A Whole New World Ch. 1-2

This is a very long reality change story about college kids trapped in a world where it is normal for them to go to kindergarten, then to be toddlers and then back in diapers. Based on an idea by FoxingtonIII. It goes in stages, but there will be a large infancy stage so stick with it if that’s what you’re looking for.

A warm breeze swept across the sprawling grassy lawns of the state college. Spring had arrived at last, and with it the pressure of final exams, the anticipation of graduation. The college was abuzz with activity, the library filled with last-minute crammers, but the quad was just as packed with students desperate to get some sun after a long and cold winter. It was a stately old quad befitting a college steeped in tradition. The lawn was bounded on either side by brick century old buildings, clothed in a dignified growth of ivy. Ancient trees lined the edges of the grass, filtering the sun for the students grouped around their roots.

Most students were used to the beauty of the college in spring, taking it for granted. They had much more pressing thoughts on their minds, especially the seniors. Their college careers were nearing their ends, their adult lives unfolding before them and for each this meant something different. Some were filled with ambition, others with trepidation. But as they sat amongst the trees thinking that their lives were about to undergo some major changes, not a one of them could have imagined just how right they were about that.

At the foot of one of the largest trees on the quad a group of three such seniors reclined in the shade enjoying each other’s company in silence for the time being. Brian, Megan and Rachel had been friends since junior high. Of course they’d once been but a few members of a much bigger clique in high school, but with age things changed. Friends went to different colleges; others transferred or simply dropped out. A couple guys drunk or smoked their way to expulsion. So it was that only the three of them remained. But as their group shrank, they only grew closer and that only made their impending graduation and separation that much harder to face.

Brian, the lone young man of the group, was an average kind of guy. He was smart; he’d made it through the top state college in four years after all, but not a genius or even a nerd. His grades had mostly been B’s, with a smattering of C’s. He was a thin young man of average height, a couple inches short of six feet. He’d played high school soccer and volleyball, but he was no jock. Some girls thought him cute with his shaggy brown hair, hazel eyes and light skin. But he didn’t exude that air of confidence some guys had, and so most girls just didn’t notice him.

It hadn’t been an easy spring for Brian. His average grades hadn’t been enough to land a job in the tough economy. With each day he moved closer to the end of his time living in the dorms with his friends and closer to moving home with mom. It was a future he didn’t want to consider. Brian’s mom wasn’t mean or cold, on the contrary, she was just too loving. To her Brian was still her baby boy, needing to be coddled and advised on every decision. His failure to secure a job had only reinforced her conviction that he needed her guidance. Meanwhile, without job prospects Brian had lost all his ambition and so rather than study for exams he now lazed on his back reading yet another dusty old novel he’d found in the expansive stacks of the college library.

Rachel gave the young man a contemptuous look, glaring at him until he was forced to look up from his book. “What?” he asked.

“You know what, Brian. How long are you going to play around reading trash when you should be studying?” Rachel demanded.

Brian frowned and rolled his eyes. How could Rachel possibly have understood what he was going through? She was a successful young woman with excellent grades and a job waiting for her after graduation. Rachel had always been the studious type, serious and well-spoken. She’d been on student council in high school, captain of the college debate team. Brian knew it was never smart to get into an argument with her, but he just couldn’t help himself this time.

“It’s Catcher in the Rye, Rachel, it’s a friggin’ American classic! You can’t call it trash.”

Rachel narrowed her piercing blue eyes and Brian knew he was in for it now. It wasn’t just her intellect that shut down her opponents, it was her looks and her attitude. She was five foot seven, wore her flowing blonde hair at shoulder length and regularly wore low-cut shirts to show off her sizable assets. Rachel knew what she had and she used it.

“Don’t give me that American classic bullshit!” she snapped, calm but dismissive. “It’s nothing but adolescent whining and vulgarity. Holden Caulfield is a spoiled little brat and that’s exactly why so many teens today identify with him. I mean really Brian, aren’t you a bit old to be reading that stuff? I think we read it back in tenth grade.”

“Whatever,” Brian mumbled, knowing he’d lost before he’d even begun.

