TWEETYCO: Prologue

He just had his second child, he told himself. It’s Friday. Give me a break, woman.

Richard unceremoniously fumbles out of bed without regard for the blanket or comforter – they both become akin to a wad of crumpled-up paper. His bitterness to seize the day is the same emotion he’d have if he ripped a page out of a notebook, crumpling it up like his blanket ball. His sleep, like his discarded notes, becomes another idea that doesn’t make the cut. Although he was beyond elated to be a father and to have an amazing wife, Richard was not a morning person, and he resigned grumpily to the notion that sleeping in near the weekend was exclusive to being childless. What kind of work you do is another factor, but Richard never worked a full-time hour in his life. He had a part-time job once in high school, making virtually no money mopping school bathrooms, but man did he detest that. Luckily (to him) it was a smooth transition to a stay-at-home dad.  He checks his phone: 12:51 AM. Boy, if only he could push 2 PM, he thinks. He’s being a tad facetious but he knows deep down he’d probably sleep until then if he wasn’t interrupted. Richard can hear his firstborn Mason vocally milling about like a child on Jasper Marshmallow Bites cereal (incidentally, that was breakfast for him). The familiar voice of Richard’s wife Jeanette, soft but irritated, is once again audible in an attempt to coax her husband further into consciousness. Finally, she gets a view of her fatigued, soft-eyed Richard waddling into the hallway.

“You gonna change into something nice? This’ll be the third day in a row you wear that shirt.” Jeanette says. Richard wipes the crusty gunk from his eye as Mason Onilittle flies past his parents like the dumb blonde boy he is. That sounds harsh but Mason doesn’t mind any language pertaining to his hair color. His self-given nickname is bluntly “dumb blonde boy”. Richard and Jeanette are working on his confidence. 5-year olds aren’t very good at having that, Richard thinks. Or is that phase around 10 to 15 years of age? Richard shakes his head briefly to snap him out of his internal tangent. “If we decide to do something fun today, sure, honey. I’ll eat something, shower, change my clothes…look, I don’t like making you upset.” he says. Jeanette sighs. “I don’t like being upset myself, but I’ll get over it.” she says. “I would love to do something fun for Labor Day, and I think Mason would too. Though that sleep schedule isn’t gonna serve you well once I’m back at work tomorrow. You can see why I’m upset about that, right? Lily is two weeks old.” Richard blankly nods. Mason makes an airplane noise as he gingerly “wooshes” around the living room. Jeanette points to the kitchen counter that oversees the living room. “I made avocado toast earlier. Eat, freshen up and I’ll see which friends are free.” she calmly adds as she walks to the couch. Richard smirks and quickly stifles a laugh in the form of an exhale. Avocado toast. Isn’t that what millennials live off of or something? He recalls an online article tearing into that generation, and then finishes the thought with an internalized “whatever”. It tastes fine. He’s pretty sure his wife missed a couple key ingredients however. Lemon juice, nutritional yeast – salt to taste. He pulls out his phone and confirms with himself that 40% of that is in this avocado spread. It’s like…too bland or something. He finishes it and proceeds to shower and don clean clothing, throwing his hot sauce graphic tee in the hamper. His son’s wardrobe is mostly green button-ups so he just changes into a new, clean one. Jeanette changed into her red dress that morning, and soon the family is ready to enjoy Labor Day company. Lily is placed into her car seat with a handle, to be carried into the car so that the name of her seat makes sense.

They’re off to see their friends and their friends’ children. Mason silently bobs along to a popular kid’s song coming from his car headphones. “We’re going to see Caitlin and Joey??” Mason belts out. Jeanette turns around in the passenger seat. “Yes hun! You excited to see them? What do you think you three will do together this time?” she says. “Probably watch JohnPutridOrb play horror games on Caitlin’s tablet again.” Mason excitedly replies. His mother warmly laughs to assure her son that it sounds like fun even though she didn’t catch a lick of what any of that meant. Mason would message his young friends how excited he was to see them if he had a device with cellular data, and maybe Caitlin would message him back that she was excited too and would tell him before he got there that the horror game they like to watch influencers play, she got her mom to actually buy the mobile port for her on her tablet and that she was gonna play it with everyone tonight. Mason would have immediately been put off to the idea, but that conversation wouldn’t happen yet because young children don’t need cellphones. Especially their parents phones, while they’re in a moving car no less.

