Sam didn't know how long he'd been in the dark. While certainly at least an hour had passed, he was hungry enough that every minute felt like sixty. He heard a door open in the distance, followed by a series of thundering footfalls that grew louder until nearly upon him. After a brief, unsettling stillness, the ground shuddered beneath his feet and the sky burst open, assaulting him with light. When his vision adjusted, he found himself gazing up at a colossal housemaid who loomed over him like a living mountain. She wore a gray uniform with a white tiara, and her brown eyes regarded him with disdainful curiosity.
Hyojung opened her drawer to find her older sister's ex-boyfriend five inches tall, naked, and wrapped in her least favorite pair of gray cotton panties. Her first impulse was to snatch them away, but she did not want to touch him. Without a better plan, she yelled, "Get out of those!"
Sam held up his hands, overjoyed at being found. "Thank goodness! I've been stuck in here for who knows how long. It was getting hard to breathe!"
"Gross! What is wrong with you?"
"Well, it looks like I'm about five inches tall."
"No! Why are you in my underwear drawer?"
"Can you talk softer?" Sam asked, covering his ears. "Your voice is like thunder."
"Excuse me?" Hyojung scoffed. "You sound like a cartoon!"
Sam cleared his throat. "It's not like I can help it. But, seriously, can you keep your voice down? The last thing we need is Jeong-hee walking in on this."
"What even is 'this?' All I see is the lamest of my sister's recent boyfriends—"
"—scampering through my clothes drawer like some kind of creeper gnome."
"Aren't you at all wondering why or how I'm five inches tall?'"
"No, because I can think of non-perverted explanations for that."
Sam sighed. "Your sister shrunk me because she saw a text from one of my exes. She made me live in her room for weeks. I finally escaped and—"
Hyojung scoffed. "If my sister could shrink people, she would have had me living in a cage long ago. Try again."
"Okay, fine. I found a magic calico cat that granted wishes, but I think I made it mad because it looked at me real mean, with this crooked little kitty glare. Then it hissed all angry-like."
Hyojung shook her head, incredulous.
"I tried this new off-brand of soda from a magic food truck. The next morning, I realized I was steadily shrinking. I tried to go back, but—"
"It had mysteriously disappeared!" Hyojung finished in mock surprise. "Yeah, I read that Goosebumps book too. And that still doesn't explain why you're in my underwear drawer."
"Okay! Okay! So, I was walking down by the train tracks and fell into a magic teleportation tunnel. Technically it was a teleportation funnel, kind of like in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory—"
"And of all the people in the world who could have found this magic funnel to my panties, it was my sister's ex. You know what? I do all the laundry anyways. I'm going to put you in Jeong-hee's drawer and leave you there for her to find."
"No! Jeong-hee is merciless!"
"Oh, grow a pair."
"She forced you to be her maid to let you live with her!"
"Of course it sounds weird when you say it like that. Besides, she didn't have to take me in. She could have let me live on the street."
"See, the fact that you even say that is—"
"Fine! Let's go. I only have about fifteen minutes before I have to start dinner, and I want you gone before then." Hyojung extracted her black maid's gloves from the pocket of her folded apron and slipped them on. "I’m not touching you with my bare hands."
"I'm not naked!" Sam stood up, showing how he'd fashioned her underwear into a sarong. "What do you think?"
Hyojung grimaced. "I think the sooner I get you in and out of my hands, the sooner I can repress this memory." She reached behind Sam and scooped him up, giggling as she did so. "You're so light! Like a hairless mouse."
Sam clung to her fingers. "Just don't drop me!"
"No promises," Hyojung stood up, the rapid rise turning Sam's stomach. He again found himself gazing into Hyojung's face, which was roughly the size of a king-sized mattress. From up close, he recognized traces of her sister, though she lacked Jeong-hee's soft, malicious glow. Hyojung cupped Sam in her hands and held him at arm's length as she walked towards her door. "What did you even wish for, anyway?" she whispered.
Hyojung rolled her eyes."On the magic wishing cat."
"Why is that important?"
"I don't know. Maybe I just feel like knowing why you ended up in my underwear drawer is somehow key to handling this situation."
"It had nothing to do with your underwear drawer."
"Just my underwear."
"Look that's not—"
Hyojung reached for the doorknob just as they heard the front door open. She gripped her hand around Sam, expelling the air from his body. "Hanyeo!" her sister shouted. "Where are you, maid girl?"
"Shit, Jeong-hee's home early! Here, hide in my—" Hyojung reached down only to remember she'd taken off her apron.
"Hey! Hanyeo! Are you taking a break or something?" The clicking of high-heels on the hardwood floor grew louder as she approached.