Rachel smirked and returned to her chemistry text. She’d hardly settled back to her studies when the crack of a book snapping shut broke her concentration. Megan threw a heavy literature text to the ground in disdain while the other two looked curiously at her, Rachel with an air of annoyance.

“This is hopeless!” Megan sighed, defeated.

“What is?” the other two chimed in at once.

“The whole damned thing! I mean how can I study on such a beautiful day? I know you have no problem with it Rach, but it does my head in. All I can think about is springtime in Paris and Rome, eating in sidewalk cafes and strolling along the Seine!”

“Ugh, do we have to hear this again?” Brian grunted.

Megan looked betrayed. “Can’t you just be happy for me, for a moment?”

“We get it Megan, you’re going to be travelling the world, escaping this awful, boring, pedestrian little backwater while we wallow in it. Have fun, sure, but stop rubbing our noses in it!” Brian told her.

Megan seemed to want to reply, but seeing she would get no help from Rachel she swallowed her words, staring intently at a small bird hopping around the grass nearby. Megan was the least mature of the trio. Only five foot two and with a cute face she looked more like seventeen than the twenty-one years she and the other two actually were. She still dressed like a teenager, not a young woman, still got roaring drunk at weekly parties. Megan had no interest in leaving college at all, certainly not in getting a real job, waking up before 10AM and paying bills. How she’d managed to convince her mom to fund a trip around the world for her nobody knew. She’d probably just put on her perfect little princess act once again. In any case she’d delayed her entrance to the real world for at least another year.

After a couple minutes of awkward silence it was Megan who hopped up and broke the tension. “Look, I’m gonna go play some Frisbee instead of wasting this sunshine sitting in the shade. Either of you wanna join me?”

“I’m good right here,” Brian shrugged lazily.

“Well I have studying to do, and so do you,” Rachel replied pointedly.

“Fine then, do whatever you want. But I expect to see both of you at Brad’s party tonight. Might be our last chance to really party before exams, y’know.”

Brian and Rachel each gave her a tepid nod before she picked up her flip-flops and took of sprinting across the grass.

**

The whole building seemed to vibrate from the noise of the party. Juniors and seniors mixed with the occasional underclassman, drinking and yelling to each other over the boom of the pulsing music. At a table in the corner of the main room several guys and a couple girls played kings. Already a couple looked like they might actually pass out. On the balcony someone had broken out the heavier stuff and a gaggle of young revellers were gathered around a bong. Rachel and Brian weren’t in the main party themselves though. They’d both slipped back to an adjoining bedroom to escape the deafening din.

Brian sat on a messy couch, wedged between piles of dirty clothing abandoned there. He was still dressed in his typical college casual outfit of tight Abercrombie t-shirt, khakis cargo shorts and flip-flops. Brian was in the process of downing his fifth or perhaps sixth beer of the night, he’d lost count. Rachel was wearing another one of her low-cut halter-tops and some short shorts. She wasn’t degrading herself by drinking beer, but she had polished off a few margaritas and a couple rum and cokes. Still she seemed composed, in control, as she texted friends and checked her watch.

The door to the bedroom swung open, the noise level trebling and making Rachel cover her ear. “Close it will you!” she called over the roar.

Megan stepped into the room and closed the door behind her. She looked a bit tipsy herself, her short black dress slightly askew. “Sorry 'bout that,” she giggled, smiling drunkenly.

“Having fun?” Rachel asked wryly.

“Sure am! How 'bout you guys?”

“It’s been a pretty good party, but it’s getting late Meg, I think I should be heading home.”

Megan looked scandalised. “You can’t go! The party’s barely started!”

“Sorry Megan, but we can’t party all night y’know, there are exams coming up,” Rachel reminded her.

“Oh yeah, fuckin’ exams! God am I tired of hearing about that! We can’t all be perfect y’know Rach. We aren’t all like you.”

Rachel frowned deeply. Had she been sober she probably would have just walked away, but though she didn’t show it like Megan, Rachel was a bit drunk herself.

“I’m not perfect Meg, never said I was.”

