Anna Turnbull had been bathed in mud twice before she started to have second thoughts. Everyone had known exactly what they were getting into when the hazing started three days ago, but even still the relentless regime of 4 AM cold showers, binge drinking, and sleep deprivation had taken a heavy toll on the hopefuls. At last count, fifteen of the thirty-five girls had given up and settled on less exclusive sororities. Today would mark the final round of tests.
”All right girls,” Stacy Swinson barked, “hit the showers!”
Dressed in bikinis and slick with mud, the troupe of Kappa Delta candidates began flinging the sticky mess from their fingers and toweling off their faces.
”This is a little extreme, don’t you think?” Anna asked, glancing in Natalie’s direction.
The eighteen-year-old freshmen made a cursory check of the area to make sure none of the hazing coordinators was within earshot.
”Well, what did you expect? Kappa Delta is notorious for pushing the limit, you know,” Natalie said, wiping the brown slime from her top. “God, they got this stuff everywhere. I feel like it’s inside my ass.”
At least it would all be over by tonight. Only a single ritual remained. As one might expect, the final baptismal was rumored to be the most challenging; it was, after all, the obstacle that had eliminated hundreds of girls over the last decade. Speculation about the exact nature of Kappa Delta’s infamous initiation rites had become an annual ritual itself. The campus newspaper even ran a yearly column highlighting the latest rumors and conspiracy theories. While much of sorority’s practices were common knowledge, information about the ultimate test, the coup de grace
of Kappa Delta’s confirmation process, was nearly nonexistent. The tradition was so secret, in fact, that it became known campus-wide as simply “The Tradition.”
Traipsing up the hill to the sorority house, the cast of muddy teens looked tired and beaten. Bodies soaked in dirt and grass and several other substances none wished to think about, the team of inductees wore expressions of exhaustion and resentment, like a herd of Guantanamo Bay inmates being led back to their cells. The last three days had presented them with a more grueling series of physical challenges than any had expected.
Despite the nonstop torture Anna had managed to make a few friends along the way. Natalie was the first person she had met upon arrival. An athletic girl, Natalie sported solid, mannish shoulders and the body of a seasoned track runner. A square jaw and closely-cropped hair also contributed to her masculine appearance. But even given that, it one would be hard pressed to find anyone who would mistake Natalie for a guy. Her breasts had no trouble announcing her femininity.
As chance had it one of Natalie’s cousins, Amanda, was also trying out for Kappa Delta. While not overweight by any reasonable standard, Amanda carried a few more pounds than the rest. At home she was the skinny one; at Kappa Delta all that changed. The hierarchy flipped upside down and she found herself more jealous than confident. Still Amanda possessed a cute face, not unlike a teenage Drew Barrymore, and nowhere would she be labeled unattractive.
Unfortunately Anna had also had the pleasure of bumping up against the more combative girls. Leading the pack in brutal competitiveness was Angela Brown, the kind of girl who commanded the respect of a princess, or in some cases, a four-star general. Boasting a body of severe curvature, Angela knew how to play nearly every situation to her advantage. Especially when the situation involved anyone at the mercy of a penis. Her cleavage was like a Cave of Wonders, a Faustian temptation that virtually insured her passage wherever she went.
”God, I wonder what Angela is like on her period,” Amanda mused out loud, still fiddling with her wet hair.
”I’m surprised it isn’t considered a national emergency,” Natalie said.
Seeing her two friends, Anna squeezed through the crowded hallway and joined them in the corner by the wicker furniture.
”Feels good to get that stuff off of me finally,” Anna said. “So what are we talking about? What’s the emergency?”
”Oh, we’re just speculating about how the Cleavage Queen manages to make it through her period each month without getting arrested.”
Anna smiled and blushed a little. “Oh.” When she first came to the university Anna was surprised how open the girls were about their bodies – and sex. In that respect, having grown up in a conservative cocoon in Iowa put her at a distinct disadvantage. Folks in her rural hometown just didn’t blurt out words like “period” and “twat.” In fact, few people even cursed. But she was quickly getting the hang of college life.
