You can't be my mom anymore, but I've always wanted a daughter of my own...

Life was fairly normal for Elizabeth Simms, or so she told herself. She was a recently divorced and somewhat single mother - if you counter her adult daughter who lived at home while she finished school to be on the spectrum, that is. Evelyn was quite the successful and intelligent young woman, already in her second year of med school. She’d dreamed of being a doctor for as far back as she could remember, which is why she knew first hand what to expect when the changes took place, and the dynamic shifted. It helped that she received a hefty allowance from her father, Dylan Simms, who was, in his own right, a rapidly successful businessman. Dylan even invested heavily into his daughters projects and the industry that surrounded it leveraging his wealth to advance his daughter as far as possible.

Dylan and Elizabeth had quite the falling out, and by his new arm candy, promotion at work, as well as eagerness and newfound love of both traveling and leading a healthier lifestyle, it was obvious who was taking it much harder post divorce. The old adage that every separation had a winner and a loser had never been proven more true than in the case of Dylan and Elizabeth. She seemed to have fallen into a hole and convinced herself the only option was to continue digging, as if in hope she would eventually tunnel to the other side of the earth.

Elizabeth had resorted to some rather questionable coping mechanisms, if you could even call them that. Aside from going to work, she never left the house. Occasionally grabbing some groceries on her way home, or stopping for another bottle of Chardonnay, something she had pretty much deemed her best friend at this point. Often a friend she mixed with painkillers and antidepressants a vicious cocktail of chemicals that altered her brain chemistry enough to only increase the velocity of her downward spiral.

She spent most nights in her room, locked away crying over what once was, and what could have been. She often ordered take out, usually only for herself. Her bratty and obnoxiously independent daughter usually kept to herself, or stayed out with her girlfriend, or kept to her small group of friends. All good girls, so Elizabeth couldn’t really complain. Their relationship as mother and daughter had started to unravel, something Elizabeth assumed was a cry of help, an act of fear of not having both of her parents around.

Things seemed to be much better between Evelyn and her father. They were always chatting with one another, whether that be via text messaging, networking, or phone calls. Sometimes she would even visit him in his new home, along with his new fiancé. This only served to further weaken the mother-daughter bond, tugging at it like a piece of string on the verge of breaking.

Unbeknownst to Elizabeth, Evelyn had been planning a special surprise for her broken mother for quite some time now. It had been about 10 months since the divorce, and after the first month, Evelyn knew she had to take control, the situation required a firm hand her mother could not provide. Her mother slowly spiraling deeper into a never ending pit of self pity and hatred for herself. She knew exactly how her mom felt - like a failure. Which, given the circumstances, she had to admit was the honest truth. Of course, Evelyn loved her mother deeply, as did her girlfriend, which is why after a very long and in depth talk, they finally came to agreeance…

In recent years, a form of hypnotism has been developed, tested, and multi patented and used for correctional behavior. It started out with vets, usually returning home from overseas in an effort to erase that trauma from their lives, and give them a longer, mentally relaxing life with their family members. It had since then been used to punish, or “correct” acts of criminalized behavior. Often in juveniles whose parents couldn’t get a grasp on their children, but by no means was it forbidden from the older, more serious criminals with lengthy records.

In a nutshell, mental age regression had become part of the “norm.” Or, well, as normal as it could be. It worked in a variety of ways, from mild regression, which is what was practiced on the returning veterans, so they weren’t forgetting their entire lives. To full regression, those who were mentally reduced to that of a slobbering infant. Often full regression was for the most extreme circumstances, those who had committed the most serious crimes or had found themselves in the deepest of spirals would have that degree of regression prescribed to them.

The process would alter the brain by “shutting off” areas of the mind to the person. Human memory was relatively trivial to alter or remove, but the socialised behaviour people adopted through their lives were harder. So the process would simply deny access to these parts of the brain. Hence the quite rapid and even startling and disconcerting regression would be done unto those who needed it, or had it forced onto them. The long term objective of any treatment was to try to “rewrite” these areas of the brain, by gradually raising the individuals in a more wholesome and nurturing way.

Elizabeth returned home from work, the arduous week of doing everything in her power to prevent her ultimate shattering leaving her exhausted. Thankfully, the end of the week had come. Friday evening’s warm and loving embrace allowed her to relax as she switched off the engine to her car and took a moment for herself. She hoped that her daughter, the ever assertive and independent Evelyn, had heeded her request to do some of the housework by the time she came home. The conflict over the chores was a dull and repetitive affair with Evelyn, but she felt fortified by the end of another work week and was willing to take her daughter to task, if need be.

