Chapter 40 - Which Dreamed It?
Alisa had been staying away from the AB/DL message boards since she'd gotten back, not feeling any great need to relive bits and pieces of her adventure in the stories there, but as she got more distance from it, she found herself checking them every now and then, catching up on what had been going on. She'd never been a particularly active member of the community, however she did follow a few artists and authors, and it was nice to see what they had been up to during her partially self-imposed exile.
She hadn't expected to come back to any big news, since there was so rarely any of that of any real consequence on the boards, and she wasn't disappointed. Even so, she was pleasantly surprised to see that a new AB diaper had come out, a particularly cute one, extra thick one, covered in infantile designs. Even in the pictures, she could tell that they weren't nearly as cute as any of the ones she'd worn in the diaper dimension, but they were better than any of the other diapers she'd seen in the real world. They'd gotten some good reviews, and the site selling them was running a special on them since they were new, so she took a chance on them. The best part about them, however, was the fact that it wasn't just diapers - there were also training pants, offered for both boys and girls.
Alisa wasn't sure she had ever seen pull-ups designed especially for ABs before, so it was an exciting find for her, especially considering how much she hated her current brand. She couldn't find as much information about them, but she was more than happy to order a package of them anyway, even if they were more expensive. She wasn't sure if she would wear them to work or not - they were probably more absorbent, since there didn't seem to be much that wasn't, but they were also pretty clearly not meant as a purely functional incontinence aid. It might be inappropriate, though she did actually need them, and Ms. Farber had basically suggested them... She was debating what she would do about them even before she even hit the Order button.
She was pleasantly surprised by just how quickly they arrived, especially considering she had gotten the cheapest shipping. Curiously, she looked at the return label, a bit shocked to see that they had come from the same city she lived in, from an address that sounded vaguely familiar, although she couldn't quite place it. It hardly mattered, of course, certainly not as much as the quandary she found herself in as to where it would be proper for her to actually wear them. That, too, wound up being easier to solve than she'd imagined after a close call at another interview that left her pull-up soaking wet, trickling stray urine down her legs as she shook in her boots, praying it wasn't bad enough for a damp spot to show on camera - luckily that didn't happen until the van ride home.
The diapers and pull-ups did their best to look like the baby versions, though of course they couldn't use copywrited characters. Instead, generic cutesie characters danced across the front of the diapers, which had only one surprisingly strong tape on each side, and the training pants had princesses, but not specifically Disney ones. They both had wetness indicators on the crotch, little hearts and stars on the diapers, and crowns and scepters and ponies on the pull-ups. The pull-ups even went the extra mile to act just like the smaller versions of themselves, and produced a cool sensation when wet. The website had said they planned on making some without that, too, to help bring the costs down, but for the moment they were unavailable.
As a whole, they were even higher quality than she had ever expected them to be, and there was no doubt that they were worth the money. The website hadn't looked all that advanced, so she was a little surprised to see that the packages had QR codes on them, and even more surprised when, curious, she'd scanned them with her phone and been taken to a product registration page, rather than just the normal webpage. She wasn't sure why anyone would feel the need to register diapers, since she was pretty sure all it would earn them was some extra spam mail, and yet, for the heck of it, she'd done it anyway, thinking that, at the very least, they might notify her when the non-cooling pull-ups were available. She used her AB e-mail, of course, and almost all she got there was already spam, so she doubted it would make too much of a difference. Besides, it wasn't as if the company didn't already have her information from her order in the first place.
The pull-ups were definitely thicker than the ones she had been using, though not enough to make them too difficult to hide under her regular clothes. If she weren't going to be on film, she would have felt comfortable wearing them with just about anything she owned, but she decided it would be best to play it a little safe for now, opting for a longer skirt than normal. They worked wonders, never coming close to leaking, or, as far as she knew, to being shown off inadvertently, although she had to admit that she wasn't a fan of the cooling. It was much more intense than she'd expected, stopping her mid-sentence the first time she'd felt it. She would definitely switch to the regular kind once they were available, but for the time being, these would do quite nicely.
