by Kim Metzger

Chapter One

Victoria (or Vicki, as she preferred her friends to call her) had mostly
had a wonderful time in Ireland.

She found the countryside to be beautiful, and loved to take long walks
or go horseback riding through it. The only blot on the trip had come in the
last week when her father had been desperately been trying to match her with
Captain Nate Broderick, the son of his old friend and their host, Lord

Nate was interested in everything that bored Vicki. He adored telling of
his life in the army. These stories mostly consisted of brawls in the
barracks or whipping some poor Indian boy into line. He loved to talk about
how the Englishman was the creature most favored by God to live on the
planet. (Then he'd remark how he was willing to forgive Vicki her American
nationality, promising he could teach her how to pass as a proper English

But, most of all, Nate was fond of hunting. Since the Broderick estate
already contained more than enough food to feed a small regiment for a week,
Vicki saw no use for it. She saw no good thing coming from the various
"trophies" he had around the great hall.

She had gone off by herself, wandering the woods that border the estate,
when she heard a sudden tinkling sound. She left the path, trying to locate
the source of the noise, and found it was a bell attached to one of the
numerous snares set around the estate. Some poor creature was dangling
upside down, hanging by a length of twine stretched over a branch. Vicki
could see whatever it was struggling to free itself. Its efforts became more
frantic when it noticed her approaching. In response, the bell attached to
the snare jingled louder. Finally, Vicki was close enough that she could see
what had been captured. But it still took her a moment to believe it.

Hanging upside down in the snare was a tiny woman! She was pretty,
looked to be slightly younger than Vicki. But the girl was no more than a
foot tall, and dressed in a small green jacket and skirt. The poor thing was
having a devil of a time trying to get loose and keep the skirt up at the
same time.

"Vicki!" she heard Nate yell from not far away. He would be there any

Vicki took the pocket knife she kept in her skirt pocket. She'd been
told many times it was something no proper young lady should be seen with,
but she found it frequently came in useful. She pulled out the blade and
then grabbed the small woman. Instantly, a torrent of profanity poured
loudly from the creature's mouth.

"Shh," said Vicki. "They'll hear you!"

Quickly, while holding the girl-thing with one hand, Vicki cut the
twine. She had noticed a small piece of cloth, a hat, laying on the ground.
Vicki picked it up, handed it to the girl, and set her down.

"Now go!," cried Vicki in a whisper. "Hurry, before he comes and sees

The tiny woman stared up at Vicki in amazement. There was a rustle in
the bushes nearby. Vicki turned to see Nate come out, followed by Harrigan,
one of the grounds keepers. Then, she turned again to look at the girl. The
small creature was nowhere to be seen.

"What is it?!," cried Nate excitedly. "What have we caught?" Then he saw
the string, cut on its end. He looked at Vicki, knife still in her hand, and
glared momentarily.

"It was -- only a chipmunk or something," she said. "Some small rodent.
It wouldn't have made a mouthful, and wouldn't have been worth the cost of

"Mounting," said Nate drily, but with a smile.

"Can't imagine no chipmunk or anythin' that small bein' able to trip
this snare," said Harrigan.

"Perhaps it had something in its mouth," she offered. "Something to make
it weigh more."

"Nothin' on the ground," said Harrigan after a brief inspection.

"Still, you should have just killed it," said Nate. "The poor thing will
be hobbled by that string around its foot."

"It was caught by its front paw," said Vicki. "I should imagine it will
have no trouble gnawing the string off."


"Still can't see no chipmunk settin' off that snare," said Harrigan. "It
would take a rabbit, or a squirrel, or -- somethin' else." He looked at
Vicki carefully.

"Harrigan!," exploded Nate. "I will not have you questioning the honesty
of one of my father's guests! Is that understood!?"

"Nate, please," said Vicki. She hated how some of the landowners treated
their servants, especially Nate. She hoped she'd be able to live to see the
day when the Irish finally got tired of their British "jailers" and kicked
them off the island. "He meant nothing and I'm not in the least offended."

"Very well," simmered Nate. "Harrigan, go check the rest of the traps."

"Very good, Captain Broderick," said Harrigan.

That night, Nate had been regaling the dinner table with the tale a
major said a sergeant had told him about how his colonel had been chewed out
by a general for letting the regimental wine stores become warm. It been all
Vicki could do to keep her head propped up on her arm and her eyes open. Her
father had given her a gentle kick a time or two under the table, but it had
done little good.

Consequently, when she finally went to bed, she was surprised to find
herself unable to sleep. She slipped down to the kitchen and had the cook
make her a cup of chamomile tea. She also gave Vicki some biscuits to eat.

Vicki returned to her room, set the food on her bedside table, and
started to read her new book, the newest collection of Sherlock Holmes
stories by Conan Doyle. She'd heard rumors that Holmes dies in the last
story. She hoped it wasn't true. Surely, Mr. Doyle could never murder such a
wonderful character.

Suddenly, Vicki heard whispering. Actually, she barely heard it. She
raised her eyes, but not her head and saw, on a table near an open window,
two small figures. She was positive one of them was the girl she'd freed
earlier that day. Nervous, but not wanting to seem so, she marked her place
in the book, and set it aside. As she reached over for the tiny sewing kit
she had under the bed, she saw, out of the corner of her eye, the two
figures duck behind a lamp on their table. She opened the kit and took out
two thimbles. She set them on the bedside table. Then, she took her teacup
off of its saucer and set it on the serving tray. Making sure she had
spilled no tea onto it, Vicki broke two pieces off of a biscuit and set them
on the saucer. Then, she dipped each thimble into the teacup and took them
out, filled to the brim. Holding the teacups carefully between her thumb and
fingers, she got out of bed, picked up the saucer with the biscuits on it,
and carried everything over to the top of her dresser, making sure she kept
her distance from the table by the window. She set the saucer down and
carefully leaned the thimbles beside them, trying again to spill none of the
tea. Then, she returned to her bed.

