"Let me just find the switch..." Veruca said, when her mind could work again. Her hands nervously patted at the mirrored wall behind her, trying to remember how she'd gotten out before, but this time, her hand went right through her reflection. She gasped and fell forward, hands slamming against the mirrored floor to keep herself from cracking her face against it, and it rippled beneath her like a solid puddle.
Frank pulled her to her feet and turned her around as the others started to edge past her. "Look at the walls," he instructed, and while it was hard to tell where any of those began or ended, she could see areas in the endless reflections that seemed to be melting, almost, falling away as the room expanded infinitely outward. "What is going on?"
"Did you slip us all something?" Diane demanded of Scruffy, but he was frozen in fear, clutching the dog desperately.
Only for another second or two, however. "Let's get outta here!" he yelled, out of nowhere, making Veruca jump in surprise as he took off, running right into what should have been a wall, but, of course, wasn't anymore.
A few of the ghosts - one in a bloody butcher's apron, a cleaver wedged in his back, another in a fancy suit, with half his face gone from what Veruca guessed was a gunshot - chased after him and the dog, who had followed obediently. "Scruffy!" Frank called after him, and, a moment later, Scruffy and the dog reappeared from the other side of the room, skidding to a stop as he saw the ghosts in front of him. "Scruffy, wait!"
"What are you doing?" Diane hissed, grabbing Frank's arm as he moved toward his friend.
"We can't just leave him alone!" Frank declared. "We have to help him!"
He hurried after him, barreling through the collection of spooks and pushing Scruffy out of the way of a whip, cracked by a rather large woman in leather. Instead of propelling him backwards, however, they sank through the floor, with more ghosts stomping after them, vanishing downward as if they were stomping across a pool from the shallow end to the deep.
"Frank!" Diane screamed, moving toward him. Some deep recess of Veruca's mind was conscious enough to reach out and grab her before she could get too far, while the rest of her brain was too busy trying to process what was happening, and how her plan had gone so very wrong so quickly. Her head wasn't screwed on quite well enough to come up with a justification for stopping Diane that she could actually tell the other girl, but it didn't matter, since, by the time Diane was turning to give her a dirty look, the remaining ghosts were coming after them, and she was dragging Diane away.
"Stop it!" Diane protested, pulling away. "I'm not just leaving him!"
"You can't go back there!" Veruca pleaded, but clearly she was wrong, as Diane went running towards the collection of ghosts on their tail. A man with one arm torn bloodily off, and held in his other arm, and a woman whose skin had a blueish color, even as a ghost, went after her, while another woman, in a white dress and apron, with a rather large bosom and blood staining the bottom of her dress continued towards Veruca with an air of fierce determination in her dead eyes.
Veruca cursed under her breath, then turned and ran in the opposite direction of Diane. Since they didn't really need them to move, she wasn't sure if there was any direct correlation to the tallness of a ghost, and thus how long their legs were, to how quickly they moved, but the speed at which she sensed this one getting closer to her compared to how slow she was moving would seem to indicate that she was significantly shorter than it, like comparing the gait of an adult and a child. That, combined with her diaper, made her feel quite small and helpless, which only scared her all the more.
After a few moments, she took a quick turn, and found herself nearly running straight into Diane. Determined not to lose her again, she grabbed her and pulled her back in the opposite direction, as her two ghosts were advancing rather quickly on them. This time, Diane cooperated with her, running alongside her. The whole place was disorienting, hard to figure out where you were going, or where you'd come from, since everything was mirrored, but they just kept going. Every once in a while, they'd catch a glimpse of the guys and go towards them, but almost as soon as they did, a ghost or two would seem to appear right in front of them and they'd have to backtrack, or turn and head another direction. No matter where they went, they never seemed to run out of room, the reflections just stretching on further and further away.
But it didn't seem to make any difference how long they ran, or in what direction. The ghosts always showed back up sooner or later. It was inevitable that they were going to get caught, Veruca knew - it was only a matter of time and luck. And their luck ran out as they turned away from one group of ghosts and ran straight into the man in the suit. They split, but his arms seemed to grow as he enveloped them. Everything went dark for a moment, and then they were in an office. It was still in the mirror world - the windows looked out into the endless sea of reflection, and the ceiling and floor were mirrors as well, making it seem like the four walls were floating freely, not really attached to anything - yet inside that world was a large office, decorated sparsely but elegantly.
"What do you want?" Diane demanded, backing away from the man with the hole in his head.
