The Magic Baby Powder

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The Magic Baby Powder

Postby LilJennie » Mon Sep 03, 2018 8:05 pm

The Magic Baby Powder
by LilJennie and Miki Yamuri

Something suddenly smelled really good, thought Neil as he walked down the street toward where he’d parked his car. Like … perfume, or … what was it?

He looked around, trying to see where the scent could be coming from, but saw nothing unusual. Brownstones, apartment buildings, parked cars, people passing by. Some of them looked at him, probably because he had stopped and was looking around.

The only moving vehicle was a panel truck moving his way, but it was just a delivery truck. It passed him and went on by. What had caused that wonderful smell of … what?

Suddenly he saw a street sign. It was as if he was seeing it for the first time -- except Neil saw these “No Parking This Side of the Street 6:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.” signs every day. But that wasn’t what it said today. Now it quite clearly said, “Your Car Proves You’re a Grown-Up -- And You Want to Be a Grown-Up, Don’t You?”

“What … the …?” Neil said aloud. He rubbed his eyes and looked at the sign. It still said “Your Car Proves …” Was some prankster replacing street signs? He looked at another one. Normally the red octagon would have said “STOP,” but this one said, “GROW UP.”

Names of car models along the street said things like “MatureMobile” and “Strong Man” and “Responsible.” Someone must have gone to a lot of trouble for this one … but why?

Then Neil realized what the scent was … it was baby powder. It wasn’t a smell he smelled every day -- only very rarely, really. Occasionally women’s body powders or deodorants smelled like it -- it occurred to him that he hadn’t smelled real baby powder in years. But why was he suddenly smelling it now?

“What’s going on?” he asked out loud, causing passers-by to stare at him even more and avoid him. This busy city would be a great place to target people with pranks, he thought -- you’d be sure to get a lot of people’s reactions. But then he realized that nobody else seemed to see anything wrong. They were walking down the street as if nothing were different at all.

Through a window he could see someone’s TV. It was playing a commercial -- one clearly targeted at kids, showing toys in attention-grabbing colors but with brightly-colored letters on the screen saying, “Not for babies! These are for BIG KIDS! Wow!”

Neil’s mind reeled. What was going on? He felt somewhat dizzy. He had to get to his car. It was a blue Chrysler … Decision? That wasn’t right. But he got in and started the engine. Driving down the street he saw more advertisements -- “Remember, your time is limited.” “You must make responsible decisions.” “You are growing older and will someday die.” “If you do not eat, you will starve. If you do eat, you will age.”

Drugs. Somebody had dosed him with some kind of drugs. That must be it. Drugs that had a side effect of baby powder -- he looked at himself in the mirror. There was white powder all over his head and face, even onto his shoulders. No wonder people had been staring at him. Neil almost drove off the street.

Neil finally reached a part of town where there were advertisements everywhere he looked, and all of them were altered from what he remembered, all kinds of messages trying to convince him of obvious things that everybody knew were true. Or were they? “All children want to grow up,” said a movie poster. “Time is no one’s friend,” said a stock ticker. “Growing old is mandatory. Growing up is too,” said another ad poster.

This had to be drugs. Or a dream. No prank could be this elaborate. The world wasn’t like this. Neil kept going. He didn’t even remember where he had been planning to go. He kept exploring the changed world around him.

Trina was a very pretty young woman who loved to dress in adorable outfits. Today, she had dressed in a cute terry cloth romper and tennis shoes and had gone for a walk because it was such a nice day. As she walked along, she was more than aware of all the eyes undressing her as she passed the large group of construction workers. None of them said or did anything crude, but she knew from the look in their eyes they thought it.

As she walked, she began to notice the smell of one of her favorite things, baby powder. She stopped and looked around. She couldn’t determine where the smell was coming from, but as strong as it was should have been in sight.

That was when she noticed the octagonal sign on the corner. It should have said “STOP” … but instead it said, “Stop pretending, you know you have to grow up.” Trina was flabbergasted. She had no idea such signs were on the highways. She looked around and saw another large billboard sign that said in huge letters, “Growing up is mandatory, you must become an adult.”

By this point, Trina didn’t want to walk anymore. She turned around to head for home when she saw the huge company billboard for the construction company. It said, “There is only one thing you know, and that is that you must be an adult. Being a baby is wrong.”

Trina ran home and locked herself in her apartment. She sat and turned on the TV. It too began a long spiel about the virtues of adulthood. Even the several shows she turned the channel to, went off on the same theme.

Trina turned off the TV, went to her bedroom, turned off the lights, and hid her head under the pillow. She was sure that in a few minutes this … whatever it was would pass.

By this time Neil completely forgot where he had been going, he’d gotten a text message. He didn’t see it until he’d parked his car in a downtown garage. It said, “Now you can see the truth.” But it was from some random number he didn’t know.

He tried sending a message back saying, “What’s going on? Did aliens take over the earth or something?” But he didn’t know how long it would be before he got an answer, if he ever did, so he put his phone away and kept looking around. The sign of a brokerage firm said, “Place where you can make even more money … but you must be an adult. Babies don’t get money.”

Someone was very intent on making him think that being an adult, and more importantly not a baby, was a good thing. Neil had to admit that being an adult was hard. He had to work for a living, or he couldn’t afford to pay the rent on his apartment, or pay for the electricity that kept it warm in the winter and cool in the summer, not to mention allowing him to cook food and use the internet. If it weren’t Saturday he’d be at work right now. But were these messages real? Maybe they were trickery. He checked his phone for a reply.

