“So you’re trying to work out a shrinking vignette.”
I start at the voice just over my shoulder and look up from my keyboard. It’s her, of course: my coyote muse. A head shorter than me, androgynous but always reading as female. And always tweaking me in ways I didn’t fully understand. I don’t know how many other people would call her beautiful, sexy, or, well, inspiring, but I can’t help it.
This time, at least she’s fully clothed…um. No, “fully” overstates it considerably. A red négligée, highlighting the reddish gold of her eyes, doesn’t truly cover much of anything. The matching panties and bra don’t, either. This is an entirely reading-as-female look.
“Well, it was an idea. I haven’t done one in a while.”
She straightens up, waving her clove cigarette in the air. This time, it’s not lit, but it still gives off a sweet, spicy scent. “Working out frustrations.”
My tail lashes. “I didn’t say that.”
“You don’t have to. It’s a muse thing. So.” She tilts her head, focusing those liquid eyes on me and utterly trapping me with them for a moment. “Who’s doing the shrinking, and who’s being shrunk?”
“That’s what I’m trying to think of.”
She starts slowly pacing, digitigrade paws nearly silent on the carpeted floor. “You like role reversal, so you’re thinking a predator-prey flip.”
“Maybe.” I glance at the editor window, readjusting my glasses. The notes read, Cat giantess? Mouse predator?
“Maybe,” she echoes, moving back to put a hand on my left shoulder and look over my right. “Ah, your favorite standby. Come on, think of some other options beyond that. You always go right for the vore.”
“I do not! It’s just a great…” I lose my train of thought as she tilts her head up, nose to the ceiling, and swallows. A visibly squirming lump passes down her throat with a muffled, terrified feline squeal. It sounds an awful lot like my own voice.
She looks back at me with the barest hint of a toothy smile. “It’s just a great scene to end with.”
“Yes.” My voice gets a little hoarse as I look straight up into her eyes. Wait, straight up? “I don’t have…uh…a character in a context with a problem.”
“The vignette is just about the image and the fetish. If you need more, it’ll come to you.” She snaps the fingers of her free hand over my nose. “Other options.”
“Ah…ah…the big one could keep the little one as a toy for the night.”
“That’s the ‘just toy with’ option, isn’t it?”
“Maybe. There’s…uh…pet…” Is she growing, or am I shrinking?
“So the evil cat girl might end up a pet. What else?”
I get to my feet, and I have to slide out of the chair to do so. That answers that. I stand nose to belly button with her. My tail lashes more wildly. “I don’t know! Collared?”
“That’s just ‘pet’ again. Don’t get stuck in a groove.”
“When have I done leash and collar?” I’m not quite up to her hip now, was I?
“You’ve played with it before. But that suggests the shrinking isn’t a crime of opportunity, doesn’t it? The big one planned this.” The coyote leans over toward me, her négligée falling open, almost around me, her hand coming to my neck–
Click. The leash in her hand locks to the D-ring on the collar I hadn’t been wearing. Now it seems it’s all I’m wearing. I squeak in surprise.
She straightens up, turning away and resuming her slow pace, the end of the leash in her left hand. In a few paces, it pulls taut, forcing me to follow, ducking her gigantic tail occasionally as it slowly wags. “So why’d the big one want her friend as a pet?”
“W-we don’t know if they’re friends.” I tug futilely at the leash; my muse pretends not to notice. Maybe she isn’t pretending.
“Say they are. What then?”
“She—uh—always secretly had a crush on the one she was shrinking.”
She turns, tail swirling gracefully, and points at me with the cigarette as she stares down at my barely knee-high form. “And what about the shrinking one? Did she secretly have a crush on the one dominating her?”
I swallow, ears folding back. “I—maybe—maybe she did.”
“So she wants to be a pet to another more powerful predator.”
“Maybe the thought’s occurred to her, but, you know…” But, you know, all thoughts occur to her, since she’s the writer. Even thoughts of a casually dominant, arbitrarily powerful coyote spirit who might want to make me—I mean, make someone—her—
“Her pet for the day.” She leans way over this time, very lithely, grinning with teeth bigger than my hands. “I like that. Maybe the little one got herself into this situation somehow.”
“M-maybe.” I tug at the collar; this time it’s loose. I’m still shrinking.
The coyote starts pacing again, this time toward me. I yelp, trying to stay out of the way of her paws. The leash makes it doubly hard. “But the problem is…”
I stumble, and the collar comes off over my head. I stagger, catching my breath.
My muse paces on for a few steps, then turns around again, pacing even more slowly toward me, although she’s not looking down now. “Is?”
I know it’s a prompt, but I’m trying to measure myself against those huge digitigrade paws. They’re even bigger than they had been just a minute ago. I mean, I’m even smaller. “I’m still shrinking!”
“Yes, good idea. It’s all about shrinking. From lap pet to doll.” She stabs the cigarette toward my desk, still not looking down as she continues to walk toward me.
I back up, eyes wide. “But that just makes me, uh, gets us back to toy!”
“Maybe. But keep thinking.” Her paws thump closer. I’m even smaller. “Did the big one want the shrinking to go on indefinitely?”
I’m backing up more hurriedly, or at least trying to. The carpet is more like tall grass. Taller grass. “I-I think, uh, uh, she didn’t know what would happen—”
“And it’s so easy for the big one to just lose track of the little one.” Her left paw rises, and I can tell it’s going to come down right on top of me.
I run to the side, but I can’t possibly make it. “I’m right here! I’m right here!” I shriek as the light’s cut off by the descending step.
I leap—but just hit her pebbled paw pad. I tumble back, sprawled on my back, and don’t even have time for a scream before her step comes down. I’m mashed into the carpet, pinned in place, crushed enough that I can barely breathe—and I can tell she’s putting almost no weight onto that paw.
“Now.” Between the noise dampening of the heavy, deceptively soft paw all around me and the thudding of my own heart, I can barely hear her voice. “If she accidentally steps on the little one, can she feel it? Does she care if she does, or will she just step down more to feel the squirming?”
The pressure increases. I push up futilely with all my strength. “Yes,” her voice rumbles from an increasing distance, “I think she likes feeling the squirming.”
I’m still shrinking, I can tell, but she’s pressing down faster than I’m getting smaller. I squirm until I can’t.
And abruptly I’m back in my chair, panting hard, aching all over. The coyote stands a couple of feet away, positively grinding her paw down on the carpet, head tilted back with a lustful expression.
After a few seconds, she stops, looking straight at me, and grins wickedly. “Oops,” she whispers. “I guess she’ll need to get a few more littles to practice with, won’t she?” She leans forward, whispering in my ear. “Fortunately, she knows where to get her favorite. Over and over and over.”
I slide out of my seat to the floor, staring up at her.
“Get back to writing,” she murmurs, smirking down at me as she walks past. “I’ll be back if you need help.” She licks her lips. “Or when I get hungry.”
© 2021 Arilin Thorferra