Time passes before everyone knows it, as it does, and the Onilittle family arrives.

TWEETYCO: Chapter 1

It was now Sunday. Jeanette worked at a hospital and didn’t really get many weekends off. Richard happened to also be very busy, being a dad.

Mason stared at the tablet in silence. The figure on the video feed was lurching around the house, and all the furniture he was familiar with was now missing. The only things that remained were a table, a lamp, and a TV that was now resting on the ground. As he went from camera to camera through the new flimsy system installed, he sees boxes everywhere and notes pasted all over each room. One of the boxes seemed to be growing mold, but Mason’s young brain thought it to be “extra dirty”. To try to calm his nerves, he takes another skim at the intimidating notes littering the household. “I’m going to eat your corpse“, one says. “You will never amount to anything“, said another. One he can see from across the room has a crude drawing of a dead cat in a noose with the caption “Hang in there!“. Mason quickly regrets trying to soothe his thoughts with his crazy father’s rambling.

The security system app is closed and the young child exhales emotional baggage. “I’ll call for help“, he thinks. When he gets to the phone app he makes a discovery that’s less than encouraging. “This thing has no SIM card.” He didn’t exactly know what a SIM card was or what it did, but the point is it was returning an error when he tried to make a call. The magical SIM card was missing. Whatever it did, the device needed it to make calls. No calls for him. This revelation also makes him revelate that, of course, Dad took care of the WiFi situation too. Mason would go check out the state of the router if he wasn’t chained to a prisoner’s ball and chain. Oh, and if he wasn’t being chased by a serial killer, who happened to be his own father.

Whatever the suit Dad made for himself is supposed to be, it’s a kid’s worst nightmare. It looks like it was sown on down the middle of the face and torso (wouldn’t that hurt?) and red craft store feathers adorn the head. The choice of orange for the body is actually kind of insulting for once, Mason knows it’s because of the affair. How could Richard not have put two and two together about his son’s hair color? His sister Lily was actually Richard’s own but, Mason knew now he was born from another man his mom was seeing. He was easygoing about that news but the whole psychopath father thing was a different story. “Lily…poor Lily.” Mason woefully thought to himself fighting back little ginger baby tears. “You had your whole life ahead of you.” That was surprisingly poetic for Mason’s age. He harkens back to the two weeks of her short life where he got to hold her in his arms, and she threw up in his mouth.

Mason hears noises in the hallway in front of him. He crawls over to the big fat red “LIGHT” button installed in the wall. He presses it with an eerie *thunk* sound. There’s his father, clear as day, as the hallway lights illuminate him into view. “Hi Mace!!! It’s your ol’ pal TWEETY!” he says in a new higher-pitched voice. Mason hated that nickname and he hates it even more so now. And what’s up with the name “Tweety”? He’s pretty sure his dad is ripping off something. As the lights flicker, Tweety vanishes again into the dark. Mason’s mind starts racing as he quickly moves through the camera screens while pacing around the space that his chain allows for. He starts seeing things on the cameras like Tweety contemplating to himself – Mason wonders himself what he could be thinking. Suddenly, Mason sees glowing red eyes and a mouth on a pooling glob of pitch black liquid. He feels like the world is falling apart around him…as he feels his feet quickly lose ground causing Mason to fall into a deep hole he hadn’t noticed. As Mason falls in what feels like slow motion, he sees the ball and chain slowly fall along with him. He swears he can make out a cartoon-y face on the ball screaming at him as he falls.

