Honeyed Memories

by: nico | Complete Story | Last updated Aug 28, 2009

Chapter 2
Chapter Two

Twilight descended on the park as Graham and Honeycomb ran giggling through maze of wood and rope that made up the playground’s center tower, ducking and weaving away from one another in desperate attempts to avoid the dreaded tag. The game had gone on for longer than either one could remember, taken on after they had already made considerable use of the swing set, see-saw, monkey bars and slide. Whatever concerns Graham might have felt earlier that evening had been washed away by the pure energy that bubbled within him, an infinite vigor that powered his play and laughter well into the evening. Luckily, the park received no visitors that afternoon, or else Graham would have found himself in the awkward situation of explaining as to why he was there without his parents and how his teddy bear had come to life.

Graham climbed to the top of the tower and felt a cool breeze blow through his hair. He looked around and saw for the first time just how dark it had gotten, the sun all but hidden beneath the horizon. Jeez, just how long have we been playing? A glance at his watch revealed that it was past seven - he should have been at his tutor’s already. As much as he hated to stop playing the responsible portion of his brain hadn’t yet died out, relentless in its nagging to get Honeycomb to call it a night.

“Tag!” Honeycomb cried as he tapped Graham on the back. “You’re it!”

“Wait a minute, Honeycomb.” Graham called out, the bear having already started scrambling down the tower. Honeycomb looked up quizzically.

“What’s the matter?”

Graham winced. “I’ve got to go. I’m late for a tutoring session.”

“So what?”

“Well, uh...” the boy scratched the back of his head. “It’s really important. If I don’t go, my tutor will be mad and I’ll fall behind in class. I need you to change me back, please.”

“Not yet.” Honeycomb insisted. “Let’s go on the monkey bars again!”

Graham frowned. This isn’t good. Maybe I should try another angle.

“Okay!” The boy agreed, suddenly enthused. “Last one there is a rotten egg!”

Honeycomb beamed and took off with Graham in hot pursuit. Halfway to the bars the boy suddenly slowed down, yawned, and rubbed his eyes. No longer hearing footsteps behind him, Honeycomb turned around to see Graham plop onto his bottom, looking as though he could barely even keep his head up.

“G.C.?” Honeycomb asked, concerned. “What’s the matter?”

“’m tired.” Graham mumbled, drooping his eyelids for effect.

“Aww.” Honeycomb chuckled. “You tuckered out, little guy?”

“Uh huh.” Graham said, biting his tongue at the condescension.

“Well, I guess it is getting kinda late. Maybe we should head home.”

Graham inwardly grinned.

“Okay. If you want to.”

“Alright.” Honeycomb sighed. “Let me change you back.”

The bear lowered his head as Graham stood and braced himself for what was about to happen. After a moment the boy became aware of a tickling on the bottoms of his feet, a mad tingle that quickly spread upwards and made his skin crawl with sensation. When it reached the top of his head Graham suddenly felt as though he was being raised by a swift current of air, a furious gust that felt like it would lift him right out of his shoes. The world began to shrink all around him, the once-dizzying heights of the playground equipment returning to their normal, unremarkable dimensions. As the feeling faded he looked down and released a little gasp of embarrassment to see that his childish outfit had faded away, replaced by nothing whatsoever.

“Honeycomb!” Graham cried, clasping his hands over his groin. “Couldn’t you have given me back my clothing, too?”

“Hey, I’m not your butler, y’know.” Honeycomb scoffed. “They’re right over there.”

Graham grimaced as he rushed over to his wardrobe, throwing them on before someone could spot him and have the police haul him away. .

“Well, I had a lot of fun.” Graham said as he finished dressing. “So, uh, if you hang out here, I’m sure some kid will come along soon, and you can play with them from now on. Sound good?”

The bear frowned. “What are you talking about? I thought we were going home.”

“Well, I’ve actually got to head over to my tutor’s - ”

Honeycomb’s eyes narrowed. “You said you were tired.”

Graham froze. You idiot. What are you gonna do now?[/I]

“Well, uh...” he struggled for the words. “I was, but I guess being turned back to normal, um, gave me a boost or something.”

