Teacher Knows Best: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 (working title)
Jim Fletcher opened the door of his home ready to relax for the evening. He had put in a full day of work at the research center and had dealt with his share of problems throughout the day.
'Honey, I'm home!' he sang out as he does every night. But this time he was greeted with silence.
'Honey?... Is anybody home?'
He heard a muffled sound from the kitchen and then a cracking voice spoke.
'Sorry... I... I'm in here...'
It was his wife's voice and it was obvious that she was crying.
'Angie...What's wrong he asked suddenly worried about their daughter who was nowhere to be seen 'Is Lara OK?'
'Not exactly.... I put her to bed early..... I had a meeting with her teacher today....' she answered in between sobs.
Jim felt a little relieved. He knew his wife could be a little dramatic sometimes and he figured this was shaping up to be one of them. '~And~....?' he asked.
'The teacher thinks maybe she should retake Kindergarten and not go on to first grade with the rest of the class......' she said before breaking out in sobs again.
'They say she is too immature and is withdrawn... not making any friends.... and.... just doesn't seem...ready. I know she's small for her age and younger than the other kids but to hold her back??? The school system here won't accept anyone in first grade without the Kindergarten administration's 'OK'. '
'Well, maybe it's a good thing? I'm sure the school knows best. Her birthday did fall right on the line so I guess that time can make a lot of difference.' Jim said trying to reassure her.
'Nooooo...She'll be devastated. I was small for my age but I learned to cope and she can too. Imagine how she'll be put down and made fun of if she gets held back? All her friends will be moving on and she'll still be .... It's not fair for her...It's the teacher's fault! They should do better!'
'Honey! You just said the teacher said she didn't have any friends and now you're worried because her friends will move up a grade and she won't? I think you're making too big of a deal out of this. After all, she is only 5! The teachers should know what is best. Think about it.'
'I ~have~ thought about it! She'll be a laughing stock. It'll be too much for her. Think about who always got bullied or called names in school....the ones that were held back! When kids got punished they were threatened with being held back! '
Jim realized that atleast that part of the story was true. A lot of the kids did pick on students that were held back.... but this was only kindergarten. It wasn't the same as an older kid being held back he figured. 'Angie, it's not the same...'
'Same? Same as what? Same as when we were kids? Same as a boy being held back? I'm a girl and I know what she'll be thinking. Every tease will sting. She can't ~make~ herself grow either.'
'But in another year maybe she ~will~ be closer in size and maturity with the other kids?'
'Yes... ~maybe~ And maybe she'll grow and be ready for the class she's in now? But ~nooooo~ she'll be teased and tormented for being ...Slow...'
More tears streamed down her face. Jim realized that she had made up her mind and he wasn't going to change it. Atleast not any time soon. Not being a girl, he also wondered if Angie may not be over-reacting as much as he imagined.
Angie continued 'She just needs a friend..to listen..to guide her...to give her confidence! I wish I could be there with her...'
Those words rang out in Jim's head. 'Maybe you could' he said softly.
'What? No, I'd just bring more trouble and embarrass her. She'd never live it down having her mother there with her. She needs someone her own age'
'That's what I meant' he told her. 'You, but you need to be her age.'
'I wish there ~was~ a way. I know exactly how she feels and how to help' Angie answered solemnly.
'Maybe there is....' Jim replied.
'Is? Is what?' What are you saying?'
'I probably shouldn't say anything. Forget it. We'll think of something.'
'JIM! Tell me what you are talking about! If you know something that might help Lara you have to tell me! ~Jim~.... now!'
'You could be her age... I really don't think it is a good idea. I shouldn't have even brought it up.'
'Well, you DID bring it up. Now, what the hell are you talking about!?'
'Promise you won't repeat this...or any part of it... we've never really been ordered to not talk but it has been ummmm ~strongly implied~.'
'I promise. Tell me, dammit!'
'We've been working on a drug that reverses the aging process. We're quite far along actually...'
'Are you serious? That's impossible! You're pulling my leg!'
Jim took a breath and continued 'No, it's for real. It is extremely safe as best as we can tell in limited testing and it is reversable. Unfortunately, we don't know exactly ~how~ it works but we know it works. Each pill essientially halves a persons age. A 30 year old taking one dose would find himself or herself regressing into a 15 year old in a matter of hours. If they took another dose, or two at once, they would become a 7 1/2 year old. That is where it gets a bit ~sticky~'
'You absolutely look serious! What do you mean by 'sticky'. You said it is reversible.'
'Well, regressing to a teenager doesn't seem to have a serious impact on a person's mental state. The hormones and stuff do, I guess, but not like when you cross backwards through puberty. Somehow it seems that there is a chemical connection with memories that gets ummm foggy as the brain regresses physically. If a subject was to regress to infancy... the reversal doesn't bring back their adult faculties. I guess they get too young to retain them. But even just regressing to childhood can have the same consequences if the person is not careful. We've found that if the 'subject' maintains adult activities and doesn't allow themself to uhhhhh sink into a child's world, that they maintain their personality and adult faculties upon reversal. Maybe some slight differences but that is probably just from seeing the world once again from a child's eyes. But, let's see.... In my example if the 7 1/2 year old were to take another dose then that person would then regress to less than 4 yrs old. As hard as it is for the 7 year old to keep remembering their adult self, the 4 year old has it much harder. Maybe it is because the 7 yr old has a longer attention span. I don't know. Like I said, we're still studying this. It is pretty important work.... and word really shouldn't leak out. That's why I never said anything.'
Angie was stunned. She knew her husband didn't spin stories. She also realized that her wish to be Lara's age could come true! It was a bit scary thinking that it could actually happen. 'You said it could be reversed?'
'The same ohhhh uhhhhh ....our bodies retain a code. Like a record of where we've been and maybe even where we are going. The same principles of the youthening process that fools the code into regressing also can be fooled into returning the subject back to the age they would be in calender years. We also figure that there must be a way to age a person past where they would be in calender years but we haven't been able to do that. It's almost like we've found the rewind button but can't find the fast forward button. We can't age a person past their true age.... Maybe that part of the code is not stored yet?.... nor can we control the amount of regression except as I already said. Anyway, it is reversible with pills. It is kind of a 'bot' technology like we saw on TV the other night.'
'So that is why you were laughing?'
'Yeah, we are quite a bit further along in the technology than that show would lead you to believe'
'Ok, I'm 26. One ~pill~ will make me 13.... and then the next 6 1/2...right? This is spooky to even think about!'
'Yeah, but it is probably not a good idea. You're not serious. Just forget I mentioned it.'
'Too late. You know you can get the pills or you wouldn't have said anything in the first place. You said it is safe. Obviously, you've done tests....ummmmmm how did you know about the infancy problem?'
'Early on we had volunteers. A couple of prisoners with nothing to lose. We regressed and aged them continually and noted the process in both long-term and short-term testing. I'm sure they are better off anyway. We suspected it from animal testing but the human testing proved it. we mainly work with animals. The first phase is fairly complete.'
'The I'm gonna do it! Get me the pills!' Angie boldly stated. 'I was small enough at 6 1/2 to pass for a younger child. This is perfectly incredible!'
'No 'Buts'! It'll just be for a week or so. We can tell the kindergarten that I am Lara's cousin and that there's a family crisis and I'll be enrolling temporarily. With all the single family homes and domestic problems they do that all the time anymore!'
'I don't know... I mean it seems like an awfully small problem for sucj extreme measures. It's not like they will just smile and hand me the pills! And you can never tell anyone anything about this...even Lara!'
'You've worked there a long time. You ~know~ what to do. This is for Lara! You can just tell her I'm her second cousin or something.'
Jim did know he could get the drugs. He knew it really shouldn't be a problem to get a couple of the regression pills or reversing dosage. After all, only a few people worked at the center and security was low mainly because they felt heavy security would lead to too many questions.... and the center trusted its employees. A trust that Jim was now about to break.