 

Tweety hears a quiet *splat*, but it’s so far away it’s more of a *spla*. He continues to wander, however he gets a strange feeling something’s off. He doesn’t see any indication of Mason watching him anymore. He decides to go and take a look. As he sits in the strangely familiar darkness of the doorway waiting for Mason to flick on the lights, he gets the feeling that Mason isn’t there. Tweety decides to go against the rules of the game he created and peek in. He’s gone. Mason is gone. Tweety was sure the ball and chain was on tightly! Then he looks down at the two deep holes he dug. He doesn’t recall why he dug these holes, a quick way to get behind Mason perhaps? Well, now he realizes how stupid that was. There at the bottom of one of the holes, was Mason’s smashed, lifeless corpse. Tweety thought about how dumb he was for digging that hole and almost didn’t even notice the knock at the door. THE POLICE. Someone must have seen Tweety kidnapping Mason for the second time! As the knocking got louder he quickly ran around the room, grabbing two boxes and using them to cover the holes. The police finally bust down the door that was behind where Mason played his father’s twisted game. The interaction with the cops was short and the two boxes were not a good way to cover up what he had allowed to happen. Richard Onilittle was apprehended for the murder of his own son and was easily found guilty. To throw salt on the wound, the sentence was to death by electric chair (Richard thought that wasn’t still in use or something!) and Tweety suddenly found himself looking on as nobody showed up for the last moments of his life.

Then something happened to Richard once the electricity coarsed through his brain, something that doesn’t usually happen to most dying people.

TWEETYCO: Chapter 2

In the car ride to their friends’ house, Jeanette writes in her diary. Both her and her husband keep one fairly regularly. Though, Richard calls his a journal to maintain his masculinity, of course. She continues a written conversation with herself.

“There are a lot of emotions and pain during childbirth – I can tell you firsthand who feels it the most. After Mason, I swore I’d never go through giving birth again, however I eventually felt that I owed it to Richard after what I did. As far as I know what I’ve done hasn’t occurred to my husband yet – but wow, what mixed feelings I have about Mason’s birth. If the…short affair didn’t happen, Mason, the charming “ginger” son we have today would not have been born. And Richard was happy with Mason. But when Lily, or rather, “Lithium Onilittle” was born I saw something spark inside of Richard’s soul. He was always an okay father, however it’s as though in his heart he felt a true connection with Lily that he hadn’t had with Mason. He’s been taking extra good care of her since we had a home birth with her. He made her many things, although there was only one that Lily actually took a shine to. Rich calls her “Feltface”. Quite the creepy name I think, however Lily’s too young to mind. The doll was haphazardly sown together by Richard and didn’t sport a face or any hair. It wore a polka-dot dress and had stubby outstretched limbs. For some reason Lily can’t get enough of it. It even makes her stop crying. We’re off to see the Jeffersons at the time of writing and, actually, I don’t think Richard brought Feltface this time. I hope that’s not a problem. We’ll just have to figure out some other way to calm her down if she gets fussy.”

Jeanette would write more in her diary, but the youngest of their longtime friends was opening the front door as the Onilittles pulled into their driveway.

Lily’s seat is placed on a table in their house, as the families quickly enter immense conversing not 2 minutes after getting through the door. The toddler takes a classic baby nap. Soon enough, Mason and his friends are up in Joey’s bedroom mingling about. Caitlin shows everyone that she now has the mobile port of that horror game they watched influencers play on her tablet, The Evil in The Attic. Characteristically, Mason merely watches and never takes a turn. From a distance. Plenty of time passes and everyone shares useless information through conversation, until finally dinnertime arrives. To the children’s surprise, the Onilittles are staying for dinner! The kids are overjoyed. The Jefferson family makes meatloaf with mashed potatoes and asparagus. After a prayer is said, Bill, the father of the Jefferson family starts the first bit of table conversation in-between bites. “So. Your newborn givin’ you any trouble?” he says. Jeanette replies: “Well I forgot what it was like to wake up in the middle of the night sometimes, but otherwise it’s worth it.” Bill nods. “Yeah. Always worth it though. Raising children is a joy. It’s tough sometimes but, yeah. Y’know.” The evening goes on in moderate to severe merriment.

But then a curious noise is heard from the other room.

Thump.

And nobody thinks anything of it for the first two minutes…

But little did they know, Lily wasn’t strapped into her seat, and just woke up from a nap. More emotions and pain were on the horizon.

Meanwhile, farther into the future…