Elizabeth stepped out of her car, gently closing the door. As she walked in she noticed the state of her house, the mess was untouched. She peaked in the kitchen as she carelessly kicked off her shoes, inadvertently contributing to the mess that had been festering over the day both in the house and in her mind. She tossed her phone and keys aside, still in open view if she cared to pay them any attention.

She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, wondering if she could really scold Evelyn without the crutches she had leant on so heavily. She went into the kitchen, the unwashed dishes almost mocking her as she eyed them. Her stomach tied up in knots as she went to the cupboard and collected a bottle of wine, a familiar and old friend at this point. Pouring herself a generous glass, the dark red liquid sloshing around in her goblet, she took a large sip. The lack of food throughout the day meant the wine almost instantly dulled her senses. Feeling the knots in her stomach loosen she sighed, expunging some of her built up stress and strolled into the living room, “Evelyn!” She called out loudly “Get down here. Right. Now.” Mustering all the authority she could in her voice.

Evelyn had been eyeing the clock in both anticipation, as well as a bit anxiety ridden. She had come to terms with just how much her life had changed in the past year alone. Maybe sometime before that. Before her father moved out, her parents didn’t even sleep in the same room. He had turned the basement into a glorified man cave, where he spent most of his time. That, or the garage. She swallowed back the lump in her throat, showing a deep level of maturity towards the situation. Forcing herself out of bed, she sent one last message to her lover, “It’s happening. Tonight. I’ll keep you updated. I love you, Abby.” She sighed as she tossed her phone gently on her mattress.

She climbed down the stairs of their two bedroom house, pausing just before reaching the foot, purging all negative thoughts from her mind. She needed to approach tonight with a positive, cheerful outlook. She was, after all, about to become a mother. Never mind the delicateness of the matter she was about to broach, one wrong turn of phrase, one misplaced tone could see the whole thing come tumbling down. An outcome that would surely condemn both her and her mother to an eternal sentence in the foul atmosphere that had contaminated their lives.

Strolling through the kitchen, Evelyn smiled at her mother, speaking in a calm and cheerful tone, “Something the matter, mom? I was finishing up some of my classwork.” Elizabeth sighed deeply, pinching the bridge of her nose with her left pointer finger and thumb. She held her hand up to silence her daughter, not really in the mood for an excuse. “I understand you have priorities with school,” She began, carrying a hint of annoyance in her tone, “but I asked you to clean up around the house. If you’ve the time to text Abby, and browse your little social media apps all day long, you can surely help keep this house orderly.” Elizabeth took another deep drink of her wine, Evelyn smiling as she did so, holding the almost sickening cheer in her own voice. “Course, mom! That’s my bad. Why don’t you go lay down, and I’ll get to cleaning up down here? Then I’ll order you something to eat, to show you my appreciation!”

Elizabeth, a bit taken aback by her daughter’s sudden subservient attitude, swallowed back the last of her drink in one large gulp. Replacing the glass for the bottle, she left her cup behind on the counter, not caring that she was adding more dishes for Evelyn. She trudged her way upstairs towards her room, giving one last gaze to the smiling and bumbling 20 year old in her kitchen, shaking her head and deciding it was best to just leave it as is. Fumbling a bit with her door handle, the wine already hitting her, she pushed her door inwards, a slight hiccup leaving her lips as she stumbled in. Her room dark, cold, and relatively empty now. She found she didn’t need many material possessions anymore, the satisfaction she would get from them felt ever fleeting. A lone full size bed set in the far left corner of her room, a mahogany nightstand next to it. A top it sat her old fashioned alarm clock, something she still used to this day, a lamp, and a book she had taken to reading. As far as the rest of her room, she owned a 42” smart tv, that sat on her dresser, caddy corner to her bed. A chair sat next to her window, where she did most of her reading, and often enjoyed just staring out the window late at night, or on a rainy day. The walls were standard white, with dark blue curtains over her window. She also had the master bath and closet in her room, though she had gotten rid of most of her clothes after the divorce, not wanting to wear something he bought for her.

As she staggered in, the alcohol had taken her, the sickening spinning in her head had begun, only weakening her resolve. She sat on the bed closing her eyes. The incessant spinning insisting on remaining her sole companion, triggering a slight nausea that began to consume her until she opened her eyes. The room was still there, her life was still a crumbled husk of what it once was. She tried to turn her thoughts to why Evelyn seemed so compliant earlier, but her mind almost protested against her. Preventing her from thinking more than a few seconds ahead, the alcohol not aiding the process, serving to muddle her mind and awaken the demons that lay dormant deep in her brain. Slowly clawing their way to her conscious mind. She shook her head and lay down briefly, the exhaustion taking her. All she wanted more than anything was to be able to rest.