"The food on the dresser is for you," Vicki declared, not too loudly. "I
broke off part of the same biscuit I was eating from, and the tea comes from
my cup. You don't have to worry about them."

Cautiously, the two figures emerged from behind the lamp. With more
speed and silence than Vicki would have thought possible, both creatures
jumped from the table, crossed the floor, and scurried up the side of the
dresser. They both sniffed at the food and the tea, and started to eat. In a
few minutes, they were done. They jumped to the floor and approached Vicki.

"It's all right," she told them. "I won't hurt you. If you don't want me
to, I promise I won't even try to approach you."

"It's like I told you, Da," said the one that Vicki now knew for certain
was the tiny girl from before. "She's a good one."

"And so it seems, Kate," said the other, who Vicki could see was a small
man with red, silver-streaked sideburns. Like the girl, he was dressed in
green with a small hat on his head. He came closer, less fearful, to Vicki.

"I'm Pat," said the man. "Pat O'Glenn. This be me daughter, Kate, who ye
rescued today from that nefarious trap set by Harrigan. I wanted to express
me thanks to ye, lass."

"Vicki," she said. "And I was happy to do it. I'd hate to think what
might've happened had Nate gotten hold of her."

"Aye, I felt the same way meself," said Kate. "I'm sorry I gave ye such
a verbal abusin' earlier. I didn't expect ye to set me free."

"I must admit I was surprised at that meself," said Pat. "Know ye not
what we be, girl?"

"I'm guessing you're the little people I've heard so much of," said
Vicki. "Leprechauns."

"Aye, that we are. But if ye know that, ye must know that if ye catch
one of us, we're bound to grant ye a boon!"

"You mean a pot of gold? My family is wealthy enough, thank you."

Kate laughed. "Tha's the first one o' ye I've ever heard talk like
that!," she said.

"I have, but not for a long time," said Pat. "I di'n't think there were
any like you left in the world. Sure an' it pleases me to know there are.

"But is there nothin' ye'd like, lass? I'm thinkin' I should give ye
somethin', on account o' ye savin' me daughter n'all. Plus, I think ye
should be rewarded fer yer kind, unselfish nature."

"I don't know that I'm all that unselfish," said Vicki. "But I don't
believe in anyone owning or having power over anyone else. Where I'm from,
we fought a war nearly three decades ago over that idea."

"An' from where d'ye hail?" asked Kate.

"I'm from the United States. In America."

"Ah! We've heard much o' America!"

"Aye. Many from hearabouts have left for that land. Is it as glorious as
they say?"

"It's quite a country," said Vicki. "The United States is very large,
big enough to hold maybe a dozen Irelands in it."

"Be off wi' ye!," said Kate.

"It's quite true. I live on the East coast, outside a city called

"I've heard o' it! An' New York! Do ye know New York?"

"It's the biggest city in my country. I think over three million people
lived in it the last I heard."

"Three million! Bless me soul! Tis more wond'rous than anythin' I've

"I don't know. I've never seen anything as wondrous as the two of you
over there."

"Aw, enough o' yer blarney, Vicki," said Pat. "Ye'll turn our heads. But
are ye sure there's nothin' we have that ye'd want?"

Vicki thought for a moment, and then smiled. "Only one thing I can think
of. Your friendship."

To her father's concern, Kate leaped upon the bedside table and
curtseyed. "That, Vicki me lass, ye had the moment ye set me free!"

Vicki extended her forefinger and thumb and gently took and shook Kate's
hand. "And I'll treasure it all my life."

Deciding it was safe, Pat joined his daughter. Removing his hat, Pat
bowed low. "And I extend my friendship as well," he said.

Smiling, Vicki leaned over and carefully kissed him on his balding head.
As she withdrew, he looked at her, sputtered a minute, then smiled, turning
a deep crimson.

"Ah, Da!," said Kate. "I've not seen ye turn that red since the Widow
Grady caught ye bathin' in the pond!"

"Go ahead and have some more tea and biscuits if you like," said Vicki.

"Ah, 'tis a generous lass ye are!," said Pat. "Are ye sure I can give ye
nothin'? I hate bein' in someone's debt."

"You aren't in my debt. I just did what any Christian woman would.
Besides, I wouldn't want you to think you're in my power the way my father
thinks I'm in his."

Pat O'Glenn studied Vicki, stroking his sideburns as her did so. "Be yer
father tryin' to enforce his will on ye?," he asked.

"I'm afraid so. He wants me to marry Nate, the son of the lord of this

"Faith! I know better than to be tryin' to force Kate here into doin'
anythin' she don't want. And I'd never want to force her to marry against
her will, least o' all to the likes o' that great lout!"

"I really hate to do it. My father and Lord Broderick are good friends,
and the Brodericks have been our hosts."

"But tha's more price than any decent host should ask for," said Kate.

"Perhaps. But I'm not too worried. Tomorrow, we set sail for Boston
again and I doubt father will mention the idea any more."

The three of them chatted a while, then Vicki found herself growing
tired. Pat and Kate O'Glenn said their farewells, and Vicki turned out the
lamp and fell into a deep sleep.

The next morning, Vicki awakened, convinced she'd had a strange dream.
Then, she noticed the ring on her night stand. It was pure gold, with a
beautiful emerald stone set in the center. Beside it was a note written in a
hand so small, Vicki could hardly read it. The note read:

"Thanks again for your great kindness. If ever your father or anyone
should try force their will on you, put on this ring and press the stone
three times. You shall have the same power over them as your people think
they have over us. Turn the ring so the stone is on the other side of your
finger and press it thrice more, and the power will end, until needed again.
"The love and friendship of the little people go with you. Pat and Kate

Chapter Two

How exciting the return to America had been! Vicki and her father had
sailed back on The Queenstown, which docked at New York. They had decided to
go there instead of directly to Boston so they could visit relations in

While they were on the dock, awaiting their luggage, a man approached
Vicki. To her great surprise, it had been none other than Mr. Charles Dana
Gibson! So stunned were they when he presented Vicki with his card, her
father at first had refused to believe who it was.

