Chapter 7: Family Matters

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: True Confessions  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 204
Comments: 1

My parents could tell I was still mentally messed up. I remember asking them why the cats looked so huge, like they were growing bigger befire my eyes. My eyes played a lot of tricks on me like that. They tried to get a personal tutor to help with my homework problem, but I would just get overwhelmed and have a huge fit. I was like a child. All I wanted to do was play pretend all day. Something had to be done. Angered by the lack of progress I made, they dumped me back into Harbor Oaks.

"What can we do to help him? Because this is clearly not working." stated an anxious and fearful Beth. The doctor looked at my mom, optimism in his voice.

"Well, theres still some anti psychotics we havent tried yet that might work. Lets just keep experimenting until we find something that works."

My mom didnt like that fact that they had to 'experiment' with me. But I left them little choice. Every day I seemed to wake up a different person. If I wasn’t a ghost stuck in mental purgatory, I was a character from a familiar show I used to watch, or something from a videogame. At one point I wondered if I had traveled across dimensions of time and space, into an alternate reality where everyone in my past life lived with me. So lonely was I, that my mind fabricated those close knit friends and family from the other patients. This theory started soon after returning to harbor oaks, as it didn’t take me long to assimilate with IT once again. 

Some of the patients were new, but some were familiar faces. Alaina and a few of the others were gone. I was a bit upset that I never got her number, but Dawn assured me it was for the best, I was just happy to still have  Dawn as my caseload worker. As I sat down on the couch of the activity room, I spotted a young girl, quiet and to her herself. I soon found out her name was Beth. Strangely enough, her mannerism, the way she carried herself, reminded me of a younger version of my mom, whose name also happened to be Beth. Oh god, how I already missed my mom and her smiling face.

What if that’s your mom, but younger? IT mused

I shook my head. Impossible, I just talked to my mom on the phone. Shes at home.

Yes, in this universe, IT smirked

What do you mean, ‘in this universe’?

Don’t you see? You're seeing a glimpse of her from within an alternate universe!

I did have a really good intuition. I guess anything was possible.

What if you're not even human? What if you have untapped power you aren’t even aware of? IT paused. What if…you were God?

I didn’t even want to think such ludicrous things. Who am I to prophesize myself like that? This was all a big misconception, and I knew it.

I don’t believe you. Where is your proof?

IT just laughed.

I really wanted to talk to Beth, to assure her that her future child was going to be fine, but I knew that if I revealed my identity, I may lose my existence. So I observed her from afar. This wasn’t the first family member I’d see either. The next day, when I was walking down the hall, I noticed a few more new names I’d never seen before. Among them, was a name that stuck out all too well: Richard. This was starting to freak me out. First Beth, now Richard, I thought with a shudder. Richard was my biological father, a man whose brash nature left a permanent mark on my psyche. His parenting style was one to induce fear, yet his love for his children, both my brother and I, was without relent. It wasn’t that he was intimidating, but he had a short fuse. Dealing with someone like me takes patience, and he didn’t have it.  The name brought memories flooding back to me.

 

“Okay son, I’m going to throw it to you! Get ready!”

 

The little child hesitantly held the mitt in front of him, ill-prepared for the ball hurling at his face. In the blink of an eye, it was in reach, but he clasped the mitt too soon, and the ball slipped between his leather fingers. He picked up the ball and flung it at his father, who easily caught it. Discouraged, the child sat down on the grass. The father walked up to him and gestured for him to pick himself up, showing genuine concern for his boys behavior.

“You were close. Don’t give up now!”

The boy found little point to the sport, sitting and staying silent. The man, however, showed passion towards it, and was determined to get the boy’s confidence up.

“I think I know what your problem is son.”

“And whats that? That I suck at baseball?” the boy asked, hopeless.

“No…” he dropped the ball in the boys mitt. “Your timing is off.” He stroked his beard for a moment. “Whats something you would love right now? Something you can catch?”

The boy laughed. He didn’t see where his father was going with this. “I don’t know, I guess some candy. Preferably a Reeses.”

The father chuckled. He knew his son would choose sweets as his go-to.

“Ok then...” he said, taking a few strides back. “…imagine  the ball as a Reeses. And if you don’t catch it, you cant have it.”

The boy knew the ball wasn’t a Reeses, but the notion that a Reeses could be thrown made him more willing to catch it. He tossed the ball to his father, who caught it and prepared an overhand throw. “Remember what I said.”

 

The man threw the ball, a steady pace as it traveled through the air. The boys eyes followed its trajectory as it came closer and closer. He imagined the candy bar, just as his father suggested, and waited until the exact moment it was a face-level. The mitt clamped down and the boy smiled, as he felt the ball push against the palm of his hand.

