The Shrunken Student 2

The Shrunken Student 2

The Shrunken Student 2

By

Various Authors

 

 

 

You are

Mark, an average 16 year old boy now. You were born at a height of 2 inches.

Before you were welcomed into the world, your father died in a plane crash. You

now live with your mother, Marie, and your 15 year old sister, Julie, in a

beautiful 2 story house. You wake up one morning in a dollhouse that your mom

gave you on your 10th birthday. You step out on the hard floor to hear a loud

thundering noise. It's your mom coming to wake you up. She can see you and hear

you, but to be safe, you better find higher ground.

 

You run

out into the hall and immediately collide into a shiny black medium heel pump.

It belongs to your mother, Marie. She looks down and smiles at you. Her voice

booms at you, "Good morning, Sweetie." You shout back at her, "Hi mom!! Today is

my first day of High School!!" Your mom hears you and places her hand near you.

You climb onto it and snuggle in her right hand. She kisses you, covering you

with lipstick, then carries you into your room, where she immediately dresses

you for school. "Mom I can do it myself," you tell her, but she just smiles and

lifts you up to her face again. She then brings you into the kitchen and makes

breakfast, while you wait on the kitchen table.

 

Julie

comes into the kitchen wearing a light blue blouse, a medium gray skirt, and

black high heel sandles. Your mother tells her to change immediately, but Julie

says the homecoming queen tryouts, especially pictures, are today. Your mom just

shakes her head and places two plates on the table. Julie has to share her

breakfast with you. "Hey little brother, I am going to keep an eye on you as

best as I can," says your sister. You replie by nodding your head and finish

eating. You, your mom, and Julie get in the car, and head for school. On the

way, Julie sees you walking toward her left sandle. She smiles and unbuckles the

ankle strap and slides it around you like a seatbelt. You are trapped on your

sister's shoe, and your mom doesn't even see you on the floor.

 

You try

to stay comfortable inside your sister's shoe. For a moment it actually

works...but then your mom turns on the radio. It's Julie's favorite song,

"Drive" from Incubus! She begins to drum the beat on the floor, oblivious to

your inaudible screams. You're thrown around everywhere, side to side! The only

thing that's keeping you onto Julie's foot is the strap. You don't know if you

should be thankful or furious at that strap, because by the time you reach the

school you're covered in dirt all over, and you're panting as if you were in

military school for two hours. How am I going to make friends like THIS? you think miserably to

yourself.

 

You scream and

struggle to get out of your sister's shoe, but all she does is keep on walking.

Then she sees a girl standing in front of her, with black hair with scarlet red

highlights, and steely blue eyes.

"Hi," says the girl carelessly. "My name's Christina, though you can just call

me Chrissy."

She giggles shrilly. You raise an eyebrow. Prissy Chrissy, you think

wryly to yourself.

"Hi," says your sister. "I'm Julie, though you can just call me Julie."

The girl giggles more shrilly than before. "Oh, that's funny! What's your first

period?"

"World Geography I," she replies. You thrash wildly at Julie's foot. She kicks

out her foot, as though a mosquito was on her, and then begins to drum the beat

to "Drive" again. You scream...

"JUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUULIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

 

"EWWW!You

have a roach on your sandal! . . .Those are nice shoes!" Julie looked down at

me,"Oh no that's my brother." Chrissy bent down to look at me and stood back up

and whispered," He's kinda cute. Why is he so small?"

"Born that way." Julie bent down and unstrapped me, she got a few whistles. I

thought of biting Julie but I wasn't sure wether or not to do it. She might drop

me

 

I bit

Julie lightly. It was half an angry bite and half a love bite. Although I didn't

like it when Julie had me under her strap I forgave her. Julie took me to my

first class. It was Ms.Greenburgs advisment and I also had her next peiord for

science. She was a kind woman with shoulder length auburn hair and mischevious

green eyes. She was deeply tanned to perfection. I thought she was the most

beautiful woman in the world and soon I had great respect for her. I knew I

couldn't date her because she was my teacher and because she was too old for me,

besides, I thought the girl who was my lab partner was cute.

Ms.Greenburg seemed to favor me either because of my height or because of my

personality. I couldn't figure out which but I didn't really care either way.

After class Ms.Greenburg told me to meet her after school because she wanted to

run over some things with me about my predicuments.

 

Your

next class is History, but it's on the second floor. You look around for a

student heading there and spot Tina, the smart girl. You run to her sneaker and

hop on as she picks up her bookbag and exits the class. On her way to History

class, she is talking to her friend, Mary, about the upcoming Quiz Bowl at the

Grand Arena in Los

Angeles, California. You don't want

to hear this, but you have no choice. Finally Tina enters the classroom.

You hop off of Tina's sneaker and decides to scope out the classroom when

suddenly you bump into a giant column. It is a high heel shoe and it belongs

to..

 

"Oh!" you hear

from the person above you. You

look up and see peering down at you, with hands on

her hips, a twenty-something blonde woman. "Well,

who have we here?" she asks, bending down for a

better look. "Now, don't tell me, I bet it's ...

Mark! Did I guess right?" You nod sheepishly.

"Well, it wasn't too hard," she says, "considering

I only know of only one student coming into my

class who fits your description, and his name is

supposed to be Mark." You feel you face begin to

flush. "Oh honey, am I embarrassing you? I'm

sorry. I'm off to a bad start before I've even

introduced myself." She reaches down to shake

your hand with her thumb and forefinger. "Hello

Mark. I'm Mrs. Andrews, your history teacher."

She shakes your hand gently. "First, a practical

question for you. Where would you like to sit?

The school has provided this desk for you." She

picks up from behind her desk a desk just your

size. "But where would you like it? On my desk?

I'm afraid then you'd be the center of attention.

Or on the floor in front of me? Then I'll have

trouble seeing you, and you'll have trouble seeing

me -- unless you'd like to stare at my feet for

fifty minutes. But that's your choice. Where

would you like to sit

 

Where

would you like to sit?"

You glance around, and notice an empty desk in the

front of the room. She notices you pondering it.

"Put your desk on top of that one?" she asks.

"Ooh, honey, I'm afraid of that. Just look at the

incline on that desk top. What if your desk were

to slide off, with you in it?" I’m sorry, but I’d

feel safer if you choose between the top of my

desk and the floor in front of my desk."