"How do I know you aren't some scoundrel after my daughter?," he had

"I'm sure you must be careful of such men with such a lovely creature as
this for a daughter," the man had replied. "But I do have proof of my
identity with me."

He pulled out his proof, photographs and drawings of his likeness taken
from the pages of LIFE magazine. Both Vicki and her father were convinced.

"With your permission, sir, if she is interested," Mr. Gibson said, "I
would like for your daughter to come to my studio and pose for some

"Oh, Papa!," she'd cried. "May I?"

"These will be decent drawings?" said Mr. Nash.

"Papa! Mr. Gibson does no other kind. He's not like those Bohemians you
hear about."

"Sir, you have my word as a gentleman, both I and my pen shall treat
your daughter with the greatest respect."

That was all Mr. Nash needed to hear. Arrangements were made for Vicki
to stay with an aunt for a few days, during which she would "model" (as Mr.
Gibson called it) for the eminent illustrator.

The job required little more than posing. Vicki looked happy, sad,
loved, whatever Mr. Gibson asked. He complimented her on the expressiveness
of her face. He also commented on the beauty of the emerald ring she wore.

"A present from friends in Ireland," she told him, smiling so
beguilingly at the concealed truth that Gibson made her hold the smile until
he had it on paper from several angles. After a week's work (for which, to
her surprise, she was compensated; she had never even considered anything
other than the honor of being a "Gibson Girl" in return for her posing), she
returned to Boston. As the carriage took her home (a spacious manor in the
country), Vicki could only reflect with astonishment upon her adventures in
Ireland and New York.

No sooner had she entered the ballroom, however, than her reverie was

Nate was there. With him was Lord Broderick, and two young gentlemen,
Corp. William Leeves and Sgt. Harold Foxx, friends and soldiers in Nate's
command. The three young men were in full dress uniform, complete with
swords at their sides.

"Welcome home, pet," said Mr. Nash. "Look who's come all the way from
Ireland to see you again!"

"Captain Broderick," said Vicki with a stunned voice.

"Please," said the young officer. He approached close enough for Vicki
to smell that he'd been liberally helping himself to her father's bourbon.
"I insist you continue to call me Nate."

Nate bent low, took Vicki's left hand, and bent over to kiss it. He
stopped short when he saw the ring. "What's this?," he asked.

"It's a ring Vicki got from friends in Ireland," said her father.

"I know of no one around our lands who could afford a ring such as
this," said Nate. "And this looks to be a ring far more than one would get
from a friend."

"They were people I'd done a favor for," said Vicki, not untruthfully.
"They seemed simple, but I gathered they had wealth when they wanted it. I
think the ring had been in their possession for some years."

"An heirloom?," he said, his temper starting to rise. "It must have been
a large favor for you to receive this in return."

"Nathan," said Lord Broderick, sensing that the bourbon was having an
effect on his son's behavior. "It's only a bauble. Don't let it upset you.
Tell her why you've come."

"I'm not sure I want to now, father."

"Nonsense! You've traveled a long way for this! Now is not the time to
back out due to bruised pride."

"What did you come for, Capt, er, Nate?," asked Vicki.

Nate took a deep breath and unsteadily lowered himself to the floor on
one knee, a movement made more awkward by the sword at his side. He took
Vicki's ringless hand in his.

"Miss Victoria Nash," he began, slurring the words some. "Will you marry

Vicki was not stupid. She'd suspected Nate's business from the moment
she arrived. She'd just hoped she'd been mistaken. Nevertheless, when the
dreaded question came, Vicki felt herself quite unprepared for it.

"What? I, uh -- no!," she stammered. She saw astonishment, injury, and
building rage on Nate's face. She tried to rephrase the rejection to make it
less painful to Nate. "I'm sorry. What I meant is ... "

"I think you've made it quite clear what you meant!" said Nate, standing
up. His face was taking on a shade of red and an expression horrible to see.
"You see, father, I told you! Coming here was a complete waste of time and

"Nathan," said Lord Broderick. "Calm down!"

Behind Nate, his companions looked at him with sadness and total

"Nate, please," said Vicki, trying to soothe his feelings. "It's just --
you took me by surprise! I need time to think!"

"Oh, yes, I'm sure!," thundered Nate. "The time it takes to look at the
ring on your finger! I'll bet you said 'yes' to him right away!"

"I've done no such thing! I'm engaged to no one!"

"'Yes' doesn't have to be said for just an engagement. It can be used
for other things that your ring could've been payment for!"

"How dare you!," said Vicki standing up.

"Nathan!," said Lord Broderick.

"You unprincipled bounder!" shouted Mr. Nash. He walked up to confront
Nate. "No one addresses my daughter in such a manner under MY roof! I
thought you were a gentleman, but I see I was mistaken. Leave these premises
at once or I shall throw you out!"

In his outrage, Mr. Nash didn't see Nate draw back a fist. The captain
struck his host hard in the nose, sending him reeling onto the floor.

"Nathan!," shouted Lord Broderick, who then shrank back at his son's

"Shut up, father!" Nate bellowed. "I've had my fill of these, these
commoners! Thinking their money puts them on an equal standing with us?! I
kowtowed to them when they were our guests, and I had every intention of
being the good soldier to this bitch here. But it's clear it would be wasted

Mr. Nash tried to stand up, while stanching the blood from his nose at
the same time. Nate gave him a kick in the face, bowling him over again.
Nate's companions laughed.

"Nathan," came a soft voice from behind. Nate turned to receive a hard
slap in the face from Vicki. "I shall NEVER marry you! Get out, before I
have the police summoned!"

Nate responded to the slap by shoving Vicki violently backward. She
stumbled and landed awkwardly on her bottom. She regretted the bustle had
been out of fashion for some years.

"Didn't you know? Your servants are off today!" said Nate. "And right
now, it doesn't matter whether you'll be my wife or not!" He began to undo
his belt.

"What -- are you doing?," whispered Vicki, though she already knew the
answer. Mr. Nash, on his feet again, started toward Nathan, only to be
grabbed by Leeves and Foxx. They restrained him with little effort.

