Chapter Description: Mark starts to notice changes.
It had been twenty minutes since they had started on the road to aunt Shauna’s and Mark was beginning to nod off. Ever since he was a baby, car rides had always put him to sleep; he was one of those babies who couldn’t fall asleep unless they were in a running car and while that made raising him in the beginning hard, Jenine always found it kind of cute. Unfortunately for Jeff, Mark called shotgun before they got in the car, meaning that Jeff was stuck in the back seat as Lucas kicked his legs back and forth. Jeff tried to focus on his game but he had forgotten to charge his DS, meaning that sooner or later all he was gonna have for the next 2 hours was the sound of Lucas kicking his legs back and forth.
Mark stared out of his passenger side window with his eyes slowly drifting toward the passenger side mirror, sure the passing hills and fields were occasionally interesting to stare at but the mirror was a focal point for Mark to stare at as he slowly drifted off to sleep. Mark’s eyes grew heavy as he stared at the mirror, his eyes focusing on the cars behind him, with barely any movement from them in the mirror it was a relaxing sight to focus on. As Mark was about to fall asleep Jenine started speaking to him.
“So, how’s school going?”
Mark’s eyes widened, “Uh, yeah it’s going fine. Been studying for ACT is all.”
Jenine’s eyebrows furrowed, “ACT? I thought you took that in Junior year.”
Mark looked over at Jenine, a little puzzled, “Uh, yeah you do.” unsure of why his mom would make that comment. He’d been in Junior year for the past 3 months, why would she even mention that.
Jenine sighed, “Well I guess they make you take it early now.” Mark continued to stare at her, “They just keep changing things, I swear.” Mark didn’t know what to make of his mother’s comment so he just went back to looking out of the window.
The car was silent again and Mark’s eyes grew heavier, as he stared out of the window he drifted off to sleep. Mark’s head nodded down and Jenine looked over at her son, now fast asleep in the passenger side seat. From the back Jeff piped up.
“Mom, my DS died!”
Jenine rolled her eyes, “Why didn’t you charge it then?”
Jeff grunted, “I forgot, ok?”
Jenine looked over to the passenger seat, “I told you to charge it last night didn’t I?”
Jeff sighed from the passenger seat, “Well, I forgot ok?”
Jenine gestured to the USB port in her passenger seat, “Well did you bring a charger?”
Jeff stammered, “Uhh, well I don’t know, my bag is in the back.”
“Well ask Lucas to grab it, Mark’s asleep.”
Jeff let out a long sigh, “But Lucas can’t reach.” He then looked back to the passenger to see Mark passed out, “Look if I wake up Mark he’s just gonna fall asleep again, can I please wake him up?”
Jenine raised her eyes and looked at her son, “If you really think it’s worth it.”
Jeff looked down at his feet nervously, then at his DS. He could still hear Lucas kicking his feet, and the sound would always bug him whenever he was in a car with Lucas. Unable to deal with it he turned around and shook Mark’s leg.
Mark woke up and looked at Jeff, “Hey, could you grab my bag from the back?” Jeff asked, and Mark nodded, before turning around and grabbing the bag, then handing it to Jeff. After handing Jeff the bag, Mark closed his eyes again and began to nod off, as he began to nod off Lucas piped up.
“Are we there yet?” he asked, and Mark’s eyes opened.
Jenine softly chuckled, “Not yet sweety.”
Mark looked over at Lucas for a bit, and a thought came to mine. “Wait, why am I in the back seat?”
Mark looked around, confused. He knew he sat in the front seat, he always sat in the front seat, his mom always wanted the oldest to sit up front and he was older than Jeff by four years. He couldn’t figure out what had happened to get him in the back seat, there was no way to move him without waking him up. He grabbed the shoulder of the passenger side seat and leaned forward, then Jenine turned around to look at him, “No leaning forward, what happens if we get in an accident?” Mark looked forward to see that there were no cars in front of them, before leaning back into his seat and looking down.