“You lied to me.” Honeycomb insisted, his tone growing more sinister.

“I swear I didn’t.” Graham felt a drop of sweat trickle down his forehead. “It’s just that, y’know, now that I’m big again, I remembered how important this session is. I really can’t miss it.”

The bear remained silent for a moment, his expression not softening in the slightest. Graham swallowed as he considered the consequences of what he had done and if making a run for it would even be worth the effort.

“Well, alright.” Honeycomb finally relented, his voice thick with suspicion. “But you’re taking me with you. I’m not letting you out of my sight for an instant, G.C.”

“...I can’t really do that, Honeycomb.” Graham countered, trying his best to sound firm. “How am I going to explain you to my tutor?”

“Then again...” Honeycomb wondered aloud, as though he hadn’t heard a word Graham said. “I could just make you little again so we could play some more.”

Graham’s mind raced. Don’t mess with the bear anymore, you nitwit. Just tell him what he wants to hear!

“Okay, okay.” Graham agreed, managing a nervous smile. “You can come with me.”

“That’s more like it!” The bear grinned, holding his arms wide in request of a lift. Graham hesitated for a moment before leaning down and plucking the bear off the ground, pulling him under his arm as he began to leave the playground.

“G.C.!” Honeycomb called out. “Gimme a piggyback ride.”

Graham suppressed a sigh and hoisted the bear onto his shoulders as he kicked his legs and giggled in glee. Trying his best to remain inconspicuous, Graham moved swiftly through campus, hoping that his speed and the steeping shadows would be enough to hide the eighteen-year-old with a teddy bear clamped to his head. Attracting attention was the last thing he wanted. It was bad enough that he was in stuck in this situation - having somebody else in the mix would only complicate matters.

“Honeycomb.” Graham whispered. “You’ve got to be quiet and stay still if we see anybody, okay?”

“How come?” the bear asked, a little too loudly.

Because.” Graham hissed, “If anybody sees you talking or moving around people are going to wonder how you came to life.”

“So? You seemed to accept it pretty easily. A lot of people would find a living teddy bear pretty cool.”

Graham bit his lip. How can I explain this?

“Well, yeah...” Graham paused for a moment before being struck by inspiration. “But what if one of those people want you for themselves? They’ll take you away and we’ll never see each other again!”

The bear mulled the thought over for a moment.

“I guess you’re right.” He finally admitted. “Okay, I’ll be good.”

“Thank you.” Graham exhaled.

Luckily, the bear’s self-control wasn’t put through too strenuous a test as the tutor’s apartment was only a few minutes from the park. The handful of students they did pass on the way gave Graham nothing more than a bemused glance, apparently having seen much stranger sights in their time on campus. Upon reaching the tutor’s building Graham pressed the button for his apartment, waiting for the buzz before opening the front door and stepping inside.

“How much time do we have to spend here, anyway?” Honeycomb asked as he drummed his heels against Graham’s shoulders.

“Not long.” Graham assured him. “A couple of hours.”

Hours?” Honeycomb cried. “Aww...I was hoping we could play a little more at home before bedtime.”

Graham couldn’t help but smile. “I don’t have a bedtime anymore, Honeycomb.”

“Oh yeah?” The bear sounded impressed. “You really are grown up.”

“Yeah.” Graham snickered. “I guess I am.”

When they reached the door to the apartment Graham pulled the bear off of his shoulders and looked him straight in the eye, trying to maintain as serious an expression as possible.

“I know it’s going to be difficult...” Graham began, “But it’s really important that you stay quiet the entire time we’re in there.”

“Do you think this guy wants me for himself?” Honeycomb whispered.

“...I seriously doubt it.” Graham said. “But he would be very curious as to exactly what you are, and he’d like nothing more than to conduct a bunch of experiments to find out what makes you tick.”

Honeycomb sighed. “All right. But try and cut things short, will ya? This whole thing sounds really boring.”

Graham rolled his eyes. “You have no idea.”

With that he collected the bear under his arm and knocked on the front door, taking a deep breath to gather himself as the sound of approaching footsteps grew near. The door opened and in the frame stood a very serious young man, one hand placed on the doorknob while the other adjusted his glasses.

