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As always, any comments or criticisms are welcome. My email is: DanielleJE@hotmail.com

The following story is dedicated to all the melanoma warriors. May a cure for this terrible disease be found soon. Also, I would like to thank my editor, Steve Zink, for his assistance with this story.

Author's Note - I myself am being faced with my own mortality, as I battle stage 4 cancer. Would immortality be a gift, or a curse? Well, read the story and think about it.

 

MAU: Perpetual Pixies

by Danielle J

 

Tim Roberts was staring at the reflection in the mirror. Even two months later, it seemed totally alien to him...err, her. She checked one last time, her hair and makeup were perfect. Then Tim got up out of her chair.

"It's showtime, folks," Tim said to herself, as she walked out of her room.

As she did so, Tim thought back to the day this all began.

*********

Tim Roberts and his wife Laura lived in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tim was thirty-five, and Laura thirty-three. They had two children, Tim Jr. at four and Bethany at sixteen months. Tim worked as a blackjack dealer, while Laura was a secondary school teacher.

The best friends of the Roberts were Chris and Darlene Sanders. Chris was a year younger than his friend and was a fast food restaurant manager. Darlene was only one month older than Chris, and worked as a legal secretary. They had a three-year-old son, Jason.

Both the Roberts and Sanders lived on the same street, four houses away from one another. Chris and Tim had met six years earlier, pursuing one of their passions - Sci-Fi and Japanese anime collecting. Both men were dedicated Trekkies, but enjoyed many different types of science fiction. They attended Star Trek and Sci-Fi conventions, usually in costume.

Laura and Darlene barely tolerated their husbands' interests. Neither was a science fiction fan, and couldn't understand the fascination with what was totally make believe. That their husbands used large parts of their respective homes to store what they considered junk was annoying, at best. Both women wished their husbands would grow up.

Tim's current situation got started on a Sunday night. He was out walking his dog, a Bouvier named Gus. It was a cool fall evening and Tim was taking the usual course he did when walking Gus. He walked past the Sanders' home, and turned right heading toward a vacant lot. That was Gus' favorite dumping spot.

Gus was pulling Tim on the way, stopping to sniff occasionally. Once at the lot, Gus went to his customary spot to do his business. Tim was about to head back home when something caught his eye. About ten feet away lay a small rectangular box. It was silvery grey in color, and was maybe a little over a foot long. He walked over to check it out. He wondered where it had come from or who had dumped it in this location. He stooped and handled the box, and found it surprisingly light. Also, there appeared to be no handles or openings on the box, just some strange writing or figures. Tim decided to just leave it there; maybe someone owned it. He started to head back home with Gus, but then changed his mind and walked back and picked up the box. Putting it under his arm, he walked back home.

He was soon back home. As soon as he got in, Tim took Gus off the leash and walked to the main living room. His wife Laura was seated at the counter that was off to the side of the living room by the kitchen. He gave her a kiss.

"What's that you have under your arm?" Laura asked.

"Oh, just something I found while out with Gus." Tim then took the box and headed to the garage.

'Another piece of junk. Men!' Laura thought, with a frown on her face. She wondered again if her husband would ever grow up.

********

It was Wednesday night, and Laura was finishing cleaning up the kitchen after dinner. Tim was in the living room with their son, Tim Jr., watching some cartoon. Bethany was in her playpen. Like many husbands, He left the housework and much of the caring of the kids to his wife. She could only get Tim to do some chores by asking. This was frustrating, particularly since he would then complain she was nagging him.

"I've got to get the kids bathed and ready for bed," Laura said, as Tim just continued to watch the cartoon without saying a word.

She just wanted to scream, but knew it would be of no use. It was a chore to get Tim to do any kind of chores around the house.

"Dear, could you clean up the garage a little? Tomorrow is trash day."

Tim looked up from the television toward Laura. "Can't it wait?"

Laura just sighed. "This weekend, you and Chris are going to that convention," she said, without including the word dumb. Tim never wanted to do work around the house after a day at work. He would complain he was too tired. With him busy on the weekend, some badly needed work around the house would be postponed.

'Do I have to?' Tim thought to himself, then reconsidered. Laura was right, and there was little sense arguing. He got up off the couch and headed to the garage.

The Roberts' garage was a one car garage. It could normally fit a large car, but with accumulated clutter and belongings the garage was more like a storage room. Tim opened the outside garage door and put the recycle bins out first, then some empty boxes that were sitting by the two trash cans. He would not put the trash cans out till morning.

"I hope that makes her happy," Tim thought out loud to himself. He wanted to do as little work as he could get by with. He had a tiring day at work, and didn't want to do more at home.

