“Hey, how’s it going, everyone? Hope your November is treating you well so far. It’s been a couple weeks, per the norm, and I think we’ve finally finished cleaning up the Halloween party.”

“Just found some more of the rubber bats and mice, Yuki”

“Ohh! There you little guys are. Come and join your siblings!”

“While we get these last few Halloween boxes put away, you guys are gonna pick up where you left off with Nicole and her kids in the next part of… 



Next to the trophy case, dead ahead of us and before any of the classrooms, there was a massive bulletin board. Dozens of papers filled it and then some: it was the homeroom listing for all the classes, pre-school through twelfth grade.

“Yeah…I’d have killed myself going to the same school for thirteen years straight.”

The girls looked at me confused and I had to explain how bigger towns had the schools split up between three, sometimes two, buildings, all on separate grounds. I honestly didn’t even know the whole one-schoolhouse deal was still a thing.

I helped the girls scour the lists of their respective grades and pick a homeroom.

“Then what?” Jaden asked.

“We wing it. We’ll see if all of you can concentrate and do what Jay did a few minutes ago. Pretty much just walk into the room with the thought that you’re supposed to be there. Hopefully they’ll accept it.”

“Do you think it’ll work?” Riley asked.

I nodded. “Maybe. I’ll be bringing you all to class on day one. I’ll run interference if I have to.”

Spoiler alert: I didn’t have to.

Next audio log:

We wasted no time in seeing what the girls could do. They didn’t disappoint. They all started small–on bugs. Not butterflies though, Zelda was not having that. So, we started with pests: ants, “those asshole” wasps, and Japanese beetles.

None of them were harmed as much as we could tell. The wasps fucked right off and abandoned their nest on the side of the trailer and the beetles left my “zen” plants alone.

All four quickly graduated from the insect circus to birds and even rabbits.

And in case any one is wondering: no, I’m not raising four fucking sociopaths. They didn’t make them panic of fear imminent death or anything like that. All they did for the insects was get a thought that they were better off nesting elsewhere. That’s how Annabelle put it to me, anyway.

The larger critters, we got a bit more creative.

I gathered some twigs, long grasses, and weeds and put them in a small pile. Next, I instructed the girls to go out on their own and convince at least on of our feathered friends that they should start to build a nest and where to find the materials. Over the next hour, one of the girls would come waltzing up, bird in tow. Three starlings and a cardinal. Once they swooped down to the pile, I asked the girls to tell the bird, “eh…never mind.” And each and every goddamn time the bird would drop a twig and look around at us with the most confused expression and fly off.

The rabbit was much of the same, except done on the fly. Me and Annabelle were having lunch out by the front door, two BLTs, when a fat white and brown rabbit hopped out of the tall grasses at the edge of our yard. Without even prompting, Annabelle watched as it hopped across the lawn and casually made its way to us. It looked up at Annabelle, little nose twitching.

“Annabelle?” I said quietly, “Did you do this?”

“Mhm,” she replied, peeling back the slices of bread. “I told him there was food over here and said he’d be safe.” She pulled out some of the lettuce and handed it down. The rabbit didn’t hesitate and gingerly ate from her hand.

We practiced dozens of times with various creatures. Nothing went awry. Nothing. So it was time to move on to the next phase: human trials.

Again, spoilers: no kids were harmed. And even if they were, we picked real assholes to work with. I won’t provide any names, nor will I disclose where the trials took place–for the safety of the other children and their families.

Subject number one was playing with trucks all alone. No other adult was paying attention enough to notice. Zelda had this one. She conjured up a puppy for the kid to play with for a minute. I sat by quietly, pretending to read a book and watched as the child looked up and smiled at nothing and pat the head and rubbed the belly of something that wasn’t there. They would have been the perfect mime.

Subject number two was visibly confused when, according to Annabelle, a swarm of lightning bugs flew out from the bushes and trees and started blinking around the kid–in broad daylight. They tried like hell to catch some, but based on the body language, that never happened.

Subjects number three and four, I had to walk Riley back on and hope for no repercussions. A couple kids were out playing Wiffle ball, looking like they were all having a good time. The batter had cracked the ball and had a solid grounder streak right by the pitcher, who caught up to just in front of second base. The batter called for a ghost-man on first and walked back to home plate. As the bat was being picked up and the pitcher returned to their spot, they both looked up to the sky.

I could see it, too.

“Thunderstorm,” Riley said with a shit-eating grin. Both kids flinched at the sudden roar overhead and made a break for it. Lightning flickered and the grey sheets of rain came down in the distance.

“Okay, Ri, when these two get out of sight, I need you to stop the storm, but you gotta do it easy! And let the clouds stay a bit longer…and kinda get them to break up and have it look like it did before.

It was a slow and painful process to watch. And I didn’t notice anyone else freaking out. The sky eventually reverted to how it was when the ball game was getting started.