That afternoon, she sat down at her desk, happy with herself as she checked her e-mail. She was surprised to find several more notifications for comments on her Facebook page, and a little scared to look at them, considering what had happened the last time. Yet, when she went to her page, there was nothing there. "Weird," she muttered to herself, squirming a little in her desk chair, tugging up on her skirt a little - she had apparently chosen clothes just a little too loose, to make sure that they were baggy enough to cover her trainers. Now that she had spent a little time in them, she felt much more comfortable, and less worried about them showing, making her with she had gone with something just a bit tighter.
She stared at her blank Facebook page for another minute, then, on a whim, decided to refresh it before she closed it. Shockingly, another comment popped up, this one a link to a Youtube video with the simple caption of "lol". It looked like a regular Youtube link, nothing that seemed likely to give her work computer a virus, so she clicked on it, then immediately switched back to her other tab, cheeks burning, as she saw a video of herself, in the middle of an interview, sucking her thumb. Frantically, she tried to delete the comment from her page, only to get an error message. When she refreshed the page, the comment was gone.
She looked around the office, making sure nobody was watching, then scooted as close to the screen as possible to try to block out any prying eyes, and went back to the video. As it turned out, it was a supercut of all her embarrassing moments, all of her thumbsucking, her accidents, everything. She got more and more mortified the longer she watched, and more furious. This had to be one of the jerks from editing, she knew, or one of her cameramen - the latter seemed even more likely as she saw the last clip, an off-kilter shot of her the day before, getting out of the van after the interview with a wet spot on her pants.
Furious, she sent Ms. Farber an e-mail with the video's url, then stomped to the woman's office. "This is completely unprofessional!" she raged as she made Ms. Farber watch the video. "Someone in the office is trying to humiliate me! It's not fair!"
"I'm very sorry this happened, dear," Ms. Farber told her calmly. "I promise you, I will look into it and make sure to take the proper disciplinary action."
"You'd better," Alisa pouted.
"You're new, I'm sure this is just hazing," Ms. Farber reassured her. "Still, they certainly should not have posted this in a public place like that. I'll see what I can do about getting it taken down, all right?"
Alisa nodded, thanked the woman, and, not knowing what else to do, left the office. She couldn't stand to look at her co-workers, however, and most of her work was done anyway, so she left, driving off to try to calm herself down. She wasn't sure what she was looking for, but found herself pulling into an electronics store. She'd put off buying a new TV for a while, even almost considered staying without one, but that was just the sort of extravagant purchase she needed to make herself feel better. At least then she could watch herself, remind herself that, despite her little problems, things were working out, and maybe, eventually, she could look back on her trip to the other world and say that it was for the best. Her job was better, at least, and she was sure that, after enough time, all that hypnosis that had been used on her would wear off, and things would go back to normal.
Indeed, it was nice to watch herself on the news that evening, curled up in one of her new diapers - after being sure to empty her bladder so she wouldn't wet it right away when she attached the tapes - and her nice, comfy pajamas, proud of herself for making it through her segment without any incidents, mostly. She did catch the moment that she had her accident, and watched herself cower down a little, blushing, but she was sure nobody else could tell exactly what was going on there. Once the news was over, she flipped through the channels, since she had never heard of the next show on her network, and it didn't sound all that interesting. She'd canceled her cable when she'd first gotten back, since she had no TVs, which left her with only a few options, none of which had anything that seemed worth watching, so, rather than sitting around and continuing to fume about the Youtube video, she went to bed early yet again.
That night, however, she didn't stay asleep. She woke up a few hours later, feeling confused as she glanced outside her window and saw that it was still dark. She tried for a while to get back to sleep, but when that didn't work, she wandered back out to her living room, grabbing a banana for a midnight snack before turning the television back on. While she didn't enjoy insomnia, she saw it as a sign that her sleeping patterns might finally be going back to normal, a good sign that she was right, and everything else would eventually work out, back to how it used to be. She was also grateful for her impulse buy that day, to keep her entertained until she could drift off again, even if it did have only a few channels to offer at the moment.