“You’re late.” He said, as though deeply offended by the notion.

“I know, Michael. I’m sorry.” Graham apologized, offering a smile. Michael’s eyes drifted down to Honeycomb. He frowned.

“What is that?” Michael asked, nodding at the bear.

“Oh, this?” Graham shrugged. “It’s, y’know, a good luck charm. A little study buddy.”

Graham smiled. Michael did not follow suit. Without another word he stepped aside to let his pupil in, motioning for him to have a seat at the kitchen table. Graham ducked inside and sat down, placing Honeycomb on the ground as he did so.

“Hey!” the bear whispered. “I can’t see anything down here. Let me sit on the table.”

“Believe me, you’re not missing anything.” Graham muttered. “Just hang tight, okay?”

Without waiting for a response Graham sat up just as Michael took the seat across from him, straightening his shirt and pulling together the papers that had been set out on the table.

“You’ve been keeping up with the homework, I trust.” Michael said.

“Sure have.” Graham confirmed.

“Fine.” Michael pulled a sheet of paper from the pile and laid it before his pupil. “Then let’s start with integration of functions. Evaluate the integrals on this worksheet and be prepared to show me your work.”

Graham inwardly sighed. Calculus. If it were up to him Graham would have avoided the course altogether, but unfortunately the university required at least some mathematics to graduate even though his major had nothing to do with the subject. As he tackled the problems his mind went on autopilot, wondering, as it often did during these sessions, why Michael even offered tutoring in the first place. He always seemed miserable whenever Graham came over - then again, the few times Graham had seen Michael on campus, he seemed miserable then, too. Though Graham had been coming here weekly since the early part of the semester an opportunity to ask the question never seemed to come up - mostly because Michael never seemed in the mood to chat.

Must look good on a resume, Graham reasoned. Everything about his tutor gave Graham the impression that Michael was the kind of person who couldn’t wait to rise above the silly nonsense of college life and get out into the real world. He would have been surprised if Michael had enjoyed even a single day of the past three and a half years.

Time passed and Graham grew bored even quicker than usual, as despite his best efforts his mind kept drifting back to what had happened earlier in the day. Surprisingly, almost none of the focus was on the fright and panic he had felt after his initial transformation - instead, all he could think about was how great it had been to just goof around on the playground with Honeycomb, his aim at that time nothing more than to simply have as much fun as possible.

“A-hem.” Michael cleared his throat. Graham looked up, startled, and realized that he had been daydreaming. He offered his tutor a sheepish smile.

“Sorry.” Graham scratched the back of his neck. “I, uh, had a busy afternoon.”

Michael’s eyes narrowed. “Are you finished with that worksheet?”

“Oh. Uh...” Graham gave it a once over. “I think so. Here you go.”

Michael took it from his hands and began to examine the equations with somber intent. As he did so Graham felt a tugging on his jeans and a whisper floating up from beneath the table.


Graham grit his teeth and motioned beneath the table for Honeycomb to knock it off, which only caused the bear to intensify his efforts. He cursed under his breath and ducked his head beneath the tabletop, figuring that Michael would be distracted by the worksheet long enough to not notice.

“What is it?” Graham hissed.

“You’ve gotta get us out of here.” Honeycomb pleaded. “This is torture.”

“I know it’s rough,” he sympathized, peeking above the table to make sure Michael was still occupied, “But I’ll try to finish up as soon as possible. Another hour. Hour and a half, tops.”

“What?!” Honeycomb cried out, loud enough that he was positive Michael had heard. Sure enough, when Graham bolted upright Michael’s eyes bored into his, staring at him over the worksheet with a combination of puzzlement and irritation.

“What was that?” He asked.

“What was what?”

“That voice.” Michael pressed on, his tone becoming impatient. “Where did that voice come from?”

“I don’t know what to tell you, Michael.” Graham shrugged. “Maybe you’re hearing things.”

Michael’s eyes narrowed. “I do not hear things, Graham. I am certain that I heard somebody else’s voice, and I want to know whose it - ”


Oh God. Both Graham and Michael turned to see Honeycomb leap from a chair onto the table, his paws on his hips and an annoyed expression on his face.