With the discussion settled Angie's mood improved and she went about the evening's business. If all went as planned she would have the regression drugs Friday evening. Jim still felt uneasy about the plan and worried that Angie was over-reacting to the problem. None-the-less he felt that the process was safe and that the plan could very well help Lara adjust to school....even if it was a bit extreme. He also started contemplating what life was going to be like with two children in the house for the next couple of weeks. They talked through the plan and discussed what was to happen for the next few days. Nothing he could say could change Angie's mind.
Morning arrived and Angie was in a very good mood. Her mind was at peace with what she was going to do. Jim and Lara watched her bounce around the room like the weight of the world had been lifted from her shoulders.
'Have another piece of toast. I made plenty!' she said as she refilled everyone's orange juice.
'No thanks... I probably oughtta get to work a little early today...if you know what I mean' Jim said as he took one last sip of his orange juice and slid it back on the table. 'Gotta go! By ladies... ummmm kids!' he said with a grin crossing his face as he looked at Angie.
'Bye Bye Daddy' Lara said smiling.
'Bye Daddy' Angie said with a sly grin.
Jim hurried out the door and was off to work. Angie and Lara finished up at the house and then Angie drove Lara to Kindergarten. Lara's mood instantly changed as they arrived at the school. 'Do I hafta' she protested 'I feel kinda sick!'
'Now Lara, you were just fine a few minutes ago. You shouldn't fib about that! Are you really sick?'
Lara shook her head to indicate 'no'. 'Huh uh...' she said slowly.
'You be a good girl for mommy and run on in there. Tomorrow is Saturday and you might have company.'
'Who!?' Lara asked excitedly.
'We'll just have to wait and see.... Now get to school and have fun!'
Angie watched Lara run up the steps amongst the other children. She shivered a bit thinking if all goes as planned she would be one of them come Monday morning!
After seeing Lara was safely inside, she drove to the shopping center to find some new clothing.... children's clothing. Suddenly, she had a strange revelation.... she wasn't looking for clothing that she thought would look cute on a child but rather clothes that she, as a child, would like. It was a strange moment. She remembered the times that she had been with her mother and her mother would chose her clothes, and then the times that she had taken Lara shopping and chosen Lara's clothing. That seemed proper then but now it didn't! Some things that she thought would be ~cute~ for a child wasn't really something SHE'D want to wear as a child. After a while she had picked out some outfits consisting of shorts and T-shirts, sneakers and sandals. A perfect wardrobe for an active 6 year old girl. She paid for the items and then returned home to prepare the house for a ~second~ little girl. She put her new clothes in the guest bedroom and also made sure that the guestroom TV was hooked up and working. That would be an important connection to the adult world she figured.
Tension built as she awaited Jim's arrival. Lara was now home and watching cartoons. Dinner was ready but Jim was running late. Finally, the door swung open.
'Honey? I'm home!'
'DADDY!' Lara yelled as she ran and hopped on Jim to hug him.
'ummmm Did Daddy bring anything ~special~ home with him?' Angie asked in a sing song voice.
Jim shook his head affirming that he indeed DID have something ~special~. 'Yes, ~Daddy~ has ~it~'
'Great!' Angie replied as Jim put Lara back on the floor. He realized that soon he would be able to lift his wife just that easily also! It still seemed too surreal for him but he knew there was no changing Angie's mind.
They all had dinner and watched television. Lara's bedtime came and they both tucked her in.
Angie kissed her daughter on the forehead and told her 'Lara, mommy might have to leave for a few days but if she does your little cousin Angie will be coming to see you...'
'She has the same name as you mommy!!??' Lara asked as if that shouldn't be.
Angie looked up at Jim who had a smirk on face. It was an 'I told you so' look. One that was meant to show that this wasn't going to be as easy to pull of as she had hoped.
Angie looke back down at Lara and told her 'She's a lot like me so they named her after me' and then shot a look at Jim to imply that she could work around any snags in the plan.
They left the room and then went back downstairs.
'OK, so do I take 'em now?' Angie asked.
Jim looked at the clock 'Yeah, I suppose now is as good as a time as any. It'll take about all night for the complete regression. You probably won't sleep well, what with all the changes and everything so I brought you a sleeping pill to help. I'll put the reversal doseage up here in this pitcher so that it is hidden. We don't need any more questions like from your little name slip up there to Lara.'
'Ok, Ok... let's get started.'
'Why so fast? No second thoughts at all?'
'Maybe...It's all kinda scary... but cool too I guess. I don't want to change my mind. C'mon!'
Jim handed her the two regression pills and the sleeping pill.
'Do I really need the sleeping pill?'
'I think so... It can't hurt and you'll need to be fully rested for tomorrow.'
Angie quickly downed all three pills and then looked in the mirror as if to immediatley see a difference.
'Settle down. It took 26 years to get that way' he said pointing at her reflection in the mirror 'It'll take more than a few minutes to erase it!'
She smiled knowing he was right but really didn't know what to expect.
'Sit down' he ordered and she took a seat. 'I really want to go through everything again. I guess we know now that you will still be called Angie. Angie ummmm Shelton. How about that?'
'That was my mother's maiden name and so there is a distant connection if someone was to poke around.'
'Sure, fine' She shrugged.
'OK, the reversal dosage is in the pitcher there. Don't let anyone throw that out! I don't want to have to get more! Now, don't forget what I said about maintaining an adult ritual. It is important. You're going be surrounded by 5 and 6 year olds all day long so try and interact with the teachers some. If there is something to read, even if it is milk carton, READ IT! I imagine I'm over-reacting myself but I don't want you to lose you adult self. If you were to hang around children too much you might just slip so make sure you come straight home after...~kindergarten~' he had to stop and shake his head at that last sentence...he was ordering his ~wife~ to come home after her kindergarten class! 'There shouldn't be a problem, you won't get too young so that you can't stay focused...as long as you try. I still don't think this is a good idea. I wished I'd never even been involved in this research. Right now I wish I had just kept up the guitar lessons and skipped college altogether!''
Jim kept talking and Angie yawned. The sleeping pill was taking affect.
'Are you listening?' Jim asked noticing his wife's eyes starting to look heavy.
'Uh huh.....I'm [yawn] listening' she said stretching and fighting sleep. As she stretched the bottom of her sweater raised revealing her stomach. She felt a slight chill on her bare skin. and she proceeded to stretch the sweater to cover herself. As she looked down she noticed her stomach looked flatter. At 26 she had gained a couple of pounds and hadn't really took the time time work them off. Jim's pills had doe it for her! 'My stomach! I've lost weight!'
'Ya, and a couple of years too. I'd say you look closer to 24 now. That ~is~ to be expected, you know?' Jim said.
She laughed nervously 'I guess you're right... Wow... you're a genius! It works!'
Jim smiled but still didn't feel comfortable. He wished he would have never mentioned this possibility to her. More than anything he worried because this just wasn't ~right~.
[Yawn] 'I'm gonna change and [Yawn] get ready for bed. That sleeping pill packs a wallop' she told Jim as she made her way upstairs and to her room.
Jim could see that she was even slimmer now. He had never thought of her as overweight but her youthening revealed that she had gained a few extra pounds in the last couple of years. She pulled the hair from under her sweater and Jim could swear it even looked longer and now had more fullness and life. She was gone for an extended period of time. Jim figured it would only take her a couple of minutes to change into her night clothes but then again he figured she was admiring the return of her college co-ed figure.