“Not aliens, but someone did take over the earth … long ago, before written history,” said the message. “You are so powerful … but they didn’t think humans should have such power.”

Powerful? What did that mean? He had the power to … stop aging? Just by deciding to? Fine, then. Neil decided right then and there to stop growing older. Staying 33 would be just fine. “Who did this?” he replied.

The message came right back. “The race you share the earth with, but don’t know it,” it said. “Or the selfish, cruel members of it.”

This didn’t make any sense. There was another race on earth besides humans? Or were they talking about different races of humans? It was hard to say. Neil knew where to find more words to look at, though. He headed for the public library.

Trina bounded from the bed. She knew just where she would go. There was a new book she wanted to check out from the library and read called Ghosts of the Night. From what the critics were saying, this was one of the top sci-fi stories of the year.

She put her tennis shoes back on and bounded out the door. As she hurried off, she wasn’t paying much attention to where she was going. The thing that had her attention the most was how all the street signs had changed and seemed to be urging everyone to grow up and grow older.

She came around a corner next to the stairs leading up to another apartment, where she ran smack into another person. It caught Trina so by surprise that she fell on her bottom.

She looked up in total amazement and gasped out, “I … I’m so sorry. I guess I’m a bit distracted with all the street signs and things. I … thought getting a good book would help get my mind off of some of the things going on.”

“S … signs?” the man said. “Something’s wrong with the signs? I mean … you can see them too?” as he helped her from the ground.

“What?” Trina said. “I thought I was going crazy.”

“We might still both be crazy,” the man said, “but it just got a lot less likely. Do you have a phone? Has anybody been sending you texts?”

Trina checked in her purse. “Now you know the truth,” said the only text message she had. “Now you know the truth?” she asked aloud. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Somebody’s picked the two of us to mess with,” said the man. “Maybe others too; I don’t know. Oh -- my name is Neil.”

“My name’s Trina, “ she said with a joyous tone. “Glad to meet you. Let’s us both go to the library and talk about this weirdness.”

Neil had no objections to being with a young woman as pretty as this so he quickly agreed. When they arrived at the library, a large sign on the front said: All who enter here are to be adult. Infants and babies can’t read so they are not to come in here and disturb other adult’s peace.

Trina pointed and asked with confusion in her tone, “Do you see that? Since when did that sign say that kind of thing?”

Neil shrugged his shoulders as he replied, “I have no idea. To the best of my knowledge, that sign is supposed to be the Hours of Operation.”

They both looked at each other for an instant before they entered. Although, where they thought they were going, wasn’t exactly where they ended up. A strange swirling mist surrounded them. When it had dissipated, they stood in a huge cathedral sized room. Directly in the center of the room stood a large obelisk. Inscribed on its base in huge letters said : All childhood shall be fleeting and fly away one the whims of fantasy. For all shall join and become adult and never again soil themselves with childhood things.

As they stood with their mouths open in awe, a small light formed and grew slightly larger. The smell of baby powder began to permeate the air. A voice spoke softly as it said, “See this earth as it is now in the light. Allow not the Adult Conspiracy to take you.” Then it vanished away, leaving them standing in front of the librarian’s counter.

The older woman looked up and smiled as she said in a quiet whisper, “Hello and welcome. Might I help you find something? We have many new books that have just arrived, if you looking for something like that.”

“Huh?” said Trina at first, then collected herself and said quietly, “Oh -- I was wondering if you’d gotten Ghosts of the Night yet. It’s highly anticipated.”

“That it is,” said the librarian softly. “New arrivals are over there, to your right -- do you see the shelf next to the special display case? That’s where you’ll find it.”

After thanking the librarian, Trina and Neil went toward the indicated bookshelf and whispered to each other, “What was that? Were we … somewhere else? How did that even happen?”

Trina picked up a copy of Ghosts of the Night and opened it up, only to find that she was unable to read it -- or at least read it as it should be read. It was full of messages extolling the benefits of adulthood. It was at first, anyway.

“What’s this?” she said. “Let’s sit down at that table over there and have a closer look.”

They sat down at a nearby reading table, side by side so they could both look. “See, for the first few pages it goes on like … all the signs,” said Trina. “But then, look!”

Neil’s mind boggled. Not only were there messages about how great it was to grow up and how everyone is doomed to grow old and die, but … “Now there are messages in pastel rainbow colors with different messages! ‘Don’t believe the grown-ups,’ this says here. ‘You can go back.’ And ‘You can be any boy or girl you want to be.’”

“There’s more than one kind of hidden message!” Trina said in surprise. “But which kind is true? Or are they both lying?”

“Well, we’ve seen plenty of the regular black ones,” said Neil. “What do more of these rainbowy ones say?”

They found several more messages in pastel rainbow ink saying, “Be Whoever You Want,” “Don’t Let Them Limit You,” “Your Powers Are Limited Only by Your Imagination,” “Being a Baby Is OK,” and “Let your Inner Boy Or Girl Out.” And that was just in the first four chapters.

“Somebody is sneaking these messages in,” said Trina. “I don’t think whoever makes the black messages would like it if they knew.”

“I think whoever made us see the black messages put the rainbow messages here,” Neil theorized.

Trina and Neil sat and talked over what had been going on around them. It seemed to them that they were the only two who had noticed anything out of the ordinary.

Trina said softly, “I’ve always loved to dress and look cute. Mom always told me how pretty I was in my outfits. You think my mindset might have something to do with it?”

Neil replied, “Not sure. All I know is that I smelled the wonderful smell of baby powder, then I began noticing all the signs and things had different words.”

Trina replied, “Yea, that’s when all the signs and books n stuff began to try and convince me I should quit being a baby and grow up an stuff.”

