The Mists of Time

by: Sawine | Story In Progress | Last updated Feb 10, 2024


Chapter 2
The Competition Begins


Chapter Description: We start to see some of the real effects of the mists of time...


        “Welcome back to The Mists of Time” The second episode began.

“Last episode we were introduced to our contestants, and held our first competition to decide teams. Michael decided to take immunity over the ability to pick his own team.”

The host continued his monologue.

“This week, our contestants take their first trips through the Mist and experience the consequences of failure.”

The title sequence began.

Coming out of the opening credits, the camera brings us to the morning at the camp of Michael’s team.

Michael was meditating on the beach as the sun was rising on the horizon. The rest of his team was either just waking up or still asleep. 

After some time passed, James gingerly emerged from his tent and Michael was finishing up his routine.

“Wow.” James remarked, yawning. “Didn’t have you pegged as a yogi.”

Michael responded, “With this competition, I am trying to stay calm and focused, as much as I can. You lose focus at the wrong time and Whoop, you’re back in the nursery, that’s it.”

“I see what you mean.” James responded. “It’s tough for me, as a numbers guy, to get my head away from all that and just focus on what’s in front of me.”

“Maybe some morning you can come out here with me, and learn to let some of that go.” Michael offered.

The camera then cut to Stacey’s team.

It was mid morning, and the team was eating breakfast and talking.

Julie was bringing the energy. “Alright guys, we need to make sure we don’t assume anything. Just because we outperformed the other five in the first competition doesn’t mean that we can take this less seriously.”

Stacey responded, “You’re right, but I don’t think anyone is playing around here. There’s a million dollars, and our adulthoods on the line here.”

Everyone seemed to nod in agreement.

Chelsea, in the confessional booth, added “Even though we’re in this team for now, this is an individual competition, and everyone would do well to remember that. Even if your team wins, you can still lose.”

Back at camp, people started to clean their simple breakfasts up when a horn blew. The horn signified that it was time for the next challenge.

The teams got ready and gathered back at the challenge grounds to discover the host waiting there, and a completely new setup for this competition.

“Welcome back!” The host welcomed the 10 contestants. “How was the first night?”

From team Michael, Jessica spoke up. “The tents were not very comfortable, it felt like I was sleeping on the ground!”

Alec responded with a tinge of frustration, “We WERE sleeping on the ground.”

Everyone, team Michael or Stacey, looked weathered already. Everyone besides Jessica, for her complaining she still looked normal, her hair being properly cared for and with no bags under her eyes.

The host began explaining the structure behind him, that looked looked almost like a massive wooden playground, with two booths to be strapped in, underneath buckets of water.

“One team member from each team will be strapped in underneath the bucket, and the other four will compete.” He continued, “There is an elaborate obstacle course. Each team member will have a key that needs to be inserted at the end of the course. Only one team member may be in the course at a time, the next teammate can enter the course after the key is inserted.”

“Once all 4 keys are inserted, the water will spill onto the opposing strapping in player. The team that wins will be safe from the Baby Shower for this week.”

Cliff asked “So the loser just gets water dumped on them? Sounds like a reward.”

“This is not ordinary water, this water will wash away more than just sand and dirt. It’s the type of water that Ponce de Leon dreamed of, a youthening fountain. The effects will last until the next baby shower, 5 days from now.” The host added, “As a side note, any contestant that is too young, will be immune from elimination for that shower.”

There was a hush over the 10 contestants.

“Alright teams, deliberate and select who is going to be strapped in.” The two teams looked like they were getting ready to group up when a shout came from the direction of Michael’s team.

“I’ll do it!” Shouted Jessica.

Both teams were surprised. Michael looked at his team members and gave his approval.

Jessica said in the confessional, “It was a win-win for me, either we win and I don’t get eliminated or we lose and I also don’t get eliminated! After giving up so easily in the first challenge, I can definitely spin this as a heroic sacrifice no matter what happens.”

After Michael’s team had decided so quickly, Stacey’s team deliberated for a while.

They had eventually come to a decision and said, “We’ve decided to choose Jason.”

“Alright.” The host said. “Why Jason?”

“We decided that while he is very muscular, that would actually hurt us in this competition. We need to get through smaller spaces and he’s not as suited to do that.”