Jim was half right... she had spent some time admiring her firmer and younger nude body in the mirror. Then she sit down, as she does every night, and began to apply lotion to her still firming legs and arms. Had she thought about it, she would have realized that no lotion was going to be necessary to rejuvenate and moisturize her skin on this night! She was amazed at how soft and smooth her skin felt as she applied the moisturizer. Each application was a little but slower. Finally, the powerful sleeping pill won out and she dozed off while still rubbing the lotion on her body. It was only when the bottle of moisturizer hit the floor a couple of hours later that she awoke. She heard the TV still on downstairs and wondered how long she had been asleep. She groggily slipped on her robe and slippers and hurried back downstairs. She never noticed that the robe was now slightly bigger... or that she was slightly smaller! Had she glimpsed her reflection in the mirror she would have a seen a teenager! A college freshman.... or maybe even a high school senior was what the mirror was reflecting.
'Hey Sleepyhead' Angie said in a more girlish voice upon seeing Jim had Dozed off on the couch. 'Wakeup! [Yawn]'
He looked up and his eyes widened. He had expected to watch the transformation rather than be surprised by suddenly seeing a younger version of his wife. He hadn't known her in high school but he now knew that she was a vision! Her pictures hadn't done her justice. Her days as a cheerleader had paid off leaving her a firm, trim, very fit young lady. Her long curly flowing blonde hair framed an innocent face while her blue eyes sparkled brightly.
'Am I still getting younger? Geez I 'like' forgot to look cuz I fell asleep and I knew you were, like, down here waiting....'
'Slow down....Slow down. If you'd just listen to yourself you'd realize that you re-entered teen-dom.' Jim told her while still soaking in his wife's innocent beauty.
'Whoa! I'm a teenager? Already?' Her excitement at her newfound teenage body was now counteracting the sleeping pill. She ran her hands up and down her sides and eventually made her way to her perky breasts. 'WOW... I guess these'll be going soon won't they?' she asked sounding a bit disappointed.
'I'm afraid so...' Jim answered.
'I imagine you are' Angie replied coyishly.
After more inspection she stated 'Everything is so....uhhhh ~tight~'
Jim watched then young beauty begin to trace her unlined face with her hands.
'My skin feels so soft...softer than I, like, remember! ....Uh oh.... Oooooooo... Noooooo'
'What?' Jim asks worriedly.
'I've got a ~zit~! Grossssssss I wanted to, like, look all pretty for you and stuff' She told him as she started to cry.
Jim got up and put his arm around his youthening wife. 'It'll be OK. You're the prettiest girl I know!'
He lead her to the couch and sat down beside her.
'You make me feel so good. I don't ever want to be with anyone but ~you~.' she told him.
'You ~are~ my wife'
Her crying stopped and she giggled 'Oh yeah! Cool!' and gave him a quick peck on the cheek and then looked sheepishly away.
Jim smiled and turned her toward him. He brushed her hair back with his hand and put his finger on her chin to gently tilt her head back and kiss her. It was all that was on his mind. As her head raised and her eyes moved up to meet his he suddenly pushed her back.
'Awww shit! I can't! You can't be a day over 16!'
She was shocked by Jim's sudden outburst and then a tear formed and rolled down her cheek 'You think..... I'm..... ugly!'
'No, Angie...I think you're ~too young~. I told you this would all be complicated. You're beautiful... but you're too young to be my wife.'
'But I...I... I ~am~ your wife!' the now 15 year old cried out.
'I'm sorry Angie but you should have thought about this. I can't treat you like my wife when you look more like you should be my daughter! Please understand.'
'I'm sorry Jimmy...Jim..... You're right [Yawn] I guess.... But it's so hard now. [Yawn]'
The sleeping pill was beginning to work again. Angie laid her head against Jim and he lightly stroked her hair. 'No one said this would be easy, Angie. But you wanted to do it.'
'I know' she sniffed.' I'm just kinda like mixed up right now, ya know? [Yawn]'
'Maybe you should get to bed now?' Jim offered.
'[Yawn]~Ok~' the sleepy 13 year old replied as Jim helped her up.
Her robe hung much lower now. Almost touching the floor. The sleeves were over her hands now and Jim helped her roll them up. Even her hair was no longer as full and thick as it was only a short while earlier. Neither said anything but both of them also realized that the front of the robe now laid flat against her chest. After a couple of steps of fighting the over-sized slippers she kicked them off, grumbling 'They're ugly dumb old slippers anyway!'
As they approached the guest bedroom she tugged on Jims hand 'ummmm I'm in here now. OK?'
'Oh alright. You thought about our little problem before?'
'Yip, but I'm so mixed up it kinda like lost its ummmmm like importance earlier... kinda I guess'
Angie sat on the bed and Jim went and retrieved one of her old T-shirts. 'Here, you better put this on' he said, once again waking her when he returned.
She sat back up and slid forward on the bed.' Thanks' she answered in an even higher voice.
Jim turned around so that she could put on the T-shirt with some privacy.
'Ok, you can turn back now' she said sound even more juvenile.
Jim turned around and noticed how much she had changed in just the last few moments. Her toes barely touched the floor as she sat on the bed. Her features were very childlike. The T-shirt seemed to be slowly swallowing her.
'You better sleep now, hon' Jim told her 'I'll stay here and keep an eye on you.'
'K, Nighty night' she answered in a child's voice and quickly fell back into sleep.
Jim walked over and placed a blanket on her. He marveled at how innocent she looked. A mere child now with no real trace of womanhood. She seemed to get increasing restless, tossing and turning, as her body youthened even further into childhood.
A hand and leg were left uncovered after one of her bouts of turning. Jim walked over to cover them but before he could her hand and foot seemed to slide up under the cover as they shrank even more. She was now getting positively tiny. Jim now understood just what she had meant when she spoke of how small she was for age. Jim managed to fall asleep in the chair as he watched over little Angie.
Sunlight crept into the room as morning broke. Just as Jim was about to rub his sleepy eyes and check on Angie he was bolted awake by her sudden screams.
'Angie...settle down!' he said trying to calm her.
'I want my MOMMY!!!!!
Teacher Knows Best Part 2
Jim quickly ran to try and comfort the hysterical little girl that was his wife.
'Quit crying Angie. You have to think! Remember? Remember who you are and your plan?'
'I WANT MY MOMMY!!!! Pleassssssssse' she cried out and pulled away from Jim.
'I don't understand. You should remember. It's not been that long....Angie, please calm down. Try to remember being a grownup.'
'Where's my mommy? Please get my mommy.'
Atleast she was calming down. Jim tried to remember everything that had happened and what could have gone wrong. Suddenly, a thought crossed his mind.... All the tossing and turning she had done 'Angie...honey.... Did you have a bad dream? Or any dreams?'
'Uh huh' she she said still sobbing.
'I was in school and teacher was gone and we hadda stay and couldn't leave and mommy couldn't get me out or nothin''
'Damn' Jim whispered under his breath. The sleeping pill must have caused her to sleep right on through the nightmare to its conclusion. In her mind she was with other children for what must have seemed like much more time than what had really passed. Her mind regressed to match her dream state. Even though Jim figured he knew what must have happened he wasn't sure if it was too late to reverse it. No one had ever unrecoverably mentally regressed in that short of a period of time unless they had used more of the regression medicine making the mind too young to comprehend. But Angie seemed totally regressed. Jim began to think about all his reservations. No one had ever tested the regression and how it related to dreams. No one had ever even considered it.
'Are ya gonna get my mommy?' she asked 'Pleasssssse. Pretty please'
He took her hand 'C'mon, let's get up and see what we can do.' Jim was hoping that something in the house could unlock the memories before they were all gone....if they weren't already.
Angie hopped down out of the bed. She was still wearing the T-shirt which was huge on her. Jim saw the clothes that Angie had purchased the previous day. They were neatly arranged on the dresser. 'Ummm maybe you should put these on?' he said handing her a shirt and shorts. He wasn't sure if dressing her in children's clothes was a good idea but he couldn't leave her swimming in the adult T-shirt. He stepped out of the room and allowed her to change.
'Are you dressed?' he asked after a few moments.
'Uh huh' she answered.
