by: username | Story In Progress | Last updated May 13, 2022
Chapter Description: Allie and Grandma explore the possibilities.
The great mushroom stood in a corner of grandma’s backyard. Perched on top was a smaller version of the caterpillar Allie saw in the land of wonder.
“How ya all doin’?” asked the caterpillar. He took a small hit off a cheap vape and gagged a little bit.
“Phew! I don’t know what’s so good about these things!” He put it in a small trashcan that appeared next to him and then disappeared, “Maybe later!”
“Are you the caterpillar from the wonder land?” asked Allie.
“No, baby! But I could say that I came from there.”
“Does this mushroom have grow up and down sides to it as well?”
“Yep! The front makes you lose age and the back grows you up!” He sat back on his perch and smiled an open, honest smile, “Wanna try some?”
Grandma came out into the backyard and saw Allie talking to the strange creature.
“Allie, who are you talking to? What a strange mushroom!” she exclaimed as she viewed the large caterpillar sitting on a large mushroom.
“Oh, hi grammy! I’m just talking to Mr. Caterpillar, here.”
“Howdy!” said the caterpillar, “You here for some mushroom? I got plenty to share and you look like you could use some of the front side!”
“Front side? Of the mushroom?” asked grandma as she tried to make sense of the situation.
“He means that one side makes you younger and the other makes you older. Grammy!” added Allie with the all-knowing wisdom of the young.
“It does what now?” said a totally perplexed grandma.
“Here! I’ll show you!” said Allie as she broke a piece off the back and ate it before grandma could protest.
“Allie! What have I told you about eating the mushrooms you find in the forest?”
Allie stepped out of her tight shoes and grew into a teenager.
“That they might be poison. You were always saying things like that! Well, this mushroom isn’t poisoned, so chill!” said Allie, all knowingly and with a small amount of disrespect.
“Allie! You...you look like a teenager! How did this happen? Was it the mushroom?” Grandma was now very confused and ready to go sit down somewhere and figure out what just happened.
“Look, granny! The backside made me older, and this side -” she plucked a piece from the front and ate it, “makes me younger.” She finished as she shrank down to her normal age of eight.
Grandma stared in confusion at Allie as she readjusted her clothing. “So, it’s some kind of magic?”
“Yep, it's a magic Mushroom!” said Allie excitedly and broke off another piece from the front, “It won’t hurt you, try it!”
Grandma took the piece and looked it over in her fingers. The top had polka-dots and the flesh of the mushroom was a bit springy. She looked at Allie.
Allie continued to urge her to eat it. Grandma took a nibble and found that it didn’t taste bad. It had a taste that reminded her of eating fresh mushrooms before they were cooked.
She looked at her hands and saw no difference. There were wrinkles and age spots.
“It didn’t do anything!” she exclaimed.
“You’ll have to eat more -” started the caterpillar.
“Before you see an effect!” finished Allie, cutting off the caterpillar in mid-sentence.
“That was rude!” said the caterpillar.
“Sorry, I’m just so excited!” replied Allie as she jumped up and down in excitement.
“Okay. I’ll let it slide this time. Eat the mushroom, Granny!”
Grandma ate the rest of the mushroom and was soon in her thirties. Her body seemed to thank her with a feeling of well-being.
She looked at the back of her younger hands and ran into the house with energy that she hadn’t felt in decades to check out her new look.
“What’s up with her?” asked Allie, perplexed at the loss of a few years on grandma having such an effect.
“Oh, she’ll be back!” said the caterpillar smugly. The first taste was always free.
Eventually, granny came back. Her hair was long and dark as a raven; her body was hourglass-shaped and had little or no flab. She looked like she could pass for a professional model.
“Allie! Mr. Caterpillar! Do you know what this means?”
“No granny. What does it mean?” asked Allie as the caterpillar shook his head.
“Why, the possibilities are endless! Youth, perpetual and forev…” granny stopped as the implications kicked in.
“Um, okay!” said Allie as some of what grandma said went over her head, “I’m just gonna go play over there.” She pointed to a secluded spot in the backyard with a swing set and started walking in that direction.
“She’s a good girl,” said the caterpillar, “too bad she doesn’t have anyone to play with,” he added suggestively.
“Hmm,” said grandma. She broke off another piece of the mushroom and went back inside. The caterpillar produced another vape from nowhere, this one was more expensive and blew technicolor fog over the bits of the mushroom that had been broken off.
The mushroom healed itself as if by…
Allie was swinging on the swing set when a girl she’d never seen before approached her. The girl was about her age with short black raven hair and was wearing some of Allie's spare play clothing.
She was dressed in Allie’s denim jumper with a bright yellow daisy embroidered on it, sneakers, and wore a yellow t-shirt underneath.
She moved straight to the other swing and began swinging back and forth on it.
“Um, I haven’t seen you around here before. Who are you?” asked Allie, in the typical straightforwardness that most young children possess.
The girl stopped swinging. “Oh, sorry! Hi! My name’s Betty. I live here. I’m just waiting for my mom to get back from the grocery store.”
“Hi, Betty! My name's Allie, and you live here? But only my Granny lives here ‘cause her husband died before I was born.”