Meg sneered. “Ha! Not perfect, good to know you can at least admit that. But we still have to keep hearing about that great job you landed, don’t we? You complain about my trip, but you’re just as bad with your bragging!”

For once Rachel looked at a loss for words. Her eyes fell to her feet for a moment while she struggled to respond. Finally she looked back at Megan and she seemed a changed woman, the veneer of confidence stripped away by alcohol and shame. “I’m sorry Megan, I really am. I don’t mean to brag. I just talk about it to… to reassure myself because I’m the one who’s scared. I’ve never had a real job Meg, I don’t know the first thing about it. All I’ve ever been is a student, and it’s all I’ve ever been good at. I can barely sleep at night because I keep thinking, what if I suck at it?”

Megan stared at Rachel like she’d grown a second head. Never in all their years of friendship had Rachel admitted to such a lack of confidence in herself. It took a moment for Megan to process what she was hearing, then she decided to make an admission of her own.

“I’m only goin’ on this trip because I don’t wanna be an adult yet,” she blurted out.

Both Rachel and Brian smiled now. “What? Why you all smiling?” Megan asked.

“We know,” Brian piped up. “Everyone knows that about you. I mean you don’t exactly hide it do you?”

Drunk as she was Megan just shrugged and chuckled in agreement. Then she noticed what Brian was doing on the couch. “Shit dude, is that that fuckin’ book you’ve been reading? You actually brought it to a party!?”

“Yeah, it’s a good book, and it sounds like both of you could really appreciate it.”

“Rachel’s right man, that book is stupid,” Megan told him. “Just some stupid whiny kid complaining about everything. Where the hell did you get it anyway, that thing looks ancient.”

Brian felt the black leather-bound book carefully in his hands, as though considering its age. “It was in the library, found it while I was looking through archaeology books, must have gotten misplaced somehow,” he explained. “And anyway it isn’t just about some stupid teenager. Holden Caulfield is just like us. He’s trapped between childhood and adulthood, unable to go back, but afraid to move forward.”

“Oh, c’mon, spare me! I’ve read the book too y’know,” Rachel joined in.

“Then you’ll understand Rach. Holden spends the whole book being disgusted by the adult world. When he’s asked what job he wants most in the world he says he wants to protect kids playing in a rye field from falling off the cliff at its edge. But it’s all a metaphor. He wants to protect children’s innocence, save them from the phoney and morally corrupt world of adulthood, the cliff.”

The two girls considered this for a moment before Megan shook her head and rolled her eyes. Rachel just looked pensive.

“I mean, think about it. Don’t you find the adult world dirty and corrupt, filled with dangers and responsibilities?”

“Well of course,” Rachel joined back in. “But there’s nothing you can really do about it. That’s why Catcher in the Rye is stupid, it’s pure adolescent fantasy. You can’t just stop time! You don’t get to avoid adulthood. I mean, it doesn’t turn out so well for Holden does it? He ends up in a mental hospital in the end doesn’t he?”

“That’s not my point,” Brian interjected. “I’m just saying it strikes a chord with me and I think it does for you too. I’m willing to say it. I wish we didn’t have to grow up. I don’t want to be out on my own, no money, no job, having to make all new friends.”

And now Megan was nodding too. “I know, it really sucks,” she sulked.

Rachel shook her head at the pair of them. “Wish all you want but that doesn’t change facts. We’re twenty-one years old, a good deal older than Holden in that story already. And at this age we are adults, we just have to accept it. Now I’m going to bed, and I suggest you two do the same.”

With that Rachel gathered her handbag up and slipped out the door. Though she was the first to go, the others weren’t far behind. Soon all three had climbed into their beds in their cluttered dorm rooms. Brian drifted off to sleep after pushing aside a pile of unwashed socks and underwear left on his bed, leaving his book discarded on the floor between pairs of sneakers and flip-flops. As he slept the darkness of the room was disturbed by a glow from the old leather-bound book, as though it were irradiated. It glowed brighter and brighter until the whole room was lit by its flickering bluish hue. Then it flipped open, the pages fluttering back and forth like they were caught in a high wind. As Brian and all the others slept peacefully that night the world began to shift around them. For Brian hadn’t found that book in the library after all. It had found him.