”No shit,” Natalie continued. “Forget al-Qaeda. Fire up the red alert. It’s Angela’s time of the month.”
”So,” Anna said, pausing to effect a change of subject, “have any of you heard what’s supposed to happen tonight?”
”Your guess is as good as mine. I’ve heard it’s sort of like a Skull and Bones thing,” Natalie said. “It’s about facing your greatest fears or something.”
”Karyn told me they force you to masturbate in front of everybody.”
”No, I doubt it. That would be too easy. Plus, if you could get make yourself forget that the whole room is watching it might actually be pleasurable. Hell, I’ll bet that’s exactly the kind of kinky shit that gets Angela off!”
”I hope it’s nothing satanic,” Anna said, nervously.
”Who told you that?” Amanda asked.
”Oh, no one. It’s just that— everything seems so elaborate with Kappa Delta. All the secrecy, you know? To be honest, I’m kinda scared. It’s like we’re joining a cult.”
”Geez, Anna, calm down,” Natalie poo-pooed. “It’s just a sorority, not Heaven’s Gate. What do you think, they spiked the Kool-Aid or something?”
Anna tried to recall the half-frightened look from her face. “Oh, I know, I know. I was just saying—“
In truth, it was all Anna could do to keep from running away and calling it quits. What have I gotten myself into?
Soon night fell and darkness enclosed the Kappa Delta house. Two lit torches stood at every door; this signaled to outsiders that “The Tradition” was underway. Several girls stood outside guarding the perimeter like castle sentries. Black curtains obscured the windows. Curious onlookers were not permitted to breach the yard.
Inside, the group of twenty girls formed a line to the basement. Each remained quiet as they descended into the bowels of the Kappa Delta building. Along the way, hazing leaders sprinkled little drops of water on their heads. The ceremony felt like a bit like a black mass, an unholy baptism of sorts. Still Anna was relieved to see no one dressed in flowing dark robes or chanting Catholic prayers backward. Perhaps it would not be as bad as she had imagined.
Downstairs, the hazing leaders assembled on a makeshift stage. Stacy, the head honcho, began by addressing the jittery but hushed crowd.
”I don’t know what you’ve heard about this part of the tradition, but I can tell you this much. Whatever you’ve heard is wrong. No one – I mean not one person who has ever gone through this experience – has uttered a word about it to anyone else. It’s not about scaring anybody or hushing anybody up. We just like to keep this our little secret, OK?”
Some of the girls nodded in agreement.
”Good. Now I know everyone is wondering what the hell is going to happen. You’re all ready for the boogie man to show up or something like that. Just look around. It’s the same old basement it always has been. Nothing has changed.”
Anna started to breath easier. Maybe this was a case of much ado about nothing after all. She looked over at Natalie and Amanda, who both made the same “piece of cake” face.
”Tonight,” Stacy announced, “is not so much a test as it is… a game.”
Whispers broke out among the girls.
”Our philosophy at Kappa Delta is about knowing yourself. It’s about knowing who you are – not just your appearance or what you do, but who you are
truly. Now, I know you girls have worked hard this week to get here. You’ve obviously worked hard enough to make into college and we congratulate you. You keep in good shape. You exercise. You do the Atkins diet thing or South Beach or whatever. And you may be the hottest crop of freshmen to come through these doors in years,” Mistress Swinson spoke very matter-of-factly as she viewed her flock.
“Jenny,” she said, pointing at a petite blond girl in the audience. “I would kill for your ass.”
Surprised at the compliment, Jenny turned pink.
Stacy continued. “Natalie, you’ve got the legs of a goddess.”
Embarrassed, Natalie ducked down.
”And Angela, what can I say? Your boobs could make lesbians of us all.”
A few stray giggles broke out.
No one in the room knew quite what to make of Stacy’s speech. Was this it? Was the much-touted tradition just a lame pep rally? If so, why had so many girls quit Kappa Delta on the last night of hazing? Anna had expected something ominous and creepy, something designed specifically to freak the pledges out. Instead Anna found herself half enjoying the proceedings. But no, something had to be wrong… something.