After flipping through a few sets of commercials and an infomercial, she wound up back at her own network. She wasn't expecting anything much better, but she did have to admit she was curious as to what the channel actually showed, other than the news. It probably wasn't the best time to find out, she knew, yet given her other options it would just have to do. It was in the middle of a commercial break at the moment, so she cuddled up on the couch to wait through it, hardly paying attention to the shots of teenagers running around until the ad reached the end, flashing up a picture of a package of the diapers she'd just bought.
She sat up slightly, surprised. She'd never seen a diaper like those advertised except on the internet, and even there only among the diaper boards. It was definitely a strange, bold move, but then, she reasoned, the commercial had mostly just focused on people doing normal things, not emphasizing what it was about until the end, and not even mentioning the little design details that made them so desireable among her community. Plus, since it was still just a local network - though Ms. Farber talked all the time about their plans to expand - and the diapers were made somewhere near there as well, perhaps that was why they were getting some air time. Still, it was a bit strange.
But nowhere near as much as what came on the screen next. As soon as she heard the music, a cold chill ran through her body. It couldn't be... Could it? She was curious, but at the same time, she didn't want to know, started lifting her remote to change the channel, only to feel her hands grow clumsy, dropping the remote as a very familiar image popped on screen, making her begin sucking her thumb reflexively, drawn in, not so much by the actual story, but by the hypnotic messages she knew the thing was swarming with. She whimpered, unable to help herself, trying to work out how it could be here, what it could mean, at least until the calming effect of her finger in her mouth and the show numbed her enough that she stopped thinking about much of anything.
"Did you use your diapers, boys and girls?" Oliver asked her from the screen.
"That's what good girls and boys do!" Naomi was eager to add. "You know what else is fun? Bouncing!" The cartoon characters on the television began jumping up and down, and, like a puppet, Alisa felt her body sitting up, settling onto her padded bottom with a messy squish as she realized the consequences of her thumb-sucking, and then, unable to stop herself, begin to bounce up and down. She could feel her mess spreading all through her diaper, covering every inch of her skin down there as she tried futilely to stop herself, feeling both ridiculous and scared at the same time. At least in the other dimension, when this sort of thing happened, she had always had someone else to help her change - here, on the rare occasion she'd messed on accident, she'd always been careful not to move around too much if she could help it to make cleaning up easier. That wasn't going to be possible this time, obviously.
"Wasn't that fun?" Oliver inquired at last, as that segment ended, leaving Alisa to settle into the couch, disgusted, yet relieved. "It's a good thing mommy or daddy is there to clean you up, isn't it?"
"What if they don't have a mommy or daddy?" Naomi asked, eyes wide. "That would be so sad!"
"That is sad!" Oliver agreed. "It's a good thing the nursery is almost done! Then they can go there to be taken care of!"
"Yay!" Naomi jumped in the air. "That's great!"
Alisa's stomach churned. They couldn't mean... that... kind of nursery... Could they? She had a very bad feeling about all of this, and it was only made worse as the episode ended and the credits flashed by. She was sure she saw Bremer Enterprises on there, but since she didn't have any cable, she was also out of a DVR, so she couldn't rewind to check for herself. There was no way to miss the very last image, however - the logo for the NOW network, the one from the front of the building she went into every day, the letters rotating, then sliding down into a line, more letters sliding out of each of them to reveal the full name. Naomi and Oliver World.
Finally free of the hypnotic effect of the show, Alisa managed to yank her thumb free and hop off the couch, that bad feeling growing as she toddled over to her desk, shuffling through the papers there to find her last pay stub, and her notebook from her old job, then made her way to the kitchen, grabbing the box the diapers had come in, holding the stub against the return address label. Had she been back in the diaper dimension, she knew exactly what she would find - she wasn't entirely sure what it meant that she still found it anyway. The two addresses matched up. The same place that owned her network also made those diapers, and they both just happened to be at the same address as Dr. Bremer's lab.
