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The pale, flickering light of the hospital room cast long shadows across the walls, adding an eerie glow to an already tense atmosphere. Chase and Alexis sat side by side on a stiff, vinyl-covered bench, their hands clasped tightly together. Despite the coolness of the room, Chase's palm was damp, betraying his anxiety.

“So, what do you think they’re going to tell us?” Alexis asked, trying to keep her voice light, though her brow was furrowed with concern.

Chase shrugged, his other hand drumming a nervous rhythm on his knee. “Probably just a glitch in my last blood test results, or maybe they'll tell me I'm overdoing it at the gym again.” His attempt at humor did little to mask the undercurrent of worry in his voice.

Alexis smiled weakly, squeezing his hand. “As if you could ever skip leg day.”

Their attempt at casual conversation was cut short as the door swung open with a soft creak. A doctor entered, her white coat swishing silently over her slender frame. She was a striking figure; her hair a vivid shade of red that seemed to shimmer even in the dim light of the hospital room.

“Mr. and Mrs. Smith?” Her voice was clear and professional as she glanced from her clipboard to the couple. “I’m Dr. Redford. Thank you for waiting.”

Chase and Alexis nodded, their expressions tightening as they braced for what was to come. Dr. Redford took a seat across from them, her posture straight but not unkind.

“I've reviewed your test results,” Dr. Redford began, her eyes locking with Chase’s. “Unfortunately, I have some unexpected news. You’ve tested positive for the shrinking virus.”

Chase’s heart dropped, his face draining of color. “That’s... that can’t be right. I’m supposed to be immune,” he stammered, his voice barely a whisper.

Dr. Redford continued, “I understand this is a shock. The virus has mutated, and it seems your immunity wasn’t as robust as we thought. According to our projections, you will shrink to approximately six inches tall over the next eight weeks.”

Alexis’s voice was sharp with fear. “But, what does that mean? Six inches...”

The doctor shifted slightly in her chair, her expression sobering further. “It means that Mr. Smith will—unfortunately—be reclassified under the new legislation tailored for those affected by this condition. Essentially, he will lose most of his human rights and will be...”

Here, a small, inappropriate giggle escaped her lips, seemingly uncontrollable. She cleared her throat, her cheeks flushing a slight pink, before continuing. “He will be, um, considered more like a... a small animal or an insect in legal terms. I’m terribly sorry, this isn’t a laughing matter.”

The giggle struck a harsh contrast to the gravity of her words, leaving Chase and Alexis in a state of stunned silence. The reality of the situation began to sink in, the absurdity and horror mingling in a nauseating mix.

Dr. Redford quickly composed herself, her professionalism snapping back like a rubber band. "I need to inform you of the procedures that follow a diagnosis like this," she began, her tone more somber. "By law, once a man is diagnosed with the shrinking virus, his details are automatically listed on the Shrinking Sale Registry. If you, Mrs. Smith, cannot secure the $50,000 needed to buy his rights, then he will become the legal property of whoever purchases him."

Noticing the sad, fearful expression that washed over Alexis's face, Dr. Redford added, perhaps inappropriately, "You know, the situation might seem dire, but there are always options. If needed, I might even consider purchasing him myself."

Her attempt to lighten the mood did little to alleviate the shock and gravity of their new reality.

As Dr. Redford left the room with a soft click of the door, the silence that enveloped Chase and Alexis felt heavier than before. Alexis immediately burst into a panicked flurry of words. "Chase, we don’t have $50,000 just lying around. How are we going to raise that much money so quickly? We need to start figuring this out—now!”

She was pacing back and forth, her hands wringing together nervously. Every so often, she would glance over at Chase, who sat motionless, his gaze fixed on the bland, off-white wall across from them. His mind seemed to be miles away from the cold hospital room, lost in thoughts too heavy to voice.

"Chase?" Alexis’s voice cracked, laden with fear and desperation. "We need to do something. Maybe I can take extra shifts, or we could get a loan, or—"

But Chase wasn’t responding. His eyes remained distant, his body rigid as if the weight of his future had physically settled upon his shoulders. "In eight weeks...," he finally murmured, his voice hollow. "In eight weeks, I won’t just be losing my height. I’ll be losing everything... my rights, my freedom."

His words hung in the air, stark and chilling. Alexis stopped pacing and knelt in front of him, taking his hands in hers, trying to draw his gaze to meet hers. "We will figure this out, Chase. I won’t let you become a... a commodity. We’ll find a way to keep you safe with me."

Chase looked down at their intertwined hands, a sad smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. "I know you’ll try, Alexis. But what if it’s not enough? What if—"

"No, don’t talk like that," Alexis interrupted, her voice firm despite the tears brimming in her eyes. "We’re going to save every penny, cut every unnecessary expense. We'll talk to the bank, reach out to family, anything we need to do."

Chase nodded slowly, squeezing her hands gently. "Okay, we’ll fight this. Together."