“That was good–really good. You just gotta remember to focus on who we want to be affected. Alright, let’s get outta here.

We laid low for two days. Nothing came out of the issue with the weather and we moved on.

Jaden’s turn was up next. Subject number five…well, this whole trial was interesting to say the least. A kid was approaching our general direction and she took the advice that I gave Riley.

The kid was walking, eyes forward, and Jaden hopped in front of them and yelled at the top of her lungs: “Hey you stupid shit!” And stayed right in front of them, staring them down while walking backwards. Never more than two paces in front.

“Jay! What the fuck!?” I darted my head around–no one around–no one around saw or heard. Her sisters didn’t notice a thing, instead they looked at me like I was the crazy one. It took a second, but I realized that Jaden had intended that I was the only one able to see her antics.

“Never mind. Very good!”

Shortly after that moment, I came up with a new plan for the girls and I explained the idea to them over lunch.

“So, you’re definitely going to school. No way around that.”

“Why?” Riley asked. “We can stay home and make people think we’re gone.”

“Look, we don’t know yet how long this effect lasts, or how much concentration is needed at all times–people would ask questions if they spotted you. And if you let your guard down and people come on to our street without you knowing; what then? What we’re gonna do instead is have you pick classes to go to, let everyone think you’re supposed to be there. But, for going to class and leaving school, you’re gonna make them forget as soon as they lose sight of you.”

“What about here?” Jaden asked. “People on our street have seen us. And we’ve all gone other places.”

“We shouldn’t have to worry about public places too much. There’s not exactly a lot to do down here. We’ve tried limiting our time out together as it is.” I noticed the girls weren’t showing that same sentiment. “Alright. How’s about this? Maybe do that old forgetful trick when we walk around and try to send a big-wave forgetful trick for the neighborhood–like Riley did. You can try reaching that far, but even if we hit a few people on our street, that should be enough. Not a lot of gossip around this place.”

“What about Maggie?” Annabelle asked, hesitancy in her tone.

I signed and thought about that one for a minute. “I think it will be okay. If we ever leave this place–or we’re found out–she can’t remember us. Not a bit. Cool?”

They all nodded solemnly.

Next audio log:

Spoilers: it worked. No one from the school or the town seems to have remembered us.

I wish to god we would have left Maggie out of it. Her and all our other neighbors paid for that indiscretion…

…That’s the kind of people we’re running from. Other human beings are just obstacles to them. Nothing more. They’re the ones supposed to be “defending freedom” and “protecting us citizens”. What a crock of shit. They just want to control…or money from people they put in control.

You look in the history books–at least the ones we were given–and all those invasions and land-grabs and colonization seems like it should be left well in the past…that no modern human should–or could–think that is acceptable or remotely a good idea. But it still happens. As much as they don’t want us to notice, they won’t be able to keep it that way. The world is getting smaller and smaller every single day.

Or maybe that won’t matter.

If they’re so big and powerful–how can we stand up to it? Will people even care? Would they want to risk themselves, or their families? I can’t blame them for being too scared.

I don’t even know what I’m rambling about.

We’re fucked. Not just me and the kids. All of us. Humanity.

So fucked.

I’m sorry, Maggie. And I’m sorry for all those other people…

Next audio log:

Man, that jailbreak was fucking wild. I’m not gonna lie, I was worried about the girls–big time. Though there was a part of me that was like: these fuckers have got not idea what they’re dealing with.

So, I was sitting in my little padded cell, waiting for my next grilling when all the crazy alarm bells started going off. No one came to me and I didn’t smell any smoke or whatever, so I figured it was a fire drill or someone went out the wrong door–anything but a breakout.

A few minutes passed and that damn buzzer was still going off. Then I start hearing commotion outside the cell. Okay, maybe this was an emergency after all.



Someone was opening the locks. Before I could stand, the door swung open with such force, I was nearly thrown back in shock. The guard walked in, key in one hand, pistol in the other. I thought I was dead. But Riley and Jaden walked in behind him–smiling. I couldn’t believe my eyes.


“Still not wrapped up with this story. I have a feeling there’s a bit yet to go.”

“It’s giving me a bit of anxiety, what’s going on with them. I really hope it gets better for the girls soon.”

“I think I may have a little something to keep your mind off their precarious situation, my faithful assistant.”

“Oh yeah? How?”

“Here, have this box. It’s full of the Christmas decorations that we need to start setting up.”

“Wait, this early?”

“It looks nice and pleasant around the lab and house. You’ll put the troubles out of your mind while you help me set up. And you’ll be able to completely chill and get lost in the holiday spirit. Plus, y’know, with all the time it’s gonna take to get this stuff set up, we might as well leave it up as long as fucking possible, right?”

“I guess you gotta point there.”


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