“Listen here, pal.” Honeycomb thrust a paw in Michael’s direction. “You are an incredibly boring person, and all this nonsense is cutting into me and G.C.’s playtime. So what say we cut this short, huh?”

Graham winced and slowly turned towards Michael, sure his tutor was moments away from a complete meltdown. But, to his surprise, all Michael did was rise from his chair, his mouth agape but otherwise showing no signs of shock. I might actually be able to talk my way out of this.[/I]

“Some toy, huh?” Graham chuckled as he patted Honeycomb on the head. “It’s a souvenir from my trip to, uh, Japan. They’ve got all kinds of crazy stuff over there.”

“Japan?” Honeycomb looked at Graham incredulously. “What are you - ”

Graham put a hand over the bear’s mouth, muffling his voice as he laughed and rose to leave.

“Well, anyway, I think I should get going for now.” He said as he used both hands to keep Honeycomb under control. “See you next week.”

“That’s no toy.” Michael said in a quiet voice.

Son of a...

“What do you mean? Of course it is.” Graham asked, laughing as thought it was ridiculous to think otherwise.

“No toy could do that.” Michael stated, his tone growing bolder. He looked at his pupil. “What exactly is it, Graham?”

“I’m not an it.” Honeycomb insisted as he broke free of Graham’s grasp. “I’m Honeycomb. What’s it to you, anyway?”

“Good God.” Michael muttered, a smile spreading across his face as he turned and looked at Graham. “It’s as though this teddy bear has achieved complete sentience. Graham, this is remarkable!”

“Yeah, uh, it’s a real wonder.” Graham interjected, his mind racing to think of an escape from this situation. “We really should be leaving, though - ”

“What are you talking about?” Michael interrupted, laughing in disbelief. “We need to take this creature to a professor and figure out how this happened! It’s an unprecedented discovery!”

“Michael, I don’t think that’s a good idea - ”

Despite Graham’s objections Michael began to reach for the teddy bear, his hands moving slowly as though approaching an irreplaceable work of art. Honeycomb’s eyes widened as he backed away from the intruding appendages, regarding them as though they were a pair of hungry wolves.

“I don’t want to be an experiment!” The bear cried out before burying his head in his paws. Just as Michael’s fingertips grazed the bear’s fur the tutor suddenly stopped, looking completely mystified for no discernable reason. Slowly, he brought his hands back and held them to his face, studying them as though they could provide a clue to his confusion.

“Michael?” Graham reached out towards his tutor. “Are you okay?”

“I’m...not sure.” Michael managed. “I feel very strange - very warm all of a sudden.”

Oh no. Graham looked at Honeycomb, who peeked out at Michael from between his arms. He didn’t. Graham turned back at his tutor to see his fears confirmed in the form of sleeves slipping down thinning arms and once-tight pants gradually growing looser and looser.

“Graham?” Michael squeaked. “What’s happ - ”

Before Michael could get the word out he was hit with the plunge, his height taken down to that of the table’s in a matter of moments. Though terrifying to watch Graham couldn’t help but regard the transformation with abject fascination, unable to tear his gaze from the sight of his tutor being reduced to childhood. Before his eyes limbs retreated into their sockets, features became soft and rounded, and adult clothes overtook what was becoming an increasingly juvenile body. The trance Graham was held under wasn’t broken until Michael became shorter than the table, the end of his transformation blocked by the offending piece of furniture. When Graham rushed to the other side to see what had become of his tutor the answer nearly knocked him cold.

Standing in a pool of boxers and pants with a t-shirt barely hanging onto one shoulder was a very small boy, four years old at the most, looking as though he was in a complete state of shock. If it weren’t for the now-gigantic glasses that had somehow remained hooked on his ears Graham would have suspected that another child had somehow taken his place, as nothing about his round, rosy cheeks, prodigious curls or wide, shimmering eyes suggested to Graham that this is what his calculus tutor once looked like.

“What happened?” Honeycomb asked as he poked his head over the side of the table.

“What happened...?” Graham began as he pressed his hands against his forehead, struggling to maintain his composure, “You turned Michael into a preschooler, that’s what happened!”

