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by Debbie Sickler
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“Sorry, the kids are playing ‘Ninja’s of Death’ again. I’ll call you later.” Savannah shot a look to her eldest son who completely disregarded it’s threatening nature and continued wielding his toy nun chucks inches from his sister’s head.

“You need to use their Stasis Buttons. Everyone’s using them now. How do you think I get anything done around here?”

“I know Jessie, but implanting them was Jordan’s idea. It just doesn’t seem right to me. BRADEN! I gotta go.” Savannah threw down her phone and ran to the aid of Shelby who was in danger of being pummeled by her brothers. Grabbing at arms and legs as they continued to fight, she caught a tiny fist across her jaw and screamed at her unruly brood.

“That’s it! I can’t take this anymore. Look at this mess!” Taking a deep breath, she forced a calm smile. “I’m sorry I yelled at you guys. Mommy loves you, I just need a little break, that’s all.” Savannah stretched out her arms for a group hug. As they huddled close, she reached a hand around to the napes of their necks and depressed each of their Stasis Buttons. They immediately became living statues.

Trembling a little at the thought of what she had finally done, Savannah picked up Braden and placed him on his bunk, then returned for Reagan and Shelby. It’s just for a little while. Just long enough to clean this place up. Then I’ll reactivate them. Staring around her now silent living quarters, she surveyed the damaged caused by the ruckus and decided to start with the uprooted ficus.

An hour later, the Johansson’s living quarters were spotless for the first time that century. With a pleased sigh, followed by a guilty quiver in her stomach, Savannah retrieved her children. A simple flick of their Reanimation Switches behind their right ears, and they sprung back to life without the realization of any time having passed.

“I can’t believe I finally found a buyer. I haven’t been in here for so long, who knows what junk I’ll find.” Savannah punched in her entrance code and the old door creaked open. “Jess, don’t worry. I’ll have this place packed up in time for our facials this afternoon. See ya then.”

One step inside and she was back in time five years. The furniture and artwork were all arranged just as before. Savannah picked up an empty box and headed to the cooking area. She spent a few hours packing up items around the home and finally made her way to a small section off of the main family area.

A strange feeling swept over her as she entered the room. There were playthings sitting in a toy box and storybooks on shelves near a closet. Tiny bunks and an undersized desk were covered with sheets. Another cloth hung over an oddly shaped object near the grimy window.

Savannah felt her morning meal threatening to revisit her. Her legs became weak and she had trouble walking the short distance across the bare floor. Taking a deep breath, she raised a shaky arm to the top of the form and removed the dust covering. There before her, stood the motionless bodies of her three children.

When Jordan had died, Savannah wanted to be strong for them. She pressed their Stasis Buttons and brought them back after a good cry, telling herself it was better that way. She longed to escape the pain and began drifting into her own world. Over time, she grew fond of the freedom gained by placing them in stasis; she began using it with increasing frequency.

Her days of playing Peek-a-Boo with Shelby, singing with Reagan and reading with Braden were replaced with long lunches with friends and nights of dancing with strange men. She thought that it would make her happier, yet none of the changes had brought her any relief.

Facing her young family would be difficult after so much time. Savannah struggled to find the courage to flick their Reanimation Switches. Making a vow that it would be the last time it would be necessary, she started with Braden and Reagan, then her baby girl.

“Hi Mommy!”

Those precious words filled Savannah’s ears and her heart ached. This is what’s been missing. How could I have been so foolish? She squeezed all of them until Reagan complained he needed air. Happy tears washed over Savannah’s face. Her misplaced joys had been rediscovered.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Anita Neuman 29 May 2006
I'm not much of a sci-fi kind of girl, but this held my attention all the way through. Fascinating concept and great message!
terri tiffany 29 May 2006
Great story!! You nicely mixed a different kind of approach with real life feelings. :)
Dr. Sharon Schuetz 29 May 2006
Wow! This was powerful. I loved it. How many times I would have loved a switch on my kids when they were growing up. Your story kinda makes me glad I didn't have one. Good job.
Lynda Lee Schab  29 May 2006
Interesting and creative story! Sorry you didn't get it in in time for the challenge. It was right on topic and well-written. As someone else stated, Sci-fi isn't one of my favorite genre's but I found myself immersed in your story from beginning to end. Well done!
Jan Ackerson  28 May 2006
Yikes! This reads very much like Asimov's short stories, only with a far more satisfying conclusion. Well done!
Teri Wilson 28 May 2006
Be careful what you wish for! Very thought-provoking.
Brandi Roberts 28 May 2006
Good message, Debbie! Makes you rethink what you take for granted.
Amy Michelle Wiley  28 May 2006
I'm glad you finished it. Good job! :-)
Debbie OConnor 28 May 2006
Wow! This is an amazing, creepy, wonderful, horrible story. Well done! I wouldn't change a word.


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