Chapter 2

From the moment Brian began to creep towards awareness following morning, he knew that something was wrong. The pile of dirty underwear that had been pressed up against him was gone. As he swept his hand back and forth across the bed he found nothing impeding it. What was more, the sheets felt different. Rather than the course inexpensive sheets he’d bought for his dorm bed he now felt soft, cozy flannel under his hand.

Opening is eyes Brian found himself staring up at a familiar and yet incredibly strange sight. It was the ceiling of his bedroom, but not his dorm bedroom. No, it was the ceiling of his bedroom back at home… and a dozen years ago. The white ceiling was covered in glow in the dark star and moon stickers just as it had been when he was a kid. By the time he was ten he’d had his dad take them off because he was getting to be too big for silly little kid stickers. Yet there they were, perfectly intact.

Looking down the covers at the end of his bed Brian saw that a whole lot more than the ceiling was different. He wasn’t in his dorm room anymore, that much was for sure. It was his bedroom, just as he remembered it from long ago. The walls were painted a light sky-blue hue. The TV and Playstation 3 that should have been at the end of his bed were missing, replaced by a big plastic toy chest. A big poster showing the constellations covered one section of wall and pictures of planes and trains, his elementary school obsession, covered another.

Sitting up in bed Brian’s hand brushed against something firm to the right of his head. It was a scruffy brown teddy bear, missing an eye and with a few little rips. He knew instantly that this was Buddy, his favourite stuffed animal from his childhood. He’d thrown poor Buddy away when he was seven and had regretted it bitterly for a year afterwards at least. For a moment Brian felt a pang of deep guilt for throwing away his best childhood friend and on impulse he grabbed the teddy tight and cuddled him tight in his arms, feeling the bear’s soft material with his hands and almost muttering an apology to the long lost old friend out loud. Hugging the teddy filled him with a sense of peace and safety such as he hadn’t felt in years. It was like the bear was protecting him somehow, like nothing could hurt him as long as Buddy was here in his arms, soft fur nuzzling his cheek.

Recovering his wits Brian realised he needed to focus on what was happening to him. Putting Buddy aside, though careful to make sure he was seated comfortably against the pillow, Brian looked more closely at his room and saw that it wasn’t exactly as he remembered it after all.

The bed sheets were covered in Ben Ten decals, rather than the Thomas the Tank Engine designs he’d had when he was actually a little kid. His clothes had changed as well. His stylish t-shirt and shorts were gone. Now he wore a baggy white t-shirt emblazoned with SpongeBob’s smiling face and no pants at all. Pulling back the t-shirt he found he now wore white briefs with red piping and cartoon designs he didn’t recognise.

Brian’s first thought was that he was still dreaming, but the more time passed the more real it all felt. He’d never had a dream that was anywhere near this lucid. That was when his heart-rate started to pick up. At first glance everything in this room looked like it belonged to a five year old boy. But the more he looked the more he realised that wasn’t entirely right. While his bed was covered in kiddie designs it still fit him perfectly. The childish t-shirt and underoos were snug and comfy on him. Surely they didn’t make underoos like this for adults. No, everything in the room was designed for someone with the interests of a kindergartener but the body of an adult. That was what really frightened Brian most of all.

Pealing back the covers, Brian swung his legs off the bed and placed his feet on the carpet, feeling its softness under his soles. Sure enough his floor was covered in a wall to wall carpet, well worn from years of play, just as it had been until he was thirteen. Brian tip-toed around the room, afraid to make any noise, but needing to explore further. He found a book-shelf against the wall, but all the books were children’s stories, filled with large print and lots of pictures. There were classics like The Little Engine That Could and newer ones based around Shrek and Cars, books which told him he had not been transported backwards in time. When he was actually five it was Lion King and Aladdin he was obsessed with.