Tim then remembered the box he'd found the other night. It was in the corner by a work bench. He picked it up and examined it. The box was incredibly light, he thought. But what was it? There was writing on it, but it was indecipherable. Where was the lid or cover on this box? Tim felt all around the box, and couldn't find anything. Inadvertently, he'd rubbed across the strange writing.

Then suddenly, the box started to move. Almost like something out of a sci-fi movie, the box expanded and stood itself on end. Within seconds, it was standing there looking like a big silvery grey box about the size of a phone booth. It had four walls or sides. On one side, there was what appeared to be a door, with a small panel next to it. There wasn't a thing on the panel, looking so black that it would absorb any light hitting it, and below it was a glowing red light shaped like a three fingered hand and an odd looking purple lump.

Tim just shook his head. What is this thing? He staggered back into the house to find Laura. He went to the master bedroom, and saw that she was busy giving Bethany a bath. Knowing she would not want to be interrupted, he returned to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator. He took out a beer and opened it. Tim felt he needed it. Bad.

About forty minutes later, Laura came out of the kitchen to find Tim seated on the living room couch. There were two empty beer bottles on the table next to him. He was holding a third beer in his hand. The television set wasn't even turned on.

"What's going on?" Laura asked, with genuine concern. Tim sometimes had one beer at night while watching television. Three was absolutely unheard of.

"I've got to show you something." Tim got up off the couch and put the beer down. He then took Laura to the garage.

"What is that?" Laura said in dumbfounded shock on seeing the booth. Tim then explained what happened, and that he had no idea what the machine was.

She walked up to and around the machine. Laura was almost afraid to touch it. Standing outside the booth, she just stared at it. She wondered what it could possibly be.

"I don't know if we should mess with this," Tim said, seeing Laura staring intently at it. She then reached out her hand and touched the panel with the lettering on it. Some more alien lettering similar to what had been seen on the box when it was tiny appeared on what looked like a LCD screen for a few moments, and then stopped. She flinched, then backed away from the machine.

"You may be right," Laura said, deciding to leave the machine alone. "Let's get ready for bed." They decided to forget about the machine for the night, and deal with it another time.

********

For the rest of Wednesday and all of Thursday, the strange box was left alone in the garage. Laura made sure not to allow the children near the machine. What they didn't know was what they should do with the box. Call the authorities? Throw it out with the trash on Saturday?

Like most Friday nights, the Sanders and Roberts had dinner together. To save time on cooking, a pizza was ordered which was delivered to the home.

All Tim and Chris talked about during dinner was the convention that started the next day. As usual, they would attend wearing Klingon makeup and wardrobe. When everyone was finished eating, the women got up to clean up, while Tim said he had something to show Chris out in the garage.

"What is this box that Tim was telling Chris about?" Darlene asked.

"I don't really know." Laura explained to Darlene how Tim had discovered the machine and brought it home. Then how it expanded the previous evening.

"Hey, girls, what do you think?" Laura and Darlene heard the strange and very deep Klingon accented English, and turned around to find what had to be Tim and Chris already in their Klingon garb. It was a day early. Laura also found it odd, since it usually took them hours to prepare and they had only been gone some fifteen minutes or so.

"Doesn't it look real?" Chris asked, in a voice similar to that which had first spoken, but in no way identifiable as his own.

Laura had to admit it looked more real than normal. "Well, yes. And what's with your voices?"

"It is real," Chris said, seeing how Laura and Darlene didn't believe him. "We're really Klingons now. Let us show you."

Chris and Tim took the ladies out to the garage and showed them the presumed alien machine. They went about explaining how they discovered the machine's capabilities. Namely, how it could change objects and people. Tim placed his huge Klingon hand over the glowing red palm shape, then had Laura look at the image of what he now was displayed on the black rectangle, now seeming to be a video display screen of some kind. "You see, the machine reads whatever image I have in my mind, and then puts it on display. Then I would touch the purple knob to open the door. Another purple knob inside activates the machine, changing me to whatever image I had put in that view field."

"Isn't this cool?" Chris said. "We really are Klingons."

Laura looked closely at the machine. She was amazed by what it could do. Then another thought crossed her mind. She looked at Darlene, and was sure they were both thinking the same thing. "I'd like you both to switch back," Laura said, while Darlene nodded.

"Why?" Tim asked.

"We don't know what this machine is, or where it came from. It could be dangerous," Darlene added.

'Worry warts,' Chris thought to himself. Wives were always like that. Why couldn't they just have some innocent fun? "Okay," he said, and went over to the machine. He placed his hand on the glowing red panel, bringing forth a picture of his normal self, and went inside a moment later. He reemerged as his normal self. Tim then did the same.

"I prefer that you don't use this machine till we know more about it," Laura said.

The Sanders spent another hour over at the Roberts' home, before returning to their own house. After watching television, Tim and Laura prepared for bed. He was reading a magazine when she climbed into bed alongside him.

