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Randomlifer – Chapter 3 – by lostandwhatever

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Continued from Chapter 2.

Day 1

“It Begins”

I woke up. I felt good. Even before I opened my eyes, I could tell something had changed. I felt strangely comfortable, like a weight had been lifted from me.

Then, I opened my eyes.

The first thing I noticed was the walls were painted a different color… different colors. There were bright decals of cartoon animals dotted all over. It looked like a little kid’s room. There were even toys on the shelves. Is this a prank? I wondered. Did my family redecorate my room as I was sleeping?

I sat up, and I noticed that everything felt a bit too big as well, as if I had been moved to a scaled up version of my old room. There was a stuffed bunny in bed next to me.

“Weird,” I said. Then I gasped. My voice was all squeaky. I sounded like a little kid! “No way.”

I pulled off my sheets to look at my body. I was wearing colorful pajamas. My feet were stubby and soft as were my hands. I had little kid feet and hands! I was a little kid!

“What the hell?” I squeaked. I rubbed my smooth little throat, feeling no hint of an Adam’s apple. It felt strange to hear that voice coming out of me. I had only just gotten used to my croaking teenaged voice. Now, I was back to this? It was as if I had been playing a trumpet only to have it suddenly replaced by a piccolo. I needed a mirror. I slipped out of bed. The fall to the floor was higher than expected, and my balance felt a bit off. I had to steady myself against the bed. Still, I felt strangely energetic, and when I took a few steps, it felt like I weighed basically nothing. I headed for the door, stepping over and around toy dinosaurs and miniature cars on my way. I reached up for the handle, yes, “up.” If I felt light, the door felt really heavy. A light panic was building in me. I was trying to deny what was happening. It wasn’t possible, after all. I mean, you don’t just wake up the wrong age one day. This had to be a dream. Unfortunately, I felt totally awake.

I toddled down the hallway to the bathroom. A mirror. I needed to see my reflection, but when I got to the sink, I realized that the mirror was much too high for me to see even the top of my head. I couldn’t even reach the faucet. I found a stool in the corner of the room and set it in front of the sink. I climbed up, and there it was, my face.

I didn’t recognize myself at first, but I was pretty sure that would be true for most other people, unless they had known me when I was 4 years old. I put my hands on my round cheeks. They felt so smooth, no sign of the patchy stubble I was getting used to shaving there. My nose was so tiny. My eyes were wide with wonder and disbelief. “That’s impossible,” I said. I was starting to hate that little voice.

I ran away from the bathroom, back to my kiddy bedroom. I crawled back into bed, under the cartoon sheets. I covered up my head and tried to fall back to sleep. Maybe if I go back to sleep I could wake up from this weird dream back in my old body. That was the logic I was following at that moment. It could work. It made as much sense as anything else that was happening. Still, sleep is hard to come by when you try too hard, and I had too many questions running through my mind. How could this happen? Did I travel back in time? That has to be what happened. Can I even go back? Will I have to grow up again?

“Alex.” It was my Mom’s voice. “Are you up? I heard footsteps.” I heard her feet approaching down the hallway so much louder and heavier than my own were now. I peeked out from the sheets, and she appeared at the door. “Good morning,” she said as she saw my open eyes.

“Good morning,” I said. I stared at her as she approached the bed. She seemed much bigger now, like a giant, but at the same time she looked oddly the same. My first theory that I had time traveled seemed to be wrong. If I had gone 11 years back in time, then she should be in her late 20s, but she still looked 40. I could still see the grey hairs I had noticed the day before. “Mom?”

“Yes?” she said as she sat on the bed next to me. Her weight depressing the mattress deeply toward her. “You feeling alright?”

“I think so. Maybe. How… how old am I supposed to be?”

“You are four years old, Sweetie,” she held up her fingers one by one. “One, two, three, four.”

“Okay.” That confirmed what the mirror showed, even if it explained nothing. “And, how old are you?”

“I am 40 years old,” she said and put her hand down. “Unfortunately, I don’t have enough fingers to count that number out.” She smiled. “It’s a lot.”

“Were we the same age yesterday as we are today?”

“Well, yes, minus a day, but yes.”

“I wasn’t older yesterday?”

“No, that’s not how it works. You were younger before. You get older as time goes on.” She seemed a bit concerned. “Are you feeling alright?”

“I don’t feel bad. I just feel a bit… confused, I guess.”

“Well, that’s a big word,” she said. “Did you hear that from Daddy or your sisters?”

Sister.”

Sisters,” she corrected me. “You have two.”

“Two?” Where did a second sister come from?

“Casey and Morgan?”

“My sisters? Both of them?”