You've become pretty tired of being the center of

attention, so you opt for the floor. Mrs. Andrews

sets down your desk in front of hers, and you sit

down. She hands out to everyone a survey. "Don't

be afraid of it," she tells the class. "I'm just

trying to ascertain how much you may already know

about America

in the 19th century." She hands you

a copy of the survey reduced to your size. You

begin to take the survey, and are doing quite well

at it (hooray for home schooling!), when something

in front of you catches your attention. You look

up, and see directly before you, underneath Mrs

Andrews' desk, her feet, caught in the act of

freeing themselves from those high heeled shoes.

A moment later you are staring at her feet now

unshod, as they stretch back and forth, up and

down, in evident relief.

At your size you so often only see people from the

ankle down, that you tend to judge them by their

feet. And these, with their streamlined heels,

curvaceous insteps and long toes, are among the

most alluring pair you have ever experienced, a

perfect match for the face and personality of the

woman who owns them. Your eyes widen as they take

turns rubbing and soothing each other, and your

adolescent mind longs to slip in between them and

become the object of such attention. Yet in spite

of the continual distraction, you do now and them

manage to return to your survey, and even to

finish it (the questions were that easy for you),

and have probably done at least as well as any of

your peers.

Mrs. Andrews calls on the class to pass in their

surveys. After her feet return to her shoes and

your head returns to reality, she walks around her

desk and reaches down for your paper. “Hmm,” she

says as she looks at your miniscule scrawl, “I’m

going to end up with glasses by the time my year

with you is over.” As she says this, the bell

rings, and the class gets up to leave. To avoid

being trampled upon you only begin to walk out

after the others are gone. “Oh, Mark,” Mrs

Andrews calls out, sitting again at her desk “I’d

like to see you for a minute.” You step up to her

apprehensively. “I’ve thought about it, and your

desire to sit among the rest of the class is only

fair. We just have to set your desk on a secure

and level table of the right size and shape.

We’ll have it here for you next time.” Your face

must betray your immense disappointment, for she

registers surprise. “But honey, isn’t that what

you wanted? What’s the matter?” You try then

desperately to save the situation, to pretend that

nothing is the matter, that in fact her suggestion

is exactly what you would like. But she catches

on to you. “Oh - ho! ... I bet I was putting on a

little floor show for you. Is that it?” The heat

of your whole body rushes to your face. You can

only imagine how red you look. “Mm-hmm. Well,

that’s all the more reason why we must set you on

a raised platform. After all, we mustn’t subject

you to such distractions -- at least not during

class time.” As she says this she slips off one

of her shoes, and holds her foot out so close to

you, that you have to look way up to see her toes

wiggling above you. “Besides, this pretty little

Tootsie may be fetching, but don’t you think she’s

a little big for you? She’s three or four times

your size.” She slips her foot back into her

shoe, which exposes to her your wide eyed, open

mouthed expression. She smiles. “Oh, I’m sorry

for being such a tease. You can’t help it if

you’re entering into ... that age.”

She looks up at the clock. “Oh, dear,” she says.

“Do you have another class now?” You manage to

shake off your stupor enough to nod. “Well then,

we must get you to your next class. I’m free to

take you there if you would like Or would you

feel more comfortable if a student took you?"

You try to speak, but can only manage a gulp.

"Oh you are so transparent! Okay, up we go." She

bends down to you, gently wraps the long fingers

of one of her hands around you, until only your

head sticks out. She lifts you to her face. "So

where do we go from here?" You have no idea how

to process that question. In an attempt to speak,

you begin moving your mouth open and shut, open

and shut. But nothing comes out. "Oh honey, you

look like a little goldfish! Come on now, we'll

try it again. Who is your next teacher?" You

shake your head. "You don't know? Maybe you have

the name written down someplace?" You nod. "Then

let’s have you look at it." She puts you down on

her desk. You begin to fumble through your

pockets, finally pulling out a sheet of paper.

You hold it out to her. “No, you look at the

paper,” she says, “Look at the paper.” You stare

at it, unable to decipher it. "Okay,” she coaxes

you, “Fourth period. Look under fourth period."

You look under fourth period. “Do you see a name

there?” You nod. “What does it say?” You try to

say it: "Gombo ... Gomba ... Gom ..."

"Gompers?" she asks you. "Dr Gompers?" You nod

spastically. "All right, then. Off to Dr.

Gompers we go." Her fingers wrap around you

again. She presses you to her bosom with both

hands. Her hands are soft and warm. You sense

her stand up and begin to walk, but can only see

her shirt (and a little more, in between the

shirt's buttons). The sounds of the school

corridor are all but drowned out by the pattern of

her gentle breathing. But it is the smell of her

perfume that melts you.

She finally arrives at Dr. Gompers' chemistry

class, where another tiny desk awaits you on a lab

table. She carefully places you into it, bends

down to you and smiles, as she gently brushes

straight your hair with her finger. Then she

rises up and leaves the room. Propped up in your

seat, you sit there limp, dazed. Before you know

it, the bell rings (fifty minutes have passed!),

and the class rises up to leave. Two girls vie

with one another to carry you out. The curvier of

the two has her way, and lifts you out of the

desk. “Hello, Mark,” she says, “I’m Elissa. You

want to come along with me to lunch?”

 

Ordinarily, the attention of so attractive a girl

would have affected you more. But you are still

languishing under the spell of Mrs. Andrews. You

do attempt to answer Elissa's question, but can

manage no more than a squeak. She puts you up to

her ear. "Try again," she says. This time, you

force out enough sound to give her a high pitched

"okay."

For some reason, Elissa finds the lackluster state

you are in irresistable. "Oooh, you're so cute, I

just can't stand it," she squeals, as she cuddles

you, burying you deep in the center of her soft

and ample chest. And there she holds you, as she

carries you into the cafeteria. By the time she

lifts you out of her chest and into the light of

day again, you are in an even dizzier condition

than before.

Your sister Julia enters the cafeteria, and some

of her friends run up and tell her that Elissa has

you. She walks over to Elissa, who holds you out

for Julia to see. Julia screws up her face and

looks at you, as you stare back at her blankly.

"What's the matter with you?" she grunts.

One of Julia's friends comes over and tells her to

come and eat. Julia holds out her hand to Elissa.

"Better give him to me," she says. "We share the

same plate." Elissa looks disappointed. "Well,

okay, but... gee, Julia...couldn't he share mine?"