Left alone downstairs, Evelyn snickered to herself, happy with the way things were moving. She had planned for her mother to do exactly as she told - analyze the messy house, scold her, and reacquaintance herself with the bottle. It had become her normal routine. Had Evelyn not decided today was enough and change was necessary, Elizabeth would have sprawled out on the couch, watching a number of any rom coms she could find, drinking herself to sleep. Luckily for her, she didn’t even need to wait for her mother to pass out before searching her room for her phone and wallet. She had been kind enough to absentmindedly leave them lying on the counter. It didn’t take her long to figure out her mother’s password, she was desperately clinging onto her failed marriage. It was obvious it was her parents anniversary. She thumbed through her mother’s text messaging thread, nothing too spectacular or interesting. Mainly a bunch of business replies, some embarrassing and somewhat obsessive messages to her father’s -unknown to Elizabeth- disconnected cell. She sighed, genuinely feeling bad for her mother. It didn’t matter, though. Soon she would see Dylan as “Grandpa.” Of course, her father knew about the field of regression, and that she was studying it pretty heavily, but even he had no idea of the fate that would befall Elizabeth.

Content with reading her messages, she quickly typed out what she thought an appropriate response to her mother’s bosses last message - asking her to check the backlogs of their inventory and restock all items left in inventory. She smiled as she typed, almost enjoying her new sense of power already. “Charles, it brings me great pleasure to inform you I no longer want to work for you. This job is a toll on my mental, emotional, and lately physical health. I’m sorry to quit without any warning, but I will not be into work on Monday. Sincerely, Elizabeth.” Evelyn sent the text without a second thought, quickly blocking and erasing Charles’ contact info from her mother’s phone, a cheap thrill from the power tingling as she did so. Sighing, she sat the phone back down on the granite countertop, grabbing at Elizabeth’s wallet and forcing it open. She removed all her credit and debit cards, her health insurance card, and her ID. She wouldn’t be needing them anymore, anyways. Evelyn tossed the wallet in the trash, it landing with an audible thud, as she slipped the cards into her own back pocket. A sense of satisfaction shown by the smirk that had developed on her lips.

She traversed the stairs, knocking softly on her mother’s door, and, when no response came, she peered inside, smiling at the sleeping beauty, a light snore emanating from the wine addled, troubled woman. Shutting the door softly behind her careful not to disturb her mother, she found her way to her room, what would soon be Lizzy’s room, and opened her closet door. Where her clothes and personal belongings would usually be, sat lined with several boxes of adult diapers, yes, with the tapes and innocent designs on the front, wipes, a plethora of stuffed animals. A ton of frilly dresses and onesies hung neatly on hangers, all held in secrecy. She opened her dresser drawer, checking to make sure she had remembered to hide the few pacifiers and bottles within. Under her bed sat an adult sized crib, still needing to be assembled and in its box. She had purchased high chair, as well as a car seat that would suit her mother fittingly in her regressed state, and made sure the straps to buckle her in worked, many times. She had planned to paint the walls bright pink, something she had mostly finished. It didn’t really matter if she started a few days early, her mother hadn’t visited her room in weeks, unable to face the world beyond her room in her state.

There were still a few things that needed to be picked up, but Abby had insisted on taking care of them. A play pen, for instance, so Lizzy couldn’t crawl around and get into things if Evelyn was making her lunch, or tending to other adult matters. She sat and assembled the crib, taking her time as she did, thinking and processing things very carefully. She considered the practical difficulties as she began to assemble the crib from the base, while she knew this was for the best, she would still likely have to contend with her mother’s volatility and combativeness. Traits they both shared with each other, even if Evelyn’s circumstances afforded her greater control over them. As she slowly completed the task she considered her own readiness for the change that was to come, swallowing her nerves she resolved to see this through, it was after all, for the best.

