The Other End of the Rainbow – Chapter 8

The Other End of the Rainbow – Chapter 8

There was no doubt that Lucy had to get away, just as there was no doubt that she had no idea how she was going to do that. Trapped in a giant crib, her legs numb, it seemed like there wasn’t much she could do to stop the huge robot, and its equally large, even more intimidating, axe.

If only she’d had the courage to try something earlier, maybe she would have had a better chance… Back before he already had so much of the crib assembled. What would he have done then? How would he have kept her from running away? He probably couldn’t have, and she would have been able to make at least a couple more attempts, before winding up stuck.

She watched as the robot turned away from her, walking back towards the treeline. It was hard to tell from her vantage point, but it looked like he was nearly done with the lid… He could probably finish it with one more tree, perhaps two, if she was lucky, and then it was truly over; once she was locked in, she wouldn’t be getting out easily anytime soon.

As quickly as she could, she pulled herself back up to her feet, leaning on the sturdy bars. They were all new, just installed by the master woodsman, so she doubted she’d find any loose ones, but that was her best plan for the time being, so she started stumbling around the crib, tugging on each one, hoping one would budge, just a little, give her some hope.

Despite the size of the crib, she was able to get around it pretty quickly, helped both by her panic, and the fact that it took very little time to determine that not a single bar was going anywhere, not unless somebody much stronger than her wanted it to. Even though she’d suspected as much from the start, it was still disheartening, making the full round and coming back with nothing to show for it.

Apparently the top was her only option, and, with her legs numb, it wasn’t much of one. There were a few inches in between the planks that made up the temporary lid, enough that she thought she could fit her hands there, if she could get high enough to reach them… Except, of course, climbing was going to be practically, if not literally, impossible. The bars were expertly carved, smooth as silk, which would have made them difficult to scale even with fully functioning legs.

She let go of the bars with one hand, stretching up as high as she could go. Her fingers didn’t brush against the top… But, they weren’t all that far away, either. It wouldn’t be that high of a jump to reach it, and if she could just wrap her hands around the top rail, perhaps she could pull herself up and out, even with her numbed legs.

Of course, jumping required those legs, which meant, most likely, it was off the table. A quick scan of the crib told her it was probably also her best bet, so she didn’t have much of a choice… She had to, at the very least, try it out. She took a deep breath and let go of the bars, stepping backwards, pouring all of her strength and concentration into staying upright. All she had to do was step forward, give one big jump, and then…

Instantly, she started to lose her balance. Muttering a curse under her breath, she fought to stay upright, only to stumble backwards, falling into the bars behind her before slamming onto the floor of the crib with a loud crinkle and thump, and a quieter clatter, the mud in her diaper squishing against her bottom.

“Are you all right, little one?” the robot called.

Lucy wasn’t; she wanted to cry, as it sank in just how screwed she was, how unlikely she was to get herself out of this mess. She should have just ignored the rainbow, stayed home with stupid little Kari… She hated that the girl had seen her in diapers, and was making her stay in them, but that was still better than this, than everything she’d gone through…

“Little one?” the robot yelled again.

“I’m fine!” she shouted back, not wanting to give him any reason to come back and check on her; she instantly regretted it at the sound of the axe thunking into a tree as he returned to work, bringing her closer and closer to her inevitable doom.

If she’d just waited another second or two, he wouldn’t have even heard her, she mused. Whether that would have been a good thing or not, she wasn’t sure… Did it really matter if he heard some thumping and bumping behind him, if she wasn’t able to use it to escape? What else could he do, take her with him, to keep a closer eye on her while he worked? He was so much bigger, he could easily catch up to her if she tried crawling away, even if he was distracted when she started. She’d distracted him for a moment, anyway, bought her an extra couple of seconds that she had done nothing with.

She sighed, shaking her head and lowering it, starting to resign herself to her new life, only to see a wooden heart on the crib floor in front of her. She recognized it instantly, of course, but that didn’t stop her from picking it up curiously, turning it over, then glancing up at the planks of wood over her head, where she’d seen the robot place it. She must have bumped into the crib hard enough to shake it loose, bump it into the gap between boards.

For a moment, she considered opening the lock, taking out the mechanism her captor had so painstakingly assembled, and hiding it, forcing him to carve another one. There were, obviously, some issues with that, since there was no mattress, no blankets, nothing in the crib for her to hide it in, and she doubted she’d be able to throw it far enough through the bars for it to be difficult to find.

Still, she thought, there had to be something she could do with this lock, some way she could use it to her advantage… He’d left it open, so she could fasten something shut with it… Though, the key was simply the robot’s finger, so he could undo it in no time. Like the crib, it felt very sturdy, and she didn’t think she would be able to break it, even if she used all of her strength.

She tossed the lock onto the crib floor, frustrated, tired, and ready to give up. There was nothing she could do, no way to get out of this… She was going to be this robot’s baby forever, stuck in this beautiful, intricately carved, but impenetrable, wooden fortress of a nursery.

Or… Was she? She glanced at the lock again, then back up towards the top of the crib, an idea beginning to sprout in her mind. She picked it back up, grabbing the shackle this time, testing it, knowing that would be the part most likely to break. It really did feel quite solid, and if she were going to trust any lock with this, this was definitely the one she would have chosen.

She turned the shackle around, moving the open end away from the hole it was designed to snap into, positioning it over the empty air behind the lock instead, forming a hook of sorts. It was a large, heavy lock… Surely big enough to do what she wanted…

Carefully, she pulled herself back up to her feet, staring out towards the trees, waiting to see the glint of sunlight on the robot’s axe as it drew back for another swing, just in case she fell again, then, just before his axe made contact, she reached up, trying to slip the curve of the shackle over the top railing of the crib… And missing.

She had been close, though… Very close. The hook had bumped against the top board, bounced off harmlessly, but if she could just get it a little higher, than surely she could do it. She adjusted her feet, wrapping the arm without the lock around the bar she was leaning on, waiting for the robot’s next swing…

As soon as she saw it begin, she lifted herself as high as she could get, then tried the lock again… And, once more, wasn’t able to get it over the railing. “Come on,” she hissed, gritting her teeth. She was in too deep now, too invested in this plan to try another one… And, even from here, she could tell the tree the robot was working on was nearly done. Once it had fallen, it wouldn’t take that long for the robot to drag it over to the nursery and begin carving, which would mean he was closer, and able to pay more attention, to her. He’d likely notice the missing lock as well, and take it back. Even if he didn’t finish the lid with this tree, he’d probably put the lock somewhere else, to make sure she wasn’t able to get it back.

She had to do this, and she had to do it now. As the robot prepared for what would likely be the final swing, Lucy inched higher up the bar, straining to lift her weight off the ground without the help of her legs before raising her other arm, trying to will it to grow, to gain an extra inch or two to get over the rail. She almost couldn’t bear to watch, but she wanted to make sure she didn’t somehow miss entirely, ruin this final shot for some stupid reason beyond simply not being tall enough.

So, she was able to see the exact moment when the hook scraped over the railing, just barely, the adrenaline coursing through her veins enough to allow her to pull herself just an inch or two higher on the bar, to allow the shackle to continue moving, to slide over the entire piece of wood, the hump just big enough to settle over top of it.

Quickly, she moved her other arm from the bar to the lock, hanging off of it, impressed that, as far as she could tell, it wasn’t even straining to hold her weight. Whether she was going to be able to do the same or not, however, remained to be seen… She could feel the sweat beginning to form on her forehead as she hung there, completely off the floor of the crib, her breathing growing heavier as she stared upwards at the railing. It wasn’t that far from where she was already… All she had to do was let go of the lock with one hand, and reach up, get ahold of that instead…

For a long second, the forest was silent, except for her increasingly labored breathing. If she slipped and fell now, she wasn’t sure she would have the time, or strength, to try again, so she had to make sure she didn’t screw up. Finally, with a groan, she put as much weight as she could on her right hand, loosening her death grip on the lock with her left so she could raise it into the air.

Lucy had never been an athlete, not really, despite the coaches at school wanting her to give basketball a try. She wasn’t awful at gym, either, though, not like Kari, who was constantly struggling to do the simplest thing, her tiny frame and lack of coordination making it difficult for her to successfully get through anything without falling or hurting herself.

Pull-ups were one thing Lucy had always been just as bad at as the smaller girl. She assumed it was because she had so much more body that she had to lift than Kari, but it was always a struggle, and, if the gym teacher wasn’t watching her closely, she’d always just have her partner lie for her, saying she’d done them, rather than going through all that trouble. She would, of course, lie for her partner, too; it was only fair.

It was kind of funny, she thought, that earlier in the day she’d been so upset with Kari for not letting her wear her Pull-Ups – the other kind – and making her stay in diapers, instead, because of one little accident, and now this kind of pull-up was the only thing standing between her and permanent babyhood.

She pulled herself upwards, as hard as she could, her other hand’s fingers wiggling nervously as the crept closer and closer to the top of the railing. She’d gotten the hook over it… Surely she could get her hand up there, too! “Little higher,” she urged herself, panting. “Little higher…”

She could feel her right hand starting to weaken, to lose its grip on the lock, urging her to try harder, while she still had the chance. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion… Her hands felt slick with sweat, making it even harder to keep ahold of the lock, as it also began to drip down her forehead, into her eyes. Without any free hands to wipe it away, she shook her head, straining, struggling, just needing a few more centimeters…

At last, her left hand clamped around the railing. Instantly, she let go of the lock with her right, reaching up to grab the rail with it as well. As her entire weight quickly shifted from hanging off the side of the crib, to clinging to it, she felt something else shift as well. Her stomach began to twist inside her as the world seemed to tilt, her mind needing a moment to process that she was falling.

She was able to squeak out a frantic, “Oh, crap!” before the crib fell onto its side, hard, smashing into the forest floor with a shuddering thud that seemed to shake the whole woods. Even after all that, she was still screwed, she thought with a wince… There was no way the robot hadn’t heard that.

When she glanced up to see if he was already on his way there, however, she saw that the tree he’d been working on was gone as well. Maybe it hadn’t been the crib making all that noise, she realized… The tree must have fallen at the same time; finally, luck seemed to be on her side, at least a little.

As fast as she could go, she crawled out of the crib, marvelling that it still seemed to be in one piece, pausing just long enough to grab the lock, which was also still intact, and hook it into the belt loop of her shorts. She wasn’t sure why, but, after it had gotten her out of that jam, it felt wrong to leave it behind… Besides, you never knew when it might come in handy again.

It wasn’t until she started crawling towards the bridge again that she realized just how worn out she was, how much that escape had taken out of her. Between her numb legs, and her sore arms, moving at all was a struggle; all she wanted to do was curl up and take a nap, but she knew that if she did that, she’d wake up back in the crib, probably locked inside, with no hope of getting out.