"Nathan!," gasped Lord Broderick. "You can't!"

"I not only can, I'm going to, father!" said Nate. "If it bothers you,
leave the room!"

"I'll kill you," said Mr. Nash. "You can hold me back now, but after you
leave, I'll have you hunted down and shot like the dog you are!"

"Not if I kill you first," chuckled Nate, fingering the hilt of his
sword. "But first, to more pleasant business. You may marry another,
Victoria. But your condition will be that of used goods, if not worse. It's
up to you. You know. How much you struggle."

Vicki said nothing. She reached for the ring and pressed the stone three

At first, she thought she'd made a terrible mistake. After the third
press, her breath left her. She tried in vain to inhale, without success.
She clutched at her throat, trying desperately to breathe. Nate hesitated
for a moment, thinking she was having some sort of fit.

Then, she realized the problem. Her corset was tightening. She'd long
wanted to stop wearing it, knowing of women who had swooned over too-tight
undergarments. But her father insisted it was far too improper. Now, the
whalebone pressed tightly against her torso, making breathing impossible.
She felt a "pop," followed by another. The stays were breaking off of the

Similarly, the buttons had begun to fly off of her shoes, which were
pinching her feet terribly. She could feel a hole appear in her stockings, a
hole which grew. There was an awful pressure at her waist, which she knew
was made by her tightening belt. She reached to undo it, when it was torn
apart somehow and flew off of her. Her skirt was ripping itself apart,
followed by her blouse. Its torso fell in rags to the floor, followed by the
now-unrestrained corset. All that remained on her body were the muttonchop
sleeves of her blouse. The forearms tightened and tore first, then the puffy
shoulder pieces which gave the fashion its name split open and slid off of
her arm.

Vicki had been looking at Nathan, who was backing away in shock. No, he
was doing more than that. He was contracting, dropping out of Vicki's range
of vision! So was her father and everyone, everything else in the room.

Vicki suddenly found herself sitting naked upon the ballroom floor. She
stood, and realized that her surroundings had not diminished in size. She
had grown! From her natural 5' 6," she'd inflated to 11 feet. Then, she grew
further to 22 feet. Finally, her sized doubled once again. At 44 feet, she
towered over the little men in the room.

She started to try to cover herself with her arms, but stopped. Why
should she be ashamed? She wouldn't feel awkward standing naked in front of
a cat or dog. These creatures around her were no larger than that in her
eyes. Indeed, they were littler little people than those she'd met in
Ireland. She placed her hands on her hips, letting those around her drink in
her magnificence. Minutes ago, she'd have felt conceited to use such a word
to describe herself. Now, she could think of no other.

"Take your hands off of my father!" she commanded. Foxx and Leeves
obeyed, though their faces showed they were barely aware of it. She grabbed
them both, one in each hand, and held them before her face. They looked at
it, and then down at the floor perhaps 30 feet below them.

"If you EVER lay hands on him again, I'll crush you like I would a

"Put them down!" shouted Nate. He had drawn his sword and was waving it
menacingly in her direction. So intent was he on her that he didn't notice
Mr. Nash coming up from his side. A second later, Vicki's father struck a
blow on Nathan's jaw that more than avenged the punch the Captain had given
Mr. Nash earlier. Nate fell to the floor, dropping his sword.

"As you wish," said Vicki to Nate's earlier order. She lowered her hands
slightly and let the two men drop to the floor by their commanding officer.
Their heads struck the marble hard, and they lay still, moaning.

Nate reached for his sword. Before he could grab it, Vicki pressed down
on his hand with her thumb. With her other hand, she flicked her finger
against Nate's head, sending him flying across the room. She then picked up
the sword and bent it with her fingers.

"Vicki," gasped her father. "Pet. What's happened to you?"

"It's the ring!" cried Lord Broderick. "She got it from the little
people in Ireland. She had to!"

"Black magic!" spat out Nate, standing and wiping blood from him mouth.
"I shouldn't be surprised that she'd stoop to such deviltry! It isn't worth
all the money in the world to be your husband now, you immense cow!"

"What?!" said Vicki. She was upon him in two steps and had him clenched
in her hand the way she'd held his men moments earlier. She looked at her

"I don't know what he's talking about!" he told her. Facing Lord
Broderick, he said "What is the meaning of this?"

"I'm sorry," said the old lord with a sigh. "I didn't want to tell you.
We're nearly broke. Some investments this last year went bad. It used up
nearly all of what's left to travel here. Our lands are going to be sold
next month if we don't have the money.
"That's why I encouraged Nate to marry Vicki. If they'd wed then, under
English law ... "

" ... the money in my dowry, plus what I'd inherit one day from Father,
would become Nate's!"

"Yes. But I truly did not know what a monster my son had become. I could
live as a pauper. But I could not live with the shame Nathan has brought
upon our name.

"Nathan," he continued, facing his son in Vicki's gigantic hand. "I'm
glad now that I will have little to leave to you. I suggest that, when we
depart, you set sail to return to your unit. I don't want to see you again."

"And who said I want to be around an old fossil like you any more!? If
it weren't for you, I would've stayed in India, and never have met this,
this greatest of bitches in the world!"

Suddenly, something moved in front of his face. Vicki's hand opened
around his body, but his head was grasped between the thumb and forefinger
of her other hand. His body dangled in mid-air, his face smothered by the
enormous thumb.

"I'd much rather not have met you either. You are the most monstrous
individual I've ever had the misfortune to meet! I should kill you right now
and free the world of your presence once and for all."

"Vicki, pet, no!" cried Mr. Nash. "I know you feel he deserves it, and
I'm much tempted to do it myself. But killing him would only bring questions
I don't think any of us would care to answer."

"He'll be miserable enough without his allowance, lass," said Lord
Broderick. "If you kill him, you'd only be doing him a kindness."

"Very well," she said, letting him drop to the floor. He landed hard on
his feet, then limped toward Foxx and Leeves, who were regaining

"You'll regret this!" he said in a low voice. "No one treats me like
this! Especially no woman!"