“I swear I was in the front.” Mark decided to speak up, “Hey m-” Mark heard himself speak, his voice was higher in pitch. “Wh-what?” he put his hands over his mouth, something was wrong.
“What’s wrong sweety.”
“Sweety?” Mark thought, “She hasn’t called me that in years!” Mark spoke up finally, “Mom you need to stop the car!”
Jenine chuckled, “Why, need to use the bathroom?”
Mark’s voice now raised a bit, “No mom something’s wrong! Stop the car!”
Jenine looked a little puzzled, “What’s wrong sweety?”
Mark began to scream, “MOM STOP THE CAR!”
Jenine pulled over and the car lurched to a stop, Mark was now tugging on the handle to open it so he could get out. The walls of the car were closing in and he was hyperventilating, he didn’t know what was wrong but something was happening, why was his voice higher pitch and why was he in the back? Jenine scoffed as she tried to unlock the car, but Mark tugging on the handle was stopping the lock from disengaging, “Mark just hold on! It’s not gonna unlock if you don’t let go.” Mark let go for just enough time for the lock to disengage and he swung the door open, Mark leaped out of the car and noticed that it took him a little longer to hit that ground than normal. He stood up and turned around, rushing to the passenger side mirror and leaned into it, which is when he noticed it.
In the mirror looking back at him wasn’t the high school junior, but instead was a scrawny elementary or middle schooler. He couldn’t have been more than nine years old, he couldn’t believe this. Mark slowly began to back away, the world spinning around him, Mark was beginning to feel dizzy as he backed away from the car. He was about to let out a scream before he fell backwards, he hadn’t seen the slope on the side of the highway leading into a field and he tumbled backwards. Jenine, now out of the car, was running down the slope to get Mark, unsure of why he was acting this way she was concerned for her own son’s well being. When Mark finally came to a stop he was now on his stomach, he began to pick himself up but as he stood on all fours he could see his hands were much smaller than they had been before he got in the car, Mark screamed. He began to melt down in the middle of the field, afraid to get in the car he begged his mother to turn around and go home. Jenine, unsure why Mark was doing this but concerned said yes. After Mark stopped screaming she was able to get him back in the car with both Lucas and Jeff looking at him puzzled.
Mark yelled, “DON’T CALL ME THAT!!!”
Jenine jumped, “Okay Mark, we have to drive a bit until we can find a spot to turn around. Then we can head home.”
Mark yelled, “NO! JUST TURN AROUND!”
Jenine scoffed, “Mark I can’t drive through the divider, we have to find a place to turn around ok?”
Mark was now blubbering in tears, he didn’t know what to do or why this was happening, he couldn’t really be a kid again could he? It was impossible, this had to be a bad dream, he had to be asleep. He began to hyperventilate and Jenine tried to calm him, but it was no use. Mark fainted.
Mark opened his eyes to see them still on the road, he didn’t know how long it had been or where they were but he was pretty sure that they were heading home. Realizing there was probably nothing to worry about, Mark sighed, now relieved that he was going back home. He rested his head against the headrest behind him but something felt different. It’s like the seat he was in was made of different material, instead of the leather seats of his mom’s car there was an almost felt like texture to where he rested his head. It felt strange but Mark was too tired to care, he spent all his emotional energy melting down earlier and just wanted to go to his room. Then Jenine spoke up.
“Sweety did you have an accident?” Mark stayed silent, he figured that Lucas might have wet himself. Four years old and still wetting himself, this had of course been a problem in their family. Mark remembers having to go home early from kindergarten after he wet himself on a field trip. But he didn’t really care, it was natural for Lucas to wet himself on car rides and Mark just wanted to be home. With no response Jenine began to pull over, one thing Jenine hated was the smell of a dirty diaper. After the car had come to a stop Jenine exited and walked around to the side of the car, walking past Lucas’s door Mark was puzzled until he heard the trunk open.