 

"Sure, go

ahead," Julie says, "I'd rather eat what

I want, anyway." Elated, Elissa cuddles you once

more, as Julie goes off with her friends. Elissa

walks you over to the food counter and sets you on

a tray. "What would you like, Markie?" she asks.

You shrug. "Hmmm," she says. "then how's about a

little of ... this, and a little of ... this, and

..." You acquiesce to her every suggestion, until

the tray is full. She carries you and the food on

the tray over to a table of her friends, and sets

the tray down. She begins skimming her food with

a fork and scraping it in front of you on the rim

of the plate, as she says: "How's about a little

of ... this, and a little of ... this, and ..."

Her friends all lean forward toward you and giggle

with delight as they watch you obediently eat what

she sets before you.

"Hey, so what's the joke?" The girls sit back and

look up. There they see Craig Bradley and two of

his pals standing at the table. Craig now notices

you. "Hey, you guys, look: she's got the shrimp!"

He bends down for a closer look. "Man, he's even

a shrimpier than I thought. Hey there, shrimp!"

Elissa scoops you up and presses you close to her

bosom. "Man," Craig cries, "What is your problem?

Ever since last night you've been acting like an

ass!"

"Last night, you were the one acting like an ass,"

she snaps back.

"Hey, you know, I don't treat just any girl like

that. That's the way I treat my girl."

"Oh, that really makes me feel sooo much better!"

she sneers. "So from now on, maybe you can just

cut out the 'my girl' stuff, okay?"

"What -- like you got someone else?"

"Yeah, I do." She pauses for a moment. Her eyes

then light up, and suddenly you feel this rush of

wind, as Elissa whisks you away from herself and

into Craig's face. "Him."

"Him? Quit actin' like an ass!"

"Well it's true." She holds you up to her face.

"Didn't you tell me that you're my boyfriend now?"

Then she whispers for only you to hear: "Nod your

head yes." You do so. "See?" she says, "He just

said yes."

"Yeah?" Craig growls, "Well then the shrimp's dead

meat. You hear that shrimp?" He screams at you,

"You're dead meat!" The whole cafeteria turns and

looks, as Craig and his buddies storm out.

Elissa holds you close to her again. You can feel

her trembling. Then you hear a familiar voice;

Julie's voice. "Give him to me," she says. "Give

me my brother." Elissa passes you over to Julie.

Julie presses you close. "It's my fault," your

sister says. "It's all my fault. I should never

have let you eat with him." And, with all eyes in

the room staring at the two of you, she carries

you out the

 

She carries

you out the door.

Julie hurries you to a quiet spot behind a set of

lockers. She holds you up to her face. "Listen

to me," she says, "Stay away from that Craig guy.

Do you hear me? Stay away from him!" You are

still too dazed to respond. "What is the matter

with you?" she cries, shaking you in her fist.

“Snap out of it!” She flicks her finger against

your cheek, which for you is the equivalent of a

hard slap in the face.

"Oww!" you cry, writhing in her fist. "You jerk!"

Leave it to your sister to knock sense back into

you.

"You're the jerk," she replies. "You're so dumb

you don't even know when you're in trouble. So

listen! You remember how scared you were of Mrs.

Plunkett's cat at Hadley

Beach? Well, this guy is

ten times worse than that cat. Twenty times. So

do what I tell you. What’s your next class?”

“How should I know?”

“God, but you’re helpless!” she says, as she pulls

out of her pocket a copy of your class schedule.

"Let's see ... your next class is Miss Beasley's

English, and after that you've got Mr. Lorenzo.

Okay. I'll take you now over to Beasley's, then

you get a student to take you to Lorenzo's. But

once Lorenzo’s class is over, don’t move. You

wait for me there. Get me? Wait for me there,

and I'll pick you up when Mom comes. Get me?"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. I get you!”

“I hope so.” she says, as she drops you into her

shirt pocket and walks you to your next class.

There she finds another desk your size waiting for

you on the teacher's desk. She pulls you out of

her pocket and holds you up to her face again.

“Remember, after Lorenzo’s class you wait for me

there. You wait for me there.”

“Okay, okay!” you cry, “I'm not an idiot."

"Then stop acting like one," she says. She looks

at you pensively for a moment, kisses you lightly

on the head, and puts you in your desk. “See you

later,” she says, and as she walks out the door,

adds, “and quit the goofy stuff!"

Oh, at times like this, how you wish you could be

seven feet tall instead of two inches tall. How

you wish you could tower over your sister. Then

maybe she wouldn’t be so bossy. Then again, you

think to yourself, maybe she still would.

You don't mind sitting atop Miss Beasley's desk,

since there is enough clutter on it to keep you

from being the center of attention. Besides, as

soon as the plump and aging Miss Beasley appears,

you realize that looking for fifty minutes at her

bloated feet would not be the most thrilling of

experiences.

That thought triggers in you a return in thought

to Mrs. Andrews. Soon the drone of Miss Beasley's

voice fades into the background, as you fall deep

into a daydream. Mrs. Andrews is at your summer

place in Hadley

Beach, wearing a two piece bathing

suit, sunglasses, and straw hat. She walks across

the sand, spreads out her beach towel close to the

water, and sets herself on it. After she applies

an ample amount of lotion on her skin, she lies on

her stomach and falls asleep. You creep up to her

feet, and meditate on her exposed soles. You dare

to climb up one of them and roll down, which must

tickle her, for her other foot comes over to brush

you off. That was a little dangerous, you figure.

So you content yourself to nestle onto the curled

underside of her toes, where you fall asleep. And

there you lie, for the remainder of Miss Beasley's

class. The spell of Mrs. Andrews has again taken

hold of you.

At the sound of the bell, an overweight boy with a

pimply chin offers to take you to your next class,

and grabs you in his sweaty hand. Another desk is

waiting for you when you arrive at Mr. Lorenzo's.

You sit in the desk, and try hard to pay attention

to algebra, but just cannot shake off your mental

picture of Mrs. Andrews. When the class finally

ends, and the other students rush out, Mr. Lorenzo

offers to take you to your next destination. You

only ask that he set you down onto the floor; he

does so, and returns to his desk.

You remember what Julie said: stay in Mr Lorenzo's

classroom until she comes for you.