She looked concerned. “You sit right there baby,” she said as she stood up and patted me on the leg. She put a hand on my forehead, a very large hand, and held it there for a moment. “You don’t feel warm. I’m going to get the thermometer just in case, though.” She left me there, feeling even more confused than when she came in.

“Casey is my sister now?” I asked myself outloud.

Mom came back a minute later, and I held a thermometer under my tongue for a minute until she was satisfied that I was still healthy, at least physically.

“Do you feel good enough for breakfast?” she asked me.

“I feel fine. I don’t feel sick or anything.”

“Good,” she said. “Let’s make some waffles. We’re going to the playground today, and you’ll need your energy.”

I slid out of bed and felt immediately intimidated by our size difference. She really was a giant next to me. Standing up straight, I was only waist high to her.

“Let’s go,” she said.

As I followed her out of the room, I noticed how many steps my little legs had to take compared to her giant strides. It felt like walking with a giraffe. I could barely keep up. When we made it to the stairs, she continued down them easily. I had to grasp the railing and take each tall step slowly, one at a time. When I got to the bottom, I noticed Mom watching me momentarily to make sure I made it safely. Then, she turned into the kitchen. I followed her in. Standing next to her by the stove as she got out the waffle mix, I reflected on what a journey it was just to get downstairs to the kitchen and what an enormous place the kitchen was now. It all made me feel very small and weak. Everything was designed for giants, it seemed. The high stairs, the counters I could barely see over, the oversized furniture. It really messed with my head.

“Pull up a chair, Honey. You can help me mix.”

Easier said than done, I thought. “Okay,” I said. I went to the table and started dragging one of the chairs over. It weighed at least half of what I weighed, which made the operation a bit difficult, but I seemed to have boundless energy to work with. After setting the chair next to Mom, I climbed up on it, which was another challenge, but I managed. I was disappointed to find that standing next to her on the chair, I was still shorter than her. She had dumped the mix into the bowl by then.

“Help me pour,” she said.

She held a measuring cup with me as we dumped in water together. Then, she held the bowl as I mixed it all together with a big wooden spoon. Surprisingly, I was enjoying the team effort even if the whole situation felt very strange. I was even proud to see that I had not splashed any of the batter out of the bowl when I was done.

“Good job, Alex. Now, time for baking,” she poured the batter into the waffle iron. I watched it hungrily.

“Waffles? Awesome!” I heard a voice say from behind me. I turned to look at a girl I had never seen before, but she seemed familiar somehow.

“Almost ready. You hungry, Casey?” Mom said.

“I could eat three,” Casey said.

“You’re getting one.”

“Two and a half?” she said as she approached us.

“You’ll be full after one.”

“Casey?” I said uncertainly.

“Hey, Shrimp,” she said as she ruffled my hair.

Casey stepped up to the iron to smell it cooking. (It did smell delicious.) “Wonderful,” she said.

I just looked her up and down. I could see the resemblance to my brother, although her long hair and budding breasts were undeniably female.

“So, when is Dad supposed to be home?” Casey asked Mom.

“His business trip is over tomorrow.”

“Good, we can go to a movie then. There’s that new Wonder Girl film out.”

“That sounds fun,” I said. I had wanted to see that movie. I loved superhero stuff.

“Oh,” Casey said. “I think you’re still a bit young for that one.”

“Oh,” I said.

“You can watch the cartoons, though,” she said. “Those are more your level.”

“Right, cartoons.” I concealed my disappointment well, I thought.

“Set the table for me, please,” Mom said to Casey.

“On it. I will work for waffles.” Casey grabbed a stack of plates from the cabinet and then some forks and knives from a drawer. I followed her to the table, pushing my chair back to its place. By my best estimation, she appeared to be 12 years old, still. Of course, I could have been wrong since I was much smaller and younger than her now.

Next, Casey picked up some flat plastic block and set it on a chair. While I wondered what that was, she came up behind me and lifted me up under the arms. I gasped. I couldn’t remember the last time someone actually lifted me into the air, and here was a 12-year-old girl picking me up. She grunted. “Oof, you’re getting heavy.” Then, she roughly planted me on the plastic block, which I now recognized as a booster seat.

Casey returned a minute later with a glass of orange juice and a single waffle on her plate and commenced eating it. Just as I was about to demand my own, Mom set a plate in front of me with half a waffle on it, followed by a glass of milk next to it. I was about to reach for my utensils, when she grabbed them and began cutting up the waffle for me, she poured some syrup on the pieces and left the fork sitting for me on the plate. “Bon appétit, Munchkin,” she said and kissed my head. My mouth watered. I dug in. Each bite was unusually delicious. I shoveled it in my face as fast as I could.

