Short Story: Gaslight No ratings yet.

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Part 1

STEVE’S DIARY
I’m an adult and my parents have tried to prevent me from moving out. When I tell people this, they assume that I’m making it up and that I’m severely mentally ill.

Ironically, they keep threatening me to kick me out of the house. So I found an apartment.

I told my parents that I was moving out and my father threw a fit of rage.

“You can’t move out!” Dad 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,” Mom said. “You’ll need to get a job to move out.”
“I already have a job.”
“That doesn’t count as a real job!!”

My parents have put me down since I was a child. For that reason, I believed every negative thing my parents have ever said to me, but I guess none of that matters anymore, because I already paid for the damage deposit, as well as the rent for the first month. I also paid for a moving truck.

The moving truck came one day, and my parents were enraged.

“You rotten little bastard!” Mom screamed.

Dad went outside. I tried to leave the house, but Mom blocked the door. I didn’t push her out of my way, because she’s my mother. Even though Mom blocked the exit, thus preventing me from leaving the house, I didn’t lay a hand on her.

I looked out the living room window. I didn’t hear what Dad said, but the movers left.

When Dad got into the house, he slapped me in the face, and I hit him back. Dad and I got into a massive brawl. It felt great unleashing years of aggression out on my father. Every punch my dad gave me just gave me an adrenaline rush. Eventually, both Dad and I stopped fighting, because we were both too tired and top beaten up to continue.

“Call the cops,” Dad said.

“I already did,” Mom said.

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

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

That was complete and utter bullshit. Dad was the one who had a history of violence.

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

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

“Steve has a history of delusions and violence. 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,” Dad said.

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

“I already paid for the apartment,” I 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,” Dad 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 that apartment.”

My parents decided not to press charges, but the police took me to a local mental hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

I spoke to Dr. Noble. For many years, he was a child psychologist. But now, he’s also a psychiatrist. I explained to Dr. Noble about the years of abuse that my family have doled out on me and my sister, although Emily now goes by Alex and he’s transgender.

I remember when I was seven years old. My family and I went camping, and I was throwing a temper tantrum. My mother said to me, “Stop it! People are looking at you!” However, there was nobody there. In fact, there wasn’t another cabin near us for at least a half-a-mile.

There this other time when I was in grade 5. My mother was “helping me” with my homework.

“What the hell is that?” Mom asked. I looked at my math book to see what my mother was referring to. “What the fuck is that!” Mom screamed.

Long story short, my mother yelled at me throughout most of my childhood. Meanwhile, my father insulted me, belittled me, and threatened me.



Part 2

I remember this one time in grade 5, I had a science test. My parents made me study for 2 hours straight. With that, plus my other homework, I spent a total of 4 hours at my books. My mother wouldn’t let me take a break. To make matters worse, every time my parents quizzed me and I got my answer wrong, they flipped out.

“You’ve studied this over and over” Mom screamed. “You should know this!”

“Just stop for the night,” Dad said. “He doesn’t want to try, so we’ll let him fail in life!”

The next day, as I wrote my science test, I was worried about failing. More importantly, I was worried about how my parents would react. I was so worried; so nervous how my parents would react that I couldn’t concentrate. I knew the answers to most of the questions on the test, but I was so nervous that I couldn’t remember the most of the answers. Obviously, I failed my test, and my parents were furious.

“You obviously didn’t study enough,” Dad said. “I hope you’re happy, you’ve ruined your life. You’re just going to keep failing and you’re not going to graduate high school and you won’t get anywhere in life.”

While Dad belittled me about failing my science test, Mom didn’t say anything. But the way she looked at me, it was almost as if she agreed with Dad.

There are other moments of my parents’ abuse that I don’t remember. At the same time, though, those forgotten memories left have a lasting imprint in my mind.

After I explained all of this Dr. Noble, he didn’t think that I was a danger to myself or other people, but he didn’t believe a single word that I said.

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

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

“I know that some parents still try to control their adult children. But I’ve never heard of parents who are 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, but since you’re living with your parents, it’s unlikely they’ll take you in.”

Once Dr. Noble released me from the hospital, I called every homeless shelter in town, but of them would take me in. Actually, nobody would take me in. I couldn’t even stay at my girlfriend’s house for a few days because her mother wouldn’t let me. Apparently, there was no room in her house, even though I could have slept on the couch. Not to mention that I could have slept in Michael’s room, since he’s been missing for months.

As I walked along the streets late at night, Mom sent me a text.

TEXT MESSAGES BETWEEN MARTHA (STEVE’S MOTHER) AND STEVE.

Mom: “Where are you?”

Me: “I’m Downtown.”

Mom: “Where are you staying?”

Me: “Nowhere. Even Shelly’s mother won’t let me stay in her house.”

Mom: “Why don’t you stay at a hotel?’

Me: “Because I don’t have a credit card.”

Mom: “Do you want me to pick you up?”

Me: “And then what? You kicked me out of the house.”

Mom: “I’m not gonna make you sleep on the streets.”

STEVE’S DIARY

So, I was set to move out, but Dad sent the moving trucks away. He then hit me first and I defended myself. Yet, my parents called the cops, who’ve drove me to a mental hospital. In addition to this, Dad said I can go live on the streets and Mom’s willing to pick me up and let me stay at their house. I

The next day, I was so pissed off with my family, my friends, and my girlfriend that I didn’t talk to them the entire day. The only person I spoke to was Alex.

While Alex and I were eating breakfast, I told him 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,” I 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 transitioned.”

“Mom’s not innocent either.”

“No shit. One time, Mom told me that being transgender will make me a child molester.”



Part 3

“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.”