“Hey, I’m not the one to blame!” Honeycomb countered. “He was going to experiment on me! I was just defending myself.”

“But did you have to do...this?” Graham cried as he motioned at the child.

“It’s the first thing I came up with.” The bear tilted his head and grinned. “Besides, I think it’s an improvement. At least like this he’s cute.”

“Change him back. Now.”

“Aw, c’mon.” Honeycomb groaned. “Have you already forgotten how boring this guy was as a grown-up? Maybe he’ll loosen up if he stays like this for a little while. You can’t tell me you didn’t enjoy being little this afternoon.”

Graham winced. “That’s not the point - ”


He was interrupted by a tiny voice that piped up from beneath him. Graham looked down to see Michael staring up at him with round frightened eyes, peering over the oversized frames perched precariously on the tip of his tiny button nose. The sight broke his heart. With a gentle smile Graham kneeled down to the little boy, trying to put on as reassuring a front as possible.

“Hey, Michael...” Graham spoke softly. “Are you okay? How do you feel?”

“I don’t know.” Michael said. He held his arms up and watched as the shirt’s fabric cascaded down his weak little arms. Graham regarded him closely, waiting for his tutor to freak out, cry, do anything - but to his surprise, all Michael did was look at him, then at Honeycomb.

“You did this to me?” He asked, addressing Honeycomb for the first time. The bear, though initially surprised, smiled and nodded in pride.

“Sure did. Not bad for a toy, don’t you think?”

Michael stared at him for a long moment before returning his attention to Graham.

“And he...made you younger, too? Earlier today?” He asked. Graham bit his lip. He must have heard our entire conversation. Should have figured he’d be a quick study.

“Yes, he did.” Graham said, hardly believing that the words had come out of his mouth.

“What was it like?”

Graham raised an eyebrow. Even as a kid he can’t stop acting like a scientist. He looked towards Honeycomb, who had his arms crossed and a smirk on his face. Graham sighed. No point in lying now.

“It was a lot of fun.” He admitted. “Honeycomb and I played in the park over on the edge of campus all afternoon. But I think it would be better for everybody if he were to turn you back to normal, which is what he’s going to do right now.”

Graham shot a dagger glare in his direction. The bear sighed and rolled his eyes.

“Fiiine.” He moaned. “Just gimme a second, here.”

“...wait. Don’t.”

Graham and Honeycomb both turned towards Michael, who avoided their gaze and played with his fingers.

“Maybe...maybe it’s okay if I stay like this for a little while.” He offered, looking up at his pupil with a sheepish smile on his face. Graham couldn’t keep his jaw from dropping a little bit. Michael blushed and looked down.

“I never get a chance to just...relax.” He explained. “To have fun. I’ve mapped out every minute of my life in order to give myself the best chance to succeed when I come out of college. It’s been years since I took even a couple of hours out to enjoy myself.”

Graham found himself nodding at Michael’s words, even though he had to fight to keep from laughing at hearing such eloquence come from the mouth of a half-naked four-year-old. The boy cleared his throat and looked at Honeycomb.

“So.” Michael smiled. “Tomorrow, we can figure out what you are. Tonight, let’s just have fun.”

Honeycomb turned to Graham, his little mouth curled into an irrepressible grin, while Michael looked up at him with the biggest, brightest eyes he had ever seen. He tried his best to fight their charms but it was no use. What the hell. It’s not like things could get any worse.

“Okay, okay.” Graham sighed. “You guys enjoy yourselves. I’ll just keep working on these equations, I guess.”

Honeycomb grinned. “What, and miss all the fun? Think again.”

Graham’s eyes widened and his skin crawled. “Honeycomb, wait - ”

It was no use. Honeycomb was already at work. Graham felt the warmth overcome him for the second time today, lasting only a few seconds before his body was taken by the great pull once more. The effects were even more intense than last time, the size of simple household objects spiraling out of control as his body reached and then plunged beneath the small size it had achieved earlier in the day. Graham looked at Michael, who watched him as though he were witnessing the birth of a new galaxy. In a matter of seconds he went from being twice his height to being eye-to-eye with him - matter of fact, he might have even been an inch or two shorter. As the sensation eased from his muscles, Graham looked down and found himself in the same state of near-undress as Michael, the now nightgown-sized t-shirt mercifully keeping him from having to confront the full spectacle of his underdeveloped little body.

