Emily had similar dreams for the past few nights. The next night, Emily had a dream where she saw the tall girl agaon. The girl had long, strawberry blonde hair, and she wore the same clothes in both dreams. The girl was pushing Emily around. For some reason, the tall girl’s face was blurred out, like on an episode of cops.
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 thinks that if you eat meat, you can’t go for walks.”
“That’s crazy. 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 was visibly pissed off.
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.”
“You’re brother’s Michael? Awesome. I like his short stories. I really liked his story about that kid who meets his future self.”
“The girl in the story was based on a childhood friend of his. She became his girlfriend, but she cheated on him.”
“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.
“That’s not good,” Angel said. “John Wendell is a wanted man. He helped a patient at the Brookfield 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.”
While Steve was working, Larry had to deal with his father.
“Well, this living room looks pretty clean,” Frank said. “That can only mean one thing, Martha did all the cleaning.”
“Watch your mouth, Dad,” Larry said.
“I’m your father. You show me respect, Buddy Boy. And get a shave. You look like a terrorist.”
Frank told Larry to get a shave, even though Larry didn’t have a single strand a facial hair, while Frank has a long thick beard.
“I’m 38 years old,” Larry said. “Quit telling me what to do!”
“I’m only telling you for your own good.”
“Yeah, I’m 38, I’m married, I have two kids, Martha and I own this house, and I have a job. You need to start treating like an adult.”
“I’ll treat you like an adult as soon as you act like one.”
“Talking to you is like talking to a brick wall, except walls don’t talk back.”
“Watch your fucking mouth, you little bastard. After all that I’ve done for you, and this is how you treat me. It’s no wonder why you’re going to get fired.”
“What the hell are you getting on with? You know what, it doesn’t matter. Pack your bags and get out!”
“I’m your father! Who the hell do you think you are?”
“I’m the owner of this house. Now, if you’re not out of here within in two weeks, I’ll call the cops.”
Frank headed downstairs, but he stopped along the way.
“What’s keeping ya so long?” Larry asked.
“Since you’re kicking me out of the house, I might as tell you the truth,” Frank said. “You don’t know how to take care of your kids. In fact, you can’t even take care of yourself. Also, you’re going to get fired from your job one day, mark my words. It will either because of that scruff on your face or because you flips out over every little thing.”
“You thinks I flips out at every little thing.”
“Yeah, remember the time you broke your video game system?”
“That was…get out of my face.”
Years ago, when Larry was still in high school, he had a Nintendo. While Larry was in school one day, his father decided to play a game. But the system wasn’t working properly. Frank was so frustrated that he broke it. Larry was shocked when he got home to discover that his father damaged his Nintendo.
“Why did you do that for?” Larry asked, referring to the damage to his Nintendo.
“You watch your fucking mouth!” Frank screamed.
“I paid for that system out of my money and you broke it!”
“This is my house and I’m your father. You show me fucking respect.”
“You’re the reason why Mom left,” Larry said.
“And yet, she didn’t take you with her,” Frank said. “So, I’m not the only reason why she left.”
As soon as Frank went downstairs and slammed the door, Martha came home. The first thing she noticed when she walked in the house was the look of rage on Larry’s face.
“What’s wrong?” Martha asked.
“It’s Dad,” Larry said. “I’m kicking him out of the house.”
“Oh, thank God!”
Larry gawked at Martha.
“Excuse me!” Larry said.
“No, what I mean is…” Martha said, trying to find the words. “Yeah, thank God. Let’s face it, your dad is a control freak. He still treats you like a child. Ever since he move in, you’ve become…like him.”
“I’ve never been more insulted my whole life. Comparing me to Dad is like…never mind.”
Martha’s phone rang. Martha took the phone out of her pocket to check the caller ID.
“Are you going to answer that?” Larry asked.
“It’s Steve,” Martha said. “I’ll call him back later.”
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door.
“I’ll get it,” Martha said.
Martha opened the door, and to her shock, it was Monica.
“Monica!” Martha bellowed. “You’re supposed to be in the hospital.”
“Well, I’m not!” Monica said.
“What are you doing here?”
“I just want to talk. Yeah, I want to talk about how I used to get in trouble because of you; how you used to beat the crap out of me; how you lied to me about being from Oberon; and how you got me locked up in a mental hospital, even though you attacked me.”
Four weeks earlier, Monica came over to Martha’s house. They got into a huge fight. It ended when Martha threw a chair at Monica. However, Martha convinced the police and her family that Monica was the one who threw the chair.
“None of that was true!” Martha said. “Even if all of that was true, so what? You’ve spent years making stuff up in your head. You would also throw fits out of the blue, even as an adult. I had no choice but to have you admitted into a mental hospital.”
“Well, maybe I’m crazy,” Monica said, “because I don’t know if I should hug you or kill you.”
Monica slowly walked toward Martha.
“Larry, do something!” Martha said.
Larry raised his fist at Monica.
“If I hit her, she’ll press charges,” Larry said.
“You’ve got to be shitting me!” Martha yelled. “Stop trying to hit her, and hit her!”
“Well, excuse me, Princess. It’s not my fault we live in a society where men can’t hit women under any circumstances.”
Monica had her hands on Martha’s throat. But before Monica could cause any serious injuries, Frank snuck up from behind Monica and he knocked her out with karate chop to the back of the head.
“Do you still want me out?” Frank asked.
“Frank, you saved my life,” Martha said. “Thank you.”
“See? You still need me, don’t you? What would you do if I wasn’t here?”
Steve interrupted the conversation when he busted into the house.
“Mom, Dad,” Steve said. “Aunt Monica escaped from the mental hospital!”
Steve then noticed Monica on the floor.
“Uh, what happened?” Steve asked.
“I saved your parents’ lives,” Frank said. “Well, I’m moving out.”
“Are you sure?” Larry asked.
“Yes. You have kids of your own. It’s about you stop depending on me. I’ll be out of here in a couple of weeks. Anyway, I’m going for a walk.”
A short while later, Glacier contacted John through an intergalactic communicator. John was sitting in the living room of his apartment. He placed his communicator on the coffee table and it emitted a hologram of Glacier.
“How could you trust that woman?” John asked.
“According to our Intel, she or her sister knows where the reality engine is,” Glacier said.
“But she’s more occupied on petty revenge. I broke her out of the mental hospital to help us, and she tried to kill her sister. Now she’s back in the mental hospital.”
“In that case, we’ll have to wait for her to get out on her own. She’s our best chance we got to find the reality engine. Besides, you’ve known her for years and you still don’t trust her?”
“Well, not anymore.”
“That’s fair. But why do you think you wanted her help for so many years?”
John didn’t answer.
“Is it because you like her?” Glacier asked.
“No,” John said. “We’re just friends.”
“Friends with benefits?”
“No! What’s with these personal questions?”
“I’m just curious. Anyway, I have another plan.”