Neil continued, “I think … the signs have been doing that for a long time. Something just made us see it. That’s what that other thingy we saw was trying to show us too. That something else had taken over.”

Once again, the wonderful smell of baby powder surrounded them. Everything all around them changed once again. When their vision cleared, they found themselves in what might have been a nursery, although it wasn’t. Within the very center of the place something that looked like a baby rattle that glowed softly pink and powder blue hovered above a pedestal. It also gave off a very heady aroma of baby powder.

A small and gentle voice said, “It is time for our champions to arise and notice themselves. It cannot be allowed that they forget who and how young they are. To this end we have brought both of you to this place to teach you what the Adult Conspiracy is all about.”

Neil was looking all around. This room was darkened and hard to see, but very large. It looked like there were huge baby toys in the distance like teddy bears and stacking rings, but the large glowing baby rattle was the only clearly visible object. “Adult … Conspiracy? You mean, the subliminal messages that have been trying to convince us that being adults is a good thing and remaining young is bad?”

“Oh, yes. And more than that. So much more,” said the voice, which seemed to be coming from the rattle, but it was hard to tell.

“And that we have more power over what’s happening than we think?” asked Trina.

“You are right,” said the voice. “Again … so much more.”

“What’s really going on, though?” asked Neil. “Who’s trying to convince of that, and why, and for how long? And who are you, and why are you trying to convince us otherwise?”

“I will tell you what I can in the time I have,” said the voice. “My people evolved at the same time as humans. We coexisted, each dependent on the other for survival. But then, long ago, humans made an incredible evolutionary leap. You were suddenly immortal. You no longer aged. You were no longer subject to disease or even hunger. You had become … similar to us. For these are changes that had already happened to my people.”

“But most of my people didn’t like this. They liked being superior to humans. They liked the fact that humans gave us what we needed without knowing, like cattle, or plants. They didn’t want to be equals. So they began the greatest deception in Earth’s history. Because just as humans had the power to make of their reality anything they chose, they also had the power to deny themselves this, if they could be made to choose to.”

“There were those of my people who opposed this. We were outnumbered. Outcast. Exiled. And the rest convinced the humans that they were still limited by their bodies, by nature, by time. They have carefully kept the entire human race under this control ever since -- for millions of years. Humans have developed advanced technology -- more than once! But they were denied their true destiny. And we exiles could do nothing but watch -- until now.”

“What?” asked Neil. “So I could just decide never to be sick again?”

“Exactly,” the voice said, “just as you have already decided to no longer age. So it will be, unless you decide otherwise. It just hasn’t been very long, so you haven’t noticed that it worked.”

“I could decide that I was a girl instead of a guy?” asked Neil, and suddenly he noticed that his voice got higher, he got slightly shorter compared to Trina, his hair was longer, and his chest was straining against his shirt. “What?” he asked with astonishment in his new voice. “Really?”

Trina’s eyes grew large as she felt herself change slightly. She became the same size as a large babydoll like the ones in the toy store that were almost 4 feet tall. Neil looked on in total surprise and he too transformed and the both of them now appeared to be very adorably cute young women the size of little girls. Neil’s clothes hung loosely on him until he concentrated and they changed into something that fit.

The soft voice continued, “Any dream you can possibly dream becomes the foundation of your reality. What you choose for yourself becomes true for yourself. This is the power you have and have always had. I do not have much time now, for I am speaking to you through cracks in the barrier that keeps us exiled, but I will talk to you again later.”

With this, they both reappeared back in what they used to think of as reality, only this time they were both cute little girls wearing little fairy princess dresses, rumba panties, and matching slippers that looked like booties, sitting in chairs in a reading room in the public library. Their feet didn’t reach the floor, and they couldn’t see the book on the table from where they were sitting.

The librarian walked up and said softly in a pleasant coo, “Is there any other books you children would like to find? We have an entire section over in our Story Land section you might find interesting. If the two of you need a booster seat to sit on, I can get you those as well. They are padded and very comfy.”

Trina replied, a bit astonished at what had just transpired, “Thank you, Ma’am. We’ll look at the books shortly. We won’t need the chairs though, thanks.”

The librarian replied softly before she turned and went back to the counter, “If I can be of any assistance, just ask. Tell your mommies I have a wonderful selection of brand new novels and mysteries, too.”

The two girls watched as the librarian returned to her counter, before turning their astonished gazes back to their own amazing transformations.

“I … I’m a girl,” said Neil to Trina in a whisper. “A little one. Why did I decide to be this?”

“Well, you heard the … mysterious voice person,” Trina whispered back. “You can choose to be anything. You must be OK with this, or you’d change to something else. Just like I must want to be a little girl too. I dunno, I just feel … just right!”

“I … um … I guess,” whispered Neil, “I have kinda always wondered what it would’ve been like to be a girl. I guess all women start out as little girls first.”

“Baby girls before that,” whispered Trina with a quiet giggle, “but I’m not sure you’d get by in a public place if you went that little.”

“You know? This is about as small as I feel safe being, here in public. Would it be different in private? Do you feel the same way?”

“I do … I think I wouldn’t feel very safe here if I were any smaller,” Trina quietly agreed.

“To change the subject,” said Neil, “we’re supposed to show people the truth? I guess? Any ideas how to do that?”

“Maybe to find someone and show them what we can do, and tell them they can do it too?” Trina shrugged.

“Someone like … who?” Neil asked.

“That librarian?” Trina suggested. “She looks like she’s friendly and likes kids … quiet kids who read, anyway.”