'Angie, I'm going to show you some stuff and I want you to try and remember yesterday. Do you remember living in this house?' he asked as they walked down the hall.
'Do you remember those two people and that day?' he asked pointing to their wedding picture.
'That looks like you and a pretty lady' she replied 'And that kinda looks like gramma' she said pointing to a recent picture of ~her~ mother.
'You don't remember you wedding?'
'You're silly' she giggled.
'Angie, try to remember yesterday and last night...try for me please! Try to remember being a big girl!'
She looked puzzled.
As the two of them stood in the hall, Lara made her entrance. She looked surprised to see the other little girl.
'Oh...Uhhhh... Lara this is Angie....' Jim stammered as he was taken by surprise.
Lara waved shyily 'hi'
Angie started to step behind Jim as if she was a bit bashful, but then she stopped.
'Lara?' she asked.
'Uh huh' Lara answered as the other little girl stared.
Finally, she tugged on Jim's sleeve and motioned for him to bend over. 'I'm back...sort of. I remember Lara is my daughter. It's all comin' back.' she whispered.
'Thank God' Jim shouted ' I thought I'd lost you!'
'This is gonna be harder than I thought.' Angie replied.
'I warned you. You have to be careful. There's a lot we don't understand. I think we've just learned something about the unconscious mind and how ~that~ can affect the regression also.'
Lara wondered what they were talking about but was more interested in getting to her cartoons.
Satisfied that Angie was 'back', Jim made a suggestion 'Lara, why don't you take Angie in and watch TV while I cook breakfast. You're stuck with my cooking until you mother gets back.'
'Yuck!' Angie said making a face. Both girls laughed and then ran into the TV room. Lara picked her favorite Saturday morning cartoon show and Angie was surprised how enjoyable it was. Before it was over she was laughing as hard as Lara at the jokes. She was a little apprehensive when Lara wanted to start a Barney video but soon found that she could enjoy that also!
The girls made fast friends and seemed genuinely disappointed when Jim delivered breakfast.... Pop Tarts, burnt bacon, and something that resembled eggs. They seemed to want to keep on playing. Jim had to admit he hadn't seen Lara interact with another child like she was now...ever!
Lara made a trip to the bathroom and that offered im a chance to talk with Angie in more depth about what had happened earlier.
'I thought I was gonna have two little girls!' he told her.
'Ya, you almost did. I thought you was crazy. I couldn't 'member nothin' 'bout bein' big!' Angie answered sounding just like the 6 year old she appeared to be.''Cept when I saw Lara and 'membered I was her mommy!'
'Angie, are you OK now? You sound uhhhhh kinda you know...like a little girl!'
'Uhhhhh I ain't tryin' to. I guess it'th just cause my tounge don't work as good now!'
'Maybe we should reverse this now?' Jim offered.
'Noooooo. I ain't finished. It'th just startin' to work. I'll be OK now. I just gotta be careful.'
Jim wasn't so sure. 'Why don't you try a little harder to not sound so much like a kid? Just talk slower and concentrate on what you are saying. You don't want Lara saying 'ain't' all the time do you? .'
'Uh huh... I'll try to do...better. But I gotta finish what we started. I ain't ...errrr ~am not~ ready to reverse it yet.'
'Well, just to be safe, no more sleeping pills. Please!'
''K' she answered as Lara re-enetered the room.
The girls played all day long. Jim watched and had to smile as he saw how happy Lara was. Maybe Angie was right he thought. It sure looked like Lara was learning to be more social. It was apparent she totally accepted Angie has an equal. The girl's playing was noisy enough to disturb his viewing a game on TV. Finally, he offered a solution 'Girls, how about you go outside for a while. I really want to see this game. OK?'
'K, daddy' Lara said and then turned to Angie 'You wanna play on the swingset?'
'Ya.... OK!' Angie answered.
Jim watched as Angie struggled to close the sliding door. Something the adult Angie could do easily but now it was a struggle for her to pull the sticking screen door shut.
'Need some help?' he asked.
'Nuh uh... ~I~ can do it' she grunted as she finally closed it.
She went running to join Lara. Jim could see them happily swinging and sliding for the rest of the afternoon.
When Lara's bedtime arrived Angie got ready for bed herself figuring it was best if they both had the same routine. She also noticed that the day had really worn her out and she'd be ready for sleep soon herself. Angie had bought some Looney Tunes pajamas along with some fuzzy bunny slippers for herself which she happily changed into. Once Lara was asleep Angie slipped downstairs to talk to Jim.
'I told ya this was a good idea. You was all worried for nothin'. '
'I have to admit she looked really happy today. I still worry about you though! We've already had a taste of how things can go wrong. And I'm still not sure about your speech patterns'
'Ya mean how I talk? Whatsa matter with how I talk?'
'Because you still have the speech patterns of a little girl!'
'DUH! Have ya looked at me? It ain't...errr is not easy talkin' like when I was big.'
'Yes, well it still bothers me. I wish you'd just talk slower or something. Think about your words. I'll just be glad when this is all over with.'
'I'm pretty tired.... I'm gonna watch some news and then go to sleep' Angie told him. 'There, was my speesh better?'
'Except for your lisp... but there's probably not much we can do about unless you can grow a new tooth to replace that missing one.'
'Thorry about that' she answered, exagerating the effect. 'I'm off to my room. Will you turn the TV off for me when you go to bed?'
'OK, I'll see you in the morning. NO SURPRISES! Please!' He told her. Actually he was relieved to hear that she planned on watching the news. This meant she would balance out the day's child like activities with something more adult.
Angie entered her room and slipped off her bunny slippers. She padded over to the TV and turned on Geraldo. She wasn't sure if that really qualified as news but it was better than the boring stuff on MSNBC. She hopped up on her bed and sat up against the headboard and began following the action. After a short while she started to tire of the endless 'spin doctoring'.
'Clinton, Clinton, Clinton.... It makes me long for OJ!' she mumbled as she started flipping through the channels.
Before Jim turned in for the evening he stopped to check in on Angie. She was asleep and so he pulled her blanket up and kissed her on the forehead. He then took the remote from her small hand and aimed it at the TV. He was surprised to see that the TV was on the Disney channel rather than the news.
The next morning Angie awoke to Jim's prodding. 'Get up...You better not sleep in! Get up!'
'What time is it?' she grumbled.
'It is 6 AM..rise and shine!'
'No.... better not. Get up!' he replied.
'Sheessh I ~do~ want my mommy' she answered sarcastically 'She'd let me sleep!'
'~May be~, but I don't want to risk a repeat performance of yesterday!'
Angie got up and Jim handed her the bunny slippers 'Here, let's drive to the corner and pick up breakfast at McDonald's'
'Let me get dressed' Angie pleaded.
'Why? You're 6 years old! It's not like we are going inside. We'll just go through the drive-thru. C'mon! Let's go before Lara gets up so we can have her breakfast waiting on her. We'll take your car, I'm low on gas.'
Angie reluctantly agreed and followed Jim to the car. McDonald's was only a few blocks so she figured it wouldn't be too bad. Unfortunately, it looked like everyone in town had decided to use the drive-thru. The line was long and the wait was longer!
'What's that?' Angie asked as they finally approached the window.
'What is what?' Jim asked.
'THAT!' Angie said pointing to the glowing 'check engine light'. 'I thought you said you'd fixed it?'
'Hmmmm I don't know! I thought I did'
'~Great~ Maybe now you'll take it to a mechanic!' she told him.
Jim turned back around to see an elderly lady trying to hand him his sack of food from the drive-thru window.
'Sir, I really shouldn't say anything... but children shouldn't be allowed to speak to their parents like that' she whispered to him.
Angie heard her and quickly crossed her arms and bit her lower lip.
Jim, sensing Angie's anger, said to the server 'You're right.... you really shouldn't say anything!' and then drove off.
