by: username | Story In Progress | Last updated Jun 2, 2022
Chapter Description: Julia meets Allie's aunt Dot.
Summer turned to fall; the leaves on the trees turned into vibrant yellows, reds, and oranges. Julia and Allie were walking home from school.
Despite meeting her obligation of being Allie’s playmate for a week, she’d found her “second childhood” to be enjoyable. It had given her time to catch up on certain things that she’d glossed over or ignored in her haste to grow up and become a woman adventurer for the first time.
She asked for a little more time before she grew up. Betty and Allie agreed wholeheartedly, and she joined Allie for the school year.
As the two girls chatted happily about the day's events at the school. They came up to grandma’s house and saw an odd car in her driveway.
“Now, who could that be?” asked Allie.
“I guess we're going to find out,” answered Julia as she sped up their walk.
The two entered the house to find Allie’s aunt Dot had come to visit. Dorothea Peal, age 55, was an old farm girl from Arkansas. She’d inherited her family’s farm after everyone else had passed away and never married.
She used her business acumen to turn it into a successful agribusiness, specializing in dairy, chicken products, and wheat.
“Auntie Dot! It’s good to see you!” yelled Allie in delight as she ran up to where she was sitting. Dot put down her coffee, got up, and gave her niece a big hug.
“Allie, it’s so good to see you! My, but you’ve gotten so big!”
She held her at arm’s reach to see all the changes in her favorite niece that had occurred since she’d seen her last.
“Well, I was only 6 the last time you were here,” answered Allie “I’m 9 now!”
“What a big girl you’ve become! And who’s this?” said Dot as she turned to Julia.
“Oh, this is Julia! Julia, meet my favorite aunt, Dorothea Peal. Auntie Dot, meet Julia,” said Allie as she went through the formalities.
Julia offered her hand in greeting, “Julia Grange, ma’am. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“Likewise, Julia. Hmm, you have the same name as the famous adventurer. Any relation?” said Dot as she clasped the young girl’s hand in both of hers.
“You could say that she’s a relation on my mother’s side,” answered Julia vaguely, “Although she’s the family’s black sheep, I was named after her.” The last bit was offered as a cover to make her story a bit more convincing.
Allie, who knew the truth, stifled a giggle.
Dot caught Allie’s reaction but decided to keep it to herself for later. “So, what brings you here, Julia, and is that a bit of a British accent I hear?”
“Indeed it is, Ma’am! I was born in Surrey, England, and grew up there,” she said as she caught herself and added, “At least until now,” awkwardly.
“How wonderful! I spent a little time in London and visited the sites as a tourist. Have you ever been to Stonehenge?”
“Oh, yes! There was a cult of druids that did a chant while I was there,” she said, remembering the foiling of their plans that she’d had a significant part in, a few decades ago.
“What? How old are you, Julia?”
“Oh, I’m 10. I visited there when I was about 6 or so. Um, I don’t remember much other than the druids, though!”
Julia was starting to become uncomfortable having to lie so much. She decided to change the subject.
“I met Allie through a, er, pen pal program? Yes, that’s it! She’s a pen pal. Anyway, I’m spending time in America too, um, further my education!”
“Oh, my! Pen pals in this day and age! How quaint,” said Dot. This little girl was proving to be more and more interesting.
“It was, um, online, auntie Dot!” blurted Allie attempting to help, “I met her through Kidzworld and we started sending each other letters.”
“Yes, Kidzworld…” added Julia as she gave Allie a look that suggested she shut up.
Betty drove up at that moment with a supply of groceries in her car.
“Ah, girls, you’re home. Help me unpack the car, please!”
After the groceries were all placed in the kitchen, Allie and Julia made their excuses to get changed out of their matching school uniforms and went to Allie’s room.
“Good catch on the Kidzworld, Allie. Now that I think of it, it’s more believable than pen pals,” said Julia hoping that Allie hadn’t been put off by her earlier reaction to her suggestion.
“Oh, thanks. It just made more sense, you know?” said Allie.
“How long before your aunt figures out that the mushroom in the backyard isn’t just for show?”
“She won’t see it. I asked the caterpillar to go invisible while we were getting stuff from the car,” answered Allie.
“Oh, I didn’t know he could do that! Well, how long before she figures out what’s going on around here?”
“I dunno!” said Allie with a shrug. She was only 9, after all!