But

maybe she won't be arriving for a few minutes.

And maybe in those few minutes you could sneak

down the hall to catch a quick look into Mrs.

Andrew's room. Hmmm....

Julie wouldn't be angry with your decision, if she

only realized how little in control you are at the

moment. Some force beyond your will is compelling

you to walk down this corridor, is drawing you in

the direction of Mrs. Andrews' room, despite your

better judgment. The way you feel right now, the

way you feel about Mrs. Andrews, is a feeling you

have never felt before in all your life.

You turn the corner and enter into the wing where

Mrs. Andrews' room is. It's a wing furthest from

the main activity of the school, and her room is

furthest down on the left side. The entire place

quite frankly looks abandoned. Still, she could

be there at her desk, doing papers or something,

just the same.

You walk along the wall, regularly passing by the

threshhold of one empty room after another. You

think maybe you see a light in Mrs. Andrews' room,

but can't be sure; the sun is on that side of the

building. You think maybe you hear a sound in her

room, but it could simply be the wind rustling the

blinds. You get closer, until now you are only a

couple of rooms away.

Then you hear someone speaking.

 

"Hey

Bud, how do you turn a Mark on the floor into

a permanent mark on the floor?"

"I dunno -- how?"

"Like this!"

You turn around and look up to see a giant sneaker

bearing down on you. You leap out of the way just

in time, and just enough, as you see the sneaker

stomp down on the ground next to you.

"Ah Craig, you missed!"

Oh no! Craig Bradley and his buddies!

"That's okay. Maybe we shouldn't make a permanent

mark on the floor. Maybe we just oughta wipe him

out -- like this."

The sneaker in front of you hauls back and kicks

you high in the air. You crash onto a section of

broken tile. Before you have time even to breath,

it kicks you again, skidding you across the broken

tile and grout. You look up and see a second shoe

kick you back. The two kick you back and forth,

until you hear, "Hey, let me in on this!" and now

three shoes are taking turns kicking you up and

down the hall.

Then the kicking stops. You lay there unable to

move. You feel blood oozing under your clothes.

Then you hear Craig's voice: "You know, this is

wrong. We shouldn't be torturing him like this.

I really ought to do what I tried doing in the

beginning, and just put him out-of-his-misery."

His sneaker slowly bears down on you, only this

time you're unable to get away. The sneaker now

presses down on you harder, harder, harder. As

you gasp more and more for breath, and feel your

every bone close to the breaking point, you hear

his buddies egging Craig on, chanting like some

chorus of jungle apes: "Ooo! -- Ooo! -- Ooo! --

Ooo! -- Ooo! -- Ooo! -- Ooo! -- Ooo! -- Ooo!..."

Then, just you feel yourself beginning to pass

out, you hear ...

 

"What

in the world is going on out here?"

It's a woman's voice, but whose? You turn your

head just enough to see down the hall a shapely

set of ankles, with feet shod in a pair of black

high heeled shoes. Mrs. Andrews!

"Uh ... nothing ... nothing." Craig replies, as he

lifts his foot off of you and backs away, exposing

you to her view. Bad move, Craig.

"What ... is ... this ...?" says Mrs. Andrews, as

you see her feet move up closer, then hear a gasp.

You see one of her knees hit the floor in front of

you, and realize that she has dropped to that knee

to attend to you. "Nothing? Dear God! You call

this nothing? What were you doing to him?"

"Nothing ... I mean ... just playing."

"No. No, this isn't playing. This is more like,

... it's like ... you were trying to kill him.

You wanted to to kill him!"

"No, Mrs. Andrews, no!" Craig cries, as he steps

toward her.

"Stay away!" she yells. "Stay away from him!"

He backs up, but still tries pleading with her.

"But ... Mrs. Andrews ..."

"Just go!" she cries, "Go!"

Craig's voice sounds desparate. "But I..."

"Leave!" she screams. Craig's two buddies pull

him away, and forcibly lead him down the hall,

until all three of them are out of sight.

 

"They're gone," she whispers to you, as she sets a

hand down near you. "They can't do anything more

to harm you. Are you badly hurt?" You look up to

her and shake your head no. Her reassuring voice,

her finger gently resting against your shoulder,

and especially the tears you notice welling up in

her eyes, overwhelm you. Your chest heaves, your

chin trembles, your own eyes well to the brim, and

you release a barrage of tears and sobs. You roll

to your side and throw your arm around her finger,

pulling yourself up to it and hugging it tightly.

Her other hand comes down and a finger begins to

stroke your back. "You're sure you're not badly

hurt?" she asks again. Uncertain whether to reply

no you're not, or yes you're sure, you respond by

clutching her finger even more tightly, nuzzling

your cheek against it. She understands. "Can you

climb into my hand, then?" To that you shake your

head yes, as you slowly release your hold on her

finger. With the finger of her other hand behind

you to support you, you painfully crawl into her

palm. She carefully enfolds her fingers around

you, and with both hands together holds you close

to her cheek. You are still sobbing. She tries

to quiet you down with a soft "hushh." A solitary

tear rolls down her cheek and bedews your head.

After a few moments, she releases her free hand,

and soon you feel her rise to a standing position.

Holding you now at her chest, she carries you ...

 

She

carries you around a corner and into a nearby

teacher's lounge. She takes you into a washroom

there, and opens her hand to have another look at

you. "You've lost a shoe," she observes. "And the

sock with it. Can you remember where? No? Well,

we'll have to search for them later." She lifts

up your bare foot in her thumb and forefinger, and

squints to study it closely. "I see blood here,"

she says. "Are you bleeding anywhere else?" She

looks you over, and notices spots of blood on your

clothes. She takes off your other shoe and sock,

then strips you of both shirt and trousers. You

now lie there in her hand dressed in nothing but a

pair of red underpants. She tugs at their waist-

band. "Are you bleeding in here, too?" she asks.

Vehemently you shake your head no, and clutch onto

the waistband with both hands. She bites her lip

to suppress a smile. "Okay, then. Let's scrub up

the rest of you."

