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The Sound of the Bones
It is impossible to sleep at night when you lie awake and listen to the sound of your bones growing. The sound is horrendous, the squeak, the groan, the agonizing stretching sound like ten thousand cars and trucks in one big accident that stretches for miles and miles inside my head. The problem with all this is that I do not want my bones to grow.
Don't get me wrong, being tall would not be a problem except when you get to a certain height new expectations are forced upon you, like jobs, responsibilities and money all summed up in one word: adult. That word is a trap, a bottomless pit where they take all your childhood, all your toys, all the pies in the summer and hot chocolate in the winter and put them in a little box that is locked up and opened only for memories and stories to tell to children.
As I sat at the table on a warm spring morning and looked at my mother as she swished around the kitchen making breakfast, the sound of my own body rebelling against me, growing and broadening, made me want to run outside and vomit my anger up into the feathery wisps of clouds in the light blue sky.
"Hey, Cathy, what you been doing? Been playing with all your dolls like a little girl?" Ronny yelled.
Freddy and Ronny both fell into fits of laughter, but Catherine only gave a little smile and kept walking.
She looks a little unsure of herself, I thought, although I was not sure why. She's starting to get breasts was my next thought, and I felt my face redden.
Next period was a science class which, unfortunately, was a lesson on anatomy. I looked up at an overhead of the skeletal system and shuddered. I could hear the sounds of growing bones all over the room.
I could not concentrate the rest of the day because my bones were getting longer.
"Hi, Tommy, anything I can help you find today? My, you're getting taller."
I thought about it, but being around all those boys and listening to the sounds of their laughter and their bones growing sent shivers dancing down my neck and into my shirt.
As I was walking, I noticed that Catherine Benjamin was sitting on the edge of the bridge. As I approached she looked up. My face reddened.
"Hi Tommy. What are you doing?" Her face shone in the light.
"Just walking."
"Mind if I come along and just walk, too?"
"Sure, come on."
We walked towards the town. I looked over and looked at her face and the curve of her body in the half-light that gave her blond hair a silky shine. The thunder sounded again, closer.
We were both drenched and shivering from the cold, so Catherine pressed her body up against mine and I shivered from a lightning flash of excitement.
Her hair was against my cheek and I could smell a flower scent, mixed with the smell of earth and rain, smells that tore into my mind and made my body stiff, smells that danced and sang along our bodies as I looked down and saw her small breasts outlined in her shirt and felt her hands as they pressed into my stomach.
She looked up. We kissed.
We kissed and the taste was at once salty and sweet and the feeling was warm and wet. We kissed as the rain tore down outside and pattered against the ground, echoing against the walls of the cave and drenching over us as the sound of the rain merged with the sound of our kiss and became the same.
The rain brought in the scent of fresh water and a sudden blast of air made our skin quiver. We kissed, and slowly, so slowly, the smell of woman overcame me, showering me in a song of rain and lightning and wind that still drenched me long after the kiss had ended and I was at home, in bed, still and silent as our cave had been.
That night, the sound of bones grew quiet.



She had first learned that she could control her apparent age when she was five. It wasn't a 'gift' that she'd found a great deal of use for, however, and, if she were honest with herself, she wasn't particularly thrilled with the ability to become older or younger merely by willing it. There were certainly drawbacks to being young, but weren't there always drawbacks with everything? And she rather liked being a kid.
She supposed now, though, that she ought to have practiced her aging/de-aging talent in case of need. She needed it now, if she ever had, and she couldn't quite recall how she'd made herself grow up before.
Taking a deep breath, she closed her mind and concentrated once more, her mind focused on the discomfort of having her hands tied behind her back.
Even as the car slowed and abruptly rocked to a halt, she felt a tingle in her hands and arms, then the burning sensation as bones and muscle smoothly lengthened out and stretched, her skin chafing against the sleeves of her shirt and then straining the rope around her wrists.
Now she looked to be almost eleven. It was heartening, but hardly enough.
To her relief, as if merely wishing to be older was enough to focus her gift, she felt her body growing faster now, transforming into early womanhood, heard the uneven tear of fabric and bursting seams. Finally the ropes snapped, and then her head pushed hard against the trunk. The moment the catch of the trunk clicked, she rolled onto her knees and thrust upward, exploding out of the car.
...She was tempted to make use of her massive temporary energy to attack the men, but her average adult size did not make her proof against bullet holes, and the surprise hadn't lasted long. She'd barely cleared them when the two men began scrambling for their guns.
...The belly flop in the sand dune had knocked her 'shift' out of her, as well as the air from her lungs.
The remains of her clothing fluttered in the breeze blowing over her, pieces drifting downward and settling to the ground around her.
Fortunately her shredded clothing had protected her somewhat in the more tender areas, but, as she'd known would happen, making herself older had left a lot more exposed skin than might have been vulnerable otherwise.
When she'd assured herself she was alone, she spat the grit from her mouth. Spitting in public was incredibly unladylike and ill-mannered, and she was embarrassed to think about doing it, let alone do it. On the other hand, she couldn't believe it would be very healthful to swallow dirt and, since no one seemed to be about to witness the lapse, she was more interested in her health and comfort at the moment than a lapse in manners. When she'd expelled as much of the grit as she possibly could, she sat back and looked around a little dazedly, absently shaking the sand from a tattered bit of clothing and using it to blot her lips.



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