"I need you," he replied. His voice was different from Carol's, more hollow, more desperate. "I need your flesh..."
"What are they, zombies?" Diane asked, scrambling away. Veruca couldn't think of a way to explain why she knew that they were "simply" looking to use them as hosts to fulfill whatever obsession they'd had that had kept them as ghosts rather than letting them move on, so she kept quiet.
She was a little slower than Diane, and the man managed to grab her. She screamed as she felt her skin harden beneath his ghostly fingers, and as she looked down, she saw it turning into gold where he'd touched her, an undead King Midas. She tried to pull away, but his grip only tightened as she squirmed.
Then, from the mirrored ground, the woman in the apron burst forth, smacking the man aside. Veruca gasped as he let go of her, rubbing her skin and watching it turn back to its normal color and hardness, glancing up every few seconds to see the woman chasing the man away. "They're mine!" she was screaming. "I need them more than you!"
The walls of the office began to quiver as she beat on the man, kicking and screaming otherworldly shrieks, eventually shattering as he sank into the floor. In their place rose the walls of a nursery, and the usual furniture one would find there, much to Veruca's embarrassment, especially as a huge crib rose from beneath her, bars rising far above her head before she could try to escape, while, as she watched, a playpen similarly captured Diane.
It was Veruca the woman went to first, however, seeming to grow taller with every step. "I knew you were meant for me," she cooed. "All I ever wanted was to be a mother... And here's my baby, at last..."
"What? No, I'm not a baby!" Veruca protested, trying to scramble to the far side of the crib, but stumbling on the soft mattress and falling onto her diapered bottom with an especially loud crinkle, one that echoed from both her clothes and the plastic sheet on the mattress. By the time the woman was reaching down for her, she was the size of a giant, and her arms, as incorporeal as they were, felt strong and inescapable as they wrapped around Veruca's squirming form.
"Of course you are," she said, patting the seat of Veruca's wet diaper. "You're my little baby... And I bet you're hungry, aren't you?" Before Veruca could answer, she was shifted to one of the woman's gigantic arms so the woman could use her other hand to slip her shoulder out of the dress, pushing it down, exposing one huge breast.
Veruca started to struggle, knowing with a sick certainty what was about to happen, despite how disturbing and unreal it felt. "No, no," she shook her head as she was readjusted again, held in more of a cradle in the woman's arms, one hand rhythmically patting the back of her diaper as she was brought closer and closer to that phantom nipple. "No, please, I'm not a baby, I'm not hungry, don't!"
And then her protesting mouth was shoved around the breast, and filled almost instantly with milk. Her eyes went wide, and she tried to spit it out, but there was just too much, and while she managed to get a small stream of it trickling from the corners of her mouth, she had to swallow the majority of it to avoid drowning. It felt sweet and thick going down, and brought a pleasantly warm sensation to her tummy that made her instantly drowsy. Her eyes began to droop, and it was a struggle not to let them close entirely as she kept automatically sucking down mouthful after mouthful of the stuff. It became all she could concentrate on, though she could faintly hear Diane in the background yelling at the woman to stop.
After a minute, that pleasant warmth began to grow a little warmer, and then a little more, turning into a raging liquid fire in her guts. Her eyes opened again as she began to wriggle, only for the woman's arms to lock tighter around her, push her mouth further around the mound of ghostly flesh. Her brain began to buzz, as if she were drunk, but she could tell it was different, could almost feel the milk sloshing through her memories, her thoughts, everything that made her her and erasing them. She looked down at herself and saw her belly bulging out, saw her scrawny limbs start to plump out, her baby fat returning. She tried to gasp, to scream, but that just let the milk in all the more quickly.
Weakly, she tried to kick at the woman, but her legs just hung there limply, out of her control now, and while she got a few lame flails out of her arms, they soon fell still, too, as she watched her fingers puff outward into a chubby baby hand. She looked down at her own chest, which had never been particularly impressive, and saw her breasts seem to melt beneath her sweater, redistributing themselves across her torso, making it fit in with the rest of her now infantile body.
The world was starting to get dark around the edges now, and Veruca knew she didn't have much time left. Rapidly running out of parts of herself she was still in control of, and with a mind that was just as quickly getting hollowed out, like a pumpkin about to be cut into a jack-o-lantern, she desperately tried to come up with a plan. Only one thought came to her, and she had no time to second guess it.
