When You Were Young (Chapter 5, page 1 of 4)

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Chapter 5

Samantha's head pulsated with a dull ache. She couldn't bear to even open her eyes. I'll just lie here for a while, she thought. In a few hours maybe the headache would go away.

She tried to remember what had happened. She remembered going into the Grey Oyster Pub, ordering a few beers, and then the rest grew hazy. She recalled the bartender looking frightened. About what she didn't know. At some point she left the bar and crashed down onto a pile of netting.

The netting must have been wet, she thought, taking note of how damp her legs felt. No, that couldn't be right; the dampness was between her bare legs. Hadn't she been wearing pants when she went into the bar? Oh God, what did I do?

She put a hand to her head, feeling a long tress of hair draped over her face. No, that couldn't be right either; she'd gotten her hair cut the other day. She brushed the hair back to touch a cheek bulging with fat.

She opened her eyes. She held up a pair of tiny, chubby hands. She looked down at her stomach pressing against the white fabric of a nightgown. She pulled back the hem of the nightgown to find a dark spot on the mattress beneath her. I wet the bed, she thought. That hadn't happened in eleven years. Not since she was little. What's going on here?

She examined the bed she lay in. Not a bed, but a crib with wooden sides fencing her in all the way around. A doll lay next to her; she recognized it as the one of her Prudence had made for Molly years ago. Overhead, a circle of stars danced on strings; the mobile Wendell had made for Molly when she was-

A baby! I'm a baby. No, this couldn't be right. She must be dreaming. This was all part of some alcohol-fueled nightmare. She pinched the flabby skin on one arm and winced.

Maybe not an ordinary nightmare. Three years ago Joseph had given Prudence and Wendell a sleeping potion that caused them to hallucinate. In their dreams, Prudence turned into a sow and Wendell into a baby girl. That must be it!

Joseph had concocted the potion and found her lying on the dock, passed out from a night of heavy drinking. He poured the potion down her throat, an evil grin on his face. If he couldn't have her, then he'd kill her. What better way than for her to die slowly, shrinking into a helpless infant and then prenatal ooze? She had to get out of this crib and find her adult body as Prudence and Wendell had done.

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