Evelyn and Abby had been together 2, going on 3 years, and they had been wanting to start a family for quite some time. Knowing they would need a surrogate, or a sperm sample for Evelyn to conceive and bear child, Abby had been the one to bring up the regression initially. She was very proud and supportive of Evelyn’s career choice, and had high respect for the medical field. At first, Evelyn had told Abby she was crazy, and completely changed the subject, halting all further discussion of the topic. She found, though, that over time, the thought wouldn’t leave her mind, burrowing in refusing to leave. She fought internally for quite a while, eventually finding the courage to slide it back into a conversation. Abby was enthralled. So giddy in fact, she made sure to show her appreciation very well that night, bringing Evelyn to a number of climaxes a night she wouldn’t soon forget and would hope to replicate. Over time, the span of about seven months, Evelyn had come to fruition with her soon to be reality. It was a win-win for everyone. Her and Abby could finally be a family, she planned on tying the knot soon, regardless. Elizabeth would have a chance at a new life, have a better upbringing, and most importantly, she would finally be off her path of self destruction. It was viable for her father as well, because he could live a normal and happy life with his new fiancé, Elsie, without having to check over either of the shoulders every few seconds out of fear of crazy lunatic of an ex wife. A solution that suited all of the interested parties, though whether her mother would see it like that when it came time to act, was yet to be seen.

Sure, the hypnosis treatment was expensive. As were the “gifts” Elizabeth would soon receive, but she had the money, no thanks to her father. Besides, she had control of her mother’s bank accounts now, and once her and Abby signed the legal documents and became her mothers, she would have full ownership of the house, car, possessions and every asset her mother held which was of substantial value. So she wasn’t concerned about her financial situation even with the overheads of having a regressed individual under her care. She contemplated what she would do with those assets, she could very easily sell her mother’s financial assets, what would she need them for? Especially with her father’s backing. She shook her head, there would be plenty of time for that later. For now she had to prepare the room to make the transition as smooth as possible for her beloved mother.

Disassembling her own bed, she carried the frame, as well as the twin size box spring and mattress to the garage, storing them for when Lizzy would be in a fit mental state to sleep in a “big girl” bed again. Though, that wouldn’t be for a few years, if she was fortunate and progressed as expected. The way this regression would work would enforce at least 18 years of guidance and care upon her. This really was Elizabeth’s second chance, Evelyn only hoped that she would truly be able to provide a better future for her alongside Abby. She was fully prepared, though, ever the conscientious woman. She had been taking a parenting course alongside her other courses and felt confident, knowledgeable and able, enough from what she had learned to handle Lizzy starting off, though she was aware that the early stages would both be the most difficult for Lizzy and a period of acclimatisation for her. After that, it generally would fall into a habit of routine, making sure she fed her on schedule, bathing her, and checking her diapers frequently to prevent any rashes from forming. The biggest thing she would be implementing was bedtime. She would not falter or give in, no matter the level of fussing or crankiness thrown at her and she anticipated a lot. She would still have time to herself in the evenings, as well as time with Abby.

She sighed, satisfied with her work for now, and headed up to her old room once more to order the two of them some food, opting for the fastest delivery available on the app. She still needed to assemble the high chair, but that wouldn’t be used until tomorrow morning. She briefly glanced at the clock - 7:30 PM. Elizabeth had been napping for an hour already. Wanting her mother to have one last enjoyable and adult meal before her life changed forever, she scoured the options, deciding to order a helping of dumplings for herself, and a light East Asian style salad for Elizabeth.

After a short while the doorbell rang through the house, Elizabeth in her alcohol induced slumber was hardly disturbed by it, rolling over slightly. Evelyn leapt to her feet and strolled to the door confidently greeting the driver who had delivered their food, the man having no idea what machinations had been brewing in the house he delivered to. Evelyn ever the deft social performer flashed a bright, disarming smile at the man as she took the food. The smell of the food caused Evelyn’s stomach to rumble slightly, she had neglected to eat through the day, the meal would be a relief for her as well as a final taste of adulthood for Elizabeth.

She took her time setting the table, wondering how she would wake her mother. She would have to drop the deferential tone she adopted to appease her earlier eventually, but the issue of timing. She resolved to improvise that particular part of the plan feeling the Elizabeth had unravelled enough that while she wasn’t to be underestimated Evelyn more than a match for her. She finished plating the pair’s food and slowly made her way up the stairs. Each one seemingly steeper than the last for Evelyn as she knew she was rapidly approaching the moment of truth.

Knocking softly at the door, her mother had sobered up just enough for the spins to have departed as Elizabeth called out “Yes!” a slight slur in her voice as she was still clearly drunk. Evelyn stepped in softly, her footsteps hardly making any impact as she smiled at her mother “Hey mom, I’ve ordered us food, it’s downstairs.”

“Thank you sweetie.” She said slowly hauling herself ungracefully from the bed, swaying slightly as she smiled at Evelyn “You’re a good girl, you know that?”