"Father, open the door to the garden, please."

Mr. Nash did as his daughter asked. Vicki then grabbed Nate between the
toes of her right foot.

"No!" screamed Nate. "Don't step on me!"

"I've no intention of dirtying my foot with you!" she said.

She clumsily moved to the open door, keeping Nate trapped between her
toes. Propping herself against the wall over the door with her arms, Vicki
bent her leg backwards, then swung it forward in a kick. At the apex, she
spread her toes and Nate was again airborne. He landed with a great splash
in the decorative pool in the garden.

"Get him off our property," she told his men. "Now!"

Foxx and Leeves furtively rushed out of the door, glancing behind them
to make sure
Vicki wasn't going to give them similar treatment.

"I'll depart now, too," said Lord Broderick with a bow. "I'm so sorry
for what happened. I will not dishonor you with my presence again."

"Michael," said Mr. Nash. "Wait. Please. I don't hold you responsible
for your son's actions. Let's talk."

The two old friends went into an adjoining room. After they left, Vicki
turned the ring so the stone was on the inside of her hand, and pressed it
three times. She returned to normal size. As she gathered up the tatters
that had been her clothes, she glanced through the door. Closing it, she saw
Nate and his men in the distance walking away. She could hear cries of
outrage coming from the captain. She had a suspicion that it still wasn't

Chapter Three

Though she expected many things to happen over the next few weeks,
returning to Ireland hadn't been one of them. But there she was, with her
father, back on Lord Broderick's estate. But it might not be his much
longer. Her father had agreed to settle his old friend's debts, and assume
ownership of the lands, permitting Broderick to remain as his guest.

Vicki wasn't sure how she felt about this. As her father's only heir,
she would one day own the property. She found it a magnificent country and
had no problem with the idea of living there. But would she really need so
much land to herself? And the memories of Nate. If she hadn't been able to
grow to giant size ...

She carefully fingered the ring. She had used it a couple of times since
her eviction of Nathan, mostly for purpose of being measured by her maids.
(The measuring had been rather fun, with the maids scurrying about -- and
sometimes over -- her naked body. There was a sensuality to the act she
found both disturbing and arousing.) Mr. Nash had decided that, if she did
have to use the "cursed ring" (his words, not hers) again, she should at
least be decently clad. He'd commissioned an outfit for her full height. The
tailor and shoemaker weren't quite sure what the idea was, but, at the rates
Mr. Nash was paying them, they decided questions weren't necessary. Best of
all, Vicki had convinced her father that a corset was not only inconvenient,
it was decidedly dangerous! He no longer demanded she wear one.

The only darkness in this victory was Vicki's feeling that her father
had agreed ... because he was afraid of her. Ever since that night when she'd
grown and so forcibly evicted Nathan and his men from her home, her father
had changed in regards to her. He spoke so deferentially. On topics where
once his voice might've boomed with indignation, he now was subdued if not
absolutely meek. Once, when they were in a minor argument, Vicki's finger
had moved toward her ring in jest. She regretted it when she saw how Mr.
Nash had paled.

"Papa!" she had said in concern. "It was a stupid joke. Please, don't be
scared of me. I promise, I would NEVER harm you. You are my Papa!"

The hugs and kisses which she plied him with seemed to relax him. But

After arriving in Queenstown, Vicki learned that friends from the States
were in Dublin. With her father's permission, she traveled there, a journey
that took the better part of a day. She stayed with her friends for three

Then, a messenger brought a mysterious letter. Vicki froze at the sight
of the handwriting. It was Nathan's. She read the letter immediately:

"My Dear Miss Nash,

"I have your father.
"Men loyal to me at the estate of the man who calls himself my father
arranged for Mr. Nash to be abducted -- kidnapped, I believe, is the current
parlance. I am busy returning the hospitality you showed me in America.
"Do not expect help from my father or the authorities. I made it clear
to Father then, as I do now to you, that, should I see anyone other than
you, I shall render unto them a rather old corpse.
"But you may come. I look forward to it. Directions are enclosed for you
to find me. And do bring your lovely ring.

"Best regards,

"Captain Nathan Broderick,
"Her Majesty's Imperial Lancers"

"He means to snare me," whispered Vicki to herself. "To trap me as
mercilessly as one of the creatures on the estate." She tried to envision
herself being dangled upside down, as had happened with the tiny Kate weeks
before. But, were that to happen, she'd merely have to press the emerald,
and she'd grow out of any trap.

Besides, there was an "X" marked on the map, denoted with the
instructions "You may grow here." Nathan clearly wanted her at full size,
and would no doubt be prepared for it. Complete cad he was, but not a fool.

There was a time marked when she was expected. She barely had time to
make apologies and good-byes to her friends. Soon, she was on her way to the
meeting place.

The carriage brought Vicki to a patch of woods by a road. The driver
seemed puzzled as to why his fare wanted to be dropped off here, along with
her "bleedin' big trunk." But, upon seeing the large gratuity Vicki gave
him, he asked no questions, though he did beg her to "take care" in those

After he had driven off, Vicki picked up the trunk. It wasn't as heavy
as one might've imagined. The material inside was light, though the shoes
were burdensome. Through turns of carrying and dragging, she soon was
concealed in the woods.

It was a pleasant afternoon. Vicki could see through the trees the large
clearing the directions had mentioned. She stopped, opened the trunk, and
speedily undressed herself. It only took a few minutes, but they were the
longest of her life. As she removed her chemise, she reflected on how, if
she turned to see a small boy looking at her, she would blush. If she turned
to see Nathan or one of his men looking at her, she would die, at least on
the inside.

She stood behind a tree, naked except for her ring. She pulled out the
gigantic dress, spent a few seconds finding its hem, and then slipped it
over herself. She pulled the shoes out of the trunk. Perhaps it would be
better to leave them behind. There was something so ordinary about them.
They weren't decorated. There were no patterns to them at all. They didn't
even have high heels, but flat ones, like a man wore. The overall look
reminded her of pictures of what the Chinese wore. She could never picture
anything so out-and-out functional catching on in the West.