The real shock came when he opened the Shrek book. He looked down at the simple sentences written is block letters around colourful drawings and felt a sickening drop in his stomach. A wave of nausea rolled over him as he stared intently at the pages, as though that could solve the problem. But it was no use, no matter how long he stared it didn’t change the fact that he couldn’t read. For a second he’d held out the faint hope that it was written in some foreign language he didn’t know. It wasn’t. He was able to recognise a couple words in the sentence after much struggling, though only the smallest and simplest words there. Despite the fact that he knew he was a college senior Brian had to admit he was also now illiterate.

Casting aside the book Brian took to exploring the room further, hoping for some explanation. He was rummaging through the toy box when he heard footsteps approaching down the hallway. He froze where he was, unsure what to do. What on earth was going on here?

“Brian honey, wakie-wakie!” called a voice that Brian instantly recognised as being his mom’s. He stared at the door in shock, heart pounding in his throat as he watched the knob turn.

**

Rachel was having a bad morning. She had gone to bed a dignified if slightly tipsy college girl but had awoken to find herself in a room she hadn’t seen since she was a little girl. After getting over her initial shock she had quickly moved on to anger. Someone was playing a very nasty joke on her. Someone had clearly drugged her, brought her here and was trying to fuck with her head.

Opening up her closet she searched for something more appropriate to wear. She’d awoken, to her burning shame, in a pink frilly night-gown befitting a Barbie-obsessed little tyke. Unfortunately whoever was pulling this prank on her was sparing no expense because entire wardrobe in the closet was suited to a five-year old girl who had an adult body. There were princess dresses, t-shirts with Barbie designs, sweaters with knitted-on bunnies. Seeing this, Rachel had a much more disturbing thought. What if this wasn’t a joke at all? What if she’d been kidnapped by some kind of nut?

The more she thought about it, the more sense it made. Who would do all this for a laugh? No, she had to be in very serious trouble. She needed to think of an escape plan and fast. But first she needed to get dressed in something. She settled on a pale pink sun dress that was at least free of cartoon designs. Her massive collection of shoes was gone of course but there were several pairs to choose from. None were stylish, nothing with heels of course. Little girls didn’t wear heels. She settled for some simple flip-flops.

Dressed as well as she could be Rachel was ready to make her escape. She crept to the window but froze when she looked outside. It did indeed look just like the back yard of the house she’d grown up in. But how was that possible? She couldn’t deny it though, this was definitely the exact view she’d looked out on year after year growing up here. She was back in her childhood home.

At that moment, without warning, the door to the room clicked and swung open. Rachel spun on the spot and gasped in disbelief. Her mother was standing there in her pajamas, smiling, as though everything was as it should be.

“Mom?” Rachel squeaked.

“Well good morning honey-bun! I’m surprised to see you in here,” her mom commented brightly.

“What? Why?” Rachel asked, hoping her mom had some idea why everything in her room had changed to fit a little kid.

“Well usually when you’re up before me you run downstairs to watch toons. What’s so interesting outside that you’d rather look out the window than watch Bratz?”

Now Rachel was doubly confused. Her mom was acting as if she was five. Couldn’t she see that Rachel was clearly a young woman? Had her mom lost her mind?

“Mom, I don’t watch cartoons, I’m an adult woman,” she told her as seriously as she could given the way she was dressed.

But her mother just shook her head and chuckled. “Oh Rachel, what an imagination you have! Maybe you’ve been watching a few too many cartoons honey.”

“Mom, for God’s sake look at me! Can’t you see I’m the same size as you? Can’t you see I’m twenty-one years old?” Rachel demanded, becoming hysterical.

“Shh honey, calm down,” her mother soothed, stepping closer and running her hand through Rachel’s hair. “Of course I can see you’re twenty-one honey,” she assured.

“You can?” Rachel asked desperately.

“Well of course, silly-billy! I’m old but I’m not blind y’know!” she joked. “You’re getting to be a big girl. Pretty soon you’ll be going to all-day school and learning to read and write just like mommy,” she crooned, pulling Rachel into a hug.

Rachel’s eyes widened as he mother spoke. She tried to push away as he mom hugged her, horrified by what she was saying, but somehow unable to muster the strength to get away. It was as if her mom had become super-strong, or she’d become very weak.