Evelyn struggled to contain her mirth at the statement, knowing that soon she would be praising Elizabeth as a “good girl” soon enough. “Thanks mom, I know you’re trying your best.” She moved to offer her a steadying hand as she swayed prompting Elizabeth to smile as she accepted the help of her daughter. Unaware that this action was a herald of her future. Guiding her down the stairs carefully, especially as they were barely wide enough for both to pass without any discomfort Evelyn eventually spoke again, “You okay to stand now mom?”

“Yes, I think I’ve found my legs again.” She joked a smile forming on her face, to Evelyn the smile almost resembled a crack in a sheet of ice, just before it fell through. She pulled away from her mother who swayed only slightly and slowly, gracelessly walked over to the table. Evelyn pulled out the chair in front of the plate of salad, the vinegar from the dressing reaching the nose of both, causing Elizabeth to lick her lips as she took a seat grateful to her daughter for her act of kindness. “Thanks again darling, this looks amazing.” She praised her daughter. The praise turned to ash in her mouth as she looked over at Evelyn’s plate, the meat filled fried dumplings teasing her nose even more as she dared to ask, “Are those for both of us?”

“Oh, sorry mom, these are just for me. I know you want to take care of yourself right?” Her tone dripping in anticipation of her future triumph.

Elizabeth scowled a little and kicked her feet a little idly, the alcohol still coursing through her causing her inhibitions to be weakened. She looked to the table for a drink and found none. She slowly got up “Hey sweetie, I’m going to grab a drink do you want anything?”

Evelyn shot up rapidly from her chair a brief look of panic etched on her face “Oh don’t worry mom, I’ll get it.” She slowly began to walk to the inner part of the kitchen “I’ll grab myself a wine.” She said, barely loud enough for her mother to hear, who immediately furrowed her brow “What do you want mom?”

“Wine.” She demanded in an almost childish tone, causing Evelyn to smile a little as she tilted her head.

“Are you sure mom? You’ve had an awful lot.” She chimed in a precise, clinical tone, her medical training coming to the fore as she deftly began to cut her mother down to size a little. “Plus you know you need to be healthy.” She scolded testing out her future role already.

Elizabeth shook her head vigorously as she barked back “Hey! You’re not even old enough for wine! What’s possessed you into thinking I’ll allow it?”

Evelyn deployed her large eyes, a trait she exploited many times with both parents “Aw come on mom.” She almost cooed at her “Shouldn’t I be allowed to try alcohol somewhere safe?”

Elizabeth sighed “Fine. Fine! Just.” She rubbed her forehead, feeling a hangover approach as the alcohol was metabolised. “Just. Bring me water.” She said the words barely leaving her throat.

Evelyn went to fridge and pulled out a bottle of white wine to pair with the chicken dumplings she got. Pouring herself half a glass, a demonstration of her relative temperance when compared to her mother, she then poured a generous glass of water for her mother. Sincere in the hope it would soothe the headache she would likely feel from her consumption of the alcoholic beverage earlier. She placed the water before her mother prompting a scratchy “Thank you honey.” As her voice had obviously suffered from even the small exertion of attempting to scold Evelyn for wanting wine.

As Evelyn sat across from her she noticed that she had only poured a half glass of wine. Elizabeth blushed a little when she thought back to her own intemperate behaviour. Evelyn took a small sip of the drink as she dexterously took her chopsticks and began to eat her dumplings. Swallowing nervously, Elizabeth took her fork and took a bite of the salad, the explosion of flavour from the dressing covered up the bitter taste of the salad. She felt in her heart that there was something fundamentally unjust. Why did Evelyn get to eat the delicious fried dumplings, while she suffered the salad that only seemed tolerable with the dressing?

A sip of water did nothing to clear the dissatisfying taste from her mouth. She exhaled in frustration as Evelyn luxuriated in her food, delighting in every spice, every flavour that danced upon her tongue whenever she broke through the crunchy fried exterior of the dumplings. Swallowing, she was barely able to conceal her delight at the food. She frowned a bit watching Elizabeth picking at the salad and said “Come on mom, it’s not that bad.”

Taking offence at the infantilising tone she adopted, almost like an overbearing mother wanting to ensure that her child ate their vegetables. Narrowing her eyes she fired back, her voice rasping slightly, “I think I’m done here.” She wasted no time putting down her fork and wiping her lips carefully.

