy seemed gentle as a lamb. They seemed to be play acting; circling, dancing, jousting each other. But then something seemed to click inside Tracy. She darted towards Tony with amazing speed, picked him up as if he were a child, and held him over her head. Letting out an ear-splitting whoop, she stalked the ring, holding the heavy man impossibly high.
Tony's humiliation did not last long, however. Tiring of her prey, the giantess flung him away like a rolled up carpet. He landed on the mat with a thump, and she was all over him. To the crowd's delight, she decided to use the Scissors.
As Tony lay there catching his breath, Tracy moved into position. She got Tony between her massive legs and began a slow, sensuous squeeze.
Tony was trapped, totally at her mercy. His arms were pinned by his sides and he was turning red. The men in the audience yelled their approval. Johnny came over and said, “Now you see why these guys turn out? She's a gold mine, I tell ya, a gold mine.”
Johnny sounded the bell once more. Tracy released the vanquished Tony, raised her hands over her head and did a victory strut around the ring. Then she stepped out, blew a kiss to her admirers and ducked behind the curtains. Lights went up and the music stopped.
Later, Johnny took them backstage to meet the Tracy, the woman.
She was still sweating and wrapped in towels. Someone had sent back several pitchers of beer, and she held one in her great hand as she relaxed.
Johnny made the introductions. “Trace, this is Paul and Sara from NewsWorld magazine. They're here to make you famous, honey!”
Paul stepped forward. “I'm not sure about that, but I am glad to meet you. I really enjoyed the show.”
The giantess gave him an ironic smile. “Of course you did. You're a man. But I want to know what Sara thought. Did you like me out there? Or was it too much.”
Sara was diplomatic. “It was fun to watch. I guess I just like things to be more real. The match did seem a little uneven.”
Tracy smiled widely now. “Thanks. I knew I liked you. I need the honesty, especially now. I know I'm not a good wrestler, but my ex showed me a thing or two and that seems to work for the moment. And there really is no one else my size around here.”
The talked stopped for a moment as Johnny whispered something into Tracy's ear. She nodded and the bar owner addressed Paul and Sara. “Trace is going off to clean up and get some rest now. You can come back tomorrow if you like. She's taking on the Battlin' Barlow Brothers.”
Paul looked at Sara. “Actually, I'd like to interview the off-stage Tracy, the woman most people don't see. And ask how this growth has affected her. Is there a place we can meet? Maybe for lunch?”
Tracy seemed to like the idea, but Johnny shook his head.
“Sorry, folks, but Trace needs her privacy. The interview is over.”
Driving away that night, Sara thought he might have a theory about Johnny's reluctance.
“He wants to keep her air of mystery, the thing about her that keeps people coming back.”
“Maybe you're right. But it seems that something else is going on here.”
“So what do we do? Stick around and try to get the interview? Or head to our next place?”
Paul thought for a moment. “I'll phone the Inspector about it tomorrow, just to keep him informed. Maybe he can find something. As for us, we'd better be driving to the next stop.”
Bowling Green is in the western part of Ohio, and it took Paul and Sara almost a full day to get there. Paul had little information about this Ohio giantess, except that she was under observation at a hospital.
Upon arrival, they found the hospital and asked to speak to the doctor in charge, a woman named Heather Carter. Dr. Carter wore her brunette hair in a ponytail that hung down the back of her white coat, and spoke to Paul and Sara as she led them down a long corridor.
“Chyna has had a few health problems since her growth about a year ago. It comes and goes, and we keep her here when things get worse. We've noticed high blood pressure, shortness of breath and dilated pupils. After a day or so, the symptoms improve, but we like to keep her longer.”
“Doctor,” Sara asked as they walked, “Is Chyna your only, er, growth patient?”
“Yes, she is. I'm lucky to be able to study her. I understand there are many more like her across the country. I'd like to help them all if possible.”
“That's very good of you,” said Paul. “Do you think Chyna would be up for a short interview and perhaps some photographs?”
Dr. Carter smiled. “I think that would be all right. But you'll have to ask her.”
The doctor turned into a room that was actually two rooms combined into one. Chyna the giantess lay across what looked like four beds pushed together, with a multitude of sheets across her body. She looked as though she had woken from a nap.
“Hello, Chyna. I brought some visitors.”
Chyna looked sleepily from Paul to Sara and back to Paul. Her short, light brown hair and high cheekbones gave her the look of a model - a natural one at that. Plus, oddly, she seemed the picture of health.
“My name is Paul, and this is Sara. We're doing a story on the women who've grown this past year, like you. Can we talk to you?”
The giant eyes looked at Paul trustingly. “Sure.”
Dr. Carter spoke next. “Are you sure, Chyna? How are you feeling?”
“Mmm, better. Pretty good today.”
“Fine then. Paul, have me paged if you need me. I'll leave you alone. Bye, Chyna; maybe we can release you tomorrow if all goes well.”
Paul pulled up a chair as Sara got her cameras ready.
“Chyna? Why do you think the growth has affected you this way? The other giant women we've seen seemed very healthy. In face we just left one who wrestles professionally every night. Were you better before the growth?”
Chyna chose her words carefully. “Well, I never had high blood pressure before all this. I hardly ever exercised and sometimes ate the wrong things, but I was never sick. Now, I make sure to do everything Dr. Carter says I should do.”
“Take long walks. Yes, sometimes I get stared at, but I'm used to it.”
“How tall are you, Chyna?”
“Um, a little over seventeen feet.”
Paul grew thoughtful at this. If someone had told him even a few months before that he'd be conversing with a pretty young woman three times his size, he'd say that person was crazy. Yet here he was. He was close enough to see her chest rise and fall under the sheets, close enough to see the color of her extra large eyes. She rubbed her enormous fingertips together as if she wanted to get up and walk this instant. Paul felt the sudden urge to take her outside for a good walk, even if he had to run beside her.
“If this is too personal, Chyna, let me know. Do you have a boyfriend?”
At this, the giantess's face darkened slightly. “No. In fact I've never had one.”
Sara stopped what she was doing and came to the bedside.
“Chyna, you're kidding. You could be a model. Why no boyfriends?”
“Well, I just turned eighteen last May. I've dated a few, but I never saw anyone on a regular basis. There was a cute boy I wanted to ask out, but I was shy and I waited too long. Then the growth started. I could never call him after that.”
“What's his name?” said Paul.
“Roberto. He still lives around here. He even sent me a card during one of my hospital stays.”
Since Sara was set up and ready to go, Paul decided to take a walk and let her get on with it. He had only wandered for a short while until he bumped into Doctor Carter in the hallway.
“Hey, how's the visit going?” she asked.
“Great. Has she ever mentioned a boy named Roberto?”
The doctor nodded. “Yes. I know him slightly. I think he'd like to see her, but something is holding him back.”
Paul nodded. “I know what it is. She's a beauty, and she'd intimidate him even if she weren't seventeen feet tall. I think what this girl needs is some male companionship.”
Dr. Carter stared at him. “You could be right, but…what can I do? Kids have to be kids.”
“I have an idea. Do you have his phone number? Leave the rest to me.”
Two hours later a young man presented himself to the hospital room door where the young giantess was. Sara was downstairs getting coffee, and Paul greeted the young man himself.
“Thanks for coming, Roberto. Wait here, and I'll tell her you're coming in.”
Chyna, who looked more beautiful than ever, lit up when Paul told her the news.
“Now look, just relax and be yourself. I'll be downstairs with Sara, and later you can tell me how things went.”
Tears formed in her eyes. “I'll never forget this.”
As Paul later learned, things went better than he expected. Roberto and she enjoyed a long talk that ended with him asking her to the movies. Her size would prove no problem since he knew the theater owner and could get Chyna in by the back entrance. He also had thoughtfully provided three or four sleeping bags for them to rest on while they watched the film.
Weeks later, Paul phoned Chyna for an update.
“I feel great. Never went back to the hospital, and what's more, I have a steady guy. And before you ask, the answer is yes. We do everything together, and I mean everything.”
“I'm happy for you Chyna.”
“Thanks, Paul. And you know what? I might be a model after all. Since your magazine piece, the phones have been ringing.”
But Paul and Sara knew none of that in the hospital coffee shop in Bowling Green, Ohio.
From Ohio it was half a day's drive to Mackinaw City, Michigan. And it was there the couple met their first giantess mayor.
Mackinaw City was located in the Upper Peninsula, right on top of the oven mitt-shaped state. Sally Fine had won the mayor's race three years before, was re-elected a year ago, and to her constituent's amazement, started growing six months after that.
Paul and Sara presented themselves at the mayor's house early Monday morning. She could no longer work at city hall due to her size (roughly 15 feet) but had the work delivered to her home, where an administrative clerk was assigned to help her.
The assistant brought them to an extra large living room that served as Sally's office. There sat a very large but fit woman in her late thirties, with long dark hair, neatly combed, and stylishly dressed. She sat cross-legged, but stretched her legs frequently to restore circulation.
Sally smiled as the visitors entered. “Hello, nice to see you. Welcome to Mackinaw City.”
“Great to meet you, Mayor,” said Paul as his hand was enveloped in her huge one. She had a strong grip as well. After Paul, she insisted on shaking Sara's hand as well.
“And you're the photographer. Don't forget to show my good side.” And then she turned to display her profile, and laughed.
When they were all seated, Paul said, “Mayor Fine, I understand you're a very popular figure around here. Do you plan to run in the next election?”
“Anyone who knows me has the answer to that. I love this job and I'm keeping it. Yes, I'm running. And I'll take on anyone. But let 'em run against my record, not my size.”
The rest of the interview was mostly like that. Paul had rarely seen a giantess with so much self-confidence, not even Tracy the wrestler. He wondered how things were going with the less fortunate ones, like Maybelline. Had she found her place in the world, like Sally? Or was she floundering, drifting from place to place, with no job, no home. Thoughts like these would stay with Paul for the rest of the trip.
At the end of the visit, Paul and Sara were allowed to walk behind Sally as she strolled down the city's main street. It was a circus, with horns honking, people shouting greetings (and Sally shouting back) and at least one marriage proposal: “Hey Mayor, will you marry me?” The mayor just smiled and waved.
Back at the house, Paul cornered the assistant, named Flora, and asked about the Mayor's marital situation. Flora seemed relieved to talk to someone about it.
“Got divorced about nine months ago. Nothing to do with the growing, though. It was a long time coming. Hubby used to fool around, but she caught him. Funny thing, he's moved away, and the woman he slept with still lives in town. But Sally's never said a word to her. I've always wondered about that.”
It was time to wrap up the visit, and Paul paused to consider if he could ask Sally one more question - about the Other Woman. How would she react? Was it worth the risk?
In the end, Paul decided not to do it. A little mystery was good in life, and everybody didn't have to know everything about everyone.
Although the readers of NewsWorld would have liked to have known.
Now Paul and Sara had a choice. Travel north to Thunder Bay, Ontario or to a rural town in Nebraska. In the end Kenneth Graves, their editor, made the choice for them. “Keep it in the United States.” And that was all about it.
So they went to Nebraska and a little town called Valentine.
The drive across the prairie took several hours and involved crossing the immense states of Indiana, Illinois and Iowa, then two-thirds of Nebraska itself.
Sara was curious about it. “If there are giant women in almost every state, then why not do the states in order?”
“Well, I've been talking to Kenneth and he seems to feel this Nebraska lead needs checking first. Do you mind taking the long route?”
Sara shook her head. “No, not really.”
So they drove and drove, sometimes talking, taking turns at the wheel so both could sleep. Then discussed when and where they might finally take a break, since it seemed the giant women were slowly taking over their lives. But they decided to leave that decision for the future.
Valentine was the typical Midwestern town with its main street, stately buildings and houses with picket fences. A charming place, they both agreed. Now to find the giantess who lived here.
Paul stopped at the town's only newspaper office and asked for the editor. To his surprise, a woman appeared from the back of the main room. She was around forty, long blonde hair, friendly face. Her body seemed well fed but not fat. “I'm Ellen, can I help you?”
Paul introduced himself and Sara and tried his opening gambit.
“There are reports of a giant woman living in town. But we don't have a name or even an address. Can you help?”
The woman held on to her smile, but lowered her head. “There is one, but we've agreed to keep her presence quiet. Her family lives here, but she went away and came back ten feet taller. Her parents are taking good care of her, at least they tell me they are.”
Paul was persistent. “What about the police? Are they keeping things quiet, too?”
“Yes, they are. This family is well respected, and has lived here all their lives. Pillars of the community and all that. We don't want to upset them or their daughter.”
“But how do you or the police, or anyone for that matter, know for sure she's living a normal life?”
“Paul,” she said. “Imagine your friend here adding ten feet and several hundred pounds in a very short time. None of her clothes fit. She can't drive a car. She can't earn a living, go into public places, or even take a walk without attracting stares. She can't even use a regular toilet, bathtub or shower. None of it is normal, is it? Now how can this woman live a normal life? All she can do is stay out of the public eye and try to survive the best she can.”
But Paul knew that normalcy, or something close to it, was possible. He had just met a giantess mayor.
“I don't want to pry. But I'd like to satisfy myself, and others, that she really is all right.”
Ellen thought for a moment. “Tell you what. You seem like nice people. I'll have a word with the parents and get back to you.”
Paul and Sara both smiled. “That would be wonderful,” said Sara. “We'll let you know where we're staying when we find a place. It shouldn't take long.”
Ellen said, “If you don't mind living in my spare guest room, it's all yours. I live alone, you see. The spare room has just one bed, queen-sized, so if you need another…”
Sara looked at Paul, who shrugged. Sara replied, “That very nice of you, Ellen. We accept.”
Outside the newspaper office, Paul took Sara by the arm. “That was very quick of you. How do you propose we share the bed?” He leered at her in an exaggerated fashion.
“Easy. I'm under the covers, and you're above. And don't get any ideas. Were co-workers and that's all.”
“Well, maybe friends, too. We'll see how we get along in Ellen's guest room.”
That night, the two had dinner with Ellen and it was clear they had made a friend. Spaghetti, salad and Italian bread was shared and eaten with gusto. Afterwards Ellen showed them to their room.
“Only one bathroom in the house, I'm afraid. But I think it will all work out. See you in the morning.”
Sara and Paul worked out a system where one would turn their back while the other undressed. Paul lay atop the bed, wearing the green sweats he had brought along. Sara favored a white sleep shirt with a teddy bear embroidered on it. It was an odd sensation to be sleeping next to a co-worker, but having been confined together for so long the novelty wore off fast. Especially when the exhausted Sara fell asleep first and began to snore.
“Great,” muttered Paul. “Just great.” Then he fell asleep himself.
When they woke up late the next day, Ellen was already gone. A note on the kitchen table told them to help themselves to breakfast. They did that, resolving to bring back some groceries later in the day. In the meantime the couple decided to explore the town of Valentine on foot.
“Cute name,” said Paul.
“I like it,” agreed Sara.
It was like a mini-vacation. There was all the time in the world. They strolled in the park, browsed in gift shops and bookstores, and had lunch in a nice restaurant. Everything moved slowly out here, Paul noticed. Nothing at all like New York.
After lunch they decided to drop in on Ellen. She had just returned from her own lunch hour and was going through her messages. “Oh, good,” she said, looking up. “You're here. I just heard back from Angie's mother.”
“Angie? The young lady we talked about?” asked Paul.
“Yes, that's her name. Her mother is Barbara. She wants to meet you, interview you for herself before she decides. I set up the meeting for four-thirty today, here. I told them what I could about you, and that I thought you'd be fair and respectful.”
“That's nice of you,” said Sara.
“Anyway, enjoy your afternoon, come back then. I'll let you use the conference room for privacy.” Actually there were only two other employees in the place, a clerk and a reporter who came and went. At that time only the clerk was present.
The couple left and strolled around some more. “Are you tired?” said Paul. Sara yawned as she nodded. “Me too,” Paul agreed, and they set off for Ellen's house for a quick nap.
The meeting at 4:30 started well. Ellen was there, and so was Angie's mother, Barbara.
She was a quiet woman in her fifties, determined that her daughter's privacy would not be breached. But she listened to Paul and seemed curious about the other giantesses they had encountered. She was especially absorbed by the tale of the mayor-giantess of Michigan.
After a period, she spoke of her daughter, quietly but with emotion. Angie was always a quiet girl, shy, never many friends. She feared most the jeers of her schoolmates who had never quite accepted her. About two months following her sixteenth birthday, however, things took a strange turn. Her clothing got tight. She added four inches to her frame in only a week. And she gained weight at an incredible pace. Finally Barbara and her husband were forced to take their daughter out of school.
“That was nine months ago. Our family doctor has no answers, and we refuse to let her travel to a specialist. My husband makes a good salary, but we simply cannot afford to feed her like we have. Her needs are considerable. We are at our wit's end, Paul.”
Paul spoke quietly. “How tall is your daughter?”
“We measured her last week at thirty-three feet.”
Silence filled the room. Paul and Sara had the same thought: the biggest one yet. That was it, Paul thought. They simply had to meet her.
“Barbara, we'll be very discreet, and you and your husband can be present for the interview. Pictures are optional, although I hope you let us take a few at least. I feel that this article will eventually help your daughter and yourselves by bringing this epidemic out in the open. Will you allow us to meet Angie?”
Barbara gazed at the back wall for a moment, then nodded. “Come by tomorrow at ten o'clock. Just a half-hour interview. No pictures.”
At dinner that night, Sara was upset. Here she has taken this long trip across half the United States, and for nothing. She wasn't even sure if she'd be allowed to see the girl.
Paul listened to his partner vent for a bit, and when the waitress came with the food, it was still too hot to eat. Sara was hesitating too, sipping her water. The time is now, thought Paul.
“Sara, I've been thinking. This is an unusual situation, with Angie being both the youngest and the tallest woman we've seen to far. I'd like you to do the interview.”
Sara's eyes opened wide. “Me? Do the interview? But I've never…what if I blow it? What if I ask the wrong question?”
Paul smiled. “I don't think you will. You're smart and sensitive, you're a woman and you were once sixteen yourself. I'll be around just in case. But I think you'll do a good job. Would you please consider it?”
Sara ate her meal in silence, and at the end said, “I'll let you know first thing tomorrow.”
First thing tomorrow turned out to be breakfast in Ellen's kitchen. Paul and Ellen were already there when Sara walked in to the delicious smell of eggs and toast.
Ellen smiled. “Congratulations. I hear you're talking to Angie today.”
Sara looked at Paul with an expression of shock, but Paul was smiling too.
“Don't look so surprised. We know you're dying to do it. Well, what's the answer, for the record.”
Sara cleared her throat. “The answer is…yes.”
The rest of the breakfast conversation was mostly between Ellen and Paul. Sara's mind was buzzing with possible questions. But then she had one for Ellen.
“Ellen, you know this girl. Would you mind sitting nearby as I ask the questions? She might feel better that way.”
“I think that's an excellent idea. I can spare an hour or two this morning.”
It was such a good idea Paul wondered why he hadn't thought of it.
Angie was as quiet and withdrawn as Barbara said she was. It was a fine day, and after exchanging pleasantries, Barbara, Ellen and Sara all sat down with Angie in the big backyard. Paul had agreed to stay in the car and read the newspaper.
“Angie, this won't take long. But our readers want to know what you're going through, how you're coping. Would you tell me about your experience?”
Angie, a freckled redhead who Sara felt would be a real beauty some day, suddenly came to life. She talked on and on as though no one had ever asked her (and possibly they hadn't). Guided by Sara's subtle probing, Angie told her story in rich detail. Sara wrote everything down and was surprised at the end to find she had filled out twenty-five pages of notes. Barbara even let her take a few photographs, and donated a few more taken before Angie's growth.
At the end, Sara approached the girl to extend a hand in friendship and was taken by surprise when Angie lifted her and gave her a full hug.
When Sara came to the front of the house, the car was there but no Paul. She lost it then, bursting into tears at the thought that her co-worker had abandoned her.
When she finally spotted him walking down the road towards her, she yelled at him. “You bastard! You said you'd be nearby! Where did you go?”
Paul smiled as he drew close. “Just for a walk. I knew you'd handle things like a pro. It did go well, didn't it?”
Sara walked up to him as if about to hit him, then hugged him enthusiastically instead.
“Couldn't have gone better.”
That afternoon, Paul and Sara stopped by the newspaper office before leaving town. Ellen was sad to see them go, but happy their trip had not been wasted. “Seems you're batting a thousand with this assignment of yours. When do I get to read it?”
“Not sure. I have your number though, and I'll keep you informed. Thank you, Ellen, for everything.”
Ellen hugged both of them and told them to come back any time, the spare room was always available. Then Paul and Sara got back to the car and drove out of Valentine for the last time.
Paul glanced at his partner as she settled in for another long trip. “Well, Sara. This really was one for the book.”
Paul drove slowly across the vast plains of Wyoming, where the highways turned red and the scenery was bleak and sparse.
Sara, instead of sleeping, worked feverishly on her notes for the article. She was so concentrated on the task that she failed to notice it was now nearly five o'clock and Paul had pulled into the latest in a series of motels. Sara looked up and groaned. “And I was making progress! All I want to do is work, Paul. I can see why you do what you do.”
“Yes, I do love it. But remember, you're not writing a novel. This is a news account; we're to report what we've seen and heard, and not add our own slant to it. That may come later when and if we do a book, so save those notes.”
Neither made a move to exit the car. It seemed right to sit and relax.
Sara sighed. “You know, that girl made such an impression on me. So incredibly huge, yet vulnerable. When I was sixteen, I used to worry about a blemish on my face. Look at what Angie goes through every day. There's just no comparison.”
“I do wish I'd met her. But at least I have your account and photos to give me an idea. Tell you what, let's stay two nights and use tomorrow as a catch-up day. We'll send everything we have to Ken, to see if we're on the right track. I really do want to see this in print.”
“In print,” echoed Sara in a soft voice. .
The catch-up day proved successful. There was nothing of interest in this small town in Wyoming except a department store and a Laundromat. The couple took care of bodily needs, stocked up on essentials, and took turns on Paul's laptop computer. Sara, who was unable to process her film on the road, mailed it to the magazine's processing department. They would follow her instructions to the letter and she'd see the results back in New York.
Missoula, Montana was the next destination. Paul, who had never been this far west, marveled at the snow-capped mountains and open spaces. The Big Sky country had never looked so big. Sara had been to Yellowstone as a little girl but was no less impressed than Paul.
“I hear they even have grizzly bears here,” said Paul.
“Yes,” answered Sara, although her thoughts were far away. She was thinking of Angie once more, and wondering if she'd ever meet another giantess with her qualities. Little did she know the next person on their agenda would be nothing like her.
As they neared Missoula, Sara asked Paul about it.
“They say she's a real badass; in fact she's now in custody. High school dropout, a series of petty crimes before the growth, violence, assault and battery after the growth. She knocked a policeman off his feet and dislocated his shoulder. It took a dozen men to subdue her. Her given name is Mary Lee, but she goes by the more colorful Tough Chick.”
Sara mulled over this information. “So we'll be talking to her in jail? Will she even cooperate with us?”
Paul shrugged. “Not sure. Some of these criminal types like any kind of publicity.”
They found lodgings in the medium-sized city of Missoula then went in search of Tough Chick. A phone call to the local authorities revealed that she was indeed in custody, not in the regular jail, but in a specially modified holding area a few miles out of town. The police detective on the line gave Paul directions and a word of advice: “Be very careful. This is one tough baby. She hasn't killed anyone - yet - but it 's only a matter of time. Make sure you're well protected.”
The place was actually ten miles from their motel, nearly out in the country. The facility was ringed in barbed wire, and seemed intimidating to both Paul and Sara. It consisted of two large buildings, a massive outside area and a lookout tower.
Paul and Sara went to the main office to speak with the officer in charge, a Sergeant Owens. He had just returned from his rounds and greeted the couple cordially.
“So you're here to see TC. Brave folks, you are. You're lucky. Today she's more mellow than usual; she's only destroyed one mattress and kicked in two walls. All in a day's work around here. But at least she hasn't assaulted anyone.”
Sara began to have misgivings. She thought of herself as attractive, and if TC was the jealous type, then Sara might be putting her life at risk. Brave as she had been with Angie, she considered sitting this one out.
Paul, however, couldn't wait to get started. As the sergeant led them to Tough Chick's cell, he grew visibly excited.
The walk down the darkened hallway was tense. Owens took his keys and opened a heavy metal door, opened it, ushered Paul and Sara through, then walked through and locked the door from the other side. Sara shivered.
As they walked, Paul noticed that many cells on either side of them were empty. He asked Owens about it.
“Yes, this jail was the original women's facility; now only TC is left. Just as well. She doesn't play well with others.”
Walking up to the only occupied cell in the place was like approaching the gorilla cage or maybe the lion cage at the zoo. The atmosphere became highly charged as a dark haired giantess raised her head and studied the people coming towards her.
She was sitting with her back against a wall, legs splayed with knees slightly bent. She had something in her hands and was slowly destroying it; to Paul, it looked like another mattress. With strong fingers, she methodically tore stuffing from the center of it as she stared at the intruders.
Owens led to them to the bars of her cell, then stepped back. “The rest is up to you,” he said.