"Please!" Sam pleaded. "Don't let her see me!"
Hyojung bit her lip. "Try not to move around too much, okay?" Sam did not have time to protest before he was, once again, plunged into darkness. A moment later, Jeong-hee burst in, the door missing Hyojung's nose by inches.
"Hey, hanyeo! I want stir-fried noodles for dinner."
Hyojung nodded. "Mm-hmm."
Jeong-hee sneered as she studied her sister's ensemble. "That uniform looks like it's getting tight on you. Have you put on weight?"
Hyojung shook her head and shrugged.
"It's because you're always eating. Well, I'm not buying another uniform. You'll have to keep wearing that one if you get too fat for it."
Hyojung bowed reluctantly. "Mm-hmm."
Jeong-hee leaned against the doorway. Her trim figure poured into low-rise jeans and a red mini-tee. "By the way, I don't suppose Sam dropped by?"
Hyojung's lips parted ever-so-slightly. "Hoo?"
"Sam. Boring, bad kisser, decent car. I broke up with him last weekend."
Hyojung frowned. "Mm-mm."
"He still hasn't gotten the message that we're through. He was so desperate to get laid he even asked me if you were available."
Hyojung's eyebrows shot up, her mouth sneaking open before she sucked her lips shut.
"This was after I dumped him, mind you. Don't worry. I told him you were too busy for a relationship right now. Pretty on-the-nose, wouldn't you say?"
Hyojung nodded. "Mm-hmm."
Jeong-hee frowned. "Why aren't you talking?"
"Is there something in your mouth? Are you eating again?"
Hyojung shook her head. "Hmm."
"Are you hiding something in your mouth?" Hyojung started to shake her head again, but Jeong-hee grabbed her by the neck. "Give it to me or swallow it. Now."
Jeong-hee balled her other hand into a fist. "You have two seconds to decide before I punch you very hard in the stomach."
Hyojung squeezed her eyes shut and swallowed, visibly struggling to do so. Jeong-hee's bright pink lips stretched into a saccharine grin, and she relaxed her grip on her sister's throat. "That wasn't so hard, was it?" She raised an expectant eyebrow, and a pale Hyojung opened her mouth to display its empty contents. Jeong-hee nodded and stepped back. "You look much better now that you've eaten something."
"Also, if Sam stops by, tell him I don't want to see him again. Ever."
Hyojung gagged softly.
"I'm going to take a bath. No more snacking until dinner, okay?" Jeong-hee winked and headed to the bathroom, shutting the door. Hyojung listened for the sound of running water before lifting her skirt and extracting Sam from between her thighs. He was drenched in sweat and struggling to catch his breath.
"Thank you...for not putting me in your...mouth."
"You're welcome," Hyojung rubbed her jaw. "Ugh, that hurt."
"Why did you even do that? What was in your mouth?"
"Nothing, but she left us alone, didn't she? Jeong-hee is not one to linger after terrorizing the help."
Sam bowed with gratitude. "Thank you so much."
"I still don't believe she shrank you," Hyojung said, hurrying to the front door and opening it. "But whatever. None of this is my problem anymore. You said you got it from here?"
Sam looked around outside and nodded. "Sure, just put me down at the bottom of the steps, please."
Hyojung shrugged and crouched down, letting Sam slide from her hands to the ground below. She no sooner let him go than a calico cat trotted up the driveway and up to the porch. It approached Sam and sniffed him before meowing derisively.
Sam sighed. "Yes, I've learned my lesson, if that's what you're asking."
The calico cat yowled and, in what seemed an instant, Sam had grown back to his original height. While thrilled to be returned to normal, a fierce draft reminded him he was standing in public wearing only women's underwear. He looked to Hyojung, who shook her head dismissively. "I think I've helped you enough for today," she said. "I don't want to be responsible for Jeong-hee seeing you again. And besides, it looks like you got your wish to 'get into her sister's pants.'"
Sam's mouth dropped open. "Wait! I didn't mean—"
"You can keep the panties, by the way," Hyojung said, shutting the door in his face. She paused to take a breath and began to remove her gloves when she noticed the calico cat had slipped inside, still purring at her feet. I'd better watch my mouth around this one, she thought.
The bathroom door swung open.
"Hanyeo!" her sister shouted. "The bathtub is dirty. I need you to clean it before I—awwwwwww! Who is this?" Jeong-hee's face lit up with delight at the sight of the cat at her sister's feet. She crouched down and raised her hands above her head, mimicking cat ears. "Meow-meow? Meow-meow meow?"
The calico cat hissed, then yowled.