As much as she wanted to, as little as she liked the idea of getting on it, especially in her weakened state, Lucy didn’t pause when she reached the bridge, just forced herself to crawl onto it. She’d always heard, in the kind of movies that had this sort of awful, dangerous-looking rope bridge, that it was best not to look down; the protagonist always wound up doing that anyway, for some reason, and it made things all the harder for them.

She’d told herself, any time she saw a scene like that, she wouldn’t make the same mistake, yet that was almost the first thing she did. It didn’t help that she was on all fours, of course, making it much harder to avoid seeing the raging river beneath her, or the old, rotting wood she was inching across, but, sure enough, like everyone from the movies, she instantly froze once she’d done it, the queasy feeling in her stomach from minutes earlier, as the crib fell beneath her, returning with a vengeance.

“Where are you, little one?” the robot bellowed from behind her. “Do not be scared, Daddy is coming for you!”

That was enough to get her moving again, creeping along as fast as she could. The river was so much wider than the stream she was used to being here, and she knew that the robot would not only be angry at her for being on the bridge, since its job was to guard it, but also that she would be very easily visible on it if he came that way.

“Daddy will fix your crib so it will not do that again,” he called. “You do not have to be scared, little one!”

Lucy yelped as a board split beneath her hand, tumbling into the water below and making her stumble forward, almost falling onto her face. Her heart beat a bit faster, speeding up even more at the sound of the robot speaking again. “I hear you! This is not the time for games, little one, just come to Daddy!” Lucy reached past the empty space where the board had been to the next one, pulling herself carefully over the gap and forcing herself to keep moving.

“What are you doing?” the robot demanded. “You know the bridge is forbidden.”

She dared to turn her head, gasping as she saw the robot standing at the edge of the bridge, axe in hand. “Come back here right now,” he ordered, “and I will not be too cross with you. Perhaps only one spanking.”

Lucy didn’t want to know what even a single swat from his huge, metal hand would feel like, so she kept moving ahead – there wasn’t exactly room on the bridge for her to turn around, anyway, even if she had wanted to. “You are making Daddy upset, little one,” he threatened.

However, Lucy noted, he wasn’t coming any closer. It wasn’t a huge shock, honestly, considering how small and rickety the bridge was… There was no way something a large, and heavy, as him could step onto it without snapping it in two, and plunging into the water below. That must be why it was so adamant about keeping people off the bridge in the first place… Once they got onto it, there was nothing the robot could do to stop them.

He did, of course, still have the axe, and could easily chop the bridge down if he wanted. She doubted he would do it to her, but the possibility was there, and enough to keep her moving forward, nearly collapsing onto the ground on the other side, feeling, very briefly, safe. She still saw him there, on the other shore, and he was still yelling at her to come back, so she didn’t stay there for long.

There was a bit of a clearing on that side of the bridge, too, like the one the robot had been building her nursery in, and, ahead of it, she could see the forest, still just as dark and deep as it had been on the other side of the river. The rainbow was there, too, though, closer than ever. She might be moving slower now, stuck on her hands and knees, but she’d made it this far… There was no way she was going to give up now.

She crawled towards it, feeling exhausted, yet newly invigorated, knowing she as going to need a long nap once she made it home, but also that she couldn’t possibly have that much further to go. Maybe being on all fours would even help… Whatever creatures were in there, making odd sounds she was certain she’d never heard coming from the woods before, might not be able to see her as easily if she wasn’t standing upright… Possibly. She knew most predators used their sense of smell, and she had no doubt, after all that exercise, she had a definite scent to her, though there wasn’t much she could do about that without a bathtub.

Just as she was about to crawl into the trees, however, she felt herself being lifted into the air, her limbs flailing, even before she felt the cold metal against her skin, saw the large, robotic face she was being held in front of. At first, she thought the robot had somehow gotten across the bridge after all, until it spoke, its voice slightly higher and softer. It may have been slightly smaller, as well, although it was difficult to judge that while being held in its hands.

“Hello there,” it said. “Was that you making all that noise, little one? What are you doing out here all alone?” Before Lucy could come up with an answer, it gave the same, mechanical laugh as the other robot. “Ha ha ha, you do not have to look so scared, little one. Mommy is here to take care of you.”


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The Other End of the Rainbow – Chapter 7

The Other End of the Rainbow – Chapter 7

The forest was usually a peaceful place… Then again, Lucy was rarely there while somebody was chopping trees down behind her with a very sharp looking axe; she normally wore her training panties, as well, and could use her feet if she really needed to run away from something.

Now, she wished she had never set off on this journey in the first place, had just stayed at home with Kari, no matter how embarrassing it was to get taken care of by that tiny, little girl. At least she knew that would end, and Mommy would come home, and things could go back to normal, even if she might get in trouble because Kari didn’t believe that she hadn’t wet her bed, and Mommy likely wouldn’t, either. Maybe they’d keep her in diapers for a couple days, but that was the worst of it.

It was strange, how much she missed her nursery. There, dolls didn’t come to life and chase her around, and she couldn’t get lost in a maze of corn, or in a forest that was somehow completely different than any of the hundreds of other times she’d been in it. If she could make it through all this, though, and reach the end of the rainbow, then maybe it would all be worthwhile.

She was starting to wonder if that was ever going to happen, however. She glanced back from the bridge she was ‘guarding’, frowning at the sight of the robot, turned away from the trees it was supposed to be carving a path through for her. It had taken down several trees, sure, and far quicker than Lucy could have hoped to on her own, even if she’d had an axe, but every time it did, it took the tree and start carving at it with its axe, slowly assembling… something…

It shouldn’t have mattered that much – although having a path back out of here once she made it, somehow, over the bridge and back, would be nice – but it meant the robot was spending much more time with its eyes in Lucy’s direction than looking away, which was the opposite of why Lucy had struck this bargain in the first place.

She had tried, when the robot’s back was to her, to make her way to the bridge. She’d gathered up her courage, crawling to the banks of the river, watching it rage beneath her, water crashing against giant rocks that – in the real world – should have been wider than the entire stream. The surface of the bridge was a single rope, and, while there were other ropes stretching up, forming the sides of the bridge, reaching up to a pair of rope railings at either side, she couldn’t actually reach those.

Or, rather, she wasn’t brave enough to see if she could pull herself up to grab the two ropes on the side and try using them to keep herself upright. That almost seemed more dangerous than crawling… And the rope seemed awfully narrow to try crossing on all fours. She thought the ropes along the side were spaced narrowly enough that they’d keep her from tumbling into the river if she fell, but she honestly wasn’t sure, and very much didn’t want to find out. She’d feel much better if she could actually walk, and even then, she knew she wouldn’t enjoy the trip.

“S-Sorry, but…” Lucy spoke up at last, having to clear her throat and try again to get it to look down at her. She was used to her height making people pay more attention to her, so volume generally wasn’t as big of an issue… Stuck on her hands and knees, it was a whole different story. “Y-You’re doing a good job,” she said, looking nervously at the giant axe, “I just wondered if maybe you could… speed things up a bit? I’m kind of on a deadline…” She had no idea how far away that deadline was – the rainbow was still quite bright – but she knew she had one. Rainbows didn’t last forever, after all…

“I am working as fast as I can,” the robot assured her. “I would hate to waste the wood.”

“Yeah,” Lucy nodded, “But can’t you do that later? You know, cut down the trees, and then you could finish working on all of them at once.” And, hopefully, give her back the feeling in her feet, allowing her to try to sneak past him while he was occupied.

“Ha ha ha,” the robot spoke, without any intonation; with no further explanation, it went back to his carving.

“Oh!” a sudden thought struck Lucy. “How about you use that wood to make a bigger bridge? You could keep it narrow, so you could still easily guard it, but I bet its pretty hard for you to get across if you need to, isn’t it?” And, more importantly, once it had done that, she would feel much safer crawling to the other side while the robot was busy chopping down more trees.

“I do not need to cross the bridge,” the robot told her. “My mission is to keep anyone else from crossing. It would be foolish to make that easier.”

“I guess,” Lucy agreed, even if it didn’t help her any.

“Ha ha,” the robot walked over to her in just a few, massive steps, patting her on the head with his giant, metal hand. It was surprisingly gentle, for as huge as the machine was. “You are a silly baby,” it told her.

“I’m not…” Lucy bristled automatically, before giving in, remembering her outfit, the obvious diaper beneath her shorts, and her current inability to stand.

“Do not worry,” the robot told her. “I will take care of everything. I only hope my wife returns soon.”

“What if she’s on the other side of the bridge?” Lucy suggested. “Maybe I should go check, and…”

Before she could finish, the robot had scooped her up, easily holding her in one hand, giving her padded bottom a sharp whap with its other hand before raising her to its eye level, Lucy squirming, yelping, and blushing the whole time. “Why are you so interested in the bridge, little one?” it asked.

Lucy gulped, feeling the robot’s mechanical eyes scanning into her, as if they were reading her thoughts. “I-I’m not!” she lied. “I-I just thought, maybe you haven’t seen her because she’s over there, so…”

The light in the robot’s eyes dimmed, just a touch. “She would not cross the bridge,” it said after a long moment. “And you would not either, would you?”

“N-No,” Lucy shook her head. “I want to get through the woods, remember?” she pointed towards the trees the robot was cutting down. “I don’t need to go over there, I…” She squirmed as the robot stared at her again.

“I think you are telling me a fib, little one,” the robot finally announced. “I had better keep an eye on you.”

“No, I’m not!” Lucy said. “Let me go, I… No!” The robot turned, Lucy still in hand, and walked back over to where it had been working. As the work site got closer, Lucy was finally able to get a good look at what it had been building, instantly wishing she hadn’t. In the center was what looked like a giant, wooden cage, although she assumed it was meant to be a crib, considering the changing table that was half-constructed next to it.

“I am sorry there is no mattress,” the robot told her, placing her into the crib. “When my wife arrives, she will make it more comfortable for you.”

“No!” Lucy shook her head. “I can’t watch the bridge in here! Come on, you have to let me out, I…”

She stared up in horror as the robot lifted a pair of giant, wooden planks, setting them across the top of the crib, leaving a space only a few inches across in between. “I do not have the top finished, either,” it explained. “I need to go cut more wood.”

“B-But the bridge!” Lucy protested, pointing towards it.

“Ha ha, silly baby,” the robot said. “Do you not think my sensors can reach that far? You are even sillier than I thought.” With that, it left, carrying its axe back towards the trees while Lucy sat helplessly in her crib, watching.

Lucy had a crib at home, sure, and it was big, compared to a regular, baby’s crib, but it was nothing compared to this. She could easily climb out of hers with no problem, and did often, at least when she thought she could get away with it, without Mommy getting too mad. Even in the best of times, if she had feeling in her feet so she had the option to stand, and even get on her tiptoes, she doubted she would even come close to reaching the top of the bars.

