Chapter 11: Gaslight

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Steve and Shelly went inside the reality engine control room next, to see what their lives would be like if the invasion never happened.

Steve was an adult, and his parents have tried to prevent him from moving out. When Steve tells people this, they assume that he’s mentally ill.

Ironically, Steve’s parents kept threatening to kick him out of the house, so he went looking for an apartment.

“Are you sure you can’t find an apartment with me?” Steve asked.

“I can’t afford it,” Shelly said.

“Either way, I need to move out ASAP.”

Steve told his parents that he was moving out and his father threw a fit of rage.

“You can’t move out!” Larry  screamed. “You can’t cook, you can’t clean, you can’t do laundry, and you can’t even bathe properly. You’ll never be able to do the simplest tasks.”

“You’ll never be able to afford a place of your own,” Martha said. “You’ll need to get a job to move out.”

“I already have a job.”

“That doesn’t count as a real job!!” Larry screamed.

Sometime later, Steve found an apartment and he paid for a moving truck, and his father threw a fit of rage.

“You rotten little bastard!” Larry screamed.

Larry went outside. Steve tried to leave the house, but Martha blocked the door.

Steve looked out the living room window. Steve couldn’t hear what his father said, but the movers left.

When Larry got into the house, he slapped Steve in the face. Steve and Larry got into a massive brawl. Eventually, though, Larry and Steve stopped fighting.

“Call the cops,” Larry said.

“I already did,” Martha said.

“Good,” Steve said. “I’ll tell them how you hit me first.”

“You’re delusional,” Larry said. “You hit me for no reason. You have a history of violence.”

Steve was about to leave the house, but the police arrived. Steve told them his side of the story and his parents told the police their side of the story.

“Our son hit me for no reason,” Larry said. “I was just defending myself.”

“Steve has a history of delusions and violence,” Martha said. He hits himself every day.”

“If that’s the case, we need to take him to the mental hospital right away,” one of the police officers said.

“Well, he’s not coming back here,” Larry said.

“Your son is an adult, so you don’t have to let him back in.”

“I already paid for the apartment,” Steve said. “You turned away the movers and you prevented me from leaving the house.”

“Well, I’m not having strangers in my house, getting my carpet dirty,” Larry said. “But you can leave the house now. Once you get out of the mental hospital, you can live on the streets. But you’re not moving into an apartment.”

Steve’s parents decided not to press charges, but the police took Steve to a local mental hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

Steve spoke to Dr. Noble. Steve explained to Dr. Noble about the years of abuse that his family has doled out on him and his brother, Alex.

When Steve was seven years old, his family went camping, and Steve was throwing a temper tantrum. “Stop it” Martha said sternly. “People are looking at you!” However, there was nobody there. In fact, there wasn’t another cabin near them for at least a half-a-mile.

There this other time when Steve was in grade 5. Steve’s mother was “helping him” with his homework.

“What the hell is that?” Martha asked. Steve looked at his math book to see what his mother was referring to. “What the fuck is that!” Martha screamed.

“I’ve never heard of parents like yours,” Dr. Noble said.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Steve asked.

“I know that some parents still try to control their adult children. But I’ve never heard of parents who are as controlling as yours.”

“Are you saying you don’t believe me?”

“I’m saying I haven’t heard of parents as controlling as yours. Look, I’m going to prescribe something to help you relax. Then you can go home.”

“I have no home to go to.”

“The only thing I can do is refer you to some homeless shelters.”

Once Dr. Noble released Steve from the hospital, he called every homeless shelter in town, but of them would take him in.

Despite Larry kicking Steve out, Martha offered pick Steve up and to continue living with his family.

The next day, Steve was so pissed off with friends and family, he didn’t talk to any of them. That’s because nobody was willing to take Steve in, not even Shelly.

The only person he wasn’t pissed off with was Alex. In fact, Steve told Alex what happened.

“I heard the arguing and I saw the cop car in front of the house,” Alex said. “That is so fucked up.”

“It’s not as bad as when Dad fat shamed you years ago,” Steve said. “You were only twelve years old.”

“All it took was a suicide attempt and for me to be placed in foster care to mend my relationship with Dad. That is until I started to transition.”

 “That is seriously fucked up. We need to get the hell out of here. I already tried moving out, but Mom and Dad stopped me.”

“They can’t stop you from moving out.”

“Well, they did. I had the moving trucks there and Mom and Dad sent them away. I even paid for the first months rent and the damage deposit. Somehow, Dad manage to convince my would-be-landlord to break the lease and to get a refund, which I never got back.”

“Okay. You can try renting a room that’s fully furnished.”

“That’s a good idea.”

“Once I turn 18, I’m out of here.”

Steve had no choice, but to live under his parent’s rules until he moved out.

Steve was talking to Sarah and Melody. They found a rundown, two-bedroom apartment.

“That’s all we can afford,” Melody said.

“And that’s if we can find a roommate,” Sarah said. “All the one-bedroom apartments are too expensive. If things are that bad with your parents, you can move in with us.”

“I’ll do that,” Steve said. “Thanks. Shelly can move in when she’s ready.”

Moving day finally arrived.

“Why are the police here?” Martha asked.

“I’m moving out,” Steve said. “The police are here to make sure I move out safely.”

“You’re wasting these police officers’ time.”

“Well, the last time I tried to move out, Dad sent the moving truck away, and you blocked the doorway so I couldn’t get out. Dad came in the house and he hit me.”

“Are you sure that’s what happened?”


“Well that’s not what happened. Steve, I’m no doctor, but you clearly suffer from delusions. You need help.”

“Yeah. Okay.”

“We want you to move out. Your father even said that you need to move out and you wouldn’t listen. You got so mad that you hit your father first.”

“I was here that day,” one of the police officers said. “That’s not what you told us.”

“Maybe I didn’t. But that’s what happened,” Martha said.

Suddenly, Larry came home.

“What’s going on here?” Larry asked.

“Steve brought the police here to make sure he moves out safely,” Martha said.

“Well Steve, you’re not taking any of your furniture with you because your mother and I own it all.

“That’s fine.”

While Steve moved out of the house, Alex was still living there.

“Do you think Alex will be okay?” Sarah asked .

“I don’t know,” Steve said.

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