I suppose I should explain.
In May, 1992, I and a team of other scientists were investigating the 1951 disappearance of an Englishman named Scott Crewe. You may know his story, as it was in the papers at the time, and was adapted into a film titled “The Incredible Shrinking Man” (in which he was inexplicably renamed Scott Carey). He had been on a boating trip off the coast of North Carolina with his wife and three children when they passed through (what was described in the media as) a “cloud of radioactive insecticide”. Whether of not that unlikely description is credible, it was an unprecedented experience, which caused him to physically shrink beyond the limits human perception. It caused quite a stir in the scientific community. At the request of President Truman, it was not released to the public that Crewe's children died almost immediately, and though Crewe himself remained healthy, his wife died almost a year later from an as-yet-unidentified form of cancer.
Decades later, a colleague stumbled on the story in an old newspaper. Fascinated, he gathered a few other curious scientists, and together we arranged for funding to research that near-forgotten phenomenon. Acquiring a well-appointed research vessel, we followed Crewe's navigational course for weeks. Extrapolating from his interviews and journal entries, we tirelessly tracked the possible location of that cloud. We were determined to find it. The shrinking of matter is impossible by the current under-standing of physics, and we couldn't comprehend why the American government hadn't yet tried to investigate. It was revealed to me later, after the rest of my team were dead, that they had not only searched for, but had actually found this mysterious mist. In another tragic story, all but two of that expedition had died. Of the remaining three, one had followed Crewe into sub-microscopic oblivion, and the other two shrank to about a centimeter tall...spending the remainder of their lives in a laboratory.
We did eventually find the cloud. It was white and gaseous, and had a seeming awareness; each time we approached it, it moved away from us at an angle best for evasion. We were all fascinated. After a number of attempts to escape, it turned on our boat and aggressively overwhelmed us. We were completely enveloped by it. It was difficult to breathe, and we were coated in a sticky, burning film; I watched as all of my companions slowly collapsed to the deck, before I myself eventually succumbed.
When I came to, I was in a government hospital facility. I asked about my fellow scientists, and was told that they had suffered the same fate as Crewe's children. I was the only survivor. A barrage of tests were run, and my fate was sealed; I was to shrink. The single piece of good news was that, in the forty-one years since Crewe encountered the gaseous entity, the genetic markers which determined the outcome of each individual's exposure had been identified. I was to decrease in size to somewhere near a centimeter.
I spent a few days in a kind of mourning, but I then began to plan for my future.
I stealthily left the hospital during the night, retrieved a good sum of cash from my bank, and flew to Seattle. Once there, I began my mission. I bought a package of rock salt, cubes of sugar, protein powders, vitamins and various medicines. I then went to a hobby store and got the most expensive and fantastically detailed ship-in-a-bottle that I could find. Thus supplied, I spent a couple of days writing and posting letters to friends and family. As perhaps my final normal interactions with society, I ate at a restaurant, saw a Reggae band, and even went to a movie (which, unfortunately, was not very good).
I then rented a car and drove into the mountains. The air had an amazing smell. I left the rental at a trail-head and hiked as far into the wilderness as far as I could, gradually shrinking as I went. After a couple of days, I found a spot next to a lovely stream, on the edge a tiny waterfall. It had a sandy pool at it's base. I planted my ship-bottle in a peaceful spot near a cluster of mushrooms under a large fern, and, just under the mouth of my glass-surrounded sanctuary, I buried a large, flat rock. It would soon be an impressive entryway to my new home. Satisfied with my handiwork, In the forest-filtered sunshine, I slumped comfortably against a small tree.
Closing my eyes peacefully, I waited...
Since then, I've learned a lot about mushrooms. They're actually quite beautiful. On top of that, they're a tasty food source, and in a pinch, they make a great shelter from car-sized raindrops.