And the bars themselves were quite solid. She tried a couple, shaking them like a desperate prisoner, but they were sturdy, not budging an inch, or giving any indication that she was going to be able to break them, like she’d come close to doing with a couple at home, when she’d gotten really upset. Her first instinct had been more right than she’d known… This was, essentially, a big cage, and she was trapped in it.

The good thing about how solid the bars were was that she was able to grab ahold of them, pulling herself up onto her feet, leaning against them. If she stood still, she could keep standing, although any slight movement – or letting go on those bars for even a moment – left her struggling to maintain her balance, desperately clinging to the bars. Attempting to climb was definitely out of the question, but it felt good to get off her knees, at least, and even getting this far made it clear how unlikely it was that she would be escaping this thing through the top.

Given the size and strength of the robot, it was unsurprising how quickly it returned, dragging another tree trunk with it and sitting on a massive tree trunk as it started to carve. At the bridge, it had been difficult to get a clear view, though, close up, Lucy had to admit watching it work was quite fascinating, somehow using the giant blade to create a series of tiny, delicate looking parts, laying them out on the ground in front of himself.

Lucy had no idea what the robot was building with them, and knew that she probably didn’t want to know. “You don’t have to keep me in here,” she swore to it, staring up at the robot. “I’m not going anywhere! I promise, I don’t want to cross your bridge!”

And she didn’t, really, although that didn’t mean she wouldn’t if she had to. The raging river beneath it made her nervous, but if that’s what she had to brave to keep from being trapped her, the captive of this giant robot who seemed to want her to be its baby, she would do it. She just had to get the chance to do that, since she’d squandered her last one, thinking a better opportunity was going to come up; now, she saw that she just needed to bite the bullet, or she was going to wind up in much hotter water.

As if to demonstrate that, the robot set down the axe and began assembling the pieces it had made. Lucy was still confused as to what they were supposed to make, although something about them seemed familiar… They were definitely intricate, fitting together perfectly, the resulting piece of machinery beautiful in its own way, though, at the same time, terrifying, since Lucy didn’t know what they were going to do.

The robot wasn’t finished, however. Once everything had been assembled, he set it aside, grabbing the axe and beginning to carve once more. This time, the pieces it was creating were larger, more simple, but still very pretty in their own right, and Lucy was strangely proud of herself for noticing the hinge that was being made, even before the robot put the two parts together.

For a few moments, Lucy thought this was something sweet, and innocent, as the robot fit the two halves of the hinge, and the attached pieces of wood, together, and she saw that it had made a hollowed out heart, which the first thing it had created fit into perfectly. Once it was positioned inside, the robot used a series of small latches to keep it closed, moving on to yet another piece.

This one was the simplest of all, a U-shaped piece of wood that fit into the top of the heart, into a pair of holes Lucy had noticed, but not paid much attention to; there was a hole on the front, right in the center, too, after all. As the piece was slotted into the top, however, she suddenly began to recognize what this thing was, and she went from being impressed to, once again, scared.

It was a padlock. As the wooden loop clicked into place, she was sure, though, if she’d had any doubt, the robot stuck one finger into the hole in the center. She heard some quiet whirring, and, a moment later, the U-shaped pieced popped up, allowing Lucy to see that one end was shorter than the other, a small gap opening beneath it while the other side was still firmly planted inside the heart.

The robot pressed it shut again, then re-opened it, before, satisfied, it set the lock on top of the wood over Lucy’s head, indicating, at least in the girl’s mind, that he’d made it for the crib, to ensure that, once the top had been made, he could truly seal her in.

Briefly, she thought she was okay, that she could just undo those latches on the side, but, of course, those didn’t actually matter. If anything, the heart-shaped shell might drop off; that was only for show, however. The real mechanism was on the inside, and apparently the key was the robot himself.

“Do not fret,” the robot told her, apparently noticing her worry, the anxiety growing in her tummy, and completely misinterpreting it. “I will have your crib finished in no time, and then I will finish the rest of your nursery.”

“I don’t need a nursery!” she told him, trying to stomp her foot without thinking. She stumbled, losing her balance and tumbling into the opposite side of the crib. She felt it lurch, just slightly, and then she fell flat on her diapered bottom, blushing as she stared up, through the bars, at the robot. “Let me out of here!”

“Ha ha ha,” the robot ‘laughed’. “Daddy knows best, little one, and Daddy knows that you need to be kept out of trouble, and that is why you are staying here with me, safe in your crib and your diapers, forever.”


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The Other End of the Rainbow – Chapter 6

The Other End of the Rainbow – Chapter 6

Like the field, and the sky, and everything else she’d seen so far, the forest didn’t look quite the way it should to Lucy, although that didn’t stop her from approaching. She didn’t have much of a choice, to be honest… The wall of corn seemed to stretch out forever on either side from where she’d escaped, and she suspected if she tried to go around, it would just keep growing. It didn’t make sense, but neither did anything else.

Like the cornstalks, the trees had grown larger, more plentiful, and closer together, though they hadn’t woven together into a maze… It was more like a fairytale forest, deep and dark, rather than the nice, peaceful, sunny place she was used to going to be alone every now and then.

As she cautiously stepped inside, she could hear the sound of animals calling and cooing further in, the rustling of feet. She froze for just a moment, listening, before pressing on; by the time she heard an ominous growl and turned back, the path she’d come in on had wooded over, leaving her facing a solid wall of trees with no obvious way out, just like the corn maze.

She might have suspected this whole thing was a long, crazy dream, except her knees, as well as being muddy, were also slightly sore from crawling through the field for so long, and she could definitely feel the mud that had filled her diaper, sloshing and squishing around in there. She hadn’t seen anyone other than the doll, so she almost considered taking the diaper off, at least emptying it out, but she had a feeling there had to be other things, or people, around, and, with as dirty as her hands were, she wasn’t sure she would be able to get the tapes to stick again if she removed them. She could have just worn her shorts without the diaper, or anything else, beneath it, though that didn’t really seem like a much better option.

She was glad to see that the geography of the forest hadn’t changed entirely as she came across the little bridge over the stream that ran through the forest, which she liked to sit on sometimes, staring down at the trickle of water running under her; if she was really daring, she might take off her shoes and dip them into it, although there was usually only enough liquid to do that after a really heavy rain.

But, even while the basics stayed the same, the rest was far different. Nobody would dare call the water running under the bridge a ‘stream’ anymore; this was a full-fledged river, deeper, wider, and faster than it had ever been, or could ever be, even after the longest and hardest of rainstorms. The bridge had gone the opposite direction, changing from a solid slab of wood to a rickety rope bridge, right out of an old adventure movie.

And there, at the start of the bridge, stood a giant robot, wielding a wicked looked axe, its one long, red eye scanning the forest for something, possibly intruders like her. She slipped behind a tree, heart pounding, trying to decide what she should do. The axe was probably about the same size as her, the robot holding it at least twice as big…. She wasn’t getting around them easily. Normally, the bridge was there mostly for kids, and convenience, since teenagers and most people older – other than, potentially, Kari, whose legs might not be long enough – could hop over the banks of the stream at some of its narrower spots, or just climb down into it and back up.

Lucy had a feeling the river was too wide to get across that way anywhere, and she didn’t want to risk falling in. Her legs were fairly long, but still almost definitely too short to stretch from shore to shore, and her jumping prowess would be heavily hindered by the bulky diaper. It was possible there was another bridge somewhere in this version of her woods… It didn’t seem like a good idea to venture into parts of the forest she wasn’t as familiar with, however. As long as she stayed on the trail, she felt slightly safe; even in the real world, she didn’t like going off it too far.

No, she was going to have to go through the robot. She peered around her tree momentarily, gulping at the sight of the monstrosity. It was huge, leaving deep footprints in the mud and shaking the ground as it paced, made of what looked like shiny silver. She tried to tell herself that the whole thing couldn’t be silver, that it was probably just plated in it, then reminded herself that wherever she was, however she’d gotten here, this world didn’t seem to follow normal rules.

It didn’t really matter, anyway… No matter what material it was made out of, the robot was intimidating. If she could just get past it to the bridge, she’d be fine, since there was no way the robot could step onto that without snapping it. Then again, the robot might not care about that… Maybe it would cut the bridge down with its axe, or allow itself to plunge into the water, or jump – or maybe fly, it could have a rocket pack or something – to the other side and beat her there.

She had to deal with the robot in one way or another. She had no form of weapon, certainly nothing that could stand against that axe, and even if she did, she doubted she could beat it in hand to hand combat. It was hard to judge how strong the robot was, since it didn’t have, or need muscles. The metal – whatever it was – that made up its arms was smooth and gleaming, but also looked sturdy, the gears that powered its joints moving easily. Maybe she could jam those somehow, keep it from being able to move, though she’d have extremely close to be able to pull that off, well within range of the axe.

Having a weapon of any kind would have made her feel just a little better. Not that she knew how to use any weapon proficiently, but having something to hold onto might have given her a touch more confidence, less of a fear that she was about to die here. Even with the rainbow blazing bright overhead, reminding her of her mission, she wasn’t so sure that it was worth all this, not anymore… She’d gotten through the maze, and the doll; that might be as far as she could make it, unfortunately.

The trees behind her were still a solid wall, however, without nearly enough space between any of them that she could see to slip past – even if she could get through the first layer, she had been walking a while, and she didn’t want to get partway back and realize she couldn’t squeeze any further than that, or, even worse, that the path behind her had closed up as well, trapping her there, among the trees.

She was trying her hardest not to panic, knowing that was only going to make things worse, but it was hard to do when the forest floor was shaking every few seconds with another heavy footstep, reminding her why she was so desperate to find another way through, or back out of, the woods.

As she stared back at the way she’d came, still trying to decide if it was worth heading back or not, she heard a loud thunk right behind her, making her jump nearly out of her skin, spinning just in time to see the tree she’d been hiding behind sway and fall to the side, revealing the massive robot standing behind it, axe in hand, eye glowing bright red. She felt her bladder let go at the sight, her eyes bulging as she scrambled backwards, not having far to go before hitting the wall of trees.

“What are you doing here?” the robot demanded in a flat, unsurprisingly robotic, voice.

“N-Nothing!” Lucy insisted, shaking her head. “I-I… got lost, and then I couldn’t get back through the forest!”

“I understand.” It sounded menacing, just because of the volume, and the thing saying it; Lucy couldn’t tell if it was meant to be taken that way or not.

“I-I don’t mean you any harm,” Lucy gave a tiny smile.

“Ha ha ha,” the robot replied, saying the words rather than making any approximation of laughter. “I was not afraid, little one, but thank you.”