Sara was comforted to see that a barrier was place between the bars and TC - sort of a trench, the kind you'd see at the Elephant House. But she was still apprehensive.
Paul seemed at a standstill. TC was about thirty feet away. Surely Owens didn't expect him to shout his questions at her.
He turned back to the sergeant. “I'd like to go in there, please.”
Owens looked back at him in a mixture of shock and amusement. “You're joking, right?”
“No, not at all. She is human, isn't she? Let me in; I'll assume all responsibility. Oh, and Sara wants to come, too.”
“I do?” said Sara. Then she realized Paul was right. She could take no worthwhile pictures from this distance. Sara and Paul might be facing great danger, but without going in they might as well have stayed in Nebraska.
“Yes,” said Sara, trying to sound brave. “I need to photograph her.”
Owens blew out his cheeks. “Fine, then. I'll tell her you're coming.” He came to the bars of the cage and yelled at the woman across the trench. 'Prisoner 645, you have two visitors. One is going to ask you questions, and the other will take your picture. You will harm neither one. Do you understand?”
Paul was not happy with the introduction. “Couldn't you at least call her by her name?”
Owens laughed heartily. “You try it. Anyway, I'll let you in. And I'll be ready to call Emergency Services, just in case.”
He led them to a gate twenty feet to their left, opened it, and let them in. “There's a path over the trench there. Walk across, but move slowly and don't come too close. She's not restrained in any way, so watch yourselves.”
Paul and Sarah silently walked the cement bridge that led to Tough Chick. As they came closer the giantess took on clearer features; a sleeveless gray shirt that revealed tattooed arms, stringy brown hair that hung to her shoulders, and a lean and chiseled face. A tough face. One that clearly said, “I can kick your ass.”
Fortunately she was of the smaller variety of giantess, only about 17-18 feet. A small consolation. Paul and Sara continued to walk, holding their breath.
What would she do?
When the couple dared not come any closer and the silence seemed only to add more tension, Paul felt he must speak first and start things off right.
He addressed the prisoner. “My name is Paul, and this is Sara. What would you like to be called?”
The giantess stared at Paul, shifted her legs in a way that frightened Sara, then turned her head and spat on the floor. “The name's Tough Chick. What are ya, stupid?”
“All right, Tough Chick. I know you've had your share of troubles. We'd like to hear your side of things. Can you tell us about your life here in Missoula?”
The interview was hard sledding, but Paul managed to coax out a few words from her in answer to each question. A profile was taking shape. She'd grown up poor, with miserable parents. Neglected, she fell in with the wrong crowd, left school, gotten arrested, was passed from man to man. She had to steal to survive. When she began to grow, the few friends she possessed had deserted her. Her size made her more noticeable, as did her stealing. No one, it seemed, would help her. Finally a business owner caught her rummaging in his trash for a meal. The cops came. They were rough on her; they catcalled and provoked her. She took a swing at one, and then the backups arrived.
“Now I'm here,” she concluded. “Ain't bad. Three meals a day, bath once in a while. Could be worse.”
Paul stepped a bit closer. Was that a tear in her eye?
“Tell me, Mary Lee. Are you really happy here?”
The giant's face flushed with anger. “Hell, no. Whadda ya think! But where else could I go? No one wants to be around a freak like me.”
Sara held her camera nervously, fighting the impulse to run.
Paul used his calmest voice. “You are not a freak, Mary Lee. Just a frightened young woman.”
The woman known as Tough Chick crumbled then. She buried her face in her arms and sobbed. Paul came right up to her and stroked the back of her neck.
Sara, unbelievingly, moved her camera into position and took shot after shot. Although scared stiff, she couldn't help feeling that this was great stuff.
Mary Lee lifted her head, wiped away the tears with both hands. Paul had moved to his former spot.
“We have to go now, Mary Lee. But I want you to know that your story is going to come out. And we're going to see about getting you a better deal. No promises, but we'll try.”
Mary Lee looked at the couple with mute appeal in her eyes, but did not speak for fear of becoming emotional again. A tiny nod and that was all. Paul and Sara left.
A few minutes later, in Owen's office, Paul gave a capsule account of the meeting to the sergeant.
“You've got to remember, sergeant, this is a human being, not a number or a nickname. This is Mary Lee, and you need think of her that way. Treat her like an animal, and she'll act like one. Treat her with respect…”
“Yes, Paul, I get it. But we see her everyday and know who and what she is. The thing is, people don't change.”
Paul saw no need to argue further, so he thanked Owens, then he and Sara left the building.
In the car, Sara finally felt her heartbeat return to something like normal.
“Did you get some good pictures?” Paul asked her.
“Oh, yes, great ones of you two snuggling up together. But they'd be even better if she had plastered you to the wall or cracked you like a walnut.”
They drove back to the motel in silence, but the truth was that Paul had been scared in there, too.
Jewell, Oregon was at the end of a long drive across I-84, which ran parallel to the Columbia River. It took two full days to get there, but when Paul and Sara arrived in town, the giantess there was easy to find.
They had her address: 87 Blizzard Lane, located in a nice neighborhood. This is where Grace Conway lived with her two teenage daughters, Connie and Lizbeth. Paul was giving Sara the lowdown on the next case even as they entered the house's wide driveway.
“So which is the giantess, Connie or Lizbeth?”
“Neither,” Paul replied. “It's the mother.”
Sara said nothing as Paul stopped the car and got out. She wondered how old Grace was and if she was the oldest of the giantesses, seen or not seen.
When they rang the bell, a young smiling girl answered. “You must be from the magazine. I'm Lizbeth; my sister Connie is out right now. But Mom's home. Have a seat in here and I'll get her for you.”
Lizbeth ushered them into a large living room with fancy furniture. Evidently, there was money here. Sara set her cameras down and looked around the place. Paul did the same, although he was happy to sink into a fine leather armchair after the long drive. At an interval, they heard light footsteps on the carpeted stairs.
“Mom's not quite ready for company. She just got up from a nap. Can I get you a cold drink?”
“Water will be fine,” said Paul.
“Diet Coke, if you have it,” said Sara.
“Sure, be right back.” The girl left the room through a different door and Sara went right back to snooping.
“The suspense is killing me,” said Sara. Paul smiled.
Back with the drinks, Lizbeth handed them to her guests.
“I'm guessing that you take care of your mom - you and your sister?” Paul enquired.
The teenager gave a short laugh. “Mostly me. Connie's got a boyfriend.”
Paul grinned. “And you, too?”
“Nope, not at the moment. Anyway, Mom kinda scares the guys off. Not many mothers can pick up their daughter's dates and lift them over her head.”
Paul and Sara quietly contemplated this odd vision as they sipped their drinks. Paul knew a little about this older giantess, but not the specifics, such as height and weight. And how was she able to live in this house? Yes, the ceilings were high, but the doors were standard width. She might have to…
“That's Mom calling. She wants us to come up to her room. As you can imagine, it takes some effort for her to get up and down stairs.”
The couple got to their feet and followed Lizbeth up the wide staircase. Reaching the top, they took a right and went into the first room, a large master bedroom.
Paul gasped inwardly. There was no furniture of any kind, save several mattresses, quilts and king-sized pillows. They were spread wall to wall, there was no arrangement of any kind. And upon the mattresses, a giant woman sitting cross-legged. She wore silky, custom made pajamas. Her blonde hair was tousled as if she had just arisen, and her eyes had some sleepy dust. But she was definitely attractive. Paul admired her round face, smooth skin and pleasant features. She wasn't skinny but nicely rounded with real curves.
Paul immediately felt at home.
He introduced himself and Sara to the giantess, who seemed delighted to meet them both. “Please, sit, sit. Plenty of room. Pull up a pillow and let's chat.”
Paul sat as close as convention allowed and Sara in a distant corner. She'd let Paul do his thing, as privately as possible without horning in. It occurred to her that her own mother couldn't be much older than Grace.
And Grace saw something in Paul that she liked. As he talked, she drank him in with large blue eyes; she unconsciously edged towards him at the same time. In a matter of minutes, she was almost on top of her visitor.
Paul judged her to be about twelve feet, but she seemed much larger in the short distance. He felt her closeness. It was not unpleasant. She had a ladylike smell about her, perhaps a dab of perfume. But her eye contact and proximity was having an effect on Paul.
Yes, he'd been attracted to the other giant women in different ways. But with Grace he felt overwhelmed. He had the strange thought that he might like to be alone with her, here in this room, with no one around. Particularly since he was getting aroused and did not want Grace, or especially his daughter, to notice.
Then a miracle happened. Lizbeth invited Sara for a tour of the house. Sara eagerly accepted. On the way out, Lizbeth just naturally closed the door.
An odd smile came over Grace's full lips. “Paul, you must be very tired. Would you like to rest a bit? Come over here and lay on your stomach. You're going to get one of my famous backrubs.”
She indicated a spot where a quilt lay flat, presumably where she'd slept earlier. Paul was feeling tired, but did not know what to say. Should he accept? Then without thinking about it he came to the spot as she scooted over to make room.
“Wonderful. Take off your shirt.”
He did and lay down as directed. Right away the great hands descended and did their magic. Paul was in heaven. He grew drowsy as the hands left his back and he heard what he thought was Grace moving about. Then he heard a lock turning and he opened his eyes on a strange sight: Grace, without a stitch of clothing on, crawling towards him on all fours.
Her body was magnificent, with full breasts hanging down and meaty, mature thighs. She did have a bit of a belly, but that was immaterial to Paul. He thought her beautiful, and soon, she'd be right next to him.
“Wait. Grace, are you sure about this? Your daughter's in the house, it's too soon…”
She reached over and put a finger on his lips. “Hush, Paul. Lizbeth knows her mom has needs. I need you Paul. And you need me for your interview, isn't that right? So let's come to an understanding. Anyway, I'm not ugly.”
Paul spoke slowly. “No, you're not.”
Grace smiled. “I thought so. You like me, Paul. Now kiss me.”
She leaned over him in his semi-prone position and he kissed her. He had to tilt his head to avoid her nose, but the effort was well worth it. He fell back and she moved in on top of him, kissing his chest, tugging at his belt, effortlessly flicking off his shoes.
Paul took the hint and removed his clothing. This was unbelievable, he thought. From zero to sixty in just a few minutes, like a letter to Penthouse come to life. Grace was the most oversexed woman he'd ever met, small or large.
They made passionate love, Grace on top, Paul caressing each breast in turn as she writhed her hips over him. Paul completely submitted to her and enjoyed her to the utmost until they were both spent.
Grace lay back among the pillows as Paul lay between her massive legs. He had never felt so satisfied. He wondered idly if Grace would ever lift him over her head, as she did with Lizbeth's boyfriends. But then she was joking about that. Wasn't she?
“Thank you, Paul.” Grace murmured. “We must do this again some time. When you're ready, go and get yourself cleaned up - there's a bathroom down the hall. We'll spend the day together just you and me, then tomorrow I'll pose for some pictures.”
And that's what happened. When Paul ventured downstairs again, there was no sign of Sara or Lizbeth. He looked outside, the rental car was gone. He guessed that Sara had taken her out to lunch. Meaning he was now alone in the house with a very desirable giantess.
A half-hour later, Grace came downstairs, freshly showered and dressed in loose clothing. Must be custom made, thought Paul. She made them both a light lunch, which they ate, then brought Paul out back to her garden. It was a private spot, with high hedges all around and plenty of leafy trees. No chair was big enough to hold her, so they sat right on the grass. Paul took his shoes off when he noticed Grace was barefoot.
“Grace, what happened to your husband?”
“John? He died about ten years ago but left me with plenty of money. All inherited from his side of the family. I've lost touch with mine. So it's me and the girls. Lizbeth is a homebody, and Connie's more like me, I'm afraid. But I don't go out much, just to the doctor's and that's about it. We have to call a special limo service with a van large enough for me.”
“It must be difficult.”
“It is, but you can adjust to anything. I do enjoy life. I like the company of men, as you can tell, but I mostly scare them off. Are you scared, Paul?”
“Not in the slightest. I've never felt so comfortable.”
“Good. Come closer.”
Grace lay back in the grass and let Paul take the lead. He kissed her neck and worked his way to her lips. Her hands fell on the small of his back; without thinking she pressed him deeply into her soft flesh.
“Ow!” Paul got off in a second, rubbing his back as he did.
“Paul, what's wrong?”
“Well, kind of a sharp pain when you hugged me just then. A little too much for my spine.”
“I'm so sorry. I have to watch myself. Come back, let's try again.”
Paul was more than willing, but then he heard voices from the side yard.
“Hello in there! Mom, are you in the garden? Oh, you're both here. What are you two doing, anyway?”
When Lizbeth and Sara appeared before them, Grace and Paul were sitting innocently on the grass, a respectable space between them.
“Oh, having a nice talk?” said Lizbeth. “Or should I say interview.” Grace's flushed and her eyes sparkled. She tried to look down, then grinned.
Sara smirked at her partner. He couldn't fool her and he knew it.
“So where's your notebook, Paul?”
Paul and Sara stayed three days in Grace's house of pleasure. Sara got her photographs, more than enough, and finally met the elusive Connie. She became fast friends with both sisters and they all took off at the slightest excuse. Connie even dug up another guy so they could double date at the local drive-in. (Lizbeth decided to sit that one out.) It all allowed Paul and Grace the time together they craved.
They made love at all hours and whenever they could. Grace used her amazing mouth to perform all kinds of things, and they tried every position they could think of. Paul's favorite, though, was the very first one. Grace on top was a mind-blowing experience, and risky, since she could easily have crushed him. But her gracefulness saved him, and his trust in her grew daily. Snuggling afterwards was just as good.
But soon it was time to go. Kenneth, their editor, was leaving insistent voicemail messages on Paul's phone, looking for clarification on several of the stories he'd filed. It turned out that Kenneth did want to publish the first article of the series as soon as possible. This meant the couple had to go back to work.
Grace came to the front yard, in full view of the neighbors, to say goodbye. Paul hugged her and told her he'd keep in touch. Both Connie and Lizbeth squeezed Sara like she was their older sister, and she also promised to drop a line now and then.
Just before they left, Paul slipped over to Grace, who bent down to his level. He whispered something to her and she blushed. He then bussed her cheek, she nuzzled his, and he departed. A lone tear traced down the giantess's face as Paul and Sara drove away, waving and tapping the horn.
It was now summer. The heat in Arizona was something that neither Paul or Sara was used to, and they were grateful for the car's excellent air conditioning.
They drove into Tempe on the same highway that sliced through Phoenix and headed for the Arizona State University. Marci Cross, an ASU student and star athlete, lived near there. She hadn't returned to her parent's home in New Mexico during the summer vacation, and told her parents she had stayed behind to work and attend summer classes.
In truth, she did neither.
Just past the imposing Sun Devil stadium they found the complex where the athletes lived and practiced. It was an apartment house and sports facility combined. Paul found the place and he and Sara walked to the entrance. They found the office of Coach Laurie Sims and were lucky to find her inside. She had been preparing to leave for the day.
“Coach Sims,” Paul said. “It's a pleasure to meet you. This is Sara.”
“Likewise.” The coach stood and shook both their hands. I understand you want to meet Marci. I told her about you, and she knows that her secret will come out soon. But she does ask that you use discretion in the meantime. She wants to tell her parents at the right time.”
Sara nodded. “I just hope there is a right time. We've met several of these women, and the condition seems permanent.”
“That's what scares me. Marci is welcome to stay here for now, but what about the fall, when school starts up? Her presence might raise questions.”
Paul answered. “Well I hope a solution can be found. There have been successes. Would you like to hear about the mayor of Mackinaw City, Michigan?”
They chatted on for quite a long time, then Laurie noticed the time “Oh, it's five-thirty - I've got to go. Tell you what, meet me here at nine thirty tomorrow and I'll take you to Marci. But remember, discretion. Please don't talk to any local authorities or reporters.”
Paul and Sara checked in at the local Holiday Inn, then walked down the busy main drag to a Mexican food place called the Dash Inn. The building was plain inside - in fact the floors were bare cement - but the food was cheap, tasty and plentiful. Each table was topped with a red and white checkered tablecloth. They ordered a pitcher of beer to wash down the warm tortilla chips and hot salsa, then studied their menus.
Sara put hers down and looked at Paul. “I'm ready. So, if this giantess is such a secret, then how did you hear about her?”
Paul shrugged. “The Inspector told Kenneth, and Kenneth told me.”
“I wonder where the Inspector is now,” Sara said.
“Not sure. He may still be on the Maybelline case, or even Tough Chick, also known as Mary Lee. I gave him a full briefing right after we left her.”
Sara smiled ruefully. “Yes, TC for short. I still can't believe you talked me into entering that lion's den. Luckily for us both, she was just a hurt little girl.”
“I still think about her in that awful place. I hope the Inspector can work something out.”
The waitress came back and they ordered way too much food. And ate every bite.
The next day was hot, hot and dry, like every summer day in southern Arizona. Paul guessed the temperature to be over 100 degrees. But in the sports facility it was cool. Coach Sims brought Paul and Sara to an indoor track where they found Marci exercising.
They all walked to the middle of the track and the Coach waved and said good morning to the red-haired giantess. Twenty-four feet, anyway, thought Paul.
“Marci, this is the couple I told you about. Is this a good time for the interview? They'd also like a few pictures if you don't mind. And I did tell them about your parents.”
“Okay,” said Marci. “I don't mind talking. Actually I don't have much to do here except work out. So it's cool.”
“Fine,” said Paul. He asked her a series of questions about her studies, her friends and fellow athletes, and about her growth. Marci answered them all while Sara took pictures. Eventually Sara had as many as she needed and began to look around. Since she was wearing shorts and running shoes anyway, she decided to run the track.
Marci continued talking to Paul, but she became increasing distracted by the running Sara. Sara was doing fine, looking as if she would go on running forever. Maybe she'd been cooped up in the car too long.
Finally, Sara did tire and came back puffing to where Paul, Marci and Coach Sims were chatting. Marci waited for Sara to catch her breath, then said, “You look hot. Would you like to go for a swim?”
Sara's eyes lit up. “You have a pool? Great!”
“That settles it. Paul, you're welcome to join us; Laurie can show you the way. Sara, come with me. I think I can find you a suit here somewhere.”
The girls went off to the pool in another part of the facility. Laurie showed Paul around and pointed the way to the men's room. “You can change in there.”
“Oh no,” said Paul. “I have nothing to wear anyway, and I'd feel strange swimming with a giantess.”
“Why? Giantesses are people too. Marci won't hurt you.”
“I know that, but, but…”
“Come on, Paul. Live a little. I'll go in too if it makes you feel better. And just swim in your underwear. I won't care, and neither will Marci.”
And that was the way it worked out. Sara was unable to find swimwear as well so she swam in bra and panties. Laurie wore a suit. And Marci? Marci swam au naturel.
The student giantess took up half of the pool and amused herself by grabbing Paul or Sara when they swam too close. Once Paul was caught between her two muscular legs and thrashed wildly to free himself. He kept his distance after that, and for a few minutes made sure his waist stayed below water.
Sara and Laurie enjoyed frolicking with the giantess for several more minutes until Marci gave Sara a moment of concern. Sara had come close to the giantess, laughing, and splashing her, when Marci reached out with both hands, lifted Sara from the water and hugged her tightly.
Sara let out a yell. Laurie was concerned. “Put her down this minute, young lady. Haven't I told you to behave?”
Marci seemed undecided as to what to do, then lowered Sara back into the water.
Later, back at the track, Marci was apologetic.
“I'm so sorry, Sara. I just miss physical contact with people, that's all.” Sara said it was quite all right, and she left shortly thereafter with Paul.
The coach looked at the giant Marci with a hurt expression. “You miss contact with people? What about me? Aren't I people?”
Marci rolled her eyes. “I suppose. But you won't touch me or sleep with me.”
Laurie put a hand on her thigh. “I will tonight.”
Sara was slightly surprised that Paul drove the car back the way they came, then turned north on I-17.
“Where are we going now, Paul?”
“Would you be happy if I said the Grand Canyon?”
“You're kidding! I'd love to see that!”
“I thought you might have that reaction. I've always wanted to see it, too. Especially when I heard about this new giantess from Kenneth..”
“Kenneth? Not the Inspector?”
“Actually it may have been both. Anyway, it intrigued me to think there might be a growth case near a natural attraction.”
Lulled by the air conditioning and soft music, Sara settled into the car seat and dozed until they reached the town of Grand Canyon. Although it was only late June, the summer crowds had descended and lodgings were scarce.
“Hmmm,” said Paul as he scanned the many No Vacancy signs. “We may have to camp out. I have a tent in the trunk.”
Sara was beginning to wake. “That'll be different. Although not as different as swimming with a giantess.”
They did find a crummy motel about five miles down the road, far away from any decent scenery. But Paul was exhausted and was ready for anything. So they paid far too much for two dusty rooms. Paul went to sleep without dinner while Sara drove around to look for a bite to eat. She settled for a takeout burger near a long line of gift shops.
Later, Sara poked her head in to see how Paul was doing. She saw him curled up on the large bed, and was tempted to join him. She'd been missing human contact too, and the naked hug from Marci seemed to have stirred something in her. She didn't think she was attracted to women, not in that sense, but Marci had started some kind of chain reaction in her today.
But she knew that this wasn't the time. Sadly, she closed the door and went to her own room.
The weather was much cooler in Northern Arizona, and next morning the sky was bright; puffy clouds surrounded by blue. Sara, fully dressed and groomed, knocked on Paul's door. “Come in,” a barely audible voice said.
She entered the room and was surprised to find Paul had not dressed or showered. He lay in bed amid rumpled sheets and blankets. His face was pale.
“What's wrong, Paul? You're always ready by this time. Are you feeling all right?”
“I don't think so. Maybe it's the altitude, maybe I picked up a bug somewhere. But I think I'd better stay here today. What would you like to do?”
Sara grinned. “Go giantess hunting.”
Paul smiled too, through his discomfort. “That's my girl. Her file is in the car. Just find her and do what we always do. Should be a piece of cake, right?”
But it wasn't a piece of cake. Sara got lost right away and wasted most of the morning driving in the wrong directions. To make things worse, she never even saw any of the Canyon, just a glimpse of rock and mountain in her panic. Finally, near noon, she stopped at another burger joint and bought herself some lunch.
“Where do I find Havasu Ridge?” she asked the paper-hatted employee.
“You're about four miles away from it. Take a right out of here, follow the road for three miles then go left where the road forks. Havasu is the next fork after that - and bear left again.”
No wonder she was confused. Who invented this crazy road system? “Thanks,” she said, and took her tray to a table.
After lunch she was recharged and ready for the hunt. She followed the burger boy's instructions and was just nearing the four-mile mark. But there were no turnoffs. Just forest. Sara was getting nervous once more when she saw the lone mailbox and the skinny dirt drive that plunged into the woods.
She slowed down and followed it. Eventually it came to a clearing and a ramshackle house. No one was about. She parked the car at the side of the clearing and was about to get out when an old Indian woman appeared holding a shotgun, trained on Sara.
Sara gasped. She held her arms up. “Please don't shoot. I just want to see your granddaughter. The Inspector sent me.”
This meant nothing to the old woman. She was either deaf or did not understand. Then a tall young woman emerged from the woods and spoke softly to her in a strange tongue. The woman put the shotgun down, and the giantess approached Sara.
“Out of the car,” the giantess ordered. Sara complied. The young woman seemed about 19-20 feet tall with an unsmiling visage and a raised eyebrow. “We know nothing about your inspector, although we were told visitors would come. Is your name Sara?”
“Yes, it is. How did you..?”
“Enough talk for now. Grandmother will prepare dinner for us; you and I will take a walk. Come.”
The woman walked quickly, Sara almost had to run to keep up. Abruptly, the giantess stopped, hiked up her skirts, and peed on the ground. When finished she kicked a few pine needles on top of the wet spot, then resumed her brisk pace.
Fifteen minutes of hard walking later, Sara walked out onto a ridge looking out over the most gorgeous scene she had ever encountered. It wasn't the Grand Canyon, but it was close.
The giant sat on the ledge and crossed her legs. “My name is Winona. It's just me and my grandmother here - my parents and other relatives live on a reservation about thirty miles from here. It's not a nice place. I like it here, and so does Grandmother.”
Sara sat near Winona's knee. “You seem wary of visitors. Have you been mistreated?”
“No, not yet. But some shady business types have approached me. I think they want to put me in a freak show, or otherwise make a profit by exploiting me. I won't let that happen.”
They talked on and on, watching the sun lower itself over a far ridge. A golden look had come over the landscape. Sara was captivated.
“I see why you like it here. Do you intend to stay?”
“I don't know. I used to have a job nearby and I had to leave it. Our savings are almost gone, and we don't want to ask for the government's help. They might just send us to the reservation, with all of its troubles. That would be the end for me.”
Sara said nothing but gazed at the sky, now turning a fiery red. The Inspector knew Winona was here; he must know something about her situation. Sara would make sure to tell him, personally, when she got back.
Winona shifted herself, making ready to get up. “Dinnertime,” she said and got to her feet. Sara did the same, and noticed that this time the giantess walked more slowly, more considerate of the smaller woman's needs.
