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Listen to Your Parents
“Ugh, don’t you hate doing EVERYTHING your parents tell you to do?” complained Tom to his friends. “Like, the other day my mom told me to do the dishes even though I was busy. Do I tell HER to go do the dishes? No. She says she’s too busy to do them, so she makes me do them. I mean, I bet I’m as busy as she is. I’m a very busy person with a very busy schedule. It’s hard with all my friends, you know.”
Tom and his friends Mike, Katy, and Liz were walking down the sidewalk on their way home from school. The crisp fall air drifted under their noses as they walked under a tree bursting with reds, oranges, and yellows. Tiny pebbles that had fallen in between the sidewalk cracks crunched under their sneakers as they leisurely strolled towards their houses.
“Ha! What friends?” teased Katy. Mike and Liz snickered as Tom lightly punched Katy in the arm.
“Very funny. But you’ve got to at least admit the load of work your parents put on your shoulders never gets any lighter.”
“I guess I’ll agree with that,” decided Liz.
“I second that,” piped up Mike.
“It’s all too much. I don’t think they realize that we actually have schoolwork to do. And that we have a social life. And DON’T make any more jokes about my friends,” Tom warned as Katy started to open her mouth.
“I wasn’t!” Katy insisted. “I was just going to say that maybe we should make a stand, you know, or something.”
“Pshh…like what?” Mike asked skeptically. “Put together a speech about how our parents expect too much of us when in reality most teenagers barely do anything their own parents tell them to do?”
“No. More like just talk to your parents about it, and try to make a mutual agreement. Like maybe only three times a week you’ll do the dishes, or clean your room only every Saturday.” Katy suggested.
“Well I have a better idea,” Liz declared.
They all looked at her expectantly.
“How about we all go home and not do anything our parents say, and when they call us down for dinner we stay in our rooms.”
“What will that accomplish, exactly?” Mike inquired.
“I’m not finished, hold on,” Liz persisted. “When they get all mad and come storming up the stairs looking for us, we then explain how we feel about our current situation, so they could know the level of frustration we experience on a daily basis. Then they might reason with us.”
“I don’t know…” muttered Katy uncertainly. “That might just stir up more trouble.”
“Well at this rate, I’m just about willing to try anything to gain back my old relaxing life!” declared Tom. “I’m in!”
“How about you guys?” Liz asked Mike and Katy. They reluctantly agreed.
“Why not?” gave in Katy.
“Alright,” sighed Mike.
“Since we all live close to each other, why don’t we just meet at the corner of Red Bird Road after this experiment and we can say how our results went there?” suggested Tom.
“Great idea, Tom,” Katy approved.
“Okay, see you all later!” Liz called out as they started to go their separate ways.
Mike trudged up his long driveway and reached his weather-worn front door. He fumbled with the keys, finally found the right one, and opened the door.
He had a bad feeling about this.
“Hi honey, can you get your homework done and come fold this laundry for me?” called his mom from upstairs.
This was the first test.
“Sure mom!” yelled back Mike. He ran upstairs and slammed his door shut, breathing hard. He wasn’t going to fold that laundry. About an hour passed. He had finished his homework and was sitting on his bed scrolling through his phone.
“Can you get that laundry folded, Mike?! And I need you to do the dishes also!” his mom called.
“Okay, in a minute!” called Mike.
Two hours passed. No more word from his mom. He heard his dad come home from work, and his mom getting dinner ready. Soon he could smell it wafting up the stairs.
“Dinner!” called his mom.
“Come on Mike, I’m starving!” yelled his dad.
Suddenly it went silent. No noise could be heard. Even the sound of the heater had stopped.
This was unnatural, thought Mike. It shouldn’t be this quiet.
He slowly crawled out of his bed and tiptoed down the stairs, peeking around the corner into the kitchen.
His parents were there, eating dinner. He was a bit surprised that they would start without him, so he just went and sat down with them at the table. They didn’t even look up or otherwise acknowledge that he was there.
This is weird, thought Mike.
“Hello?” he cautiously asked.
There was a moment’s pause and then his mom looked up and said to his dad, “So how did your presentation go at work today? Did your boss mention anything about a promotion?”