Lucy stared up at the robot, still trying to suss out the correct way to interpret its words. It had lowered its axe, plunging its head into the ground, causing a small ditch to form underneath, seemingly not ready to attack, though she didn’t know how quickly the robot could move when it needed to.

“My home is back through there,” Lucy said, pointing in the direction that she hoped the house still was, even in whatever warped version of reality she was in now. “But I can’t get through these trees on my own. I-I don’t suppose… I mean, you have that big axe, and trees are obviously no match for you…” She glanced down at the one she’d been using as a hiding spot until moments before, gulping at the sight of the cut, one solid, smooth stroke. If the robot wanted, it could cut her in half even easier than that…

“I would love to help,” the robot told her, taking just enough of a pause to get her hopes up before continuing with, “however, I cannot.”

“B-But… Why not?” Lucy asked.

“There are two reasons. One: I must guard the bridge. That is my duty. Two: I do not have the energy to chop down all of those trees.”

“Oh,” Lucy frowned. “If you could just get me back to my house, I could bring you some… batteries or something,” she shrugged, not sure they have anything big enough to power something of the robot’s size, not even if she stole the battery from the car. Once she was home, though, hopefully she wouldn’t really have to worry about it.

“Ha ha ha,” the robot said blandly again. “You are adorable. My wife would love you.”

“Wife?” The idea of this machine being married had never even crossed Lucy’s mind.

“Yes, my wife. We were designed as a pair. When we are together, we provide power to each other. She has been gone for a long time, however.” The voice hadn’t changed, yet Lucy could have sworn the robot sounded sad there; its single, unblinking eye almost looked mournful, somehow.

“Maybe you should go look for her,” Lucy suggested. “I-I could help.” She didn’t really want this to take any longer than it had to – Mommy might already be home, for all she knew – but she hated for him to be all alone, when he clearly didn’t want to be.

“I must guard the bridge,” the robot reminded her.

“Oh, yeah,” Lucy nodded. “Well… How about I do that?”

“Ha ha ha,” the robot repeated. “That is kind, little one, but you are not intimidating.”

Looking down at herself, in her brightly colored, if muddy, clothes, her diaper quite obvious beneath her shorts, she had to agree. It really didn’t seem like there was anything for her to do to help him, though, as far as she could tell, he did seem willing to aid her, if he could. She was tempted to ask if she could cross him bridge, but guarding it was his main objective, and telling him that’s what she wanted to do seemed like a quick way to turn him against her.

“How about if I just watch it while you make me a path?” she suggested. “I’ll keep an eye on it, and yell if anything gets close, then you can come and defend the bridge… Then, I can go look for your wife and send her back here, then go home.”

“I do not have the energy,” the robot reminded her, the light of its eye seeming to dim slightly. “Unless…”

“Unless?” Lucy squirmed, feeling like she was getting scanned by the robot’s eye as it stared down at her. Could it see through her, discover her real plan? While she’d heard plenty of odd animal noises in the woods, she hadn’t actually seen anything, so she was sure the bridge would be just fine… She was going to let it get to work, then slip to the clearing, find the end of the rainbow, then hopefully get back before the robot was finished. After all, it had a long way to go, and, for all she knew, the trees would just grow back as the robot chopped them. She felt a little bad, possibly stranding it there like that, knowing it was running low on energy, but hopefully its wife would come looking eventually, and then they’d be fine… Besides, the robot belonged here; Lucy did not. She just wanted to get home, and moving forward seemed to be the best way to accomplish that.

“Our power supply was based on human.” The robot stopped speaking for a moment, to the confusion of Lucy – it sounded like it had completed the sentence, although that didn’t make sense. “I can not recall the word,” the robot finally continued, making the girl realize it had been struggling to think of that. “Perhaps you can help.”

“P-Perhaps…” Lucy said nervously. She wasn’t sure she liked this… The robot hadn’t had any trouble speaking until now, the fact that the one word it couldn’t remember was the thing it needed from her made her suspicious.

“You are a human, are you not?” the robot tilted its head, just slightly.

“I am,” Lucy admitted reluctantly. “But…”

“You do want a path, do you not?” Lucy nodded. “I only need to borrow some,” the robot told her. “As long as you bring back my wife, I can replace it.”

Lucy stared up at the thing, hoping it wasn’t equipped to decipher expressions, because hers surely revealed how little she wanted to do this. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to help the robot – she hoped it did find its wife – she just didn’t want to spend any more time here than she had to.

On the other hand, she still had no idea what the robot was going to take. Maybe it wasn’t even anything important… Maybe she’d be fine without it. “Are you sure you can’t remember what it’s called?”

“I cannot,” the robot said, almost instantly. “I only need a little. I can start with your feet.”

“What about my feet?” Before the robot could answer, or she could change her mind, the huge, cold, metal hand stretched out, pressing gently against her. Lucy braced herself, unsure what to expect; after a long moment, the robot stepped back, nodded.

“Please go guard the bridge,” the robot said, turning and lifting its axe, facing the wall of trees. Lucy hesitated, staring down at herself, trying to work out what had changed, what the robot had taken. She felt the same, totally normal… Finally, she shrugged and headed towards the bridge.

She made it a single step before landing on her face among the leaves. She gasped, catching her breath before trying to scramble back to her feet, but they refused to hold any weight. They were completely numb, unresponsive, all feeling apparently drained out of them. She stared at the robot, slicing through the trees with its axe, contemplating telling it that she’d changed her mind about their deal.

However, she was now even more powerless before the hulking mass of metal, and if it decided it didn’t want to return what it had taken, there was no way for her to make it. She sighed and made her way to the bridge, reduced once more to crawling on her hands and knees, staring across to the other side. It should have been so simple to run across, find the rainbow, get back… But there was no way she could make it like this, with no feeling in her feet so that she couldn’t stand, much less walk. She was just going to have to hope the robot, unlike the last ‘person’ she’d met here, really was trying to help her…


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The Other End of the Rainbow – Chapter 5

The Other End of the Rainbow – Chapter 5

“I-I feel a lot better now!” Lucy insisted, squirming in the doll’s grasp. “W-We should keep going!”

The doll looked at her for a few moments, holding her up next to the wall, and the grasping leaves that brushed against her skin, making it crawl at the contact, then nodded. “All right,” she agreed, setting her back on the ground. “If you think you can keep going, I suppose we’d better.”

“I can!” Lucy nodded, unsure why she was feeling so anxious, why the sight of those leaves had made her so scared… As the doll had just reminded her, she had no reason not to trust it, yet, somehow, she felt like something was wrong, even beyond the massive mess squelching in between her legs with every step.

“Here we go!” the doll declared, taking another turn. “This is definitely it!”

Lucy knew she should trust it, and follow at around the corner… But, at the same time, her fear began to escalate, her thumb sliding into her mouth as she looked at the place the doll had gone. It was the big girl, the one who didn’t need diapers, who looked so tall and pretty and mature in a way that Lucy, in her little dress and huge diaper, never could… Lucy ought to be a good girl, and do as she was told…

“Are you coming, cutie?” the doll called. “Are you sure you don’t want to stop for a rest?”

Lucy whimpered, sucking harder on her thumb, caught between not wanting to let down the big girl looking after her, and her fear of what was on the other side of the corner. Tears began to sting her eyes as she stared down at her feet, then, blushing at the sight of the full, bulky diaper there, tilted her head upwards instead.

It was there that she saw the rainbow… She stared into the nearly glowing arc, the colors almost searing into her eyes, they looked so bright, compared to the dull world of cornstalks and mud she was surrounded by. She wasn’t sure why, but the idea of following the doll began to make her even more anxious.

“What are you doing?” the doll asked. “We’re supposed to go this way!”

“I-I did,” Lucy mumbled a lie from behind her thumb. “I went thewe, but I got scawed and came back out hewe.”

“Aww, poor thing,” the doll bent down, patting her on the head. Lucy froze, praying it would buy her story, that it wouldn’t make her go there anyway. “Well, I’m sure we can find a less spooky route.”

“Fank you,” Lucy sniffled.

“Sure thing,” the doll chuckled, patting the back of her diaper again. “I wouldn’t want you having another accident, after all… I’m not sure your diaper could handle it!”

Lucy’s cheeks reddened as she was reminded anew of what she’d done, how babyish that meant she really was… Any doubts she had about the doll began to fade again, looking up at her in her clearly non-infantile attire. She followed after the doll obediently, waddling and sucking her thumb like the little toddler she was, telling herself that this time, she wasn’t going to be too much of a chicken to follow wherever the doll led.

When they reached another fork in the path, however, Lucy still hesitated. Curiously, she glanced up at the sky, seeking out the rainbow… She wasn’t sure why, exactly, but she felt like she should try the other path, and, despite feeling naughty for not following the bigger girl’s example, she did just that.

Almost instantly, some of the fog that filled her mind blew away. She gulped as she looked down at herself again, finally recognizing the dress she was wearing now as the same thing the doll had been wearing when she first saw it… And, as the doll stepped back out from around the corner, she realized it was wearing the same thing she had when she’d come into this maze – or, rather, at one point it had been wearing the same thing… It had then gone beyond that, transforming those clothes into less childish versions.

In embarrassment, she started to yank her thumb out of her mouth, then stopped herself. Whether the doll had started doing it on purpose or not, there was no way it wouldn’t have noticed the same transformation… Most likely, she thought, it knew exactly what it was doing, and it was looking to replace her, leave her trapped here in the maze. It was bigger than her, and from how easily it had picked her up a few minutes ago, clearly stronger than her, so she couldn’t let it know that she had figured at least part of its scheme out.

“Where are you?!” the doll called out. Lucy looked down the long corridor of corn stretching out ahead of her, wondering if she could run fast enough to get out of sight in it before the doll figured out she’d gone down this path instead. Before she could decide, it was too late, the doll stepping into the entrance and glaring at her. Instantly, Lucy noticed that its shirt was a little longer, no longer showing off the thing’s midriff, and the shorts were a bit bigger as well. It no longer looked quite as cool and confident…

“What are you doing in here?” it asked.

“I-I forgot which way you went,” Lucy claimed with a shrug. “I-I thought it was this way… I’m sowwy…”

The doll walked closer, eyeing her suspiciously before grabbing her hand. “I suppose that’s what I get for letting a baby like you walk on her own… I guess I need to keep you right by my side, huh?”

Lucy nodded weakly. “Uh-huh.”

That wasn’t at all what Lucy had wanted, though, after the doll took her down the next corridor, she couldn’t quite recall why. She didn’t dare try to pull away from the doll’s hand, so, instead, she’d just gone along with it, staring up at the rainbow as she saw the dead end and felt the jolt that came with it.

After another couple of them, the doll asked, “How are you feeling?”