The walk to her grandmother's home, however, seemed very quick, and Sara discovered she was hungry. They all ate outside. Sara asked one more question as she sampled the simple Native American fare. “Winona, where do you sleep?”
The girl merely pointed to a flat place beneath some large pines. Sara nodded.
Sara got back to the motel at about 9:30 that night. She found Paul in front of the TV, sipping beer from a can. His takeout dinner was still on the table, mostly eaten.
“You must be feeling better. Take a little trip, did we?”
Paul smiled and offered a beer to Sara, who took it. “Yes. As the mountain man once said, 'a feller must eat.'”
“I'll try to remember that. Paul, I need to use your phone. I just met Winona the giantess today and she and her grandmother need financial help, at the very least. I've got to let him know.”
“Sure. But it's late. Why not wait till morning? You can fill me in tonight.”
That sounded like a good idea. They stayed up until almost midnight, finished all the beer, and told stories to each other. Sara chalked it up to adrenaline.
The next day, after Sara had made her call, Paul surprised her with a choice. They could go to California, driving back West again only to drive all the way back, or go directly to Colorado, a place the Inspector thought another desperate situation waited. For Sara, the choice was clear.
“Colorado,” she said.
So they drove east on a secondary highway numbered 160. To Paul, this was a slower yet far more satisfactory way to travel than the interstate highway system. Fortunately the drive was not as far as they usually traveled. Dove Creek lay just 50 miles past the state border.
They did their usual drive through town, looking for a place to stay, and to eat. But then Paul pulled over and spoke to Sara.
“This place gives me the creeps, Sara. I can't put my finger on it, but something tells me this is going to be a quick visit. Anyway, I have directions. Why don't we look for the giantess before we settle in? If it doesn't work out, it's just a few hours drive to the nearest city.”
“Sure. I hear Denver's nice.”
So they followed the Inspector's directions, and Paul's intuition proved correct. In front of the house was a ribbon of yellow police tape imprinted with the words Do Not Cross. The police seemed to have left, but a few people lingered. There had been some commotion here.
Paul parked the car, got out and asked the first person he saw what had happened. And the answer would break both his and Sara's hearts.
“The lady killed herself. Real shame. She was a looker, too. Poor family, but a nice girl. They say her family shamed her into it. The police took her parents away for questioning not too long ago.”
Paul went back to the car and told Sara. As she sobbed, Paul rubbed her back and stared into space.
Neither felt like driving to Denver after that. Paul did go to the next town to find rooms, then made plans for the next day. He could do nothing for the dead giantess, but he resolved to learn her story.
Her name was Tory, short for Victoria. As the bystander said, she was poor but a good upstanding girl. She was smart enough to go to college, but there was no money. She graduated high school and supported the family. After she grew to twenty feet in about ten days, she lost her job and her boyfriend, who wanted nothing to do with her. She spent all her time at home, hiding and weeping.
Her parents, both alcoholics, abused her mentally and physically. They were accustomed to buying hooch with Tory's paycheck, and now they had to do without. One night, the previous one, they ganged up on her along with a no account brother. Her father passed her the knife and showed her where to make the cut. She complied, and by the time the police and ambulance arrived, she had bled to death.
Paul spoke to Sara that night over dinner. They were not hungry, but needed something to do, maintain the routine.
“What now, Sara? Do you need a break? We have four more on the list, at least, but I don't want to wear you down.”
Sara inhaled deeply. “I know this is selfish of me, but I'd like to revisit Valentine, Nebraska. Let's look up Angie, see how she is.”
“You know, that's a great idea. And it's not that far. Let's do it.”
So they spent a wonderful three days in Valentine. To their great relief, both the giantess Angie and their friend Ellen were doing just fine.
Driving to Kansas from Nebraska was a challenge, since all of the interstates ran west to east, and Kansas was due south. But Paul once again took to the secondary roads and enjoyed the twists and turns without getting bored or falling asleep. Even Sara enjoyed the drive across the endless hills and prairies.
Eventually, though, they did meet up with Interstate 70 that took them eastward at a fast clip. The next place on the list was a small town near a lake, called Wakefield.
Sara gazed at the map longingly. “Oooh, a lake. I want to swim in it, Paul. Will you come with me?”
Paul laughed. “You're funny. Just because you see a lake on a map, you think you can swim there.”
“Betcha we can. Should we make it interesting?”
Paul was both amazed and delighted when they finally found Milford Lake and a state park that allowed free access. Sara pointed to a sign that listed hours of operation, then the clean, sandy beach off in the distance.
It was such a hot day that they swam in their clothes. Then they found a combination changing place and rest room where they changed into some dry clothes. Funny thing, Paul thought. No other people around, and today's Sunday.
Since it was Sunday, they decided to backtrack and find lodging in Junction City, back near the interstate. The ten-mile drive soothed even more them after the relaxing soak.
At the motel, Paul and Sara were about to go to their separate rooms, when Sara stopped and asked Paul a question.
“What's the game plan, Paul? In all the excitement, I forgot to ask about the next giantess.”
“She lives on the lake, across from the state park. We'll go there tomorrow and meet her. One thing, thought, Kenneth didn't have much information about her. We'll have to learn as we go.”
Sara nodded, satisfied. After all they had been through, it seemed that she and Paul could handle anything that came their way.
As they drove to Wakefield the next morning, Paul was in a festive mood. “We're not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.”
“Yes we are. Let's get serious, Paul. We don't know what to expect.”
“Relax. I'm sure this will go fine.”
When they got to the lakeside house, there was a car in the driveway. A good sign. Paul parked the car. Sara got out first, stretched her legs and looked at the sweep of shoreline in front of them. Such a pretty place to live, she thought.
The house itself was large areaways, but flat and one-storied. Paul couldn't imagine a giant woman living inside. Then he noticed the outbuilding. It looked like a storage shed, but larger and with windows. It was roughly thirty feet tall and resembled a small barn.
Paul got out and joined Sara. “Well, where should we start? The main house, or that storage barn?” he said.
Before Sara could answer, a young man emerged from the house. “Howdy,” he said in a friendly tone. “I'll wager you're looking for Dorothy.”
Sara whipped her head to look at Paul. Dorothy!
“Actually,” he continued, “we all call her Dot. My name is Ned.”
Paul introduced himself and Sara, and spelled out the reason for the visit. Ned replied that he and his aging father took care of his sister Dot, and not many visitors came up this way, but they were sure welcome.
Sara looked at Ned. “Where is Dot now? In the barn?”
Ned chuckled. “I think so. She may have gotten back from her swim. I'll go see if she's decent.”
In a moment, Ned was back. “Oh, she's in there, getting dressed. She'll be out in ten minutes or so.”
In the meantime, Ned brought the couple inside and let them relax. “Dad's gone for the day - to visit his lady friend. One of us always stays here with Dot.”
Sara said, “That's nice,” and all of a sudden there was noise coming from the barn.
“Ned! Bring out the visitors. I want to look at my dinner before I eat 'em!”
Ned stood up. “Time to head outside. Dot's a little hungry, and you two look like a good meal.”
Paul glanced sideways at Sara, then slowly followed Ned outside. And there stood Dot, all forty feet of her. She was fat and dressed seemingly in old parachutes. She reached down for Paul in her outsized hand and brought him breast level. “You look like good eatin', boy. Your girl down there looks a little skinny though. Might have to fatten her up.”
Ned looked at Sara. “That's my sister. Always pulling someone's leg.” Before she could answer, another huge hand came down and snatched her up. Sara emitted an ear-splitting scream as she was hoisted aloft. This time the giantess brought her quarry to her face.
“Hmm. Skinny and pretty. Love your blonde hair, dolly. We're going to have fun together.”
“Paul?” said Sara, trying not to panic. “Paul, what do we do?”
“Anything Dot wants. Right, Dot?”
The giantess grinned widely and nodded, short yellow curls bobbed as she did.
“Thas' right. Anything I want. And I want to play with my new friends. Ned, we'll be in the barn. You know what to do.”
Sara didn't know if this was a bad dream or for real. The giantess had brought them inside and sat cross-legged, still holding her captives. Both Sara and Paul had their arms pinned to their sides, Dot's pudgy fingers wrapped around their midsections.
Paul faked a relaxed tone of voice. “Dot, you are going to put us down, aren't you?”
Dot looked at the man in her fist, and said, "Where should I put you?” Then she leered at him.
Sara tried a different tack. “Put us down! You have no right, we hardly know you. Put us down!”
Dot lost her smile and did as Sara said. But she placed them both on the wood floor between her legs. The parachutes were pulled up almost to her hips, and plenty of leg showed. It was a little embarrassing for Sara, though Paul didn't seem bothered.
“Now Dot, I'd like to ask you a few questions. Do you mind?”
Dot shook her head. “Nope, don't mind. Mind if I kiss you?”
This was not going well and Paul realized it. The woman was loopy. It was best they leave.
“I just remembered that we have an appointment. Can we come back another time?”
Dot looked at Paul and thought. “Gee, Paul, this is very sudden. Don't wanna kiss me, eh? Well, I'm gonna kiss somebody, maybe the blonde dolly here.” She reached for Sara once more, but Sara had darted away just in time.
“Sara, this way!” Paul was already near the door, Sara fifteen feet behind.
“Come back, dollies, come back,” said a playful yet ominous voice. “Dot wants to play, wants to kiss. Kiss me, dollies.”
Paul found a rake in the corner and threw it at Dot as hard as he could. It bounced right off and clattered to the floor. Sara had covered the distance and the two of them burst through the barn doors. Ned was nowhere in sight, and they had to hurry. Neither looked back, but both imagined the giantess on their heels.
A sickening thought occurred to Paul. He left the keys in the car! Would they be there when they got in?
Sara raced across the yard and piled in the car. Paul did the same. He frantically searched the console for the keys among maps, papers, sunglasses and other sundry items. Oh God, let them be there.
Sara pointed. “Paul! She's coming! Find those keys and floor it!”
Paul then stopped his mindless scrabbling and remembered. He put a hand into his front pants pocket and there they were. He put them in the ignition in record time and peeled out, doing a full circle in the yard, right past the bulk of Dorothy and back to the road. The fat giantess was yelling something but neither could make out the words.
The trip back to the city was a long one. Paul and Sara were shaken; there was no telling what this woman would have done to them…or with them.
“Maybe she was kidding, like when she said she would eat us,” Sara said.
“I don't think so. I think one kiss would lead to another and then I hate to think…especially with you there…thank God we got out.”
“Paul, you were amazing in there. You kept your head, you got us out, and we're alive to tell the tale. Just one thing you could have done differently.”
“Oh? And that would be...?”
Sara smiled. “Find your keys faster.”
After the bizarre Dot incident, Paul and Sara had soured on Kansas and couldn't wait to leave.
“So where next?” asked Sara.
“Ever been to Texas?”
“No. Is that where we're going? In this heat?”
It was hot indeed. But Paul had heard of a large giantess in the town of Vernon, just south of the Oklahoma border. They found I-135 and drove south, through Wichita and down through the Sooner State. As they did the green hills and fields gradually faded away, to be replaced by a bleaker landscape, occasionally enlivened by wildflowers. But it was hot and dry, and little vegetation grew down here.
Sara turned up the air conditioner and tried to sleep. But the specter of Dot hung over her. She was the tallest and heaviest giantess they had seen, and mentally unbalanced to boot. What if this Texas giantess was even bigger? And meaner? What if she ate her visitors for dinner, as Dot threatened to do?
Then she laughed quietly to herself for being ridiculous. Even the meanest woman they'd met had calmed down nicely: Tough Chick aka Mary Lee. Sara thought of that troubled young woman until she drifted into sleep…
She woke up as Paul was driving over the Red River into Texas. Vernon was just about twenty miles up the road. When they got there it was nearing dinnertime, so they did what they had done in Arizona: looked for a Mexican restaurant. They found a good one (not as good as the Dash Inn) and later checked in to the only lodging place in town, the Rusty Spur Motel and Cottages.
After their strange day, neither wanted to be alone, so they sat by the pool in deck chairs and watched the stars light up the southern sky. And talked.
In the morning they fell back on routine. Wake up, shower, dress, and head for a diner. Both ate a good breakfast. And they asked a few people there if they had met the large woman they had come to meet.
Most of them did. The diner had about ten customers at that hour and all knew of Cindy the giantess out at the Miller place. It used to be a ranch, until the rancher died and his estate was split up and sold. The parcel with the house was sold to a man named Miller, who was a widower with one daughter. That daughter was Cindy.
Paul asked directions and about a half dozen replies poured forth. Sara quietly stepped away and spotted a waitress who was taking a short break in a booth by herself. Her name tag read “Brandee.”
“Hi, um, Brandee. Did you hear the topic of conversation over there? We're looking for Cindy Miller and we need good directions.”
“Sure. Sit down. Yes, I knew Cindy. We was in high school together. Of course, she didn't know me well since she was a cheerleader and all. But I knew she would be famous some day, with that face and that body.”
“That's interesting. Now about those directions…”
“No, Cindy and her friends hardly noticed me. I wasn't no cheerleader, never went for sports. And this is where I ended up. Ain't that life for you?”
Sara looked into the waitress's eyes. They were tired, with bags underneath, and her skin sallow. Her hairstyle probably hadn't changed in fifteen years. Sara thought Brandee might be thirty, although she looked much older.
“Tell you what, Brandee. Would you like to come out with us? You could show us the way, plus you could catch up with your old classmate. What do you say?”
Brandee's eyes showed a spark of life. “Do you mean it? You want me…by God I'll do it! But I got the lunch shift yet. I don't get off until two.”
“No problem. We'll come back here for lunch and wait for you until then. Then we'll head over to Cindy's.” The two women chatted for another minute or so, and then Sara went back to Paul to explain her plans.
At exactly one-thirty, Paul and Sara came back to the diner. The place was nearly empty, and Brandee came right up to them and smiled broadly, as if she had great news. “The boss is gonna let me out early. We can go right now!”
Sara and Paul hadn't had lunch, but there seemed no point in telling Brandee. The girl was excited. Sara wondered what sort of life she had that made a ranch across town seem like the Promised Land.
The Miller place was further away than Paul expected. Brandee called out her directions from the back seat; her tone getting higher as they got closer.
“It's that gate right there on the right. See the sign? That's Cindy's place.”
They went down a long driveway - a road, really - and kicked up dust as they went. The ranch house was a black speck at the very end. It seemed a mile away. But soon they were there at Miller's.
A dusty pickup truck occupied one corner of the yard. The ranch had one corral, a half-ruined barn, and a long, ranch style house. No obvious giantess lodgings in sight.
Then a woman came out the front door of the house. She bent over to get through the door; evidently she was not going to be the Texas-sized terror of Sara's imagination, but more like the Rhode Island mini-giantess. That was just fine with Sara.
The woman straightened up and looked at the three visitors in her yard. Paul studied her right back. Long, shiny hair, a cute face, and a slender yet not skinny body. He was impressed.
“Hello there,” Paul called out. “We're visiting people like yourself around the country, and we'd like to speak to you. Your old friend Brandee has shown us the way.”
Cindy squinted through the sunshine at the woman Paul was pointing to and began a slow smile. “Brandee? From school? Well, how the heck are you? And why haven't you come over before?”
Brandee walked closer and smiled back. “Well, busy at the diner, you know. Plus I thought…I thought…well, it's good to see you, girl”
Cindy appeared to be in a good mood. She beamed back at Brandee. Sara congratulated herself on her excellent idea.
“Come in, everyone, come in. I was just washing our dishes from last night. I'm not the best housekeeper, but I try.”
They all came in and entered a large living room, where an old man sat and watched “The Price is Right” on television. “This is my daddy, Fred Miller. My name is Cindy, and you all know Brandee.”
Paul took his cue. “And I'm Paul, and this is Sara. I'm pleased to meet you, sir.” He walked over and shook the old man's hand. He grunted in reply and cast his attention back to the TV.
“Daddy's not being rude, he just loves his game shows. They're part of his routine.”
Paul thought the old man looked about 70 and Cindy about 30. So that was their life out here at the ranch? Just housework and television? There had to be more. But now Cindy was perched on the sofa, peppering Brandee with questions about the people she hadn't seen in years. Sara listened intently, planning to slip out for her camera in just a few minutes. Paul opened his notebook, tried not to eavesdrop, and took notes in a quiet manner.
When the girls were done (it took about an hour) Paul broke in and asked for the interview. His first question was the one most on his mind.
“Cindy, I see you have a job to do out here, taking care of your father. But do you do anything else? Go to school, work, hobbies? Any men friends?”
Brandee slapped her knee and laughed. “That's a good one. Men friends. Cindy had so many men friends in high school it made your head spin. Where are those men now, girl?”
Cindy cleared her throat and looked straight at Paul. “No, no men friends. Not when I'm nine feet tall and can pick them up. Men like a shorter gal, and I'm like this big giraffe. Daddy's my only friend now.” Cindy was serious, but not sad. She really seemed to enjoy life out here.
“Oh. I didn't realize…I didn't mean…” Brandee looked apologetic and didn't know what to say.
“Never mind, hon. Who's your feller now, anyway?”
“Old John Ray Banner. You remember him. We was married two years ago. But he lost his job at the factory and things ain't been too good. We'll survive, though.”
Paul looked on and it came to him that this interview was not going as planned. He resigned himself to just listening to the two woman talk - it seemed he was going to learn much more that way. Sara had her cameras ready and would start when the time seemed right.
Finally she had everyone (except Fred) come outside for some photos: Paul and Brandee with Cindy behind, one of Sara and the girls with Paul operating the camera, and many more of the two high school classmates who came from different worlds but had discovered a bond. Sara was very proud of herself.
On the car ride home, Brandee was ecstatic. “I'm gonna come back and visit every week. And Cindy's gonna help me get my diploma, help me study for it. She was always so smart. I might even get a better job someday. This is a great day, I tell ya.”
Paul looked at Sara. She glowed. Okay, thought Paul, you win this time. Next time we do it my way.
Sara could almost read his mind.
It was late afternoon and Sara was resting in her motel room when she heard a knock at the door. When she opened it she saw Paul.
“Judging by the look on your face, you have news,” she said, as she stepped aside to let him in. “So let's hear it.”
“You're right. I've just talked to Kenneth and he wants us back in New York - tomorrow. He's about to put the finishing touches on our article and says we need to be there.”
“Yes, we should be there. I want to see the pictures, make sure they came back all right. By the way, about how many articles does he plan on? Two? Three?”
“I'd say three, based on the stories we've been reporting so far. But this first article is the most important. I want to be there too.”
Paul booked flights for early the next day; they should be back at the magazine office in the afternoon, and with luck, back in their own New York apartments by night. It would be a welcome respite.
They slept well that night, dropped the car keys off at the rental kiosk, and headed for their gate. The plane ride home was uneventful, except for the fact that Sara fell asleep right away with her head on Paul's shoulder. He hardly moved all the way back to New York.
The plane touched down just before noon. They hailed a taxi and arrived at the NewsWorld offices around one-thirty. Paul and Sara left their bags with the ground floor security unit and took the elevator to the sixteenth floor.
Kenneth Graves greeted them both with hearty handshakes. “Lord, you've only been gone three weeks, but it seems much longer. I hate to put you to work right away, but we go to press tomorrow. Paul, I've printed out your article and I've made some notes; look at them and give me your approval. Sara, your pictures are spread out on a table across the hall - I've made some choices already - tell me what you think.”
Paul and Sara could barely get a word in, but when Kenneth finally stopped talking, Paul made a request. “Kenneth, we would be happy to get right to work, but do you suppose you could have a few sandwiches sent up? We haven't really eaten all day.”
“Certainly, certainly. Leave it to me.”
Soon they had eaten and settled down to work. Paul went over the suggestions that Kenneth had made and discussed them with the editor as length, then Kenneth did a final draft and had a copy editor go over the whole thing.
Sara, in the large meeting room across the hall, sat for hours among her photographs. Each one brought back a memory and she thought deeply on them. Finally, she came back to the editor's office, and as Paul read his article a final time, she and Kenneth talked photos and captions. She agreed with Kenneth's choices for the most part, but insisted on slight changes in how the captions read, based on her knowledge of the circumstances.
One thing Kenneth and Paul disagreed on was where the Inspector fit in with all this. Paul had mentioned the government agent several times in his piece, and was surprised to find all the references removed by Kenneth. The editor explained that secrecy must be maintained, at least for now.
“I have my reasons, Paul, and forgive me for not letting you in on them. I will tell you that he's helped many of the people you've interviewed. Perhaps later you can revisit a few to see how they've fared. But even then I'd like the Inspector to remain anonymous.”
Paul was happy to have his first article go to press and was not inclined to quibble. So he left it at that.
It was late - perhaps nine o'clock - when all was finished and Paul and Sara could finally go to their beds. Then rode the elevator down together, staring sleepily at the lit up numbers by the door. Then Paul had an idea.
“Sara, I'm exhausted. Your place is so much closer than mine. Would you mind if I crashed on your couch tonight?”
Sara could not conceal her delight. The idea of sleeping alone in her apartment the first night back was disconcerting to her. “Of course,” she replied.
At the apartment, Sara produced every spare blanket and pillow she could find, which wasn't many. And she turned up the heat so he would stay warm. After he settled into his makeshift bed, Sara stopped by to say goodnight.
“Are you sure you're comfortable here? You could always come in with me and sleep, you know, Nebraska-style.”
Paul was tempted. He'd grown close to his professional colleague and they had done great work together. But, he thought, better not to complicate things.
“Thanks, pal. I'm fine right here. See you in the morning.”
Sara winked at Paul and went off to bed, just a little disappointed.
They both had a pleasant week off. Bills were paid, groceries bought, living spaces cleaned, laundry folded and stacked. Sara spent much of the week just sleeping. Paul decided to read War and Peace, or at least start it. They chatted by phone at least once a day.
On Friday, the magazine came out. The cover had the lovely Angie on the cover, and the article took up 10 complete pages inside. Seven of Sara's photos were there, as well as 8,000 of Paul's well-crafted words. Paul and Sara went downtown once more to celebrate with Kenneth. As they made their way to his office, they kept getting stopped and congratulated by passers-by.
Even Kenneth's secretary, Pat, was enthusiastic. “I've never seen Mr. Graves so happy. Go right in, he's waiting for you.”
Kenneth stood inside with a great smile and a bottle of champagne.
“Everyone loves the piece. Congrats to the two of you.”
They stood and sipped the wine from paper cups, champagne glasses being in short supply. Paul and Sara beamed.
“Now,” Kenneth said, “let's talk about the next leg of your trip. As you know, there are many places left to go. I'd like to give you the choice of where to start.”
The couple talked amongst themselves for a bit in front of a large wall map. They discussed weather, driving distances, geography and several other factors. After a spell they had come to an agreement.
“We'll start in Vermont and work our way down,” Paul said.
“It's beautiful this time of year,” added Sara.
The drive from New York to Vermont was indeed pleasant and made more interesting by a tour of the Ben and Jerry's factory in Waterbury. It was Sara's favorite ice cream, and made sure she didn't leave without buying a souvenir sweatshirt and a couple of mugs.
The town on their itinerary had the genial name of Pleasant Valley. Paul liked the name, but it filled Sara with dread. “Maybe things won't be so pleasant,” she said.
Sara's intuition proved correct when they arrived in the town and started asking questions. The Waldron family was the poorest in town, and there had recently been some controversy when a state social worker arrived at the house to find it full of livestock, cats, dogs and filth. Mina Waldron had neglected her family: they wore dirty clothes and did not have enough to eat. Carl Waldron, her husband, was unemployed and used half of the family's welfare money for whiskey. In addition, Mina was discovered to have grown to the size of thirteen feet and 965 pounds.
Paul still wanted to visit the Waldrons, and on the way Sara voiced her misgivings.
“She sounds horrible, Paul. I imagine she eats those poor animals raw and lets the kids fend for themselves. I don't even want to think about their living conditions.”
But when they arrived, the place was in fairly good order. Because after the story appeared in the local news, the kids had been temporarily sent to foster homes and several volunteers converged on the place, filling hundreds of bags with trash, evicting the animals, and getting the house in shape again. It took weeks, but finally the clean up was complete, Carl swore he was off the booze, and the kids were let back in.
They pulled up in front of the house and saw the children playing nearby. They wore new clothes and showed no signs of poverty. Paul walked to the screen door and knocked; Sara stood right behind him.
“Who is it?” a rough female voice called out.
“Paul Manners and Sara Will, from NewsWorld magazine. May we talk to you?”
“Oh, for cripes sakes. My soaps,” said the voice. It sounded peeved. Then the voice called out louder: “Just a minute!”
The woman came to the door, hunched over so as not to hit the ceiling. She looked at her visitors through the screen. “I'm a little tired of you reporter types coming around. Haven't I suffered enough? Look for yourselves, the kids are fine.”
“Yes, but we want to learn about you, your growth and how it has affected your life and that of your family. Is your husband home?”
She shook her head and her jowls wobbled. “Naw. Off drinking with his brother. I guess you can come in though. But my soaps are on, and I don't turn off the TV for no one. Talk to me during commercials.”
A giant hand pushed the door open and Paul caught it and held it for Sara. The conversation at the door seemed to have strained Mina's back and she returned to the television room on her hands and knees. Thus, Paul and Sara had the pleasure of looking at the woman's enormous Jell-O-like backside as they followed.
