Elizabeth was still caught up inside her now gigantically oversized clothes and she struggled and fought to get free of them. The undergarments were strangling her lower limbs and the weight of the layered dress fabric was overwhelming against her new tiny body.
She understood what had happened to her but she still couldn’t reconcile with it. It wasn’t possible for her and Reggie to switch places – no real magic existed in the world – but they undoubtedly had. She pushed herself further out the neck of her dress and looked down with dismay at her flat boyish chest, her round belly, her pudgy arms and stubby fingers.
Then she looked up at Reggie himself and went white. He looked exactly like she did now, though untended, his newly long hair flopping down and his entire body unclothed.
“Howard,” she said desperately, looking to her husband. “You have to help me. What did this? I can’t be Reggie. I just can’t.” Her voice was Reggie’s voice, though thankfully there was no sign of his signature lisp. She hadn’t really become him. She only looked like him.
“Don’t worry darling,” replied Howard. “Everything will be alright.” He knelt in front of her and gripped her shoulders, helping her out of the last of her clothes.
“Alright? Alright! How can it be alright? Look at me! I’m a little boy!” She gestured down at her dumpy body, at the impossible little organ at her crotch. “Look at this! This can’t be happening to me. It just can’t!”
She started sobbing and Howard put his arms round her. “Shuushh darling. Shush. It’s going to be alright somehow. Don’t worry.” He got up and went to the door; turned the key to lock it. “In case anyone comes in. We don’t want them seeing you two like this.”
Elizabeth and Reggie looked at one another and the former lady felt a rush of pitiable envy flood through her. She wasn’t meant to be a child. She was meant to be a grown woman; a titled lady. None of this was right. Then she had a sudden realisation and everything started to make sense.
“Good Lord. It must have been that wish.”
“What’s that?” asked Howard.
“You asked me if I wished her were young again and I said I did and then Reggie...” She pointed at the former child. “You said you wished you were an adult.”
Reggie looked from her to Howard and then back again. He said nothing.
“We have to wish ourselves back again,” she said. “Right now.”
“Er, I don’t know that that will work,” said Howard, stepping closer.
“It has to. It just has to. She raised her little chin to the heavens and said, “I wish I were a woman again.”
Nobody moved. Nothing happened.
“Perhaps you should get some clothes on,” said Howard.
“No. I wish to be myself again!”
There was another painfully long pause. No return change was initiated.
“You have to wish it too Reggie<” said Elizabeth. “It must be because we both asked for it. Make the wish too. Wish you were a boy again.”
Reggie stared back at her.
“Well go on then child. Wish to be yourself again! Now!”
Reggie looked back at her then he looked at the Earl. He wasn’t sure what he was supposed to say but he didn’t want to change straight back. He didn’t know why his uncle wanted this to happen but now that it had he rather liked the idea of being one of the grown-ups.
“Reggie, wish us back!” exclaimed his aunt.
He looked at his uncle. The Earl gave a single solemn shake of his head.
“No,” he replied, amazed at the womanly sound of his voice. “I don’t want to go back yet. I want to shtay like this.” It was odd to hear his lisp sound through his auntie’s voice but he still couldn’t help talking like that.
“No?” shrieked the Countess, her eyes bulging. “You’ll change us back this instant young man! This instant!” She pointed at him, absolutely furious. “You won’t defy me. I’ll tell your father and he will have your guts for garters! You won’t be able to sit down for a week!”
Reggie took another glance at his Uncle Howard. The Earl gave him another signal to tell him to stay the course. “No,” he repeated. I won’t change back. Not right now.”
“Alright just hold on,” said the Earl.
Elizabeth truly couldn’t believe what she was hearing or how far out of control this situation was. “Howard, make him change us back, please. Make him change us back.”
“Look, calm down,” he said. “Alright? Just calm down.”
“I’m not going to calm down Howard! You listen—!”
Elizabeth shut her mouth, gawking up at the towering man standing over her who was well over twice her height now. “Howard, I...”
“Quiet,” he snapped. “Both of you.”
They both went silent, cowed by his authority.
Behind the Earl’s steely glare, Hattie smiled inwardly, delighted by how this was going and fit to burst into laughter at the sight of her terrified mother trapped as a chubby little boy. She raised her finger. “Obviously things need to be sorted out. This exchange can’t be allowed to continue and we need to work out how to reverse it. In the meantime I won’t have you both standing there naked.”
“We will resolve this! After you have covered yourselves up. Is that clear?”
“But Howard,” whined Elizabeth, “my clothes won’t fit me anymore. They’re too big.”
“Then dress in Reggie’s clothes for now,” replied Hattie, enjoying every second of this. “There they are. Put them on.”
“I can’t possibly wear those.”
“I’m afraid you have to.” She looked to the former boy. “You too Reggie. Put on your aunt’s dress. I know it’s strange but I’ll not have you standing around naked.”
Elizabeth was weeping but she did as she was told. What other choice did she have? She walked across to Reggie’s sailor suit and regarded it forlornly. How could her day have come to this? It was impossible. But it was better to cover herself up surely. She couldn’t abide seeing her tiny penis and chestless body. It broke her heart.
Feeling increasingly desperate she reached down and started to dress.