Lucy wasn’t really sure how to respond to that… The words barely registered in her mind, and when she opened her thumb-filled mouth to reply, the syllables that came out barely made sense one at a time, much less combined. “That’s what I thought,” the doll patted her on the head. Its clothes barely even counted as that anymore, the shirt having shortened enough to show off most of its well-toned stomach, the shorts almost looking more like panties, which she had to assume it wasn’t even bothering to wear underneath anymore.

When the doll turned around and started to head back the way they’d came, it almost didn’t register in Lucy’s mind, and while something about it felt wrong, she had no idea why. It was hard enough remembering how to walk, especially with her big, thick, full diaper between her legs… She really wanted to crawl instead, but then she couldn’t hold the doll’s hand.

“Do you remember this place?” the doll asked as they finally stepped out into a large, open room, with open doorways into many other parts of the maze. Lucy shook her head. “Of course not,” the doll chuckled, reaching down and wiping a little drool from the girl’s chin. “I should have expected as much from a brainless baby like you… Well, sweetie, that’s your home, right over there.” It pointed across the room, to a wall that Lucy had to admit did seem familiar. “That’s where you wanted to go, right? Home?”

Lucy nodded and babbled behind her thumb. Home did sound right… The doll smiled and nodded, starting to lead her across the room, only to stop partway through. “I’m sure you don’t remember how to get across here, either,” she said, and Lucy shook her head. “We have to be very careful here… You stay right here, sweetie, and I’ll show you how to do it, and then I’ll come back over and we’ll do it together… Then we’ll get you right where you belong, and I can go home, too. Won’t that be great?”

Lucy nodded, and the doll let go of her hand, taking a few steps forward. “We definitely don’t want to go any further than this,” it lectured. “It might look safe, but… Hey!”

Lucy bumbled forward, as quickly as she could manage, and shoved the doll with all of her might. It wobbled, glaring down at her. “And what do you think you’re doing, young lady?!” it demanded. “Do you need a spanking?!” Lucy frowned, pushing it again, hoping she had enough strength to make this work.

The doll had been right… For the most part. Most of her mind felt completely useless, making her at least feel brainless, and helpless… But, with the help of the rainbow, she’d been able to hold on to a few things. First, that she wasn’t meant to be dressed like this, in this frilly little pink dress, and that her companion wasn’t meant to be dressed as it was, either.

“You little brat!” the doll gasped as its foot slipped to the edge of the mud puddle, and, instantly, it began to be pulled under. Lucy stumbled, nearly falling in herself before she managed to stop herself, falling to the ground instead, diaper squishing beneath her.

Maybe that should have made her more scared, watching the doll struggling to pull itself back out of the mud that was sucking it in, that reminder that she was just a silly baby, stuck here on her own… Except, that was the second thing that she remembered. She hadn’t had an accident in her diaper after all, no matter how many times the doll tried to make her thing she had – successfully, for a while. That had been something else, and, while she couldn’t always remember what, she knew it wasn’t her fault, which made it all the more suspicious that the doll wanted her to think it was… Then, when they returned to this room, it helped her recall just enough to know how to get rid of the doll.

“You help me right now!” the doll demanded, reaching out, grabbing for Lucy. The girl scrambled backwards, away from the grasping hands… She didn’t have to go far, since, with every passing second, they seemed to grow shorter and shorter as the doll sank further and further into the puddle. “You stupid baby! You’ll never get out of here!” it screamed. “You’re going to be stuck here anyway… You could have at least let me go free!”

And, with that, it sank under the surface, and silence filled the maze. Lucy had a hard time fully comprehending everything the doll had said, though it did make her shiver, anyway, for some reason. She really wasn’t sure where she was supposed to go, or where she wanted to wind up; she did know she didn’t like the mud, however.

She turned back towards the corridor they’d just emerged from, trying to remember how to get back up on her feet. She was sure she knew how, but it seemed so complicated now… Eventually, she decided to crawl instead, making her way into the maze. The walls felt so much higher now, stretching up far above her head, and so long ahead of her… Had she made a mistake? Had the doll really been trying to help her after all?

She really began to fret over that once she hit a split in the path. Without the doll there to hold her hand, to tell her which way to go, she had no idea what to choose. She sat there for a few moments, tears streaming down her cheeks, wanting to suck her thumb, only to see how filthy her hands had gotten from crawling. Just as she was about to start bawling, she glanced upwards, finding the rainbow there.

She no longer remembered the difference between right and left, but she felt a slight tug, leading her towards one of the two halls. With nothing else to go on, she followed it, and then again at the next choice, and the next… Slowly, her mind began clearing itself, each path reminding her of something else she’d known for a long time, yet somehow completely forgotten in this place. After a couple, she awkwardly climbed to her feet, then, after that, her hair began to darken again, her clothes transforming, splitting back to a shirt and shorts from the dress they had become.

They never went beyond where they’d started, never evolved to something that didn’t look like they’d come from a five year old’s closet, but it was still a comfort to be back in them, to be able to remember picking them out herself. There was even a small comfort in feeling how tight the shorts were against her diaper, even with the load of mud in them, making her feel filthy – though, to be fair, she likely would have anyway, since her knees and hands were now also covered in mud from crawling.

Had it really been this simple from the start? She could remember coming into the cornfield now, thinking how she could use the rainbow overhead to guide her way, despite how unusually tall the corn seemed to be today… Somehow, she’d forgotten all about that, and gotten herself hopelessly lost. If she’d just trusted it from the start, it apparently would have been quite simple.

As if to prove that, she glanced up at the sky one last time, took one more turn, and, at last, she stepped out of the maze to the other side of the field. She turned around, but as soon as she’d stepped out, the corn had began to grow again, blocking out the entrance, turning into a solid wall of green. She couldn’t even see through it to her house on the other side…

Part of her was scared by that, but mostly, she was glad. Even though she should probably turn back – it had taken her far, far longer than it should have to get through the field – she didn’t really have a choice now. She couldn’t get back through, so she’d just have to go forward, into the forest… At least the hardest part was over now… Wasn’t it?


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The Other End of the Rainbow – Chapter 4

The Other End of the Rainbow – Chapter 4

Lucy stared at the doll, wishing there was somebody else there to talk to, to get their opinion… She looked behind herself, even though she knew there was nobody there – if she had seen anyone, it likely would have just made her more nervous – then turned back to the corn, and the doll stuck in it.

It didn’t look dangerous in the slightest, which made her feel even sillier for her reluctance. Clearly, as strange as this whole thing was, the doll was alive in some way, and in distress… Why wouldn’t she help it out? She was a good bit bigger than it, if something went wrong. Even if it didn’t help her, like it had promised, she doubted it could hinder her all that much.

“Okay,” she nodded, making her decision, stepping back towards the corn stalks. She grabbed for one of the leaves, wrapped around the doll’s leg. A small shock ran through her, making her yelp, but almost instantly the leaf uncurled itself, pulling back into the wall of corn. She pulled her hand back, too, surprised by the movement, then hesitantly touched the leaf around the other leg as well. This time, thankfully, there was no spark or sting, the leaf just shuddered and slid away.

In no time, the doll was free, the leaves that had held it captive putting up no resistance. Lucy easily caught the doll after the last leaf retreated, letting it hop down out of her arms and onto the ground, kneeling down to see it more easily.

“Fank yew so much!” the doll gave her a hug, its tiny arms barely wrapping around her leg. “I thought I’d be stuck thewe fowevew!”

“You’re welcome,” Lucy told it, deciding it was best to be polite. “Y-You can help me, can’t you? So that I’m not in this place forever? I’m not really supposed to be here, and I’m lost, and…”

“Oh, you poow baby,” the doll patted her knee condescendingly.

“I’m not a baby!” Lucy insisted, despite the damp diaper lurking, barely hidden, under her shorts.

“Sowwy, just an expwession,” the doll told her. “It’s a good thing you hewped me when you did… Neither of these paths lead out.”

“Really?” Lucy blushed, looking at the two openings she’d been running through over and over again. She wasn’t sure why she was surprised at this stage, considering she’d seen no evidence in her previous trips that either way was correct. “Then, what am I supposed to do?!”

“We hafta go thewe,” the doll pointed at the passages on the other side of the mud puddle.

Lucy squirmed, remembering watching the leaf get sucked down into the muck. “D-Do we have to?” she gulped.

“Don’t wowwy,” the doll smiled at her. “I know the way!”

It trotted off, Lucy trailing behind, heading towards the right side of the mud puddle, then hopping right in. Lucy gasped, half expecting it to sink instantly, despite how confident it had sounded; instead, it remained exactly where it had stepped, at least until it turned and beckoned to her. “Come on!”

Lucy bit down on her bottom lip, inching closer to the edge of the puddle, then stretching one foot out, gingerly lowering it right by the doll, half expecting the mud to come to life and rip it off her foot – maybe taking her whole leg with it. Instead, the ground felt solid, just as much as the rest of this maze. Holding her breath, she settled her weight down on that foot, following it with her other.

“Good job!” the doll complimented her. “Now, pay attention!” It hopped diagonally away, landing and staying on the surface in another spot. Lucy was still unsure, taking her time with that one, but when it didn’t dump her into the puddle, she began getting more and more confident, taking less time to step into the dirty abyss after the doll as it jumped to the side, forward, sometimes even backwards. Lucy felt sure they had to have crossed the whole thing at least once over, but the doll kept going… So, she followed. She had no clue what was happening, how this was working, so that seemed like the safest thing to do.

Finally, the doll hopped over to visibly solid ground on the other side, declaring, “Ta-da! That’s it!”

Lucy, glad to be done with this, did the same – too much so, it turned out. Instead of just stepping, she decided to jump as well, only for her foot to slip as it landed. With a gasp, she waved her arms, trying to regain her balance for a split second before falling backwards, right on her diapered backside.

It didn’t hurt – the diaper likely would have prevented most of that anyway – but that only made her worry more. There was very little impact when she hit the ground, as it seemed to ripple beneath her, and then try to suck her down, pulling her deeper into the puddle. Instantly, her slightly wet diaper flooded as she started to flail, her desperation growing all the worse when she felt warm mud flowing into her shorts, then past the legbands of her diaper, pouring inside, making her sink faster and faster.

“Help me!” she yelped, as if that little doll had any chance of doing anything for her.

It turned out, luckily enough, that she could. When Lucy’s panicked eyes turned to it, it was running back to her, a stalk of corn in its hands. Lucy grabbed at it, not even thinking that the most likely result of that would be her pulling the doll in with her, not until the exact opposite happened.

It wasn’t possible that something as small as the doll could be so brave – though, it wasn’t really any less possible than any of the other things that had occurred since she’d gone chasing after that rainbow. For a few moments, nothing happened, then she felt her body’s movement change direction. The mud resisted, trying to hold her tight, but, after a few tugs, Lucy nearly shot out of the puddle, tumbling forward, stumbling and falling onto her stomach with the sound of ripping.