Mina sprawled out on an long, wide couch. There were two other seats in the room. Paul and Sara moved a few toys and blankets, then sat in them. Fortunately, a commercial was on.
“We heard about your recent troubles,” Paul began. “Do you think your growth had anything to do with it?”
“Well, it made it hard to clean. I had to depend on my kids, and they weren't much use. And Carl was just totally useless. Wouldn't even drive me to town to buy food, said he was embarrassed to be seen with me. And believe me, he's no prize either.” The soap opera came back on and she refocused her attention to the color TV.
As their eyes adjusted to the darkness of the room, they got their first good look at Mina Waldron. Paul wondered what the elusive Carl might have seen in her. She was fat, that was true, but they way the fat stuck out here and there was revolting. Her clothes were worn but clean, and her arms were almost pinched by her sleeveless dress. She went barefoot, wore no makeup and may not have bathed for a while. The whole room was redolent of Mina's body odor.
She leaned over, picked up a can of Diet Coke, swigged it down, and let out a loud burp.
“S'cuse me,” she said, and went back to watching her stories.
Sara tried to use her eyes to convey a message to Paul: Get me out of here. Please. But Paul seemed content to stay all afternoon.
Eventually the soap came to an end. Paul had a suggestion. “Mrs. Waldron, how about we all go outside and take a few pictures of you and the children.”
She shook her head. “Naw, I ain't good-looking in pictures, and the kids have already been in the paper. I think you should go before Carl gets back. He don't care for reporters.”
Sara was on her feet in a flash. “Well, thank you SO much for your hospitality.” Her tone was unnaturally bright, and surprised even Paul.
Paul rose too, but reluctantly. “I would like to meet your husband. May we come back tomorrow?”
Mina now rose to her full height in her living room; she looked at Paul with an dark expression. “If you come back again there'll be trouble. Take my advice and don't. Just don't.”
Paul and Sara walked back to their car under the giantess's glare. Mina stood in the doorway, presumably to make them go faster and to ensure that the nosy reporters didn't try to talk to the kids or take their picture.
Paul was dejected as he drove away. “Well, that was a waste. No story, no pictures, just a mean woman and her soap operas. I just may come back and talk to the husband anyway. He can't be worse than Mina.”
“I'm not sure, Paul. You might be generating more heat than light. My feeling is, the poor woman's been in the papers, the whole county has been judging her, and now we arrive to take things to a national level. I think she's had enough.”
Paul did not answer, but after some thought he realized Sara was right. The first leg of their trip was a spectacular success, but they didn't bat a thousand then and they wouldn't now. It was just a shame that this part of the trek had to go wrong so fast.
They did not stay in Vermont, but drove straight to Thornton, New Hampshire, about two hours to the east. From highway 93 they could look down and see the campus of Plymouth State College. It reminded Sara of the Arizona campus they had visited just last month: athletic fields, a track for running, and a huge building devoted to sports. Sara wondered if there were any giantesses among the girls down there.
Another 15 miles to the north and they had arrived. It was a sleepy town, not much going on, and traffic mainly consisted of families heading to the many campgrounds that dotted the vicinity. Paul and Sara stopped at the first business they came to, a convenience store, bought a couple of sodas and chatted with the clerk.
“There's not much I can tell you,” said the store clerk in reply to Paul's queries. “There was an article in the newspaper about a large girl about a month ago. But then I heard a rumor that she left. Don't know if that was permanent or not. Check the police station; they ought to know.”
Paul got the directions from the clerk then he and Sara headed back to the car.
“Wow, Paul. I hope she's not gone. What does your information tell you about her?”
“Just that she lives in town, has a roommate and possible a boyfriend, and used to work locally. Maybe the cops can fill in the blanks.”
The only officer on duty, a patrolman named Smythe, had little else to add.
“Yes, she lives, or lived, out on Cross Mill Rd. Her name is Natalie, and I think her roommate is still there. Roommate's name is Marta. The newspaper did a story, but there wasn't much information. We've never been called out there, so I assume everyone's all right. It's not like we see a 15-foot woman walking around every day.”
Paul seemed hopeful. If they could locate Marta, the rest might be easy.
Since Sara felt like driving, so it was she that drove them to Cross Mill Rd. “There it is, Paul, the only white house on the road. The house is so big, and it's so private out here. Hope someone is home.”
She swung into the driveway and looked at the house from her car seat. Paul was already getting out, but something bothered Sara. Maybe it was the rundown look of the house, or the way the late afternoon sun cast shadows over the old place. Just a feeling. She made herself get out, happy to let Paul lead the way.
Instead of going to the front door, Paul went to the side, sensing that entrance was more frequently used. He knocked loudly on the broad wooden door; chips of paint flitted down at each knock. After waiting ten seconds or so, he tried again.
And then the door began to open. A woman in her late 20's stood in the doorway with questioning eyes. Must be Marta, Paul thought.
“Hello,” Paul said. “We're from the NewsWorld magazine and looking for a Natalie Atkins. The police told us she might be here.”
The woman looked at them for a moment. “Can you prove it?” she asked.
Both Paul and Natalie got out their business cards and handed them over. Paul also had a copy of the magazine handy, just in case.
She studied the cards, then Paul and Sara's faces again.
“I guess you can come in. Nat's up on the second floor. You can wait for her in the kitchen.”
It all sounded odd to Paul, but he and Sara followed without comment. Marta (who had failed to identify herself) motioned them to two chairs next to a rectangular table. Then she left the room.
Sara looked around. “I love these colonial houses. So much history.”
“So many ghosts,” said Paul, who was now feeling Sara's original foreboding.
A minute later, Marta reappeared. “Nat's awake and ready for you. But just one at a time. She doesn't like to be outnumbered.”
Paul thought about arguing, then decided against it. “Guess I'll go first, Sara. Why don't you stay here and ask about the house?”
Marta looked alarmed. “I thought you were here for Nat. Why do you want to know about the house?”
Sara was quick to answer. “Oh, I just like old houses, the way they look, their history.”
“Well, there's no history here.” She turned to Paul. “You better go up now.”
Paul walked off in the direction that Marta had come from, looking for a staircase. He found it easily, and slowly made his way up, his feet making the treads creak. He imagined that Natalie was listening to every step.
He arrived at the top landing and looked instinctively for the largest room. We went up the doorway and looked inside. “Natalie?” he called.
“Yes, I'm Natalie.” She was reclining on the floor, buttressed by a few old sofas and their cushions lying about. What struck Paul first about her was her clothing: a huge flannel shirt and work pants with stocking feet sticking out of them. It seemed as if the giantess had done her shopping at the Big and Tall Men's store.
“My name is Paul. I'm a writer looking for a story. I also brought a photographer. Can we talk for a while?”
The expression on her wide face was guarded. “About what?”
“Well about your growth, about you, even your roommate and other friends.”
“What about Marta? She didn't do anything.”
Paul was stunned. “I never said she did. I'm just wondering about your setup here, how you live, interact with people.”
“Well, let's make this short and sweet. Marta and I are lovers. We've lived together for five years. But I like men, too, and when the last guy showed up to visit me, Marta got a little jealous and killed him. His body's buried in the basement.”
Paul didn't speak, then said, “If this is a joke, I'm not laughing.”
For the first time, Natalie smiled. “You figure it out. By the way, Marta said you're from New York. Anyone know you're here?”
“Actually yes, if you're thinking of burying me, too.”
Natalie shook her head. Her eyes twinkled and Paul could detect the beginnings of attraction. “Oh, no. Fun first.” With that she picked up a long stick and pushed the door closed. “I like a little privacy with my guys.”
Paul thought fast. “You're a pretty girl,” he lied. “And I'm sure Marta takes good care of you. What do you have in mind?”
“You know what.” Natalie now made her move, lunging like a hungry leopard after its prey. Paul tried to dodge the giantess, but tripped over one of her stocking feet, and after a brief struggle, he was hers.
Pinning Paul's chest with a heavy forearm, the rough woman undid his belt and yanked his pants down. In spite of Paul's struggles, Natalie had no trouble peeling his clothes off. She used one of her legs to hold Paul's legs down, then eased herself on top on him.
“This won't take long, little man from New York. I'm a big girl but easily satisfied. Now hold still.”
With one hand she removed most or her clothes while holding her victim down with her other arm and legs. Paul judged that she was three times his own weight, and found that struggling was getting him nowhere. He could yell out, but that might endanger Sara.
The giantess spread her legs over the Paul's crotch and swallowed up his member. She slowly raised herself up and then down, over and over and as deeply as possible. In a few short minutes she reached a shuddering climax that made the walls shake and the old windows rattle.
Natalie stayed on top of Paul for a good long time, putting her full weight on him, her breasts mashed into his face. Finally, she got off and lay on her back, breathing heavily.
Paul did not move at first. Was she really done with him? But then he carefully picked up his clothes and put them on; Natalie took no notice. Paul stood and looked at the spent giantess. She didn't move or open her eyes. He decided to take his chance and walked silently to the door.
But before he got there, the giantess made one parting remark: “I hear you brought a woman. Send her up.”
Paul left without further delay, ran down the stairs and into the kitchen. Marta was sitting there, reading a newspaper. There was no sign of Sara.
“Where is she? Where is Sara?” Paul voice was frantic with worry.
“Relax, Romeo. She's waiting in the car.”
He dashed out the side door and ran for the car. Sara was reclining in the passenger side seat.
He got in and fumbled for the keys. “Sara, we're going. Buckle up.”
Sara quickly brought her seat to an upright position and did as Paul told her.
“That was fast. Did you get the interview?”
“I got sexually assaulted. That woman is a criminal. She used me for a few minutes, let me go, and then she asked for you.”
The scenery flew past as Sara stared at him. “My God, Paul. She raped you? We need to report this.”
“She also said that Marta had killed a previous male visitor and buried him in the basement. And that she and Marta were lovers. But she may have been kidding.”
They drove in silence as Paul headed back to the interstate.
“Paul? I can't help but notice that you're driving away from the police station, away from the whole town.”
“I've had enough of this place, the secrets, the creepy old houses, the bodies in the basement. Maybe that's how Natalie and Marta keep pesky reporters away, by putting the fear of God into them. But I never want to see either of them or this town again.”
They drove on to Plymouth and found rooms in the Days Inn. Paul felt ill from his ordeal and stayed in his room while Sara walked around the campus. Outside the library she found three female students talking amongst themselves. Sara dropped by to talk to them.
“Tell me, what have you heard about a woman named Natalie? I hear she's fifteen feet tall and lives in an old house around here.”
One of the girls, a pretty blonde, answered. “Oh, you mean the Thornton Giantess? A few people claim to have met her, but I don't know if she's real. They say she rapes guys.”
“Yeah,” another said. “We hear things, but who knows if they're true? We figure she's some kind of urban legend.”
Sara nodded. “Thank you, girls. Oh, and this urban legend? It's no legend; you can believe it. I'd stay away from this Giantess if I were you.”
The next morning Paul felt oddly refreshed in spite of his ordeal. The sun shone brightly and he was eager to drive. Sara wondered at the change in Paul, but did not question it. Even coffee wasn't a consideration. They traveled a hundred miles before either of them thought of breakfast.
The place they had stopped was in southern Vermont, far from the soaps-loving welfare mom, Mina. When Paul and Sara had finished breakfast and returned to the car, Sara felt it was time.
“I think I know where we're going,” she said with a hint of mischieviousness.
Paul smiled “You've been looking at my notes.”
“I've heard of Hancock. It's in western Mass and it has a Shaker village.”
“Yes, it does. It also has a commune. Bet you never heard of that.”
Sara was perplexed. “No. But aren't the communes all gone now? I thought the last ones died out in the eighties.”
“Not at all,” answered Paul. “There are a handful left, and the one we're going to visit has a giantess in residence.”
The car was moving now, and Sara contented herself with looking at the splendid mountain scenery. But odd thoughts occurred to her. A commune! She was young enough to have parents of the Woodstock generation, when communes were everywhere. She might have even lived in one if her life had been different. Who were these people? What was their lifestyle?
They entered Massachusetts and traversed a new series of secondary roads that led to the city of Pittsfield and the rural town of Hancock. Sara voiced one final thought.
“You know, Paul, except for the girl in Maine, we haven't had much luck in New England. But I have the feeling things are going to turn around for us here. Don't you?”
Paul did not speak. A shadow crossed his face. He thought once again of the rape. If it happened once, it could happen again. Paul shook his head. At this rate, he would lose confidence in himself and that would be the end of the project.
He turned to her and said, “Sure, Sara. Everything will work out from this point on.”
They arrived at the commune just after one. It was quite a large farm dotted with several buildings. One main building for sleeping, and a few others for work. It was all very simple. Paul noted several farm machines parked behind one, and vintage cars parked in odd corners.
A woman came out to meet them. Paul introduced himself and Sara; the woman called herself Celia.
“So you're here to meet Moon Blossom. She's out in the fields right now, looking after our corn crop. We eat dinner very early around here, around five. Why not stay? You can have a nice long talk with her then.”
Celia took them on a tour of the facilities. Here and there was a bearded man or a bandanna-clad woman, collecting honey, fixing a pump, making a quilt or doing farm tasks of all sorts. Some, like Moon Blossom, were still out in the fields; others had gone to town to pick up some day labor. Paul and Sara looked everything over with interest. Sara took the occasional picture.
Around four-thirty the field workers arrived back at the commune, mostly men, but also a twenty-three foot high woman. Moon Blossom had light brown hair tied behind her head and covered with an extra-large bandana. She wore a rough tee shirt and what resembled canvas pants, although cut off above the knee. Her legs were unshaven but shapely.
Celia came out to greet the workers. “Moon, there's a couple here who want to interview you and take some pictures.” Moon Blossom looked at the people Celia pointed to and walked right over.
“I'm glad you're here, and I'm flattered. But I'm no more special than anyone else here. In fact I eat much more than the men, so it all evens out.”
“I realize that,” said Paul. “But we've been talking to woman of all different sizes and we think you have a unique perspective.”
The giantess smiled down on them. “I need to get cleaned up now. I'll see you at dinner.”
Dinner was in one the larger rooms, with a table large enough for all twenty residents plus guests. Moon Blossom was placed at the head of the table and sat on the floor, not a chair. She had cleaned up nicely, wore an attractive dress and even put some flowers in her hair. Paul was impressed.
Sara sat nearest the giantess and they exchanged views on a wide range of topics. Although there were many men present, Moon Blossom did not seem attached to any of them. In addition, several woman and a few children filled out the table.
Food was abundant and delicious, all homegrown as Celia pointed out. Paul sat a little further down the table from Moon Blossom. When not talking to Celia he stole looks at the giantess, watching how she conversed, ate, even dabbed her lips with a napkin. Despite her size she seemed dainty and well bred.
Later, some of the men gathered a pile of scrap wood to burn and a crowd came outside to watch it. Little things like that provided entertainment for these people, and Paul marveled at it. Here they were, mesmerized by flames, enjoying each other's company, when elsewhere in the town most folks were shut in their houses, watching TV or tapping on their computers.
Moon Blossom sat on a large blanket, away from the main gathering. It's now or never, Paul thought, and approached her carefully. He pointed to a corner of the blanket and said, “Mind if I join you?”
The lady smiled and nodded. By now the bandana was off, and shiny hair cascaded to her shoulders. The light from the fire reflected in her face, revealing high cheekbones and even white teeth. This girl could be a model, Paul mused.
“Moon Blossom, I was watching you at dinner, and …”
“You don't seem to have a husband or boyfriend in the commune.”
“Not one boyfriend, no.”
“Not one…? So you have several?”
“Not several. Every man in the commune has slept with me. I share my body with whoever asks. Even one or two of the women.”
When Paul remained silent, Moon continued.
“We all share everything. Food, companionship, our bodies. I did arrive here with a man who was to be my husband, but he was put off by what he felt was continuous poverty. I feel no poverty here at all. Just the opposite. At night I lay down with a different man, and I feel content. My body excites them, and that excites me. During the day I work the earth alongside the others. I couldn't ask for a better life.”
Paul looked into Moon Blossom's eyes. “I'd like to continue this talk later tonight. Can I visit you in your, um, sleeping quarters?”
“That would be fine. I have no one with me tonight. You can be my companion.”
Paul glanced around. No one else had heard the conversation. Sara was sitting with a small group that included Celia and what appeared to be solid, good looking men. His head was spinning; he felt he needed to clear his head.
“I'm going for a walk, Moon. I'll see you later.”
“Bye, Paul. I'll save some space for you.”
When Paul came back from his walk he returned to the residence. Only Celia remained in the common room to work on her quilt. All was quiet.
“So everyone's gone to bed. Sara too?”
“Yes, I found a spare bed for her. She's perfectly safe. I hope you feel safe too, Paul.”
“I really do. But I'm a little scared. Moon has invited me to stay with her, and well, I'm not sure - I mean, she's so big.”
“And gentle as a lamb. I envy you, Paul. She sees something in you, a goodness. She doesn't make that offer to every visitor. Go, enjoy. I think you'll have the experience of a lifetime.”
Paul grinned and turned to go. Then he turned back. “Celia?”
“Go down the hall to the end. Left side. Good luck, Paul.”
At breakfast the next day Paul was a man in a dream. He couldn't believe his good luck. Part of him wanted to stay another night, and another. Laying in Moon's soft arms was the sweetest of experiences and he wanted to feel it again.
Sara came over to him, and whispered in his ear. “I know who you spent the night with.” Then she giggled and returned to her seat.
But Moon Blossom was not there. She had risen even earlier than Paul to return to the fields. He probably would not see her again until noon, if he stayed that long.
Walking outside with Sara, Paul had a question to ask. “Sara, do you think we could stay an extra day? Or two? I have to find out if this is the real thing, or some kind of dream. Maybe I belong on a commune. Am I nuts?”
“You're not nuts, Paul, but I have a suggestion. You haven't checked your phone messages for a while. Maybe you should.”
Paul walked straight to the car and saw the cell phone on the seat, just where he left it yesterday. There were four messages, including one from Kenneth. “Paul, you're needed in Connecticut as soon as possible. Call me.”
New Milford, Connecticut lays on the western edge of the state, near the New York border. It was here that Paul and Sara were sent to investigate the next giantess. They were told only to report to the New Milford Historical Society building and await further instructions.
When they arrived at the building's heavy front doors, the Inspector was there to greet them.
Paul walked right up to the mystery man and wrung his hand warmly. “Inspector! We're very glad to see you!”
Sara was surprised as well. “Yes, you've been a stranger. Why meet us here? What's going on?”
“Let's go inside. I've reserved one of the offices. We can talk there.”
The Inspector led the couple inside the old brick building and down a hallway with tile floors. Their footsteps echoed against the walls as they walked. Finally, he turned into a doorway, flicked on the lights, and indicated a conference-type table and several chairs.
“Sit anywhere,” he said, and closed a heavy wooden door. They now had total privacy.
The Inspector began by catching Paul and Sara up on his activities, notably the status of some the more dire cases. Most of the news was good. Except for the Colorado woman no one had died, and some had seen a marked improvement in their situations.
Then the Inspector asked Paul about the New Hampshire giantess, the one who entrapped and then raped him. Paul very quietly recounted his traumatic experience there while the Inspector took labored notes. Then he spoke to Paul.
“This is a serious situation. We have several men working the case, and they are tracking down the various leads. We also have the woman and her roommate under surveillance. Trouble is, we can't get any of the victims, mainly college students, to report the crime. You will consider it, won't you Paul?”
Paul was stunned. He wasn't expecting that. “Well, yes, if you think it's important.”
“I do. Next topic. There is a young lady named Joanne here in New Milford who is attracting lots of attention. Not surprising in a town this small. The thing is, she's a cop. She graduated from the police academy just before the growth - she's fourteen feet, by the way - and now the local police want to terminate her employment. She's fighting it, though and I don't blame her. She was doing sterling work right up until the end. Now she's on administrative leave.”
“What's the outlook?” asked Sara.
“I've talked to the police chief. He says that her size causes a host of problems, one being her inability to ride in or drive a normal car. But she can run. And she is strong, as you can imagine. Keeps herself in great shape. I met the woman yesterday. She's thinking of hiring a lawyer to represent her, and I hope she does.”
“And our job is?” Paul said.
“To interview her, get some shots of her working out, running, jumping, etc. In other words, what you do everywhere else, except play up the angle of her unjust termination.”
“I'll try, but I really should present both sides.”
The Inspector nodded. “Of course. But if you want my take on things, the chief and his men just feel uncomfortable around a woman who is so much taller and stronger. Thinks she'll show them up, overshadow them. But you know, they don't see…”
“The big picture?” said Sara with an innocent face.
For the first time that day, the Inspector laughed.
Outside, they parted company; Paul and Sara to look up the policewoman Joanne, and the Inspector back to New Hampshire. “I may look in on the Vermont woman while I'm in the neighborhood.”
Within ten minutes they were at the address the Inspector had given them. There was no answer to Paul's knock, but Sara drifted over to the side yard and motioned Paul to where she was. When he arrived, Sara said, “Shhh. Listen.”
Paul did. He heard a metallic clanging coming from the back yard. There was no fence or other barrier, so they just walked around the house..
Joanne the policewoman was on her back, laying on an improvised weight bench. She was lifting an iron bar over her chest; on each end of the bar were huge metal circles the size of manhole covers. Each one weighed 150 pounds as evidenced by the raised white lettering on each.
The woman herself was incredibly muscled and contoured. Her thick black hair was tied into a ponytail, and her wide face was scrunched in near agony as she made her exertions. She wore a gray Police Academy tee shirt that exposed her abs and an extra large pair of dark blue shorts. The legs that came out of the shorts were magnificent, in Paul's opinion. Sara must have agreed; she couldn't keep her eyes off her.
“Hello,” Paul said and the clanging stopped. Joanne set the iron bar in its rest, sat up and looked at the newcomers to her back yard as she caught her breath.
“State your business.”
“We've just met with the Inspector. My name is Paul and this is Sara. He told us you have a story to tell. We'd like to help.”
Joanne wiped her sweating face with a towel. It was midsummer and the sun shone through high clouds.
“Okay. Let me get cleaned up. Meet me back here in an hour.”
Paul nodded. He and Sara left the way they came in and got into the car. Paul did not start it right away, however.
“This is odd. She was expecting us, but she sends us away. Kind of brusque if you ask me.”
“Well,” Sara said, “it's a small house and there probably isn't much privacy. Maybe she wants to shower and change.”
“Should we get a bite to eat?”
“No time. Anyway, it's nice to rest. Turn on the radio, will you?”
So they rested in the car, Paul checking his watch every five minutes or so. Sara, on the other hand, lay peacefully back in her seat, sometimes drowsing, sometimes singing along softly to the radio.
Paul sat up abruptly. “Here she comes.” The giantess half walked, half crawled from her front door, then stood up and arrived at the car in three strides.
“Hungry?” she enquired. “I am. I know a great place right down the street. You can follow me in your car, or walk with me.”
Paul turned to his companion, who before he could ask, said “Walk!”
So the couple got out and walked to the place down the street. Except the place was much further than down the street and Paul and Sara had to run to keep up.
It was hopeless. Paul was not a runner. He gave up and slowed to a walk, watching Sara and Joanne become specks in the distance. Part of him wanted to go back for the car, but his pride prevented that. He kept up a dogged pace, hoping the eating place would come into view. Why hadn't he asked for the name? What if he missed it entirely?
He needn't have worried, because Sara was waiting for him outside Jack's Place near the town center. She was smiling as Paul limped towards her, red-faced.
“Hey slow-poke. Bet you're hungry now. Come on in; Joanne's ordered for all of us and the food should be just about ready.”
They entered the no-frills establishment. Paul scanned the room and quickly spotted Joanne. She was sitting in the corner and flirting with a middle-aged man wearing an apron. Must be Jack. They continued to talk as Paul and Sara approached.
Jack looked at Paul and grinned. “I see you've been on a little run with our Joannie. And you thought you were in shape.”
Paul did not appreciate the hash slinger's humor, but did manage a thin smile in response.
“Well, sit down and relax, cause I'm gonna bring our enough food for an army. Enough for you two and Joannie anyway!” This prompted a ribald comment from the giantess as Jack ambled back to the kitchen, where an anonymous crew labored.
On the table already were three large pitchers of beer. One was Joanne's drinking vessel, the other two were for anyone else who was thirsty. The food arrived. One huge platter contained French fries, another had garlic nachos. Three plates of burgers, with buns and pickles. A gallon can of ketchup. A large jar of mustard. And several hot dogs and assorted fixings.
It was marvelous. When all had had their fill and the pitchers were empty, the giantess was content to speak. “Okay. Interview time.”
Paul was caught off guard. He was full of food and drink, and had consumed far too much beer. He felt drowsy and a little tipsy. He hoped sincerely that he wouldn't have to be the sober professional right now. A good nap, a long rest, preferably overnight, was indicated.
Sara, however, had little to drink and ate in moderation. She saved the day by subtly taking the initiative and starting the interview herself.
“Joanne, you have a fascinating story to tell. Tell me about yourself; how you grew up, what your upbringing was like, and how you decided to join the police academy.”