Jason nodded in agreement.

“Alright Jessica and Jason, get up underneath those buckets, the rest of you, will be given a key and told which course that you will be running.”

The camera pulled out and the host said, “We’ll see who comes out on top, right after these messages.


————————————————————————

Coming this fall to ARBC, Who’s that Celebrity? 

“In this half-game show and half-talk show, we get a look at celebrities in a way you’ve never seen them before!”

Two large doors pull apart to reveal a small infant strapped into a rayless high chair. The studio audience responded with a resounding “Aww.” The camera then cut back to a contestant carefully looking at this infant. 

“George Clooney?” The contestant threw out there, clearly unconfident in her answer.

“The earlier they guess the celebrity, the more money they receive!”

A big red X and a buzz filled the studio, and the money counter dropped from $1,000,000 to $250,000. The big doors then hide the infant once more.

There was a cut, then the doors swung open once more, and a diapered toddler now occupied the floor, holding themselves up on a crib wall.

“Every wrong guess, we will move the celebrity to the next stage of their life!”

The toddler had shoulder length brown hair, and was clearly a girl. She beamed her childish smile at the crowd, which elicited another “Aww from the live studio audience.

The contestant now had more information to work with, and posed a potentially much closer guess.

“Scarlett Johansson?” There was a beat to build tension. The big red X appeared once more, and the money dropped to $100,000.

The routine continued, and the doors swung open to reveal a 3 or 4 year old girl, now apparently potty trained, wearing a frilly pink Hello Kitty dress. In a British accent the still small child squeaked “Hi!”

The contestant had an epiphany.

“Keira Knightley!” She shouted.

The studio glowed green, and young Keira was jumping up and down, almost more excited than the contestant herself was! The contestant was then given a big novelty check for $100k.

The commercial announcer came back, “Then, we get a more personal look into the celebrities life than ever before!”

A well known television personality was sitting opposite the young celebrity. Sat beside the girl, was her Mother, who looked more she would be the grandmother.

“How old are you Keira?” The interviewer asked.

“I’m this many!” And she held up 4 fingers enthusiastically.

Her mother leaned over. “Dear, I think you’re actually many still.” She leaned over and lowered one of her daughters fingers so she was only holding up 3.

“Oopsie.” The child said, and the audience laughed.

“What do you remember from when you were big?” The interviewer asked.

“Uhhh…” The girl was deep in thought. “I ‘membah being an actwess.” She lisped in her accent.

“I ‘membah my kids and dadd- huthband” she quickly corrected, eliciting more laughter from the audience.

The interview cut ahead.

“Can you read this sign for me?”

He held up a cue card that just said ‘The Red Shoe’

The girl stared at it. “Her-” she started, but stopped.

“Thas jus’ a buncha squiggwee lines.” The audience laughed, she clearly no longer knew how to read.

There was another jump in time.

“I think that’s all, Keira, thank you very much, you can head backstage to be returned to your original age.”

The girl carefully climbed her way off of the comparatively colossal couch, and held her mothers hand as she walked back.

You can look forward to the full episode, and many more this season on Who’s that Celebrity?

The commercial flashed through a montage, of some of the celebrities appearing on that season. A child labeled Chris Hemsworth, a toddler Harry Styles, and an Infant Taylor Swift were among the celebrities.

The montage faded into darkness, and the commercial ended.


————————————————————————


When the cameras returned from break, both Jason and Jessica were boxed in underneath a visually unthreatening bucket of water, but they both knew what the bucket really meant.

Jessica added in her confessional “I’m not that intimidated by the idea being a baby for a week, since that means I’m not the one who has to take care of the baby!”

Jason had his own confessional, “I did this out of confidence in my teammates, they thought this was the best option, and I went along. I would miss my muscles a lot though.”

“Alright teams are you ready?” The host called out.

Michael and Stacey would be going first for their respective teams, even though their athletic abilities seem extremely mismatched in Michael’s favor.

The host began, “Ready… Set… Go!” 

They both took off.

The course was divided into three separate sections, one consisted of a series of small frames that you had to squeeze yourself through, weaving from one frame to another as the holes weren’t aligned.

Stacey was going pretty slow, her actions seeming deliberate, while Michael who was both slim and muscular managed to proceed through quickly.