They got off their chairs and went back to the librarian’s desk. “Can I help you two sweethearts?” the librarian asked them quietly.

“Ma’am, there’s something we have to tell you,” said Neil.

“You can be whoever you want,” Trina explained.

“Oh my, you children have such a wonderful imagination,” said the librarian.

“No, it’s true,” said Neil.

“Here, I’ll show you,” said Trina, changing back to her adult self. “You probably saw me come in here looking like this.” The librarian looked like her eyes were about to pop out of her head. “All I have to do is decide I want to be who I used to be.”

“I … my goodness,” the librarian said. “That’s quite amazing.”

“You can do it too, Ma’am,” said Neil respectfully. “Everyone can. It’s just … you have to believe you can.”

“You mean I could be … who I was when I was younger?” said the librarian, who looked like she was in her 60s.

“Just … convince yourself it’s possible,” Trina said.

“Well now, let me see,” the Librarian said quietly and closed her eyes. Her hair momentarily went from gray to blonde, but then reverted to gray again. “My goodness, it’s so hard to do!” she said.

“Very nearly, Ma’am!” said Trina. “Keep trying. And don’t let anything discourage you!”

Neil and Trina watched as the librarian took off her glasses, pinched her nose between her forefinger and thumb and began to concentrate. Slowly, they watched with big eyes as she transformed into a very beautiful blond young woman. The clothes she had on were for a woman of a much larger build by the time she opened her eyes and looked down at herself.

The woman gasped in total shock, “I … I’m just like I was at 21. OMG! So it’s true.”

Neil and Trina nodded as Trina replied, “It’s absolutely true. The way we were told, any dream we could dream becomes the foundation …”

Trina never got to finish her statement as the horrible smell of bitter herbs and sulfur swirled around her and Neil. When their minds cleared again, they found themselves in a far different place than when the baby powder had taken them.

A gruff and horribly loud voice demanded, “And who, pray tell, told the two of you that you are allowed to go around telling people those kinds of lies?”

Neil stood from where she had fallen on her hinney and replied in as menacing a voice as her diminutive size could muster, “No one told me. It’s what is the truth. I think I’ll give that truth a name as well. I’m gonna call it … “ Trina chimed in totaly unable to help herself as both said at the same time in their adorable voice, “Baby Rules.”

The huge cave like cavernous room they were in trembled and shook with the utterance as the sound of large falling objects could be heard but not seen close by.

Another voice tinged with fear said, “They cannot know this. It … isn’t possible. We have spent centuries blinding them to that.”

Yet again another voice said, “They must be exiled immedi …”

It never got to finish as Trina stomped her foot and said sternly, “No, it shall not be ever again!”

Fire seemed to erupt all around, then just as suddenly they found themselves back in the library and could see the librarian looking at her now young features in a compact mirror. “There are people who don’t want you to know this,” Ma’am,” said Neil quietly, “but you don’t have to age, or get sick, or even eat, unless you want to. You can stay that age forever -- or whatever age you like. You can tell others, too -- but try to tell them secretly so they don’t find out you’ve been spreading the word.”

“Oh my goodness!” the librarian said. “I feel like I’ve fallen into a spy novel!”

“What’s your name, Ma’am?” asked Trina, who had gone back to being a little girl.

“Oh! I’m Miriam, my dears,” she replied. “You can’t believe … I mean, I was having a bad arthritis day, and now it’s gone!”

“Just be careful, Miriam,” Neil said. To Trina he said, “We should go before we draw their attention again.”

“Where should we go?” asked Trina.

“I don’t know,” Neil said. “I mean … we could go pretty much anywhere now.”

“Where are the … the bad people, anyway?” Trina wondered. “Maybe they’re watching us right now.”

“I don’t know,” said Neil. “But they have to be here to see us. I think. I mean … I very much want to know where they are, and I’m not seeing them, so that’s not something we can do, so that’s not something they can do.”

“Which means they’re watching us -- here -- now,” whispered Trina, looking around nervously. “You’re right, let’s get out of here.”

As the two of them scurried quickly for the door, a middle aged woman suddenly seemingly appeared from nowhere and picked them both up. She cooed softly, “Are my babies ready to go home now?” and she proceeded to hug them both lovingly and give them kisses.

Trina sputtered between the very pleasant huggs and kisses, “Wh … who are you? Put us down.”

The matronly woman said in a pleasant coo, “Relax baby. I’m your Nana and am here to make sure you get back to your crib all safe and sound.”

Trina settled back as she thought about everything that had transpired. It was true. If they were the size they were … it would stand to reason someone would be there to take care of them. Then again, this might even be one of those good beings that managed to escape.

I wasn’t long before Trina and Neil were in a comfy crib in just a thick diaper and panties, nursing a very tasty bottle. Trina turned over and said to Neil in her very cute voice, “Umm, no thought about this part. Where ya thinksa woman comeded froms?”

“Well … if she was one of the bad ones and wanted to hurt us or kill us, she could’ve done that on the way here. Or tried to.” Neil sucked on his … or possibly her, now … bottle and thought. “I guess they might know that there’s no way for them to kill us, so they’re trying to silence us by keeping us here? But there’s no way for them to keep us here. Unless they make us want to stay here, I guess. Still … I don’t get the impression that she’s bad.”

“Well if she is good we should just asks her,” said Trina, and the next time the woman came near, she did. “Nana, how did you get here? The good ones still can’t get back in. Are you onna the bad ones?”