Evelyn took an offended tone and stared daggers at her mother “Hey! I paid good money for that! You should at least do me the courtesy of finishing it.” She raised her voice for the first time in this exchange, strangely causing Elizabeth to flinch a little. She had never heard her daughter speak so authoritatively before. She felt an odd mixture of worried and proud of her daughter for being so assertive.

Swallowing back her pride for her daughter she had to fire back, out of need to retain dominance more than anything else. “Listen here young lady. You don’t get to talk to me like that -”

Evelyn shushed her mother, cutting her off. The toxic dynamic between them snapped briefly as Elizabeth looked on shocked. “Finish. The. Food.” She said slowly, staring down her mother intensely.

Elizabeth’s knees wobbled a bit, she was unsure why. Her stomach growled a little as she looked at the salad and sighed. Truthfully she did want to eat more, but could she survive a climbdown at this point? Swallowing her pride, literally she slowly sat back down under the imperious gaze of her daughter and stabbed the unpalatable salad and took another bitter mouthful, moderated by the dressing. Satisfied, Evelyn sat down and resumed her eating, taking another small sip of wine. Elizabeth sat stewing in her latent rage during the dinner, a continued a cloud of frustration hanging over Elizabeth.

As the dinner came to a close, both plates cleaned of their food Evelyn adopted a relaxed posture and looked to her mother with a grin “Mom? Could you do the dishes?” She asked with a grin on her face as she could see the frustration building under the surface of Elizabeth. As if her skin crawled with the anger.

Elizabeth took a deep, pained breath and looked at her daughter “No1 You were meant to do them earlier, why should I do them now!?” She asked furious as she stood up on the verge of losing control. As she looked at Evelyn, she seemed unphased, composed and in control. The sight of it only served to ignite more fury as Elizabeth bellowed “How dare you? How can you even think to treat me like this? And stand there looking like the smug brat you are!” Elizabeth in her impotent fury was seeking to wound Evelyn, but saw before her a composed and controlled woman, unimpressed by her display.

Evelyn simply chuckled lightly, her apparent amusement causing Elizabeth to reflect on the impotency of her rage. She hadn’t even managed to cow her own daughter. She closed her eyes on the verge of tears as she felt utterly incapable in the moment. Her helplessness even in the face of trying to get her own daughter to do the dishes laid bare for all to see. She simply lowered her head and collected the plates silently as Evelyn watched satisfied as her mother carried the dishes to the sink… She called out in a final act of triumph “And make sure to do the ones already in the sink.”

“Stupid brat.” Elizabeth mumbled to herself, feeling based on the trajectory the night had taken that she had no choice but to do as she was bidden by her daughter. She took each plate in turn, scrubbing them, rinsing them and repeating the process over and over. The monotonous nature of the task only served to dull her mind more and more. The sharpness of her thoughts dulled almost more than the effect of the alcohol earlier in the night. She felt like she was crumbling, slowly, but surely. The pressure of the previous months had damaged the edifice, but now the foundations were cracking, her mind and sense of self sinking into the quicksand. She could barely process what had happened at dinner and how she had ended up here, where her daughter should have been. Doing the dishes.

After completing her appointed task she walked out into the living room, more exhausted than she had been when she came home from work. The toll of the evening pulling at the very fabric of herself. She needed a break but knew she was unlikely to get one. She looked to Evelyn sitting in an armchair, her face showing genuine concern, her voice adopting a leading tone, though Elizabeth couldn’t hear it. “Hey mom, I noticed how tough everything has been.” She began as Elizabeth fell onto the sofa and groaned loudly.

“I think a blind man would have noticed sweetie.” She said, some remnant of dry wit still within her grasp.

Evelyn couldn’t help but laugh a bit at her mother’s comment, even when she was on the edge, she could still make a joke, admirable, a trait she hoped Elizabeth would keep as they embarked on this new opportunity for them both. “Well it’s just that, at the hospital I’ve been working on this therapy, it kind of manipulates your senses and eases the stress out of you, I was wondering if you’d try it?” He lips curled into a somewhat venomous smile as she knew her mother wouldn’t refuse.

Elizabeth sighed, wanting so badly for this tension to leave her. She had nothing but respect for her daughter’s abilities, even if she never articulated it. This seemed a prime opportunity to affirm her faith in her daughters work. The fatigue straining her voice as she spoke, she met Evelyn’s eyes “That sounds lovely sweetie and you’re sure it will work?”

Evelyn nodded, she was certain it would work, though not in the way that her mother meant.