By the time Michael emerged to be done with the first section, Stacey was about 2/3rd of the way through the first section.

“Michael, through the first section!” The host shouted out.

The second section was a zig-zagging balance beam that also changed elevation, situated above a pool or what was either muddy water or watery mud.

Michael decided to take it carefully, as a mistake here could really cost time.

Stacey emerged out of the first obstacle, and also carefully moved along the beam, at a pace that was slightly slower than Michael once again.

The final obstacle was a small maze. 

Michael sprinted into the maze after completing the balance beam, and the other contestants could no longer see him. 

Around 10 seconds later Stacey ran into the maze as well, and no one could see anything.

Soon Michael emerged, and placed his key in the slot.

“Next contestant for Michael’s team!” The host shouted, and James ran in.

James was almost done with the first section when Stacey found her way out of the maze and put her key in, then it was Chelsea who ran in.

James placed his key in the slot while Chelsea was still working on the balance beam, and they had a half of course lead on team Stacey.

Nina was the next contestant up, and she struggled immensely making her way through the course, tripping on the walls in the first section multiple times.

The camera cut to the two under the buckets and although Jessica had seemed so calm before, Nina’s tripping seemed to make her nervous, with her hands covering her mouth.

Jason was still excited even though his team was behind, apparently his confidence holding up even though they were behind.

Julie was the next contestant for team Stacey, and her energy was enormous. Nina was still struggling out of the first area while Julie was halfway through. The two kept pace with each other for the remainder of the course, Nina having turned the section and a half lead into just a half section lead.

The anchor for Michael’s team was Alec, who wasn’t exactly an athletic powerhouse.

Alec had only gotten through a few walls when Cliff, the oldest contestant on the island began his run.

Alec emerged from the half walls only a few steps ahead of Cliff, but he didn’t seem to notice, and began his walk on the balance beam.

Quickly after, Cliff had finished making his way through the first section and began on the balance beam very quickly, the fastest and most reckless competitor yet.

Alec had not seen him until he emerged in his peripheral vision, ahead of him.

Alec was so shocked that he wasn’t looking and his next step missed the beam entirely, falling into the mud below.

Stacey’s team broke out into cheers, and Michael crouched over and buried his head in his hands.

Cliff was still making his way through the maze, but Alec was barely starting his way but the ladder, the race having already been decided.

The camera showed Jessica’s expression on the platform, and she was on the verge of tears, but trying to hold it together.

Soon, Cliff emerged from the maze, and inserted his key. Then, all four of them turned their keys. Unlocking their teammates door, and spilling the water into their opponents booth.

Jessica was standing in the perfect spot and was completely doused in the water. At first, it didn’t seem like anything was happening. Her long blonde hair was soaked and hanging down onto her shoulders, back, and face.

The four victorious members had quieted down to watch, and her teammates looked on in shock. Jason quickly left his booth, but looked on from up close.

All of a sudden, Jessica’s frame began to change. Her shoulders got narrower and slighter, as well as her chest and hips. Her tank top looked looser, and soon gave the appearance that she was wearing her boyfriends clothes. The camera quickly cut to a wide, and you could see her pants slip off, but then she gave up on covering her face to hold her underwear up.

She was 23, so she didn’t have that far to go down. The camera caught a glimpse of her face for a moment, and she appeared to be a high schooler. Only a few moments later again, and she looked like she was about to go into middle school. Her blonde hair was growing shorter, to match her decreasing stature.

The last thing the camera got a glimpse of was a blonde toddler with her hand in her mouth, no longer having the strength to hold up her own pants, only her head was poking out of her tank top anyway. Then her head dipped beneath the neckline of the shirt. It had looked like she was melting away like the Wicked Witch of the West, only a pile of clothes remaining.

There was a beat of silence, then the host unlocked the door and looked in at the pile of clothes.

The overhead camera showed him throwing back the top layer of clothes to reveal a baby no more than 12 months old laying in them. The baby seemed dazed, as she wasn’t yet crying, instead looking around with big curious eyes.

She began to cry when the host used her former shirt as a swaddling blanket and cradled her in his arms.

He stepped out of the booth with Jessica wailing in his arms.