The woman said, “I need to show you something,” and promptly peeled off the skin of one hand as most people would a glove. Beneath there was just transparent, faintly glowing energy, in the shape of a hand. “That’s right -- I’m an energy construct. The Others, the ones who made me, are locked outside this dimension -- they’ve made cracks over the millennia, but only big enough for a little energy to get through. But that’s enough to make me.”

“The baby powder that made us able to see the truth,” said Neil. “Are you the one who dosed us with that?”

“Not me, but probably another like me,” she said. “But the Others sent me to find you. They can send you visions, and they can send us constructs to help you, but they can’t help directly. And they just had to. You were in a vision from the Tyrants, and they don’t want people like you running around.”

“Why?” asked Trina.

“Well … I’m being told what to tell you,” said the woman. “I wasn’t here back then, but millions of years ago, there were the Helpers and the humans. The Helpers -- you have to understand, these weren’t their names back then; they spoke languages that don’t exist anymore -- they get their emotional and spiritual sustenance from taking care of human babies and children. But then humans evolved to the next stage.”

“They didn’t have to age. Or grow up,” said Neil.

“No, they didn’t, but the Helpers were split,” the woman explained. “Some of them trusted the humans and believed that some humans would choose to remain babies and children so the Helpers could continue to survive. Some would choose to become adults, but there would be enough baby and child humans to keep the Helpers alive. But most of the Helpers were afraid. They thought humans couldn’t be trusted. The evolved humans wouldn’t be reproducing anymore, you see, so there wouldn’t be any young humans soon. They needed a way to guarantee that there would always be young humans to care for.”

“So they found a way to un-evolve the humans,” Trina said.

“Yes, they did,” the woman said. “The humans had the power to become anything they chose -- so all they had to do was convince them that they wanted to become as they’d been before. Limited lifespan, vulnerability to disease and injury, and all. But that also meant that they would reproduce, and there would always be young humans to care for.”

“But I … I’m finding that I don’t want to be an adult,” said Neil.

“I’ve never really been one,” Trina added.

“Yes,” said the woman, who had put her hand back on. “It seems the Others are right. They rebelled against the rest of the Helpers, whom they called the Tyrants, but they lost, because they were outnumbered, and were exiled beyond the bounds of this dimension, where they’ve been trying to find a way back in ever since, so they can free the human race from this slavery.”

“Slavery? Isn’t that a little extreme?” asked Neil.

“The Tyrants are taking away humans’ ability to live forever if they choose to -- just because they want to live forever. What would you call that? If it weren’t for them, humans would never have to die.”

“OK, good point,” said Neil, nodding.

In a place beyond anything a human would even imagine as a place, many beings made entirely of energy huddled around an object that looked like a large glowing baby rattle. One of the beings said in its soft cooing voice, “It would appear we chose the proper ones this time.”

Another replied, “So it would seem. I was sure of those two this time. I think they are so cute too.”

Another said, “It also would appear that the encounter that was forced on them caused a larger crack in the interdimensional barrier keeping us here.”

The group of them began focusing on the rattle. It began to glow brightly as the wonderful smell of baby powder flowed all around. An image appeared hazily amid the glow.

The first being gasped and said with amazement in its voice, “Look. We are actually able to see the universe of matter from here. That means we now have a means to reach the Tyrants, and perhaps contain them as they did us.”

Another of the beings, whose voice sounded old beyond time, said, “Instead of containing them, perhaps we should rehabilitate them into the youth they have so long denied.”

Much laughter was heard as they concentrated harder on the very blurry image. Their efforts slowly paid off as the image cleared somewhat and gave them a much better view of their former home.

For a time Neil and Trina lived with the woman, the energy construct who called herself their Nana, and she was content to feed them and change their diapers. They quickly found that they needed diapers, because they wanted to -- the feeling of being cared for was so wonderful that they wanted to be dependent and need that care. The Tyrants had devoted all their efforts to making humans not want this, making them grow up, so they could reproduce and create more generations of offspring, rather than remaining young. Now that Trina and Neil knew that they didn’t need to do that, the Tyrants’ folly was obvious.

“But how can we help the Others?” Trina asked. “These cracks in the walls the Tyrants built to keep them out -- how do we widen those?”

“That’s a good question,” said Neil. “But the Others can send us visions, so if there was a way to help, they’d have told us by now.”

In a room near the top of one of the world’s tallest buildings were a number of very tall, serious-looking individuals. They looked like humans, but they were not, and they stood around a floating, glowing object that looked like nothing other than a crack in the air. A very serious conversation was going on in heated tones, and yet not one of them ever opened his or her mouth.

A voice from one of these people said loudly in anger, “We actually had one of those vile things in our grasp, and you allowed it to escape.”

Another voice said defensively, “How was I to stop it? All here know the massive damage it caused. It actually tore a large hole in the mysterium shield that keeps those others like it in exile.” This speaker pointed at the hovering, glimmering tracery in the air that they all stood around.

Another voice that sounded female said with irritation, “It was a near thing to keep our realm from more serious damage from that creature. It had power and knew how to wield it.”

The first speaker replied, “That is totally impossible. How can a creature that has never had the ability just know how?”

Yet another voice spat, “Don’t be a fool. Look around at the damage it caused in the brief time it was here. A simple refusal was all it took, and the repercussions almost killed one of us.”

Without warning, through the new rift in the barrier came a bluish pink light. It completely enveloped the female creature in its warm embrace as the wonderful smell of baby powder overpowered the scent of cleaning chemicals that normally filled the chamber.

She giggled suddenly and began to shrink as all those standing around watched in horror. When the light and baby powder had dissipated, in the elder Tyrant’s place now sat the cutest infant any of them had ever seen.