Still, Father had spent a considerable sum for their construction. Might
as well wear them.

Vicki took from her old dress the pocket watch she'd purchased in
Dublin. It was nearly time for her arrival. She left the watch with her
normal dress, bunched the big outfit around her as best she could, and then,
dragging the shoes behind her, started for the clearing.

Some 20 feet from the woods, she found an "X" cut out of paper and
attached to the ground by a stake pounded through it. Others might've found
the idea amusing. Vicki merely regarded the sign as further evidence of
military life's effect on the mind.

She set her shoes side by side with the stake between, and then stepped
into them. She put her finger on the emerald and pressed three times. She
started to grow. There were the pauses at 11 and 22 feet. When she reached
44 feet, Vicki glanced down at herself. She was disappointed.

She had been excited about the dress, and it looked attractive, bright
yellow fabric among the green of the clearing. It fit well, as did her
shoes, though the latter were slightly loose. But, somehow, she didn't feel
right being clothed at all, not at THIS size. Her father would find the idea
scandalous, but she didn't think she really was Vicki any more. She was
someone else, something else, a fabulous being who had no need of clothing,
not on such a pleasant day as this.

She began to walk to the other end of the field, a bit nervous, her
finger still close to the ring. She saw Nathan emerge from behind a
haystack. There were four other such stacks at various points around the
clearing, each of them unusually large. With Nathan were Leeves and Foxx --
and her father. Her father was bound and gagged, and shaking his head
furiously. Was he trying to tell her to run? Away?

"She is here!" cried Nathan in a high-pitched, commanding voice.

Suddenly, men, dressed in uniforms, emerged from behind each haystack.
They were in groups of three each. As they appeared, they stared at her,
dumbfounded by her size, her beauty, or both. It looked like another man was
also in each haystack, behind -- something. Vicki could see in the stacks
nearest her something being moved, repositioned. From each haystack, another
soldier emerged, brushing hay off himself and nodding to the others. From
each cluster of men came shouts of "Ready!"

Vicki glanced at each group, and noticed Nate raise his sword, then drop
his arm in one swift, cutting motion. But nothing was near him. It was a
signal of some kind.

Vicki saw sparks and flames in the hands of the man nearest each
haystack, followed by a small cloud of smoke rising from the stacks. She
realized just in time that they were lit fuses.

Vicki dropped to the ground. She heard the cannons booming and the balls
flying over her head. Reflexively, she pressed the emerald on the ring three
more times. She wasn't sure why. She hoped to gain some advantage at normal
size that she wouldn't have at 44 feet.

But something was wrong. She expected to feel her body drag along the
ground as it contracted. Instead, it was pushing forward her arms, elbows,
knees, and toes. Her clothing wasn't loosening around her, it was
tightening. She could feel her toes begin to feel pinched, then burst out of
those shoes that had been so heavy, so mighty in her hands just minutes

She realized what was wrong. In her terror and excitement, she had
forgotten to turn the stone on the ring to the inside of her hand. She was
growing even larger than she had been. Her dress, her beautiful, new,
sunshine yellow dress, ripped at its seams of rope and twine. Her bare skin
slid over the grass and dirt as her body expanded to ever larger

She felt a flushing, an almost sexual tingling race through her as she
grew. Perhaps it was some liquid in her, some chemical produced by the human
body, that was in temporary disproportion. At least, she hoped it was
temporary. She wouldn't mind this feeling for a little while, but could see
problems if it persisted too long.

She lay flat on her stomach. The feeling of the ground sliding under her
nipples as she grew was very sensual, especially as the grass underneath
became smaller, finer to her skin, until it was like a strange, ticklish fur
grown by the ground itself.

She stopped growing. Looking ahead, Vicki saw her face was mere feet way
(inches to her) from Nate, Leeves, Foxx, and her father. She just barely
heard a tiny voice squeak out "reload and fire at will."

She saw the man who had been in the haystack earlier start back for it.
Before he could carry out orders, Vicki brought her fist down on the
haystack. The man dove out just in time to avoid the blow. The haystack was
flattened, the cannon driven into the ground so far it would have to be
excavated before it could be used again.

The blow had caused all of the little men (insects! Vicki thought to
herself) to lose their footing. As they struggled to regain it, Vicki used
her little finger to flick away Nate, Leeves, and Foxx at once. They
staggered about, like ants that had been brushed by a child's toe, then
dropped to the ground. Vicki lay her head down so her huge eye could see her
father, and the soldier who had manned the cannon.

She started to command ... "RELEASE MY FATHER OR -- "

Then, she saw the soldier drop to the ground and press his hands against
his ears. Her father similarly was wriggling on the grass. With horror, she
realized what her voice must sound like to a normal-sized person. She
remained silent and pointed to the soldier, then her father. The tiny
military man went to Mr. Nash and quickly undid his bonds. Vicki stood on
her knees, nodding at the man to let him know he'd done the right thing.

Then, she heard what sounded like a couple of caps in child's gun going
off. Something stung her calf and buttock. It reminded her of a time when
she was 12. She'd been walking along the side of a road, when a carriage
passed. One of its wheels had sent a stone into her leg. It had hurt for a
second, but no more. That was what this pain was like. She stood up and
realized what had happened.

She'd been shot by two of the cannons! The balls had struck her, but her
skin was now far too thick for any real damage to be done. But that didn't
mean she liked it. She looked at the haystacks. Another soldier was putting
fire to a fuse. She raised her foot and brought it down on the haystack, her
shadow alerting the soldier to what was happening. He rolled to the side as
another cannon was smashed into the dirt.

Vicki moved her foot, to see the smoke still issuing from the fuse. The
men near it ran away and jumped to the ground, just as a large cloud of dust
and metal billowed from where the cannon was buried. Dirt, rocks, and even a
few chunks of metal rained down on the men. Vicki could only laugh. It was
like playing with a half-buried firecracker on the Fourth of July.