"Honey, I want you to get rid of that machine," Laura said.

"Why? It's harmless."

"You don't know it is. We know nothing about it, or where it came from. I'm afraid something may happen, or the children could be hurt," Laura said insistently.

Tim felt his wife worried too much, but may be right. First he wanted to have a little fun this weekend; then, since he would be busy with the convention, he couldn't get rid of it right away. "I'll get rid of it next week," Tim said, looking up from his magazine.

"I'd prefer if you did it tomorrow."

"Tomorrow is the convention," Tim said in annoyance.

That dumb convention, Laura thought to herself. If Tim didn't do it this weekend, she knew it would be left till the weekend after. He would be too tired. "Can't you do it before leaving?"

"We'd have to get Doug and his pickup," Tim said. Doug was a friend they sometimes used for errands. "There isn't enough time. We can just make sure the garage is locked up, and the kids don't get out there. I don't really think it's a problem. Good night, I want to go to sleep."

Laura just fumed as she watched Tim put down his magazine and roll onto his side in preparation for sleep. Just don't let the kids in the garage. Sure, you aren't home most of the time to watch them. She then picked up the book on her night stand and began to read.

********

The next morning started as planned with Tim and Chris getting into costume for the convention. It began just as the night before had ended, with Laura asking Tim to get rid of the strange box. Tim's opinion had not changed during the evening, and she was not hesitant at all in expressing her annoyance. He tried to placate her by saying he would try to get Doug to come over Monday night. This did nothing to satisfy Linda's ire.

Tim and Chris were using the spare bedroom to prepare. It was planned that while they went to the convention, Laura would take the children to her mother's home.

Laura knocked on the bedroom door before going in. "I'm going," Laura said before giving Tim a kiss. She did not allow the children to see Daddy dressed up; it had frightened them on another occasion. She decided to drop the issue of the presumably alien box for the moment, since her objections were turning out to be futile. "Enjoy yourselves, and don't come home too late," she said, and then left the bedroom to gather the children for a visit with grandmother.

About ten minutes later, Tim heard Laura leave. He and Chris were almost finished preparing for the convention. "You know, we really looked authentic last night," Tim mentioned, taking a last look in the mirror.

"Too bad we can't use the machine today," Chris replied.

"Hmm, why can't we?"

"But Darlene and Laura will find out."

"Maybe, maybe not. But it's harmless." Tim went on talking in an effort to convince Chris. Chris finally gave in, and they went out to the garage.

Tim went first, placing his hand over the red palm. In moments, he had a Klingon warrior looking much like he already did, but much more accurate, appearing on the screen. Satisfied, he touched the purple knob, then went into the box after the door opened up. He came back out looking even better than he had the night before, and waved to Chris to take his turn.

"This is so real," Chris said in his much deeper voice, looking down at himself in disbelief after stepping out.

"There is that costume contest tomorrow. We've got to be hands down favorites to win," Tim said.

"You think so?"

"Why not, we're real. Nobody can match this. So let's get going," Tim said, as he and Chris left the garage and began the trip to the convention hall.

*******

It was nearly 9 p.m. at the Roberts home. Laura had just put the children to bed, and finished getting ready for bed herself. She was tired, but not overly so. With Tim gone to the convention, she decided to see what was on television.

She mindlessly flipped channels. There appeared to be little on of interest that night. AMC, she saw, had on one of those Japanese movies Tim liked so much. She found them dumb and boring, herself. After about fifteen minutes, she settled on reading her book on the couch. The movie was left playing in the background.

Some time later, Laura was awakened by a noise. She had fallen asleep on the couch. Automatically she thought of Tim, and looked at the clock. It read just past 11 p.m. She got up, and found that the noise she was hearing was coming from the garage. She was worried for a moment, but immediately recognized it was the voice of Tim. She walked over to the garage and looked inside.

Tim was watching as Chris was just emerging as himself from the strange machine.

"What have you guys been doing?" Laura asked, trying to wake up. She was starting to get angry. She just realized the guys must have been using the machine.

"I think I'd better be getting out of here," said Chris, and he said a quick good-bye to Laura and then headed out of the garage and then out of the house.

Laura just stood there with an angry look on her face. Tim walked past her and out of the garage.

'Will he ever grow up?' Laura thought to herself. Then she followed him to the bedroom. They barely talked while preparing for bed, and both were asleep by midnight.

During the night, Laura dreamed. One of the dreams was of the movie she'd seen on television while reading the previous evening. The dream was interrupted by the sound of the alarm clock.

'Ugh, 6:30. I can't even sleep in on a weekend because of this convention,' Laura thought to herself, as she began to climb out of bed. She went to check on the children before going to the kitchen to prepare breakfast for herself and Tim. She planned on allowing the children to sleep some more.