She dabs a dot of liquid soap on her index finger,

and starts to rub it all over you, first scrubbing

your face, then turning you over to get both back

and chest, and finally rubbing it up and down one

leg at a time. She next adjusts the faucet to a

trickle of lukewarm water, and holds you under it,

careful to shield your underwear firmly with thumb

and forefinger. She shuts off the water and wraps

you up in a face towel. After she has patted you

dry, she returns you into her palm and watches you

closely for any more signs of blood. "It's still

coming," she says, as she opens the medicine chest

over the sink. She moistens the tip of her finger

and touches it to a styptic pencil. "This will be

a bit painful," she says. She begins applying the

alum to your wounds; you shiver in pain. "There,"

she says finally, "That ought to do it."

She walks you out of the bathroom, and sits down.

Your tears have stopped, but you continue to heave

sobs that shake your whole body. She rocks you in

her soft palm as she continues whispering words of

comfort, while her finger lightly glides back and

forth over your body.

You have almost fallen asleep when you and she are

startled by a rattling of the doorknob. The door

swings open, and you hear ...

 

"Oh!

Mrs. Andrews!"

You turn toward the door and see a flustered Mr.

Ripley, principal of the school.

"Mr. Ripley!" Mrs. Andrews exclaims. "Come in. I

need to speak with you."

"Not now, Mrs. Andrews, not now. We're searching

for the Littler boy."

"You mean Letellier? Mark Letellier? He's here

with me."

"Lete ... You ... He's ... oh!" He calls down the

corridor. "Oh, Mrs Littler! Mrs. Littler! I've

found him!" He steps into the room and looks down

at you. "Why, the boy is practically naked!"

"He's been hurt," Mrs. Andrews explains. "But he's

conscious. I've attended to his wounds, but we'd

still better get him to a doctor, just in case."

Just then Mr. Lorenzo and a few people you do not

recognize crowd up to the door and peek in. They

step aside to let your mother through, followed by

Julie.

"No need to panic, Mrs. Littler," says Mr. Ripley.

"Your boy here was in a little accident."

Your mother rushes up to you. Mrs. Andrews offers

you to her.

"No," Mrs. Andrews says, "It was no accident. It

was an attack."

Your mother lifts you up and sets you in her hand.

Much as you try to hold back, her attention to you

triggers from within a fresh outpouring of tears.

"Your son has been very brave." Mrs. Andrews tells

her.

Your mother caresses you, and whispers mournfully,

"I should never have let you come here. Why did I

ever let you come here?"

"Names!" cries Mr. Ripley. "I want names!"

"I don't think he's ready to talk right now," Mrs.

Andrews says. "Give him time." Then she says to

your mother, "You'd better get him to a doctor as

soon as you can." Your mother thanks Mrs. Andrews

tearfully. Then she turns about, as she and Julie

walk through the crowd of spectators out the door.

 

The two

hurry you out to the car. Julie gets into

the front seat on the passenger side. Your mother

hands you over to her, runs around and hops in the

driver's seat, and speeds off. Julie holds you up

close to her face and whispers, "Why didn't you do

what I told you?"

"Julie!," your mother scolds, "Leave him alone!"

Chagrined at getting caught, Julie lowers you into

her lap and sulks the rest of the ride.

Dr. Avery sees you right away. After checking you

under a magnifying glass, a microscope, and x-rays

enlarged thirty times, he sums up your injuries as

innumerable cuts, scrapes and contusions, a minor

concussion, and two broken ribs. Your complaints

of pain in the kidney area concern him. Yet still

he sends you home, instructing your mother to be

on the look-out for any irregularities.

Back home, your mother bathes you, dresses you in

your pajamas, and puts you to bed. She makes you

lie in bed all the next day, despite your protests

that you want to go to school. You wait anxiously

for school to get out, hoping for some of your new

friends to visit you. You at least expect Elissa

to come by; after all, she did ask you to declare

yourself her boyfriend, and it almost killed you!

But at 3:30 that afternoon, the only one to show

up from school is Julie, who sneaks up into your

room and asks you again why you went against her

orders to stay put, and how you ended up in that

corridor. But you pretend that you're asleep.

Just then the doorbell rings. A moment later your

mother is speaking to someone downstairs, then two

sets of footsteps ascend the stairs and come up to

your door. Your mother appears in the doorway.

"Oh Mark," she announces, "You have a visitor."

 

You

hear a familiar “Hello, Mark,” as your mother

steps into your room and over to the side. Into

her place in the doorway there appears the statu-

esque figure of ... Mrs. Andrews!

You sit erect in bed, tingling all over.

“Wasn’t it nice of Mrs. Andrews to come so far out

of the way just to see you?” says your mother.

“Well, it was actually on the way,” admits Mrs.

Andrews. “I had to pick something up at Mindys”

“Mindys?” you ask yourself, “Isn’t Mindys a store

over in Cashman’s Square, the woman’s shoe store?”

As “woman’s shoes” comes into your mind, your eyes

automatically drop down to Mrs. Andrews’ two feet,

which you see are now harnessed in a set of thinly

strapped sandals. She flexes her toes, evidently

for your benefit. Your eyes quickly scale upward

to her face; you notice her smiling coyly at you.

Before you can prevent it, a tremor of excitement

shakes your whole body; thank goodness your mother

doesn’t pick up on it.

“Well, Mark,” your mother says, “aren’t you going

to invite Mrs. Andrews to come in?”

You nod spastically.

“Well...?”

You open your mouth, and after a few gulps, squeak

out, “Come in.”

Mrs. Andrews enters and sits on the bed next to

your doll house, leaning over to look in at you.

“How are you feeling today?,” she asks.

When your attempts at responding to her fails,

your mother replies for you. “He’s doing quite

well, really, quite well.” Then after a pause,

she adds, “Thank you, Mrs. Andrews ...”

“Teresa.”

“... thank you, Teresa, for saving my boy’s life.”

“But Mrs. Letellier -- or should I call you...?”

“Oh, Sheila, please.”

“... Sheila, if only you knew how courageous Mark

himself was yesterday.”

“But if you weren’t there ...”

“Oh, I know, I know. Thank God for that.”

“He hasn’t yet told us what happened.” your mother

says. “Mr. Ripley has called us three times today

asking for names, but Mark refuses to tell him —

or me — anything.”

Julie snaps, “I can tell you who did it!”

“Julie has her suspicions,” explains your mother.

Mrs. Andrews nods her head thoughtfully. Then she

says to you, “We’re so proud of you, Mark. All of

us at the school are proud of you, and so are your

mother and father, Julie ...”