“Probably just opening the trunk first.” Mark thought, his shirt began to make him itch so he brought his hand up to scratch it which is when he felt it. The buckle in the center of his chest, Mark looked down to see himself sitting in a car seat. As Mark was about to scream his door opened, Jenine unbuckled the buckle and lifted Mark out of his seat. Mark began to wail. He finally felt it, his crotch was soaked and he could feel something sagging around his waist, he was in a pull up or a diaper and couldn’t believe it. He didn’t know how old he was but he was upset about it, as his mom began to walk him over to the trunk he noticed it.
The sign on the side of the highway read “Brahams, 20 Miles” Brahms was fifty miles away from aunt Shauna’s which meant that they had never turned around. They were still heading to aunt Shauna’s. Mark’s wailing got louder, he began to yell “NO!!” over and over. While doing it he realized that he could speak, which meant he wasn’t a baby, not yet at least.
Jenine, now exhausted, asked, “What’s gotten into you!?” Mark began to kick and push away from Jenine, rejecting his mother. He had no clue why he was getting younger, or how to stop it, but he knew he had to get away from the car. Jenine attempted to lay him down in the back of the car in order to change him but he resisted as much as he could, her hand held him down and kept him from wriggling free, even if she had to use both of her hands at a point. He writhed and fought against her as much as he could but after a few minutes he knew it was pointless, he was trapped and had to endure whatever punishment that was being thrusted upon him. He soon sat there silently sobbing as Jenine pulled his pull up down, removing the soggy wrapping she grabbed a baby wipe from nearby and wiped him off. “My my I hope these pull ups are good enough, you went pee pee a lot huh?” she asked, his sobs increased in volume as she reached for the pack of pull ups that she packed for Lucas. “I swear between you and your brother I’m spending so much money on these things.” and then she pulled a new pull up through his legs and over his waist. She then picked him up, as a final hail mary pass he pushed and kicked off, miraculously freeing himself from her grasp. He tumbled to the floor and Jenine gasped, “Mark!” she yelled before kneeling down to pick him up. He wanted to cry, that was a big fall for someone of his size but he held it in, he knew this would be his only chance to get away. And he took off.
He was making it, soon he would be free, he would be 16 again, he knew it.
He was almost there, home free.
Until he felt two hands grab him from right under his armpits, it was Jenine. “That’s it mister! It’s time for a spanking.” Mark screamed, he’d lost, there was no way out of this. Jenine walked over to the back of the car and sat down, putting Mark over her knee she began to swat his behind. Mark’s sobs turned quiet again as he silently accepted his fate, he didn’t know what to do or how to get out of it, he was trapped.
She strapped Mark back into his car seat and he looked over at Lucas, Lucas was sitting in another car seat like his, meaning that his physical age was likely somewhere around Lucas’, putting him at three or four. He attempted to do the math in his head, the first time he fell asleep he went from sixteen to nine, the second time he went from nine to four. The First time he fell asleep it was only for a few minutes but the second time was enough to take him from the start of the road trip to about three quarters of the way there, meaning the age regression was slowing down. He began to hope that it would soon slow to a crawl, he began to hope that people outside of the car would know that Mark wasn’t actually four years old but was actually sixteen, and this was some kind of disease or something. But that doesn’t explain why he was in a car seat, or why he all of a sudden was wearing pull ups. Was reality just shifting around him? Or was something else up? Mark didn’t know, but he came up with a plan. If he was getting younger in his sleep then all he had to do was stay awake, that way he wouldn’t get any younger. So Mark resolved to stay awake.
It had been a few minutes and Mark was trying his best, he could feel a bit of weight around his eyes but it wasn’t enough to put him down for the rest of the ride. He kicked his legs and tapped out a simple drum beat to keep himself focused, looking around the car and focusing on as much as he could to keep himself awake. But something was wrong, at first it was easy for him to keep a simple 4/4 rhythm but over time he found himself stumbling through it more and more, looking around he found that it was taking more energy to focus on a single thing, and as he slowly lost the rhythm and focus his eyes grew heavier. As his eyes grew heavier and he began to drift off he began to notice something, his hand was getting chubbier.
