Nine months later, Martha gave birth to her daughter, Emily. Larry, Martha, Steve and Emily lived normal lives. Throughout the years, nobody knew that Martha kept a huge secret. Monica, however, did not live a normal life. For years, she traveled the world with John, looking for the reality engine, unaware that Martha had it the whole time. In fact, John and Monica explored the catacombs in Paris, France, looking for the reality engine.
“I just thought of something,” Monica said. “We’ve traveled the world, looking for the reality engine.”
“What’s your point?” John asked.
“Has it ever occurred to anybody that maybe the Libertas government hid the reality engine in St. John’s?”
“Why would it be there?”
“Maybe my sister knows where it is, or maybe she’s hiding it. She is from Oberon as well.”
“That seems a bit too obvious.”
“Does it really?”
Year – 2007
Larry and Martha were about to leave the house to celebrate their anniversary. They left Monica to babysit Steve and Emily.
“Steve is upstairs playing video games,” Martha said. “Just leave him alone, he’ll go to bed around 12:00. But put Emily to bed by 10:30. Oh, and I ordered a pizza. The delivery guy should be here any minute.”
“It’s only 6:00,” Monica said. “Aren’t you two leaving a bit too early?”
“We got a whole night planned.”
“Actually, I do,” Larry said. “I have a few surprises for Martha.”
“Have fun,” Monica said.
“Don’t worry. We will.”
“So, where are we going?” Martha asked as she and Larry walked to the car.
“You’ll see,” Larry said.
Larry drove through a residential street.
“Do you remember that house?” Larry asked, pointing to an old house with white siding.
“How can I not?” Martha asked. “It’s where I got drunk and fell into your lap. Are we going to drop in?”
“No. Just taking a trip down memory lane.”
Larry then drove to a local restaurant.
“We haven’t been here in years,” Martha said. This is where you proposed.”
“It wasn’t very romantic though,” Larry said. “I got on one knee. But I was so nervous. My palms were sweaty, knees weak, arms were heavy.”
“I know. But you were so cute.”
Larry and Martha went into the restaurant and they ordered the buffet. The song, I Turn to You Know, by Christina Aguilera came on the radio while Larry and Martha ate.
“Our wedding song,” Martha said.
“Yup,” Larry said.
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. I just kind of wish we didn’t have to wait until after the kids were born before we got married.”
“Well, we both had kids to take care of, while we went to college and university. We couldn’t afford a wedding, and I didn’t want to get married at city hall. Not to mention that we bought a house. Besides, I’m glad our kids got to go to our wedding. Speaking of which, it’s too bad you didn’t get a hotel room. We could get drunk together without worrying about the kids killing each other.”
“Who says I didn’t?”
Martha’s face lit up like a lantern.
“Want to pay the bill and go now?” Martha asked.
Larry and Martha paid the bill, got into the car, and they headed to the hotel.
Larry and Martha had a lot to say while they were in the restaurant. But the car ride was very quiet. It was like they’ve run out of things to talk about.
“Do you still watch CNN?” Martha asked.
“Yes,” Larry said. “Why?”
“Just making conversation. What about Fox News?”
“Not really. Fox news is a biased conservative news organization. And this is coming from a conservative.”
“You don’t think CNN is biased?”
“Not as bad as Fox News. I wouldn’t be surprised if people accused Fox News of being a fake news organization someday.”
“Do you think people will accuse CNN of being a fake news organization?”
Once again, silence filled the car. Both Larry and Martha felt that the silence was both peaceful and awkward at the same time. During the silence, Martha thought about how she never told her family that she has hidden a piece of alien technology in her house for the past seven years. Actually, Martha has been carrying that guilt ever since. Somehow, though, Martha managed to suppress that guilt.
Eventually, Larry chuckled.
“Who would be stupid enough to write a fake news story?” Larry asked.
“I have no idea,” Martha asked. “Anonymous bloggers?”
Larry and Martha arrived at the hotel. As soon as Larry and Martha checked in, they headed to their room.
Larry and Martha’s hotel room had a king-sized bed, a 52-by-92-inch TV, a desk, a mini-fridge, and a bathroom with a hot tub. The room was also very spacious as well.
“Why don’t you relax, while I slip into something more comfortable?” Martha asked.
Martha went to the bathroom, while Larry relaxed on the bed and watched the news. A few minutes later, Martha came out of the bathroom. She wore nothing but a bra and underwear. Both were the color teal.
“You really love that color, don’t you?” Larry asked.
“You don’t?” Martha asked. “Maybe I should do something about it.”
Martha turned around, facing away from Larry. She slowly took off her bra. Once Martha took it off, she dropped it to the floor. Meanwhile, Larry unbuckled his belt.
Unfortunately, Larry and Martha heard the fire alarm. As the fire alarm emitted a loud and continuous buzzing sound, Martha quickly put on a robe, while Larry put his belt back on. When Larry, Martha and all the guests made their way outside of the hotel, it was raining.
“Happy anniversary,” Larry said.
“Yeah,” Martha said.
Meanwhile, Monica put Emily to bed.
“Aunt Monica, can you tell me a story?” Emily asked as she crawled into bed.
“I’d love to,” Monica said. “Years ago, two little girls played in a field. While they were playing, they fell down a hole. When they came out the other side, they were lost in the woods. But after several hours, somebody found the two girls. That person called the police.”
“What did the police do?”
“The police took the girls to an orphanage. The girls liked it there. But they wanted to go home. The two girls never found their home. However, two nice people adopted the two girls. And they all lived long and happy lives.”
“That’s a nice story.”
“Thank, Emily. Good night.”
Monica kissed Emily on the head and she slowly closed the door as she left the room.
About a half-an-hour later, Larry and Martha returned home.
“How was your night?” Monica asked.