“Alright teams, get cleaned up and meet us down in front of the platforms, in a few minutes.”

The teams were gathered up, one now only consisting of four. Stacey’s team was beaming once again, the shock of Jessica’s shower having sank in and worn off on them. Michael’s team was considerably somber, knowing that one of James, Nina, and Alec was  going to be subjected to the same thing after the Baby Shower, but instead of a mere 5 days, they would have to grow up all over again.

Soon, the host returned with Jessica. She was still crying, but this time she was clad in a diaper. 

There was a cut, and Jessica was now also sucking on a pacifier, it seemed she was too determined in her crying to talk over.

“Congratulations Team Stacey on your victory!” He said. “In my arms, you can see the consequences of failure.”

“Team Michael, in 5 days we will convene and hold a vote. One of you will be voted off and sent to the nursery. Following the baby shower, Jessica here will be restored to her 23 years once more. The person sent to the nursery will not.”

The musical tension rose.

“In regards to Jessica, you will be provided with diapers courtesy of our sponsor. In future, diapers might not be included. We will also return Jessica’s adult clothing to you. Also, to make sure the baby is safe, we will provide a portable crib, so that she is safe while she is sleeping.”

With that he then handed baby Jessica over to Michael.

“Oh wait.” The host added. “I’ll need this as well.” He pulled the pacifier out of Jessica’s mouth, and she began to cry again.

The teams walked their way back to their camps.

Stacey’s team returned to their camp, excited about their victory but not as excited as they should have been. They all sat down and relaxed. After a few seconds, it cut, and it was dead silent, the only audio was the wind shaking the palm fronds above their heads. Some stared into the charcoals that remained of the campfire, some stared at the clouds, and some at the ceaseless beating of the waves.

Julie broke the silence. “That’s what’s waiting for us?” She said, still in shock.

“No.” Jason responded. “Jessica’s going to be back to normal by the end of the week, after the Shower.”

“That’s only waiting for you if you lose.” Stacey added authoritatively. “Only one of us can walk out of here, but as long as we keep winning, we can delay that as long as possible.”

Cliff didn’t hang around too long, he was off to get more firewood. Night was going to be here sooner rather than later.

After some silence, Chelsea added her input. “I’ve seen lots of babies as a nurse. Being born, sick, even dying. But that, was something that no one has ever seen. There was an adult woman in that box. Then, there was a baby in that box.” She pondered. “Statistically, that’s likely waiting for us too. She was a woman, then she was diapered, crying in his arms.”

Stacey ended it flatly. “We know what we signed up for.”

The silence was restored, the soundtrack of nature taking over once again. The camera cut to Michael’s team.

Instantly the silence was gone. The calming sounds of nature replaced by the ear piercing wail of a small child.

As they arrived back at camp, the team seemed to be in much the same state as when they departed from the challenge grounds. Michael was now carrying the newly minted toddler, still red faced and wailing, seemingly unable to cope with either her age reduction or the loss of her pacifier. Or Both.

“Oh my god.” Alec said over the crying. “Can somebody shut her up?”

“How could you possibly want us to do that?” James said. “If it’s as easy as you suggest, why don’t you take care of her? I’m sure that would go great.” Their teammate’s new stature was already making tensions flare.

“Guys.” Michael added sternly. “Yelling isn’t going to calm Jessica down, so either help me out, or be quiet. There’s enough noise as it is.”

The four members of the team who knew how to walk sat down, and tried to ignore Jessica’s wails, which were as loud as ever.

After a few minutes Michael asked “James, could you handle her for a bit?”

“Uh, sure.” He replied.

Michael Walked over and sat Jessica on James, straddling his knee. James held her up from time to time, her balance being somewhat shaky. Her crying continued, and James seemed to explore a solution.

He began bouncing the young toddler on his knee, to see if that would soothe her. The small movements of his muscular leg bounced the toddler carefully up and down, her short blonde hair moving with her, and her diaper slightly crinkling each time. The child began to grow quieter. Jessica’s crying eventually progressed into whimpers, and soon enough pure silence.

James smiled and felt satisfied with himself. Michael looked over and gave him a thumbs up. Alec and Nina seemed relieved.