“It worked! I did it dad!” the boy exclaimed. The dad  smiled proudly at his son

His smiling face shone brightly in my mind. It wasn’t often the man smiled, so when he did, it was a sight to behold. As Richard passed me and entered his room, I smiled stupidly. His hair, like my dads, was black. Dawn was at the desk sorting files, but she stopped when she saw me staring into space. That worried her.

“Josh, is everything ok?

I missed my father so much, and the kid reminded me a lot of him.

If that really is my father in an alternate universe, I thought, then how he feels in here was how he is feeling in real life. I decided to ask about him

“Yeah everything is fine, but hey, how’s Richard doing?”

She was a little baffled by my curiosity. The guy was a new admit, so she found it strange I was asking about him. Curious herself, she stepped into his room. I waited patiently for her return. When she finally did return,, she expression was grim. “He was cutting himself. But that’s really not your concern. I have it under control.”

My father was cutting himself? Was he that shaken up by all this? I knew I had to do something, so I picked up the phone and frantically dialed his number.

RING RING! “Hello?” a gruff voice answered, coughing in the phone. I imagined his throat, slit and bleeding out as he cough up a mixture of blood and mucous.

“Dad, its Josh!”

His voice came to life. “Hi son, hows it going? How are you feeling?”

I had to tell him. I couldn’t risk him harming himself.

“I’m feeling ok, how are you feeling?”

“A little sick. Its been a rough couple of days for me.”

I knew it! Of course it had been rough, he was struggling with major bouts of depression. He was unstable, and needed someone to talk him out of it.

“Dad, please don’t cut! We’ll get through this!”

He was silent. Then, after a long pause, he spoke. “What are you talking about? I’m not cutting.”

I explained to him how Richard was cutting, and how I was concerned, but he was as confused as I was. “Josh, how is that me? I’m right here! And I’m not a child.”

Awkward silence filled the air as we both clung quietly to the phone. I didn't feel like arguing with him. 

“Well, i'll still make sure the angel watches over you.” I looked at Dawn, who had ease-dropped the whole conversation. I hung up the phone and started to walk away, as my mind continued to stir with questions.

How come he didn’t believe me? Was I crazy after all?

You’re not crazy! IT refuted. Of course he doesn’t believe you, that child is him in another universe.

Is what you saying really true?

Yes. You are more powerful than you think

“How is your dad?” Dawn said, interupting my conversation with myself..

“Huh? Oh, he’s sick Im going to pray that the angels keep him safe.”

She smiled. “That’s good.”

I was extremely religious about everything, even going so far as to request a bible study with the patients. I drove the kids so crazy, they gave me all their bibles. “Go ahead and read them if you love it so much” one kid would say.

Soon enough, I had a new neighbor next door to me. His name was Ben, but he was partly blind.  This raised new alarms in my mind

 

“Youre making no sense Josh, I’m right here, not at the hospital.”

I slammed my fist angrily on the table, making one of the nurses jump. “Yes you are Ben! You, and my mom, and my dad! You’re all here with me! You said you were partly blind and-”

“-Bro.” My cousin interjected my incessant rambling. “Calm down man. I understand your going through a lot right now, and anyone in a place like that would have trouble not talking nonsense, but you gotta believe me. There is no multiuniverse. Whoever you are talking about is a patient, just like you. But hey, listen, I gotta go man. Take it easy.”

CLICK!

I handed the phone back to the receptionist, and sluggishly prepared for my shower. The soap was stuck to the ceiling where I couldn’t reach it, but where my new roommate could. Apparently I claimed to see an angel in the soap and told the nurse, so they didn’t trust me with soap. I squeezed the bottle of body wash onto the washcloth and lathered myself. I thought about what Ben had said to me, and just how much the place had changed me. Perhaps my family was right, that this was all a trick being played by my overactive imagination. I knew I was just a normal kid, but IT seemed to say otherwise. I had to hold my ground. What happened next shocks me to this very day.


Submitted: March 11, 2015

© Copyright 2021 Joshua White. All rights reserved.

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unmasked delusions

Dang it- the cliffhanger, Joshua! haha- anyways, what a great chapter. I loved how you threw in the alternative reality, I like it cuz' I also think about that stuff sometimes- I'm always going "well...what if". Oh- and how you mentioned things about your past life, it was a nice change of structure but I can't wait to see what happens next, as usual. Thanks for sharing again- always looking forward to that new chapter.

Sat, March 14th, 2015 3:26am

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Yes, I thought about a lot of what ifs, but instead of shrugging it off, I believed it lol. As for references to my past life, I will be making a lot more, as well as flash-forwards into the more recent present. The best this a writer can do is keep its reader on their toes

Sat, March 14th, 2015 11:03am

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