The raven-haired leader continued. “So tonight we play a game, a game that will prove to us just how well you know yourself and more importantly how well you might handle yourself if your circumstances should suddenly… change.”
A wicked smile, magnified by the shadows, seeped across the Stacy’s face. A pall fell over the room. Almost instantaneously the lighthearted atmosphere ceased and the girls were left to ponder exactly what Stacy meant by “change.”
”Everyone here has heard of Spin the Bottle, I presume?” Stacy paced the stage. “Well, we do things a bit differently here. First everybody will break up into groups of five and form circles. Each group will receive a bottle. An initiation leader will be assigned to each group. When she says ‘spin’ you will spin the bottle once. After it stops, well… we’ll see then, won’t we?”
The groupings were pre-selected at random. Anna would be playing with Natalie, Amanda, Meredith, and Angela. Anna shuddered at the announcement of that last name, yet at the same time the pairing seemed fated to occur. Stacy, as it turned out, would also act as the group’s leader.
Once seated in their circles, the girls stared anxiously at one another. Anna could almost feel the sweat secreting from her pores. Her heartbeat thumped inside her ears. In a matter of minutes her imagination conjured countless scenarios of torture and humiliation, but even that was not enough to prepare her for what she would witness that night.
”OK, ladies,” Stacy began. “Spin.”
Anna waited for someone else to touch the bottle but, not surprisingly, no one was eager to volunteer. Finally Angela reached toward the middle of the circle and gave the bottle a hardy spin. It whirled and whirled, finally landing on Meredith. All eyes then turned toward the feisty brunette. Short but chesty, the baby-faced freshmen didn’t know what to think. “What happens now?” one girl was heard asking.
”Those whom the tradition has chosen,” Stacy bellowed in a deep voice as if reading from an ancient scroll, “will strip to their underwear.”
Reluctantly Meredith peeled the blue blouse up over her head. Next came her pants, leaving her clothed only in bra and panties. Anna noticed that Meredith was a little thicker around the thighs than she had imagined – but still, not bad.
”Brrrrr,” the chocolate-skinned pledge remarked. “A little cold for no clothes.”
Predictably Angela didn’t miss a beat. “Hey Meredith, I think I know where those Oreos went,” she said, pointing suggestively at her upper legs and ass.
The playful teen tried to laugh it off, but Angela was the only one smiling.
”Spin!” The order came a second time.
Again, the intrepid Angela elected to start the bottle going. This time the neck of the bottle pointed to Natalie. She took a deep breath.
”Those whom the tradition has chosen will kiss the person to their right… on the lips.”
Natalie stomach sank when she realized she was seated to the left of none other than the Cleavage Queen herself. A hush came over the circle as the two teens locked eyes and inched closer toward one another. Lips pouted, Angela appeared ready for the challenge while Natalie looked as if she had been sentenced to death by smooching.
”Come on, do it!” Meredith chanted.
With that the two girls suddenly lurched forward and pressed their lips together, much to the delight of the rest of the circle.
”Enjoy it?” Amanda asked when they were finished.
”Yeah, Natalie, let’s just fuck right now. I know you want to,” Angela joked.
Natalie did not reply; she was too busy wiping her mouth like she had just taken a swig of the Bubonic Plague. As soon as she had regained her composure, she heard the word again: “Spin.”
The third time is the charm they say, and it was true for Anna, though she hardly considered it a charm. With the bottle top aimed directly at her, she prayed for a light sentence.
”Those whom the tradition has chosen will… remove their clothes.”
Wanting quick clarification, Anna raised her hand and asked, “Umm, which clothes?”
”All of them,” Stacy replied, with a hint of satisfaction in her voice.
”I—I—can I have another option or something?” she begged. “I don’t want to be totally
”I’m sorry. Caving already are we?”
Anna thought for a moment. “No, no, I want to join.”