Angie felt a little better. Atleast Jim had spoken up for her. Her anger was soon to return though. The car sputtered after a block or so and then died. Jim coasted into a parking lot and then tried to restart it. No luck!
'~Really great~' Angie mumbled.
'Shit!' was all Jim could initially think to say.
'C'mon' he finally said.
'C'mon? What?' Angie asked.
'We're going to have to walk.' He told her.
'Nuh uh...No way...not dressed like this...not in public on the sidewalk!'
'Angie... no one will think a thing. Look in the mirror. You look perfectly fine for someone your age for this time of the morning in their own neighborhood.'
Angie grumbled but had no choice. Jim locked the car and took her hand and they started walking.
'~Slow down~' she whined as she tried to keep up with Jim's longer strides.
No one would have guessed that the little girl with Jim was really a 26 year old young woman. She still had on her Looney Tunes pagamas. The shirt had a large picture of Bugs Bunny on the front while the shorts had Babs and Buster on each leg. The bunny slippers completed the ensemble. Even Jim finally had to laugh at the picture of the two of them. 'It kind of reminds me of a movie I once saw.... except THAT rabbit was 6 feet tall and invisible!' he laughingly said.
A quick kick in the shin from one of the bunny slippers ended Jim's laugh. 'I ain't Harvey... But I wish I ~was~ invisible right now!' Angie stated.
'You know tomorrow you'll be in public don't you?' Jim asked.
'Ya, but not dressed like this!'
At that moment one of the neighbors looked up to see the two passing. It was an elderly couple that Angie and Jim knew vaguely. 'Morning Jim.... and how are you Lara?'
'Uhhhh Bob this is not Lara... It's ummmm my niece Angie. We went to pick up breakfast and the darned car broke down. Lara's waiting back at the house.'
'Ohhhhh sorry. Well she's just about the spittin' image of your daughter. I guess your family got all the pretty ones!'
'Well you certainly ~are~ a pretty little girl' the elderly lady said to Angie 'I wish I had a grandaughter as pretty as you!'
Angie smiled. The old woman made her feel pretty. She almost forgot about how she was dressed.
'You're just the cutest thing. Just gorgeous!' the older woman added with a huge smile.
Angie's mood brightened even more.
'Well, we better get along. Breakfast'll get cold. We'll see ya!' Jim said as he walked away.
'They're nice. I like them' Angie said as she started skipping ahead of Jim. She continued skipping ahead until one of her bunny slippers flew off.
'ANGIE!, what are you doing?' Jim yelled ahead as he saw taking the other off. She looked back at him with a puzzled look on her face. What WAS she doing she wondered? She slowly realized that she had just regressed again. The combination of the juvenile clothes and the elderly couple had made her feel like a child and her mind had slipped! She couldn't tell Jim what had happened. He would end everything before it even got started. She had to be even more careful!
'Uhhhhhh nothin'...errr nothing.... they're ummmmm kinda loose is all'
'Well, if you'd walk normal you wouldn't have a problem' he offered.
'I'll just carry 'em' she told him.
That was close she thought! Her answers seemed to satisfy him and he didn't question her any further.
As soon as she got back into their house she opened the newspaper and started reading. She even threw the comic section in the trash without even looking at it. Out of sight out of mind she figured. She realized just how easy it was to regress and knew Jim was right about her needing to work to maintain her adult perspective. She also noticed how much easier it was to regress outside of her comfortable adult surroundings. Playing with Lara in the house where she had spent most of her adult life was much easier for her to keep her perspective than being out on the street with people she barely knew. That is why the dream had affected her so much... in the dream she was in school with no adults. And that thought led her to the next thought which was school is where she would be the very next day! But now that she knew what to expect she figured she could avoid it if she just kept her concentration.
The rest of the day went by uneventfully. By evening Angie felt secure with her ability not to regress. She figured she was learning how to handle the situation much better. She still knew that Monday would be a real test!
After another session with Jim explaining how important for her to keep up some adult interaction was going to be, she was ready for bed. This time she left the TV on Geraldo, and even though Gerry Spence's home-spun legal meanderings weren't as interesting as usual to her, she didn't reach for the remote.
'Rise and shine..... I hear a school bell!' Jim sang 'Time for school! Get up!'
'It's not time ~yet~' Angie moaned.
'Yes it is. We need to go a little early so that we can sign you in as a temporary.'
'Get dressed Angie and I'll wake Lara.'
Angie picked out a pair of pre-faded jeans with pink fringe, a T-shirt, and sneakers. She was actually a bit excited to have second chance at a 'first' day of school.
Jim again stopped at McDonald's for their breakfast. They were in his car now, leaving Angie's broke down car from yesterday still in the parking lot where it had last coasted. It wasn't exactly a priority right now.
Jim had very little problem getting the school to accept Angie. He filled out a few forms and made up a couple of things that he figured would pass first inspection. He lied and said her records were lost in the mail but that they were working on it. The only item that seemed to matter was that Jim's check was good. They even checked with his bank to make sure it would clear before finally stamping Angie's papers. That was the only part of the whole procedure that they actually checked on!
Angie sat quietly in the office with her legs dangling over her chair. She was nervous and excited at the same time. In only a few moments she would be introduced to her ~new~ kindergarten classmates. The adults went about the business of enrolling Angie with it all finally concluding when the secretary copied the top paper on the Xerox. She then spoke with Jim 'Mr. Fletcher, I think this will do it! I'll take little Angie to meet her new class and you can pick the kids up this afternoon.'
Jim thanked her and left for the research center. He knew the plan was out of his hands now.
The secretary took Angie to the classroom door and then motioned for the teacher. The teacher came over and took the paper from the secretary.
'Angie?' She said as she glanced over the paper 'Welcome to our class. I'm Ms Jones'
'Hi' Angie said not sure how she should greet an adult now that she appeared to be a child. Her adult self would have extended a hand and said 'Nice to meet you' but that didn't seem right for this situation.
'Come on in dear' Ms Jones said and led Angie into the room.
'Class, this is Angie. Angie is Lara's cousin. Everyone say 'Hello Angie''
'~Hello Angie~' the class chorused.
That felt weird Angie thought. The teacher then seated her at the same table as Lara. 'Now you two don't start talking until 'talk time'. Lara knows the rules already, but we have quiet times for studying and 'talk times' where we can all talk. This is quiet time now. If you talk during quiet time then you have to sit in the corner' Ms Jones then motioned toward an empty seat strategically placed in the corner.
Angie looked at the seat and said ''K.'
'Ack Ack... Quiet time...shhhhh' The teacher said and went back to her desk.
Angie looked on the table at what the kids were 'studying'. Mainly it was Flash Cards and coloring books. She shuffled through some of the Flash Cards and decided to read them. She even read the compyright information and instructions on the box. This wasn't what she had pictured her first day of kindergarten being like.... atleast the first day the second time around!
She quickly tired of 'Quiet time'. 'Psst How long does quiet time last?' she whispered to Lara.
'ANGIE!' the teacher yelled out as she put a book down that she had been reading.
'I'm sorry' Angie said suddenly feeling a like a child in trouble.
'I told you it was 'Quiet time'... and you don't talk back to the teacher during Quiet time either!' Ms Jones added.
'I....just...said ...I was s~sorry~' Angie replied while trying to fight back tears. She was hurt and angry all at once.
'No more talk! In the corner! NOW!'
Angie lost her battle with the tears and started crying.
'Don't cry, Angie' Lara said sympathetically.
'The other corner for you too, young lady!' Ms Jones shouted, sliding a chair towards the opposite corner for dramatic effect.
The class all started laughing.
'Quiet everyone! Or you can take turns in the corner for the rest of the year!'
The class immediately stopped laughing.
Both girls took their seats in the corner and faced the wall. It was only during this solitary time that Angie realized she had suffered another bout of regression while being scolded by the teacher. Fortunately, the time alone allowed her to collect her thoughts and get back to reality.