He continued to watch the toddler. He noticed that the yellow strip on the front of her diaper had started to turn into a light blue. Jessica’s diaper soon became much warmer and firmer against his leg he noticed. As the bouncing continued, he realized the diaper felt less like a thick piece of paper and more like a sodden pillow. Jessica burst into tears once again. Alec grabbed his head and made an audible sound of disgust.

“I think she used her diaper” James said, seemingly almost in shock that she actually used it.

Nina replied, sick of the clueless men. “I’ll deal with it” she said. She put her hands under Jessica’s arms and whisked the blonde toddler up into her arms. She retrieved a diaper from the box provided to them and took Jessica off camera to change her.

“Thank god.” Alec said as the wailing grew faint.

Michael offered some advice. “Alec, if you want to come out of this victorious, you have to play the game. Even if Jessica is annoying you, you still have to contribute. You’re complaining about her isn’t making her any older or quieter.”

“I’ve never had to deal with babies.” Alec responded. “I wouldn’t even know what to do.”

“Then this is a great learning opportunity.” Michael offered.

James added, “There’s no computers out here, so you’re going to have to demonstrate your value somehow. Nina certainly is.”

“I offer more than just computer stuff, I know a ton that can help us in competitions” Alec argued.

Michael responded “Well we haven’t had a chance to see any of that, so you need to help yourself.” He continued, “Actually, I think a good way for you to be valuable to us is to handle Jessica for the night. You got to share the tent with her when she was a 23 year old Instagram model, so I only think It’s fair you maintain the same arrangement when she’s a crying 12 month old baby.”

Alec clearly wanted to argue but couldn’t come up with a response, and then he was interrupted by the return of Nina and Jessica.

“Alright she’s good now.” Nina said. “She only wet herself, for now.” Jessica was calm once more, but could still break into tears at any moment, as they had clearly learned.

“She wasn’t that different when she was 23.” Nina said, staring at the toddler on her hip. “She’s always loved the attention I guess.” The three guys cracked a smile, it was pretty true. 

Jessica didn’t laugh, no longer understanding what Nina was saying. So, Nina held the blonde girl up and blew a raspberry on her gut of baby fat, and this elicited the toddler to let out a high pitched giggle.

Nina talked to the confessional, with Jessica straddling her hip. “I’m part of the reason Jessica is like this in the first place.” She confessed, gesturing toward the toddler. “By taking care of her I can show Michael and James that I’m not the one they should be getting rid of.” She paused and then added. “Alec certainly isn’t doing himself any favors, he’s playing himself right back into the cradle. We can see how he feels about babies then.”

Soon enough it was nighttime. Back at Stacey’s camp they were enjoying the peace, not having a demanding baby amongst them. 

“Alright guys, we have a few days to ourselves, and none of us are going to the nursery this week.” Stacey rallied their team and they all cheered. Not having much more to discuss, they all retired for the night.

Back at the babysitter’s club, they were getting ready for bed and for Alec to take charge of babysitting duties. They set up a small portable crib inside of Alec and Jessica’s shared tent, for her safety.

“Maybe we can keep this when she is 23 again.” James jokingly suggested. “She definitely won’t be complaining about her feeling like she’s laying on the ground, between her crib and her diaper cushioning her.” This brought levity to the group once more.

Nina handed Jessica to Alec, awkwardly. He wasn’t sure how to hold a baby, so he just carried her by putting his hands into her armpits and letting her torso and diaper hang down. He quickly transferred her to the crib, just as awkwardly. He tried standing her up, but it seemed like that was still a few months away for her, and she quickly dropped onto her padded bottom, surrounded by massive mesh walls that this morning wouldn’t have even gone up to her hips.

He stepped outside and clearly wasn’t excited, but resigned to his fate.

“We’ll leave you to it, goodnight” Michael said to him.

Alec grunted out a “Goodnight.”

The team went into their respective tents and went to bed. The camera pulled away from the dark camp, getting a wider view. Suddenly, Jessica began crying again while the camera held on the view of the island. The light came on in Jessica and Alec’s tent. 

“Code Brown!” Alec yelled, almost as high pitched as Jessica’s crying. There was stifled laughter from the other tents.

The episode ended.

 


 

End Chapter 2

The Mists of Time

by: Sawine | Story In Progress | Last updated Feb 10, 2024

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