“Spiffing!” remarked Julia. It was only a matter of time then, she thought.
Allie liked the term that Julia had just used. She didn’t know what it implied, but it sounded neat! She decided to use it whenever she could because it sounded so cool to her ears.
Julia dressed up in her child-sized tank top and shorts. She put on a pair of cotton gym socks and forwent her biker boots while she was in the house.
Allie dressed in a pair of stretch pants and a play shirt with a bunny on its chest.
The two girls were soon outside whooping it up and relieving some of the pent-up energy that they’d stifled while at school all day.
This was what Julia love the most about her second childhood! No cares or worries went through her mind as she and Allie behaved like happy children.
“Girls! Come inside for dinner before it gets cold!” yelled Betty.
“Okay!” The two yelled and started to move towards the house.
“And wash your hands!” added Betty.
“Yes, ma’am,” they responded with a groan and rolled their eyes.
At dinner, the topics were about what the girls had learned at school, auntie Dot’s business deals, and a little catch-up on what Allie and Betty had been up to since Dot had seen them last.
The two girls went to the living room to watch a little TV before bedtime. Aunt Dot helped Betty as she cleaned the kitchen and washed the dishes.
“Well, Allie certainly has grown both in body and mind since I last saw her!” noted Dot out loud.
“Yes, she’s more outgoing and playful since she’s gotten her playmate!” agreed Betty with a smile at her progress.
“Do you think she’s ready to hear the truth about what I went through when I was her age?”
“Oh, you’d be surprised, my dear!” said Betty. She groaned a little bit as she bent her knees to wipe off one of the chairs. She couldn’t wait to age down and move around less hindered by the pains of being a senior citizen!
At around 9 o’clock, the girls got cleaned up and donned their pajamas. They went to bed shortly thereafter. Betty went an hour later, and Dot was left on the couch, which would be her bed for the duration of her stay.
At the breakfast table, Dot rubbed her sore neck.
“Is everything all right, Dot?” Asked Betty, worried about her health, “The couch isn’t too hard to sleep on, is it?”
“No, no! Everything’s fine,” lied Dot, not wanting to trouble Betty.
The girls ate their cereal in relative silence. Allie was looking at the back of the box for hers and contemplating whether or not she wanted the pretty piece of plastic it offered up for several box tops and a small shipping fee.
“Girls, can you get home as soon as you can after school? I have something to tell you,” said Dot.
Betty looked at her niece with approval. She wasn’t beating around the bush about her experiences; Good!
“What’s it about, auntie?” asked Allie, with the typical curiosity of a child about to find out a secret. She wanted to know now, not later!
“It’ll take a little while to relate it, my dear! That’s why it has to wait.”
“Awww!” pouted Allie.
“Are you sure, I should know about it, Dorothea?” asked Julia. Family secrets should be kept to family, after all.
“You and Allie seem to get along so well, I don’t see why not,” she answered, “and call me Dot or Aunt Dot! I feel as if we’ve met before somehow.”
The two girls left for school. Dot sipped her coffee as Betty moved to pick up the breakfast dishes.
“Remarkable girl, that Julia, she acts a lot more mature than most girls her age!”
“Yes, she does at that!” added Betty brightly.
The evening found Allie, Julia, Betty, and Dot sitting over a table after their dinner.
“Oh, you know! Reeling, writhing, and arithmetic,” said Julia in answer to what she learned at school today; “Ambition, distraction, qualification, and derision.”
“Oh, very good!” said Dot, “That’s from Lewis Caroll, isn’t it?”
“Yes, Alice meets the Mock Turtle!” said Julia happily. She was pleased that someone else recognized the reference.
“Spiffing!” interjected Allie. She didn’t know what else to say.
“Now then, Allie and Julia, are you ready to hear a family secret?”
“Yeah!” said Allie. Finally, she’d get to hear it! She’d been on tenterhooks all day over it.
“Yes, please!” added Julia.
“Very well, I must say before we begin that this happened to me when I was your age. I might have forgotten a detail or two, so bear with me.”
The two girls gave their rapt attention to Dot as she continued. She told a tale of being swept up in a hurricane to a fantastical land of dwarves, fairies, and witches. She told of meeting a man made out of brass and another made from hay. She also talked about a brave tiger that was looking for his lost love.