While preparing breakfast, Laura was thinking of the machine and what Tim and Chris had done. She was very annoyed about it. Then another idea came into her head. 'No, that's too crazy. Or is it?' She knew some of the agenda for the convention, and how an award was given for the best costume on the final day. Tim and Chris had dressed as Klingons at every convention they attended, but never won. What Laura was thinking of may give them a good chance to win that prize they wanted. If she could get Tim and Chris to go along, that is.

Laura thought about this as they ate breakfast. If she were to try her plan, she would need Darlene to help. So right after breakfast was finished, Laura dialed the Sanders' home. She knew they would be up, also. "Good morning, Darlene. Can you come over right away?"

"Why?"

"Well, I got a crazy idea involving the guys and their convention today," Laura replied. "It'd be better if you come over here and let me explain."

About forty minutes later Darlene, Chris and their son Jason arrived. Chris and Tim immediately went off to the bedroom to prepare for the convention again, while the women supervised breakfast for the children.

While cleaning up after breakfast, Laura proposed her idea to Darlene.

"I don't know," Darlene said. "We really know nothing about the machine other than what it can do."

"Yes, I agree, but the guys used it yesterday without harm. So why not today?"

"I've got to admit, your idea for the guys is cute and funny."

"Yes, and they would be a shoo in for the costume prize," Laura said, thinking of how she would spend the half of the $500 the guys would win.

"One thing I don't like is, it would mean we would have to go with them today," Darlene said, still having her doubts.

"My sister is willing to watch all the kids. It is only one day," Laura went on, trying to get rid of Darlene's doubts. Laura had a thought that this may cure their husbands of their stupid fascination with these conventions or Sci-Fi.

Finally, Darlene caved in. After getting the kids cleaned up plus the kitchen, Laura made a call to her sister, Cathy. Cathy was willing to watch the children while they took the guys to the convention.

"Well, let's do it." Darlene and Laura went to the bedroom door. They knocked first before entering. Both Tim and Chris were inside getting dressed for the convention.

"Honey, we got an idea that we want to float by both of you," Laura started to explain.

********

It didn't take a lot of convincing to get Chris and Tim to go along with their wives' idea. Laura and Darlene left out one key fact - who they planned their husbands to go to the convention as. The girls knew they would never go along with the plan if they were told.

First Darlene and Laura took the children over to Cathy's house. Getting back and forth took about forty-five minutes. Upon arrival, the guys were anxiously waiting in the garage.

"So you girls want to be Klingon women and join us." Tim could barely conceal his excitement. He even thought of the idea of ravishing or having sex with Laura, Klingon style. Wasn't it great that the wives finally decided to enjoy these conventions with them.

"Well, not exactly," Darlene said, with a smirk on her face. "Chris, come with me so that Laura and Tim can do their changes. "For this to work, you can't see what we decided upon until you've been changed, yourself." She took her husband's hand and led him into the kitchen.

Laura went over the machine, remembering how Tim demonstrated it the other night. She thought of the image she wanted as she placed her hand over the glowing red, and it appeared on the monitor. She backed away after touching the purple lump to open the door, but screening the image from Tim's eyes. "It's a surprise, honey," she told him, as she waved him in.

When the shocked Tim came back out, Laura grabbed her changed husband and said, "Be quiet now, so Darlene can change Chris. Yes, I know this isn't what you'd thought, but just wait." When Tim looked about ready to say something in reply, Laura prevented this by placing a finger over now smaller lips. "I said quiet, and I mean it!"

Laura walked over to the door, and after a quick rap said, "Okay, Darlene. You're next." She then went back to Tim and put her hands behind her back to hold her altered husband and keep a finger on those lips.

Moments later, Darlene came back through the door with Chris in tow. He looked around, a bit puzzled at seeing Laura looking perfectly normal and no sign of his friend. Noting his concern, Laura said, "I've got Tim hidden away so you'll be just as surprised, Chris. The machine is already set, so go on in." He noted Darlene standing next to the already open door, and went on in, assuming what was on the panel his wife was blocking was another Klingon.

Well, you know what they say about assuming...

"You've got to be joking!" Chris said, as the door reopened, looking up to his grinning wife.

"No, we're not," Darlene replied. "You always wanted to win a costume prize. What better way to do it!"

Laura walked over to Darlene's side, and allowed Tim to stand next to Chris. The pair both swallowed hard. This was going to be humiliating, to say the least, but the looks their wives gave them left them little choice. They then both started staring down at themselves, and then at each other. They appeared to be identical!

"We can't go like this," both said in unison. Funny, it seemed they both were thinking the same thing, Tim thought. He was also getting the unnerving feeling of knowing other things. Like reading Chris' mind.

"Well, yes you can, and you will," Laura said, as she and Darlene gathered their altered husbands and made their last moment preparations for what they thought would be an interesting and amusing day.