She bit. She bit down into the ghost woman's breast, and kept biting, hanging on even as she felt the milk continue working, as it kept pouring into her, mixed with the irony tang of blood, making her teeth start to recede into her gums. She was sure she'd waited too long, that it was all for nothing, but, at last, just when she was certain all was lost, the woman pulled her away, giving her a sharp smack on her thighs before returning her to her crib, laying her on her back.
"I guess I'll start with the other one," Veruca thought she heard her say, but her vision was still blurry, and her hearing not much better. She couldn't even get off of her back, and could only do the barest of wriggling there. It took a significant amount of concentration to even remember who "the other one" was, and while she knew she should try to help her, or at least warn her, she couldn't even sit up.
"I told you not to do it," another woman said, suddenly standing beside the crib. Veruca had to squint to get her face to focus into anything but a blur, and work even harder to remember her name was Carol. With all her concentration and strength focused there, there was nothing she could do to stop the sudden invasion of something warm and thick and mushy working its way around her bottom, and only the feeling of discomfort it brought to make her think she should even try. "You just wouldn't listen," Carol shook her head. "With us gone, the room attracted any ghosts in the area, and it made them stronger... After spending so much time as just ghosts, they'd lost everything that made them human, reduced them to thoughtless animals. If you'd just left them alone, you would have been okay."
Veruca tried to open her mouth, to respond, but only incoherent babbling came out. Deep inside, she knew all this was wrong, and the thought filled her with fear, but there was nothing she could do about it. "You silly, silly girl," she shook her head, reaching down to pick her up. Gently, she put her over her shoulder and began patting her back. In Veruca's addled mind, she couldn't figure out what was going on, not until she felt a burp escape from her lips, followed by a cascade of milk. As it flowed from her, she began to feel more and more embarrassed about it, and about the fact of throwing up on this woman's shoulder, which, she realized happily, meant she was becoming herself again.
When she was done, Carol set her down on the floor, and, though she was still a little shaky, her legs held her. She could feel her full diaper all the more acutely, but after the past few days, it didn't bother her as much as it could, or, really, as much as it should have. "You have to get out of the box," Carol told her. "You have to escape, or your friends are doomed."
"But I can't," Veruca shook her still-clearing mind. "The shelf... I don't know where it is anymore."
Before Carol could reply, Veruca heard the other woman roaring, "What are you doing with my baby?!" She turned around right in time to see the woman put Diane on the floor, the girl slumping forward, glassy-eyed, like a rag doll.
"Get her and get out of here!" Carol instructed, pushing Veruca out of the way and intercepting the raging mother. Veruca clumsily scrambled towards Diane, trying to pull her to her feet to no avail. Even in the best of times, Diane was enough bigger than her that she couldn't have drug her out, and now, still weak from her ordeal, there was no chance. She tried to drag Diane across her shoulder, to burp her as Carol had done for her, but, not being a ghost and thus able to change her size, that was just as useless.
"Damn it," she groaned, slamming her fist angrily against the floor. What was she supposed to do?! She looked around the room, noting that the only door had its knob set too high for her to reach, anyway. How was she supposed to get out?! She hit the floor again, staring down into her reflection, seeing the tears dotting her eyes, the drying milk around her mouth and the front of her sweater. "Of course!" she shook her head, hardly able to believe it had taken her this long to work it out.
She got to her feet and ran past the two feuding ghosts, grabbing her bag and pulling it out from between the bars of the crib. She returned to Diane with it, throwing open the front flap and digging through it. Her hand brushed against the box she'd prepared, and she glanced back at the ghosts. She probably had time, didn't she? And since it was what she'd come here to do, it was almost wrong not to do it, after all they'd been through.
"I'm sorry," she told Diane. "I was going to do this to Scruffy... I mean, it's not like he does anything, and maybe he'd just leave us alone, you know?" Still, she had to admit she felt a certain amount of satisfaction as she cast the spell on Diane instead, tempered by a sharp pang of guilt as soon as it was done, thinking back to when Diane had helped her out, bought those diapers for her, even if she hated wearing them. "It's not like you mind now, anyway, is it?" she asked, trying to make herself feel better.
She stared into Diane's blank eyes for another moment, then grabbed her flashlight, the big, heavy thing, and slammed it against the floor. At first she didn't think it was going to do anything, that there really was no escape, and then, at last, a crack began to form. She began banging the flashlight against it, harder and harder, faster and faster, watching it grow, lines forming and growing along the floor like a spiderweb, crawling along the floor, and then up the nursery walls and across the ceiling, until at last the whole thing shattered.