“Yes,” interjects your mother, “I’ve told Mark how

proud his father must be right now.” Mrs. Andrews

regards your mother quizzically. Your mother ex-

plains, “I lost my husband shortly after Mark was

born.”

“Oh ... oh that’s awful,” Mrs. Andrews says, “I’m

so sorry, I ... “ She drops her head, shuts her

eyes and bites her lip.

After a moment your mother walks up to her.

“Teresa?”

Mrs. Andrews looks up at your mother and, holding

back the tears, says, “I know the feeling.”

Your mother drops down next to her on the bed and

guides Mrs. Andrews’ head to her shoulder. “How

long ago?,” asks your mother.

“Oh, a year and ... a half now. Almost.” says

Mrs. Andrews softly.

Your mother begins to stroke her hair, then stops

abruptly. “Andrews.” She ponders aloud upon that

name. “Andrews ... Neil Andrews? ... Officer Neil

Andrews? Was your husband ...?”

“Yes, the hero,” Mrs. Andrews replies mournfully.

“The one who saved everybody’s life but his own.”

She sighs deeply. Then she lifts her head off of

your mother’s shoulders, brushes away the moisture

from her eyes, puts an arm around your mother, and

smiles for her. “Thank you,” she whispers. Then

she turns forward to face you, who have this whole

time watched with mounting awe the bonding between

your mother and teacher.

“Mark,” Mrs. Andrews says, “If you hadn't known of

that part of my life before, I’m glad you know it

now, because I came here to give you something.”

She reaches into her dress pocket and takes out of

it a velvet pouch. She opens the pouch, and pulls

from it a policeman’s badge. “This is yours,” she

says, “It had been my ... husband’s, the badge he

was wearing when ...” She clears her throat, and

begins again. “It was his. And now I want it to

be yours.”

“Oh, Teresa,” your mother cries, “We simply can’t

let you ...”

“No, no I want to do this. I have so much at home

to remember Neil by. I want Mark to have this.”

She leans toward you, as her hand enters your doll

house bedroom. She moves to one side some pieces

of furniture and rests the badge against the wall

opposite your bed. Her hand now glides up to you.

She rests the tip of her finger on your cheek, and

holds it there for a moment. Not knowing how you

should respond, you begin patting her finger with

your hand. She smiles down at you. Then her hand

gently withdraws. “Well,” she sighs, “I’d better

be going. I’ll overstay my welcome.”

Your mother replies, “You’re always welcome here.

In fact -- can’t you stay for supper?”

“Oh. I’d love to, but ...”

“Some other time then?”

Mrs. Andrews’ face lights up, “I would love to do

that. Really I would. I can’t tell you how much

this visit has done for me.”

“Oh, Teresa,” your mother replies, “Imagine what

it has done for us. You’ve made our day.”

Impulsively, Mrs. Andrews embraces your mother for

a long moment, then begins to leave the room. At

the door she turns around again. “Oh by the way,

Mark," she says. "You did extremely well on that

survey in yesterday's class. Unbelievably well --

considering how distracted you were.”

“Distracted?,” your mother asks.

Mrs. Andrews smiles, and leaves the room

 

There

is no one whom you would rather have visited

you than Mrs. Andrews. Still you are disappointed

that she was the only person from school who did.

But tomorrow is another day.

Since you are sick to your stomach early the next

morning, your mother forbids you to go to school

again. That afternoon, even though you feel much

better, your mother insists you stay in bed. She

does, however, carry your bed -- with you in it --

downstairs, and sets it on the kitchen table.

At 3:30,

while your mother is preparing supper,

the front door bursts open and slams shut. You

don’t even have to look to know it’s Julie. But

you wonder why she doesn’t come into the kitchen.

You look over to see her standing at the door; she

appears upset. Your mother turns to look; Julie

motions her over. By the time Julie has finished

her whisperings, your mother also appears upset.

She returns to chopping vegetables, as if nothing

were wrong. You hear only the chop-chop-chop-chop

of her knife for several minutes. Then, “I don’t

want you going to that school anymore.”

Oh no! Family conflict!

"But ma ...!"

"No, Mark, that's it. I don't want you there."

"But you said ..."

"Never mind what I said. A public school is too

dangerous a place for a two inch tall boy."

"But ... you can't teach me anymore. You even

said ..."

"Just because I don't feel qualified to teach the

higher grades doesn't mean you have to go to that

school. We can hire tutors."

"But ... I want friends!"

Your mother puts down her knife and walks up to

you. "Mark, you don't need to go to that school

to find friends. We can look elsewhere."

"But what's wrong with finding them there?"

"Mark, please, I ... I just don't want you going

to that school!" (You can tell that she's hiding

something from you; but what?)

"Why not?"

"I don't want an argument, Mark. That's it!" She

turns back to her work. You sit there in silence

for a minute or two. Then you hit her with: "You

told me I could go if I wanted to go. You told me

you wouldn't interfere. You PROMISED." Your Mom

has this crusade that everybody (you and Julie in

particular) ought to keep their promises.

Even with her back to you, you can see her wince

in reaction. She turns around to you; she looks

defeated. "Oh Mark, I ..." Her look now becomes

one of resignation. "Alright Mark. But you have

to promise me something. You have to promise me

that the moment it gets too hard for you at that

school, the moment it gets too ... unpleasant; as

soon as you want out, you'll tell me. Promise?"

You promise. But gee, you wonder, what's this all

about. Why does she speak as if all this negative

stuff is going to happen? What did Julie tell her?

 

It's

Friday; you have an entire weekend of waiting

and wondering. Every chance you get you ask Julie

what happened at school while you were away; every

time she evades your question.

No one visits you on Friday. Then on Saturday at

noon,

the doorbell rings. Julie runs up to tell

you that Mrs. Andrews is here. You hurriedly get

yourself ready. But she doesn't come up for five,

ten minutes. You hear her and your mother talking

downstairs in low voices the whole time. But what

about? You climb down to the floor and creep over

to the top step to listen. Your mother's keen eye

notices you there and stops the conversation. She

walks up the steps and carries you into the living

room.

In the course of a few hours, your mother and Mrs.

Andrews return now and then to speaking about the

struggles of widowhood. In one extremely poignant

moment, Mrs. Andrews speaks about miscarrying her

and her husband's child -- their only child -- at

eleven weeks, three weeks after Neil's death. As

she speaks, a change comes over you. You begin to

feel in her presence not merely aroused, but warm;

she is becoming not just an object of your desire,

but also someone you care about. As she tearfully

tells of her miscarriage, you wish you were closer

to your mother's size, so you also could hold Mrs.

