“Upstairs NOW!” Gretchen commanded as they walked into the house.
Timothy looked to his father for support.
“Tim, Go to your room so your stepmom and I can talk,” He said.
Tim flushed with anger but said nothing. He dropped his backpack on the floor and stomped up the stairs slamming the door to his room.
This was bullshit! Vic Michaels had hit him! All Timothy did was wrap his arms around the oversized bully to keep him from doing it again. Everyone in the parking lot had seen it! They all told the police that Vic had started the fight but the cops arrested them both!
Tim slumped down on his bed. He could hear his stepmom Gretchen shouting downstairs and his Father’s more measured tones. He strained to listen to them but they had moved to the Den on the other side of the house from the stairs and he couldn’t make any words out.
He dropped his head into his hands.
Tim had no idea what his father had seen in Gretchen. She was hot, Timothy conceded, but she was also constantly complaining. She complained about the house, the hours Tim’s Dad worked, and the food, but most of all she complained about Timothy.
“The boy has no respect for me!” She would say every time he walked through a room. “Boys are only trouble! You should have had a girl!” She would say to Tim’s Father right in front of him. Timothy was sure she was on some tirade about how much trouble boys were right now.
“Fucking Crazy Bitch!” Tim muttered as he looked over at his corkboard and his ticket out of this house and away from Gretchen. His acceptance letter to the State University coupled with a partial scholarship. Tim was leaving this house in a couple of months and he would never come back! Not while Gretchen was still here.
Suddenly he grew flush. Would his admission be impacted by this? An assault conviction can’t look good on transcripts. He would need to beat this or he would be stuck.
He pulled out his phone and started looking for lawyers.
He had been saving up to move out early, he was already 18 after all. Now it looked like those funds would have to go to his legal defense instead.
“FUCK” Tim cried out. He was surprised when his voice cracked.
This was idiotic, he couldn’t just find pull up a lawyer on his phone and hope it was the right one. Tim would need his Dad’s help. He closed the browser. Something was weird about his Home screen but he ignored it and tossed his phone onto his bed.
His pants were soaked and stained from a puddle in the parking lot and his shirt was ripped where Vic had pulled at his pocket. The last thing he wanted was for Gretchen to see those reminders when he was called back down.
He pulled off his ruined clothes and opened his closet.
His hamper was new. This morning he had a simple canvas bag hung on a wooden frame. Now there was a pure-white wicker hamper in its place. Beside it was a narrow shelf that went from the floor to the long shelf above. Each cubby held a pair of women’s shoes.
Timothy reached up to touch one in disbelief when his eyes boggled.
His fingers were longer and thinner and at the end of each one was a neatly trimmed, ruby-red nail. He turned his hand over looking at his palm, down to a dainty wrist. His arm hair was gone and his forearm was so narrow down to the elbow. As Tim’s eyes traced down his arm, his eyes fell on his chest.
His White T-shirt was gone, replaced with a white bra decorated with stitched red flowers and a bow in the middle. The bra was filled with pert round breasts.
Tim’s breath failed him as his eyes went down from the bra to the matching panties and the flat featureless crotch they covered.
Tim’s feminine hands darted to the panties and closed on nothing. His penis and balls were gone and he shivered as his fingers traced the lips of his new vagina through the silky fabric.
Tim looked around in desperation. Besides the new shelves in his closet hung a collection of dresses, blouses, and skirts. Turning around Tim felt long hair brush against his bare shoulders. This was not his room anymore. The walls had changed from blue to purple, His heavy metal poster now featured a K-Pop girl band, and The model tanks and airplanes that had once been displayed on the shelf over his desk were replaced with Unicorn and Dragon statues. The bed was now covered in a white lace-trimmed quilt with strawberry vine patterns in the stitching. There was a mountain of pillows, all lacy and flowery, along with a small army of stuffed animals.
The corkboard now had a criss-cross of pink and white ribbon over it. The University acceptance letter was gone and there was a cookie recipe in its place.
Tim’s phone was where he had tossed it, but now the case was pink. He picked it up and saw that the wallpaper was a kitten laying on a pile of flowers.
Tim just stood in shock nearly hyperventilating. Breasts rising and falling with each breath.
“Just close …..” Tim stopped talking. The voice was wrong. He shook his head. “Just a hallucination. It’s stress. Close my eyes and calm down!” He said to himself.
Tim’s eyes closed.
Gretchen’s voice came up the stairs.
“Get down here young lady! We have a lot to talk about!”
Tim’s eyes opened.
She had said, Young Lady. Gretchen knew!
Tim threw the door open and raced down the stairs trying to shout but it came out as a shrill squeak. “YOU DID THIS TO ME!”
Tim rounded the stairs and rushed in from the hall.
Gretchen was standing in the Den smiling.
Behind her, in the Wingbacked chair, sat another young woman, with red hair, wearing a 50s-style yellow A-line dress.
Tim looked around. “Where the hell is my Dad?”
“Here son.” Said the woman in the chair with a defeated tone.
“What?” Tim sputtered. “What the fuck?!”
Gretchen’s smack caught Tim off guard leaving a burning cheek and spots in Tim’s eyes.
“Watch your mouth young lady!” Gretchen demanded. “Look at you! Have you no modesty Tanya?”
“Who the hell is Tanya?” Tim demanded.
“You are!” Gretchen said flatly. “Now, Sit down Tanya!”
“Like Hell! You did this and you are going to fix this or…”
“Or what?” Gretchen asked. “What power do you have in that girly frame of yours?”