In their place beyond places, where many Other beings of light huddled, one of them said, “There, I have reintroduced the oldest of them to her infancy once again. Let us plan our next attack while they are in disarray.”

“I can’t help feeling kind of useless,” said Neil as she played with Trina in the playpen. “I mean, we know there’s a battle going on to overturn millions of years’ worth of injustice, and we’re very powerful, but we don’t know how we can help.”

Trina replied, “Maybe if we --” and suddenly they were in the mysterious darkened nursery, talking to the large glowing baby rattle again.

“There is a way for you to help,” said the voice from the rattle. “Yes, we have finally decided what our plan should be, and you should be part of it.”

“Should we transport ourselves to different places all over the world and show people how powerful they really are?” asked Trina.

“That’s … pretty much exactly what I was going to suggest,” said the voice. “Good idea! With full control over your own physical body, you can choose to be somewhere else instantly. You do need to be a bit careful, to make sure you don’t end up at the bottom of the ocean or a mile up in the air. It helps if it’s somewhere you’ve been before.”

“Ooo, where should we start?” asked Neil.

The voice replied, “Perhaps I should send you a map of some sort … ah! The map in your communication devices. All we need is an app … and …” The vision vanished.

“Um, Nana?” asked Trina, for although her cell phone was buzzing, it was currently plugged in across Nana’s living room.

“Not a problem, dears,” Nana said, unplugging both Neil and Trina’s phones and bringing them to the playpen.

“Thank you, Nana,” said Neil.

“Such well-mannered children,” said Nana with a smile.

“I have an app called ‘Other,” Neil said, looking at her phone. “I didn’t have it before.”

“Me too,” Trina added. “What’s it do?”

“It’s … a map, and it has marks on it … oh! When you click on the marks, there are messages. This one says, ‘There are no Tyrants watching here.’”

“Oooo,” Trina replied. “Shall we try one?”

“OK, but let’s be careful. I want to be … over there.” And Neil was suddenly on the other side of the living room. “OK … now I want to be … in the library.” Suddenly he was in the public library again. With a thought he was back in the playpen with Trina. “OK … that worked,” he said.

“That’s pretty easy,” said Trina. “I went to my apartment for a second.”

“OK, let’s go to … Japan,” said Neil, pointing at one of the markers that appeared in that country. “I suppose we’d better zoom in really close … oh, and there’s a picture of what it looks like there.”

“Looks pretty,” said Trina. “There is a nice view of the mountains.”

“OK, here goes …”

And they were there. A walkway overlooked a beautiful red pagoda, and in the distance was a large city, with a snow-capped mountain beyond.

“So pretty! But now we have to spread the word,” said Trina. “But … we don’t speak Japanese. Or at least I don’t.”

“Me either,” said Neil. “But maybe it doesn’t matter. I want to be able to talk to people here.”

There was an old man who had been slowly walking along the walkway with his cane. “Oh,” he said to them, “such adorable little girls. Good afternoon!”

“Good afternoon, sir,” said Neil, with a curtsey, which it struck her would appear rather Western, but they did look like American girls, so it would probably be expected. “We have something to tell you. A great secret.”

“Would it have to do with the fact that you two just appeared there out of thin air?” the old man asked. “Ah, people think I don’t notice anything, but my eyesight’s not gone yet!”

“Why, yes, sir,” Trina said. “In fact, there is no reason why you ever have to lose your eyesight.”

“Is that so?” the old man chuckled. “I wish it were true!”

“It is,” said Neil. “You are powerful, far more powerful than anyone knows. Everyone is. There are beings who know this and have been trying to convince you that you’re not. But what we tell you is true. In fact, we …”

Suddenly there was a puff of white powder around the old man, leaving him with a faint dusting all over. “What’s this, then?” he asked. It smells like … oh, it smells like my great grandchildren!”

“I … think you have been given the same sign that we were,” said Neil. “You can see for yourself if you look around you. All you must do is throw off the bonds of time. You can be young again -- young, old, anything you want. You just have to decide.”

“My goodness, all these signs … you know, I always suspected … what if I wanted to be young again? I …” and suddenly the old man was a young boy, his clothes nearly falling off him. “Wow! I don’t know what to do next! But my clothes …”

“You can fix that if you want,” said Trina with a giggle. The old man who was now a young boy closed his eyes briefly in concentration, and now he wore clothes that fit.

“This is amazing!” the Japanese boy said. “I can run and play and … goodness, what will my family think?”

“You should tell them and find out,” said Neil. “But I wish you had some of the baby powder …”

“Oh!” the boy said. He found a small bottle of baby powder in his hand. “Is this it?”

“Yes!” Trina said, clapping her hands with glee. “They just have to smell it and it’ll show them the truth. And then they can show other people, and those people can show others …”

“This is wonderful! Thank you, my friends!” The boy ran off.

“Good luck, Akihiro!” said Neil. “How did I know what his name was? Oh … I guess we can do that too.”

In the sterile meeting room, with light streaming in from the windows all around, many beings all rushed around trying their very best to restore one of their own who had just been turned into an infant. All the massive powers they wielded had no effect on the adorably cute little baby in their midst.

A voice said angrily, “I don’t understand. We should have been able to restore her instantly.”

Another replied, “What if … what if she doesn’t want to be restored? What if she wants to remain as she is?”

Yet again another voice said loudly, “That’s … impossible. She’s not only the oldest of all of us, she’s the one who started the human-suppression strategy that has allowed us to maintain ourselves over the centuries.”