“Your granny? Nuh, uh! I live here with my mom and dad!” said Betty with a tone that would brook no argument. She began to swing again.
Allie was a bit perplexed. She decided to go see her grandmother and get this straightened out.
“Um, I gotta go to the bathroom! ‘Scuze me!”
“It’s just inside to the left. Wash your hands when you’re done!”
Allie didn’t know how to answer that. She ran back to the house and looked for her grandmother. She found the clothes that she wore on her bed, but no grandmother.
She went to her room and found that her belongings had been rifled through. There was a pile of her clothing in the middle of the floor.
She couldn’t find her grandmother anywhere.
“Maybe she went out?” She said and went back to her bedroom to clean up the mess.
She was just in the process of folding, as best as an eight-year-old can, her last shirt and stuffing it in a drawer when the strange girl came into her room.
“Hah! I thought you were taking a long time in the bathroom! And now I find you in my room, doing…” She stopped as Allie tried to close the drawer, but the shirt sticking out of the top was giving her trouble.
“What are you doing?” asked Betty.
“Putting away my clothes that someone pulled out of the drawer and didn’t put back!” said Allie as she forced the errant clothing down and closed the drawer.
“Your clothes? I thought they were my clothes. I mean, they must be b-because I l-live -” She started to cry.
Allie knew how to comfort a friend. That came from playing on an asphalt playground and the occasional slip and fall accompanied by a skinned knee were common enough.
She sat Betty down on her bed and hugged her for reassurance. She waited for Betty to stop crying before she asked any questions.
“Betty, how do you know you live here?”
“I was born in this house! Here, I’ll show you!” Said Betty as she got up and went into grandma’s room. She pulled out a scrapbook that was old and dusty, putting it on the bed. After a few page turns, she pointed to a photo.
The photo had yellowed with age, and there were some cookie crumbs littering the page. “There! That’s me and mommy and daddy! See! See! We’re right in front of this house!”
“Betty, that picture is really old!” said Allie as she pulled the photo out of the album. The ancient glue that had been used to hold it in place gave up and let the picture come off the page easily.
“I don’t care! That’s me and I live here!” She moved to the living room and stopped in front of the plasma LCD television. It had been a gift from Allie’s parents and was a 60-inch one.
“What is that?” she asked.
“It’s a TV,” answered Allie grabbing up the remote and turning it on.
“A TV! Those things are expensive and we can’t afford one! Why is there one here?”
The picture on the set was of a news desk with a typical anchorman. “And that’s sports! Here to show you the weather, is lovely heather, modeling the latest bikini from Jade Swim.”
“Thanks, Alex! As you can see by the map…” Heather was wearing a skimpy white two-piece that barely covered her “assets”. As she moved, the camera paid more attention to her curves than the curves on an animated weather map she pointed to.
“That girl is almost naked!” said Betty, who was shocked by the display, “This isn’t a TV, it’s some kind of devil device!”
“She looks okay to me,” remarked Allie as she had a thought, “Betty, what year were you born?”
“1950,” answered Betty automatically, she was caught up in the TV display and giving it her rapt attention.
“What year is it now?”
Betty turned to Allie with a look of annoyance on her face, “1958, of course! Who doesn’t know that?”
Allie switched off the TV.
“Why did you do that?” asked Betty as her dopamine levels began to drop, “Turn it back on!”
“Later. Betty, it’s 2022, not 1958!”
"It is not!" said Betty as she crossed her arms, "It's 1958!"
“Come with me!” said Allie as she dragged Betty into the backyard and in front of the giant mushroom with the large blue caterpillar on top.
“Hey, babies! Are you diggin’ the experience?” asked the caterpillar with a grin.
“Mr. Caterpillar, why does my grandmother not recognize me?”
“Hmm, well, baby, it’s ‘cause she’s eight. At her age, you ain’t born yet, you dig?”
Betty was looking at the mushroom and the caterpillar with childish curiosity. She walked around the mushroom while Allie was talking with the caterpillar and felt the leathery surface of the top. She stopped where Allie was and broke off a piece.
“Don’t eat that!” yelled Allie, “What did your mother tell you about eating mushrooms from the forest?”
“Aw, I wasn’t gonna eat it,” said Betty, “I’m just looking at it.”
“It wouldn’t hurt her anyways…” said the caterpillar.
“You stop that!” said an angry Allie, “The mushroom made her too young to begin with.”
“But, baby! How can I be of service…” started the caterpillar as he argued with Allie.
Betty took a small bite from the mushroom. The two were busy arguing and didn’t notice. Good! She ate the rest of the mushroom.
“I swear I’m gonna cut this mushroom up…” said Allie as Betty cut her off in mid-sentence.
“Silly cat a pilla! Silly lady!” piped up the now nearly three-year-old as she laughed with glee and fell on her butt.
“Betty!” yelled Allie. She plucked up the little girl from her pile of clothing, “See what you did, caterpillar? Grandma’s a baby now!”
"She's that way by choice, baby! It's not on me!"
Betty, all snuggled up into Allie and sucking her thumb happily, did what all babies do when comfortable.
“And she peed on me, too!”
Allie's adventure in the land of wonder.
by: username | Story In Progress | Last updated May 13, 2022