“So what do I do? I’m completely in your hands Ev.” She looked to her for guidance, an act that would become more regular the further into this experiment they delved. Evelyn guided her mother into the arm chair, facing the TV. She placed a USB stick into the TV, several primary colours of varying levels of transparency began to float. Elizabeth looked to her confused as she pulled out a set of wireless headphones. “Oh, am I meant to?” She asked indicating to the headphones.

“Yeah it will just play some noises designed to trigger reactions in some parts of the brain, nothing too serious.” She looked to her mother as if asking for permission to put the headphones on her.

“Okay, just remember if I become a vegetable you have to take care of me.”

Evelyn almost cracked at that statement, supposing that would be outcome no matter what, hopefully without the vegetative state. She placed the headphones on her and pressed play on the app on the accompanying tablet.

Elizabeth stared at the screen, but struggled to maintain concentration as the sound began to play. It was odd, almost like the buzzing of bees combined with a jet flying above. The sound was distracting enough that the colours began to irritate her eyes. Making her want to look away, but she found herself transfixed on the motion, the way the translucent primary colours would make secondary colours, the intricacies of the patterns that came, the shapes that were made. The sound gradually began to shift without her knowing. She would have compared most of it to the sound of a private beach, waves crashing, birds squawking. She felt a warmth in her chest as she felt like she was taken back. She felt compelled to try to remember her day, remember her job, as if prompted by the stimuli before her. Nothing came to her. It was as if she knew where the memories resided, but could only stare in on them from the outside. Never able to touch them.

Satisfied the process had been completed, Evelyn switched off the TV and took off the headphones, Elizabeth appeared to be in an entranced state. Mouth agape, eyes dull. Evelyn knew what needed to be done, snapping her fingers in front of her eyes, Elizabeth suddenly came to consciousness, though not as the woman she was before the process Evelyn had walked her through.

Evelyn sat on the arm of the chair, coaxing the now semi regressed Elizabeth, petting her hair softly. “Hey, ‘mom’, how you feeling?” Elizabeth stared at the, -in her mind- older girl in front of her, her mouth still agape. “…mom? Who’s your mom?” She cocked her head sideways, her long, curly brunette hair cascading down her back. Evelyn smiled, beaming even, staring into her mother’s bright blue eyes. Her eyes had taken on a different quality after the treatment had been applied, they seemed brighter, more inquisitive. A sure sign that a change had been applied to her. “Never mind that, dear. How do you feel?” Elizabeth pondered, a bit lost in thought. She wasn’t sure how to respond to the question. She felt fine. Was she supposed to feel one way or the other? Evelyn, noticing Elizabeth was lost in thought, decided to take it a step further. “How’s school? Everything going okay with your classes?” She waved her hand in front of Liz’s eyes, grabbing her attention once more.

It wasn’t as if thoughts the never belonged to her were suddenly stored in her mind, no. Her brain was focusing on the latent memories stored deep within her subconscious, drawn upon the by neurons of her brain attempting to reach the short term memory being redirected to the long term memory. Ideally, throughout the night, as Liz was regressed more, her mind would become more vulnerable, susceptible to Evelyn’s words, able to mold her weak and infantile mind under the pretense that Evelyn is and always has been her mother.

“Class? Class is fine. But…I don’t think I’m doing well in Science.” Elizabeth frowned, her inert memories of freshman year running their course, very vividly through her mind. She could recall her classes, teachers, grades, friends…it was all right in front of her. She, however, had no idea who the girl sitting next to her. Or where she was. Assuming her parents had left her with a sitter for the night, she rubbed her eyes with the backside of her thumbs, glancing down at the carpet beneath her.

Evelyn nodded, petting her mother once again, “Mhm, that’s great, but you gotta try harder, Liz.” she paused a moment, letting that sink in, quickly pushing aside any second guessing she might have started to take on. “Did you get all your homework done tonight?” Elizabeth lift her gaze back to Evelyn, blushing a bit at the question, nodding her head meekly. “Yes, of course I did. I always finish my homework. Or I get gro-” “Grounded.” Elizabeth smiled, cutting her off. “You get grounded, don’t you Liz?” Elizabeth struggled to find the right words to reciprocate, twiddling her thumbs awkwardly in front of her, her work uniform catching her off guard. She hadn’t found the time, nor motivation to change when she got home, still wearing her khaki dress pants, paired with a bright red collared button up.