********

The Sci-Fi and Japanese Anime convention was being held at the Las Vegas convention center. Not surprisingly, the place was packed. After taking about ten minutes to find a parking the space, Laura and Darlene took their altered husbands inside.

The place was both crowded and noisy. At the entrance, Laura and Darlene had to pay to enter; this wasn't necessary for Tim and Chris, since they had gotten their passes the day before. Not that anyone at the gate could tell they with the girls, though.

For Laura, it was her first time at one of these conventions. She truthfully did not care for it. The place was full of weirdos, in her opinion. Who would dress up as some fictional characters? To her, it was absolutely childish.

For Chris and Tim, it was humiliating to be taken in by their wives like this. 'Why were we so dumb to go along with them?' they thought in unison. They by now were getting accustomed to knowing what the other thought. They both wished this day would end soon so they could go back to their normal selves.

The girls walked over to where there was a refreshment area. "So, are you two ready?" Darlene asked, as she and Laura looked down at their changed husbands.

Tim and Chris weren't ready, but what else was there to do? They nodded back to their wives in the affirmative.

"Well, here goes," Laura said. She placed the shopping bag she was carrying on the floor, gently laying it on its side. Once on the floor, Tim and Chris crawled out of the bag and stood up.

They both looked at one another, then at Darlene and Laura. No one yet had taken notice of them. Well, at six inches in height, they were kind of hard to notice.

"Look Ken, it's the Shibojin girls from Mothra!" said a geekish looking guy around twenty years old who was with a similar friend.

The previous night, Laura had come across the movie Mothra while flipping channels. She saw the twin priestesses of Mothra's home island. From there came the idea for their husbands.

Tim and Chris were identical twins of one another, both standing about six inches in height with slender but well developed female bodies. They both had clear Japanese or Pacific Islander faces, with dark brown eyes. Their long, full black hair fell to beneath their buttocks. Both were wearing identical red flowered dresses, along with each having a small red flower in their hair.

No wonder Tim and Chris felt humiliated. They were now freaks, in their opinion. By now, more of the convention guests had seen them and were coming over to stare at them in wonder.

"I always thought the Shibojin priestesses were real. Now I know," said an unknown voice in the crowd. Other people could be heard saying similar words.

"This has to be a trick. Nobody like that exists," said a doubting man dressed as a Klingon warrior.

"Come on, sing us your song," said Jason, the guy who originally noticed them. More and more people were asking, and some were starting to sing it themselves. By now, well over one hundred people were looking down at Tim and Chris.

'Why not,' Chris thought, looking at Tim.

'Sure,' Tim thought back to Chris. Words were not necessary between the two of them.

"Mosura ya Mosura

dongan kasakuyan indoo muu

rusuto uiraadoa, hanba hanbamuyan

randa banunradan Tounjukanraa

Kasaku yaanmu

Mosura, Mosura"

Once Tim and Chris were finished, the crowd began applauding wildly. They were actually a little humbled by the crowd's reaction, and politely bowed to the crowd.

********

What Chris thought would be a humiliating day actually was not half bad. After being discovered, they were the center of attention for the day. So many people wanted to talk to them. This wasn't without its drawbacks, however. Being six inches tall, they were almost stepped on a few times; also, people were prone to stare at them. In addition, at their size, they needed help with things like eating or caring for themselves. They may have been fairy priestesses, but their bodies were very real and had their own needs.

To be honest, the part about being a female did not bother Tim. The whole experience was just that weird, almost like a dream. She went around the convention with Laura, while Chris stayed with Darlene.

"Could you sing that song one more time?" asked a bearded, heavyset gentleman.

Tim was growing a little tired of the requests by that time, and both she and Chris frowned together.

"Here is my card." The man passed a card to Laura. His name was Frank Logan, and he was the entertainment director for one of the casinos on the strip. "I would be interested in giving you ladies a tryout. Call me any time at the office, or the cell phone, both numbers are listed." The man then left.

"That would be interesting," Laura said.

"Interesting?" Tim asked.

"Well, we could use the extra money," Laura answered. "Like for the children's education." Laura was uncertain about the idea, and could see Tim felt the same. "Let's think about it," she concluded.

"Yes, let's do that," Tim said. It may be an idea, at that. Laura placed the card in her purse, and they continued around the convention center.

Darlene and Chris were doing the same. A Vulcan male approached them. "My name is T'por. May I inquire of your name?"

Chris did not know if the priestess had a name.

"My name is Darlene," her wife said, speaking up.

"Logic would say that no such creature like yourself should exist," the Vulcan said, speaking to Chris. T'por went on talking about how he used to be a human, too, but Darlene thought he was a weirdo and decided to walk away.