Paul listened, grateful for a colleague such as Sara. Neither of them had a notebook or a tape recorder, but they both stayed alert. Paul wasn't worried. He figured they could always compare mental notes later.
Speaking of which, Paul made a mental note never to anger Joanne. As she talked animatedly with Sara, she frequently made her points by pounding on the table, stamping her enormous foot, or smashing a fist into her palm. Paul would not want to be in her crosshairs.
Time flew by. Paul looked outside. It was getting dark; they must have been at Jack's for hours. They had not arranged lodging for the night and should really be getting back. But the problem was solved when an Brian, an old friend of Joanne's showed up. Brian offered to drive them both back to Joanne's where they were welcome to stay the night.
Brian dropped them off. Joanne had actually beaten them home and had prepared a mattress for the couple. When they walked into her tiny living room, they didn't see how they could possibly manage.
Then Joanne appeared at the doorway. “Not much room, I know. One of you is welcome to come in with me - plenty of room on my bed.” As she spoke the giantess peeled her shirt over her head, revealing a massive sports bra covering equally massive breasts. Then she slipped off her pants and flung them on a chair across the room. She noticed the rapt expressions of her guests and grinned. “It's all very informal around here. Well, do have a bedmate or not?”
Sara looked at Paul. “It would make a great story,” she whispered.
Paul considered. Then he remembered Moon Blossom and shook his head.
“No thanks, Joanne. We'll make do out here.”
“Suit yourself. Hey, did you see Brian anywhere? He'll sleep with me.” Then she went padding off to her bedroom.
They were now alone. Paul said quietly, “I know, I know. I'm above the covers. Nebraska style.”
“Good boy,” said Sara.
When the couple awoke the next morning, the giantess was still in bed. Brian had come back and accepted the large woman's offer to stay the night. Their lovemaking had lasted for hours; Paul wondered how Brian had managed it. But eventually the racket died down and Paul and Sara were able to get some sleep.
They got up, dressed, straightened out the living room and departed as silently as they could. Joanne and Brian deserved some quiet time, they reasoned, so they went to find a restaurant where they could at least get some coffee and splash cold water in their faces.
The place they found was an International House of Pancakes off the highway, and once they entered, the smell of eggs, bacon, coffee and hotcakes suddenly made them both ravenous. They took a booth, left their orders with a waitress, and took turns using the facilities. As he exited the men's room, Paul's cell phone rang. He pulled it off his belt and answered it in the small hallway off the main room.
“Paul, it's Kenneth. I hope you've wrapped things up in Connecticut because I want you both to take a trip. A longer trip this time. I'm talking about Alaska.”
“My God, man, you don't mess around. When do we leave?”
“Tomorrow morning - it's all arranged. Get back here as soon as you can.”
“Well we should go back to Joanne's for pictures. We had a few too many brewskies last night, but Sara and I did a great interview. We just need to transcribe our notes.”
“That's wonderful - the policewoman, right? Get your pictures, get your notes together but get here no later than 5 p.m. Okay?”
“Right,” Paul said and put his phone away. Then he walked back to their table to tell Sara the news.
They got to the office at four-thirty. Kenneth had their tickets waiting, maps and an itinerary. He gave everything to Paul then shook both their hands warmly. “I wish it was me going. Hear it's beautiful up there this time of year.”
The traveling duo went to their own apartments and slept the sleep of the dead. They decided to meet at the airport. Sara found Paul at the gate, reading a magazine. The time was 9:45 a.m.
“Same to you. Ready for a great flight?”
“Yikes,” Sara said without enthusiasm. “Six hours to Seattle, then a connection to Anchorage, then a train ride to Fairbanks. We're talking two days of just travel!”
“Yes, but it makes a nice change from driving. Here, read a magazine.”
Sara was too restless to read. “So what about the giantess. Does she live near Fairbanks?”
“Yes. I understand she's a saloon owner and also runs a theme part of sorts. Quite a character.”
“Oh, fun,” said Sara. “Give me the magazine.”
The travel was more fun than Sara thought it would be. Kenneth was kind enough to book their seats so they could sit together. Paul's shoulder made a ready pillow for Sara, and she used it frequently.
When they arrived in Seattle, the connection went well, with a short layover and a brief boarding. Sara had a window seat and Paul had the aisle. Paul had just fastened his seat belt and was settling it when Sara spoke excitedly.
“Paul, come over here! Look down there and tell me what you see.”
He undid his belt and slid over, leaning over Sara to see out the window. There was the usual pre-flight scene: various motorized vehicles used to transport luggage to the plane's hold, operated by gray-uniformed employees. Paul noticed they were mostly men. He was about to ask what the big deal was when one of the workers emerged from under the plane's wing to reveal herself.
It was a woman. She was loading bags. And she was twelve feet tall, easily.
She wore the gray suit too, but her blonde hair was tied into a ponytail that protruded from the black baseball-style cap. The men around her seemed blasé, but Paul, up in the airplane, was completely attentive. A giantess! Here, in Seattle, and no one had told them she would be there.
“This is amazing, Sara. Make a note of this airline; maybe we can talk to her on the way home. And she's working with the men who are half her size - another success story.”
“True, she seems to be fitting in nicely. But we're going to meet another, possibly more interesting success story. Priorities, Paul, priorities.”
Paul could have stared at the blonde giantess all day, but he finally sensed that Sara was uncomfortable with him hanging over her, and besides, the plane had filled up and seemed about to taxi away. So he reluctantly pulled himself away and buckled himself in. This time it was Paul who slept the two-hour leg to Anchorage, leaning far back in his seat and snoring slightly. Sara tried not to notice.
They reached Anchorage about dinner time, took a shuttle to a nearby hotel, and decided to order room service after their long day. Sara came to Paul's room afterward for a little chat about their activities the next day. Paul, as always, found these pre-bedtime chats soothing. Both of them felt a slight charge just being in Alaska, a place neither of them had been.
“I'm surprised it's not snowing,” said Sara, with a wink in her voice. “And where are all the Eskimos?”
“Sara, it's the middle of summer. It won't snow until October around here.”
The next day was unusually sunny. Unusual because the guidebooks mainly talked about the large number of rainy days. On days it didn't rain, it was foggy. So the sun was a welcome surprise.
Boarding the train to Fairbanks gave the couple their second surprise. The train, long and modern, had an upper deck on one car with a bubble that offered a 360-degree view of the Alaskan scenery. For the first 50 miles or so, the view was a little drab, but just past it far-off mountains loomed into view. Both Paul and Sara gasped at the snow-capped wonders.
Travel continued; the train took them over bridges, through forests, alongside rivers. Paul thought he saw some Native Americans drying freshly caught salmon on wooden racks. A moment later an engineer came on the intercom to announce that very fact. The only thing missing was the wildlife.
“And on your right,” the engineer continued, “you will see a herd of elk. Several hundred animals cross the tracks daily, and all safely.”
Sara was enthralled; she even gave up her afternoon nap to peer out of the bubble. Paul grew tired of the constant viewing and went below to read a magazine.
Finally they pulled into the Fairbanks depot. Fairbanks was a smallish city that still suggested traces of the Gold Rush from the late 1900's. The streets were laid out in rough blocks, and modernity appeared from time to time, but the whole effect was of a city frozen in time.
It only took a few minutes of walking to find a car rental place; here you could even rent a recreational vehicle if you so desired. Paul was tempted, but Sara said “Yeah, right. You and me in an RV. We'd kill each other.” He ended up renting a Camry.
They bought a map and looked for the Yelling Wolf Saloon, where after their long journey they would finally meet up with Crazy Sal.
Sal was not there, so Paul and Sara sipped beers at the rough wooden bar and looked around at the late afternoon bar activity. Moose antlers hung on the wall, most of the guys wore flannel shirts and jeans, and so did the women. There seemed to be many more men than women.
Paul had enjoyed the beer and thought about asking the barman for another, but Sara had another idea. “Let's check out the theme park. It's right out there.” Sara pointed out through the space over the swinging saloon doors and across the gravel parking lot. There Paul could see the large sign for Prospector Land.
“A little late for prospecting,” said Paul, but Sara led him outside and over to the ticket office.
“We're looking for Crazy Sal,” Sara announced.
The clerk in the ticket booth looked bored. He was about to close for the day. “She expecting you?” he said in a monotone.
“Well, our editor told her we were coming. I'm Sara and this is Paul. We're from NewsWorld magazine.”
The clerk seemed slightly impressed. “I'll go check,” was all he said, put a closed sign across the window, and ducked away behind the shack.
Paul looked back longingly at the saloon, thinking how good that beer tasted, and noticing how full the place was getting. Must be a popular place.
A moment later the clerk returned, with a sullen, “Follow me.” Leading them away from the main park, they entered a low building and trailed down a long hallway. The clerk jerked his thumb at one of the doors. “She's in there.”
When the clerk left, they realized they would have to introduce themselves. Paul knocked on the door.
“Come in,” said a voice. Paul opened the door into what appeared to be a large dressing room.
Sal sat facing away from them, washing her face after a hard day. She still had on her prospecting costume and they noticed that like many giantesses they had met, she was too large for any chair. Sal sat on the floor.
She turned around to see her guests, and a careful smile appeared on her face. She was older than most they had seen, excepting Grace, the well-to-do mother of two who had effortlessly seduced Paul. Sal seemed younger, but she had seen more of life. Her eyes were lined and cheeks a bit droopy. But her skin was clear and she seemed happy . Also, she was a full-figured gal. Sara admired the way she filled out the prospector suit.
“Well hell, it's nice to meet ya,” the giantess almost yelled. “You're Paul and Sara. I talked to your boss a few days ago, he told me you were coming.”
“Nice to meet you, too.” Paul walked across the room and extended a hand.
Sal enveloped his hand in her raspy one and held on firmly. “You got a good grip there, Paul. Remind me to arm wrestle you later.”
“How tall are you?” blurted Sara, who honestly couldn't tell.
“Why hon, I'm a little over sixteen feet. Are you disappointed?”
“Oh, no, no. It's just that for a large state…”
“I know. I'm a small giantess. I read about that 40-foot one down in Kansas. But you know something? I bet I could kick her ass.”
Paul smiled. He liked Crazy Sal. He almost wished he could take her to Kansas with him and watch the fur fly.
“Well, let's do this interview and then get ourselves drunk. What do you say?”
Paul, as usual, launched into a series of questions as Sara took an occasional photograph. She had hoped to get some outdoor shots of Sal made up like the prospector, but maybe that would happen tomorrow. In the meantime, she was getting good shots of Sal and Paul together, which would show perspective.
Try as he might, however, Paul had trouble getting anything of substance out of Sal. She seemed to be stuck in character, like the grizzled lady prospector she played all day. Her wisecracking was funny and would make good reading, but Paul sensed that she was keeping her real self buried, at least for now.
Suddenly, Sal got up and grabbed her clothes. “All right. Getting dressed now. Wait outside and I'll just be a minute. Then it's party time.”
Paul and Sara did as they were told. Paul was grinning as he walked beside Sara. “I know what you're thinking,” she said. “More beer.”
“Yes, but I also can't wait to see her in the saloon. I wonder how all those customers will react to her.”
In about ten minutes he found out. Watching her enter the Yelling Wolf was a little like watching the lady mayor of Michigan greeting her electorate. Sal swept through the place, slapping backs, trading barbs, and generally livening things up. When she reached the bar, the bartender already had her drink ready for her; the largest glass of beer Paul or Sara had ever seen. The giantess upended it, swallowed the entire contents and slammed it down for a refill. The crowd cheered enthusiastically.
Near the front doors was a table that seemed especially designed for arm wrestling, and two men were doing it now. Sal drifted over to watch and wait her turn. One beefy man was trying to push the other man's arm to the surface, and although his opponent was thin and wiry, he was having trouble. Finally the wiry man found a burst of strength and surprised the larger one by thumping his arm to the table. The people watching whooped it up. Then Sal took over.
“That's real good, Ben. But this time you can take on a real competitor. Move over there, Charlie and give a girl a chance.”
Sal pushed Charlie's vacated chair away and knelt at the table, then extended her hand above for Ben to take. Ben seemed wary, though.
“Well thanks, Sal, but I think I'm about done for the night. How about someone else?” He turned toward the crowd. “Anybody?”
Sal tossed her head back and laughed. “You know the rules, Ben. The winner of the previous contest plays the next challenger, and the winner decides who comes home with her. And you know who I always choose.”
Ben stared at Sal and knew there was no escape. Sara sidled next to Paul and muttered, “She won't really do it, will she? What if he has a wife, or a girlfriend?”
Paul seemed nonchalant about it. “Let's watch and see.”
Ben sat down and clasped the outsized hand of Sal. The bartender had come out from behind his bar and called the time. “Are you ready? Set? Aaaaand - go!”
Sal achieved momentum right away, and easily overpowered the lean but strong man. But she toyed with him. She let him think he might have a chance and let the balance drift back and forth for a moment. But then she poured everything on and slammed Ben's wrist against the table with a decisive blow.
“The winner!” cried the barkeep, and the room applauded Sal as the victor.
“You just hang around, Ben. Old Effie won't miss you for a few hours. You'll be coming with me tonight.”
Ben carried a hunted look with him as he backed away and found his beer. He made no sign to go.
Sal walked to the bar, downed her second drink, and found the table where Paul and Sara were now sitting. Sal sat cross-legged and yelled for another round.
Paul was amused by something. Sara wondered what.
“Sal, what do you do besides arm wrestle? Do you have friends? Hobbies?”
Sal threw her arms out. “These are all my friends. And hobbies? Well, I reckon I've slept with every man here at one time or another. Even ugly broads like me need their sex.”
Paul looked at her. Sal wasn't ugly, but even in place where females were scarce she was not attractive. It seemed the frontier life she lived had roughened her. Of course she wore no makeup and did nothing with her scraggly, graying hair. But her body had a shapeliness that projected a healthy sexuality. Paul guessed that even the most reluctant sex partner would have a good time. Sal would see to it.
“And if the man doesn't agree?”
“I've been known to drag a man out of his own house. Sometimes when his wife is watching. No one has ever complained.”
Sara listened, enthralled as the giantess casually talked about sex as if it was the most natural thing in the world. And then she looked at Ben, hunched over his beer, looking like a condemned man. His buddies came over one by one to offer their condolences. Or congratulations, depending on their own experiences with Sal.
“Sal,” Sara said suddenly. “Arm wrestle me. Right now. I challenge you.”
Sal looked at Sara as though seeing her for the first time.
“Honey, I don't wrestle women. Plus, that's not how it works around here.”
“Just this once, make an exception. The guys in the saloon would love it.” She stood up on a chair and addressed the bar. “Everyone! I just challenged Sal to arm wrestle. What do you think?”
The whole place whooped as one. Now here was something different.
Sal flushed, then finished her beer. “You don't know what you're doing,” she said to Sara under her breath. Then she stood and walked purposefully to the wrestling table.
Sara hopped down from the chair and raced over to join Sal. Paul did nothing to stop them, hoping this would be a nice little diversion and nothing more. Sal and Sara joined hands. As if on cue, the bartender once again took his post.
“Are you ready? Set? Aaaaaaand - go!”
Sal made it clear at once this was no contest. She easily overpowered Sara and banged her hand against the table. Then she lifted it and banged it again. And again. All the while holding the smaller woman's hand in a crushing grip. Paul noticed with alarm the look on Sara's face, of pure panic and increasing pain. She began to cry as her punishment continued.
Both Paul and the bartender reached Sal at the same time. Paul tried to pry the hands apart as the bartender, evidently the only one who Sal would listen to, beseeched her to relent. Finally Sal slumped back and sat on the ground, breathing hard.
The place was now deathly quiet. Sal looked over at Ben and motioned him to her side. “Ben, you're the EMT around here. Take this young lady to the hospital, will you?”
Ben, now off the hook, seemed happy to comply.
The x-rays performed at Fairbanks General Hospital showed that Sara's hand was broken in two places. Doctors gave her painkillers and wrapped her entire right hand in an enormous cast.
Paul had Ben return to pick up the Camry and deliver it to the hospital, tipping him twenty-five dollars for his trouble. As he waited for Sara to be released, he thought back over the events of the night. Sal was not what she seemed at first. Evidently she was a bully who took advantage of her size and strength and was so jealous of attention that she readily injured Sara, whom she perceived as her competition. And what really bothered Paul is that the bully seemed impervious to guilt.
Sara came out of the emergency room with her new cast and a woebegone expression. Paul put his arm around her waist and led her out, talking softly all the while.
Her held her car door open and shut it after she got in. When he was installed next to her, he delayed starting the car and looked at Sara, who now had a new tear running down her cheek. “Paul, she hurt me. I can't go back there, and I can't do my job. How can I take pictures with this?” She held up her bad hand. “This is a disaster. I just want to go home.”
“Sara, whatever you want to do is fine with me. I'll even take you to the cops if you want. But let's take a day or two to figure things out. We can stay here and rest, take a day trip, or even go someplace else. Don't worry about photography, okay?
Sara wiped away the tear and tried to smile. “Okay.”
The next day as they moved about town, Paul fancied that people were staring at him and Sara. She had decided not to press charges, but Paul wondered if there would be any real justice if she did. Sal had friends everywhere, it seemed. When they had trouble getting service in a downtown greasy spoon, the couple left in a huff, settling for a fast food drive-through for their dinner.
As they munched their burgers and fries in the parking lot, Paul spoke to Sara.
“I have an idea. Let's blow this town and see the real Alaska. No theme parks or cliquey saloons. Let's go see a glacier, grizzly bears, elk, deer. Let's swim in a cold mountain stream. Let's take a plane ride around Mount McKinley. We'll drive everywhere we can drive and finish up in Anchorage, have a four-star dinner and head for home.”
The next day, Paul called his boss and all was arranged. They left Fairbanks right away.
It was even better than Paul had described it. The scenery was incredibly breathtaking, the air crisp, even the weather was cooperating. There was so much to see and do that Sara forgot all about her hand. She even resumed taking pictures, even though she knew they could never do justice to this amazing place. Paul became her assistant, carrying her equipment and taking a few shots himself. Sara sometimes lined up the shots and had Paul hold the camera and shoot. He learned fast.
They stayed in hotels, motels, camps and hostels. Even the most primitive lodging took on a kind of magic. Discomfort didn't matter. Fun was the key word.
They did have their four-star dinner in Anchorage, a large and modern city, and flew out the next day. It didn't occur to Sara to ask where they were going until they were high in the air.
“Oh. Santa Rosa, California,” he said casually, as though he had forgotten to mention it.
San Francisco International Airport was abuzz with activity. Paul and Sara clutched their take-on luggage and strolled down the endless halls, taking in the throngs of people with their eclectic clothing and customs. The couple so much wanted to stay and see the city, but their Alaskan interlude was long and it was time to return to work. Sara's hand, no longer in a cast, was well on the mend, and she could now lift and operate any of her cameras. Paul still helped her as much as he could.
So it was off to the nearest rental place, and the best Paul could get was a Buick Skylark, an economy midsize. Sara didn't care about the model, but she did insist on a CD player.
They headed north on highway 101 and marveled at this new kind of scenery: ocean views from the Golden Gate Bridge, the quaint towns of Northern California, the hills and cliffs and clear, dry air.
It was about ninety minutes to Santa Rosa, a medium-sized city nestled between Napa and Sonoma counties. The main street had an old fashioned, frozen in time appearance. As they drove down it, Paul saw a place that sold Western boots.
“I've always wanted a pair of those,” he said wistfully.
The place they were headed was in the outskirts, along the road to Healdsburg. But they soon found it, a two-story duplex in a wooded area.
“A duplex,” Sara said. “I wonder who lives in the other half.”
“I don't know. Let's find out,” he answered as he swung in the drive.
There were no numbers on the door so Paul knocked on the left one. Momentarily a fortyish Asian woman, pleasingly plump and attractive, answered it. She stood in the doorway and looked questioningly at Paul and at Sara, standing just behind him.
“My name is Paul…” he began, and ran down the introduction as he'd done so many times before. When he had finished, Pearl, the woman, spoke.
“Well, you see, I'm Shirley's friend and neighbor. I was here when she moved to the duplex three years ago. That was before she grew. Now she's seventeen feet tall and spends most of her time inside. I kind of take care of her.”
“That's nice,” Sara said.
“There's a reason for that. We're lovers, too.”
Neither Paul nor Sara had a comeback for that. They all stood awkwardly on the front steps, then Pearl remembered her manners. “Anyway, come on in. Shirley should be up from her nap soon, and you can meet her.”
They all went inside Pearl's decorated apartment and sat on classy furniture. There was no sign of Shirley. But a picture album lay on the coffee table, and Pearl showed the couple some pictures of herself and the normal sized Shirley. Evidently Pearl had spoken the truth; they were friends even before the growth. Shirley was an ethereal blonde, attractive and delicate. She looked to be late thirties or early forties.
A voice issued from the back of the apartment. “Pearl? I'm up now. Where are you?”
“Right here. I'll be there in a sec.” Pearl explained to Paul and Sara. “Shirley never comes in here - not roomy enough. Her place has hardly any furniture, except a big bed. So I always visit here in there. Excuse me for a minute.”
Pearl went into parts unknown to converse with the unseen giantess Shirley. Paul was getting nervous. The had encountered one lesbian giantess before, the one in Maine, and she had taken a liking to Sara. Paul had never been told exactly what transpired that night, although it was his distinct impression that Sara was as straight as he was. Paul sat on the couch and listened hard for a fragment of conversation.
Finally Pearl returned. “Shirley sleeps in the nude. She's throwing something on right now, though. We can go in very soon.”
Now it was Sara's turn to be nervous. While they were sitting with Pearl, Sara felt the Asian woman's eyes upon her and felt a certain vibe, as if feeling her out. Sara tried to imagine Pearl as a giantess. She would be a nice one, she thought.
They all heard the voice again, and Pearl said, “It's time.” The apartment joined the other one near the kitchen. They followed Pearl through a large doorway and into another world. Pearl was right, there was very little furniture. Books and candles lay scattered on the floor, shelves or side tables. But there was plenty of room for Shirley.
The giantess herself was sitting on some pillows on the living room floor. Several paintings lined the walls - Paul would later learn that she had painted them herself. And Shirley smiled as she indicated that her guests should sit right by her.
Paul noticed that she seemed very free about her body. Her breasts were clearly visible in her diaphanous robe, and it seemed she did not wear underwear. But Paul couldn't be sure about that. Pearl had raided Shirley's fridge and returned with a gallon jug of white wine and some glasses. She filled three of the glasses for herself and the visitors, then handed the whole jug to Shirley. The thin but tall woman took it and lifted it to her lips, taking a large amount of the bottle and swishing it around her mouth before swallowing it.
The gathering took on the atmosphere of a party, with Paul and Sara listening with rapt attention to everything Shirley said. She lived a quiet life, she told them. She taught college art courses and painted as well. Pearl was one of her students, and was the one who helped her get this place. Shirley moved in and the friendship grew from there. But then Shirley grew; she gave up her day job and concentrated on her painting. She had sold quite a few, Pearl said.
“So, you make your living with your paintings?” Paul asked.
“Not exactly. I have some savings, and Pearl's a trust fund baby. Between us we do okay.”
“Ah, I see.” Paul had met many giantesses, and money was usually an issue. But not in this case. It made him glad that the Inspector would not have to get involved this time.
But Paul snapped out of his contemplation when he noticed that Sara was now between the giantess and Pearl. Shirley was rubbing Sara's back with her delicate fingertips, while Pearl leaned in over her as she talked to her lover. Sara seemed comfortable; it was like three girlfriends talking together. Paul suddenly felt odd man out.
Pearl picked up on it. “Paul, I'm sorry if we've taken the conversation in a girly direction. You can go and come back if you like, or, you can stick around to see what develops. We'd be happy if you joined us. Your choice.”
“Join you? In what?”
Sara cleared her throat and spoke quietly to Paul. “Lovemaking, Paul. Love in the afternoon. Don't worry about me, I'll be fine. And you can stay. Might even make it more interesting.”
Paul was shocked, but he let Sara have her way. He trusted her common sense, and felt sure she was in good hands. He decided to go find a room for the night. Just for himself.
After securing a room he drove around the town, all the while thinking of Sara. What was going on in there? He has a strong impulse to go look through the window, to be a fly on the wall. But he had made his choice. Better to give them privacy.
He had a solitary dinner, then back to the motel. Dark thoughts invaded. What really was going on with Sara? Had she eaten? Was she being held against her will? Paul had to find out. He got in the car and raced back to the duplex. This time, he knocked directly on Shirley's door.
Sara herself came to the door, wrapped in one of Pearl's colorful floor length robes. She was smiling, and her hair was pleasantly tousled.
“Hi Paul. What's up?” She also sounded a little tipsy from the wine.
“Just checking. I was worried about you.”
“Then you should have stayed! Shirley thinks you're hot.”
“She does? Then she's…a bi?”
“Yes, Paul. She has an ex-husband who still visits her now and then. And yes, they still have sex.”
Paul almost asked Sara where she stood on the sexual spectrum, but prevented himself. In any case, Pearl was now standing behind Sara wearing a huge grin.
“Paul, we told you you could stay. Come in, for heaven's sake. That is, if you don't mind sleeping with us.”