”Then let’s see your birthday suit, sweetie.”
Like most girls, Anna was her own worst critic. While she never considered herself fat or unattractive she had always hated her Irish complexion. Now everyone was going to get a front row seat to Anna’s freckle show – not to mention her rather modest breasts.
Blushing like mad Anna warily removed her shirt and carefully slid her pants down her milky thighs, knees and ankles. She paused when she reached her underwear. “Do I have to…”
Angela whistled like a rude construction worker eyeing a woman on the street. “Hurry it up, strawberry shortcake. We’re all waiting here.”
A tear dripped down the Anna’s pale cheek as she reached around to unhook her bra, which dropped to the floor. Using her left forearm to cover her breasts, Anna sat down and pulled her knees up to her chest. Then, with some hesitation, she grabbed the sides of her panties and began moving them up her legs.
”Bravo!” Angela clapped sarcastically. “How adorable. You’re a real cutie, Anna… in a little sister kinda way, you know.”
The rest of the group stayed relatively quiet as Anna stripped. Sitting bare-assed on the chilly floor was almost enough to make her break down. In her mind, Anna could see her freckles multiplying and multiplying like they had when she was ten. As she tried to keep from curling into a ball, she wondered which part of her body – the unexceptional boobs, the unruly red pubic hair, or the pasty white skin – most amused her fellow pledges. As the paranoia swept through her, Anna began to hate Kappa Delta and all it stood for.
Several turns passed before the bottle again pointed toward Anna. In that time, members of the group were all required to shed clothes: Meredith now sat completely topless, while Natalie and Amanda wore only bras. On the fifth spin Angela drew the same lot as Anna but showed hardly any emotion as she tore free of her attire. If anything Angela reveled in her nudity. Without reservation she paraded around topless, gleefully showing off her liberal tits. “Sorry guys,” she chirped. “I was an early bloomer. Luckily they just kept blooming.”
”Nobody asked,” Amanda said, clearly fed up with Angie’s routine.
A few spins passed and members of the circle were again asked to engage in lesbian make-out sessions and reveal deep, dark sexual secrets. But so far the game seemed nothing more than a glorified version of Spin the Bottle.
None of the girls could have anticipated the next command.
The bottle came to rest facing Amanda, who was not eager to reveal more of herself. She knew once her bra came off Angela would launch into another round of her inimitable brand of insult comedy.
”Those whom the tradition has chosen will… gain seventy-five pounds.”
”What?!” Amanda screamed. Had she just taken a drink of something, she surely would have performed a perfect spit take. “You want me to gain seventy-five pounds? Right now?”
”No, I don’t want you to gain weight,” Stacy said casually. “You will
With that, Amanda detected a tightness developing on her chest. An expanding sensation overtook her limbs. Gradually her cheeks grew bloated and round. Desperate to relieve the increasing tension on her upper body, Amanda hurriedly unfastened her bra; it plopped into her lap like a Christmas present. The rest of the group watched in soundless disbelief as Amanda ballooned into a much heavier-looking young woman. Her boobs, once round and well-proportioned, swelled with the increased weight. Within seconds they began to droop, sending her nipples ever downward until they nearly pointed toward the ground.
”Oh my god,” Anna said, hand clasped over her mouth.
”No, no, no, make it stop! Please!!” Amanda pleaded, a roll of fat developing around her belly button. All that dieting. All those workouts over the summer. All for naught. Amanda was now, unequivocally, fat.
”That’s impossible. How did you do that?” Natalie asked.
”Finish the tradition and you’ll find out,” Stacy replied. “Now, girls. Spin.”
Hand shaking, Meredith reached over and spun the bottle. Amanda did not watch this time; instead she remained transfixed on her new chubby hands. Horror struck anew when she realized she could no longer peer down at her vagina—a layer of fat now obscured her view.
The bottle stopped. Anna was the unlucky victim. “Oh my god, oh no, oh no,” she started gasping. “Please Stacy, don’t—“
”Those whom the tradition has chosen will…” the leader paused, seemingly for dramatic effect, “…grow nine years younger.”