“Wow.” Michael breathed, grinning from ear to ear. “That was amazing. Incredible.”

“Yeah, well, I’m glad you liked it.” Graham piped, fighting back a cringe at the sound of his voice. He turned to Honeycomb, who looked entirely pleased with himself. “So, what now, smart guy? It’s too dark to go out and play.”

“Not a problem.” The bear assured him, motioning towards the living room. Michael and Graham both looked in that direction as Honeycomb focused his concentration once more. Before their eyes a cornucopia of toys materialized on the room’s empty hardwood floor, everything from bubble blowers and coloring books to superballs and toy cars. Despite everything Graham felt himself grow giddy at the sight. He glanced over to see that Michael appeared equally enthused, suppressing a laugh as the boy began to rock back and forth on his little heels in anticipation.

“Now, how about some new clothes, guys?” Honeycomb offered. Before either boy could say anything the bear set about the task, and within moments both Michael and Graham were decked out similar little outfits - tiny sneakers with Velcro straps across the top, miniature khaki shorts with elastic waistbands, and solid-colored, collared t-shirts.

“Cool!” Michael cried, turning to examine his new ensemble. Graham had started to do the same when he heard a small sound, a brief rustle that stopped him cold.

That sounded like...oh no...he didn’t...

With gritted teeth he lifted his shirt and pulled back his waistband, gritting his teeth when he saw what lay underneath. That little son of a bitch...

“What’s the matter, G.C.?” Honeycomb asked. “Don’t like your clothes?”

“Who’s G.C.?” Michael piped up.

“He is.” Honeycomb pointed at Graham. “It’s short for Graham Cracker.”

Michael giggled. “Yeah, what’s the problem Graham Cracker?”

“The problem...” Graham began, his voice low. “Is that I’m wearing training pants. And I’d bet anything that you are too, ?Mikey’.”

The smile ran away from Michael’s face as he peeked into his waistband to check for himself.

“Well...” he said, looking up at Graham with a grin. “So what if we are? They’re the right size, after all. And it’s not like we’re going to use them, right?”

“But - but...” Graham felt himself turn bright red as he tried to sputter out an argument that never came.

“You never can be too careful, G.C.” Honeycomb chimed in as he jumped off the table and landed on the floor. The bear, who had seemed so small just minutes earlier now stood at both boys’ belly buttons. “Now, c’mon! Let’s play!”

With that Honeycomb took off for the living room and the spread of toys that awaited them there. A giggling Michael tossed his glasses aside and ran after him, leaving Graham alone in the dining room, wondering how the hell he had gotten himself into this situation. Graham was torn, unsure whether it was disbelief or dread he felt while watching them go. But it only took a few moments for those feelings to fade, washed away by the overwhelming desire to lose himself once more in play. Without another thought the boy smiled and charged into the living room, gleefully joining Michael and Honeycomb in their fun.

As evening fell outside the window the boys and the bear played in secluded bliss, focusing on nothing more than the sheer joy of the living moment. Every toy Honeycomb had conjured up was used at least once, as Graham and Michael, in their exuberance, couldn’t help but let themselves be driven by the scattershot energy of young children. But even that spirit faded eventually, and after some time the boys found themselves weighed down with sleepiness.

I’ll just rest my eyes for a minute, Graham assured himself as he yawned, climbed onto the couch, and laid his head against a throw pillow. Through weary eyes he saw Michael do the same on the other side of the couch, curling into a ball and dozing off within a matter of seconds. Meanwhile, had Honeycomb hopped onto the couch and burrowed beneath the boy’s arm, nestling himself as close to Graham as possible. A fuzzy thought floating somewhere in his mind nagged at Graham, telling him that this was all wrong, that his life was slipping from his control and he was allowing it to happen. But all the boy did was yawn, blink the notion away, and hold Honeycomb close, content at the moment to do nothing more than snuggle with his best friend and drift off to sleep.



End Chapter 2

Honeyed Memories

by: nico | Complete Story | Last updated Aug 28, 2009


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