Paul wouldn't mind a bit. But with Sara as part of the equation…well, he wasn't ready for that. He just didn't think of her that way. As least he didn't think he did. Or did he? It was all very confusing.
“Better get back. Goodnight, Sara.”
“Goodnight. Come back for breakfast.”
Breakfast was a communal affair on Shirley's back deck. The California sun shone down on the four friends as they noshed on bagels, orange juice, coffee and muffins. A view of gentle meadows with a fringe of woodland extended back from the duplex, the neighboring houses nowhere in sight.
“This is a beautiful spot,” Paul said. “I bet you do your painting from here.”
“Sometimes I do, Paul. It is peaceful. But I often come here just to think, about the growth, and everything.” As she spoke, she slipped behind Paul and wrapped both arms around him. “You don't know what you missed last night,” she said.
Paul made no move, but accepted the giantess's arms without complaint. In fact, Shirley's gentle touch had a serene effect on him.
Sara, across the deck, mouthed the words, “I told you.”
It would have been tempting to stay in Santa Rosa for a week or two, to see how things would have progressed with Pearl and Shirley in their freewheeling love nest. But it was time to get on with the project. Both women came out to see them off.
“Goodbye Paul, goodbye Sara. Please visit us again soon.”
“Very soon,” added Pearl with a sad look.
Sara was almost in tears. “I won't forget you.”
Paul shook hands with both women, then Shirley grabbed him for a passionate smooch. When she released him, most of his face was wet. “Oh! Sorry!” she said, and patted his face with her sleeve. Sara came forward and kissed both ladies' cheeks, then hugged them.
Hard as it was to break away, the car's engine was running and they had a destination in mind: Reno, Nevada.
On the long drive from Santa Rosa to Reno, Sara had several hours to think about her night. In the car, with her eyes closed, Paul thought she was napping, but instead she was deep in thought. Should she share her story with Paul? She did trust him not to publish private information, but now did not seem the time. She still needed to sort the information out, process it. How did she feel about that night, anyway?
She felt pretty good about it. Sara had done things with those two women she had never done before, not even with Sylvia in Maine. There, it had been mainly a nightlong sleep over and girl talk. The talk helped add perspective to her travels and gave Sara an insight to the problems of giant women.
But in Santa Rosa, it was sex. Not just sex, but that formed the foundation of the experience. Sara felt safe, accepted, and this led her to trust her two companions.
Shirley and Pearl made sure Sara was comfortable, then let her watch the two of them begin lovemaking. All of their clothes came off, and Sara was startled to see the women kissing and caressing each other. They took turns performing oral sex. Shirley was gentle with her much smaller lover. Sara could see this was a deep relationship, and wondered if her being there was the right thing.
Pearl made the first move, inviting Sara over to Shirley's body. She showed Sara how to touch and please the giantess, who made no sudden moves and smiled broadly to Sara's tentative touch. Then Pearl told Sara to lie down, and rubbed her shoulders as Shirley got into position between Sara's legs. For such a large tongue, it felt oddly tiny inside Sara. Sara closed her eyes and let herself be touched and caressed by the two women for what seemed like hours.
Then Pearl began to rub Sara's nipples as Shirley licked with more purpose. In less than a minute, Sara climaxed, her orgasm going on and on.
After quite a long time, the three woman collapsed in a heap on Shirley's bed. They all held each other in a loving fashion until they fell asleep. Sara woke up first, took a shower and joined the women for breakfast. Paul walked in a few minutes later.
Her daydream over, Sara looked at Paul, who was concentrating on the road. Would this be a good time to tell him?
Then Sara realized she was very tired and took a nap for real.
Reno was a gambling town, like a little Las Vegas. It had its natural charms as well. Lake Tahoe was nearby, as well as the Toyabe National Forest. But it was the city of Reno where Paul and Sara were headed.
Paul had been told of a retired showgirl, Tina, who had come to Reno to live with her older sister, Louise. Tina was not old, perhaps thirty-five, but she had passed the age for dancing two shows nightly, and was not averse to other ways of making a living. She had found work in a local car dealership as a receptionist. Then the growth began. Her boss liked her and wanted her to stay. Customers who entered the showroom with car buying on their minds soon found themselves under the spell of the pretty, buxom brunette in the office.
She had grown to ten feet before she decided to quit. Louise tried to talk her out of it, but Tina was adamant. She would work somewhere, just not in the public view.
“But you used to be a dancer,” Louise would point out. “Thousands of people used to see you, night after night!'
“Not all by myself. I don't like being the complete center of attention. Besides, I was hurting car sales. Leonard says I can come back when I get better.”
Tina, however, did not get better; she grew another eleven feet. No one, especially Tina or her sister, knew where a twenty-one foot woman could apply for work.
Paul and Sara pulled up to Louise's spacious home in a nice neighborhood. The house was a one-story, with a below ground pool out back. No one answered Paul's knock, so the couple went out to the pool where they could hear voices.
Tina was laying by the length of the rectangular pool. Louise was in a chaise lounge a short distance away. Tina was talking to her sister while dipping her large hand in the water and making waves. They both saw Paul and Sara at the same time.
“Well, hiya,” said Tina. “You're the ones from the magazine. You know who I am; this is my sister, Louise.”
Louise stood up. “Please, pull up some chairs. We've been expecting you.”
They talked for an hour. Paul was impressed by both sisters' beauty and poise, and they looked great in their bathing suits. Paul never did ask where Tina got hers. But they chatted about various things as Sara took a few pictures. Tina agreed to a full photo shoot before they left.
“By the way, where are you staying?” Tina asked.
“Haven't found a place yet,” answered Sara. “Can you recommend one around here?”
Louise knew of an inexpensive motel right down the road. After a little more small talk, Paul and Sara took their leave.
“What do you make of those two?” said Paul. “They seem so friendly and well adjusted.”
“They do get along, don't they? I'd love to hear more about Tina's show business days. I wonder why she doesn't go back to it.”
Paul shrugged. “Sometime when people retire they really retire.”
The found the motel and checked in. It was actually a nice place for the money and had a pool almost as large as Louise's.
“Care for a swim before dinner?” said Paul.
They unpacked, changed and met at the pool at five-thirty. It was all theirs. The sun was setting and all that was needed was a strong drink to sip. The sight of Sara in her bikini stunned Paul; it was the skimpiest clothing he'd ever seen her. And Paul himself looked good. They glanced at each other, smiled, then jumped into the warm water.
Sara swam a few laps then came right up to Paul, who was treading water. “Paul, imagine if I was Tina's size. Would you still swim with me?”
“Hmm. Not sure. You might take advantage of me.” Paul grinned. He liked where this was going.
“I might.” She went under water and surfaced again, enjoying the feel of water on her face.
A few minutes later they came out of the pool and dried themselves off. Paul took Sara to a steak place and they got back to the motel at an early hour. Paul walked Sara to her door. “Goodnight.”
“Goodnight,” she replied, then came to Paul and kissed him on the cheek. Then she darted away. Paul stood there stupidly, considered rapping on her door, then thought better of it and went off to his own room.
The next morning was a partly cloudy day, just right for photographs. Paul and Sara found the two sisters right where they had left them the day before. No one else was in sight.
After exchanging pleasantries with the sisters, Sara began to set up. Tina had a question for her.
“I know that NewsWorld is a family magazine. But you would like to take a few nude shots? I've done a little modeling before and I'd like to see if I still have it.”
Oh, you still have it, Sara thought. “Sure. Want me to kick Paul out?”
Tina smiled. “Oh, no. He can stay.” She looked over and Paul and winked at him. Paul blushed.
While Sara was photographing Tina, Louise took Paul inside and showed him around the house. He showed her several photos, many family type but some professional ones of Tina in her showgirl costumes. Paul took notes as she talked about the old days, and whatever came to mind. Then Louise surprised Paul with a question.
“Paul, I wonder. Are you and the young lady outside involved with each other?”
“Well, we've become good friends and we do kid around. But no, we're not really involved.”
Louise smiled. “Good. In that case, why don't we let those two out there finish their business. I want to take you to lunch.”
“Really?” Paul could not think of a reason to turn down Louise's invitation, except that it might seem rude to Sara or even Tina, who he had really come to see. But Louise's eyes sparkled as she looked at Paul, and she stood close to him wearing nothing but a tee shirt over her swimsuit. He was definitely attracted. “Yes, thanks.”
Louise went upstairs to change, then came down very soon in a stunning dress. She has also fixed up her light brown hair and put on a little makeup. She was a knockout.
They went out the back way and Louise called to her sister. “We're going to Beggar's Banquet. I left plenty of food inside for you. See you in two hours.” Tina seemed perfectly fine with this arrangement, but Paul detected a strange look from Sara. He dismissed it though, and followed Louise to her car.
Lunch at Louise's favorite restaurant was a pleasant experience for Paul. It wasn't often that attractive women asked him to lunch. In the back of his mind, however, he couldn't help but feel that this woman wanted something from him.
They both said no to dessert, and since Louise had grabbed the check, all that was left to do was wait for the receipt. Paul had run out of conversation, but Louise had something to say.
“Paul, let's go see your motel room.”
“Why?” was all Paul could think to reply.
She looked at him earnestly with a hint of a smile, but did not answer.
“Oh,” said Paul. “I'm not sure that's a good idea. I do have to interview your sister, you know.”
“But you told me that Sara has filled in for you before, and did a great job. Get the details from her later.”
Paul had no answer to this. It couldn't hurt, could it?
“All right, Louise. After you.”
The receipt had come back. Louise signed it, and was on her feet in seconds. She seemed to drive to the motel very fast and in no time they were sitting on Paul's bed.
“Paul, you've interviewed lots of giant women. Tell you what, I'm going to be your giant woman tonight. Not twenty-one feet, not forty. I'm seventy five feet tall.”
Paul looked at her. “You want to roleplay with me?”
“Yes, I want to roleplay. I'm your giantess, and you are my tiny man. Now strip and lay on the floor.”
Paul did as he was told, and an odd excitement filled his body. He was agreeing to something where the outcome was uncertain, but at least he could call a halt to things if they got too rough. As Paul lay on the floor, Louise slipped off her dress and undid her bra, leaving panties on for now. Then she stood right over Paul so he could look up into flared nostrils just above full breasts. The sight turned him on, incredibly so.
“Little man, what did I tell you about escaping from my bedroom? You will be punished. Come over here, little man.” Louise swung her hips around to show him her seemingly colossal ass. She then peeled the panties down until her ass cheeks loomed over Paul. She lowered herself down slowly into his face and sat there, nearly smothering Paul. He did not resist.
She took his member, which had enlarged nicely, and stroked it. Then she got up fast and positioned herself for intercourse. Giantess on top. She leaned in and kissed Paul's face with loud slurping sounds as a real giantess might do. Then she slipped Paul into her and began the elegant slow motion torture that would bring a fine conclusion to the lovemaking.
Louise the giantess lay on Paul for several minutes, getting heavier all the time, until she finally slid off to his side. She grabbed Paul with strong hands and pulled herself towards him, setting her head in his shoulder and her shapely leg over his. “Stay with me, little man. You're mine, now.”
Paul had to admit that he'd never experience an orgasm like that one. It was something that might have been building up in him for a long time, since the start of this project. He just didn't know. But he did know he had to express his gratitude to Louise.
“Thank you,” he finally said.
Louise looked up and kissed him. “You're welcome. Just for that, I won't make you sleep in the cage tonight.”
They were silent on the ride back to Louise's house. Paul sank back into his seat in a pleasant glow. Louise felt the same. There was no need for words.
When they arrived, Tina and Sara were in the house, fixing dinner. Or actually, Sara was fixing dinner while Tina told her where to find things in the kitchen. They both looked at the returning couple in admiration, and in Sara's case, perhaps some jealousy. But she said nothing while Tina pumped her sister for details about her afternoon.
“Tell you later, sis,” was all Louise would say. The small talk continued until dinner was ready.
At the table, three of them sat in chairs and Tina sat on a large mat of some sort. Even so her head nearly brushed the ceiling. Paul noticed that she ate very little.
“Yes, I have been thinking about modeling. As I said before, I've done a little and I'd like to do more. I don't think I'm too old for that like I am for dancing. And with this publicity we're about to get (she winked at Sara), I might have a better chance to get jobs.”
“That's a good plan, Tina,” said Paul. “I hope it all works out for you.”
She gave Paul a dazzling smile that reminded her of Louise back in the motel room. Paul became aroused as if he were right back there. He looked at Louise to see if she noticed, but she was buttering some Italian bread. Idly, he wondered what a threesome would be like. Himself, one real giantess, and one imaginary one. It might just blow his mind.
Paul hated to leave the sisters' house in Reno but he was tired and he and Sara had to get back. It had been a full day. He drove the car back while Sara sat silently in the passenger seat.
“You know, Sara,” Paul said. It seems like it's time to leave the west. I'd like to do one more place out here, and then head to more southern climes.”
“Sure, Paul. Whatever.” Her tone was flat. She sounded very tired to Paul.
The next morning they booked a flight to South Dakota, the last western state they had planned to visit. Its proximity to Nebraska gave a psychological lift to them both. Their friend Ellen, they knew, was nearby.
The plane arrived in Rapid City at 11:45 a.m. They did the usual car rental and soon were driving south through some of the most beautiful scenery they had encountered so far. Rolling hills, some with herds of bison grazing, interrupted by jagged rock formations that seem to pop up from nowhere. Sara couldn't sleep it was so intoxicating.
“Paul, where are we? This country is amazing.”
“The Black Hills, and we're heading south to Custer State Park. Great, isn't it? And I hear the Badlands are even better.”
Finally in late afternoon, they entered the park. Here the rock formations were even stranger than before, and the bison more plentiful. Paul was tempted to pull over when he spotted some close to the road, but the day was ending and he harbored a vague fear of being trampled by the shaggy beasts.
They arrived at the park headquarters and approached the information desk.
“Hello,” he asked the female clerk. “I understand you have a Katey Dunn working here. Is she on duty now?”
“I'll go check,” she said and left her post. Sara looked around at the displays; the place resembled a small museum. Mostly geological in nature, but some having to do with the Indians and the first settlers. Evidently there had been a gold rush here.
The clerk came back. “She on again at 10 a.m. tomorrow, at the East gate. She does the campfire presentation too; that's at six in the evening.”
“Thank you,” said Paul as he jotted down the information. “Sara, lets find a bed and a bath. I think we're both feeling a little grungy.”
“Speak for yourself,” she said with a smile.
They found a place in the very small town of Hermosa. Besides the motels, there were a few restaurants, gas stations and gift shops; all stuffed with Black Hills souvenirs. They were so tired they settled for fast food before returning early to their rooms. Paul took a short walk, returned and took the promised bath. Sara just went to bed.
In the morning, Paul and Sara enjoyed the lackadaisical feel in the air as they slowly did their tasks. They loaded the car with everything they would need including all of Sara's cameras and Paul's notebooks. They always kept those things in the motel, and never alone in the rented cars.
After a luxurious breakfast, Paul pointed the car to the East gate of the park, and on the way was treated to a whole new view of the country. Paul felt he could spend several days here and still not see everything.
They arrived at the gate, paid an entrance fee to yet another park employee and found the other park's other visitor center. There was no sign of a giantess, so Paul asked the park manager, a man sitting in the only private office in the building. The nameplate on the desk said Jason Morrissey
“So you're the NewsWorld people. Glad to have you hear. Yes, Katey is on patrol right now but I expect her back soon.”
“That's great, Mr. Morrissey. Perhaps we can come back to you for some background, even get a few pictures.” He gestured towards Sara.
“Sure, sure. Great to see the place in a national magazine. And Katey is very happy here, as you'll find out. Rangering is about the most perfect job there is.”
They went outside to wait for the giantess. Paul realized that he had forgotten to ask some basic questions, such as how tall she was. But then he figured that working outside as she did, size would not be an issue.
A young woman wearing a park uniform, around ten feet tall, emerged from one of the walking trails. She was slight, but attractive and walked with authority. The giantess walked right up to Paul, who stepped back involuntarily.
“Mr. Morrissey told me where to find you. I'm Katey. Would you mind walking as we talk? I still have one more trail to cover.”
Katey talked nonstop, breaking off only to ask if a stray visitor needed help or had any questions. Paul was impressed with Katey's knowledge of the area, its history, the flora and fauna. She answered every question professionally and guided people efficiently. Sara took an occasional shot of Katey with the visitors.
But Paul got his story. Katey was around twenty-three, had worked in the park since she was a teenager. In the winters she waited tables, but from March to October she could be found here, doing what she loved. Her growth had occurred a few months before, just as the park season was gearing up. Her bosses had no trouble accepting the new Katey, and in fact had provided funds to have new uniforms custom made for her. Everyone, it seemed, liked Katey.
“Do you date?” Paul asked. “Any boyfriends?”
“Not as such. I like to hike, even on my days off. I have a group of friends that go together, both sexes, and we just have fun. But a real date, like in a restaurant? No. Even the place I used to work wouldn't let me in like this. I eat mostly in my apartment or in the back of the dining hall at headquarters.”
This struck both Paul and Sara as odd. Here was a friendly and valued member of the workforce, with many friends, and she couldn't even sit down for a hamburger somewhere.
“When's your next day off?”
“Tomorrow. Not sure what I'm doing; I'm pretty spur-of-the-moment.” And she gave Paul a smile that melted his heart.
Paul and Sara would have liked to spend the day with Katey, but she had work to do. “Come back for the campfire tonight,” Katey called out as they walked away.
Paul and Sara spent the rest of the day catching up on laundry and other tasks. Sara took a nap as well. They decided to have an early dinner/late lunch in view of the campfire.
When they arrived back at Custer State Park, people were already gathering for the campfire. A crude ring of wooden benches surrounded a fire pit with a lectern that stood to one side. Moms, dads and kids crowded in for the evening's entertainment. When all were assembled, Ranger Dunn strode to the lectern, drawing gasps from those who had not yet seen the ten foot tall woman. Katey smiled at the assemblage, including Paul sitting in the back row. Sara stood in another area with cameras ready.
“Good evening, campers!” said Katey. “Are you all enjoying your stay?”
“Yes,” was the consensus of the crowd, already in the palm of her hand.
As Paul had seen before, Katey had a fine grasp of all things about the park, and she talked knowledgeably about them. She even brought out some cages with parkland critters inside. They were docile to Katey's touch. Then the ranger threw it open to questions, which she answered concisely and with humor. Paul had not enjoyed a park as much in years. He wondered if Sara was enjoying it too.
She was, but she focused on her work for most of the talk, making sure to get shots of the giantess holding animals, or chatting with a little boy or girl. Sara knew this would add a human quality to the next published article in the series.
“And that's my presentation. Thanks, everyone, and happy camping!” A round of applause, then the crowd drifted away, leaving only Paul and Sara. Katey turned her attention to the fire, making sure it was out by pouring a pail of cold water to the embers, then helping an assistant clear away the animal cages. When she finished, she came over to where Paul was and sat next to him.
“Did you like the show, Paul?” she asked.
“Of course. I could tell it was going to be wonderful.”
“Yes,” added Sara, who set her equipment on the next bench and sat. “It really was. I learned so much.”
Katey inclined her head and smiled. She was about to say something to Paul, then changed her mind. She had a funny expression. Paul was now curious.
“Katey, what is it? You wanted to tell me something?”
An internal struggle raged inside Katey. Then she made her decision.
“Yeah, well, the thing is…I'm going on a date!”
Paul and Sara looked at each other. “That's great, Katey. Tell us more,” said Sara.
“Well, you asked me if I had been on dates, and I said no. That got me thinking. I ran into one of the guys in my group today - he's a ranger too - and we got to talking about things, and then…”
“We're going out to dinner, then bowling. I can't believe it.”
Paul could believe it. Katey, a pretty young woman who would turn heads even if she wasn't ten feet, would be getting stares everywhere she went. And handling it beautifully. He could not imagine anything going wrong.
“Well, said Paul, “we have to leave tomorrow. Back to New York to work on the next article. I wish you well, Katey.”
The young giantess looked so happy that Paul almost kissed her himself. But he'd leave that pleasure to the lucky young guy who was smart enough and perhaps brave enough to ask her out.
The flight back to New York was shorter than the previous one and in no time at all they were back in Kenneth's office. This time there was no hurry, they could take the time to make the article as good as the first. Or better.
Kenneth spoke to them about the New England giantesses they had interview or encountered. “The Inspector has reported that the New Hampshire woman is now in custody, as is her roommate. Turns out she has raped several of the male students of the college as well as one female one. It doesn't look good. It might be a repeat of the Montana situation, although this Natalie really does seem like a bad one.”
“That's too bad. I wish there were something we could do.” Paul spread his hands.
“I agree. Then there is the case of the Waldrons in Vermont. It has been well established that the father drinks and the mother often neglects her children. She is being watched closely by the state's Social Services, and so far, the children seem to be doing fine. Shame we don't have any pictures of them.”
“I'm afraid she forbid it,” said Sara.
“Which bring us to Moon Blossom. Paul, finding this woman was a stroke of luck. I love what you've written; you seem to have made some kind of spiritual connection with her. Maybe we can follow up on her for Part 3.”
Paul smiled at the memory of his night with Moon Blossom. It is possible that she would have invited any visiting male to stay in her bed, not just him, but that didn't diminish the way he felt about her. Sadly, he thought, nothing about that could appear in the family-friendly magazine.
“Yes, I think we have a great article here. And great photos too,” concluded Kenneth.
Another thought struck Paul. “What about Joanne? She was suing to get back on the police force.”
Kenneth frowned. “No progress there yet. She and her lawyer are counting on the attention this article will bring, so let's do it right. See you both back here tomorrow morning.”
It took about three days of work to get the article in shape. Then Paul and Sara went wearily back to their apartments and slept for two days. Another couple of days to decompress, and then back to the airport.
Paul and Sara decided to share a ride there - it took the edge off of their first day jitters. Besides, the magazine offered to pay for the ride. So instead of fighting traffic they relaxed in leather seats and half-dozed on the way to the airport.
Sara was characteristically nervous. “Paul, you have the tickets. Where are they for? Where do we go next?”
Paul smiled. “Been to Florida lately?”
“You're kidding. I love Florida. But it's August - won't it be hot down there?”
Paul gave a little shrug. “Not as hot as Arizona.”
They flew to Tampa Airport, rented a nice, air-conditioned car, and headed for an area of the city near the University of South Florida. It was here that several college students lived off campus, the roads were lined with apartment complexes that served as homes for many of the city's single and young married workers.
As Paul drove past palm trees and canals, he spoke to Sara. “This may or may not be a pleasant one. We're dealing with an apartment manager this time. She's in her late twenties and has not reacted well to the growth. She's said to be intimidating her tenants, chasing them down for late rent, even at the swimming pool. She's come close to using physical force.”
“How large is she?”
“This report says thirty-five feet.” Sara fell silent. She felt the old fear come rushing back. She preferred the smaller giantesses - since Kansas, the behemoths made her sweat. But maybe this would work out all right.
They had arrived at the office of the complex, but instead of going inside, Paul had another idea. “Sara, let's change into shorts and tee shirts, then hang out by the pool. Maybe someone there can tell us about this Magda.” Sara nodded and reached for her bag.
Minutes later, they walked to the pool located across the parking lot and behind some shrubbery. A few people were there, some single women, a young mom with her baby son, and a young man who worked nights; all soaking up some sun. Nobody paid any attention to Paul and Sara since this was a very large complex and new people showed up every day.
They sat within ten feet of the cluster of people and casually listened in on the women's conversation.
“I ran into Magda again last night. She tried to drag me into her office for a drink. Poor thing, I think she's lonely.”
The woman next to her answered. “Yes, whenever I go in there she won't let me leave. I'm worried about her - she needs medical attention.”
The original speaker again. “And I even heard she offered a male tenant a break in the rent if he came home with her. Talk about pathetic.”
Another woman, the one with the baby, looked over at the only young man. “Hey Louis, is that true? What have you heard?”
The young man pushed up his sunglasses and sat up, smiling.
“Well I usually pay my rent when Mabel is there. But last time, I got the day wrong and ended up with Magda. She looked me up and down, then suggested we ought to get together sometime. But no way. She's just not my type. She doesn't take care of herself, and my God, that face. I'm not that desperate.”
Paul decided it was time to make his move. “Hi, my name is Paul and this is Sara. We just got here. I haven't met this Magda but I'm sure I will. What is she like?”
The young man spoke first. “Hi Paul. I'm Louis.” He pronounced it “Louie.”
“First of all, Magda used to be kind of nice, a real wallflower. Not attractive, kind of dumpy and a strange, intense face. But we all kind of liked her. Then she grew. And grew and grew. She had to move out of her apartment and live in a converted outbuilding down the road. She's the assistant manager, and since she's so big; Mabel had her chasing down the late payers.”
A woman spoke. “And she's no longer nice. Once she followed a guy to his car, then stood in the way so he couldn't leave. He almost called the cops.”
Her friend started to speak. “Then there's the time…oh God, here she comes!”
Everyone went quiet. The air became electric as Paul and Sara waited for the next move.