She laid there, heart thumping, for a few minutes before daring to get back to her feet. She gasped when, while slowly standing, a couple scraps of pink slid down her legs, reaching for her shorts. She grabbed for what should have been the middle of them; however, that part of them was gone, no doubt sucked into the depths of the mud. Parts of the legs fluttered to the ground, streaked with mud, leaving her with nothing to cover a diaper that now had quite the sag to it, since it had also collected an awful lot of mud.

“Gross!” she squealed, wriggling in place. How was she supposed to deal with this?! Her diaper had already been pretty obvious, and – if she had any shred of good luck – she wouldn’t be running into anyone other than the doll in this maze, but she didn’t want to have to walk around like this! She didn’t trust the tapes on her diaper to hold up to a retaping, however, and the one thing she wanted less than to waddle around with her pants full of squishy mud was running around in just a t-shirt.

“Awe you okay?” the doll fretted, pacing in front of her.

“No,” Lucy pouted, grabbing at the remains of her shorts. There was no way to fashion anything useful out of them, so, instead, she tried to wipe the mud off the outside of her diaper as well as she could, then tossed the scraps to the puddle, watching them get almost instantly sucked under. “Where to?” she asked with a sigh.

The doll turned to the right, then the left, before pointing back in the first direction. “This way!” it declared. “Come on!” Lucy followed, wrinkling her nose as she waddled through the entryway.

“What… Who are you?” Lucy asked, finally. It didn’t make as much of a difference now, since she’d already trusted the doll, and it had saved her from the mud; the path seemed to stretch on for quite a ways, though, and it would be nice to have something to talk about.

“I’m not suwe,” the doll replied. “It’s hawd to think stwaight in hewe.”

Lucy nodded in agreement for a moment before the implications of that hit her. “But… You do know the way out, don’t you?”

“Of couwse!” the doll nodded. “That’s the onwy thing I was thinking about whiwe I was stuck, getting out of hewe!”

“So, you came from the other side of the field?” Lucy surmised. “Is the forest still there? I mean, it should be, but this field isn’t supposed to be this big, and…” They turned a corner, only to find a blank wall of corn. “A-And…” Lucy shook her head, trying to keep talking and pretend nothing was wrong, until the cloud of fog washed over her mind, making it go blank for a long moment.

“Awe you all wight?” the doll asked, snapping her out of it. “I’m sowwy, maybe my memowy isn’t as good as I thought…”

“I-I’m fine,” Lucy nodded, looking down at the thing – though, maybe, not quite as far down? Or was that her imagination? “We know it isn’t this way now, at least…” She felt a little better, having someone else with her, especially someone who didn’t seem to be affected by whatever was happening to Lucy. She didn’t have to worry about trying to remember which way she’d been anymore, so hopefully that would allow her to find her way out of here…

Lucy opened her mouth as they started walking again, wanting to continue her conversation before they’d been stopped, but she couldn’t recall what they’d been speaking about, and was too embarrassed to ask her companion. Instead, she chose a different question: “How long have you been here?”

“I weally don’t know,” the doll said. “Too long. Oh, wait, this is it!”

She turned, and Lucy trailed behind, waiting to see if she heard anything that would indicate the doll had made another mistake. She felt a bit bad, but the doll didn’t seem to be any worse for the wear after that last dead end, so hopefully, if there was another one, she’d just let Lucy know, then turn around.

After a couple seconds, Lucy followed, taking the corner, and finding another corridor of corn, with the doll already halfway down it. “Hold on!” Lucy called, trying to walk a little faster – it was hard, with her already thick diaper, now full of mud. “Sorry, I just… had to rest…”

“Don’t you want out of hewe?” the doll asked, sounding somewhat annoyed for the first time.

“Sorry,” Lucy repeated, blushing. “Do you not get tired? You have such little legs, I would think…”

They turned again, just as Lucy caught up with the doll. This time, almost immediately, Lucy saw the end of the path, trying to duck away, pretend she hadn’t intended to go that way. She squeezed her eyes shut, leaning against the wall of corn as her brain seemed to scramble inside her skull again.

“This place is confusing, isn’t it?” the doll stepped out from the short, pointless branch it had chosen, shaking its head. “I didn’t remember all of this… But don’t you worry, I’ll get us out!”

“O-Okay,” Lucy nodded, turning as the doll marched past her, then kept going. Lucy glanced back, in the direction she’d been facing which seemed to keep going… Wasn’t that the way they’d been headed? It was all starting to look the same to her… Probably, she’d just gotten mixed up when she backed out of that dead end…

She caught back up with the doll, thinking again that it seemed bigger. When she’d seen it hanging up, it had looked like a regular doll, hadn’t it? Her memory wasn’t so great anymore, yet surely she would have noticed if it was something that reached up to her waist… Maybe even a little higher. She also could have sworn that the diaper under the doll’s shorts had been pushing out against the pink fabric more, filling them with a lot more bulk…

She shook head head; that was silly. She’d just been projecting, seeing a doll that had a similar outfit to her, then assuming that it must also have been just as thickly diapered as she was… That was all there was to it.

“Here we go!” the doll announced. “This is definitely it!”

Lucy wasn’t sure how the doll knew that, since the opening looked just the same as every other one they passed, but she was willing to believe her guide… Only to find herself face to face with another dead end once they actually went in. She gasped, quivering as her knees threatened to give out.

“Silly girl,” the doll scolded her, taking her hand and guiding her back onto the main path. “Why did you go that way?”

“I… I-I just…” Lucy pouted, sniffling. Something about that accusation seemed wrong, but she couldn’t place what. “Sowwy…” she stared down at her feet, embarrassed.

“Just listen to me,” the doll urged. “I’ll get you where you need to be. Trust me.”

“Okay,” Lucy nodded, toddling after it. That had been what she was doing all along, hadn’t it? Why had she gone ahead and chosen a path herself? That was pretty dumb of her… She stared up at the doll, admiring it… It seemed so big and strong… It was really no taller than her, yet it seemed larger, somehow, more competent… Why would she ever want to go in front of it? This place was so huge and scary, and the doll was definitely big enough to protect her from anything she might run into inside…

Lucy shook her head, flipping a few strands of brown hair out of her face. For a moment, she thought nothing of it, then she reached up and grabbed it, pulling it back around where she could see it. Her hair hadn’t always been that color… Had it? Her mind was so mixed up at this point, she honestly couldn’t recall, but it didn’t seem right…

“This wooks famiwiaw,” Lucy looked around at the walls of corn, frowning, both at them and at the trouble she was having controlling her own tongue.

“Doesn’t it all, though?” the doll asked, and Lucy had to nod.

“B-But that weawwy does,” Lucy whined, watching the doll choose a path.

“Don’t be a scaredy-cat,” the doll urged. “You’ll never get out of here like that…”

“I’m not!” Lucy insisted, stomping forward. A moment later, she stumbled back, reaching a hand up to wipe her suddenly wet chin, only to feel it dampen again after another second. Was she… drooling? She shook head head, shivering as she watched the doll, staring up at it.

“No time for dawdling,” it told her. A wave of relief washed over Lucy – she’d been so sure she was going to get in trouble, somehow, that she was happy to just trot after the doll when it wasn’t mad. She reached up, taking the doll’s hand, though it was a struggle to keep up with its longer pace, especially when, after every few steps, she had to wipe her mouth with her free hand.

“This ought to do it,” the doll declared. “I think once we go through here, we’ll both be exactly where we need to be…”

Lucy gulped, her confidence in her companion not exactly waning, despite her bravery doing just that. She didn’t like those dead ends, the way they made her feel, and she didn’t want to have to do that again. She stared down at her feet and asked quietly, “C-Could you go ahead fiwst and check? I just… My feet awe huwting, so I thought I’d…” She shrugged sheepishly.

“Don’t you trust me?” the doll looked down at her with its shiny black eyes, which somehow looked hurt despite not having actually changed. “Sure, I made a couple wrong turns, but this place is huge, and I’m trying my best, and…”

“I do!” Lucy promised. “I just need to west.”

“Poor baby,” the doll shook its head.

“I’m not a baby!” Lucy let go of the doll’s hand to cross her arms.

“Oh, no?” the doll smirked. “You’re wearing a diaper, sweetie.”

“S-So are you!” Lucy blushed.

“Such an imagination…” the doll shook its head. It turned to Lucy, and, for the first time in a while, Lucy really looked at it. Its shirt was yellow, tied at the bottom right under the thing’s breasts, which seemed much bigger than any toy’s should be, exposing the doll’s belly button. The shorts were pink, though a darker shade than Lucy thought they should have been, and even smaller and tighter, to the point where, even before the doll unbuttoned them and pulled them down, exposing the lacy, black panties beneath, it was obvious there was no diaper there.

“Big girls don’t wear diapers,” the doll told her. “And they definitely don’t make poopies in them.” She reached behind Lucy, giving the diaper a pat. Lucy whimpered and wiggled, wanting to argue, positive that it wasn’t her fault, but unable to think of what else could have caused that huge mass in her pants.

“Don’t look so sad,” the doll said, reaching to Lucy’s shoulder, pulling a blonde pigtail from behind her back and setting it gently agaist her chest. “That’s just what babies do…”

“B-But…” Lucy sniffled. “I-I’m not…”

“You know what?” the doll said, reaching down and easily scooping Lucy up. Lucy squealed in surprise, looking down at herself, noticing only then that her shirt seemed to have grown, somehow, stretching out – though just barely – into a dress, albeit one that left her diaper quite visible underneath. Or had she been wearing this all along? It was so cute and frilly, it certainly seemed like something a baby like her would wear, and the sight of it, along with her blonde hair, were ringing a bell somewhere deep in her mind, making her sure she’d seen that combination somewhere… “Maybe you are ready…”

The doll stepped closer to the wall of corn, then extended her arms, with Lucy in them, towards the stalks. “Don’t you worry,” the doll cooed. “It’s time to rest…”

Lucy didn’t give it much thought, just let her eyes start drifting closed obediently, until she saw four large leaves extending outwards, reaching for her arms and her legs…


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The Other End of the Rainbow – Chapter 3

The Other End of the Rainbow – Chapter 3

Lucy wondered, for a moment, if this was some sort of new security system that the farmer had installed, before reminding herself of just how absurd that thought was. She’d never seen the corn do anything like this; nobody had ever seen corn act this way, she was pretty certain. It almost seemed like the corn was growing before her eyes, getting taller and taller the longer she stood there.

She stared up at the sky, shivering, its dark color and almost green clouds making her feel uncomfortable now, despite the bright rainbow still blazing through them. Something was definitely wrong, but she had no idea what it was, or how she could fix it, if it was even something that could be repaired. Mostly, she just wanted to get away from it all, but she couldn’t get back to her house now.