“We’re here!” Jenine rang out with a bit of a song to it, loud enough to wake up Mark who was now staring at the roof of the car.
“What?” Mark thought to himself, “Why am I looking at the roof?” Jenine looked over at Jeff.
“Are you good to get Lucas out of his car seat so I can get your brother out of his?”
“Sure.” Jeff replied, and the two undid their seatbelts and exited the car.
Mark still looked up at the roof confused, he couldn’t fathom why he would wake up looking at the roof, and then he felt it. A small, tasteless rubber nub inside his mouth, mark spit it out and it rolled off of his chin and onto his chest. He attempted to speak, but all that came out was “Baah buh buh guh” instantly Mark knew what had happened, he was a baby again. The thought instantly sent tears down his face and he began to bawl, “WAAAAAAH!” he cried as the door opened, Jenine undid the straps holding him into the infant car seat and lifted him up with one hand.
“Ooohhh sweety I know, but don’t worry I’ll have you cleaned up in a few seconds.” She reached over the seat to grab the diaper bag and walked toward Shauna’s house. “Hey Jeff?” Jenine called out, “Would you mind grabbing the other bags so I can go inside and change Mark?”
Jeff called out, “Sure!” and Jenine continued to walk toward the house.
Shauna let her inside and Lucas followed. “It’s so good to see you!” She said with a ring.
“Yeah you too, but would you mind me changing him real quick, i’ve got one fussy baby here.”
Shauna smiled and nodded, “Sure, I just got done changing Erik so I’ve got some diapers already.”
“CHANGING ERIK!?” Mark thought to himself, “BUT ERIK ISN’T A BABY EITHER!” and he began to wail louder.
“Oh no i’ve got his bag right with me, but I should really change him.” she said before walking over to the middle of the floor.
“Can I watch mama?” Lucas asked.
“Sure baby.” She said, as she laid Mark down and undid the straps. Mark could feel the warm mush pressed up against his behind as she pulled the diaper off, “My my you’re a messy baby huh? Even got some on your shirt.” She said as he pulled his shirt off as well. Mark laid there naked as she reached into his bag, kicking and squirming as Lucas looked on, he could see everything his brother had to offer from his infantile penis to the folds of baby fat that occupied his body.
“THIS SHOULD BE YOU! YOU SHOULD BE GETTING CHANGED! NOT ME!” Mark thought and attempted to scream, but all that came out was incoherent wailing. He tried again, “I WAS IN MIDDLE SCHOOL WHEN YOU WERE STILL BREASTFEEDING!” But still more incoherent wailing. Realizing it was no use, Mark looked up at his mother and attempted to talk to her, “YOU KNOW I'M NOT A BABY! YOU KNOW I’M SIXTEEN! WE WERE TALKING ABOUT ME DRIVING BEFORE THIS TRIP! PLEASE LISTEN” Still more wailing, Mark kept attempting to communicate as his mom wiped the poop from his behind and back but it was no use, his thoughts began to lose focus and he was trapped attempting to scream what he could at anyone who could listen, but it was no use. His tongue just didn’t have the musculature to communicate anything beyond babbling, so that was it. With no clothes on Mark was lifted up in nothing but a diaper to cover him and was carried over to another room, where in the center was a playpen. Inside the playpen was Erik who gave Mark a panicked look, as if he was in the same position. Next to the playpen was Erik’s five year old brother David who watched on as Erik fumbled around with building blocks. Mark was set firmly inside the playpen where he and Erik looked at each other, the two exchanging looks that signaled that they were in the same position.
Instead of two sixteen year olds excited to eat junk food and play video games, excited to go swimming and hang out, two sixteen year olds ready to drive, there was just two babies. Each terrified of going to sleep again, fearing that they’d each wake up in their mother’s wombs to be birthed again. They sat, stewing in their diapers. Unable to communicate with anyone, including each other. As their younger siblings looked on.