The three went to a city carved from jade before she woke up and found herself in her bed. Folks had said that she was dreaming, and at first, she believed them.
“Your story sounds very much like it came from Frank L. Baum,” observed Julia. She wasn’t judging; she was just making a comparison.
“Yeah, did you have a dog with you?” asked Allie. She had read many children’s books and thought of how a dog had fit prominently in the one she was thinking of.
“No dog was present,” answered Dot, “But, there’s more to tell!”
Allie and Julia gave her their full attention again as she continued her tale. She went on to tell them of her further adventures, how she’d found other metal men and even a talking chicken! But, as most children's tales go, hers ended upon her reaching womanhood.
“Um, how did you know you were a woman?” asked Allie.
“Hmm, tell you later, Allie. Just trust me, I was a woman in body but not mind,” said Dot not wanting to go into the facts of life or the birds and bees.
“With each trip to the land, as I got closer to growing up, it seemed to become more broken-down. When I reached womanhood, I found I was unable to get there at all.”
“While your story is indeed fantastical, I believe you wholeheartedly, Dot. I’ve seen some odd places and things in my time to not believe it,” assured Julia.
“Yeah! Who says that it doesn’t exist?” said Allie. She was still at an age where not having seen something was good enough.
“So why is it a big secret? Where you afraid that people wouldn’t believe you and lock you up in a nuthouse or something?” asked Julia.
“That and other things, Julia. As you said earlier, it sounded like something written by Frank L. Baum. People would have accused me of lying and getting my story from his works.”
“Auntie Dot, do you think it could be possible to go back there?” asked Allie.
“I don’t see why not. But the path is closed for me as a full-grown woman now.”
“Well, what if you could go back to the age you were when you first visited?” asked Julia.
“If such a thing were possible, then maybe. But I’ll never know, right?”
Allie looked at Julia and she nodded her head. The two girls had grown close over the few months that they had known each other. Sometimes one knew exactly what the other was thinking.
Betty came into the kitchen with a steaming hot cup of tea. She placed it down in front of Dot and sat down.
“Tea? Who's it for? I’m drinking coffee right now.”
“Wel-l-l-l” said Allie, “Why not try it and see what happens?”
“I think you’ll like this tea, I got it from mirror land!” said Betty as she shared a secretive smile with Allie and Julia.
“Well, okay,” said Dot as she picked it up and gave it a sip, “Hmm, this is very good! It’s kinda nutty, actually,” she said as she drank the rest of it down in a gulp.
She couldn’t help it; the tea just seemed to demand that she do so.
“Well, anyway,” she continued, “as I was saying earlier when I tried to tell ma and pa about my visits to…”
She felt as if her shirt was a bit loose around her bulging stomach. She tucked it in a little better. The fat rolls on her body were receding, but she didn’t notice.
“The jade kingdom. That would have been bad enough...”
Now it felt as if her pants were too loose on her waist! She tightened up her belt a few notches and the pants fabric bunched up. She tried to smooth it out and it just bunched up in other places on her waist. She gave up fixing it and continued.
“But witches? Fairies? They’d have run me off to counseling before I could have…”
Now her bra was feeling loose. It chafed at her shoulders. She made adjustments as her breasts lost their fat and shrank. She looked like the picture of health for a 20-something woman.
“Even blinked. Can you just see the looks on their faces as...Ahem!”
She cleared her throat as her voice raised an octave. As her feet left her shoes on an upward journey, she noticed that the girl's eye level was a lot closer to hers. She itched her nose with a sleeve covering her hand, catching her attention. She puzzled over it and pulled the sleeve back. Her hand popped out of the fabric as it bunched around her arm.
“Um, is there something on my face?” she asked, kicking her legs back and forth with her pants brushing the tops of her shoes. They made a soft swishing sound.
“What the He-” she said. She finally got the impression that something was wrong! She jumped out of her chair and grabbed at her pants, and missed as they fell to the floor.
A younger version of Dot stood where she had sat before. She looked to be age 8 or 9 and very confused.
With her shirt now tent-like around her body, she held a sleeve-covered arm up and looked across the table at Allie and Julia with question marks flashing across her eyes.
“I think it’s safe to tell you our secret now,” said Julia as Betty nodded her agreement.
“Spiffing!” added Allie.
Allie's adventure in the land of wonder.
by: username | Story In Progress | Last updated Jun 2, 2022