Andrew's hand, rest her head on your shoulder and

stroke her hair, embrace her. Later that day, you

look up on the computer everything you can about a

fetus at eleven weeks. You discover that a child

at that stage is about two inches long.

Monday morning dawns; reluctantly your mother gets

you ready for school. As her car is pulling up in

the school parking lot, Julie grabs you and stuffs

you deep into her backpack. You hear the corridor

full of voices, but you can't see anyone -- and no

one can see you. Julie hand delivers you to your

first class. As the class ends, Julie arrives for

you. Again she stuffs you into her backpack, too

deep for anyone to see you, and hand delivers you

to your next class. You figure that she's trying

to hide you from people, which really annoys you.

So near the end of the class, seconds before Julie

arrives, you get the teacher's permission to leave

early. Now you have the chance to walk along the

corridor and see people.

People are acting strange toward you. Before they

seemed fascinated by you. Now they seem to look

down at you with contempt. You see Elissa and her

two friends walking toward you. She seems to have

noticed your waving at her, yet she walks right by

you. One of her friends even appears to sneer at

you. As she walks by, her sandal suddenly swings

out to the side, knocking you up against the wall.

You decide to stay close to the wall the remainder

of the way. It is then that you notice all of the

graffiti written on the walls, low enough for only

you to see. They are obviously referring to you.

"Punt the Runt" is one of the few you would dare

to repeat, the rest are so vile.

You are practically in tears, when from behind you

a hand grabs you and scoops you up; thank goodness

it's Julie. She scoots into an empty classroom.

At first she acts miffed at you for avoiding her,

until she sees how upset you are. "Well I suppose

you had to find out some time," she sighs. Craig

Bradley and his two buddies were expelled Friday,

all on account of you. They were all star players

on the school football team, especially Craig; he

has already received offers from the top football

universities in the nation. The school team had

been expected to win the state championship this

year, but not now -- they'll be lucky now if they

win a single game. And everyone's blaming you.

But, you argue, you didn't say anything to anyone.

"They don't know that, and they don't care," she

replies. You accuse Julie of saying something;

she denies it. Then you accuse Elissa. "Elissa!

She hates you now more than anyone," Julie says.

Who then? Who could have ratted on Craig? None

of the students would have dared. So who is left?

Mrs. Andrews.

 

Julie looks at

the clock. “I’ve got to get you to

your next class! Whose is it?” You know whose it

is. But you don’t feel like saying. Julie takes

your schedule out of her pocket. “Oh. It’s Mrs.

Andrews,” she smiles, “Your friend.” Your sister

then stuffs you in her backpack and heads for Mrs.

Andrews’ room.

On the way to class, you begin thinking that maybe

your mother was right. Maybe going to high school

is too much for you. And if it is, you’ll have to

keep your promise to her and finish your schooling

at home. And the way you feel right now, you’re

figuring maybe that’s not such a bad idea. You

only wish that Mrs. Andrews would disappear from

your life with the rest of the school.

Julie gets you to Mrs. Andrews’ class just as it’s

about to begin. She places you on the table where

your desk is set and, before she leaves, asks Mrs.

Andrews if she could get you to class next period.

All during class you keep your nose to your notes,

purposely avoiding eye contact with Mrs. Andrews.

As class ends and the other students file out, you

slide down the rope provided for you and start to

leave the room. Mrs. Andrews, who has been check-

ing over a few papers, looks up to find you now no

longer in front of her. She turns and notices you

walking out the door. “Hold on there, Mark. I’ll

carry you to class.” You pretend you didn’t hear

her and keep walking. “I said, hold on.” You

keep walking. “Mark -- stop! Now!” The force of

her voice stops you. “Turn around,” she says, in

a gentler tone. “Mark -- please do as I say.”

Again, you do so in spite of yourself. “Come over

here.” It’s become pointless to disobey. She

bends down to pick you up. “Why, you’re as stiff

as a board,” she says. She sets you on her desk,

and holds your shoulders with her thumb and fore-

finger. You keep your eyes cast down. She bends

her head down in an attempt to look you in the

eye. “My, but we’re sullen today. What’s the

problem? Is it the new seating arrangements? Need

another floor show?” You turn your head away from

her. “My,” she says. “but this is serious. I’d

better keep my shoes on.” You wrest yourself free

of her and turn your back to her. “Alright,” she

says in an abrupt change of tone, “Let's cut the

kidding. What’s wrong? You haven’t looked at me

all day. What’s the problem? Have I embarrassed

you somehow? All this teasing, maybe? Or, my

visits to your home? Or ... my bathing you in the

sink?” You keep your back to her, unresponsive.

Just then, Mr. Ripley, passing by the room, pops

his head in to say, “Oh, Mrs. Andrews; I’ll still

need a sworn statement from you. A technicality,

of course, but .. well, I’ll meet with you later.”

He slips away. Mrs. Andrews, from looking at him,

looks back down at you. She discovers you facing

where Mr. Ripley just stood, clenching your fists,

gritting your teeth, breathing heavily. “So that’s

it.” she says, “I’m a squealer. I ratted on your

friends.” Again you turn your back on her. “Mark,

look at me. Mark ... don’t be this way. I don’t

want to use force. Come on now.” You don’t budge.

She heaves a sigh, and the next thing you know her

hand is descending on you. With her thumb and

forefinger she picks you up and twists you around.

She holds you firmly, while her thumb under your

chin jerks your head up. You’re now her captive,

forced to look her in the face. In spite of

everything, it’s still a beautiful face.

“Mark,” she explains, “I had to do what I did. If

you weren’t going to tell, I had to. Maybe it’s

okay for you to play the hero. But for me to keep

quiet about what Craig did to you would not be

heroic. It would be irresponsible, cowardly --

practically an act of collusion. What sort of a

teacher would I be -- what sort of a friend -- if

I let Craig get away with what he did to you?

Mark,” she adds softly, “I’m your friend. Right

now, you’re blaming me for turning the school

against you. I can understand that. But believe

me, all that will pass. Still, no matter what

anybody else thinks of you, I’m your friend. I’ll

always be your friend. Always.” You manage to

force your head from her thumb, and turn your face

away again.

