One of Those Days

Uh-oh, looks like this is one of those days… It’s already bad enough to have dissociative personality disorder, but when on top of that it’s coupled with teleportation abilities, it gets downright dangerous. And today she’s relapsing.

Well do I remember the first time her jealous, insecure, vindictive selves took it out on me, merely a month after Dad had literally vanished into thin air and skipped out on us. It was hell to go through as a young boy of 6. She started beating me over any tiny excuse, like if I hadn’t tied my shoelaces properly or if I’d left the light on when leaving a room or something. I ran to my room the first chance I got and locked myself in. I remember feeling a moment of relief when she tried to force her way in but couldn’t.

My relief was short-lived, however, as a second later I found her in my room with me, popping up from nowhere. That’s when I discovered that was her superpower. But I had no time to wonder about it. Indeed, she was even more angry that I’d tried to run, of course, and that triggered her even more. By the time her fit calmed down and she left the room, I was cowering in my bed, unwilling to get out.

It wasn’t until three or four years later that I started discovering my own superpower. And this superpower has been instrumental in helping me put up with this and even often escape it entirely. How I came to discover it is an interesting story in and of itself.

It first happened by accident. I was playing with my dog, throwing a ball around the living room for him to catch. But then the ball rolled behind the couch. I was only 9 and still too young to move the couch much at all. And the ball was only just out of reach when I tried to stick my arm underneath or behind the couch. I tried to stretch and push as far as I could to reach the ball, wishing I could just go through the sofa itself… then fell right through it and reached my quarry that way.

I didn’t even realize at first what had just happened, I was just happy I’d retrieved the ball. But then I noticed how my arm and shoulder appeared completely engulfed in the sofa, my nose millimeters away from it. I panicked at first, dropping the ball where it was and pulling my arm out to make sure it was OK. Everything seemed fine, I was still able to use it.

I wasn’t conflicted or scared of my power. Having grown up with a superpowered mom and dad, I knew I must have something that I’d discover in due course. I’d just never witnessed it before, and didn’t expect it to pop up that time. Finally discovering it left me ecstatic and euphoric.

However, given the “quality” mother-son relationship we had, I wasn’t about to share this with her, in case she might use it against me the way she did with everything. No, I’d explore it, train it, find out how it worked, all on my own, then use it to escape her mistreatment and violence whenever possible.

Which brings us back to today, five years into exploring my new powers. I’m now 14 and in high school, and doing fairly well in my studies in the bargain. And when my mom isn’t in one of her moods she praises me about it. I have to confess using my powers has helped me… shall we say, “take shortcuts” in that sense once or twice, even though I’ve been making sure to keep them a secret from everyone else, especially Mom.

Anyway, today while I was in class I received texts from Mom – or rather a couple of her different selves – that tipped me off that she was going through a relapse again. So when I got home and heard her call out, I immediately knew I was likely to be in for a rough afternoon and decided to hide out again in my usual spot.

I started walking through the stairs when her voice coming from the living room behind me confirmed my apprehensions. I kept penetrating the solid material as my phone beeped with her message. She left dinner in the fridge, good. Now I’m standing chest-deep in the staircase. I know Mom’s in one of her phases, and the best way to deal with it is to wait it out. I crouch down, hiding my head too inside the solid concrete of the stairs.

It’s an odd thing when you’re entirely submerged in solid matter, you kind of have to half walk, half swim through it to get to where you want to go. I’ve perfected my technique for this over the years of course, practicing by going through the walls and solid ground, and by now I’m able to move pretty quickly and smoothly myself.

She left dinner in the fridge, she says. I can’t know when or where she’ll teleport, so the safest way for me to get there is to go through the walls and furniture. It only takes about thirty seconds for me to arrive there and enter the fridge from the back, through all the tubing. I locate the tupperware dish on its shelf and take it with me into the wall, without opening the door. Because yes, anything gains that power while I’m touching it too.

Then I go back into the solid concrete block beneath the stairs to eat and get started on my homework. In an hour or two her fit will have subsided, she’ll be back home and crying, and I’ll come out and spend a quiet evening in her company.

This story is inspired by the following prompt:

You just get home from school. You hear your mom call you from upstairs. Halfway through the stairs, you stop as you hear your mom shout from downstairs, “Don’t go, I heard it too.”. You hear footsteps coming toward you, from both directions. To make sure which is which, you decide to call your mom. Just as you’re about to dial, you get a text message: “I’m busy, honey, I’ll be home late. There’s dinner in the fridge.” What do you do?

I was struck by the awkward wording of “halfway through the stairs” and decided to build on that, including superpowers to explain it all.

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