Strange Fiction: The Discussion

Question eight, inspired by this article.

Tufts University: “Create a short story using one of these topics: ‘The End of MTV,’ ‘Confessions of a Middle School Bully,’ ‘The Professor Disappeared’ or ‘The Mysterious Lab.'”

The Discussion

“Well, she couldn’t really tell me how they got outside. But there was some… odd things she did say.”

“Like what?”

“Like, she couldn’t describe anything specific of what happened before she was woken up.”

“What does that mean? I mean Kaitlyn can’t shut up about what she read during the day or who she saw or what they said, when we drive home for the weekend. Is she my daughter or not? Where did she come from?!” Panic escapes from her voice.

“Now calm down Barbara. She is your daughter. I mean, she has the same impatience and sense of humor, only she is… different.”

“So, where did she say she came from?”

“Well Walter, she said Barbara woke her up, like she does everyday, and sent them outside to play, like everyday. Everyday is the same thing for her. Which is strange in itself, but she can’t really say anything specific about what happens before she went to sleep.”

“Okay… like she doesn’t remember what she ate, or what people said to her?”

“No. Like she knows she does her schooling here on campus, but she said she ‘thinks’ she remembers reading school books here. And then there are her birthday parties. It is like she knows what happens at a birthday party, and she only describes her parties in generic terms. She says that they ‘ate cake and ran'”

“‘Ate cake and ran’? That’s what she said?”

“Yes. And she said she has done it all before. You know, the interview, the questions, going to get something to eat. She was very disappointed in that whole aspect, but at the beginning she seemed, I don’t know, excited I guess. But then she mentions getting something to eat, and I tell her we’ll go to the pantry soon, and her countenance fell. She doesn’t want to go there.”

“Is she afraid of going in there?”

“No. She just… didn’t want to… maybe… look for something to eat in there. Or maybe she was thinking about what was going to happen next.”

“What does she say is going to happen next?”

“That one or another of us takes them to different parts of the building and talks to them again…”

“Do we take them to… Lab 19?”

“She doesn’t seem to recall the lab: no. But she was very excited to go there. Perhaps it was just because it was… different.”

“Should we take them there?”

“Now why would we do that Karl? Expose them… Hey. Wait. Maybe we shouldn’t do what we would normally do.”

“So what are you saying Anton? How would we know what we normally would do? Perhaps avoiding what we would normally do would lead us to actions that we always do…”

“No, no. I mean like… she said that we normally take them and interview them in other parts of the building… Is that what we are going to do?”

“Well I certainly want to talk to them some more. Your interviewing skills leave something to be desired.”

“Hey! This is a new to me Walter, give me a break. I didn’t want to shock these kids for crying out loud! We don’t even know…”

“What Anton!? What?! That they’re even my children? They are my children, that’s…”

“Wait a second Barbara, I’m sure that is not what Anton is saying. It’s all just so new.”

“Right. Right. We just need some time to figure this out.”

“Do you think we could be stuck?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well… they are telling us that they do the same thing everyday… maybe we’re the ones who are… in some sort of loop. Like we’ve had some effect from that… machine in 19.”

“How could we be. We haven’t done anything with it yet.”

“That’s why we should do what we normally wouldn’t do?”

“Why didn’t we do that before then?”

“Why didn’t we do what, before?”

“You know. Something different. Obviously they are saying that they’ve done this before. I have to assume that it was actually us they were talking to… We know that we aren’t… being deluded here.”

“How do we know we aren’t being deluded here?”

“Well Kaitlyn and Rylee are playing in the library right now. At least the ones we know…”

“How do we even know that?!”

“Okay, calm down. We just need to think. If we’ve done this before we need to do something different. Those girls in the pantry are definitely Kaitly and Rylee, just… not… um… the ones we know. We aren’t fully aware of the machine’s capability in Lab 19 yet, but we know it has to do with magnetic resonance displacement and electric…”

“I told you we should have gotten some experts in here the day that thing showed up?! You don’t even know what you’re saying, do you?”

“I know enough that those two girls that I saw today are an anomaly beyond anything I’ve experienced and it has something to do with that machine. Now we’ve got to realize that.”

“Should we bring in someone who might know something…”

“No! Now we all decided that what appeared here is something we need to figure out ourselves. The specifications for that lab were such that it was perfect for when the machine appeared! Now how does that happen? Huh? Who designed this building? Did they know that was going to appear 3 years ago? No, they couldn’t have known we are now responsible for what happens here, and we have to decide what to do next.”

“I say let’s bring them in to the lab.”

“For what purpose?”

“Maybe they’ll remember something.”

“No. No. I will not let them go in there.”

“Barbara, I agree. That would come to nothing. What purpose would it serve?”

“Should we bring them to meet the… you know… the others?”

“What are you…”

“No! Again. What purpose does that serve? Even if there was some paradoxical anomaly that would happen or not, we don’t want to scar the… children we have here. We need to do something against what we would normally do but not something that would harm what we have here.”

“We could take them somewhere.”


“How about outside of the campus, to the city? Take them somewhere they might enjoy, that they may have looked forward to. Because, obviously from what their expectations are what they have to look forward to was just being interviewed around here.”

“You’re right. Should we all take them?”

“What about the other girls.”

“They’re my girls!”

“Okay. What about the children we have here?”

“Shouldn’t Barbara take them out?”

“I’m not taking them anywhere.”

“Do you have any… compassion for them Barbara?”

“Well… of course I do. They’re just children.”

“Who look, talk, and act exactly like Kaitlyn and Rylee.”

“I talked to them and they are Kaitlyn and Rylee.”

“Why don’t you take them out?”

“Fine. And then what? Take them to a motel?”

“Barbara, you’ve got to take them out. Take them to your home. See how they react. See if… they… enjoy themselves.”

“What about my children?”

“We’ll all take care of them. They’re like our children here too.”

“No. I can’t do it.”

“Not even for the sake of discovery? Or perhaps, somehow, we’ve done something to get this ball rolling. They are your children after all. Maybe all this is our fault.”

“Don’t you manipulate me, Walter. I know my responsibilities as a parent, and it is here with my kids.”

“We could call John, have him come by and take them to his home.”

“Out of the blue like that? I fight him enough for the time he wants to keep them. He’d get suspicious, me all wanting to give them to him now! When we’ve got another court date in a month. He could use that against me.”

“We’ll call him. Tell him it’s an emergency.”

“He’ll want to know what.”

“We’ll tell him we’ve got a big cleanup for the next couple of days.”

“And make him think I’m exposing our children to dangerous situations?”

“Come on, Barbara. You know you’re the only one who can do this. To gauge their reactions and you know them. They are your children.”

“I’ll go with you, Barbara.”

“No. You need to stay here with Kaitlyn and Rylee. They like you best Anton.”

“But you need an impartial observer, someone to record this all: for posterity.”

“I’ll take Karl. He’ll do. He’ll be a good observer, he likes to watch.”


“Fine. He’ll go with you. Now let’s get you all packed up. I’ll go talk with Kaitlyn and… I mean, the ones in the pantry. Tell them what we’re, you’re going to do. Ask them what they’d like to do.”

“And I’ll go talk to Kaitlyn and Rylee, let them know I’ll be gone 2 or 3 days.”

“Okay, great. You’re really making the right decision here Barbara. We all appreciate it.”

“It better be worth it.”

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Posted on September 15, 2013, in 15 Ridiculous College Application Questions, Strange Fiction and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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