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Reality Altering Babe

"Your child was born with reality altering powers. Whenever you tell him a story, it may become true. Sometimes it's marvelous like unicorns and fairies, but other times..."

The first draft was originally written for this Reddit prompt. It’s one of my favourite short pieces. Psst. Follow me on my socials while you’re at it 👀

I have been very picky about the stories I read to my little boy, because, I’ve come to realise that sooner rather than later, we begin to live these stories, no matter how implausible they seem to be.

It first began with colourful butterflies suddenly filling the nursery as I cradled him in my arms and told him a story I was making up as I go about butterflies. I’d been showing him pictures of butterflies all afternoon and teaching him the names. I was a little freaked out, as one should, but I felt happy that butterflies have caught his attention that much.

I made it a mission to find the most wholesome stories to tell him as he drifted off to sleep, now knowing how much it affects him and the world around him.

His powers grew, however, and although it was still unintentional, he was altering reality more and more. Now even when he’s not drifting off to sleep.

My neighbour stopped by for a minute and was venting about how she had to talk to our new neighbours about their dog who had ruined her garden once more. I was very sympathetic until I heard the slurping sounds at my feet. I looked down and the neighbours’ dog in question was licking at the legs of my son’s high chair. My son was clapping in absolute delight as the dog proceeded to dig a hole… in our living room floor.

It was an awkward moment and my neighbour freaked out. I let them both politely out and proceeded to see how to deal with that mess. My son gave me a wide two-toothed smile and I couldn’t help but laugh.

Soon our life was filled with animals and jumping monkeys and sometimes we’d wake up to find ourselves in a jungle or on a beach somewhere.

The beach part was fine, but for someone who’s deathly afraid of deep waters, it was a panic when we were watching a documentary about dolphins and sharks and were suddenly surrounded by ocean water everywhere. Big sharks and dolphins circled us as I held my son tightly, my legs working fast to keep us afloat. He was giggling as he watched, reaching with his hand to pet a shark.

“Now, baby,” I tried to say as calmly as possible. “Remember how much fun we had in the garden with the dog?” I said, reminding him of the garden at our house so he could take us back there before we get eaten alive. “Once upon a time the neighbour’s dog came into our garden and ran and ran around, licking my little baby’s ears and making him giggle.”

He looked at me and clapped excitedly and suddenly the dog was swimming with us too. I cursed under my breath as I maddeningly tried to keep my increasing panic under control.

“Okay. Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess named Rapunzel who lived in a tower far far away from water. It was a gorgeous tower with lots and lots of toys.”

In a few seconds we were swimming with a confused Rapunzel and lots and lots of toys were floating around us.

I tried many stories, trying to get him to take us anywhere but here, but nothing worked. Soon the water was crowded with the seven dwarfs, Harry Potter who somehow didn’t have a working wand or even a broomstick, a selection of farm animals, and loads of butterflies, all swimming in the deep ocean and surrounded by a circle of now very confused sharks. I was crying in frustration at this point.

At least some toys stood between the sharks and us.

“Hey, baby,” I said, getting his attention once more. “Once upon a time, there was a man so handsome and strong who would come home every day to hug Baby and give him loads and loads of kisses. He’d bring toys and give Baby many tickles. The baby is always so happy and claps excitedly when he sees him, and throws himself at the man.”

“Dada!”

“Yes, that’s right! Dada comes home and takes Baby into his arms and rocks Baby to sleep.”

The farm animals around us disappeared one by one and soon the toys did, too.

“He takes Baby and sits with him on the beautiful living room sofa and tickles him… tickle, tickle, tickle,” I continued as I tickled him and he giggled. The sharks and dolphins disappeared. “Then Dada takes Baby to give him a bath and Baby splashes in the tub excitedly.” I regretted this as soon as it came out of my mouth. We’re trying to get out of the water.

“Um, how much longer do we have to stay here?” Harry Potter asked. “I was in the middle of a flying lesson–”

“Shhh,” Rapunzel shushed him and motioned for me to continue.

“Then Mummy comes and takes Baby into her arms, and cuddles with him on the comfortable, very dry sofa, giving him many many kisses,” I said as I kissed his cheeks over and over.

I felt myself sitting down and opened my eyes. We were in the living room at home, sitting on our sofa, soaking wet.

“I’m home!” my husband announced as he came in through the door.

“Dada!”

“Oh, thank god,” I sighed in relief.

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