After being shrunk by an alien artifact Nait the lion cub explores his own backyard, trying to find his way home in a jungle of grass.


Backyard Expedition
By CalexTheNeko


It was Sunday afternoon. And Sundays were something of a mixed blessing. Because sure, there was no school on Sunday, but it also meant tomorrow would be Monday, the absolute worst of days. Tomorrow, Nait would have to go back to school. And so, the lion cub had to make the best of the day before the dreaded school week began.


Currently, he was laying on his back in the grass in the backyard. He wore a pair of shorts, and a baggy t-shirt over his brownish tan fur, which had a few darker spots that were mostly covered by his clothes. His tail swished idly, its bristly tip waving back and forth above the grass. Nait had a major problem. He was bored. None of his friends were available to hang out with today, he didn’t have any new games, and his parents were too busy to take him anywhere. So, he laid in his backyard staring up at the clouds trying to figure out what he should do. The last few precious hours of freedom were slowly ticking away and he wasn’t making any use of them at all!


“Uggggh, what am I doing?” Nait spoke to himself. “Wasting time. It’s not like something exciting is going to just drop out of the sky.”


And then something exciting dropped out of the sky.


Nait barely had time to register it before it had crashed into the Earth his backyard. He hadn’t made out what the object was and well… As a lion, he was a cat. And at seven years old he was a child. This meant that he had the combined curiosity of both a cat and a kid. He didn’t hesitate thinking it could be dangerous, or try to get an adult to take a look first. He didn’t even think about how hot the thing must have been having just crashed from the heavens like that. Without hesitation or even the slightest bit of trepidation Nait was soon standing over the crash site.


The object hade made a surprisingly large and deep hole. It was probably at least a foot deep, and maybe six inches wide. Smoke was still coming out of the hole as Nait reached it, then got down on all fours to try to peer into the miniature crater and see what was there. As the smoke cleared, he finally made out what the object was. It looked like it was made out of green tinted glass, but obviously couldn’t be real glass since it hadn’t shattered upon impact. In shape, it formed a ring, with a small hole in the center of it. The ring was easily wide enough that Nait could grab onto one rim with his paw. The green ring also had several strange markings on it. Nait wasn’t sure what they were, maybe some kind of alien language? Were aliens real? Had one of them dropped this? Did it do anything? Question after question ran through Nait’s mind as his tail began to twitch with excitement.


He reached down into the hole and grabbed the ring. It was surprisingly cool for something that had been a meteorite mere seconds earlier. It was actually about the same temperature as the outside of the refrigerator door. Nait held the ring up and looked through it. As he did the sunlight shone through it, covering Nait in green light.


And then the world began to change.


The first thing Nait noticed, was the ring getting bigger in his hand. The second, was his clothing suddenly starting to get even baggier than normal. And the third was the fact that entire yard seemed to be growing larger around him. Nait’s shorts fell to the ground, leaving him in just a shirt that now touched the tip of his toes. One shoulder had already slipped through the neck hole, and as the shirt grew larger, or more accurately, Nait shrunk smaller, the entire thing slipped off him completely. He lost the ring as well as it became too large and bulky for his paws, dropping it back into the crater. His clothing dwarfed him completely, and soon his shirt was like a giant blanket covering him. Now naked, he had to squirm his way through the neck hole, then slowly climbed down the side of his shirt to reach the ground.


It wasn’t long before Nait was roughly level with the tops of blades of grass. At this point, his footing suddenly became unstable. He was standing at the edge of the crater, which was now much larger and easier to fall into. The tiny lion lost his balance, and went tumbling into the hole, landing in the very center of, inside the center of the strange alien ring. However, despite being in the exact center of the ring the shrinking had stopped.


The sudden change in size was disorienting to say the least, and being so small may have made the little lion feel slightly intimidated. Only slightly, definitely brave enough to handle a situation like this. The edge of the ring’s height was slightly taller than him, meaning he was trapped. At least for now. So, that was the first thing to take care of.


Nait gave himself a moment to get his bearings as he went over the last couple of minutes of what he had experienced. The strange green ring had fallen from the heavens, it was probably some kind of alien thing. When he had picked it up and the sun shone on it, suddenly he had shrunk to the size of a mouse. Was that why the shrinking had stopped? Because now down at the bottom of the hole the ring was no longer exposed to light. Nait decided he probably shouldn’t try to mess with the ring anymore. As he understood the situation, he was pretty sure he could handle this. But he didn’t want to get any smaller. But now he had to solve the problem of being stuck inside the center of the ring.