This was wrong, there was no doubt about that. Whether she had created a whole new dimension with the device, or she'd brought back part of the diaper dimension with her, things were not as they should be. She suspected it was the first option, since the NOW network was a little older than her arrival back in this world, at least until she remembered that Selena had mentioned Vera Bremer had found some new spot to use as a testing ground. Either way, whether this was an old or a new universe, she had brought this here.
And, as she found out a moment later, she was caught in its trap just as much as the other unsuspecting citizens. Because when she looked back over at the television, she saw herself. At first, she thought it was the Youtube video, being broadcast for some reason, since it was showing her old pull-ups failing her time and time again, but cut into the images of her at work were videos of her at her apartment. Chills began to run down her spine as she saw herself opening the package of diapers just that morning, her letting the new pull-ups snap into place, and then her accident during the interview that day. Then a picture of the pull-ups, with the website address, flashed on screen.
They had made her into a spokeswoman for their diapers, without even telling her, and what was even more disturbing was that they had to have done it by having hidden cameras in her apartment. She didn't know how many there were, or where they are, but just the thought of them made her skin crawl, made her feel violated. She'd thought she was safe, finally, but nothing could have been further from the truth.
She wanted to change, yet after seeing those pictures of her here, she wasn't about to, not yet. She rushed to her bedroom, pulling out a suitcase and beginning to throw clothes into it, heart hammering away in her chest. Her cell phone rang, but she was too busy thinking to even consider answering. If Dr. Bremer was behind this, what did that mean? Was it the same Bremer she had interviewed, or had she been taken over by the consciousness of the Bremer from the diaper dimension? Had that Bremer made a deal with this one? Or, if this was a whole new world, was this a whole new Bremer, created from Alisa's mind, just as devious as the one from the diaper dimension? She knew the woman was her only ticket home, if this place wasn't it, but she couldn't imagine any of those options actually leading to a trip back through the door.
Instead, she just needed to get as far away from here as she could, and try to warn people about what she knew was coming. It seemed unlikely that there would be as many people here drawn to Naomi and Oliver, and the slippery slope of doom they represented, but there were still enough that Alisa knew she couldn't just let them walk into that danger blindly. She'd have to go into the forums, post some kind of a warning. She thought back to the diapers, and her pull-ups, and that strange cooling sensation they'd caused. In her mind, she replayed the video of herself during that interview. She thought she'd seen herself cower a little, embarrassed, but what if it had been more than that? Quickly, she stripped out of her pajamas and tried on another outfit, finding that, sure enough, despite having fit perfectly the last time she'd worn it. Dr. Bremer had found some way to alter Bianca's shocking diapers to make the initial effect a little less jarring, while keeping the secondary, much more worrying, one.
She needed to warn people to stay away from those as well. The fact that they were using her, without her permission, to advertise them made her feel even more queasy than it had before. How dare they do this to her? This may be her fault, but that didn't mean she endorsed it! In fact, she was going to do everything she could do stop it!
Her cell rang again, for what seemed like the hundredth time. Just to shut it up, she picked it up, cradling it against her shoulder as she began to closer her suitcase and leave. "Do you know what time it is?" she asked, annoyed.
"Do you?" asked Ms. Farber's voice. "Good little girls shouldn't be up this time of night, especially not watching TV."
"I know you're watching me!" Alisa shot back. "Well, watch this, bitch!" She stuck out her middle finger, circling it around her head since she wasn't quite sure where the cameras were. "Well, guess what? I quit! And you had better stop playing that commercial of me, or I will sue your pants off!"
"You will do no such thing," Ms. Farber told her simply. "You can't quit now - you're about to get your own show. We have the first few episodes already edited and ready to go. It's a thrilling little tale about a spunky little girl who's trying to make it in the news world despite a little... handicap. We're billing it as a mockumentary, though we know the truth about that, don't we? I think it will be a big it, almost as big as Naomi and Oliver. So why don't you put down that bag of yours, get yourself in a fresh diaper, and go back to bed. Otherwise, maybe you'll have to spend your nights at the nursery once that's up and running."
