Never Change

by vegetables [Reviews - 0]

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  • All Ages
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  • Action/Adventure, Alternate Universe, Angst, Character Study, Drama, General, Introspection, Mixed, Series

There wasn’t a trace of anger in Elaine Smith from the argument she’d had with her son. It had burned away with her former body about twenty minutes ago, along with every memory she’d had of what had caused it. But there was fury in her new body anyway, new adrenaline boiling through it in a rage. A stranger had smashed into where she was peacefully sitting, and this Elaine responded in a way that was just like the last.

“What in hell are you doing?” she shouted at the stranger. “Breaking into my house in broad daylight and at the weekend? The police take our security very seriously, you should know, and if you don’t get out of here right now”–

“It’s not like that!” the stranger cried. “I’m just here to see the new you. I know this sounds weird — more than weird, totally mental — but I’m John, I’m your son”–

Elaine snorted. “That’s a new one! It’s one thing barging in claiming to be some long-lost relative; here you are saying you’re one I already know! I don’t know who you are; but you’re nothing like my son! You’re shorter and fatter, and frankly you’re much uglier than him. And you can’t be half as bright as he is if you’ve come up with a plan as bad as this.”

The stranger looked at her pleadingly. “What if I said something only John would know?” he said. “Something that was only about us, like that time with the swans? When one chased me round the lake, and you were talking about how the Queen didn’t let us kill any of them, but if one killed me then you’d bet you couldn’t sue her!’”

He laughed weakly, then stopped when he saw her expression.

“Remember?” he said desperately. “The swans?”

She wasn’t angry anymore. She was just sad, and slightly scared.

“I don’t know who you think I am,” she said softly. “But I’ve no idea what you’re talking about. I’m sorry if you’ve lost your mother, I really am. But I’m not her. And you’re not my son.”

He looked right into her eyes, which were not the right ones anymore.

“Mum,” he said softly. “Please.”

“You’re clearly in distress,” she said. “But this is still my house. And if you don’t leave now, I will have to phone the police”–

“No,” said the stranger in a strangled way. “You won’t have to do that. I’m sorry for wasting your time, Ms Smith.”

He ran out of the room, but not before she heard him sob.

She heard a door slamming, but she made sure to check through the window anyway. The stranger had left, right enough, but he was still there just outside. She watched for a while in case he’d break in again, and after a while she saw a completely different stranger come to hug him tightly in her arms. Through the glass she heard him say that other stranger was a doctor, and she hoped they were qualified to make sure he wouldn’t escape again.

You never knew what went through the minds of the mentally ill. But a part of her worried that stranger had been obsessed with her family for some time. How did he know her name, after all? How could he have known John’s?

She shivered, and hoped her son out there was safe.