For a moment, she felt like she was falling, and then she realized it was the glass falling, huge slabs of it slamming down, forming the fours walls of the devil's toy box. All her friends were there, at different places in the room, shocked and horrified, but slowly growing relieved as they realized it was over. Veruca heaved a sigh and sat back, wrinkling her nose as her diaper squished beneath her, staring down at the small crack she'd made in the floor beneath her, enough to break the symmetry of the room.
She crawled straight, until she hit a wall, then simply began working her way around the room until she found the right wall, the right spot, and the shelf began to slide open. Nobody said much of anything as they quickly fled the house, Frank carrying Diane.
They went to the hospital first, though they could find nothing wrong with Diane. Veruca couldn't help but feel guilty as she stared at her - also feeling rather like her, as she stood there, naked beneath her skirt, having taken the first opportunity to change her diaper in the hospital bathroom, wishing she'd thought to bring along a spare pair of panties, though thinking that only made her feel more guilty - wondering if the spell had even been necessary. She hadn't really known what would happen when she broken the devil's toy box. She hadn't even known for sure it would work, only that it seemed to be her only option. Still, since Carol and the kids were attached to her, surely they would have kept existing, wouldn't they? They weren't linked directly to the box anymore. And since she could only do the transference inside a box, she'd really had no choice, in the moment, but to use Diane, even though it was only her insistence in returning to the house that meant she was there at all, and that the other ghost had put her in a coma.
That didn't do much to ease her conscience, though, so it would a blessed relief when, the next day, she got a call from Frank telling her Diane had woken up, and was fine now. It didn't last for long, however, as she remembered the spirits attached to Diane now, knowing she'd sentenced her to the same diapered fate she'd suffered through, and with no end in sight.
She tried to look on the bright side - perhaps, like the plan had been with Scruffy, this would keep her from wanting to go on investigations with the team. Of course, she might also insist Frank didn't go either, but maybe she'd change her mind by the time he, or even Veruca, was ready to get back into action. And Diane really could be a bitch to her sometimes, especially when they'd both still been in high school. The thought of her in diapers did bring her a certain satisfaction, but every time she tried to gloat too much about it, she recalled that trip to the store after their first trip to the house.
Later that day, as she lazily browsed the Internet, she heard the doorbell ring. She wasn't expecting anyone, so she assumed it was a deliveryman and ran down to answer it, still in her PJs, and wearing her glasses, only to find Diane herself standing on the other side of the door, looking just as stylish as ever.
"Hi," she blushed, somehow managing to feel like a kid in her presence, despite knowing that, most likely, she had somehow hidden a diaper beneath that stylish purple dress of hers, or she was going to need one soon. "I'm glad you're okay."
"Yeah, yeah," Diane said, pushing her aside and walking in. "Look, I need to talk to you about something."
"Okay," Veruca nodded, closing the door and following Diane through her own house, nervously wondering if she'd figured out what happened and was going to beat her up or something for sentencing her to a life of incontinence. "Sorry about how I'm dressed, I was just... Well, I wasn't expecting visitors, and it was a long night last night, and..."
"This is your room, right?" Diane asked, walking into it.
"Uh-huh," Veruca answered, following her in. "What..?"
"Did you go through all of those diapers I bought for you?" Veruca couldn't help but blush as she shook her head. "Do you still have them?"
"Yeah, I haven't gotten around to getting rid of them. Why, do you... umm..?" Diane nodded that time, though it was still only Veruca who was blushing. "All right, I'll get them."
She went to her closet and pushed aside the piles of clothes she'd hidden the package beneath, picking them up. "I can loan you some sweatpants or something, too," she offered. "I mean, that dress is kinda tight, I don't know that these will fit under..."
She stood and turned back around, only to find Diane right behind her, one side of her dress hanging down, exposing a pert, shapely breast. "What are you...?" Veruca started to ask, but before she could finish, Diane reached out and grabbed her, pulling her face into her chest. Almost instantly, she felt her mouth filling with milk.
"Don't you worry, I'll get you in a nice, comfy diaper just as soon as you're done feeding," Diane cooed at her, patting her back. "There's my baby..."
Veruca's eyes darted around the room as she struggled against Diane's strangely strong arms, stopping only as she caught a reflection of the pair of them in her mirror, showing her, as she was, suckling, once again, at the breast of the ghost woman she'd only barely escaped.
"Now I can take care of you forever," she said, patting Veruca's back again as the girl struggled and whined helplessly, the warm milk in her tummy already starting to work its magic. "Forever..."