“Things were fine at first,” Martha said. “But shortly after we went to the hotel, the fire alarm went off. We ended up standing outside in the rain for a half-an-hour. We were so pissed off, we decided to check out early and get a refund.”
“How were the kids?”
“Great. I played with Emily and then I put her to bed, and Steve was upstairs playing video games the whole night.”
“That’s good. Come on, I’ll give you a ride home.”
The next day, Martha called Monica at home.
“Did you Emily we’re from another planet?” Martha asked Monica over the phone.
“No,” Monica said. “I told a story about two girls who fell down a hole and they got lost. They were found and they were adopted.”
“I can’t believe you told her that story!”
“What’s the big deal?”
“You know, maybe you, should you stay away from my kids.”
Martha hung up the phone. After taking a few deep breaths, she was about to go to the refrigerator.
“What was that about?” Larry asked.
“Larry!” Martha said. “You gave me a fright.”
“Sorry. You don’t want your sister to babysit because of a story?”
“Well, Emily lets her imagination run wild.”
“Yeah. She’s six years old, and she’ll be seven next month. That’s normal. By that logic, we shouldn’t read stories to Emily at all.”
“You don’t understand. When Monica was young, she used to believe that the both of us were from another planet. What if Monica tells Emily this and she believes it? Monica already told Emily a similar story.”
“I think you’re over thinking things.”
“You think I’m paranoid, don’t you?”
“Of course I do.”
Six years later…
Steve was seventeen years old, and Emily was twelve. Larry nor Martha haven’t made any changes to the house in six years, except for one thing, they turned their basement into a bedroom. That’s because Larry’s father, Frank got kicked out of the only retirement home in town. So, Larry took him in.
In the meantime, Steve was only four months away from graduating high school. So he decided to get a part-time job so he could save up for college, although his father disapproved.
“Steve can’t get a job,” Larry said.
“Why not?” Martha asked.
“He can’t do the simplest things. Also, he needs to get a shave. That’s why Steve can’t a job. We have to dictate every aspect of Steve’s life, just so he can achieve mediocrity. But guess what, Steve doesn’t listen to us.”
“Steve is seventeen and he’ll be eighteen in a month. Stop treating him like he’s still a child.”
“I’ll stop treating him like a child as soon as he acts his age.”
“Steve is getting an after school job so he can save up for college. That’s pretty grown up, don’t you think?”
“But he won’t be able to keep a job.”
“How do you know that? Why don’t you give our son a chance?”
“Why do you treat Steve so harshly? You’re always yelling at Steve, intimidating him, and insulting him.”
“Well excuse me. When Steve goes out into the real world, everybody he’ll ever meet will treat him 10 times worse. I’m only preparing him for the real world.”
“Will you listen to yourself? You sound crazy.”
“Hey, that’s an insult to the mentally ill.”
“You’re right, it is. Anyway, you treat Steve rather harshly and you ignore Emily.
“I don’t ignore Emily.”
“When was the last time you talked to her?”
“You’re being foolish. I’m going to sleep.”
Meanwhile, Emily was already asleep. She had a dream where she saw a tall girl towering over her. The girl had long, strawberry blonde hair. She grabbed Emily by the shirt. When Emily woke up, she couldn’t remember the girl’s face.
The next night, Emily had a dream where she saw the tall girl again. She wore the same clothes in both dreams. The girl was pushing Emily around.
The next day, Emily told her friend, Jenny about the dream.
“Sounds like you’re dreaming about Carrie,” Jenny said.
“Make sense,” Emily said. “But why does she always pick on me? And how come I can never see her face in my dreams?”
“I don’t know and I don’t know. Pick on her back.”
She’s not here today, is she?”
Later on that day, Steve landed a job stocking shelves at a local supermarket. His supervisor, John Wendell walked up to him and he said, “Steve, I would like to give you a tip. Not only do you need to do things fast around here, you need to do them right. If you can’t do both, you’ll never get anywhere in life. I’m not trying to make you feel bad, I’m trying to help you by being honest.”
Despite John’s harsh words, Steve tried his best to go about his day. But during his lunch break, Steve stormed into the lunch room, grabbed his lunch out of the refrigerator, and he slammed it
to the table. All the while, a girl with long brown hair sat next to him. Shelly was the name that was on the name tag.
“Was John being an asshole?” Shelly asked.
“Yup,” Steve said.
“He’s an asshole to everybody.”
“He shouldn’t be able to get away with it.”
Steve looked at Shelly with curiosity in his eyes.
“Don’t we go to the same school?” Steve asked.
“Yeah, I’ve seen you around,” Shelly said. “Both you and my brother write for the school newspaper. My brother’s Michael.”
“Awesome. I like his short stories. I really liked his story about that kid who meets his future self.”
“Michael based one of his characters on a childhood friend of his. She became his girlfriend, but she moved away.”
“Anyway, I got to get back to work.”
Toward the end of Steve’s shift, a woman approached him.
“Excuse me,” the woman said. “I’m looking for John Wendell.”
“Sure, follow me,” Steve said as he brought the woman to John’s office. “I’m Steve, by the way.”
“Hi, I’m Angel. Nice to meet you.”
Steve knocked on John’s office door as soon as he and Angel arrived.
“Hey Jerk!” Steve said as he slowly opened the door. “Somebody actually wants to see you.” But John wasn’t there.
“He must have gone home early,” Steve said. “He’s in his office, 99% of the time.”
“That’s not good,” Angel said. “John Wendell is a wanted man. He helped a patient at the Waterford Mental Hospital escape.”
Angel pulled out a photo from her purse.
“The patient’s name is Monica Bernard,” Angel said.
Monica Bernard, Steve’s aunt.
“Who are you?” Steve asked.
“I’m working undercover,” Angel said. “That’s all you need to know.”