“UM…hello!” Mike said, getting annoyed. “I’m kind of sitting here, you know, at the dinner table with you. I’m sorry I didn’t come down earlier, I guess I just didn’t hear you call me.”
His dad’s face lit up.
“Yes, he talked to me about it, and I’m going to move up to president of the executive board! I’ll be getting paid a lot more than I am now.”
“Wonderful!” Mike’s mom replied. “Now we can finally go on that vacation we’ve been talking about.”
“Yes, and this is one of the times when I’m glad we don’t have kids. I want to spend this holiday just with my beautiful wife.” He smiled.
WHAT. Mike’s parents were acting really weird. This wasn’t like them at all. AND the fact that his own father just said that they didn’t have any kids made it even weirder. It was like he didn’t even exist. Did he anymore? He moved his hand through the air, hitting the hanging light above the table. Whew. It didn’t go through, which meant he wasn’t a ghost.
But as he was moving his hand back, he noticed a transparent version of the light swinging back and forth in about the same spot as the real light. Mike frowned and hit the hanging light again. The same thing happened. It was like he was in a parallel universe, one where he didn’t exist. He got up from the table and ran upstairs to his room. The walls were painted a different color, and there weren’t any of his posters hung on the walls. It had been converted into a guest room.
What was going on?! He had to find out!
Mike ran outside, slammed his front door, and started running. He made it to Red Bird Road in about ten minutes. Looking around, he saw his friends approaching at alarming speeds too.
“Guys! What’s happening to us?” Mike frantically asked as soon as Tom, Katy, and Liz drew closer with terrified looks on their faces.
“I don’t know, Mike!” Tom said in a panicked voice.
Liz and Katy were both standing in shock, breathing hard.
“We’re all becoming non-existent! How do we stop this?!” Mike practically screamed as he looked up at the sky.
“I think we’re living in a parallel universe, one where we don’t exist,” Liz finally answered, trembling.
“B-But that’s impossible!” Katy stuttered. “We can’t live in a world where we don’t exist!”
“Nothing s-seems impossible r-right now, though!” Tom spluttered.
“…and that might explain…this…” Mike slowly stammered, looking at his arms, then slowly drawing his eyes up towards his friends.
A gasp escaped from Liz, then with a thud she fainted and fell on the ground.
Their arms were turning invisible. You could see straight through to the asphalt, and the transparency was quite frightening.
“We’re turning invisible!!!” Katy screeched with terror. “First our parents don’t even see us, they ignore us, they act like we don’t exist, and now, we truly are starting to not exist!”
“Okay, first of all, calm down. There are a couple of options we have,” Tom started explaining, trying to keep his cool. “One, this could all be a weird dream, and we just need to wake up. Two, it could just be a trick of the light, mixed with our unstable emotions. And three, someone should probably help wake up Liz.”
“Oh, yeah…” muttered Katy, bending down over her friend.
“I agree that this could all just be a weird dream,” Mike said, sounding unsure. “But this can’t be a trick of the light. How would that explain our parents acting like we don’t exist? And when I moved my hand and hit the light hanging above my kitchen table, a translucent version of it moved, too.”
“Me, too,” mumbled Liz, steadying herself on Katy’s half-invisible arm. “There were translucent versions of everything in my house. And my room was a guest room.”
“Okay, guys, I know we’re trying to figure this out and everything, but MY ARM IS FULLY INVISIBLE WHAT DO I DO?!?!” Katy hysterically sobbed, dropping Liz and falling to the ground herself.
Soon, everyone’s arms were all invisible, and you could even pass your hand through them. Their arms weren’t even there anymore. They just became nonexistent. And the scary part was that it was spreading. Their chests, necks, and upper legs were already halfway see through.
“Oh, no,” mumbled Mike, looking straight through his chest. “The invisibleness is spreading quicker than ever, and there’s nothing we can do…”
Soon enough, the only parts of the body that could be seen were their heads. It was a strange sight indeed, four floating heads in the middle of the street. Mike bravely awaited his last breath, staring out into the distance. Tom desperately racked his mind, thinking of hopeless ways to get out of this mess. Liz’s hair whipped around her face, getting in her eyes and getting stuck in her lip gloss. Katy had tears streaming down her face, silently sobbing, for there was nothing they could do but wait until it all ended.