"Doctor? Your next patient is here," my secretary's voice says through the walkie talkie—I would prefer a phone, but they don't typically work at this size.
"Tell them to get in," I reply, then I start cleaning the last patient's saliva off. There's a particularly tricky strand behind my ear, but I get it out right as I hear the wind chime on the door indicating my new patient is here.
Upon turning around, I'm shocked to see a familiar face. Max, my godson, is staring straight at me, his eyes shining with glee. His face occupies most of my field of vision.
"Whoooah, you really are small!" He says and laugh. In my line of work, I shrink myself to heal patients' teeth, so it's far from the first time I interact with a titanic person, but it's rarely someone I know. When shrunken, the human body becomes an alien world, full of valleys and mountains, and full of nook and crannies even the body's proprietor has no idea exist. So, looking up at the building-sized face of the very same boy I usually looked down upon is a surreal experience.
"Max has a toothache, so I figured he'd like to see you at work," Max's father, my childhood best friend Luis, chimes in.
I bring the walkie talkie to my lips and press a button redirecting my voice into wall-mounted speakers.
"He won't see anything anyway, all patients are put to sleep," I explain. Instantly, Max's disappointment is obvious.
"But I don't want to sleep! Dad, please, oh please, you must tell him he can't make me!"
Luis looms closer, towering over me and staring down at me in a way that sends shivers up my spine. "Come on, little buddy, Max really wants the full experience. You can't say no to that, right?"
Suddenly, Max's gigantic hands slam on each side of me and he brings his face uncomfortably close. "Yeah, that's right!" His chocolate-smelling breath washes over me, making my knees almost buckle. If his hands had landed even two inches closer, I would be… would have been..
I force myself to regain my composure. Although Luis and Max's faces, looming high in my sky, still make me feel overwhelmed, I am sure I can trust them.
"Okay, fine," I sigh into the walkie talkie. "But Luis, I am counting on you to keep me safe."
Luis gives me a thumbs up and Max pumps the air triumphantly, sending tremors that nearly knock me off my feet.
Being that size around live humans really puts me on edge. I must stop worrying so much, I decide.
A minute later, when Max is installed in the patients’ chair, strapped down do he can’t move his head too much, I step on a small platform that takes off in the air and hovers in front of the kid’s mouth. It is a surreal sight, as it is forcefully kept open by metal bars installed between the teeth. All I can see is the vast plain of Max’s tongue bordered by his pearly teeth; unlike normal patients, this tongue is wiggling and pulsating instead of immobile in sleep. It makes me worry, but I steel my resolve and step inside.
Around my waist, I have a strong rope keeping me anchored to the outside world, and in my hand my trusty walkie talkie. I’ll be fine.
I take a few steps on the tongue and quickly sink to my calves in the soft ground, which reacts with jitters to the feeling of my tiny feet. I saw Max gulping down countless meals at home, but I never thought I would be treading the same ground as his food. Maybe I should ask him how I taste, once I’m grown back and safe. I welcome the usual warmth and dampness as strands of my godson’s saliva drape over me.
The tongue suddenly jerks up, sending me sprawling into it. I roll uncontrollably until my safety rope stops me when it becomes fully tense. By then, I am hanging just above the chasm of Max’s throat, his uvula ornating the sky over me. I cough and sputter saliva and talk in the walkie talkie: “P-please stop talking!”
“Unca? Yuu okey unca?” he voices with difficulty, yanking on the rope with each movement of his tongue. The sound vibrates all around me, nearly making me deaf.
But when he says the last word of his confused sentence, I feel more than I hear a sound I dreaded my whole life. A rope snapping.
Suddenly left without my safety harness, I plummet down into the child’s gullet. My last hope he would cough me up disappears when I hear a sound of deglutition and gobs of saliva fall on top of me. Maybe I’m just too small for Max to feel me, or maybe Max just couldn’t help but swallow—after all, all kids struggle to refrain from swallowing their saliva at the dentist. But rarely do dentists go down a patient’s throat with the saliva!
The deep red wall of Max’s throat closes up around me and an intense feeling of suction pulls me down into the darkness of my godson’s esophagus.
I choke back another round of tears and hold tight onto the slimy wall of Max's stomach. It feels repulsive, so soft and squishy, and my work gloves are sizzling from being—I want to throw up at the mere idea—digested. But, given how much Max is moving, it's the only option to avoid diving head first into the pool of stomach acid.
When I get out of there, Luis will owe me a lifetime of free beers, I decide.
The sound of a door opening, then Luis' voice rumbling through Max reaches me.
"Max? What happened?"
Max's reply makes me wince in pain, as his voice is reverberated a hundredfold through his own body—it feels like the entire space of his stomach is one giant speaker conveying the giant's voice.
"I-I don't know…!" He says. He is sobbing. "I swallowed, and… and then…!"
The fumes of the stomach, or perhaps the lack of oxygen, are starting to make me feel light-headed, and my hands are starting to hurt, as my gloves have been digested out of existence. But I'm not too worried—although we never used them, we have drugs to make patient throw up in case of emergency. As soon as Luis tells my secretary what happened…
"...Nobody can know," Luis suddenly said, taking me aback.
"W-Why?" Max reacted with a hiccup.
"If we tell people, we will go to prison. It's important you remember, Max: When we left the office, he was fine and waiting for his next patient, and we don't know what happened. "
For the first time, I realize just how dire my position is. I try to punch the pulsating wall in front of me, but pain stops me. My hands are raw. So are my feet, I notice, as it is getting challenging to just remain standing.
Max and Luis must be on the move, as my prison starts jiggling and moving violently. I hear the rumble of a car as a splash of gastric acid brings me to my knees.
"You… You fuckin...g… bastard…" is all I manage to say before all becomes dark.
So great story!
Thank you for sharing it!
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