At first little seemed to change, except that no-one laughed after this spell. Oops and Whoops looked at each other. Oops sniffed the air and made a face. Whoops did so too. Then they looked over at their cousin. Stinky soot covered his face and chest and the explosion had grizzled his beard and hair. That’s when they started laughing, and not the good-natured laugh they had always had, no, this laugh had an edge to it, a meanness Shrinkle-Dinkle had never heard from his cousins before. It made Shrinkle-Dinkle’s heart hurt. They were laughing at him.
“Stop it,” he said, but that only made them laugh harder. Finally, after a long time, Oops and Whoops walked off without an apology or any attempt to make Shrinkle-Dinkle feel better. Shrinkle-Dinkle went straight to bed though it wasn’t even dark out yet.
The next morning things got worse. Oops and Whoops ate every last bit of the Brownie Bread, even though there had been plenty for all three and they did not refill the water jug when they drank the last drop. Plus they left the kitchen and breakfast table a mess. They had never helped Shrinkle-Dinkle with his work or done many chores, but they’d at least leave him some Brownie Bread, since they knew it was his favorite.
When Shrinkle-Dinkle came downstairs, he had to clean up and eat the little bit of Troll’s Stew from last Thursday because that’s all that was left in the house.
After he’d cleaned up the house he went off into the forest to replenish his stock of potion ingredients. Before he got far, though, he found odd things: here or there he’d find a mushroom three times its normal size or a full-grown tree that didn’t reach above his ears.
Suddenly he had a terrible thought. He ran back to the house and into his potions room. The shelves along the walls were empty. He ran to the store-room and threw wide the door. Every last shrinking, growing, and right-sizing potion he had saved and prepared for sale, their livelihood and their future, was gone.
He ran out of the house and followed the trail of odd-sized objects. Soon he realized the direction the trail led: the human village. Shrinkle-Dinkle quickened his pace; things were only going to get worse.
As Shrinkle-Dinkle got closer to the village he started hearing screams, then a few tiny humans nearly knocked him over as they ran past.
In a few paces Shrinkle-Dinkle reached the hill overlooking the human village. He did not like the sight that greeted him: Houses of every size and shape, shrunk and grown, giant goats eating the thatch roofs and chimneys off the regular-sized houses, tiny men trying to fight out of control hearth fires in giant houses, dogs running and barking and trying to herd giant sheep, cattle stepping on shrunken houses, humans running and screaming to get away however they could.
There in the midst of it all were two larger than life fairies, indiscriminately raining size manipulation potions on anyone or anything that crossed their path.
To Be Continued…