“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.”

Even though I already paid for the first month’s rent and for the damage deposit, my parents managed to convince my would-be-landlord to get me out of my lease and they got me a refund, even though I didn’t agree to this.

But anyway, I’ve decided to just live with Mom and Dad and obey their rules until the heat died down. Meanwhile, I was still pissed off with Shelly and I friends.

TEXT MESSAGE BETWEEN SHELLY AND STEVE

Shelly: “I’ve been texting you all day and you’re not talking to me.”

Me: “That’s because I’m pissed off.”

Shelly: “It’s not my fault Mom didn’t want you to stay here. I tried talking to her, but she wouldn’t listen.”

Me: “Michael’s not back from Japan yet, I could have stayed in his room for a few days.”

Shelly: “Michael hasn’t contacted us in weeks. He and Allison were last seen in Suicide Forest. The police found a body that matched Michael’s description, and Mom left for Japan at 5:30 this morning to identify the body.”

Me: “I’m so sorry.”

Shelly: “I’m sorry for getting snippy. I’m going through a hard time. Where are you?”

Me: “Home. Even though Dad kicked me out, Mom let me back in.”

Shelly: “Well. My mother’s going to be gone for a few days. You can stay here while my mother is away.”

Me: “I’d like that.”

STEVE’S DIARY

Later that day, I went over to Shelly’s house. Dad told me not to come back, but for once I just ignored him.

When I went to Shelly’s house, we talked about Michael.

“I thought Michael went to Suicide Forest to write a story,” I said.

“That’s what I thought, but he never returned our calls,” Shelly said. “He also hasn’t been on Facebook in a week.”

‘So, why did Allison go to Japan?’

“To look for Michael. She is really fucked up. She abused Michael and then she went to Japan to look for him; to make sure he didn’t kill himself.”

“She is fucked up. I know you’re worried about your brother, but it’s not going to help. Your mother is on her way to Japan to see if Michael is still alive or not. The only thing we can do is hope for the best.”

“You’re right. I don’t know what I would do if Michael’s dead. He’s my twin brother. Twins have a special bond.”

“I know. If worst comes to worst, I’ll help you get through it.”

“Thanks.”

A few days later, I went back home. Right away, my parents were getting on with their bullshit. It happened while my family and I ate supper.

“After supper, I want you to get a shave,” Dad said.

“No,” I said.

“Fine then. I don’t care what you do. You can go outside naked if you want. You might as well. It’s no wonder you can’t get a job.”

“Steve, facial hair is dirty,” Mom said.

“I already have a job,” I said. I worked at a supermarket.

“That doesn’t count!” Dad yelled.

I couldn’t live like this. I had to move out, but I didn’t know what to do. My parents actually prevented me from moving out before. The next day, I texted my friends.

TEXT CONVERSATION BETWEEN STEVE, SHELLY, SARAH, AND MELODY.

Shelly: “Well, I got good news. It wasn’t Michael. So, he still might be alive.”

Sarah: “That’s great.”

Me (Steve): “Meanwhile, I need to move out. Are you sure you can’t move into an apartment with me, Shelly?”

Shelly: “I can’t afford it.”

Melody: “Sarah and I are looking for an apartment. We found a two bedroom apartment. Maybe Steve could move in with me and Sarah.”

Me: “That would be great! Would you have a problem with this, Shelly?”

Shelly: “You really need to get out of that house. So, go ahead.”




Part 4

STEVE’S DIARY

I’ve done my research. I could have the police come to the house to make sure that I move out safely. However, since I had no proof, I bought my furniture, my parents can prevent me from taking it with me. I didn’t have the money to buy furniture of my own. However, I could buy those cheap plastic cupboards. Shelly also gave me an old air mattress that her father used whenever went camping.

Moving day finally arrived.

“Why are the police here?” Mom asked.

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

“You’re wasting these police officer’s time.”

“Well, the last time I tried to move out, Dad sent the moving van 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?”

“Yes.”

“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 told 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,” Mom said.

Suddenly, Dad came home.

“What’s going on here?” Dad asked.

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

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

“That’s fine.”

“Also, don’t you ever come back. You’re dead to me. I have no son, I only have a daughter.”

“Alex is your transgender son. Get that through your head.”

That night, I moved into a rundown two bedroom apartment with Sarah and Melody.

I didn’t hear from my parents in two weeks. To be honest, it was very relaxing. But then, weird things started to happen.

First, somebody made a false claim that I was taking drugs in the apartment building. The landlord investigated, but he eventually realized that I wasn’t.

A short while later, my manager wanted to talk to me.

“Steve, we’ve had several complaints about you over the last few days,” John said. “They’ve complained about your appearance.”

“What did they complain about, specifically?”

“It’s mainly about your hair and facial hair.”

“What would you like me to do about it?”

John stared at me with laser eyes.

“You can get a shave and haircut,” John said. “Then again, your hair looks clean to me, and you only have a goatee.”

“A few male employees have full thick beards. Have anybody complained about them?”

“No. Hopefully, these complaints will stop. But if they don’t, we’ll have to do something about them.”

“I understand.”

TEXT MESSAGE BETWEEN STEVE AND SHELLY

Shelly: “Why would your parents try to get you fired?”

Steve: “It’s another attempt to control me.”

Shelly: “I find this very hard to believe. There isn’t a single parent in the world who’s that fucked up.”

Steve: “Have you ever watched the news? Anyway, you don’t have to believe me. I’m out of the house now. But since Alex is still living there, I’m worried about him.”

Shelly: “He’ll be fine.”

Steve: “I hope so.”

You can also read my short story on my Wattpad account.

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