Then another Vulcan approached T'por. "I was attempting to warn them about the machine. Yet they did not listen," T'por said to his mate, as they went off in another direction.

By 4 p.m. both couples were tired from the busy day. Laura wanted to get some food to eat, and then get back to the house. The contest for costumes had already begun, and the winner would be announced at 6 p.m. So they decided to stay.

At 6 p.m. a judge came on stage, and began announcing the winners. First came the third prize winner.

'We aren't going to get it,' Tim and Chris thought to themselves, as they read the judge's mind.

"And second prize goes to the Shibojin priestesses..." The crowd began to applaud, but some began to boo, also. It appeared some in the crowd were equally unhappy at Chris and Tim losing. With Darlene and Laura they went on stage, where they were greeted by the judge who gave them an envelope. It was filled with gift certificates valued at $200.

While disappointed, Tim, Chris and their wives politely applauded when a man won first prize for his Klingon costume.

******

Shortly afterwards, the Sanders and Roberts left for home. They talked in the car. Chris and Tim, while disappointed at losing, admitted they had a good time. Actually, Darlene and Laura were thinking the same. It wasn't all that often they all went out together, and it had been for the most part a pleasant day.

On the way home they picked up Chinese take out food they had ordered via the cell phone. They also drove by Cathy's house to pick up the children. The children were all tired by this time, and had eaten already. Tim and Chris were once again hidden in the bag so the kids wouldn't spot them.

Once back at the house, Laura took her children to their bedrooms to get ready for bed. She needed to give Tim, Jr. a bath that night, but first she wanted to get Tim and Chris back to normal. Darlene had Jason in the TV room, occupied with watching a Barney tape.

Laura returned to the kitchen to find Darlene, Tim and Chris eating the food. Darlene sliced the food small enough that the tiny girls could eat the bits using their hands.

"Ready to get back to yourselves?" Laura asked.

"Yes!" Tim and Chris said in unison. Darlene then picked up Chris and Tim and placed them on the floor, and they all walked out to the garage. Once out there, Laura went over to the control panel of the machine, while Chris, Tim and Darlene waited.

Laura found a repeating sequence of the strange lettering scrolling across the screen. Had she been able to read Fwirthian, this is what she'd have read:

We are sorry, but your four-day evaluation license has

expired. To continue using the Mark 5 Morphic

Adaptation Unit, please remit 52,495 Fwirthi Rakburs to

the Gemalfi Corporation within eight Febulons. Thank

you for trying the Mark 5 Morphic Adaptation Unit.

A few moments later, Laura turned away from the machine, ashen faced. Neither Tim nor Chris had to hear Laura say the words. They already knew it.

The machine was not working anymore.

*******

Near panic set in right afterwards. How else would you react as you discovered you were stuck at the height of six inches in a body whose gender was the reverse of normal, or that your husband was now stuck as a female standing six inches in height?

Darlene did not take it well at all. She just barely avoided taking out her anger on Laura. She blamed it entirely on Laura. It had been her idea.

For the next couple of days, Laura alternated between being catatonic or crying hysterically, or attempting to get the box to work again. It would not, and on Monday evening shrank and stowed itself back in the condition Tim had found it in a week earlier.

Tim knew the machine would never work again. She sensed it. She did not panic nearly as bad as Laura had. Not that the idea of living the rest of her life being six inches tall was comforting. Being female did not seem that much of an issue. What bothered her more was the need to have Laura do so much for her. The loss of independence. She needed Laura's help for eating, and other basic activities of life. For clothes, she was forced to wear clothes that normally adorned their daughter Bethany's dolls. It was all rather humiliating, and Tim went through a similar period of shock as Laura.

Laura took the week off from work. She said an Aunt had died, and they had to leave town for the funeral. This excuse would only hold for a week. Then, what would they do? They had two children, and a mortgage to pay for. Laura's salary would not suffice.

As for the children, Bethany was still very young and didn't know better. Tim, Jr. was inquisitive, and wanted to play with his new little female friend. Laura and Tim did not tell him who she really was.

Come Friday night of that first week, Laura and Tim were sitting in the living room. Tim was on top of a small box on the end table. The television was on, but neither was paying much attention to it.

"Tim, what are we going to do?" Laura asked, as she began to cry again.

"I don't know."

"And this is all my fault."

"No, it isn't," Tim answered. As remarkable as not, Tim and Laura were not bickering like before. "I used the machine first, I found it. It's my fault, more than yours."

"Who can we tell? Is there any way of helping you?"

Both sat there for a while. Then Tim recalled the other day. The man at the convention center. "We have bills to pay. Why don't we call the man who gave you that card?" she said. At least it was a way to earn money till they figured out what could be done. Though Tim's newly found psychic abilities left her with little doubt her condition was permanent. She just did not want to upset Laura more by saying so.