“Well, this is easy enough. These claws aren’t just for show.” Nait took a few steps back, then ran forward and leaped against the wall of the ring. He dug into it with his claws, but as he did, he only slid right back down onto the ground. The thing was too smooth for him to climb, and too tough for his claws to dig into it. So… How did he get out? Sure, suddenly finding yourself shrunken was an exciting event, but if he spent the rest of the day trapped here, then his Sunday would be wasted despite the strange artifact.


Well, the ring wasn’t that much taller than him. Nait backed up against his back was against the opposite wall of the ring. Then, he broke into a sprint as fast as he could, and when approaching the opposite wall leaped into the air. He managed to face his foot-paws forward so they landed against the smooth wall and pushed off as hard as he could, giving himself a little extra height as he grabbed the top of the wall where it curved away from where he had jumped. He clung to it for a moment, then slowly pulled himself up. Now, he was standing on the rim of the ring.


“Nothing to it.” Nait clapped his paws and leaped down outside the ring. The next problem was getting out of the hole, which was more like a pit at his current size. But, that was easy, The hole was already slanted, and the dirt walls offered plenty of places to dig his claws in to make sure he didn’t tumble backward. Using all four sets of claws he climbed upward till he finally made it out of the hole.


From here, Nait could see the clothing he had been wearing, and just how much larger it was than him. It made him very aware of how small he was. He couldn’t even see over blades of grass anymore.


“Well… I’m probably not going to be able to grow into those as I get older.” Nait made a joke to help make himself stay calm. His entire backyard was like a jungle now. It’d be a huge undertaking just to find his way back to the house. His ears folded back for a moment, but only a single moment, when suddenly they stood straight up and his tail twitched excitedly.


His backyard -was- a jungle to him at this size. That meant exploring it would be just like exploring an actual overgrown jungle. Any nervousness Nait had about being mouse sized disappeared as he felt the call of adventure. Exploring and navigating his backyard this small, that was an exciting thing to do. No more boredom, no more wasting his Sunday.


“Alright what first?” Nait asked himself. After a few seconds, he decided that the best thing to do was to try and get back to the house. Suddenly, he imagined playing with some of his action figures while being on the same scale as them or eating a giant cookie. Yes, the goal was home. But which way was that? It was hard to say.


Well, he had already climbed two obstacles today, what was a third? Nait grabbed onto a blade of grass and attempted to scale it. However, despite how small he was his weight was still enough to bend the blade over, preventing him from getting a view of the area around him. He needed to find something sturdier that would hold his weight properly. Unfortunately, unable to see above the grass it was hard to guess where the closest thing would be. So, Nait picked a direction at random and set out.


Lucky for the lion cub, the backyard was starting to have a bit of a weed problem. And he wondered right into a patch of them. The stalk of the plant was much thicker than the grass, and it rose higher into the air. It was perfect! Nait started climbing immediately, and though the plant bent slightly it supported his weight allowing him to get up higher.


Soon Nait was well above the forest of grass. He was at least three inches above the grass line. At his height, that was a lot. Clinging to the weed like a pole he looked around to get the lay of the land. After searching for a bit, he found his house. Perfect! Now he knew what direction to head. He slid down the stalk and walked in the direction of the house.


Nait marched between the blades of grass, treating the little trek as an actual jungle adventure. A dangerous predator could be lurking about anywhere. And so Nait had to be on high alert. Anything could happen! Possibly literally considering magic alien space rings falling from the sky was a thing that could happen.


Nait pushed aside a couple blades of grass and discovered a giant colorful rubbery looking orange. It was a fruit snack! He had been snacking on them earlier. He must have dropped one. He was pretty sure it was way past the five second rule, but if he tried to bite off a piece from the top that wasn’t touching the dirt that’d probably be fine. However, he wasn’t the only one to notice the delicious juicy snack.


A small ant had marched up to the snack at the same time Nait approached it. Nait was of course was still much larger than the ant. However, the ant was now closer to dog sized in comparison to him than well… Ant size. Ants were not meant to be that big! Those pincers looked like they would hurt!”


“Hey I found it first!” Nait shouted at the ant and moved between it and the fruit snack. This seemed to annoy the ant, it tried to approach Nait, pincers clicking menacingly. Nait was suddenly having images of people being torn up by a rabid dog and realized he may have made a mistake.