At that, she lets go of her grip. “Alright, then.

I’m sorry I said anything. I’m sorry I got poor

Craig Bradley expelled. If it weren’t for me, he’d

still be roaming the school halls. And maybe the

next time he’d kill you. Then you’d really be a

hero. You’d be in all the papers; you’d be on

television. They’d have all sorts of services for

you, dedications, plaques, scholarships, all in

your name. They’d remember you as the boy who

braved death in order to get a good public school

education. And no one would say anything about

how ... foolhardy you were. Even I’d keep my mouth

shut. I’d play dumb for you like I did ...” Her

voice cracks. “Oh God, I’ve had enough of heroes!”

Her last words stab you in the gut. Your feelings

of anger yield to feelings of shame. You still

keep your back to her, only now so she can’t see

your tears. But she knows. “Turn around, Mark,”

she whispers. You do so, but keep your head down.

She lifts up your chin gently with her finger.

Grabbing Kleenex from its box, she twists a corner

of it into a point and daubs your cheeks. “I

didn’t mean what I said. I still want you for my

hero.” She blushes a little. “I mean, I want you

to be everybody’s hero; mine, your family’s, the

school’s. And you still can be. You can be now

more than ever. You’ve come to a school where

everyone suddenly wants to hate you. It’s unfair

what they think about you. Unjust. But you’ve

come here, anyway. I know your mother wants you

to give this school up, and maybe you should. But

if you stay and brave this out, I’m here for you.

Every minute of the day, I’m here for you.”

She leans toward you. “Are you still mad at me?”

You look up at her tearfully, and shake your head

no. “Then can you smile for me?” You do your

best to smile. She returns the smile, almost as

teary-eyed as you.

At once she brushes her tears away, and sits

upright. “Oh dear, I’ve got to get you to your

next class.” She looks at you teasingly. “Or

maybe I should ask if you want me to take you.

Maybe you’d rather somebody else?” Before you

have a chance to answer, a voice at the door calls

out, “I’ll take him

 

“I’ll

take him for you, Mrs. Andrews."

You look toward the door. You see standing there

a boy of African descent, lanky, well-built, with

a good-looking and pleasing face, but an awkward

manner about him. He has a funny accent, like a

foreigner.

"Why, Pierre,"

Mrs Andrews exclaims, "You startled

us. Were you listening in on our entire conversa-

tion?"

"Oh no Ma'am, Mrs. Andrews," he says, nervously,

"I only just got here."

"That's okay, Pierre.

So -- are you sure you can

take Mark to his next class? It isn't out of the

way for you?"

"Um ... no, it ... doesn't have to be."

"All right. Well ... have you met Mark yet?"

"Um ... No, Ma'am, Mrs. Andrews."

"All right, then. Come in, Pierre." He steps in

self-consciously. "Pierre,

this is Mark Letellier.

Mark, this is Pierre Apat." He bows to you, puts

out his hand to shake yours, can't see how you'll

manage it, and withdraws his hand with an apology.

"Shake his hand like this." For Pierre's benefit,

Mrs. Andrews shakes your hand with her thumb and

forefinger. Pierre

does the same, though he's a

little rough; he almost wrenches your arm out of

its socket. He apologizes. "It's okay, Pierre,"

Mrs. Andrews assures him, "For a first try."

You, however, aren't quite so sure you want to be

handled by a boy so clumsy. And you are frankly a

little suspicious of him. He doesn't seem to have

a malicious intent; in fact, the word "malicious"

definitely does not describe him. Yet why would a

boy who doesn't even know you be so interested in

helping you out, when all the rest of the students

hate you?

After a painfully long pause, Mrs. Andrews says,

"Well, Pierre,

it's so nice of you to want help

out a fellow student in need."

"Yes, Ma'am, it is ... I mean, yes Ma'am. Only,

um ... Mrs. Andrews?"

"Yes, Pierre?"

She eyes him quizzically.

"Um ... well ... could you please ... keep this to

yourself?"

"You mean, You don't want me to tell anyone that

you're helping Mark, or in any way befriending a

helpless two inch tall boy?" He hangs his head in

shame. She sighs. "Very well, Pierre. Thank you

for offering your services under such trying cir-

cumstances. Only I think that Mark himself has the

right to decide whether to accept the offer as you

presented it."

She now looks down at you. "Well, Mark, are you

willing to take up

Pierre on his ...

generous

offer?"

 

You

motion Mrs. Andrews down to you. Brushing her

hair to one side, she exposes her ear, then leans

down near enough for you to whisper in it. (Wow,

you think, even her ear is beautiful). You want

so much to keep

Pierre from hearing

you that you

practically crawl into the ear. "Please take me,"

you plead. Mrs. Andrews sits upright again, and

addresses Pierre:

"Mark isn't quite ready yet for

you to handle him. I'm sure once he's gotten to

know you better, he'll gladly accept your offer.

But for now, know that the offer is appreciated.

You have at least shown Mark private support, and

that is a whole lot more than other students in

this school have done." He makes no reply, but

continues to stand there hanging his head.

Mrs. Andrews regards him sympathetically for a

moment longer; then she turns to you. With one

hand she scoops you up, while with the other she

pushes herself away from the desk and rises. She

brushes swiftly by his motionless figure, but once

she reaches the door she turns back around to him.

"Pierre

-- thank you," she says, and hurries off.

Toward the end of Dr. Gompers' class, your sister

arrives in the doorway to pick you up. When the

bell rings and the class begins to file out, she

notices Elissa nudge the table on which you are

seated, causing some liquid in a beaker to slosh

out dangerously close to your desk. Julie steps

in Elissa's way. Elissa shoves her aside and

walks out. You don't mind Elissa's abusing you.

But when you see her do this to your sister -- oh,

how you wish you were taller. As you think this,

you catch sight of

Pierre, watching from

afar in

the corridor. From where he's standing, he must

have witnessed the whole scene. But he just

stands there, gaping.

Julie again hides you in her backpack. You hear

the sounds of the corridor, then the clattering

and tinkling sounds of the cafeteria. You hear

Julie talking to the ladies at the food counter.

A few moments later she is fishing for you in her

backpack. She lifts you out, and you discover

that she has chosen a table for you and her in a

remote corner of the room.

As you and she eat from her plate, you l

The Shrunken Student 2

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