Quickly but carefully, Vicki gathered the soldiers on the ground with
her left hand, then dropped them into her right. She inspected them
carefully. They looked stunned, but were otherwise all right.

Then, Vicki started toward the other cannons. The men had been too
intimidated by what she'd done to the last cannon to risk lighting another
one. She put her heel to each cannon, flattening it and its concealing
haystack. Then, she picked up the men around it, putting them in her right
hand with the others.

Soon, she had all the men she could see, except her father. She lifted
him up and put him in the middle of the clearing, away from anyplace anyone
might be hiding to take him prisoner again. Vicki stood and opened her left
hand, palm up, to check the men. It was hard to tell, but it looked as if
some of them were crying. There were several pairs of men, clutching each
other, trembling. A couple of heartier souls looked over the edge of her
hand. Those men crept back to the center of her palm, then dropped to their
knees and faced her, imploring for mercy with their bodies.

Vicki looked at her father, no larger to her than a bug. Even standing,
she could tell there was almost no color in his face. She knew that she, his
daughter, his pet, had become the most terrifying thing he'd ever beheld in
his life.

She did some quick mental calculations. As she'd grown, she'd again felt
the brief, regular, pauses. Before this new trio of spurts, she'd been 44
feet tall. She was certain she'd doubled in size by each pause. So, she'd
become 88, and then 176 feet. With the final doubling --

Merciful God in Heaven! With the final doubling, she was now 352 feet
tall! She could not recall if there were whales that large! With the
realization, she lowered herself to a sitting position (taking care, of
course, to avoid sitting on her father). This was all Nathan's fault! His
oh, so, stupid, vulnerable, male pride! He couldn't take being rejected by a
woman without trying to have his way with her! He surely must've felt it the
height of humiliation to have any woman deal with him as Vicki had, giant or
not! He must've talked to his fellow soldiers. He convinced them that a
giant woman would be the greatest threat they could face! And now, she had
those 20 poor, deluded men in the palm of her hand and ...

Wait, she thought. TWENTY men? Each haystack had 4 men with it. There
were five haystacks, so there should be 21 men! She brought her hand close
to her face to examine them. All of them were there, except --

"Nathan," she said in a whisper that nearly blew the men off of her

As she'd examined them, Vicki had rested her other hand on the ground.
Suddenly, she noticed a sensation, like an ant crawling near her finger. She
looked down and saw Nathan, swinging something over his head and bringing it
down on the stone in her ring. She felt her ring struck, hard! And Nathan
was running away from her. Then, he stopped, and turned to face her.

"There, bitch!" he cried. "I have smashed the source of your witchcraft!
Now, you'll return to your proper size, and then there'll be ... a ...

Vicki brought the ring up to her eye. It was true. The stone WAS
shattered! Nate had used a sledge hammer, had seen a flaw in the stone. By
striking the hammer where the flaw was, he had broken the stone.

But Vicki was not shrinking. The ring's stone was STILL on the outside
of her hand! She had been unable to make out Nathan's last words. That
final, stone-shattering pressure on the emerald had caused one last,
monstrous growth spurt! Vicki could feel the wind whip by her as she
enlarged. She looked in her right hand and saw the ever-diminishing soldiers
spread out, away from each other as she grew, almost falling into the lines
on her palm! And, she could hear the faint, anguished scream of her father
as he became less than an insect to her.

A final mental calculation was made. Vicki now stood just over 700 feet
tall! She was certain she had become the biggest, most monstrous creature
ever to walk the planet.

In a panic, she reversed the ring so the stone was on the inside of her
hand. She did not hear the screams, did not care as the men in her right
hand rolled over the skin, the pores, the wrinkles of her palm. A half dozen
of them were about to tumble over the edge, when she righted her hand again
and they all began to roll back to the middle of her palm.

As she'd reversed the ring, fragments of its stone fell from the
setting. She pressed what was left three times. Nothing happened. She
repeated the procedure. The men in her hand did not grow larger, heavier.
She dropped to her knees, letting her right hand rest against the ground for
a few seconds. The men in it used this chance to escape, some of them
carrying others injured by their ordeal. The soldiers ran as fast and as far
as they could from her, each terrified they would see that enormous shadow
over them again.

Then, they noticed the ground shaking. Each man stopped and turned. They
saw Vicki frantically pressing at the setting without result. Tears that
could drown any of them rolled down her face. Finally, Vicki gave up the
effort, buried her face in her hands, and began to sob.

"What's to become of me?" came soft, windy whispers from her mouth. "How
shall I eat? How shall I drink? How shall I shelter myself when the weather
turns cold?

"Why did you do this?" she said, facing the soldiers, still speaking
softly. "I rejected your Captain and took steps to protect myself and my
father from him. I came here because my father was in jeopardy! I would have
harmed no one had you not tried to harm him or myself first! And now, my
father is safe ... but I terrify him as much as I do you! Why did you do

This display of fear, of sorrow from so large a being caused a wave of
guilt that would dwarf a division to flood over every man there. Their fear
vanished and they approached the woman they now realized they had horribly
wronged. Mr. Nash approached his daughter, setting his hand on one of her
huge fingers. She could not see that there were tears on his face, too.

But a second later, Mr. Nash felt cold steel against his neck. Before
Vicki or anyone else could act, Nathan had run up from behind, drawn his
sword, and placed it at Mr. Nash's throat.

"Now bitch!" came a high pitched squeal. She could barely make out what
Nathan was saying. She thought she heard the words "poison," "exhibit," and
"Barnum." But there was no mistake of the threat. Nathan barked orders to
his men.

Leeves and Foxx approached. They took hold of Mr. Nash and Nathan
sheathed his sword and began to walk away. Leeves let go of Mr. Nash, walked
toward Nathan, and said something. Nate turned around just in time to take a
blow from Leeves. Nathan was sprawled on the ground to the cheers of the

Leeves drew his own sword and advanced upon the Captain, when an
enormous fingernail blocked his path. Leeves backed away, looking up at
Vicki, making motions that clearly indicated "Why?" Vicki picked Nathan up
between her right thumb and forefinger.

