Shifting Reality

by: Voltaire | Complete Story | Last updated Jul 10, 2012

A teenager finds his friend as a little kid, and soon realizes he is about to incure the same fate.

Chapter 1
Mac and Cheese

Chapter Description: A boy finds his friend in an unusual circumstance, and soon realize he is about to incure the same fate.

It all started on Valentines day.

I was not currently in a relationship, so I had taken up the job of babysitting. I figured it would help me to be less lonely, as I had not had a girlfriend in a few months.

My friend James’s parents called me up, and asked me to take care of his little brother. I told them it would be a discount, but something was off. James, my best friend, had not spoken to me in over a week. He had not answered my calls or come to school, and nobody seemed to know where he had gone. Probably getting high, was my guess.

Another thing that struck me weird was that James never mentioned having a brother or sister. He had said he was an only child.

I wiped my feet on their welcome mat, and made my way inside.

"He’s a little upset." said the mother, applying lipstick. "He thinks he’s too old to be home alone, but we just think nine years old is a bit below the cutoff."

"That’s fine." I said. "I have a brother of my own. I know how kids can be." I pondered asking her about James, but realized it might be a sore subject. He could have been in an accident or something.

"Can you come out, Jimmy?" yelled his father. Jimmy?

A short nine-year old came sulking out of the living room, he had dark brown hair and darker eyes, he had little freckles all over his face and a combover. He had tear streaks under his eyes. I got one glance and knew I must be mistaken.

Just to make sure I was fooling myself, I asked, "Why did you name your children the same name?"

"What?" The mother looked familiar. "He’s an only child."

"But, James-"

"Jimmy." corrected his mom. I knew I should stop. "Would you excuse us a second?" said the mother.

Her and the father whispered in the dining room.

"I thought you said it changed reality, so that EVERYONE would think he was only nine." whispered the mother.

"Maybe because they were such good friends, I don’t know!" the dad replied sharply, clearly upset.

"What should we do?"

I couldn’t hear anything else they said, but they looked ready to go when they came out. "We left you guys some Mac and Cheese in the freezer." The dad said quickly. "we really have to go, now. We’re late."

The parents left leaving me speechless. I knew something was very, very wrong.

"So....." I said awkwardly. "Do you remember me?"

"What?" Jimmy looked puzzled. "Yeah, you’ve always been my babysitter, haven’t you?"

"How old are you? When we’re you born?" Jimmy looked up at me with his little brown eyes. "I’m’ having my tenth birthday tomorrow. I was born on February 15th, 2002."

I sighed, maybe I was just delirious or something. I asked a final question. "What’s your favorite subject in school?" I knew that James had wanted to be a History major.

"Well" said Jimmy. "I sure like Social Studies. That’s what they call History in the fourth grade. I don’t know a whole lot about it though. I think I know about some war I think in Germany and stuff. I think I know some geography. I bet I could name 25 whole capitals of states in the ’Nited States."

He talked so fast that I could barely keep up, but this tipped me off that this was in fact James. Some way, somehow, James was turned into a little kid. I suspected it was his parents.

"You don’t remember anything?" I took out a can of Mac and cheese and poured it into bowls.

"About what?" said Jimmy.

"About your life." I gave him a bowl. "Your supposed to be sixteen, in high school. Your on the Varsity football team, remember? You even made out with Sherral Hertwitz-"

"Eww!" yelled Jimmy, in a louder-than-nessesary voice. "Girls are gross! Do you actually play with them?"

I chuckled quickly before taking my first spoonful. "You could say that. The point is, your not really ten. Your... Um... Your..." I couldn’t quite remember how old James was.

"I AM ten." argued Jimmy. "But that is still way too old for a babysitter"

I thought about it, and realized he was right. That wasn’t fair at all! He shouldn’t need a babysitter.

"Your right." I said. "So, next time I promise I’ll convince your parents you can stay alone"

"Naw." said Jimmy. "It’s kind of cool that I get to hang out with a big kid like you. How old are you anyway?"

"I’m..." suddenly my mind went blank. "I’m... Uh..." why couldn’t I remember how old I was? Maybe somebody really did slip me something. I ate another spoonful of Mac and cheese.

I knew I must be older than Jimmy, because I was a foot taller than him, and I had just said I was in high school. Was I? No, that couldn’t be right. I couldn’t remember being in high school. "I’m twelve." I decided. I didn’t know how wrong I really was.


As we cleaned up our bowls, reminding Jimmy of his real age seemed less and less important. I tried to do some of my homework as I had planned, but it seemed so complicated tonight. It had to do with angles and something called ’Proofs’. Instead, I helped Jimmy with his homework. It was a lot easier, but the time passed quickly and it took us both nearly an hour.

"9 times 9..." I said, scratching my head. "71? Yeah, I think so."

"Thanks for helping me." smiled Jimmy. "Your pretty cool. Do you wanna play with my Yu-Gi-Oh?"

"Nah" I said, "I’m a little old for that sort of stuff, Jimmy."

"Too old?" said Jimmy. "Yeah, I bet your not. I bet your not even old enough to know what a marijuana is!"

"Yah huh I know!" I said. "It’s... It’s that bad thing that people do."

"Whatever." said Jimmy. "Want to see who can stay up the longest?"

"Yeah!" I said without even knowing it. I knew I had this competition in the bag. Jimmy’s body wouldn’t let him stay up very late, while mine would allow for an all-nighter.

It turned out to be a challenge. Jimmy stayed up well passed eight, and by nine-thirty, I was almost asleep.

Before I closed my eyes, I felt a shift in reality. Something changed. I looked over at my other homework. It all looked like gibberish. What’s a variable?

I swayed left and right. I watched as Jimmy’s bed split into a bunk bed. My cellphone turned into a little toy phone. My backpack halved in size and my books switched from ’Algebra II’ and ’Advanced Writing Portfolio’, into a Number Line and ’Hooked on Phonix’. My 50 dollar shoes turned into light up sketchers. My sweatshirt turned into a puffy winter coat with a Pokemon on the back.

Jimmy had fallen asleep when I began to decrease in hight. I went from being 5’10" to being 4’11". My arms shortened in length and my skin became fair. My cheeks grew chubby. My shoelaces disappeared and turned into velcro, and my bottle of mountain dew turned into a cup with a straw with what looked like apple juice.

The last thing I remember before drifting off was Jimmy’s parents coming through the door, and tucking me into bed.



End Chapter 1

Shifting Reality

by: Voltaire | Complete Story | Last updated Jul 10, 2012


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