Andrea sat quietly in the backseat with her Santa hat on. She was completely oblivious to what was happening to her. The longer she kept the hat on the more muffled her head seemed to get. But she didn’t notice it because she was thinking about other things like what she was going to get for Christmas! Subtle changes were also occurring to her body that seemed to go unnoticed. The 20 year old girl looked slight bit shorter and a little less developed than she had been only an hour ago. Her smart haircut seemed to have grown out a few inches and her adult features appeared more preteen looking rather than mature as that of an adult. About three hours into the trip Steph glanced around the seat and looked at Andrea, she was looking out the window with a silly little smile on her face.
“Andrea, sweetie, what are you thinking about?”
“Nothing, well I was wanting a new set of make up and I hope my mom will get it for me but I can’t remember where she is.”
“Oh sweetie, we are going to see her,” Stephanie lied, “ you will see you mommy soon. I wasn’t able to wear make up until I was 13, you mommy is so cool to let you wear make up when you are so young!”
“I’m not young! I will be 15 soon and then I can get my drivers permit!”
With that Andrea took the Santa hat off and threw it across the car.
“We need to stop for gas” Hunter said.
The next gas station was down the road about a mile. In the back seat, Andrea was becoming restless and even started to get angry. The effects of the mind numbing Santa hat were starting to wear off. Hunter pulled into the gas station and filled the tank. While he did that, Steph got into the trunk and pulled out a bag of snacks. It was filled to the brim with Christmas candy. There was chocolate covered cherries, sugarplums, Christmas cookies, but the most important of all to Steph was the candy that was wrapped up inside of a blue foil. There was also another small plastic bag with a red tie on it. She pulled all this out and brought it to the front seat with her. Once on the road again Steph turned the radio on and popped in a CD. She handed Hunter the small bag with the red tie after taking something out of it, then Hunter did the same. Andrea still sat in the backseat growing more restless by the minute, she was starting to realize that there was something very wrong with this situation. She knew that she needed to, she needed... what did she need? What was that music? It sounded like a lullaby. Andrea looked up and a strange yet familiar smile slid across her face. Her body tingled & then relaxed & then she felt very sleepy. Her eyes were very heavy and her last thoughts before she drifted off was whether or not her mommy had remembered to get her the Barbie doll she wanted for Christmas. As she slept more changes came to her body, as if by magic, she lost 5 or 6 inches to her height and her hair grew out to her shoulders just as it was when she was a mere 8 years old. Muscle mass left her body and her frame shrunk even smaller than it was before. The clothes that were only slightly baggy before, now almost engulfed her because of what she had just went through. As the song came to an end Andrea drifted into the comfy darkness.
Hunter seeing that Andrea was asleep & nudged Steph in the arm, she glanced back to double check then turned off the CD. Both of the two front seaters took what was apparently tiny earplugs out of their ears and put them back into a tiny bag with a red string. They pulled over onto the side of the road and Steph got out to open the back door. Andrea was slouched over and almost fell out but was caught by Hunter before she could hit the ground. He swooped her up as if she were just a baby. She wasn’t though, not quite yet. Working quickly the two took off the young girls clothes and put her in a red dress with stockings and black Mary Jane shoes. Steph put her hair up in 2 pigtails and now what had looked to be a 14 year old girl, now only looked like one of 7 years. Hunter picked her up and as he did, Andrea put her arms around him and started to cry in her sleep.
“Shhhh, sweetheart, its ok, Daddy is here.”
Little Andrea didn’t hear him as she was still asleep even though there were tears in those eyes. He sat on the edge of the seat of the car and held her and slightly rocked her until she stopped crying and fell back into a deeper sleep. He then gently placed Andrea in a booster seat & buckled her in. Flipping the child safety lock so she couldn’t get out, he quietly shut the door & returned to the front seat of the SUV.
It was now over half way through their trip and Hunter was tired so Steph decided to drive for awhile. She got into the car and glanced at Andrea, noticing she had a runny nose, Steph grabbed a kleenex & wiped it for the young girl; who in response rubbed her nose with her hand to itch the tickle left by the touch of a tissue. Hunter & Steph talked while they drove down the road.