Gently, hoping to disorient him but not kill him, Vicki began to roll
Nathan between these digits. She held him to her ear and thought she heard
tiny cries of "stop!," "don't," and a few inarticulate screams. After
several seconds, she lowered her hand to the ground and released Nate.

He lay on his back, face up, eyes open. Leeves and Foxx knelt by him,
then looked up at Vicki.

"Dead?" whispered Vicki.

Leeves shook his head. He made pantomime walking motions, then shook his
head again, and Vicki understood. Nate was crippled.

Vicki spent that night in the open field. Her stomach growled from
hunger, her throat was parched. She knew of streams of fresh water, but
feared she might drain them completely in sating her thirst.

Leeves and Foxx had brought her bread and a little water, but it was
nowhere near enough. They had sown together every blanket in their regiment
to try and give her cover against the cool night. It provided a little
protection under her head.

It didn't matter. Worry kept Vicki awake most of the night. The next
day, her father came, along with several large wagons, each covered with a
blanket. He brought the one he was riding close to Vicki and uncovered it.
To Vicki's astonishment, there was a huge ring underneath, gold with an
emerald stone set in it. Vicki took the ring, placed it on her finger, and
found it fit perfectly.

Was it from Kate and Pat O'Glenn, though? There was only one way to

Vicki turned the ring so the stone was on the inside of her hand. She
pressed it once. The wind whipped up against her body as it shrank. She
stopped at 352 feet. She pressed the stone again, and again! She continued
to dwindle in size. She was 44 feet tall again, and hit the ring once more.
Nothing happened.

"We found it this morning by Lord Broderick's estate," explained Mr.
Nash. "There was a large note in small handwriting explaining that your
friends knew what had happened and why. They can bring you back down to this
size, but no smaller. The note explained that, to make you your normal size
would be fatal to you. So this is the smallest you can be."

"So I'll still be a monster," said Vicki.

"Not in my eyes. Not in the eyes of any who know you, especially not
your tiny friends. And now, before you get yourself all gloomy again, have
some breakfast!"

The men driving the other wagons, each one a soldier or trusted servant
from Lord Broderick's, got down and uncovered their cargo. To Vicki's
delight, there were a half-dozen roasted pigs, a gross of eggs, unknown
amounts of cheese, and gallons of milk all mixed into a fine omelet. More
milk and a keg full of hot tea were available for drinking. The estate's
maids used mops and buckets of soapy water to bathe Vicki. Finally, the
blankets that had been sewed together the night before had been rearranged
into a crude dress. This and a giant-sized tote of rum were put to use,
taking the chill off from the night before.

That evening, Vicki rested in a barn and spoke with her father, Lord
Broderick, and several of the soldiers and servants. She learned Nathan
would live, but would be paralyzed for the rest of his life. Mr. Nash had
agreed to see to Nathan's care, and to allow Lord Broderick to stay on the
estate, though Nash would assume the ownership.

The servants seemed pleased and eager to welcome their new "lord," as
did the tenants on the land, who had heard Mr. Nash to be a fair-natured,
good-hearted man.

"I want to thank you all for your help," said Vicki later. "But I'm
still going to be far too big to care for. There too many hereabouts who go
to sleep in rags, for this land to afford to keep me fed, sheltered, and

"This land, perhaps. But there are others," said a girl Vicky knew to be
Ivy, one of the "tweenies" of the manor.

"I believe the note left by the Little People said something about that,
did it not," said Lord Broderick.

"Indeed it did," said Mr. Nash.

"Other lands?" said Vicki. "You mean across the sea?"

"No," said Ivy. "Other realms as it were." Vicki was about to ask
another question, when she heard a melody from outside, faint, delicate, and

"What's that?" asked Vicki.

"I don't hear anything," said one of the soldiers.

"Can't you hear it? The music?"

"I think you're hearing your directions," said Mr. Nash.

"My directions?"

"Aye," said Lord Broderick. "The music of the Little People. They're
asking you to their realm, their lands."

"It's lovely," said Vicki. "But you said it's my 'directions?'"

"Aye," said Ivy. "Just follow it. 'Twill lead you to a new home, with
food and a house big enough even for as great a lass as yerself."


"Really," said Mr. Nash.

"The note explained it. They'll expect you to work. They say there are
many jobs that can be done only by 'one such as yourself.' But they will
welcome you and your friendship. As Ivy said, just follow the music."

Two servants pushed the barn door open and Vicki crawled out on her hands
and knees. She stood up, and listened carefully.

She thought she saw a light in the distance. She began to walk toward
it. She turned around. Everyone was standing in the barn door, watching her.

"Papa?" said Vicki. "You're coming, aren't you?"

"No, pet. This was an invitation only for you, not me."

"But, Papa -- I can't leave you."

"You'd have done so one day," said Mr. Nash. "With a husband, most
likely. You're really far too big to live with me anymore."

"But, Papa," she said, tears welling in her eyes. "Will I ever see you

"Yes, you will. The note said that, as long as you wear the ring, you
can come and go on certain days."

"Which days?"

"Sundays. Christmas. Other holidays. And when you are truly needed! And
I've a feeling you'll be needed a lot. Now go."

Vicki started again, then paused, turned around, and returned. She
carefully bent over, picked up her father, and kissed him.

"I love you, Papa," she said, crying.

"And I love you, pet," said Mr. Nash, tears running down his own face.
"And I'll see you soon."

Vicki set him down, turned, and resumed her walk. Soon, the music and
the light led her to a large rock face, 20 feet higher than Vicki herself
was. In the middle of it were two great stone doors, open wide, with a
supernatural light pouring out of it. Vicki entered the doors. For a moment,
the music paused, and applause and cheers took its place. She distinctly
heard two familiar voices cry out "Welcome, lass!" as she walked through the
doors, which then closed behind her.


* * *
Copyright 1999 by Kim Metzger. If you want to post this anywhere else, please ask the author for permission first.
Thank you.

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