"I don't want your show. I don't want anything to do with you. I'm getting out of here, and there's nothing you can do to stop me!" Alisa hung up angrily, picking up her suitcase and marching through her apartment, knowing it would be better to get out before the woman found some way to demonstrate how wrong she was about that. She didn't particularly want to show up at a friend's place like she was now, in a messy diaper, so she'd probably have to spend the night at a hotel. From there, she could figure out where to go, and what exactly she was going to do.
But the night held one more surprise for her. As soon as she opened the door, ready to head out on her latest adventure, she found her path blocked by something large and metallic. Before she could react, a metal arm shot out, wrapping around her, circling her arms and pressing them against her body, making her drop her suitcase, winding up behind her, at a perfect angle to pull back her already slightly loose skirt and her diaper to give her a check. "What a messy girl," Robo-Nanny's mechanical voice observed. The hand continued to hold open the rear of her diaper, as she felt something slide into it, and a moment later she felt a thick goo being pumped into the already messy garment. "We wouldn't want you to get a rash."
Alisa opened her mouth, though she wasn't sure if she was going to scream for her or beg for mercy, only to lose the opportunity to do either as the robot pushed a large pacifier into her open, eager mouth. That hand then reached into Alisa's pocket and pulled out her cell phone, hitting a button before holding it up to the girl's ear.
"On second thought," Ms. Farber said, "maybe your show will be about a spunky little reporter, and the robot caretaker who makes sure she stays in line every minute she's not at work. How does that sound? Oh, I think it will be a hit. Everybody is going to be so jealous of you, Alisa! They'll want their own robot... At least until they get it. I'll see you at the office tomorrow, dear, bright and early."
Robo-Nanny turned off the phone, then, satisfied that the diaper was filled to the brim, stopped the flow of the goop before picking Alisa up so it could come inside, closing the door behind it. The thing carried her through the house, back to her bedroom, where it stripped off her clothes, put her in a nightshirt, and tucked her snugly into bed. "Night-night, Alisa," it told her, switching off the lights.
It didn't leave, however. In the dark, she could see it cleaning up the mess she had made while packing, then going through her clothes, picking out her normal panties and tucking them away inside its mechanical apron. Alisa had a strong suspicion she would never see them again. Once it was done, the robot came to a stop on the other side of the room, facing her bed, watching her. Always watching.
For the first time, she hoped she hadn't found her way home after all, that she hadn't doomed the real world to being taken over by Dr. Bremer. Of course, if it wasn't, it meant she had created a whole new dimension that seemed to exist for that sole reason, while it was possible the same thing was happening back in her home dimension, if that truly had been where Vera was running her tests. Of course, the beauty of alternate dimensions is that she knew that, somewhere, there was a place where this wasn't happening, where she was free, an adult who perhaps occasionally enjoyed wearing a diaper.
Maybe that version of her would dream about her reality that night, would wish that she could live in a world like this one. Maybe someday, she'd even get that wish granted, to find that it wasn't as much fun as she'd hoped - or maybe it would be. Maybe that version belonged here as much as Alisa wanted to be there. Maybe one day, she'd find a way back through that door, and this time it would open to that world.
But for now, she didn't even dare try to make it to her own bedroom door, not wanting to give Ms. Farber any footage of her being spanked by Robo-Nanny for her show, though she had a feeling that wouldn't last for long. It never seemed to, no matter what world she was in.
Author's Note: Thanks to everyone for reading, and sticking with this story for so long! It's my longest so far by quite a bit - by comparison, the original Alice's Adventures in Wonderland AND Through the Looking Glass are about 57,250 words long, or about 160 pages of just text. This story is 195 pages, and about 119,400 words. Thank you all for your words of encouragement, and your suggestions, whether I used them or not.