Anna’s expression froze. After watching Amanda’s body inflate, she had acquired a new fear of Stacy and the Kappa Delta sorority. Who were they? Witches? Was Kappa Delta really a coven? Obviously they held certain powers beyond the scope of normal girls. Now Anna understood why no one had ever uttered a peep about this outside of the sorority house.
Before Anna could even marshal a reply, the descent began—first as a slight tingle all over her body and soon as an almost electrical sensation. Already her face had been altered, driven backward through time, sprouting old freckles again. Soon the bridge of her nose was infested with the tiny red marks. Then the tingle moved to specific parts of her body, especially her chest, groin, and hips—the sites most affected by puberty. Seconds later Anna felt her breasts receding, reverting to the pointy cones they had been five years before. Almost as soon as they had resumed that awkward shape they started sinking back into her chest, becoming merely puffy bulges.
Unaffected by what was happening around her, Angela commenced laughing.
“Awww, don’t hide them, Anna. They’re so cute!” Angie chuckled. “Better get some cream for those mosquito bites.”
”NO, Stacy, please!” Anna cried. “I barely had any boobs to start with!” By now her pussy looked shaved, only it wasn’t. Her fiery red pubic hair had simply disappeared, leaving nothing but a soft, fleshy slit.
”Oh man, listen to her voice!” Angela said. “She’s really a little girl!”
Finally Anna’s transformation stopped. She was nine years old.
Angela could help but giggle at the sight. The reaction spread to Meredith as well.
”God, you’re pale. And check out those freckles. You look like a cartoon!”
The laughter echoed inside Anna’s head, so much so that she momentarily blacked out. Or at least it felt that way. Confused and suddenly light-headed, she allowed her legs to drop into Indian style position. There was no sense in hiding her chest any longer; her nine year reduction in age had robbed her of all but two dainty red nipples surrounded by tiny pink areolas, which now served as feeble souvenirs of her once perky breasts.
”Whew,” Angela said, getting her first peek at Anna’s bald vagina, “that really did a number on you.”
Meanwhile, the only real sympathy Anna sensed came from Amanda’s direction. The chunky teenager made eye contact with Anna only once, but it was enough to convey a mutual understanding. Both had witnessed their own bodies betraying them, sucking away what they had both worked so hard to attain. Only Amanda’s experience had been different, Anna thought. Sure, “the tradition” had boosted her dress and cup size, but Anna no longer had
a cup size.
”Spin,” Stacy said.
Meredith repeated the ritual yet again. When the bottle slowed to a halt, Natalie found herself on the wrong end.
”Wh—what are you going to do to me?” she asked, lip almost quivering.
”Those whom the tradition has chosen will age thirty-two years.”
”Older?” Natalie gulped. She dreaded the change but at the same time felt half relieved she would not meet the same fate as Anna.
”Ha! Natalie’s gonna be middle-aged. Hope your boobs don’t hit the floor by then, hun.” Angela’s snark continued unabated.
Sure enough Natalie start to age. Fine lines appeared around her eyes, her muscle tone slowly decreased, skin began to hang from her arms like bags of flesh. Her sharp, youthful features faded as her breasts sagged. Thirty-two, thirty-three, thirty-four… The years ticked by in seconds as streaks of silver emerged in her hair. Wrinkles traveled across her forehead and under her eyes as if drawn on by an invisible makeup artist.
”You still look OK,” Anna assured Natalie. “Really.”
At the progression’s end a new Natalie was welcomed to the circle—a fifty-year-old woman, to be exact. She examined her new wrinkled hands in awe.
All the while Stacy studied the proceedings, silently adjudicating the reactions of the group. So far three of them had been confronted by at least one of their darkest fears. Amanda was now the plump teenager she had tried so hard not to become in middle school. Natalie had confronted her fear of growing older. And Anna, always afraid she would not measure up, had seen that nightmare come to life, literally. But the test did not stop there… and besides, Stacy wanted to have some fun.