Several hours after leaving the hospital, Chase found himself mechanically slumped on the couch, staring at the television. The images and sounds flickered before him, but his mind was entangled in a distant, darker contemplation. In just eight weeks, he would no longer stand at his full height, nor enjoy the simple liberties that came with being a regular-sized human. Instead, he'd be at the mercy of someone else, vulnerable and small—an object of potentially cruel intentions.

Meanwhile, Alexis was bustling around the kitchen, the clattering of pots and pans punctuating the tense silence that had settled over the house. They had made dinner plans with Delaney, Alexis's sister, before the devastating news had been delivered. Despite everything, Alexis had decided not to cancel; she thought it might serve as a distraction, however slight.

Delaney, a 5-foot-5 brunette with a gym-toned physique, radiated a commanding presence that often veered into the domineering. Her relationship with Chase had always been strained, marked by a frosty civility at best. She harbored a palpable disdain toward him, viewing him as inherently inferior, an attitude that infused their interactions with tension. Her personality was distinctly authoritative, and her interactions with Chase were often laced with biting remarks and a dismissive tone that left little doubt about her feelings of superiority. This underlying current of contempt made every encounter between them a test of patience for Chase.

As the scent of cooking food began to fill the house, Chase's thoughts turned sour. He resented having to spend what he counted as precious, dwindling time with Delaney, his least favorite person. Every minute felt precious, and tonight's obligation seemed a particularly harsh theft.

"I can't believe I have to sit through dinner with her tonight," Chase muttered to himself, his gaze finally breaking away from the meaningless chatter on the TV. He felt trapped, not just by his impending physical transformation but by the social niceties that required him to pretend everything was normal.

Alexis overheard him from the kitchen and felt a pang of guilt for insisting they keep their plans. She walked over and sat next to him, taking his hand. "I know it's hard, but let's try to make the best of tonight. We don't have to tell her anything about the diagnosis if you don't want to."

Chase sighed, squeezing her hand back. "No, it’s okay. Maybe it's better to get it over with." Despite his words, the dread sat heavily in his chest, a constant companion as the clock ticked down to Delaney's arrival.

The sharp ring of the doorbell sliced through the tense silence of the evening, making Chase jump slightly in his seat. His heart sank, a heavy feeling of dread settling in as he realized who was on the other side of the door. He heard Alexis's voice from the kitchen, gentle but firm. "Chase, could you get that, please?"

With a heavy sigh, Chase pushed himself off the couch and shuffled towards the door. Each step felt heavier than the last, his mind swirling with reluctance. He reached for the doorknob, took a deep breath to steel himself, and pulled the door open.

Delaney stood framed by the doorway, her presence commanding immediate attention. Her brunette hair was pulled back into a tight, sleek ponytail, highlighting the striking sharpness of her angular face and the fierce determination in her eyes. She was clad in a sunflower romper that clung to her sculpted figure with precision, the fabric outlining every curve and muscle with undeniable appeal. The outfit was sleeveless, displaying her toned, muscular arms in full glory, while the shorts portion of the romper showcased her athletic legs, each muscle defined and accentuated as if carved from marble.

Despite her undeniable beauty, there was a hardness to her that couldn't be overlooked. Her posture was rigid, arms crossed tightly over her chest in an impatient stance that spoke volumes of her dominant and uncompromising nature. Her expression was anything but welcoming; a deep scowl creased her brow, and her lips were pursed in a thin line. As her cold, scrutinizing eyes locked onto Chase's, there was an air of disdain that seemed almost palpable, making it clear that warmth and kindness were foreign concepts to her imposing demeanor.

"Well, aren't you going to invite me in?" Delaney's voice was edged with a tone of command, not waiting for an invitation as she brushed past Chase with a dismissive air.

Chase stepped aside, feeling the chill from her presence as she entered the house. He watched her stride confidently towards the kitchen, where Alexis was finishing up the dinner preparations. Delaney's demeanor softened slightly as she greeted her sister, but the underlying tension remained palpable.



At the dinner table, the atmosphere was subdued—at least for Chase. Alexis and Delaney chatted animatedly across the table, their conversation light and filled with the trivial details of their daily lives. Chase, however, could hardly bring himself to touch his food, his fork idly pushing around the meal Alexis had prepared. His mind was elsewhere, trapped in a loop of despair and dread about his shrinking future.

Delaney, ever observant, quickly picked up on Chase's unusual silence. A smirk curled at the edges of her lips as she turned her attention toward him, her voice carrying a mocking tone. "What's the matter, Chase? You're awfully quiet tonight. Cat got your tongue, or are you just not a fan of the cuisine?"

Alexis, sensing the tension, jumped in before Chase could respond. "Actually, Delaney, Chase was diagnosed today with the shrinking virus." Her voice was steady, though it carried an undercurrent of worry.