After what seemed like an eternity the teacher allowed them to return to the table.
'OK, children. It's talk time. You can talk amongst yourselves.'
'So hows come she don't let us talk?' Angie asked Lara.
'I dunno. We always start the day with quiet time. Sometimes she takes a nap' Lara answered.
Angie wanted to complain. She had already figured that Ms Jones was a bad teacher and now she was sure of it. She figured Ms Jones had 'quiet time' so she could sleep off a hangover or catch up on her reading that she missed because of some wild party life. The more Angie thought about it, the wilder she imagined Ms. Jones' private life. But as a 6 year old Angie was pretty much powerless. She resigned herself to the task at hand and set out to find a suitable playmate for Lara and herself. She figured that the sooner she could start any friendships for Lara would be a plus for her when she returned to adulthood.
She startted with one of the girls at their table. 'What's your name?' she asked.
'I'm Missy' the other girl replied.
Angie figured she might as well cut to the chase. 'Will you be our friend, Missy?'
'Nuh huh...I got friends.'
Angie figured she had to give the kid credit for honesty but wasn't sure she liked her attitude. Still she smiled and said 'Oh, OK... ' She didn't want Lara to think the other girl's answer bothered her.
Another girl at the table spoke up 'I'll be your friend... I don't have many friends'
Angie looked her over. Her clothes weren't very stylish and looked like they might've been hand-me-downs. She looked like she might come from a family with not much money. Suddenly, Angie felt picky about who she would be friends with.... And then she became worried about having thoughts like that. Was it her adult mind pre-judging someone like that...or was it her child's mind? She realized this girl probably needed friends just as much as Lara. 'OK! Let's be friends! Let's play a game.'
The three girls spent the day bonding. Angie was proud of her accomplishments. It was working out exactly how she had hoped. In fact, she might be able to return to adulthood sooner than she had planned if things keep going as well as they have so far. Angie still didn't like the teacher. She didn't like her when she talked to her as an adult and she liked her even less after spending a day in her class! She was more then happy when Jim arrived to whisk them home.
'So how was your day?' he asked Angie.
Before she could answer Lara spoke up 'She got in trouble!'
'Well, you did too!' Angie countered.
'Girls, don't argue...' Jim answered while trying to contain his amusement. 'Did you get paddled?'
'No... but it wouldn't surprise me if that big meany.....errrrrr teacher would paddle a student!' Angie said.
'I guess you don't like the teacher?'
'No!' Angie replied icily '....but we had fun otherwise. And made a new friend!'
Jim pulled into McDonald's for their dinner and made sure to order a kid's meal for both girls. Angie wasn't impressed but knew that is exactly what she would have ordered on her own.
Once Lara went to bed Jim was anxious to hear how the day had went without the story filtered for Lara's benefit.
'That teacher is a BITCH!' Angie said without much prodding.
'Better watch that mouth, young lady!' Jim said sarcastically.
'I'm serious... well anyway... It is working well. I think Lara is gaining confidence by leaps and bounds...No thanks to Ms Jones. '
She went on to explain how she planned to add a new friend to the fold tomorrow. She wanted to surround Lara with friends. She figured that would isolate her from the bad effects of the teacher.
Jim noticed his wife spoke much more like an adult now. What he didn't know was how her speech patterns slipped the other way while she was with the children at school.
After a while Angie decided she had better get to bed. Tomorrow would be another trying day with 'the teacher'. She excused herself and was off to bed.
The next day started much the same as before. Jim woke the girls and saw to it they dressed properly. Angie chose shorts, T-shirt , and sandals for this day. The teacher ~had~ promised the class they would spend some time outdoors this afternoon. Jim rounded the girls up and hustled them into the car. Rather than cook breakfast Jim elected to stop at McDonald's. He had decided that his cooking skills weren't up to that of Ronald's employees!
He let the girls out at the school and kissed them both on the cheek. They waved bye and ran toward the school. He drove onto work and wondered what challenges this day would bring.
Angie sat quietly through 'Quiet time' today. She had learned her lesson. The silence was broken by a knock at the door. Ms Jones answered it and talked with the secretary. Angie saw a tear roll down her cheek. Finally, the teacher came over and got Angie and Lara. Angie was very curious. 'What's going on?'
'Just go with Mrs. Hill... It'll be OK'
The teacher stopped before re-entering the class and wiped her eyes.
Mrs. Hill led the girls to the Nurses office. The nurse entered 'Lara do you know where your mother is?'
'No...she had to leave for a few days. Why?'
Angie spoke up 'Whada you want her for. Maybe I can get in her?'
'No, but if you know where she's at I'd like to contact her.' the nurse answered.
'Ummm I dunno...' Angie said, wishing that she could tell the adults who she really was.
'So neither of you know how to contact her?'
'No.... why?' Angie asked.
'Wait here' The nurse told them and then left. The secretary followed.
'What's happening Angie? Are we in trouble?' Lara asked.
'I dunno...I don't think so' Angie replied.
The girls sat in the lounge for a very long time. They saw the nurse and Mrs. Hill return and talk out side of the door. Finally the door opened when another lady joined them.
'Hello girls. I'm Dr. Fantz. How are you?'
'Fine' they answered in unison.
'Thats good....' The Dr paused as the other two ladies each put an arm around each of the girls. 'I'm afraid I have some bad news.... Lara.... your father..... there was an explosion where he worked.....'
'Nooooooooooooo!' Angie screamed out fearing the next line.
'I'm sorry.... no one could have survived. He's gone. He's gone on. We're trying to find your mother....'
Lara started crying as she began to understand. 'DADDY Noooooooooooooooooo!!!!!! You're a liar! Nooooo!!!!!'
'We're sorry girls...' Mrs. Hill added not knowing what to say.
Angie collected herself as best she could 'Are you sure? Are you sure? I've gotta get back to the house! I gotta!'
'When we find your aunt then you can return. The Dr. will stay with you until we can find your aunt. Lara needs her mommy right' Mrs Hill told the frantic child 'and we need to find your parents'
Now Angie was really worried. She couldn't tell them where her parents were! Who'd believe her anyway. 'I don't know where they are. They ran off. Take me to the house PLEASSSSSE!'
'I'm sorry, children. But we have to find your surving family.' The Dr said.
'Nooooooooooooooooooooo' Angie cried out.
Teacher Knows Best Part 3
The adults tried to comfort the two girls. Angie was absolutley frantic. In one short moment she had found out that her life would never be the same! She'd lost her husband and if she couldn't get to the anti-dote she would lost her adult life. The emotions that she was feeling were overwhelming. Worse yet was that she couldn't tell anyone. No one would believe her!
'What's gonna....happen to us?' she cried.
'Well, hopefully we can find your parents and we also need to find Mrs. Fletcher. You'll have to stay at the Children's Center if we don't find them soon.' The Dr. told her.
'But that is where criminals go!' Angie countered.
'Not exactly. Maybe some wayward youths get ~assigned~ there, but it also houses children who don't have a mommy and daddy'. The Dr.'s voice oozed of a patronizing tone...like he was speaking to a child who wouldn't fully understand. Regrettably, Angie understood exactly and it wasn't very comforting.
'Besides, I'm sure you have families that love you. We'll find them. The police are looking now.'
Angie knew that the police would not find anything. They were looking for the parents of a child with a fictional identity. And they never would look for Lara's mother at the Children's Center! She was resigned to the fact that they would have to spend atleast some time at the Children's Center until she could figure out a way to back home to retrieve the reversing formula.
As the time passed and no trace of the girls' family was found, the police decided it was best to take them to 'The Home'. 'The Home' is the name the police use to refer to the Children's Center. They informed the Dr. of their lack of success and took the two children away.