“I can still kick your ass!”
“Still thinking like a boy Tanya?” Gretchen said.
“That’s because I AM a girl!” Tanya Froze. Those were not the words she meant to say. “I mean! I am a fucking girl!” She said it wrong again. She was trying to say that she was still a boy but it came out wrong twice. “My name is TANYA” she yelled and then threw her hand to her mouth.
“Sit DOWN Tanya!” Gretchen repeated.
Defeated, Tanya sat on the white couch.
The woman who was once her father reached over and patted Tanya’s hand “We will survive this.” She said.
“Oh please!” Gretchen sighed. “I just gave you both an upgrade! Tara, do you know that you are 30 years younger than you were an hour ago? That’s a whole new shot at life! And Tanya, I just saved you from a lifetime of masculine stupidity! You should both thank me!” She looked straight at Tanya. “Tara already knows how this will go, so I’ll explain for your sake!”
Tanya blinked and looked between the two women. “Already knows?”
“Your father married a witch!” Gretchen said. “More accurately, Your father made a deal with me that just came due. One of many deals in fact.”
Tanya looked questioningly at the woman Gretchen was calling Tara.
“Your Mother was a witch too,” Tara explained. “But we loved each other. We tried to live a normal life.”
“A Pathetic life!” Gretchen said. “Having lived it for the past couple of years I can say that with confidence now.”
“We were happy!” Tara declared. “We didn’t need magic, we had each other!”
“And where did that get her?” Gretchen asked. She turned to Tanya “Your mother’s sickness could have been cured by us but your parents were too proud!”
“It’s what Zoya wanted!” Tara exclaimed.
“That didn’t stop you,” Gretchen said. “From coming to us after she was senseless after it was too late!”
Tara bowed her head.
Gretchen turned to Tanya. “Your father begged us to help. We told him it was too late but he insisted. He offered himself to us, we refused, but then he offered everything he had” Gretchen pointed a finger at Tanya. “And we accepted”
“I’m so sorry son,” Tara said, holding back a sob.
“Don’t call her that! You two are sisters now, and you are the worthless one!” Gretchen growled. She then turned back to Tanya. “You have witches' blood! It is a rare thing these days. I couldn’t pass up a chance like that even if you were born a boy!”
“My blood?” Tanya shook her head.
“As a boy, the power was dormant. Only women can tap the energies of your line. Your mother should have changed you when you were still a baby, you could have started learning the art as a little girl. We begged her to do it but her devotion to your father stayed her hand!” Gretchen cast a glare at Tara.
“We both wanted a son,” Tara said.
“The deal was struck and I did all I could for your mother, my sister, but it was too late. I gave you both time to grieve, and then I came to collect what was owed to me.” Gretchen went on.
“That was over a year ago! You didn’t change me then!” Tanya said bitterly. “Why now?”
“Your Father begged me not to do it! Pleaded in fact. I have no love for men or boys, but your father promised me you would be no trouble. He even wagered his own manhood on it.” Gretchen flashed her teeth in a wide grin and held back a laugh. “I always collect my winning”
“Oh, Dad,” Tanya said. She looked at the woman with sympathy.
“Oh Sister” Gretchen corrected her. “Tanya and Tara, my beautiful daughters. You will, of course, learn to be proper ladies, keeping this house, cooking our meals, and always presenting yourselves with grace and femininity.”
“I’m not staying!” Tanya whined. “If you won’t change me back I’m getting out of here!”
“Where will you go, dear girl?” Gretchen had a wicked look.
“I’ll find a place, for now, and when the semester starts….”
Gretchen interrupted “When the semester starts, Timothy’s slot will be empty and go to the next person on the University waitlist. Tanya has no identity, no history, no transcript, and no social security number. The world does not know that either of you exists.”
“No!” Tanya sighed. Her dream of escape, and all the hard work she had put in to get the grades to get accepted, were now gone. “What, what do you expect me to do?
Gretchen grinned, “Oh you are the lucky one Tanya,” she said while looking at Tara. “Even if It is too late to train you in witchcraft.” She ran a finger along the top of the bookcase and looked at the dust she had collected. “As I said, my two beautiful daughters will keep this house, it can clearly use a woman’s touch. After a year, I am confident that you will have learned to be a proper housewife.”
“Housewife?” Tanya whimpered.
“You still have witches' blood my girl,” Gretchen said. “Some in my coven are very traditional and have sons who are not disappointments. Together your children would wield great power! My spell has assured your fertility and I am sure a marriage can be arranged.”
“Oh God” Tanya slumped in her seat. “What about my Dad?” she asked.
“Your sister is unremarkable,” Gretchen said. “She is also my property. I made her young and beautiful for a reason. There are other magics that only men may tap into. Some of those men hold great power. Once she is trained, I will give her to one of these men as a gift. It will amuse them to have such a mortal.”
“Please.” Tanya pleaded. “Don’t do this! Please! Just change us back!”
Gretchen shook her head. “You are indecent! Go put on a dress and then help your sister make dinner!”
Tara stood up from her chair and shuffled into the kitchen with her head bowed.
“Gretchen, please! You can’t do this to me!” Tanya pleaded again.
“Yes I can, Your father and I had a deal. Your arrest today sealed both your fates.” Gretchen’s tone was growing sharp.
“But the fight wasn’t my fault! I was only defending myself!”
“I’m sorry girl. But I am afraid I have a zero-tolerance policy”
Tanya staggered up to her room in shock, listlessly she selected a dress from the closet and pulled it down over her head before joining Tara in the kitchen.