So, instead, she gathered her courage and stepped forward into the corn maze. She heard a scratching sound behind her and spun around to see more corn had sprung up, sealing her inside. She shivered, skin crawling at the sight, confirming, once and for all, that this was no ordinary field, as if there could have been any doubt about that. Even stranger, there was a doll hanging on the new cornstalks, arms splayed wide like a tiny scarecrow, though she doubted it would scare anyone. It was pretty normal sized for a doll, with golden hair and a cute, frilly pink dress, so short that it left the diaper underneath perfectly visible. The only thing disturbing about it was the beady, black eyes – and the fact that it had apparently appeared out of nowhere, without a speck of dirt on it.

“H-Hello?” she called out, not sure if she really wanted an answer or not. She doubted the farmer would be happy to find her walking through his field, even if it had gone crazy, but at the same time, she didn’t really want to have to go into this thing blind… If there was somebody else in there, maybe they could tell her which way was the right one… But there was no answer.

She walked forward towards the paths branching out from the entryway, peeking around the corners to see if there was any indication of where they might lead. She was still feeling apprehensive, and moving slowly; that was very fortunate for her, since it gave her time to notice when her velcro shoe was being tugged on and pull back before stepping with full force.

She looked down to see the puddle of mud she’d half stepped in stretch up with her foot before letting go and splashing back to the ground. She jumped back, heart pounding, almost wondering if it was a monster of some kind in disguise. Turning and running away sounded like a good plan, however, there wasn’t really anywhere to go, and for all she knew, there were more of these things in the maze.

She turned to one of the walls and, with some effort, ripped off one of the longer leaves, then knelt down, gently placing it into the puddle. Almost immediately, the leaf began to sink as if it weighed a ton, instead of virtually nothing, like it was being yanked into the mud. In the few seconds Lucy spent watching in horror as it was swallowed up completely, the corn stalk had grown back its leaf.

Was it quicksand? Lucy was pretty sure that didn’t happen around here… Did it happen at all anymore? It looked a little thicker than what she was used to on TV, but that was television, not real life. Not that this felt like real life… Either way, no matter what it was, she was determined to watch her step from here on in.

The puddle actually made her choice a little easier, since it stretched across almost the whole width of the path, limiting her access to just two paths. She could probably squeeze past it and get to the passageways she saw beyond, but at this point, the two she could get to were just as good as any of those. If they both led her to dead ends, she could worry about getting to the others; for the moment, she chose to go to the right. She seemed to remember hearing something once about running one of your hands along one of the walls in a maze to find the way out, but she couldn’t remember which wall, or which hand… Maybe she should have paid more attention; she’d never actually expected to find herself somewhere that sort of knowledge would come in handy. Instead, she just had to make a choice.

She glanced behind herself at the doll hanging there in the corn, part of her wanting to go grab it to have some sort of companionship on this journey, the rest of her thinking alternately of how strange this all was, that doll’s appearance very much included. Besides, she was an adult… She didn’t need some stupid doll to keep her company.

She marched forward, keeping her eyes down on the ground to look for any other mud puddles so she could be sure to avoid them. The path rounded a corner almost immediately, then went straight for a very long time, almost far enough to make Lucy wonder if she’d chosen right the first time, and this was taking her straight through the field and to the forest. After a while, however, there was a sharp turn back into the heart of the field, then another, and then a dead end.

She stopped in her tracks as soon as she saw the solid wall of corn stalks in front of her, a wave of disappointment washing over her. Disappointment and… something else… Her mind swam for a moment as she stumbled backwards, legs tangling up in each other, nearly making her fall flat on her backside. As soon as her brain stopped shaking, she scrambled away, her pace quickening as she ran back down the long corridor to the entryway.

Maybe it had been nothing… Maybe it was just her imagination, or frustration at having chosen the wrong path, and gone so far before realizing that. It felt like something more than that, however… She wasn’t sure how to describe it, but it still made her shiver to think about it as she stepped back into that first corn ‘room’. It was oddly comforting, looking around to see that same mud puddle, that other path on the opposite wall, that doll, with its yellow dress hanging there, watching her…

She furrowed her brow as she took a second look at it, feeling like something was different, although she couldn’t quite put her finger on it. Perhaps it looked a little bigger? No, it had to be her mind playing tricks on her… Again, she felt a brief desire to go grab the doll and take it with her, only to brush it off and head for the other path. Surely this one would take her further in… Or, if not, she was going to have to squeeze past that puddle after all.

She took it as a good sign that, after one turn, she was faced with another pair of pathways to choose from. Obviously, that didn’t mean that either of these would take her to the exit, but it wasn’t a dead end. It was the left path that had brought her here, so perhaps she ought to stick with that, and go with the left at this branch as well… Then again, that could be a trap, and this choice might require her to go right.

Just like before, what she could see of both looked basically the same, so she decided to go left – why not stick with what had worked so far? After the initial turn, the path became much curvier than any of the others she had been down, almost as if it were leading her in a spiral, or circle, rather than the mostly straight lines she’d seen so far. That was probably good, right?

The curve ended in an abrupt right angle, and then an opening onto what looked like a pretty large room, another fissure in the wall of corn almost straight ahead, on the other side of the room. It seemed familiar… Then again, it was all just corn, so the whole place looked quite similar. She hesitated anyway, her stomach twisting with the sense that something was wrong. She could always go back and take the other path where she’d branched off… But she could do that even if she went into this room first. There could be some sort of a hint here, or potentially even the exit itself…

So, she stepped out of the doorway, and immediately gasped, feeling that same sensation she had when she’d hit the dead end. She put her head in her hands with a whimper, standing perfectly still there for a few moments before she could look up, glad that there hadn’t been anything, or anyone, here to attack her while she’d been standing there, incapacitated.

She was feeling a little queasy even before she saw the room. On her right, the room stretched onwards, a few openings in the corn visible, although she’d have to pass a large mud puddle, taking up almost the whole width of the area, to get to them. Straight ahead of her was the path she had seen even before stepping into the room… And on the left, she saw the doll.

She was sure it was the same, despite something not looking quite the same. Could it be bigger? She shook her head, which was feeling a bit fuzzy. She’d thought the same thing last time… The doll had its brown hair, its short yellow dress – or was it meant to be a shirt? It was so tiny it could have been either, she supposed – and pink diaper cover. That was what it had always been wearing… Wasn’t it?

As she was staring at it, she could have sworn she saw it start to shake. She backed away, trying to tell herself it was just the wind, despite not feeling any breeze. It had to have been her imagination, then… She made herself turn away from the doll, looking at the rest of the room instead.

This was the place she’d started, she was certain of that. She hadn’t seen the path she’d taken converge with the original one, yet somehow she’d gotten turned around anyway. This place was even more confusing than she’d thought… She turned around to head back in, knowing now that she had to take the right path when she hit the split, only to stop to survey her surroundings again.

She was back on the right side of the room… She shook her head, turning around in a circle, hoping to spot something that would tell her otherwise, but nothing had changed. How could that be possible? The hall she’d just come from was nothing like the one she’d seen when she’d gone to the right the first time…

She’d known there was something different, strange, off about this place from the beginning, but now she was starting to think she had underestimated all of that. Could these paths lead somewhere different every time? Normally, the answer would be ‘Of course not’, but now…

On one hand, the idea was disheartening, since it meant there was no real solution, that she’d just have to keep trying and trying until she got lucky; on the other, it also meant she wouldn’t have to worry about getting past the mud. She had two doors to choose from, and either one could potentially be correct.

To test her theory, she went back down the path she’d just come from. There was a turn, and then a very long, very straight corridor that looked a lot like it had the first time she’d explored this way. “What is going on?!” she stomped her foot in frustration.

Still, she had no way of knowing, for sure, that this was exactly the same, not without going a little further. She trudged on, and on, until she finally had to take a corner. A short ways ahead of her, she saw another turn, and as soon as she saw it, she knew, for sure, that there was nothing but a dead end beyond it, just like the first time.

She spun around, half angry at herself for wasting all that time, half desperate to get away from that wall of corn she knew lurked just a few feet away, even though she couldn’t see it. As soon as she took a step back down the corridor in the other way, however, the feeling hit her anyway, making her fall to her knees with a yelp.

She stayed down for a few moments, before she could, at last, find the strength to push herself back up onto her feet. For a moment, she turned back and forth blankly, unsure which way she was supposed to go, before her memory cleared up. She almost ran her way back to the first room, although there was only so fast she could go with the bulky diaper brushing against her thighs and pushing them apart. She sank to the ground once she was back, panting for air, tears burning her eyes. Was she ever going to find her way out of here?!

She noticed the sound almost right away, although it didn’t register with her for a few moments, and it took a few more before she realized it was a voice. At first, she pulled her knees up to her chest, trying to hide, not wanting anyone to see her like this, but then she remembered that – embarrassing outfit or not – she had wanted to find someone else, someone to help her find her way out. There was safety in numbers, and maybe whoever else it was knew their way around better than her.

“H-Hello?” She lifted her head, slowly getting to her feet. “Where are you?!”

“Wight hewe!” the other voice squeaked. “Hewp!”

Lucy’s heart sank a little. If this other person wanted help, she doubted they would be able to provide much for her… She looked around, trying to figure out where the voice was coming from, but all she saw was the doll.

It definitely hadn’t been that big before, she was pretty sure of that… It looked about half her size, if not bigger. It was still shaking, though now the movement seemed different somehow, more deliberate, it’s black hair – the same as Lucy’s – shifting back and forth as if the doll was shaking its head. Lucy squinted, wondering how she’d ever mistaken the pink shorts it was wearing for a diaper cover… They were small, sure, but it was obvious what they were meant to be, and she wasn’t really in the position to say much about the length of shorts, considering her own weren’t doing much to mask her diaper. She also hadn’t noticed that the picture of the puppy on the doll’s shirt was exactly the same as the one on her’s. How could she have missed that?


Lucy jumped back as she saw the doll’s mouth move, its head turning towards her, black, beady eyes staring straight at her. No… This couldn’t be happening… It was a doll! “I-I can’t!” she stammered, feeling a brief spray of wetness dribble its way into her diaper at the sight as she dashed for the other side of the room. “S-Sorry!” All she had to do was go in there, and then go the other way at the fork, and surely that would lead her out… Or at least further in, where she wouldn’t have to come back to this room again…

She stopped in her tracks just outside the door. She just had to choose the other path… But which one was that? It hadn’t been that long ago, so she ought to remember, and yet, when she thought about it, all she could see was fog. She didn’t want to go in there without being certain, or else she might take the wrong doorway again, or if she turned back early, this place might punish her again…

“Come on,” she whimpered, bouncing on her toes as she struggled to force herself to remember. She’d taken the left path to get to the branch, and then she’d either gone left again, since that had worked out, or right, assuming that the maze wasn’t so easy that she could just keep going the same way each time… But which was it?!