Evelyn, noticing the continued curiosity and hesitation in Elizabeth, grazed the girls cheek with her thumb, smiling sweetly at her. “Something the matter, Liz?” Elizabeth, caught off guard yet again, shook her head no, leaning back in the chair she sat in. She exhaled deeply, returning the older woman -Evelyn’s- smile. “Do you know when my mom and dad are coming to get me?” Ev grinned, and smiled wide as she explained the circumstances, “Your father had a conference out of town, and your mother went along with him. They’re staying at a hotel about two hours away, you don’t remember?” Elizabeth frowned, an unsatisfactory look clearly on display, “Ummm…no. I guess it just slipped my mind with school and all…cheer practice has been kinda draining on me lately.” She rest one leg on top of the other, kicked back and chilled, all former emotions and adult thoughts appearing to be gone, purged by the treatment that was applied to her. Evelyn carefully analyzed Elizabeth’s initial reaction to phase one, smirking outside of Liz’s view. “Yeah, I’m sure it’s really exhausting for you. You are cheer captain, after all.” Evelyn was thankful she had been able to pry on her mother’s childhood and life before she became married and a mother over the years. In her former days, Elizabeth was wildly successful in terms of extra curricular activities, as well as popularity. She found herself relaxing a bit, moving from the arm of the chair to the couch, maintaining her gaze on Elizabeth as she continued to take it all in. She seemed to be processing a lot right now, something she soon wouldn’t know the meaning of. “So, your mom tells me you have a boyfriend?” Evelyn teased, wondering what Liz’s current thoughts on Dylan were in this headspace. Liz blushed at the word “boyfriend” still giddy at the thought of actually being with someone as charming and radiant as Dylan. He treated her like a princess, always exhibiting acts of chivalry, and addressing her with proper respect. They had only been together a few months, but Liz was happier than she had ever been. “Y-Yeah…I have a boyfriend. His name is Dylan.”

Evelyn smiled, happy the thoughts Liz was reminiscing on with her father were at least good ones for the time being. “That’s great! A proper man should always know how to treat his lady.” Liz blushed, nodding gently, working up the courage to finally ask her question, “How do I know you?” Evelyn paused for a moment, quickly trying to find an answer. “Your older sister and I are friends. We’ve never met, but I’ve heard lots about you.” Which wasn’t technically a lie, because she and her aunt were fairly close. “Oh…” Liz mumbled, a look of sadness spreading across her face. “Ever since she left for college I’ve felt kind of alone, I miss her a lot.”

Evelyn tousled the girls hair, in an effort to take her mind off the matter, “I know, Liz. She talks about you all the time! Do you maybe…wanna watch a movie? Or do our nails?” Liz’s saddened demeanor was quickly replaced with a cheerful one by the suggestion, “Yeah! That sounds fun. I love doing my nails!” Or at least, she did, when she was a teenager. Evelyn grinned victoriously, leaving the comfort of the couch for her room, carrying back a burgundy bag with heaps of assorted colors inside. “Go on, then. Pick any color you like, and I’ll do em up for you.”

Elizabeth couldn’t help but to rummage through the bag as any teenage girl would, mumbling with a hint of pickiness in her tone. “Too bright.” “Too ugly.” “Too out of trend.” She finally settled on a pastel pink, something her attire and room would soon revolve around. Give or take some blues, yellows, purples, reds, and greens as well. “Sure!” Evelyn insisted, uncapping the bottle and sitting at the foot of Liz’s chair. She worked on her toes first, applying a few coats to really make the pastel color stick out, then moved up to her fingernails. They chat for a good half hour, nothing in particular, Evelyn merely wanted a feel for the thoughts in Liz’s head.

“Aaaaaand, we’re done!” Evelyn exclaimed, sitting back and admiring her handiwork, enjoying the joy and bonding she had given to her former mother. “Thanks! They’re really pretty. Can you take a picture for me?” Evelyn chuckled, “Sure, Liz. One second, let me grab my phone.” Instead of returning upstairs to grab her own phone, she grabbed Elizabeth’s from the kitchen counter, quickly snapping a photo, sending it to herself, so she could later send it to her girlfriend. “How are you feeling, Liz? You wanna kick back and watch that movie, now?” Of course, it wouldn’t actually be a movie at all. It would be phase two of the hypnosis plan.

A little bored, not having much else to do on a Friday night and stuck with a babysitter, Liz agreed in compliance, “Yeah, that would be cool.” “Great! You just lean back and get comfy, and I’ll set it up, okay? Oh, and don’t forget your headphones!” Evelyn handed Liz the headset for the second time, making sure they say comfy over her ears. She sat back down on the couch, pressing on the remote selecting “.phase 2 exe” on the USB, watching Liz’s reaction as she mindlessly stared at the screen, falling for the same trick as before.

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