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 a pair 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, and she dropped it to the floor. Meanwhile, Larry unbuckled his belt.
Suddenly, 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.
“Shut-up,” 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 go. 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, 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 thirteen. 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. He doesn’t have the mental capacity to. Also, he needs to get a shave. That’s why he can’t a job. He also freaks out over every little thing. It’s no wonder why doesn’t have any friends. 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 as 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 talking 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.”