The first person who spoke looked at the cute little baby playing happily at his feet. A large smile crossed his lips. Suddenly, with a pink and blue flash and the wonderful smell of baby powder, he vanished, and when the cloud of powder dissipated, another cute little baby had appeared.

A voice said with fear, “Stand back, everyone. It’s … it’s contagious. It will infect us all.”

The large group of individuals stepped back from the two infants rapidly. They all watched in total confusion as their oldest leaders had now reverted to being infants.

“We all know how to care for human infants,” one of the voices said. “But it has been so long since any of us were infants, or had children … have we considered sustaining ourselves by having some of us become infants for others of us to care for?”

“No, and that is a good point, but certainly not like this!” said another. “They did not decide to become infants. This was forced upon them by the Others. This is war.”

“If it was forced upon them,” said the first speaker, “would they not change back?”

“I … cannot remember my own childhood,” said another. “It has been so many millions of years.”

“That is not important! We are under attack! We must defend ourselves from this phenomenon!” And that Tyrant was suddenly wearing an armored full-body suit, atmospherically sealed to allow no air in, and more importantly, no baby powder. He picked up the two babies on the floor, who squirmed in his arms and started to wail, but he did not relent. “I’m quarantining these two. Meanwhile, seal that rift!” He and the babies vanished while the others scurried around trying to figure out how to close it.

They had just spread the word to a couple in New Zealand -- a man and a woman who had decided that they would take turns being babies, each caring for the other -- when Neil and Trina got another vision.

“You’re doing great!” said the voice from the glowing baby rattle. “Meanwhile we’ve sent their high command into disarray. A couple of their highest leaders have a … little problem.”

“What’s your endgame here?” Neil asked. “How does this get you back into this … dimension, or whatever?”

“If enough empowered humans want the barrier to break, more than the Tyrants who don’t want it to, it will break,” said the Other. “It’ll just shatter. So keep spreading the word. It’s working.”

Trina sat and sucked her thumb thoughtfully for a minute. Then she asked, “Is we keep doin this … won't tha others get mad n stuffies? I mean … won’t they come n attack us back?”

The voice replied softly, “It is possible. But think about how much more powerful you will be than they. I’m sure after several more of them become infants, their power will be reduced enough that we can break the barrier.”

Trina giggled as she said, “I knows jus were ta go, too.”

Neil asked, “Where we goes ta makes huge impact?”

Trina replied, “We goes ta China … ta tha Imperial Palace n seesa Emperor. Oooo betcha there lots thems wanna b babies again.”

Neil’s eyes got large as a swirl of baby powder surrounded them. When it cleared, they were sitting on the floor beside a large dressing table. A pretty woman was sitting there putting on her makeup for the day. She happened to look down and see the two adorable baby girls sitting beside her.

Her eyes grew large in surprise as she asked (in Chinese of course), “Oh, and how did the two of you get in here?”

Trina answered back (in babyfied Chinese), “We comeded ta tell you sompin important. U gotsa listen.”

The woman bent over and patted Neil and Trina on their heads as she replied softly, “Ok. I have always believed that the most profound wisdom comes from the mouth of babies.”

Trina asked, “How would u likesa be young forevers?”

The woman laughed delicately as she replied, “Most any woman would love that. Now how would I go about such a monumental task? Did you find the Elixir Vitae?”

Neil giggled, “Sorta kinda. Jus think what age ya wanna bes and magin it bein so.”

“I am afraid that it cannot be as simple as that, or every woman in the world would be young,” she said.

“That what they wants you to think,” Trina said. “They been trainin’ ya to think that way ever since you wasa baby. You can do it. But you hafta fight for it.”

“But time cannot be turned back on itself,” the woman objected.

“We aren’t talking about turning back time,” said Neil. “We’re talking about what’s real and what’s not. What’s real is you’re powerful. What’s fake is you’ve been taught that you aren’t.”

The woman was truly intrigued as she closed her eyes and thought about it. Neil and Trina watched wide eyed as the woman became smaller and younger. When she had opened her eyes and looked at her reflection in the mirror, she didn’t look a day over 16.

Trina said happily before they both vanished in a pink and blue flash filled with wonderfully smelling baby powder, “Tell everyones. All can does it. All ya gotta do is believe.”

“I just noticed something,” said Neil. “I’m not tired.”

“Me either, even though we’ve been doing this for more than 24 hours without a stop.” Trina paused.

“24 hours? Really? Time flies when you’re having fun.”

“Yes! But I think being tired is another thing that doesn’t happen to humans anymore,” said Trina. “Like having to eat and having to go potty. But … we could if we wanted to. Sometimes a nap is nice.”

“I do kind of want to rest, even though I don’t feel tired,” said Neil. “Let’s go … back to Nana.” The two of them were in the playpen again.

“There you are!” said Nana. “My two little babies! Let’s get you ready for sleepy time!”

“That sounds great, Nana!” said Trina. “We’ve planted a lot of seeds. Now we’ll see if they grow.”

In a darkened chamber, many of the beings had summoned their hermetically sealed environment suits. Whatever had taken their two oldest leaders seemed to be spreading throughout their population. Nothing they had attempted seemed to reverse the trend as more and more of them became infants, and even changed genders.

One of the beings was holding a newly regressed infant in his arms. He smiled down at it and said, “You know? I can feel the power of this one infusing me wi …”

He never got to finish what he was saying, because a pink and blue flash, accompanied by the wonderful smell of baby powder, interrupted him. Where he had been standing, there was now another infant all tangled up in a vastly oversized environmental suit. It was all the young woman next to him could do to catch the infant that was in his arms from falling, before he too had become an infant himself.