The next day, Laura called Mr. Logan at Harrah's Casino. Yes, he was still interested, but wanted both women for an act. First, he would want them to do an audition.

That meant that Laura and Tim would have to contact Chris and Darlene. Considering Darlene's anger the previous Sunday, they were not looking forward to it. To their astonishment, Chris and Darlene went along with the idea. Their predicament was the same; bills to pay, and another child to raise.

So Sunday morning, Chris and Tim went along with their wives to Harrah's and did an audition. Frank Logan was impressed, and wanted to hire them immediately. As Chris and Tim would find out, they had very talented multi-range singing voices.

It took a week to work out a contract and the details. The pay would be better than their old jobs, if that was any consolation. Also, as part of their compensation, special doll houses which were to be living quarters at home and work would be constructed by the stage crew, and clothing would be made for Tim and Chris so they wouldn't have to live in borrowed Barbie outfits. A lot of work was going to need to be done, but Frank thought he had a great new singing team, and it would be well worth it. For the time being, Frank was kept in the dark about his discovery's origins.

He planned on six weeks of preparation before the two diminutive ex-guys would start their new career as a female singing duo. They would sing five nights a week at Harrah's, plus one weekend matinee. While Tim and Chris would be able to pursue outside gigs or concerts, Frank still got a percentage of that money. Tim and Chris also received a percentage of the admission money from their shows at Harrah's, which soon became quite an addition.

Two weeks after that fateful Saturday, Tim and Chris began preparing for their new job. Every day they would arrive at Harrah's at 8 a.m. Their days would not end till past 5 p.m. In between, there were many rehearsals of their upcoming act. Tim had always had some natural musical ability, but Chris hadn't till now. Nor was either of them a natural performer. It took a great deal of work with the stage hands, the band, and the many others who would make their singing acts possible.

While not advertising who the act was, rumors were spreading of a new talented singing duo. The first two weeks were soon sold out for the duo's opening performances. The news was beginning to spread.

A week later, Tim and Chris were rehearsing with their band. It was around 3 p.m., and had been a particularly trying day. Two men appeared at the door to the club where the rehearsals were being done. A guard said that no visitors were allowed, but stepped back after seeing their government ID's. They walked into the room and toward the stage.

Chris and Tim were too busy to wonder who the strangers were. Seemingly, they were discussing something important with Frank. Then they walked over to the stage.

"Ladies," C said, opening his wallet to show them his ID. E was standing next to him. "We need to talk to you and your wives. Can we speak to you in private?"

*******

C and E asked Tim and Chris about their involvement. That same evening, Laura and Darlene were asked the same questions. Not knowing what to do with the box, Tim and Laura had kept it. They gladly gave it to the agents, hoping that they could help.

For the next week, the rehearsals were delayed as the Roberts and Sanders families were flown back east. For five days both Tim and Chris were endlessly examined and poked by a group of doctors. Blood was drawn, tests were done. There were also long question and answer sessions with C and E and other agents. While Darlene and Laura were not examined, they had to undergo similar question and answer sessions.

Finally came Monday, the last day for Tim and Chris. The doctors were giving their last reports. "All tests were perfectly normal," the first doctor said. "Despite their size irregularity."

'Size irregularity?' Tim and Chris thought together. How would they like to be six inches tall!

"The tests were conclusive. The subjects are fully functional human females," the second doctor added.

'Fully functional. You're telling us?!' Tim and Chris thought. It was their twenty-ninth day in their present forms, and both were experiencing what "fully functional human females" experienced approximately every 28 days. Menses. Both Tim and Chris were menstruating. This was not helping their present mood.

The wives spoke up. "Can they be helped?" Darlene asked.

C an E said that to date they'd found fifty-three boxes. But every single one had been discovered after its use. None would operate, despite the many efforts and tests made to the units. "We don't know, Ma'am," was all E would say.

"But there have been others who have used these machines," Laura countered.

"We really can't say, Ma'am," C answered. All four women were looking very annoyed by now.

"There is one other interesting discovery," the first doctor added, as if awakened from a trance.

"What is that?" Darlene asked.

"Neither subject shows any cellular decay," the doctor replied.

"English, Doctor!" Laura said, just short of a yell.

"We believe your former husbands may be immortal," the doctor stated rather matter of factly.

'Immortal? You mean we will be like this forever?' Tim and Chris both thought together.

******

Forever? That is what immortality means. To never die.

To live millions or billions of years as a six inch tall fully functional female. Whose only company was her former best friend. Some would call the chance to be immortal a gift. Tim thought it to be a curse.

Maybe time would give them a chance to find another machine and change back. Who knows?

All of this was crossing Tim's mind as she left her dressing room. She walked across the hall and knocked on the door.

"Be out in a minute!" Chris yelled.