“Really, waffles again?” It was another female voice. Holding a bit of waffle inches from my mouth, I looked over to see a gorgeous teenager enter the room. She had to be at least 16 years old.

“What’s wrong with waffles?” Casey asked. “They’re amazing.”

“Thank you, Casey,” Mom said. Then, she addressed the other teen. “Like I told you before, Morgan, if you don’t like what I make, you are free to cook your own breakfast.”

“That’s Morgan?” I said. Actually, I half shouted it. I was outraged. Here I was, barely more than a baby, and there she was, my kid sister, looking even older than I’d been the day before. I couldn’t believe the injustice of it. That brat gets to be nearly an adult, and I have to wait for my mommy cut my food for me? “This is so unfair,” I finally said. I dropped my fork on my plate.

“What are you talking about?” Morgan asked me.

“How old are you?” I demanded.

“Seventeen,” she said. “How old are you?”

“Fifteen,” I said. I was done with this game.

“Nice try, baby, but you’re at least a decade off.”

“I am fifteen, and you’re supposed to be nine, and… ” I pointed at Casey. “And, she’s supposed to be a boy. This is all wrong!”

They all just stared at me as if I had two heads.

“What’s with him today?” Morgan asked Mom.

“He’s been a bit… funny. I don’t know,” Mom said as she handed a plate to Morgan. Morgan took it without complaint.

“Don’t talk about me as if I’m not in the room!” I shouted. “I can hear you.”

“And, I hear you,” Mom said. “You better watch your tone, Little Man, or you’ll be done with breakfast right now.”

“But-”

“‘But’ nothing,” Mom said. “There’s no excuse for shouting at me and your sisters. Now, you can eat your waffle and talk in a civil tone, or you can go to your room until lunch. There are your options.”

I wanted to shout. I wanted to swear at them all. I wanted to flip that delicious plate of pancakes onto the floor to let them clean it up. But, I didn’t. I just grumbled and sat there a minute with my arms crossed as everyone else ate quietly. Then, hunger overcame my frustration, and I finished my waffle. By the last bite, I was feeling pretty full and my anger had simmered down. Still, I couldn’t escape my confusion.

“How did this happen?” I said to no one in particular.

“How did what happen?” Casey said.

“How did everything change all of a sudden? This is all so weird. I mean, if this is my life now, I want a refund.” A realization hit me, then. “Randomlifer!” I shouted. “That’s it! This is the thing I signed up for.”

“There’s something wrong with him, Mom. Seriously,” Morgan said.

“No, really. I get it now,” I said. “I was on Mumblr yesterday and I saw this ad for this thing. I didn’t know what it was, but I signed up for it. It said it would change my life, and it did. It really did. I mean, look at what’s going on. All of a sudden, I have two sisters, and I’m a little kid. That must be what did it.”

“Did anyone understand that?” Casey said.

“I just need to cancel the subscription. That should fix it. I mean, I hope that’ll fix it.”

“You were on the computer yesterday?” Mom asked. “Alone?”

“Yes, I was on my computer. I really was a teenager yesterday, even if you don’t remember it. I signed up for this thing, and it must have transformed me and Casey and Morgan as part of the service.”

“So, let me get this straight,” Morgan said. “A magic website transformed you into a little kid and magically transformed everyone else in the world so that they wouldn’t remember that you used to be older?”

“Uh, yes,” I said. “I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true.”

“I gotta say, Kid,” Morgan said, smiling. “You’ve really got some imagination.”

“It is a cool story,” Casey said as she picked up my empty plate and her own. “Even if it means you would rather have me as a brother, I guess.” She put the plates in the sink as Mom finished up her waffle.

“Is this a dream you had last night?” Mom asked. “Is that why you were asking about our ages?”

“It’s not a dream. It happened,” I said. “Or, at least, it happened in the old reality. I guess in this reality yesterday was probably different. Ugh, this is all so confusing.”

There was a pause as everyone finished their meals. Finally, Mom said, “Don’t worry about it too much. We can figure it out, whatever it is. For now, finish your milk, and we’ll go the the playground.”

“Right, playground. Fun.” I drank down my milk, and we went upstairs back to my room. Once more I had to negotiate the high stairs. I was starting to realize that life as a 4-year-old boy was a lot of physical work, but my body seemed ready to endure anything. Ultimately, I didn’t mind. In my room, Mom and I picked out some clothes. At least, she let me dress myself. She did put on my shoes when we got back downstairs and tied them, but I was getting tired of fighting over my independence. I let it go. I submitted to her will. Then, she offered me her hand, which I took instinctively, and we walked to the playground. As we walked, I tried to think of a way to fix my life.

To be continued in Chapter 4

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