“Mom, I’m not a little girl. I can read and write on my own already! I’m in college!” she insisted, her voice muffled as she was pulled tight against her mom’s shoulder.

“Now Rachel, you shouldn’t tell lies, you know that,” her mom chided, slowly releasing her.

“But… but…”

“No buts young lady, it’s time we get some breakfast in that tummy. We need to get you off to school on time.”

With that her mom took her hand and led Rachel out of the room and down the hallway. “It’s so nice to see you got yourself dressed all on your own today, and in such a pretty outfit too,” her mom praised. “Now I just have to get your brother dressed, thank you for helping mommy honey.”

Had to get her brother dressed? What did that mean? Rachel’s brother, Dan, was eighteen and would be graduating high school in a couple months. Why would he need help getting dressed? Rachel now had to assume her mother had gone totally mad and was treating her and Dan like incompetent little children. Perhaps he’d have a better idea of how to deal with this situation.

No sooner had she had this thought then Dan made his appearance, jumping out from the open doorway of his room, blocking their route. Rachel let out a little whimper of horror at what she saw. It was her teenage brother as she’d never seen him before. Like Rachel his body was unchanged, but he too was dressed in childish attire, in fact the most childish outfit imaginable, his birthday suit. Whatever had happened to her, Dan was worse off by far, something had obviously happened to his mind. He was grinning ear to ear and giggling like an idiot, his hair wild and uncombed, hopping up and down bare naked before his mom and his sister, his penis bobbing and dangling about between his legs exposed to the world. Yet he clearly didn’t care one little bit who saw him this way.

“Well there’s my little jaybird!” their mom announced brightly.

“Danny wanna eat!” the boy screeched loudly.

“Well okay honey, but first we need to get you dressed,” mom told him.

Danny pouted, sticking his upper lip out and shouting, “No! Don’ wanna!”

Rachel couldn’t believe how ridiculous the pouting naked teen boy looked with his arms crossed, stamping his foot like a stubborn toddler.

“Oh, c’mon honey, don’t you wanna get dressed like a big boy,” mom enticed.

But Danny shook his head vigorously. “Nuh-uh! Danny go nakie!”

“Well okay then, but only dressed up big boys get peanut-butter and jelly for breakfast,” mom told him, bargaining.

Danny’s look changed to one of deep desire. “I wan’ pea-buttah n’ jewwy!” he demanded.

Mom stepped forward and Rachel cringed as her mom tickled her teen brother’s bare tummy, making him squirm and giggle. “Well then, will you get dressed like a good boy so Mommy can fill up that tum-tum with PB&J?”

“Uh-huh!” Danny squealed between giggles.

Mom stopped her tickling and turned Danny towards the doorway, giving his bare butt a gentle shove and directing, “Okay, scoot mister, Mommy will be right in to get you dressed.” Then she turned to Rachel. “Honey, please go downstairs for Mommy and take your seat at the table. I’ll be down in a minute so we can eat and then get you to kindergarten so you can play with all your friends.”

Kindergarten? Rachel was too stunned to even speak anymore. So she simply turned and ambled down the stairs in a daze, wondering what had happened and whether it was she who had lost her mind.

**

Brian had always been his mom’s little baby boy. No matter how big he got she always treated him that way. So for him it wasn’t as much of a shock when his mother came smiling into his bedroom and talked to him like a senseless little child. Furthermore, years of conditioning kicked in and Brian put up even less of a struggle than Rachel. In fact he was still in shock, too dazed to fight back, to do anything but go with the flow. That was why he’d barely made a sound while his mom took him by the hand and led him down to the kitchen still dressed in his t-shirt and underoos alone.

It wasn’t until he had some warm oatmeal and apple juice in his stomach that he began to shake himself from the daze he’d fallen into. It was only then that he realised the apple juice he was drinking was in a plastic cup, the pancake placed before him already cut up into little pieces. He blinked and looked across the table at his mom. She was reading the newspaper, sipping coffee from a big mug, looking so grown-up, so mature. This was all wrong. Sure his mom treated him like a kid, but not to the point of cutting up his food for him or not trusting him with a glass.