Wait, if it was dog sized, maybe he could treat it like an actual dog. In a manner of speaking. Thinking quickly, Nait found a discarded leaf on the ground almost as big as he was. He quickly tore a piece off of it and then rolled it up as tight as he could. The ant approached him and-


“No! Bad boy!” Nait gave the ant a whack on the head with the rolled-up leaf. “My fruit snack!” The ant made some kind of clicking noise, seemed to get angry, and approached again. “I said no!” Nait smacked it with the rolled-up leaf again, just as one might use a rolled-up newspaper on a dog. Well, not Nait, that would be too cruel to the animal. But he was pretty sure it was okay to do to a giant ant approaching him menacingly. The ant made another go, clicking its pincers at Nait. The lion cub quickly moved to the side of the ant and smacked it on the head again. “I said no!” At this point, the ant seemed to have had enough. The tiny lion was far more trouble than the fruit snack was worth, and it disappeared retreating into the grass.


And to the victor go the spoils.


Wanting to get a bite from the clean side, Nait scaled the fruit snack and got on top of it. There wasn’t actually enough room for him to stand properly, so he had to balance himself carefully as he tore out a piece of the snack with his claws and ate it.


Then he made a face.


“Euu. It tastes weird now.” Nait jumped down. He should have just let the ant keep the fruit snack. There were fresh packs at home that wouldn’t have any dirt tastes to them. And, Nait had to be close now.


It turned out, the lion wasn’t quite as close as he thought. And by the time he finally did make it to the house the sun was starting to set. But, he was here. He had survived his expedition through the backyard!


Now what?


Nait looked at the sliding glass door. He was too small to try to open it and too big to slip under it. He didn’t see any possible way back into the house… Except maybe…


He looked upward. Up on the second floor was his bedroom window. It was open. He often left it open on cool days when the weather was nice. If he could climb all the way up there, he had an entrance. But, that was a lot bigger than a small meteorite crater or a weed stalk. It would be quite the fall if he lost his grip. He swallowed nervously, then steadied himself.


“Then you just won’t lose your grip.” He reassured himself. He leaped onto the wall of the house. The wooden exterior provided plenty of handholds, and plenty of opportunities to use his claw to help him scale upward. He was making progress far faster than he expected. Considering this thing looked like a mountain he thought it might take multiple days. But he was going up pretty fast! It only took him about a half hour to get up to the second floor. Then, very carefully moving along ledges he worked his way to his bedroom window and stepped onto the safety of the windowsill.


“Explored a jungle, and climbed a mountain, all in the day’s work for an experienced adventurer like me.” Nait puffed out his chest, proud that he had made it all the way through the yard and up here. He was finally home. Most of his Sunday was sadly burnt up, but he could hardly think of a more satisfying way to have spend the time than the adventure he just had.


Nait leaped down from the windowsill onto his desk. There was an assortment of papers and pencils here, various items left over from when he did homework. As well as a few toys. He stopped at one of them, an action figure that had a plastic grappling hook and had advertised real grappling action. Nait remembered playing with it a few times. It had been rather disappointing. Every time he fired the hook it wound up falling right out of the toy’s hands, preventing it from actually swinging onto whatever it hooked.


Nait grinned. He suspected he had a much tighter grip. He pulled the toy grappling gun from the action figure. The figure was bigger than him, and he needed two hands to hold it, but he found the part you pushed on to shoot the hook. He walked to the edge of his desk. There was a large gap between here and his bed. There was also a desk lamp that was currently arched over the end of the desk.


There was no way Nait was not going to attempt this. The temptation was too strong.


He pointed the toy gun up at the lamp and fired. The plastic hook shot out, went over the lamp and down the other side. It was still attached to the gun by a string. Nait pulled backwards on the hook till it was hooked against the lamp and stuck firmly in place.


“And now, our hero crosses the gorge of doom, with no regard for any danger to his own life.” Nait giggled as he ran forward, leaped from the desk and swung across the gap holding the gun. As he neared the end of his swing, he felt his hands slipping. The motion from the gun pulled it right from his paws! And without it, momentum continued to carry him in the direction he had swung himself. It was a good thing he had been aiming for the bed. After being flung from the toy gun he landed on his stomach on the bed, completely unharmed. He quickly stood up and looked over at the toy gun which now hung loosely from the lamp, well out of his reach.


“Huh, that’s surprisingly hard to keep ahold of. Maybe I was too hard on the toy.” After that, Nait threw himself down on his bed on his back this time. He was tired. Getting around this tiny sure was a lot of work. But, it was also a lot of fun. It could make everything into an adventure. He wondered what school would be like tomorrow like this… As well as how his friends would react when they saw his shrunken form and…


Oh there was also the matter of his parents. They probably weren’t going to take Nait’s sudden shrinking as well as he did. He really hoped he didn’t grounded when they came to get him for dinner and found the very tiny lion on the bed.


Well… At least if he did get grounded. He had an entire bedroom full of adventures just waiting to be explored.


The End

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