'Would Chris ever be ready on time?' Tim thought. They were already almost five minutes late for the beginning of their Saturday matinee act.

To spend eternity with her incompatible other half. Who said there was no hell on earth.

Tim had given thought to suicide. But even throwing herself from a great height or setting herself on fire may only maim or disfigure her. Not kill. No, there was Laura, Jason and Bethany to think of.

But could she ever live with Chris? They could never be separated by more than a few miles. The previous weekend, Chris and Darlene were going to a place in Arizona. Not more than ten miles from the house, Chris went into convulsions. At the same time, Tim suffered the same symptoms. There was some force that kept them together. There was no way of living without the other.

Live? With this insufferable jerk.

'Screw you,' was the first thought Chris said to Tim as she emerged from her dressing room.

'You did that already.' Yes, one night they engaged in lesbian sex, which neither found very satisfactory. That did not stop Chris from wanting it again.

Chris and Tim walked dawn the hallway of the specially built dollhouse. The house had dressing rooms that doubled as living quarters, an eating area, and two bathrooms. All miniaturized to the specifications of their new size. They opened the front door.

"Ready?" Laura asked. She tried to make all the performances she could. Tim still loved her very much. Maybe more so, now. Tim and Chris smiled and nodded back to Laura. Chris, then Tim climbed in the special carriage that would take them to the stage.

Tim had grown used to her predicament. She still had her family, but it would be nice to have the comfort of someone else; but this would not happen. Being a woman was not as big an adjustment, pardon the pun, as getting used to her new stature or lack thereof. Half the world was female, and now so was she. It was just the rest of man or woman kind was ten to twelve times her size. Tim actually thought of the idea of getting pregnant. It would give her someone else, but who knows if her body could sustain it. She did not have a man. So it would have to be artificial. Would a child grow to full size in her womb? No, it was too dangerous.

Another thing Tim was discovering was her psychic or ESP powers. They were rather strong. If she concentrated hard enough, no one's mind was beyond the ability of being read. Also, she had some mind control abilities. Tim had discovered these when playing with Bethany. She only had to plant an idea, and Bethany did it. It seemed to work with small children and animals. Tim had not tried the same with an adult.

The carriage ride was not very long. Soon, a light was shined on the carriage. An announcer began to speak. "Ladies and Gentleman, welcome to Harrah's Casino. Please stand to greet the stars of our show, The Shibojin Twins!"

The carriage stopped in the middle of the stage, and Tim and Chris stepped out. The place was packed, another sellout. All shows were sellouts. Chris wondered if this was because of people's fascination with their freakish status, or if they were really that talented a duo as singers.

There was already talk of them doing a concert tour. Also, a television special. Tim thought at least Laura and the children would never want for anything. That was what a good husband was supposed to do.

Chris and Tim bowed to the audience, then stepped to the spot on the stage where they could read the teleprompters for their act.

As always, they began with their trademark song.

"Mosura ya Mosura

dongan kasakuyan indoo muu..."

******

In another part of the hotel, there was a busy bar that had a television set to a college basketball game. Many of the bar patrons were watching the game. Suddenly, the screen changed and said CBS news flash.

"Hey, put the game back on." The bartender tried flipping the channel, but all the networks were showing a similar report. So the bartender put it back to CBS. It had to be important if they interrupted the basketball game.

"This is Bob Schaffer for CBS news. We have some breaking news coming from the Pacific Ocean just off the California shoreline. We go to Bob McGraw, on the Coast Guard cutter Santa Cruz."

The image changed to the deck of a Coast Guard cutter at sea. There was a reporter standing at the ship's prow.

"For the past three days, the US Navy and Coast Guard have been trailing a mysterious creature. The creature, despite repeated attempts to stop it, is heading for a part of the California coastline just north of Santa Barbara," Bob McGraw reported. "Here is some footage taken by a helicopter just moments ago."

The film showed a brown, worm-like or caterpillar creature. It had to be several hundred feet in length, and at close to a hundred feet in diameter. It was swimming on the ocean.

"We don't know where this creature came from, nor where it's going, but the authorities in California are already..."

***Cut back to the club at Harrah's***

"...rusuto uiraadoa, hanba hanbamuyan

randa banunradan Tounjukanraa

Kasaku yaanmu

Mosura, Mosura"

or, as it translates in English:

"Mothra oh Mothra

Hear our call for you to save us

over time, over sea

like a wave you come

our guardian angel

Mothra oh Mothra!"

Mothra was listening to the song of the fairy priestesses she protected. She would rescue them. No matter what.

The End?

 

 

 

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2001 by Danielle J. All Rights Reserved. These documents (including, without limitation, all articles, text, images, logos, compilation design) may printed for personal use only. No portion of these documents may be stored electronically, distributed electronically, or otherwise made available without express written consent of the copyright holder.