Angie's eyes grew bigger as she saw the imposing building. It looked bigger than she remembered from the pictures that she had seen while it was being built. It looked more like a prison than a 'Home'. A quick look around the yard told her that security didn't look to be overly tight. Maybe she could escape she hoped! She sqeezed Lara's hand as the car slowed to a stop. The officer escorted them out of the car and into the building. He signed a couple of forms and then left. The lady on the other side of the counter didn't look to be the most friendly person she had ever seen.'
'Two more... Damn we're full already and they're sending more! Atleast you two tiny things won't take up smuch space!' the lady grumbled as she left her station to take the children further into the building. 'This is the Rec Room... That is R.E.C. as in Recreation Room... NOT WRECK Room. Please try and take care of it. You'll be spending a lot of time in here so keep it clean.' She led them further. This is your room. You'll have to share a cot. That one there will be yours'
The girls looked at their 'room'. It was a room that probably had 10 bunks crammed in it. Their's was farthest from the door. Not exactly where Angie wanted to be to start her escape. She figured her best bet was to take her time. If she tried to run away and got caught she might never get another chance. If she gained everyone's confidence and learned the building she would have her best chance.
'I see you two have regular meetings with Dr. Frantz scheduled. You're awfully small to need a shrink!'
Lara looked at Angie as if to question what was happening. She again squeezed her hand hoping to comfort her. Once again Angie had met an adult authority figure that she wasn't very pleased with. She wondered how these people ever got a job working with children.
'Alright my little Peewee's, get to the Rec Room and find yourself something to do.' The lady grunted and then went back to her station.
Angie looked at the windows as she walked back to the Rec Room. The windows were all locked down with no way to open them. Even worse, she noticed that the lady at the door had to buzz people out! Escaping wasn't going to be easy.
Neither girl engaged in much conversation that evening. Both were still in a state of shock. Angie's mind was filled with questions and she worried about Lara. She had to figure out a way to get to the anti-dote.
One of the attendants came and told the children it was time for bed. A few groaned but no one dared argue. Once at the room another of the attendant's brought Angie and Lara some nightclothes. They were each issued a pink sleepshirt and a toothbrush. Nothing else. Angie felt even more like they were in prison. The girls went into the semi-private stalls and changed. The concrete floor was cold on their bare feet.
'I don't like it here' Lara sobbed 'I wanna go home'
'We'll get home. Just be strong. I need you to be strong.'
Lara sniffed one last time and tried to put on a brave face. It broke Angie's heart to think what must be going through Lara's mind. Both girls got in their cot. Lara fell asleep but Angie tried to fight it. She watched the guard make rounds. She tried to time his rounds by counting. Not yet satisfied that she'd learned all she needed to know about his rounds but no longer able to fight sleep. She too finally fell fast asleep.
Morning arrived to the sound of a loud buzzer. Angie longed for the sound of Jim's voice waking her. In her memory it now sounded like music. All the girls fell into line to brush their teeth. Angie prodded Lara to do the same. 'When in Rome....' she thought. The girls were then led down a corridor and into the cafeteria for breakfast. The concrete floors hadn't warmed any overnight. Angie longed for her bunny slippers and a trip to McDonald's with Jim. She never could have dreamed that she would find herself a resident of 'The Home'.
Later that morning she had her fight bright spot. One of the young helpers, Kelly, made her first appearance. Kelly was 21years old. Not all that much younger than Angie in reality. Kelly seemed to like children and was very entertaining for the children. Lara really seemed to like her also. Kelly was surprised to see Angie 'reading' the newspaper. Kelly figured she wasn't really reading it but Angie argued that she was. She started to prove it but then thought better of it.
The children all played or watched TV. The classroom activities that had been one of the 'Home's' selling points when it was proposed to taxpayers was largely nonexistent. The fun was interrupted by a couple of policemen. They talked to Kelly and then she came to Lara.
'Lara, honey.... These policemen found your mommy's car in a parking lot. Do you know why your mommy would leave her car in a parking lot?'
'Nuh uh' she answered.
She showed her a picture of where it was parked 'Have you ever been there?' she asked pointing to the picture.
'Nuh uh' again was the reply.
She turned around. 'Sorry officers. Nothing'
They thanked her and left.
~Great~ Angie thought. Now they think I've been kidnapped or something.
Angie tried to keep her distance from the other children the rest of the day. She found some magazines and began reading those. Lara seemed to be ok with Kelly.
Bedtime came and the girls followed the same routine. Angie stayed awake and again timed the guard's rounds. This time they were different! Damn she thought how am I ever gonna get out of here. She started crying and cried herself to sleep. All too soon the buzzer echoed throughout the building and it was time to rise again.
Breakfast and then Rec Room. Angie was already bored with the routine and it was only the second day! She found a newspaper and again started reading. Kelly arrived for work and once again saw Angie with a newspaper. She thought it was cute and figured Angie was going to be a Lawyer or something.... a woman of the 21st century.
'Hello, Miss Bookworm!' Kelly said.
Angie put the paper down to greet Kelly. She figured in another time she and Kelly could have been great friends. They began talking. Kelly was surprised by how mature Angie seemed for her age. Their converstation was interrupted by voices. Lots of voices! They looked up to see quite a few children being brought into the building. Mostly small children.
'Who's that?' Angie asked as she pointed to a gentleman that she hadn't seen before.
'That's Dr Blackwell. He's one of the doctors here. He's really nice... and kinda cute!'
'Where'd all those children come from?' Angie asked.
'THAT, I don't know. We sure don't have much room for any more either.' Kelly replied.
Angie watched them all file in and one of the children caught her attention. There was something about him. She got up and walked closer.
'Jim....Jimmy?' she asked curiously.
'Yeah?' he answered.
'My God it is you! You're not dead! What happened to you?' she stammered.
'You're Jimmy Fletcher..right?'
Before Angie could go any further the other kids started teasing him in a chorus of 'Jimmy's got a girlfriend.....'
'What have they done to you??? They've totally regressed you! '
The other children kept teasing and Jimmy started backing away. 'You got cooties! You're a girl!'
Suddenly, Dr Blackwell grabbed Jimmy and stared at Angie for a second before dragging the boy away.
Angie took a deep breath. Things had just gotten more serious! She had to take a chance. She went back to Kelly.
'Kelly, I need to tell you something....'
Teacher Knows Best Part 4
'Kelly, this is gonna sound incredible and you can't tell nobody..... anyone. I'm not really a little girl. I'm older than you!'
'Now Angie, you don't want to rush growing up! You should enjoy....'
'No, no, no! My husband worked at the research facility that exploded. They were working on a drug that reverses the aging process. I have an anti-dote at home but I can't get it. That's why no one can find Lara's mother... I'm right HERE! No one is looking for a 6 year old.'
'That ~is~ a pretty big story for such a cute little girl. But you're just a little girl who has had a rough experience. It's not unusual for a little girl to want to dream something up. Especially a little girl that is a s smart as you. You're such a sweet thing and I think you should enjoy your childhood while you can. Now don't try and argue just listen to me. Look how pretty you look when you smile' Kelly held her compact mirror up so that Angie could see herself. 'Look at that pretty face! Now you don't want to frown all the time, your face might freeze like that!'
Angie's mouth slowly curled into a smile as she saw the child staring back at her. Then she saw the missing tooth and giggled.
'There.... you look much prettier with a smile.' Kelly told her. She felt pretty good about the smile she was able to bring to Angie's innocent face. Little did she know that she had just broken Angie's ability to fight her mental regression.
'You want to look at your newspaper some more?' Kelly asked trying to hand her the paper that she had earlier been lost in.
'Nahhhh... The 'Funnies' ain't even in color!' Angie replied with a touch of childish disgust.
'Yeah, the Sunday comics are in color. I like those better too!' Kelly said 'You sure know some big words. You really are a smart little girl. A lot of children your age couldn't say those words or know their meaning. Words like Regression or Anti-dote..or Research Facility..those are quite a mouthful!'
