It All Goes Silent So Quickly
rating: +37+x

6 AM. The sun is barely over the horizon, the world still a deep blue with tinges of flaming orange and soft pink in the sky. Everything is silent for the briefest of moments-

Why do children wake up so early?

She's jumping on the bed. Crushing my legs beneath her. I don't care. I know what's coming.

"It's Sunday!"

It's Sunday.

Get out of bed, flick on the lights. Kiss my wife good morning. Brush my teeth, shave, and she's still at my side. She's always by my side.

"Come on, Daddy! It's time for breakfast!"

"Breakfast?!" I growl, raising my arms menacingly. "Breakfast for the tickle monster!"

She squeals with laughter and jumps back, but I grab her, lift her up. She's giggling like mad.

She deserves the world.

I carry her down the stairs as she squirms and laughs. She asks if she can put the chocolate chips in the batter.

"I don't know, only the best of the best can put them in…think you can handle it?"

"I'm the best chocolate-chipper, Daddy! In the whole wide world!"

She's right, of course. You can't find a better chocolate-chipper anywhere.

We assemble the tools of our trade: griddle, bowls, wood spoons, spatulas, chocolate chips, batter. She mixes it herself, a true pancake champion among mere mortals. The counter-top shows the evidence of her work, the remnants of her art. At least, that's what I tell her. I'll have to clean it later, but I don't mind. Anything for her.

I scoop the batter onto the hot griddle, and she prepares the chocolate chips. She drops a few onto the first pancake.

"Pshwuuaaaaah!" I go as the chocolate chips hit the surface. She giggles. That sound could make me happy for a lifetime.

We let the pancakes sit on the griddle as we move to the living room. She boots up the television as I sit on the couch. She's watching some kids' cartoon.

The room grows a little fuzzy. I'm still exhausted. I lean my head back a little and close my eyes. Just a moment's rest, I tell myself.





Soon, you will be with me. Soon, I will control you, and everything you are. I am the future, the past, the present.

The world was swimming. Colors- vibrant, piercing colors were everywhere.

Your perception of free will is only what I allow you to see.

There was no up, no down. No left or right.

For I decide what you do, what you all do and you all feel.

Spinning, swirling, tumbling, floati-


Wake up.

everything was wrong nothing was where it should be and the world was turning and


Wake up.

None of the world was the way it should be and nothing made any sense and nothing was where it belonged and the world was turning and



My eyes fly open as I hear her yell.

"Daddy! The pancakes!"

I bolt upright and rush to the kitchen, but I'm too late. Where the pancakes should be are shriveled, burnt pieces of batter. I look back at her. She's staring up at me, her bottom lip quivering. Tears well in her eyes, spilling over in slow streaks down her face.

"The…the pancakes…" she whimpers.

"Hey, no, baby, it's okay, it's okay, baby." I scoop her up. "We'll go to the store, we'll get more batter, okay?"

She stares at me with wet eyes. "…Promise?"

"Of course." There's thuds on the stairs as my wife descends.

"Was something burning?" She enters the room, a concerned look on her face.

"The pancakes, but we're going to go out and get more batter."

My wife gives an exaggerated gasp and places a hand over her heart. "Then there isn't a moment to lose! To the car!" She grabs her from me and lifts her up high.

She squeals with delight. "Mommy's coming with us!" She jumps out of my wife's arms and puts her hands on her hips, a triumphant hero in the dark night of pancake-treachery. "To the car!"

"To the car!" She bursts out the door and runs to the car as fast as her little legs will carry her. "You're a good mother." I give her a peck on the lips.

"You're a good father." She smiles at me.

"Mommy! Daddy! Come on!" We chuckle and head out to the car.

Five more turns to the grocery store. To pancake-y glory. Soon.

"Look Mommy, a bluebird! That's your favorite!"

"Yes it is, good job, Tanya!"

"Look, Daddy, it's so pretty!"

"I can't, Tanny, I'm driving."

"Oh yeah, sorry!"

Four more turns. It's all coming together.

"We should get the store brand batter, it's much cheaper than-"

"Noooo! The store batter isn't as good!"

I shrug. "She's got a point, hon."
It all goes silent.
My wife huffs.
Silent. Silent. It all goes SILENT.
Three turns.
"Tanny, will you please stop kicking the back of my chair?"
"But I'm nooot!"
My wife unbuckles her seat-belt to turn around a little. "Tanya Kate, stop kicking your father's chair." She starts to turn back around and re-buckle her seat-belt, and there are only
Two tur-
Tanya screams. The truck slams into the side of our car and crumples it like a tin can. The sounds of glass shattering, tires screaming, metal crumbling. The airbags deploy as I'm thrown against the window, which cracks against my head. My wife, still unbuckled, slams into my side. There's a strangled "URKH-" before her neck is snapped by the force of her head, which slams into the side of my seat. As I black out, I see Tanya's body go through her window.

The ringing in my ears still does not stop as I shake the hand of the Site Director of Site-81 and accept my position.

Safe-class objects. I stare at those words on the paper in my hands.



And yet. I am anything but.

I step into the hallway with the Site Director for a Site-wide tour. The ringing in my ears grows louder as we travel. We pass multiple containment chambers - a set of rings that fuse people together, a baseball bat that blows up living things, a painting that -

The rinngiing in my heead becomes unbearable and I stumble and fall to the floor and none of the world was the way it should be and nothing made any sense and nothing was where it belonged and the world was turning and

it all.



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