“Mom, why did you cut up my pancake?” he finally asked.

Mom looked up from her paper, giving him one of those condescending smiles grown-ups reserved for silly little children. “I’m sorry Brian, we can’t have you eating with your fingers honey, even if you are cute as a button when you do.”

“No, I don’t want to eat with my fingers, I meant I can cut up my food myself.”

“Of course you can honey, but you always get quite messy when you do that, don’t you dear? I don’t have time to give you another bath this morning sweetie, you have school to get to. I promise you can cut up dinner all by yourself if you like.”

“School?” Brian gulped.

“Yes dear, it’s a Thursday honey. You know that means school,” she reminded him, glancing at the clock. “And you’d better hurry up eating, we need to get you dressed soon.”

Brian had lost his appetite. He couldn’t go to school looking like this! He could just picture his mother dropping him off at the lecture hall dressed in his SpongeBob t-shirt, teddy bear tucked under his arm, a colourful little lunchbox in the other hand. What would his friends say? How would Rachel ever let him live that down?

“Mom, I can’t go to school like this!” Brian blurted out, his fear to great to contain any longer.

Mom looked at his frightened face with concern. “What’s wrong Brian? You can’t go to school like what?”

Brian gestured to his SpongeBob t-shirt, eyes wide, pleading for her to understand. “Like this! The way I’m dressed!”

Now she smiled again. “Don’t be silly Brian, you aren’t going to school dressed like that! I wouldn’t send you in your undies you silly goose!” she chided him.

Brian relaxed a bit, but not entirely. Mom looked up at the clock again. “Oh my, we’d better get you dressed right now honey, time is just flying by!”

Brian held out hope that this was all going to turn out to be some kind of joke. So he couldn’t read and his mom was treating him like a little kid, once he got out of this house, got back to campus, someone would be able to help him. It wasn’t really logical of course, but then nothing about the situation Brian found himself in was logical. In his fear Brian had left his logic behind.

Back up in his room Brian stood idly chewing on his finger-nails out of nervous habit while his mom picked out clothes from his closet. As she laid them out on the bed Brian’s nervous chewing only increased. Things were quickly going from bad to worse.

“There we go!” she announced brightly once the whole outfit was set out before him.

Brian looked from the outfit to her smiling face and back again. He didn’t want to upset her, a big part of him wanted to be a good boy for her in fact. Yet he couldn’t just accept such an outfit. His mom had chosen a blue and red Spiderman t-shirt that no doubt any 5-year old would have considered the height of cool. To go with that was a pair of jean shorts with an elastic waist and worst of all a pair of white Velcro sneakers.

“Please mom, can’t I pick something to wear?” he begged.

“We don’t have time Brian, now get your butt over here so we can get you dressed. You want to see all your friends don’t you?”

“No!” Brian screeched. He didn’t want to see anyone he knew dressed in that get-up.

“Don’t be silly! Now come over here or there will be consequences young man,” Mom ordered, her voice going suddenly stern.

Brian pouted but nonetheless found himself creeping closer to her in obedience. He didn’t know why but the need to be good for his Mom seemed to be overwhelming. It was almost a physical urge it was so strong. He seemed unable to resist as she lifted his hands in the air and slipped the t-shirt off his head. A second later he felt the cotton material of the new shirt brush over his face, his world going all blue for a second. Soon she had his shorts pulled up and he saw to his shame that they fell well above his knees, like no self-respecting teen or young man would allow. Then came the socks. They were white tube socks that came all the way up to calf length when Mom pulled them up. With the Velcro sneakers added to the mix Brian had never felt so stupid in his life.

Every step of the way Brian wanted to rebel, to run away. He was dressed, he had shoes on, he could have escaped. But to where? He looked like a special needs boy dressed this way. So he continued on his illogical mission to let his mom take him to college, dressed like a preschooler, so that he could find his friends and they could help figure out what was wrong with him. Brian was convinced by now that this was all due to something his mom had done. He just had to play along until she left him at school, then he’d be free.