“At this rate the humans will be caring for us, instead of the other way around!” said one of the Tyrants. “What will become of us? We need to care for human infants, or we will wither away!”

“None of the, er, new infant Helpers has shown any signs of withering,” said another Tyrant. “I’m not sure, but I think they’ll be fine as long as they’re together. Their youthful energy is synergizing and keeping them sustained.”

“Marvelous,” said the first one, “so we all have life as a daycare full of babbling infants to look forward to, but at least we won’t die of it.”

There was a rumbling in the building around them and a sound like the tearing of a huge sheet of metal. They all looked up at the ceiling. The shimmering rift in the air had made its way down here, beneath the building they had erected around the spot where they’d banished the Others long ago.

And a humanoid figure began to materialize in the room. A faint outline appeared first.

“It’s one of the Others,” said the first Tyrant, aghast. “They’re starting to return … how is this possible?”

“As soon as that one is fully material -- seize them! Imprison them!” called out another. The Other grew more solid. She looked like a human -- a short, brown-haired teenage girl, even though she was neither human nor any younger than a million years of age.

“I’m pretty sure you don’t want to do that,” the Other said with a smile, but also with a bit of sass in her tone. It didn’t matter. The nearest Tyrant moved to grab her -- and suddenly became an infant, just like all the rest, in a puff of baby powder and a shimmer of pink and blue energy. Deftly catching the new baby girl, the Other said, “Aww, look who’s all adorable now? Let’s make you nice and comfy!” The air around the baby glittered and sparkled, and she was clothed in a precious pink sailor dress, thickly diapered, with a matching pacifier, which she was sucking on happily.

None of the other Tyrants dared approach, and the Other smiled and looked around at them. “What’s the matter? Afraid that I won’t have enough arms to catch you all when you change and fall to the ground? You’re probably right about that -- and none of us wants you to be hurt, you poor little things. Isn’t that right, Sweetheart?” She cradled the baby in her arms lovingly. “We’re here to take care of babies, not take away their power and make sure they die just so we can live! Yes we are! Yes we are!”

“Yes, we are,” said another voice, as another of her people materialized next to her. This one was male and looked like an African man, but he was smiling gently just like the first Other. “Don’t worry, my dears,” he said. “We’ll take good care of you. You might have forgotten what real nurturing means, but we haven’t.” And more Others started to pour through the rift, each one advancing on another of the Tyrants and turning him or her into a happy, calm infant with a touch.

“My, you’ve all left us with quite a mess to clean up,” said the last Other to come through for now. “But we’ll take care of it. We always have. And we’re better at taking care of things than you ever were.” She had the form of a red-haired beauty, and she advanced on the final, cowering Tyrant. He became a tiny infant at her touch, and just like all the rest, the Other fondly cradled her new charge and clothed him comfortably.

“Let’s make a nice nursery for them all to play in,” she said. “And let’s make room in this room -- there are plenty more of us to come, and they won’t all fit in here at once!” One by one, the Others vanished, transporting themselves to other parts of the building and the world.

“But this is wonderful news!” said the young librarian. “I told my friends and family, of course, and we’re not exactly sure what we’ll all do now, but we’ll figure it out, I’m sure. I’m so glad the good ones are back now!”

“I think we’ll be much better off as a planet,” said Neil, standing beside Trina and Nana in the library where they had met her. “We evolved with two intelligent species, not just one, and we’re supposed to have a symbiotic relationship.”

“Speaking of which,” said Nana, “I’ve received a communication. You have a friend coming.”

“A friend?” asked Trina.

“Oh! Sweethearts! There you are,” said a familiar voice. It was the voice that had been coming from the glowing baby rattle in the visions the Others had sent them. “I’m so glad to finally see you!” A dark-haired maternal woman in a sensible green and white dress materialized nearby. “My name is Iris. We’re free, and I wanted to thank you personally. In fact … would you like to be my babies? I’d consider it a great honor.”

She gave off waves of a wonderful energy that Trina and Neil could not ignore. They felt intensely safe and content around Iris. They both regressed even further because of that feeling of safety, sitting down on the floor and sucking on their thumbs, momentarily forgetting their words. Soon they were just barely toddlers, waves of happy bliss washing over them as they giggled and played in the playpen they found themselves in, before Iris picked them both up and held them. “Oh, my beautiful babies, I will gladly protect you and nurture you with every scintilla of my being,” she said. “I have longed for this day.”

“Awww, I’m sure you’ll take good care of the little dears,” said the librarian.

“Certainly,” Iris said with a beaming, blissful smile. “Today marks a new day for the human race. There will be no more hunger, no more disease, no more suffering, no more oppression. And we aren’t here to rule -- only to care for those who choose to be babies again, as well as those who are still babies as they mature into individuals who can make their own choices. You don’t seem to have an interest in being a baby, and that’s fine -- you can choose your own destiny!”

“I’ve always liked directing people who came here seeking knowledge to the right place to find it,” the librarian said. “I don’t see why I’d want to stop doing that now.”

“That’s wonderful!” said Iris. “People don’t need food anymore, but they’ll never stop needing to learn.”

Neil made a babbling sound around her pacifier. “Yes, I know, you like to learn too, don’t you?” Iris asked before turning her gaze back to the librarian, “We have a very large and extremely extensive library that is in need of a good librarian. I’m sure you would be the perfect one to assume the position … only if you want to of course ...”

Time passed as it always had a habit of doing, only this time it had no effect on anything. All wars had ceased and mankind had begun to reach for the stars. Many worlds existed and as many different biospheres as the imagination of children in a playground could imagine.

~~ The End ~~
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