The giantess burst through the fringe of shrubs and strolled past the group of pool people. She walked the length of the pool, wearing a way-too-tight bathing suit - it seemed she was poured into it. Luckily it was a one piece. The suit did little to hide her rolls of fat or the cellulite on her legs. Her breasts were large and saggy, and her large head sported a rat's nest of brown curly hair. Her eyes were intense and her curved nose and mouth with corners pulled down made her look slightly sinister.
She glanced at the group, turned her back and pulled some clinging material out of the crack of her ass. Then she parted her legs and scratched the inside of her thighs. Impulsively, she jumped into the water, making an enormous splash, paddled around for a bit, then came to the edge of the pool closest to Paul. The water she displaced lapped onto the concrete walkway.
The eyes in the enormous head glared at Paul, then Sara, then back to Paul. “I don't know you,” she growled. “Do you live here?”
“No, we don't. But we've come a long way to meet you. I'm Paul and this is Sara; we're from NewsWorld magazine.”
The apartment residents looked at Paul in surprise, since they had assumed he and Sara were new tenants. But now it was Sara who spoke.
“I really like your bathing suit. May I take your picture?”
The giantess stared at her, then her whole face changed. An odd, 'who-me?' expression full of wonder spread across her face. Sara smiled too. She had made a friend of sorts.
Most of the morning played out like a fashion show. While the original group of pool loungers had dispersed quickly, Magda went to change clothes for her photo shoot. She paraded up and down the pool area in poorly fitting clothes, fat bulging here and there, smiling all the while. Paul tried to ask a few questions but it was clear that she saw him as an annoyance, someone holding up her private shoot.
By noon, Sara was exhausted and Paul was famished. They promised Magda they would be in touch and hastily went for the car. But Magda was reluctant. She had been lapping up the attention and wanted to keep the party going. She began to follow the couple in a way that made Paul's blood run cold.
He was ready to drive away when he glanced in the rear view mirror and saw the formidable bulk of the giantess striding up behind them. In a flash, he put the car in reverse, pulled back, then peeled rubber leaving the parking lot. Magda was yelling something, but Paul and Sara couldn't make out the words.
A few miles away, when they had caught their breath, Paul looked at Sara and said, “That was close.”
“Any good pictures, do you think?”
“Hardly any. I wasted lots of film on her. I hope there's at least one usable one.”
As Paul drove north to South Carolina, he thought of all the residents of Magda's apartment complex. They had his sympathy.
It took hours of hard driving to reach Orangeburg in South Carolina, but they finally arrived around ten that night. The one motel in town had plenty of vacancies, and two rooms were easily had. The two grunted good night to each other and went off to sleep deeply until late the next morning.
It was overcast at eleven the next day when they finally started out. First, a nice lunch in town, then off to find the next giantess, a housewife named Clara.
They drove up to a two-story house with a front porch that was right out of Southern Living. It even had a rocking chair. The house was nicely maintained and in a good neighborhood. Sara felt good about the place as she watched Paul ring the bell.
The woman of the house answered. She was eleven to twelve feet tall and bent over to push the screen door open. Unlike Magda, this woman was dressed to kill in a perfectly tailored dress and a string of pearls around her neck. Her glamorous blonde hair was arranged in layers, and carefully blow-dried and sprayed to keep it in place.
“Why come on in, I've been expecting y'all.” Her tone was pure Southern honey, dripping with friendliness and hospitality. “So glad you could come by.”
Paul and Sara followed the giantess to a well-furnished living room and when Clara pointed to the couch, they both sat. Clara herself sat in an extra large wing chair. Paul studied the chair. Was it custom made?
Man, he thought, this was the life.
When the introductions were completed, Paul began the interview. “There are a few things I'd like to ask.”
“Please do,” she replied.
Clara had two children, both in summer camp, and a husband who was currently away on business. Her life was simplified by money. Maids came to do her cleaning. Groceries were brought to the house. A local landscaping firm did yard work. “I almost have too much time on my hands,” she joked. She pronounced hands as “hay-ands.” Paul was enchanted.
“What about friends?” asked Sara when Paul had paused for a minute. “Many visitors?”
A cloud came over Clara's sunny visage. “No, not many lately. They drifted away when I got so huge. I can't blame them. I'm like a monster.”
“Oh, no, no.” Paul was dismayed. Clara was a natural beauty with perfect manners. And her friends, such as they were, has clearly deserted her.
“Anyway,” continued Sara, “I'd love to take your picture. Should we do it inside or out?”
It turned out that Clara was an indoors type of person (she hated having the neighbors stare at her) so indoors it was. Sara then began to set up lights and reflectors to capture Clara at her best. While she was doing it, Clara turned to Paul.
“Paul, I need your help, honey. Come with me to the kitchen.”
Paul followed her as she walked, bent over to the sink, and then turned to face him. Surprised, he almost walked into her massive body. But her arms caught him, and she pulled him close to her. “I know how you feel about me. Kiss me,” she whispered.
He had no trouble kissing the lips of this superior woman, now puckering to meet his. She clutched him with a fervency he could feel, and he let himself be swept away by her. But then he remembered his assignment. Plus, she was married, damn it.
He pulled back. “I can't,” he said.
Clara slackened her arms and regarded Paul sadly. “I know, Paul. But I needed that kiss. It'll keep me going until the kids get back and life goes back to normal. You just don't realize how lonely I've been.”
Paul looked at her. “Actually, I do. I'm sorry, Clara.”
They both returned to the living room where Sara was just about done setting up.
Clara had a bright smile for her. “Now, Sara honey, let's take some pictures!”
As Sara began her long shoot, Paul excused himself to go for a walk.
The South Carolina afternoon passed pleasantly. Paul sat on the porch watching life go by. Nosy passersby stared at his car and then at Paul. Paul stared back at them. He was startled by the sounds of women laughing inside. He wondered if it was time to go back inside. But then Sara came out, followed by Clara. Sara made herself comfortable on a canvas swing while Clara sat on a pile of chaise lounge pillows. She had brought a pitcher of cold lemonade and glasses, which Sara was now filling for them.
Paul took his glass, had a sip and complimented Clara on it. “How did the session go?” he asked.
“Fine, honey. Just fine. I think your little friend here got my best features. But watch out. If I don't like the way I come out in your little magazine, I'm going to come after you.” She looked down at Paul and smiled.
Later, Clara insisted that Paul and Sara spend the night, but he realized he and Sara had already caused a sensation in town just by being there, and didn't want to start rumors that might hurt Clara and her family. Also, Paul was only human. He wasn't sure he could resist temptation a second time. Just before dinnertime, they left for the motel.
Clara stepped into her front yard to wave goodbye, the setting sun brilliantly reflected from her hair. “Bye, y'all, bye! Come see me tomorrow, breakfast time. Don't forget!”
The poor love starved woman, thought Paul, as he watched her get smaller in his mirror.
The next morning, by unanimous decision, Paul and Sara bypassed Clara's house in favor of getting an early start to Virginia Beach.
They arrived after a determined stretch of driving by Paul. Virginia Beach was not the way either Paul or Sara had imagined it. Paul thought it might be a quiet, isolated spot, like some Caribbean island, and Sara thought of the Blue Ridge Mountains, her only image of the state. Virginia Beach was, in fact, a modern city, complete with multilane highways, tolls, traffic jams, and more malls than you could count. The beach itself was cordoned off entirely by huge hotel and motel complexes; all visitors were forced to walk through restaurant or hotel parking lots before they could body surf or lay in the sun.
Paul, after considerable searching, found a place with the word “Vacancy” on the sign, and turned in. The place had not been renovated since the early 1960's by the look of it, but the rates were acceptable. Sara and Paul took their usual two rooms and settled in. “Meet me here in an hour,” said Paul before going into his room.
When Sara did emerge from her room an hour and fifteen minutes later, Paul was dressed in shorts, tee shirt and sneakers.
“Are we walking? Where to?”
Paul consulted a slip of paper sticking out of his notebook. “The Jewish Mother. It's a little restaurant about five blocks from here. We have to go two blocks west before that, though. Could be quite an adventure.”
Sara was up for some exercise, and the salt air was invigorating. She was dressed much like Paul. “Let's go,” she said.
As they walked, Paul told Sara what he knew about their next assignment. “Her name is Honey. The restaurant has four owners, but she's the only manager. Works days. Nine feet tall, and she has to work on kneepads. The other employees have to work around her, and God help them if they get in her way. I hear she can be difficult.”
“Fun,” was all Sara could think to say.
They found the place: a squat, almost square, pure white adobe building with a large sign out front. A plate glass window showed passerby what it looked like inside. Paul walked in first, making a bell above the door ring, and held the door for Sara before looking the place over. It was part deli with a meat counter behind a glass case, and part restaurant, with a few late lunchers enjoying a sandwich with some cole slaw or other side dish.
It all made Paul and Sara hungry. The took a table on their own, one with a full view of the cooks. To their delight, Honey was on duty and berating one of her subordinates.
“What do you call that?” she asked the ashen-faced young man. “I wouldn't feed that to my friends. Move over!” The man shifted to his left and Honey proceeded to take over whatever he had been working on. Paul had worked in restaurants while in high school; he could feel sorry for the unfortunate cook.
A waitress came by and they ordered. As they sipped their ice teas, they kept an eye on Honey. She was silent now and alone in the kitchen. It appeared she was preparing Paul and Sara's lunch now since the place had almost cleared out.
When the sandwiches appeared, Honey disappeared. So Paul's theory was correct. He and Sara ate up quickly in case the giantess left the building before they could finish. Paul signaled the waitress. “Miss, I'd like to speak to Honey, if I could. May we come to the back and talk with her.”
The waitress snapped her gum. “I guess so. I think she's out back.”
The followed the waitress into the back and there was a fuming Honey, still on her knees with her arms up to the elbows in a huge white bucket of salad dressing. “Oh God!” said Honey. “What's going on, Ellie? I don't have time for this.”
Paul did his usual introductions, but Honey did not thaw. She regarded both Paul and Sara with uncertainty. Finally, she rinsed her arms in a nearby sink and dried them with a towel. She found her handbag, fished something out, and tossed it to Paul. It was set of keys.
Paul caught them and looked at them. Before he could ask, Honey said, “My apartment keys. Wait for me there. I'll be another hour or two. Ellie's been there - ask her for directions.”
But Paul was still a little slow - this handing over of house keys to strangers seemed unreal. Sara walked over, took the keys and thanked Honey. The giantess did not answer; instead she cocked her head toward the dining room and started moving towards it. “I got an order.” Then she left the couple alone.
They did ask directions from Ellie, then doubled back to the motel to get the car. The apartment was about two miles away in a nice complex off the highway. It was clean and slightly girly in nature. It appeared that no one else lived there. Paul and Sara sat on the living room couch and read magazines in air-conditioned comfort before Honey finally came home at four thirty. She excused herself to use the bathroom and stayed there for a good twenty minutes.
She came out, refreshed, and said, “I'd stay outta there for a while if I were you.” Then, incredibly, she smiled.
Paul and Sara felt immediately better, as if a huge weight had rolled off their backs.
Notebook and pencil poised, Paul began. “Honey, you seem very large to be working in such a small kitchen. Have you thought of changing jobs, or at least restaurants?”
She shook her red locks and made a 'pff' sound. “It don't matter. The owners pay me pretty well and I kick ass in the kitchen. Literally.”
Paul smiled. “Yes, we saw you today. That other cook didn't look very happy.”
“New guy. Just has to get used to the place - and me. Once he settles down he'll be cool. I invite the crew here to party every Friday night. He'll be here, too.”
Sara just realized it. Beneath this tough broad was a good person. Sort of like Tough Chick but without the jail time. Honey had something about her, assurance, confidence, independence. It was hard to imagine not succeeding.
The interview went on until about six, then Honey brought out a six pack of beer in cans. She handed one each to Paul and Sara, keeping four for herself. She drank two within a minute, then opened a third.
“Honey, we have to leave soon, but I wonder. What will you do tonight, if I may ask.”
“Few more beers. A little TV. Then to bed early. Gotta be to work by eight.”
The life of a giantess, Paul thought. After arranging for Sara to take some pictures at the Jewish Mother the next day, Paul and Sara left Honey to her quiet Wednesday night at home.
After dinner out, Paul and Sara drove home. Paul couldn't get Honey out of his head. “What about her, Sara? A blue collar job, a party at her house once a week, and nights of beer and television. Is that all? What about family, close friends? What about…”
“A man?” Sara's tone was ironic. “Yes, I know what you're thinking. A girl without a steady boyfriend is incomplete. There must be something wrong. Well, I've got news for you Paul. There is nothing wrong.”
Paul was taken aback by this outburst, but there was more to come.
“Really. I haven't had a boyfriend myself for almost six months. And I feel fine. How could I be otherwise? Here I am, traveling the country with a good-looking single guy, a real prince, and we haven't so much as kissed. Oh yes, things couldn't be better.”
They rode in silence. For the life of him, Paul could not think what had gotten into Sara. Walking nearer to Sara's motel door, he paused and looked at her.
“Sara, do you want to talk?”
She looked at him for a moment, then rushed towards him and kissed him deeply. For many seconds she held him there with her lips, then suddenly backed away.
“In the morning. Good night.”
Paul watched her unlock the door, go inside then close it. She did not look back.
But the morning came and no more was said about the strange exchange of the night before. And Sara seemed in high spirits. Paul wondered once more if he would ever figure out the female mind.
When they entered the Jewish Mother, Honey was in her usual spot, this time with a few more white-aproned cooks around her. The new guy was nowhere to be seen.
“Honey!” Paul called out. “Good morning.” The giantess barely looked up, then ignored Paul and went back to her project. Sara maneuvered for a good position, then started taking shots of Honey doing her job. She hoped that one of the four owners didn't pick that one time to visit the restaurant and eject her from the premises. But aside from the occasional flustered waitress, no one seemed to mind.
When Sara was done, they had a choice. They could either eat breakfast at the Jewish Mother or at the Waffle House they had spotted the day before. It was only a half mile or so away.
But Paul knew that Sara loved Belgian waffles, so he bid a hasty goodbye to Honey and left with Sara.
The waffles, for the record, were topped with vanilla ice cream and strawberry syrup.
U.S. Route 13 goes straight north from the Virginia Beach / Norfolk area, across the 17-mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge and into Maryland. The bridge went over the water, then under it through a long, spooky tunnel, then up and over it again. Sara was mesmerized by the whole experience; Paul was busy watching the road.
Eventually they came to dry land once more. Maryland, although one of the mid-Atlantic states, had a decidedly Southern feel. Paul was struck by the roadside signs. They all seemed to be advertising something called “Stuckey's” or a Del-Mar-Va this or Del-Mar-Va that. It was unsettling, and not helped by the highway. First it was a high-speed expressway, then it morphed into a stop-and-go country road at the drop of a hat.
But soon they left the main highway, went west on Rte 363, and headed for a place called Deal Island. To reach it, they drove through a large swamp and through four little towns the hugged Monie Bay. Here, in the town of Deal Island, they would meet their first giantess author.
She was writing a book about her experience, of course. Paul considered that she might be his and Sara's competition if they ever did write their book. Her name was Biddie Barnes, age close to fifty and stood fourteen feet high. Biddie lived with her retired husband Mack who spent much of his time fishing for bay crabs. Biddie stayed home and wrote books. She used to use a typewriter, now she wrote longhand on legal pads and had someone else do the typing for her.
Paul and Sara sat in Biddie's backyard, right on the bay where seagulls squawked and swooped, and gentle breezes tossed Biddie's gray streaked hair. She wore it long and never tied it back. A free spirit, thought Paul.
“Yes, I'm about half way done,” Biddie continued. “Already I've covered the growth, the aftermath, how Mack and I came to terms with it. Our sex life suffered for a while, now it's better than ever. Can you believe that?” She gave a little whoop, then burst out laughing.
Paul looked at this vibrant, alive woman and he certainly could believe it. Sara couldn't take enough pictures - the camera seemed to love her. Sara wondered if she would look as good at Biddie's age.
“Where do you do your writing?” Paul wanted to know.
“Oh, I don't know. Here, in the bedroom, out on the dock. But I write three hours a day, every day. I've signed the contract, now I have to earn it.”
“If you ever want to share an early draft, I'd love to read it.”
Biddie looked at Paul shrewdly. “Oh, I'm sure you would, Paul.”
The afternoon was one of the most pleasant Paul and Sara could remember, and when Mack came home that night with a large pail of crabs, they would soon taste the finest crab cakes in the state of Maryland.
To reach Pennsylvania required a backtrack to Rte 13 and then driving the entire length of Delaware. Around the top of the state, Paul hooked a left on 41 that took them into the famous Pennsylvania Dutch Country.
Fortunately, Delaware was a small state, though not as small as Rhode Island. This led Sara to wonder aloud if a Delaware giantess existed, and would she be larger than Nancy, the Rhode Island giantess? Paul had to admit that, yes, maybe she would be. Except there hadn't been a report of a Delaware giantess. So far.
Finally, four hours after they had left Biddie's driveway back in Maryland, they crossed into Pennsylvania. At first, it was just a continuation of the urban sprawl they had seen all day. Then things began to change. Cities became suburbs, suburbs became exurbs, then a real rural countryside seemed to envelop them in their car. Soon they linked with highway 30 and headed west to the city of Lancaster.
The idea was to find a nice place to stay in the city, then strike out for one particular town the next day. Staying overnight at Biddie's had been all right, but there was just one guestroom with a child's bed. This went to Sara. Paul had to make do with the lumpy living room couch. Neither had slept well, and both agreed that large, soft beds were the highest priority that night. They found the place at the city's edge, a familiar hotel chain that even advertised a certain brand of mattress. Paul saw the sign and said, “Perfect.”
He pulled into the parking lot and was about to get out when Sara stopped him.
“I was thinking. You remember how Kenneth told us to keep costs down on this part of the trip? Well, why don't we get one room? They always have two big beds to a room in places like this. We can be apart and together at the same time.”
The young writer had been thinking along the same lines himself, but would never come out and say it. But Sara just did. Paul smiled and agreed that it might work. “But if I find out that you snore…well, anyway, let's try it.”
Sara grinned, and happily followed Paul to the front desk.
Check-in went normally and Paul went back for the bags as Sara waited in the lobby. They walked down a carpeted hall, then took the elevator to the sixth floor, looked at the key number, and walked almost the entire length of the floor to room 644. Paul slipped the card in, waited for the light to turn green, then pulled down on the handle. Stepping aside, he let Sara in first.
“Oh, thanks.” She glided in and looked around, then tossed her handbag on the bed nearest the bathroom. “Paul, I love it! Thank you for doing this. I feel so much better.”
Paul felt better too, but he just smiled and put the bags down. Both of them did all the normal things in a new hotel room. They sat on the beds, examined the bathroom (it was spotless) opened the window as far as it would go (about six inches) and flipped through the large pile of touristy pamphlets arranged on the desk and end tables. It was early afternoon and Paul suddenly felt very sleepy.
“Sara, I know we missed lunch, but sometimes sleep is more important than food. Mind if I nap now and we can both eat later?”
Sara nodded. “Maybe I'll grab a nap myself. But I think I'll take a walk first, though.”
She took the key and returned to the lobby the way they had come, then lingered near a large stand of brochures near the concierge's desk. One caught her eye; she pulled it out and read the front. Her eyes opened wide as she did.
“Come to Bird's Nest in Lancaster County, and see the Amish Giantess,” the brochure read. “She greets visitors from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. while giving tours of her working farm. Watch her lift a cow right off her feet or toss heavy beams to help with barn building. Stay and browse at the Tall Girl Gift Shoppe, to collect the memories of a lifetime.”
Sara stopped reading. Bird's Nest was on their schedule for the next day and this must be the woman they were planning to visit. They had expected a farm woman. But a tourist attraction? And the brochure didn't even provide her name. Somehow it didn't seem right.
She slipped the brochure into her pocketbook and decided to forget the walk. She just wanted to be with Paul, to discuss this latest wrinkle. Paul would know what it all meant, she thought. He could put things in perspective.
Back in the room, the shades were drawn, the curtain pulled, and Paul was asleep on his bed, magazine across his chest. Sara tiptoed over, carefully removed the magazine, then eased her body next to his. The thick mattress barely registered her presence, and Sara inched as close to Paul as she dared without walking him up. Then she too fell into a deep sleep.
Paul was only slightly surprised to find a sleeping Sara next to him an hour later. It was her light snoring that had woken him. He smiled as he looked at her. So pretty, even with her mouth wide open. He got up as quietly as he could and began to prepare for dinner.
Sara woke up a short time later. Neither mentioned the communal nap, but it felt right and natural, and would probably happen again. Maybe soon.
Dinner was at a nice restaurant (they spent the money they had saved at the hotel) and then went for walk around the hotel afterwards. The cool night air and exercise did wonders for them both. On the way back Sara casually mentioned the brochure.
Paul thought a moment before answering. “Oh yes, I had heard something to that effect. You have to remember, Sara, that many of these farms, while pretty to look at, are no longer self sufficient. Many of the Amish now cater to tourists. And it's not such a bad thing. People love to learn about them and their ways. Are you the least bit curious about them?”
“Yes, of course. But the brochure didn't even mention her name.”
“Ah. Her name is Winifred.”
That night, Paul and Sara did sleep in separate beds, just as soundly as before.
The drive to Bird's Nest the next day was as pleasant as any they had taken on the whole trip. Stunning farmland, red barns, blue sky, and the occasional black buggy with one or two riders and equipped with strange license plates. The Amish were well known for eschewing modern conveniences such as cars and electricity. Yet certain items, such as battery-powered Walkmans, were perfectly acceptable.
Finding the Amish Giantess site was not too much of a challenge; the numerous signs led Paul and Sara right to it. They arrived to find a large parking lot containing several cars and even a bus. The grounds contained a large barn, gift shop, petting zoo, and the homestead in the back that Paul guessed was Winifred's house. He scanned the extended farmyard looking for the nineteen foot woman, but to no avail. Sara tapped him on the arm.
“Let's try the barn - there seems to be a lot of people in there.”
They entered the massive structure, and - Sara was right - the Amish Giantess was in the center of a wide ring of tourists. She has a plain yet healthy face; hair combed straight back and topped with a white bonnet. Her dress was a reddish black, and plain as well, with no decoration. She was smiling as she answered questions from the crowd.
“Oh, I get up at 4:30 each day,” she was saying, “and first thing I do is milk all twenty cows. See, my fingers aren't too large for that.” She held out her hands and wiggled her fingers, making the crowd chuckle.
Paul was enthralled. He could have stood there all day. But Sara nudged him. “Paul,” she whispered, “that man over there. He's been staring at you since we came in.”
He looked and saw a young Amish man, leaning on a pitchfork and blending in with his surroundings. When the man met Paul's gaze, Paul walked over to introduce himself.
“Hello,” Paul said.
“Hello,” said the man. Things were off to a great start.
“Are you a friend of Winifred's?”
“I'm her husband.”
It turned out that he knew the reason for Paul's visit and did not entirely approve of having his wife's name and photographs splashed in some national magazine. He made it clear that he wanted to be present for all interviews and photographs, and he would need to approve the setting for each photo. Also he wanted assurances that his wife would be treated with the greatest respect.
“Agreed,” said Paul. “By the way, what's your name?”
“Lemson. You can call me Lem.”
So Paul and Sara spent the day with Lem, and his wife Winifred. There was no interview as such - she didn't have time. But she did pose for two pictures with Lem and their two children, a very young boy and a girl. All were decked out in the Amish fashion, dark dresses and bonnets for the ladies, suspenders and broad brimmed hats for the men. In any case, Paul learned quite a bit from the tourist's questions; they had asked many good questions that would never have occurred to him.
At three o'clock the operation shut down. But Winifred's work day was not over. There were still chores to do, cows to be milked, supper to made ready. Lem did his share and the children worked just as hard as the adults. Paul and Sara were allowed to stay an extra hour or two, then Lem began to make signals it was time for them to go.
Sara walked up to Winifred and looked up at her silhouette in the sun. “It's been an honor to meet you. Thanks for everything.”
The large, noble head nodded. “Yes, Sara, I've enjoyed it. Come back in the winter; we can show you some real hospitality then.” Winifred reached out and enclosed Sara's small hand in her own, then held it to her bosom.
Walking back to the car, Paul kidded with Sara. “I saw you with the Amish Giantess, and the way she held your hand. I gotta tell you, it really got me excited.”
Sara punched him in the arm and dashed away.
At the hotel that night, Sara began the night in her own bed but soon migrated to Paul's. Much more comfortable, she thought. She slept atop the covers, Nebraska style. Paul never knew she was there until the next morning.
It took the better part of a day to drive from Lancaster County to the Delaware Water Gap in northern New Jersey. They had to traverse the state of Pennsylvania (the longest state in the country, it seemed to Paul, and he had been to Montana and Texas), all the way to Interstate 80. Then they went east, took the first New Jersey exit north, and headed for the small town of Wallpack Center.
There wasn't much to this area. It was largely wilderness, thinly settled, with a store, gas station or bait shop stuck here and there. Campers came from all over to fish the Delaware River or to hike the nearby Kittatinny Mountains. The National Recreational Area drew the outdoorsmen like flies, and Paul noticed many cars loaded down with boats and supplies. He felt a bit like an outdoorsman himself.