Delaney's eyebrows arched in surprise before her expression twisted into one of amused disbelief. "You're joking, right?" she chuckled, her voice dripping with skepticism as she assumed this was some sort of twisted joke.

"No, Delaney, I'm completely serious," Alexis replied, her voice tightening with urgency. "It's not a joke. He's been diagnosed with the shrinking virus. In eight weeks, he'll be just six inches tall and practically stripped of all his rights unless we can secure them."

The revelation seemed to delight Delaney, her laughter echoing around the room, rich and unrestrained. "Oh, this is just too perfect!" she exclaimed, her glee palpable, her eyes gleaming with a cruel spark. "I mean, come on, Chase shrinking down to the size of a bug? That's got to be karma."

Alexis's face flushed with anger, her voice rising in response. "This is not funny, Delaney! It's terrifying. We don’t even know if we can afford to buy his rights so he doesn’t end up owned by some stranger. This is his life we're talking about!"

Delaney waved a dismissive hand, still smirking. "Oh, lighten up, Alexis. It’s not the end of the world—it’s just the end of his, as he knows it." She leaned back in her chair, her amusement clear.

Delaney, ignoring Alexis's pleas, pulled out her phone with a flourish and began tapping on the screen. "Let's see what the going rate for a shrinking man is these days," she mused aloud, her voice dripping with callous curiosity. The room fell silent except for the clicking of her phone as she navigated to the Shrinking Sale website. Moments later, her eyes lit up as she found Chase's page. "Wow, $50,000 is pretty steep," she commented, raising her eyebrows in mock surprise.

Alexis nodded, her face drawn and pale. "Yes, it's a lot of money. We're not sure how we're going to manage..."

Delaney glanced up from her phone, a wicked smile playing at her lips. "You know, I've been saving up to put a pool in at my house." She continued typing, her fingers moving quickly. "But owning Chase's little ass as my slave for the rest of his life?" she paused, a cash register noise chiming from her phone as she completed the transaction, "That's much more worth it."

She burst out laughing, clearly amused by her own cruel joke, while Chase felt a cold wave of dread wash over him. This was his worst-case scenario unfolding right before his eyes, and it felt as though his world was collapsing around him.

he tension at the dinner table escalated as Chase finally found his voice, his anger boiling over. "You can't possibly be that much of a bitch, Delaney! You really want to enslave me?" His words were sharp, a mix of disbelief and outrage coloring his tone.

Alexis quickly chimed in, her own frustration evident. "Seriously, Delaney. This isn’t a game. Let me pay you back for Chase’s rights. It’s not right for you to do this."

Delaney threw her head back and laughed, the sound harsh and jarring in the quiet room. "No way, Alexis. I bought him fair and square. He's mine, legally." Her grin was malicious as she turned her gaze back to Chase. "And you, watch who you’re calling a bitch, Chase. The clock is ticking, and in eight weeks, you’ll be just a little bug that I own."

Her eyes narrowed as she leaned in closer, her voice dropping to a cold, menacing whisper. "You might want to start referring to me as 'Goddess' now. Get used to it, because your life is about to change drastically, and I’m going to enjoy every second of it."

The cruelty in Delaney’s tone sent a chill down Chase’s spine. He clenched his fists under the table, feeling both trapped and revolted by the looming reality of his future. The dinner had turned into a battlefield, with Delaney clearly relishing her power and the control she was set to exert over him.

Chase sat frozen, his eyes locked on Delaney in utter disbelief. Her casual return to the dinner and the ease with which she shifted the conversation to trivial matters with Alexis was appalling. As Delaney cheerfully discussed weekend plans, as if she hadn't just shattered his world, Chase's mind raced with grim thoughts about the future.

He couldn't grasp the sheer cruelty and callousness of it. That Delaney, his sister-in-law, someone who was supposed to be part of his extended family, could so gleefully claim ownership of him—his life, his autonomy, everything—was a betrayal beyond words. The reality that this woman, who now discussed mundane topics with a smile, would soon control every aspect of his existence was both surreal and terrifying.

Chase's thoughts churned with dark visions of what his life under Delaney's rule would be like. The term "Goddess," which she had insisted he use, echoed mockingly in his head. He imagined being at her beck and call, subjected to her whims and possibly her cruelty, all because of a twisted twist of fate and a virus that had chosen him.

He felt a helpless anger simmering within him, mixed with a deep-seated fear. Every laugh and smile she threw across the table felt like a dagger twisting in his heart. Chase was painfully aware of the stark contrast between Delaney's current demeanor and the harsh dominance she had promised would define their future relationship.

The meal continued, but Chase could barely hear anything over the rush of blood in his ears and the chaotic thoughts swirling in his mind. His appetite had vanished, and every moment sitting at that table with Delaney felt like an eternity. He was trapped in a nightmare, and the only thing he could do was count down the weeks until his inevitable diminishment into what Delaney already seemed to consider less than human.

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