So he followed her down to the kitchen, where she packed a lunch for him and placed it in a bright blue plastic backpack covered in Thomas the Tank Engine designs. Seeing the backpack gave Brian conflicting feelings. He had to cringe at the idea of wearing such a childish accessory, but at the same time he felt a flutter of excitement. He really did love trains after all, had since he was very little. He had vivid memories of whole afternoons spent lying on the carpeted floor pushing his Thomas trains around as a boy.

“Okay,” Mom declared, taking his hand again. “Let’s get going buddy!”

Brian let her lead him out to the car, feeling certain everyone in the neighbourhood had to be staring at him right now. He prayed no cars would go by, no joggers run past until he was safely hidden in the car. Keeping his eyes on his feet out of shame Brian didn’t even notice Mom was leading him to the back seat until she’d opened the door. To his surprise a large booster seat, big enough to accommodate an adult, sat in the right back seat.

“Hop in!” Mom cheerfully directed.

Brian climbed into the seat, finding how it sat him higher in the car than he was used to very strange. Despite his adult size the raised seat meant his feet didn’t quite reach the floor. Only his toes brushed it as his feet dangled. Mom leant over him and did his seat-belt up for him, then got in the front and buckled herself in, smiling at him in the mirror.

As the Subaru station-wagon cruised slowly through the residential streets of their suburban neighbourhood Brian got his first inkling that the changes he’d been through might not be unique. As they waited at a four-way stop he noticed a thirty-something woman pushing a stroller along the sidewalk. The stroller seemed much too large and a quick glance at the occupant revealed why. A boy of about twelve was sat in the stroller. He was dressed in nothing but a large and puffy white diaper, sucking on a big red pacifier and grabbing at his wiggling bare toes with a look of innocent curiosity in his eyes.

Brian only had a second to stare at the boy in wonder before the car lurched forward through the intersection. It was possible the boy was just mentally challenged of course, but then what mother took a kid like that out in public in nothing but a diaper?

Brian began looking intently out the window at the passing houses, looking for something else out of place. It didn’t take long to find something. Brian’s eyes went as wide as saucers as they passed a small brown split-level a couple blocks from his house. Right there in the front yard was a rather large kiddie pool, and standing in it was a teen girl perhaps a few years younger than himself. She was standing in the pool naked but for a pink and white swim diaper and a pair of bright orange floaties on her arms. Her pert bare breasts, dripping with pool water, were exposed to every passing car while she stood there and flapped her arms, grinning like a cheerful idiot at all the passing traffic getting a free peep show.

As the drive to school continued Brian grew more and more certain that the whole world had gone mad. A young man who looked perhaps mid-twenties was riding a bike down the sidewalk, nothing unusual about that at first glance. But the bike he was riding was no ten-speed mountain bike or thin-tired racer. It looked like a simple kid’s bike complete with playing cards hitting the tires to make a motor noise. The man was shirtless and barefoot, his long toes gripping the bright green plastic pedals, ratty cut-off jean shorts hanging below his knees. There were more teens in strollers, riding tricycles, twenty-somethings walking along holding parents’ hands.

Brian was so wrapt watching the houses go by he didn’t even pay attention to where they were headed. It was only when they pulled up in front of a squat brick building with a basketball court and playground out front did he realise they were at the local elementary school, not the college campus. “Here we are!” Mom announced, putting the car in park.

The young man wasn’t listening, he was watching the “kids” on the playground. Twenty-somethings ran this way and that, helter-skelter across the tarmac. There were big hulking men wearing Pokemon t-shirts and shorts, sneakers with flashing lights and Velcro instead of laces. There were beautiful young women too, wearing shortalls, hair in pig-tails, jumping rope and playing hop-scotch. Brian understood now that there would be no escape from his mom. It wasn’t just him, it wasn’t just his house. The world had turned upside-down.

Re: A Whole New World Ch. 1-2

Interesting concept. I like it.

I was actually reading catcher in the rye a couple days back trying to get influence for my story.