Sara looked out the window, bored. There wasn't much to see but an odd view of the river now and then; all the rest was trees.
“So who is she this time, Paul? Another girl ranger? I can hardly wait.” Her monotone annoyed Paul, but he decided not to press it.
“We're almost there. I want to surprise you this time.”
Hidden in the woods, down a narrow dirt driveway, lived the next giantess. Paul pulled up in front of a fifty year old ranch style house. It seemed a little run down, and a few junk cars in varying states of disassembly were parked around the yard. As Paul and Sarah got our, three large, angry dogs began to bark. Thankfully they were tied up out back. Inside the house, loud seventies music was playing. Sara recognized the tune: “Life in the Fast Lane” by the Eagles.
Paul stepped on a waterlogged Welcome mat and knocked since there was no doorbell. There was no reply. He knocked again, more loudly this time, and a voice yelled out, “Just a minute!” A man answered the door: late twenties, scruffy beard, dirty tee shirt, a definite beer belly. In fact he was holding a beer now. “What can I do you for,” he said, glancing at Paul, then Sara, then back to Paul.
“I'm Paul and this is Sarah. We're here to interview Jackie for NewsWorld magazine.”
The man looked a bit dazed at first, then realization dawned. “Oh, man,” he groaned. “That was today?” He turned into the darkness of the house where the music still blared. “Jackie! Magazine people are here. Better get some clothes on!” He turned back to Paul and said, “She's on the can. Takes her a while. Wait here, I'll tell you when she's ready.” Then he closed the door in their faces.
Sara made a wry face at Paul. “Oh, nice people. I can't wait to meet her. Forgetful, aren't they?”
“I have a feeling we're not a high priority. We might fall below partying.”
“In the middle of the day? Don't these people have jobs? Or something to do?”
Paul felt like saying something about 'judging not lest ye be judged', but thought better of it and walked to the car. “I'm going to relax for a bit. Care to join me?”
Sara slumped her shoulders and trailed after Paul. Normally she liked to scope a place out, but the continual barking of the dogs and loud music - now it was “Hot Blooded” by Foreigner - just made her want to withdraw. What a dismal surprise this turned out to be.
Then, as the couple sat in the car, not speaking, things began to happen. The music was turned off. The barking dogs stopped barking. And a beautiful woman of thirty emerged from the front door and approached the car. She stood at around eleven feet tall, long blonde hair still wet from her shower. She leaned over to speak to Paul, who was too stunned to move.
“Sorry about my brother. Terrible manners. And I was expecting you, just not this early. I told Johnny about you but he just forgot, or wasn't listening. He's into beer, music and cars, in that order.”
Sara got out and walked around the car. She held her hand out to the giantess. 'I'm Sara, the photographer. Nice to meet you.”
Jackie shook her hand. “You too. I know this is a horrible place for photos, but maybe we can find a quiet area.” She looked at Paul. “Um, do you have a name?”
Paul snapped out of his reverie then sprang from his seat as if being ejected. “Paul. My name is Paul.” He extended a hand to her as well and became lightheaded when she took it.
“This is Johnny's day off. He owns this house. I'm just staying temporarily. Want to take a walk?”
Both agreed it would be a fine idea. Sara took a camera and Paul grabbed a notebook. They followed Jackie down a trail that started past the back yard and into some woods. In a surprisingly short time, they had reached the banks of the immense Delaware River. They could look out from their leafy hideaway and see Pennsylvania across the water, seemingly a mile away. They were completely alone.
Sara was entranced. The view was incredible. She would have to make sure to get that river in a few shots.
In a grassy clearing, Jackie sat with her arms around her knees. She talked of her life before, during and after the growth. She once worked in a town about twenty miles away as a veterinary technician. She was good at her job, loved the routine and the animals. “By the way, those dogs you heard barking were mine. I spoke to them after I came out of the shower and they quieted down. They always listen to me.”
But the growth had made her job unbearable - her sheer size frightened the clients and even some of the animals. Her boss, a woman, decided to let her take a leave of absence. Neither of them knew if Jackie could come back eventually, or in what capacity. The terms were unspoken, but Jackie felt all was lost at this stage. She would have to learn a new trade - and who would teach her? She was now sorting through her very limited options, and her young, immature brother wasn't much help.
Paul and Sara were silent throughout Jackie's tale, and when she finished, did not speak right away. “Jackie,” Paul began. “There's a man we know who may be able to help you. We call him The Inspector.” Paul went on to say that he would call the Inspector that evening to ask his assistance.
Jackie seemed grateful. Her hair was now fully dried and flowed about her shoulders like corn silk. She looked down at the river with a gleam of hope in her eyes.
Sara just hoped that Paul hadn't promised too much.
Paul did call the Inspector, who in turn made several calls and reported back to Paul that night, as he and Sara were having dinner. It turned out that the federal government employed several hundred veterinary technicians and hired more each year. Many of them dealt with large animals. There were vacancies in southern New Jersey, upstate New York, and a few more across the country. The Inspector would do all he could to help Jackie secure one of these jobs.
“Thanks, Inspector. I'll tell her.” Then Paul went back to tell Sara the news.
The next morning was almost a repeat of the previous one. As soon as they pulled up, Paul and Sara were treated to the noise of barking dogs and blaring music, and to the sight of junked cars. This time, however, Jackie was out front playing with her two dogs, tossing them Frisbees over and over again. She wore a tee shirt and size XXXL exercise shorts. She was stunning. As soon as she saw the couple, she silenced the dogs and walked over to the car.
“Morning, Jackie. I have good news.” Paul smiled as he watched the woman's face light up. Then he laid out several employment options for her.
Jackie eventually chose to work in Washington, D.C., where she received special training and was assigned to an agricultural studies program. When Paul contacted her a year later she had happily adapted to her new city and work life, and even had a steady relationship with one of the vets there. Best of all, Jackie told him, she even got to keep her dogs.
The drive from New Jersey to New York was all the sweeter because Paul and Sara knew it would be their last. The summer of the giantesses was over.
Originally, Kenneth had envisioned the couple visiting all 50 states. The Inspector once told Paul that there were fifty-two confirmed growth cases. But as time would prove, meeting them all was not possible. Some refused permission to be interviewed, some could not be located, and one, the unfortunate Tory, had died. So the couple ended up connecting with about thirty of those women who had experienced abnormal growth.
It had been a long, difficult summer. Crisscrossing the country, collecting data, interviewing and photographing had been draining work. It was not without its rewards. They had met and interacted with an amazing variety of people, large and otherwise. Still, it was good to know that the hard work was over, and once the final article was finished, they could relax. They both wanted to go home, and now they were headed there at last.
When Paul and Sara, however, presented themselves to Kenneth at the NewsWorld office, he dealt them an unexpected blow.
“Sorry, kids, but you're not done yet. This article will be much smaller than the first two unless we can fill it out. And I have the perfect idea. Go back to the giantesses that made the best stories, the ones that touched your hearts, made you want to pull for them. Like the young girl in Montana. Where is she now? And the mayor in Michigan. Did she keep her job or lose the last election? Why? See my drift?”
Paul and Sara were tired, and there was nothing they desired more than a nice long vacation. But they knew he was right. They would grab a few days of rest and relaxation, then “get back on the plane” as Kenneth put it. Well, Paul thought, at least he wouldn't have to drive as much.
The three days flew by, and Paul and Sara's private limo came to fetch them as it had the time before. Sara, as usual, had only a vague idea of their destination, and realized she liked it that way. It made life unpredictable, exciting. She was ready for anything.
“So where are we going?” Sara finally asked when they had reached the airport.
“Oregon. Remember Oregon?”
The car pulled up to the curb and they got out. Paul and Sara were on their way.
Yes, Sara did remember Oregon. She had made friends there, as did Paul. It would be, she hoped, a happy reunion.
When they arrived back at Blizzard Lane, it was all Sara has hoped for. Grace and both of her daughters were at home. Lizbeth and Connie immediately whisked Sara away for a girl's lunch out. “Wait. What about Paul?” said Sara when they were almost out the door.
Connie answered. “She's upstairs, Paul, and she's waiting for you!” The door slammed shut and they were gone.
The house was very quiet. Paul listened for a minute, then walked upstairs, slowly, somewhat apprehensively. He reached the top of the landing, then heard Grace's musical voice call, “Is that you, Paul?”
“Yes - I'll be right there.” He seemed frozen, knowing full well the effect Grace had on him. The last time he was here, they had connected physically. Grace had an appetite for sex that he had not expected. Now, he knew.
He turned the corner and stood at the doorway of Grace's room. The room had not changed, and neither had Grace. Still beautiful, wide awake, and dressed in comfortable, silky clothes. Clothes ready to tear off at a moment's notice.
“Hi, lover,” she greeted Paul, smiling. “Come to me, baby.”
Paul seemed to have no control over his body; it propelled itself towards her. She nudged the door shut with her outstretched toe, her arms enveloping him and her lips smothering his head. After a minute or two he extracted himself long enough to get a good look at her. “Nice to see you too, Grace. But I have a magazine article to wrap up. None of this can go into it.”
Grace sighed. “I suppose you're right. Especially with the news and all.”
“News? What news?”
“Oh, just that I got engaged. We're getting married in two months.”
“A nice man from Astoria. In fact he called after reading about me in your first article. I have you to thank, Paul.”
He could think of nothing to say. Finally he did manage to croak out a 'congratulations.'
Grace laughed and began to peel off her clothes. Her generous breasts and belly, long sculpted legs, smooth skin all revealed themselves.
“What are you doing?” said Paul.
“Getting ready for you.”
“But you're engaged! We can't.”
Grace was unfazed. “Yes we can. I'm still single and I won't see Mark for another week. I've been thinking about you all day.”
And that was all there was to it. Paul might have escaped from the giantess's clutches if he had any inclination to. But he felt powerless to leave. Grace had a need and he could fill it. What else were friends for?
Two hours later the girls came home, called out and got no answer. Lizbeth and Connie crept upstairs, slowly opened Grace's door and peeked inside. Grace was fast asleep with arms wrapped against Paul's upper half, her great legs enclosing his lower half. He appeared to be totally consumed by her.
The walked downstairs, giggling. Sara, who had stayed behind, was curious.
“Anything new up there?” enquired Sara.
“Nothing.” “Nothing at all.” The sisters answered with wide eyes and innocent faces. Then they both burst out laughing. Sara joined in.
Paul and Sara stayed the night and joined the family for breakfast the next day. When they finally said goodbye to Grace and her daughters for the last time and were on the way to the airport, Paul had a surprise question for Sara.
“I know that Montana is next on our list. But I haven't been able to get that airport girl out of my mind. Would you mind if we took a detour to Seattle?
Sara was puzzled. “What airport girl?”
Paul reminded Sara about the woman he had seen from the airplane window at their Seattle stopover, en route to Alaska. About how she was moving luggage alongside men half her own height, with none of them looking twice at her.
“Well,” said Sara, “it shouldn't take that long. Sure, why not.”
When they arrived in Seattle the first thing Paul did was to visit the airline terminal where the girl worked and inquired about her. After a few false starts, they were directed to the Information Office, where a professional young woman listened to Paul's description. She nodded patiently throughout, then spoke when Paul was finished.
“I'm sorry, it would be against company policy to tell you. I understand that you have an article to finish, in fact I've read the first two in the series. They were well done. But I can't help you.”
Paul was crushed. He was sure he had seen her, and was just as positive she worked for this airline. Something was wrong here.
Sara booked the flight to Montana, which, as luck would have it, was taking off in an hour. As they walked toward their gate, Sara tried to console Paul. “I'm sure you saw her, Paul. But think about it. These woman have different safety needs than most women. Imagine all the people trying to get to them, maybe exploit them. The company is doing the right thing protecting her.”
Paul nodded. “Yes, you're probably right. I just had a gut feeling about her - felt there was a story there.”
On the plane Sara took the window, Paul the aisle seat. As the plane taxied away she noticed a few employees loading baggage into a nearby plane. A common enough scene, except that working with two normal sized men was an enormous woman hovering over them, doing the same work, wearing the same uniform. Her hair, Sara noticed, was blonde. One of the men evidently cracked a joke and the woman looked at him, laughing.
She had one of those all-American faces: smooth cheeks, even teeth, great figure. With her long blonde hair, Sara thought she resembled a young Suzanne Somers.
Sara glanced over at Paul. He was buckled in and listening to the flight attendant's instructions about what to do in an emergency. She paused a moment in deep thought, then shook her head.
She just couldn't bring herself to tell him.
The flight to Missoula was brief and pleasant. From the airport, Paul placed a call to Sergeant Owens, the man in charge of Mary Lee's incarceration. It took a few moments for the receptionist to locate him; he now worked at the regular women's prison.
“Sergeant, it's Paul Manners,” he said when Owens came on the line. “I'm following up on Mary Lee, also known as Tough Chick. Do you remember me?”
“Yes, yes I do. And Mary Lee, she's been released. Some government type, called himself the Inspector, got involved and found her a good lawyer. The rest is history.”
Paul smiled. “That's wonderful. Can you tell me where to find her?”
“Try the community soup kitchen. She helps out there during lunch and dinner.”
Paul took down the address and some rough directions, thanked Owens, and hung up. He went to find Sara; she was enjoying coffee and a doughnut near one of the food kiosks.
“I've located Mary Lee. Finish up and we'll go. Hey, can I have a bite of that doughnut?”
They found the place fairly easily. It was in a part of Missoula that was not too run down, but had seen better days. Two dozen men (and a few women) were lined up out front; lunch was about to start.
Paul and Sara waited for the line to go down. When everyone had at last been admitted to the building, the couple went inside. It was a large cafeteria-sized room, filled with those down on their luck, eating a balanced meal. Sara had no idea this city had so many needy people.
And in the back, seated behind a row of steam tables, was Mary Lee. She looked wonderful; her shiny black hair tied behind her head, a large white apron over her short-sleeved shirt. She was smiling, sometimes laughing as she served up supper for the multitude. Sara took a few long range photographs.
When the meal was over, the couple went into the kitchen to speak to her. The kitchen manager directed them outside, where Mary Lee was taking a smoke break. It was almost comical to see the tiny cigarette in the giantess's huge fingers, but she managed to carry it to her lips and take a drag.
Paul came closer. “Mary Lee, it's us.”
She looked carefully at Paul, then at Sara. A painful look crossed her face.
Mary Lee turned her back on them, then slowly walked back to the kitchen. Paul was stunned. He decided to learn what he could from the kitchen manager, then depart. Even months later, he could not imagine why Mary Lee had acted the way she did.
All was well in Valentine, Nebraska. Ellen greeted her friends as though she hadn't seen them in years (it had been just a few weeks) then filled them in on news of Angie, the 33-foot redheaded beauty who had been forced to leave high school.
“It's fantastic. They figured a way to let Angie finish school. It had to do with conference calls and computers, but she's going to learn long-distance. And she's even going to a dance in a couple of weeks. All of her friends are behind it; they're even making her the theme of the dance.”
“That's wonderful,” said Sara. “Everyone deserves an education. I just hope she has a long and happy life.”
“Here, here,” said Paul, and raised his drink to propose a toast.
They stayed two more days in Valentine and got to talk to Angie and her mother, Barbara, once more. Barbara thanked Paul and Sara for all they had done.
The next stop was to see Sally Fine, mayor of Mackinaw City, Michigan. But things had not gone so well for Sally, as Paul and Sara were about to find out.
Two weeks after they had left Mackinaw City, Sally gave a speech to a woman's club. After the speech was a reception. In attendance was the woman who had broken up her marriage. Her ex-husband had long since moved to a different state, but there was some residual resentment between Sally and the other woman. Sally exchanged a few words with her and the conversation grew heated, ending with the woman swearing and shouting at Sally. The giantess raised her hand to strike the woman, then froze. The mayor stood in the center of a large group of people, all holding their breath, including the woman who was the source of Sally's fury. Sally dropped her arm, collected herself, and left the room.
But the damage was done. There were about fifty witnesses and someone had even snapped a photograph. The city council passed a unanimous motion calling for a special election. Sally did her best, but was defeated in the election.
Now they would see how the ex-mayor was faring. The couple pulled up in front of Sally's house and turned off the motor. There were no signs of life.
“Do you suppose she's all right?” Sara asked Paul.
“I would hope so. Let's go see.”
Paul both knocked and rang the doorbell, several times. There was no answer, then a faint voice from inside called out, “Hello?”
The door opened a crack; part of a giant face peered out. The rest slowly opened and Sally stepped back to let her visitors inside. When they had last seen Sally, she had projected enormous self confidence and style, was nicely dressed, and her dark brown hair was perfectly arranged on her shoulders.
Now she was a wreck. Her face was not made up, perhaps not even washed. Her hair hung limply. She wore dirty sweat pants and a sweatshirt that did not flatter her figure. She seemed to have gained weight as well; her face was padded with a slight double chin. But even so, she showed signs of attractiveness.
Sally talked to Paul and Sara for a few minutes, then Paul finally got around to the important question: What happened?
Sally was contrite. “I don't blame Betty - the woman I had the argument with. It was my own fault. I can handle almost every situation, but I lost it that day, and I think the voters were right to turn me out. If someone my size loses control…well here I am, and I don't know where to turn.”
Sara spoke up. “Where are your friends, your family? Your personal assistant? Can any of them help you through this?”
Sally smiled wryly. “Most of my friends were political. Family lives far away, plus they kind of disowned me after the growth. And Flora, my assistant, left me as well. But you guys…well, you're my friends, aren't you?”
Paul was moved. He approached the giantess and put a hand on her arm. “Of course. But we can't stay long - there's the article to finish.”
“Wait,” said Sara. “We could ask the Inspector. Maybe he can find someone to help.”
The giantess thought. “Come to think of it, there was a federal government type here a few days after you left. Asked me a few questions, was I adjusting well, things like that. Was he your Inspector?”
Paul nodded. “Sounds like him. And we've worked with him throughout this assignment. I'll call him right now.” The Inspector was out but Paul left a message. Then he turned back to the women. “What can we do today, Sally?”
“Funny you should ask,” she replied, then rattled off a list for Paul and Sara like the high-powered executive she once was.
First thing was to get the house in order. Sally went off to bathe and dress while the couple went through the place, picking up, cleaning tabletops, sweeping floors, removing trash. An hour later the house looked much better, and so did Sally. Her face, always beautiful, was now radiant. Paul wished he could spend more time with this fascinating woman.
“Sally, you look great. We'd like to take you out to dinner, our treat. Where to?”
“Well, there's this Chinese place…”
The ex-mayor made quite a stir at the Wah-Toy restaurant, but Sally was used to being stared at, and she had Paul and Sara to help her forget. Dinner out was a wonderful idea; Sally soon regained her high spirits. A few of the diners even came over to express their condolences. “We voted for you, Sally, and we'd do it again. Please run.”
As the last diner left, Paul noticed that Sally's eyes seemed a little watery.
The last stop on this journey was West Virginia. Kenneth Graves suggested this would be a fitting end to the final article in the series, and Paul and Sara agreed. They were very curious about how Maybelline was faring. The Inspector, who was supervising her recovery, had told them very little.
The one thing he had told them, in fact, was that May was once again living on E&M Farm, now known as May's Farm. The couple liked the sound of that; it gave them a good feeling even before they arrived. And when they did arrive just after Labor Day, the farm was looking great.
The house had been recently renovated to allow the twenty foot tall woman to live inside. And the whole farm had a different look. Paul was about to get out of the car to find out what else might have changed, when Sara cried out, “Paul, look!”
He turned to look where she was pointing and saw a totally unexpected sight. It was the Inspector. He was not wearing his usual suit and tie, but farm clothes. It was slightly unreal. But when the government man came within speaking distance of Paul and Sara, he put them out of their pain by explaining everything.
“You might remember,” began the Inspector, “May's husband Eustus being taken away by the cops. Well they charged him with unlawful confinement. I took May to the National Guard Armory over in Hadleyville where we got her some new clothes, lots of decent food, and a good divorce lawyer. The lawyer immediately suggested a restraining order against Eustus, forbidding him to set foot on the farm. So far he's stayed out of sight. He's staying with relatives, we hear.”
“That's good,” said Paul. Sara nodded.
The Inspector continued. “Then there was the farm to worry about. May couldn't work the farm in her condition, so we put the word out, and farmers came from miles around to help. They fed the animals, turned the soil, brought the crops in, everything. Then, to top things off, a few of them renovated the house, based on criteria I had given them. I think they did a pretty good job.” The couple looked at the house again; they couldn't wait to see the inside. “Anyway, we brought May back to good health, got her some clothes made, and when the time was right, brought her back here.”
Paul looked around the wide expanse of farmland. “So does May do all the work herself?”
“No. She's had to hire a couple of part time farm workers. But she does fairly well even without them. She's a hard worker, Paul, and there isn't much she can't tackle.”
Paul sounded thoughtful. “And so this is her life now. Working the farm with part time help. Her rotten husband is gone, thank goodness. I remember she wanted kids. I wonder how she feels about that now? I mean, who…how can she…”
The Inspector did something unusual. He smiled.
“You can ask her yourself. Here she comes now.”
The twenty foot beauty came loping into view. When she saw Paul and Sara, she whooped for joy.
“Weeee-hooo! You came back! I reckon I'd seen the last of you. Come here, you two.” Paul came forward and was swept into giant arms that crushed him against her bosom. After a brief struggle, she let him go, then picked up Sara like a child and kissed her cheek, over and over.
Paul stood there, wondering over the change in Maybelline. Certainly her figure had filled out - she was one shapely woman. And her health was restored. He could tell by her good color and the blush on her cheek. But there was something else. He couldn't quite figure it out.
But Sara could. “Maybelline, tell us. Are you pregnant?” A pause hung in the air, then May whooped again.
“Sure am! I'm gonna be a momma, just like I always dreamed.”
Paul cleared his throat. He had to know, for the magazine article if nothing else.
“And the father?”
The giantess strode to where the Inspector was standing and wrapped her long arm around his shoulders. “Why, this man right here. He's the daddy, and he's gonna be a fine one. We're having us a baby girl!”
Paul and Sara stared at the Inspector. Neither knew what to say. As if in a dream, Paul walked over to him and extended a hand. “Great news, Inspector. I'm very happy for you.”
Maybelline invited everyone into the house for a cold drink and more talk. It was here that Paul and Sara got the details. Evidently, the Inspector was a regular visitor to May at the armory. They got to know each other and the attraction was mutual. Even before May's divorce was final, the Inspector called on May at the farm several times and they were an item by the middle of July. In no time at all, they were talking marriage.
“Marriage!” said Paul. “When did you get married?”
“August tenth,” said the Inspector. “I mentioned having a long engagement, but May said, 'Why wait?' So we went ahead and did it. We found out about the pregnancy shortly after.”
Sara said, “But you, Inspector? On a farm? It doesn't seem right.”
“I lived near farms growing up. Always wanted to live on one. May's been teaching me the ropes, and the part timers are helping as well. Oh, I'll keep my government job, but I'll be here as much as I can.”
Maybelline brought dinner to the table and they all ate their fill, but otherwise the talk went on and on, late into the night. It was almost time for bed when the conversation rolled around to the subject of giantesses.
Paul went first. “Inspector, what about this giantess syndrome we've been documenting for the past four months. Did you and the experts you've consulted ever find out what made all these women grow?
“Sadly, no. But they're still working on it.”
“One last question.” Paul looked at both the Inspector and Maybelline before he asked. “You've been to a baby doctor by now, I'm assuming. Is there any indication that your baby girl is going to be…well, anything like May?”
The newlyweds looked at each other, and the Inspector spoke.
“Paul, they just don't know.”
Two weeks later all was complete. The article was written, the last pictures chosen, the final touches added. The magazine edition was sent out to the world, and Paul, Sara and Kenneth awaited reaction to it.
Just a trickle of calls and emails came at first. Then a steady flow, then a flood. News agencies, television and radio talk shows, magazines and newspapers to numerous to count. All wanted to interview Paul and Sara. They had done more to shed light on the giantess phenomenon than any other (besides the Inspector) and everyone, it seemed, wanted them.
They accepted many of the invitations and always traveled together. It was like old times, really, except things were a little classier this time. Once they even visited with some old friends, such as the newly re-elected mayor of Mackinaw City or the famous wrestler Tracy the Giantess, for the purposes of television. Paul did ask Maybelline if she would appear with him, but she and the Inspector declined. Possibly because he was still actively involved in helping the giantesses Paul and Sara had contacted, and investigating reports of new giantesses on a weekly basis. Anonymity helped him do that job better.
When the press tour was finally over, the traveling couple returned to their apartments, desperate for a good night's sleep. But when Paul got home, a nasty official message was tacked to his door. Seems that in the excitement of the press tour he'd forgotten to pay his last two month's rent. The notice spelled out the terms of eviction, and when he tried his key, it didn't fit. The locks had been changed.
There was just one thing to do. In his bleary state, he took the subway to Sara's place and knocked on her door. It was early evening. Sara opened the door and let him in.
“Locked out,” he explained. “Need a bed. Got one?” It was all he could manage in his exhaustion.
“Yes,” she said. “Mine.”
The young woman shook her head and dazzled Paul with a sleepy smile.