“No,” she heard the doll behind her. “Sowwy, I-I didn’t say it wight… I want to hewp you!”

“Huh?” Lucy sniffled, chewing on her bottom lip as she turned back to the doll. “What was that?”

“I want to hewp you!” the doll repeated, wriggling in place. “Pwease, hewp me down!”

Lucy saw now that the leaves from the corn stalks had grown around the doll’s limbs, and that was what was keeping it hanging there. The thing still gave her the creeps a little, but it looked like it was as much a victim of this place as she was, though… “I-I thought you said you were going to help me…”

“I will,” the doll nodded. “You just hafta get me down fiwst…”

Lucy knew she should help – it was always good to help – though she couldn’t help but wonder, “How can you help?”

“I know the way out of hewe! Pwease, wet me hewp, ow you’ww be stuck hewe fowevew!”



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The Other End of the Rainbow – Chapter 2

The Other End of the Rainbow – Chapter 2

Lucy glared at the open doorway for a moment, her blood – and cheeks – boiling at the thought of that girl telling her to just stay there in her nightshirt and diaper, like a little toddler. She had no doubt Kari was enjoying all of this…

She sulkily stormed to her closet, ignoring the babysitter’s instructions, pulling out a pair of pink denim shorts and a yellow shirt with an adorable puppy on the front. The shorts were tight, pressing the diaper’s padding against her with every little movement, letting the padding peek out of the legholes, leaving her with a very obvious bulge. There wasn’t much she could do about it, unfortunately… These diapers were meant for bedtime, where her sleepers could easily accommodate them. Her daytime clothes usually only had to hide training pants.

She shook her head, glancing at her reflection in the mirror. She looked just as childish as she had in her nightshirt, maybe more… But Kari had told her not to do it, so the thought of defying her made her feel slightly better, at least until the smaller girl returned with a small, cartoon-decorated plate full of apple slices.

“What are you wearing?” Kari asked with a little pout. “You’re supposed to wait until you eat to dress up! What if you make a mess on your clothes?”

Lucy scowled. “I won’t!” she insisted, but that didn’t seem to satisfy the babysitter. She knew she shouldn’t care… But she was already going to be telling Mommy about her accident, and she didn’t want to give her even more ammunition. “B-Besides, I only put this on, ’cause…. Because I’m going outside to get the mail!”

“Ohh, okay,” Kari nodded. “I’m sure you’re not at all just going to play in the puddles… Are you allowed to do that on your own?”

“Of course!” Lucy huffed. “I do it every day! I’ll be back in a minute!”

She started to march out of the room, only for Kari to call, “Oh, Lulu?”

Lucy rolled her eyes, spinning back to the girl. “What?!”

“You need your shoesies, silly!” Kari giggled, holding up Lucy’s shoes. “Sit on your chair and I’ll get you taken care of.”

Lucy blushed deeper at having overlooked something so simple. “I… I can do it myself,” she said.

“Nonsense, get up here! I have to take care of my sweet girl!” Kari smiled, patting the pink, plastic chair. Lucy sighed and walked over to it, sitting down and letting Kari slide the shoes onto her feet, pulling the velcro straps tight and then smoothing them down into place.

“There, now we’re twins!” Kari laughed, lifting her own foot, which was clad in a velcro shoe of its own. Lucy felt the slightest pang of jealousy – her own shoes were just plain purple, while Kari’s were pink and sparkly, decorated with Disney Princesses. They were very clearly meant for kids, yet there was no denying that they were adorable. If you were going to wear those sorts of shoes anyway, you might as well go all out. “Except I know how to keep my panties dry,” Kari added with another giggle. “Aww, don’t be sad… Everybody learns at different rates… I’m sure you’ll get there someday!”

Lucy glared at her, seething. Part of her wanted to grab the smaller girl and shove her into her crib, watch her struggling to escape… Lucy had trouble getting out herself, there was no way Kari could do it. Lucy could leave her there until Kari agreed to give her the training pants back, or do whatever Lucy wanted, or until Kari wet herself. She had no doubt that wouldn’t take long at all…

But she knew her Mommy would be angry when she got home and Kari told on her. And there was no way the little brat wouldn’t tattle on her… A shiver ran up Lucy’s spine as she thought about the punishment she’d be in for after that. In all honesty, she wasn’t sure what Mommy would do, but she was the adult, so Lucy was sure it wouldn’t be pleasant. She even, despite herself, felt a pang of fear looking at little Kari, standing there, knowing that she was the babysitter, she was the one in charge, even though there was no doubt that Lucy could trap her right then and there and have the girl at her mercy.

“I’m going to get the mail,” Lucy pouted, stomping out of the room.

“I’ll find you a nice, dry outfit to change into when you’re done playing in the puddles!” Kari chirped, shuffling over to the closet and starting to dig through it.

Lucy didn’t particularly want to see what the girl was going to find for her; she had a feeling the rest of the day was pretty much already set now, as she heard Kari gasp and coo as she sifted through clothing. Lucy headed through the house, opening the front door to see that the rain had mostly moved on, leaving only a few slow drips as she stepped reluctantly out onto the porch. The sky was still dark, the clouds a strange, almost unnatural color, but they seemed mostly harmless at the moment.

They lived far enough outside of town that there weren’t many neighbors… However, that only meant that the ones they had knew her pretty well. She was pretty sure they’d all be at work right now, but if she was wrong… Her cheeks began to light up anew as she fidgeted, diaper crinkling loudly under the tiny shorts. She usually only wore these at night, at home, away from prying eyes… Now, without thinking, she’d volunteered to parade outside in them!

She stood still, biting her bottom lip. She could always claim the mail hadn’t gone yet, or that they hadn’t gotten anything… There was no law saying she had to go out there in the open. On the other hand, if she didn’t, she either had to go inside and risk Kari hearing the front door open again and go play dress-up with her, or stand here on the porch, which wasn’t that much better if anyone really was watching her. She might as well get this over with…

She sighed, bracing herself for a split second before hopping down the two steps of the porch onto the sidewalk, splashing cold rainwater onto her bare legs, making her giggle quietly before she took off. The front yard wasn’t huge, but it was long enough that she had some ground to cover before she could turn around and run back to the door. Her heart pounded as she moved, her speed slowed by the bulk between her legs, her face heating up as each rushed step caused a new crinkle.

There was still no sign of anybody else on the street as she reached the mailbox, nearly falling as she tried to stop and turn at the same time so she could yank open the door. She hadn’t been expecting anything, though it was still disappointing to look in and see what looked like a bunch of boring bills and ads, nothing exciting at all. She was starting to reach inside to grab it all and make a run for home when she glanced up and behind the mailbox, behind her house, up into the sky.

It was there. Her thumping heart stopped for a moment as her jaw fell open. Streaking across the sky, brighter than any she’d seen before, with the possible exception of one, was a rainbow. She shouldn’t have been surprised – after all, she was an adult, she knew how and when rainbows appeared – but this one was different. She could tell just by looking at it.

Her eyes darted back towards the house; Kari was probably still looking through her clothes. Surely, she’d be none the wiser… She looked back at the rainbow, its colors still standing out against the dark clouds like lasers, as if they were there to guide her away, to where it ended…

She remembered being an actual kid, running through these fields behind her house, trying to find that end, and the pot of gold she knew had to be hidden there. She was an adult now, even if her clothes might not make it evident… But this was no ordinary rainbow. She was sure, if she looked hard enough now, she could see exactly where that rainbow landed, out there in the woods… She couldn’t really see it, no matter how hard she squinted, yet she had no doubt she knew the spot well.

She could see it in her mind’s eye, if not her physical ones: a large, circular clearing in the middle of the woods, with no stumps, no holes, nothing to indicate that any trees had ever grown there, despite being all around. Growing up, the kids had always said it was a spot where witches gathered to do dark ceremonies, summon demons, do whatever else it was that witches did… Lucy had never believed it – or she’d never admitted to it – but whenever she walked through the forest, she always tried to avoid it as much as possible.

She’d been there, of course, as a meeting place for illicit teenage parties, or a place where friends had insisted on playing with Ouija boards – she’d always been more scared of what the other girls would think if she refused to show up than of any actual danger that might be lurking there – and some other desperate, futile trips; for the most part, she didn’t like to step foot in it if she could avoid it. She could see it, though, practically glowing in the rainbow’s light, lit up in every color at once.

And there, in the center, the pot of gold that would give her one wish. Most anyone else her age would say it was silly to believe, but all she had to do was think of that image in her mind of the circle… It had to be there. It just had to.

It wasn’t far out to the circle… She could check it out, just to make sure, and be back… Well, definitely before Mommy got home. Kari would surely notice eventually, but she thought Lucy was out playing in the puddles, as if she really were just a silly little kid. Surely, Lucy could get far enough away from the house before the girl wondered where she was and began looking out in the yard… And, if she found that gold and got her wish, then it wouldn’t matter if Kari would have tattled on her for ‘running away’…

She didn’t even bother closing the mailbox door as she brushed past, eyes fixed firmly on the rainbow blazing through the sky. She was pretty sure Mommy paid most of those bills automatically, and nobody cared about those ads – there were more important things on her mind as she snuck around her house and broke into a jog through the back yard and into the tall fields of corn beyond that.

They’d been getting quite a bit of rain recently, including that day, and the corn had been soaking it all in, apparently. It had also been a long time since Lucy had bothered to go out to the woods, but she was certain she still remembered the way… Didn’t she?

Her Mommy, and all the parents in the houses around there, had always warned her not to play around in the fields. It was dangerous, they said, lots of farm machinery or whatever that could hurt them… She’d also heard plenty of stories about the farmer who owned the field, who she’d never met. Supposedly, he hated trespassers… There was a path to the woods if you went all the way around the field, but nobody ever used that, even if they were supposed to.

Lucy certainly hadn’t planned on it, since it would take far longer than just cutting through the field. The further she went in, however, the taller the corn seemed, and denser… It almost felt like it was forming walls all around her, trapping her inside. She could barely see through them, and while she could look up and see the rainbow to figure out the general direction, that was about it.

It started getting harder and harder to push through the stalks leading her towards the woods, until, finally, she tried to push them aside, and they refused to budge. She frowned, trying again with the same result. She frowned and kicked at the corn with her muddy tennis shoes; that didn’t help, either.

Maybe Mommy was right this time… Maybe, at least this time of year, it was better not to bother with the field. As she turned back towards her house, however, she saw that the corn had formed just as solid a wall there, too. She gasped, turning in a circle, seeing that she was boxed in on all sides but one… That one side led to what seemed like a long corridor, with a few empty spaces leading to other corridors… It looked, for all the world, like a maze…. And, from what she could see, the only way out of here was to go through.




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