'Uh huh...Ummmmm Re-gweshwun ummmmm Anteeedote uhhhhhhh Re...uhhhh Reeeechurch Fahcity Hmmmmmm?'
Kelly was stunned. A few moments ago this child was talking like a little adult and now she was struggling trying to say the same words...words that she'd just heard Kelly say!
'How come you could say all those words so good before?'
'Ummmm I dunno' she shrugged.
'What about all that stuff about being a grownup?.... A husband?....A daughter? Were you fibbing?'
'Ummmmm..... Can I go play?'
'Angie, tell me what you told me earlier.'
'Ummm I forgot. 'k? I wanna play now!'
'No, I'll help you. You said you were really an adult who was older than me...remember?'
'Can we do this later? K?'
'Angie, where did all your attention go? You're suddenly unfocused and before you were very focused.'
'A-ttention.... It means your ability to stop and listen and try to understand. Why don't you do that for me now. Don't look at the other kids. Listen to me. Why did you tell me you were really a grownup and had a family... a husband that worked at the research facility? ...A husband? I thought your uncle was killed.... Was it your husband?....'
That caught Angie's attention! All the memories came flowing back. 'What did you do to me?'
'Angie, you're a strange kid....'
'I almost lost it. That's why I need the anti-dote! Just you're little speech about childhood and I slipped. I'm afraid one of these times I'm going to regress and no one will be there to bring me back before everything fades away. It's getting harder to fight the regression. That's why I read so much....to remember!'
Kelly listened to her story. The strange part was how convincing she sounded. All of a sudden her attention span was back. She could say 'regression' with no problem again. She once again seemed more mature than her age.
'Kelly, it's worse than I thought. Something else is going on. That boy I was talking to was my husband!'
'He used the pills too? This is crazy. It's not possible.'
'Yes it's crazy! But it is possible. I'm proof. But I don't think he intentionally used the pills. He wouldn't. He didn't want me to do this but I wanted to be a friend for my daughter so that she would gain confidence and make her own friends. She was too withdrawn. He argued about it...but I wouldn't listen! But I don't know what happened. And I'm pretty sure I recognized a couple of other employees from there too. The one little girl with the jet black hair....I'd know that hair anywhere! Something else is going on. I have to get the antidote and figure it out before it's too late. I'm afraid it is already too late for Jim.... But I've got to try. I can't let him be shipped off to a foster home. Or Lara either!'
'I, I don't know. This is so Twilight Zone!'
'Why don't you do some snooping? Check out my records. They'll be a deadend. They're fake. Check out the 'explosion' and I bet there will be something not quite right about it...maybe no investigation or the ~wrong~ people investigating. And my car in the parking lot? It's broke down. That is why it is there. Just don't tell anyone what you're doing. I feel I can trust you but I don't know who else I can trust. Please promise you'll help!'
'I promise I'll look into it. No guarantees. But I will check your story out. As a matter of fact, I'll start right now. It ~is~ pretty out there though. I'll check some things tonight and talk to you tomorrow. Bye Bye' Kelly said and headed straight for the Files Room.
Angie wasn't sure if she'd done the right thing but felt Kelly was her best hope right now. There was nothing to do now but wait. She found Lara, who was with another little girl, and joined them playing a board game. They played until bedtime.
This time Angie didn't bother to try and time the guard's rounds. It was always different anyway. She just curled up and drifted off to sleep.
-- BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ ---
The 6 AM buzzer rudely awakened everyone. Same routine...cold floor...brush teeth...breakfast. Only on this morning she didn't get past brushing her teeth.
'This one?' said an attendant.
'Yeah, that's the one!' replied another.
And in a moment Angie was pulled from the line and taken down a different route. Angie padded along as the hurried to keep up. The attendant dropped her off at an office door and slowly opened it.
'Doc? She's here. You sure got an early call today!'
'Thanks, It was the only time I had available..... Well, Good morning Angie. And how are you doing this morning?'
It was Dr Frantz.
'I'm fine' Angie answered.
'I wanted to see you and Lara tomorrow but the 'Home' thought maybe I should see you a little sooner. A couple of the teachers thought you weren't adjusting well....'
'Teachers? I haven't seen any teachers.'
'Well, like Mrs Crow. She's the one usually at the door. She says you are very distant with the other students in class'
'Ummmmm I didn't think she was a teacher. We just spend all day in the Rec Room....'
'I really don't know anything about the methods they use here I just have to follow their recommendations since they have much more time to observe. They are trained in what to look for and what to report. And I think they know best..... Have seat.'
Angie looked around the room. It was obviously decorated with children in mind. Stuffed animals. Cartoon characters on the wallpaper. Paintings of clowns. She sat down on a couch that was made to resemble a race car.
The doctor looked over her notes and then started speaking 'Why don't you lie back and relax? You'll feel much better. It says you had an incident with a boy yesterday. Boys can be difficult! It also says here that you've been really tense. Do you know what that means?'
The doctor scooted her chair next to the couch. 'Well you certainly look tense. I think we need to work on that first. Relax your mind and your body. You sure are a pretty young lady. You don't need to be so tense!'
Angie smiled but then realized what happens every time this line of convesation comes up. She knew that she needed to concentrate on adult thoughts or she might slip again. 'Thank you' she answered.
The doctor's voice got softer. 'Try and relax, hon. I just want to help you. You've had a rough few days. Why don't you stretch out on the couch. Put your feet up and put you head on the pillow.'
Angie scooted back on the couch and and rested her head on the pillow all the time remembering that she was an adult..
'There, isn't that better?'
Angie nodded 'yes'.
'Now just relax.... feel yourself floating.....floating..... like a butterfly....'
Angie fought it but the Dr. kept talking. 'floating....'
It was getting hader not to relax.
It wouldn't hurt to relax sh thought
Soon, Angie felt herself drifting off. She had done nothing but worry and this moment of relaxation did feel good. The doctor's lilting voice was like a lullaby.
She felt very comfortable now.
'Little girl's shouldn't worry.... You don't need to worry... just float.... like a feather....... a soft feather...... in the breeze.... Feel yourself smiling.... a pretty little smile..... on a pretty little girl....'
The doctors voice seemed far away. Angie felt like she was in a field of sunshine
'Angie, tell me why you're so worried' Dr Frantz asked softly.
'Cuz...of....my family' she slowly replied deep in relaxation.
'Angie, you're just a little girl.... you can't always help what happens... adults worry for their children.... but you're too young to worry'
'But what... about my children?'
'When you're grown up you can have children and you'll worry about them.... but grownups are better equipped... little girls like you shouldn't have burdens like that....... It's your time to play... to be free and young....'
The doctor continued on trying to drive the worries from Angie's mind. Her voice sounded so relaxing to Angie. Almost like music.
Finally, she decided it was time to end this session. She really felt that they had made progress. 'Angie, I'm going to count to 3 and when I do I want you to wake up and feel really good...1....2....3'
'Whoa..... Did I fall asleep mam?'
'A little while. How do you feel?'
'Kinda pretty good.... '
'That's good! I think you missed breakfast with the others. Do you want me to call and have you something special made?'
'Nuh uh. That's OK. I just wanna play 'K?'
'Sure come on.' The doctor said and took her by the hand. 'I think we really made some progress today..... Now show me that pretty smile.... YES! there's that pretty smile I like to see!'
Kelly arrived for work a little later than usual that day and she was in a hurry to find Angie. A quick scan of the room revealed Angie, still wearing only her sleepshirt, sitting at one of the tables with a newspaper. Kelly quickly ran to her.
'Angie! I believe you! It's incredible but everything checked out. We'll figure out something to get you the anti....' her voice trailed off as she saw what Angie was doing.
'These Funnies ain't colored so I'm colorin' 'em in!' Angie exclaimed proudly.
To be continued