Carrie was certain it was a clan of gremlins behind the ensuing, political chaos.
Everyone else thought it was some kind of unified enemy wanting to take over the world. The attack on the Internet, the faulty Stoplights, the train tracks shifting lanes without warning – everyone said these were obvious signs of a terrorist attack. She kept telling them it was a gremlin, that if people opened their eyes they would see what was really going on. None of them wanted to believe her, though.
Carrie continued on as she always did when people cast her wisdom aside. She went to a park, found a nice place in the forest that was far away from prying eyes and stripped. It was cold, perhaps. The frost on the ground was more aggressive when her clothing fell on the ground, sharp little teeth nipping at her skin as she stood, skyclad, in an empty grove of trees.
She remembered how her mom once told her, “When you’re wearing clothes, Carrie, the way the world sees you is based on the things that hide you. You are never more honest than when you’re confronting an adversary naked but unafraid.”
Carrie could still see her mother sitting under a tree. She could still see the light, silver dress her mother had worn. It was as if it was spun from spider silk, so light it was transparent. If she wanted to stop the gremlins, Carrie knew she had to be brave. She had to be naked to be honest. She was worried how she was going to talk the Gremlin King without being a stuttering, shy mess. Her mother never said how to do that.
She wasn’t expecting one of her friends to find her before the Gremlin King, though.
Seeing Reily and Ted approaching, Fred right behind him, Carrie couldn’t help but grin. When Ted’s eyes widened upon seeing her, she wondered if she forgot to clean her face after lunch. Reily stopped and stared, her jaw slack. When Barney came running up, Carrie waved and said, “Hey, everyone! What brings you out here?”
“Why are you naked!” Ted cried, rushing forward to grab her dress from the ground.
Carrie blinked. “I’m going to talk to the Gremlin King.”
“Naked?” Riley asked. Carried nodded.
Barney blinked. “I suppose trying to seduce someone is a good idea. If that doesn’t work, you should try stalking this G. King.”
“Barney, shut up.” Fred snapped and Barney rocked back on his heels with a happy grin.
Riley blinked again. “Are you alright, Carrie?”
“Yep!” Carrie danced around Ted, airy laughter circling them all. “Mom said the best way, to be honest, is to be naked and unafraid. So that’s what I’m going to do!”
Ted clutched his chest. Carrie wondered if he was having a heart attack. Fred slapped his hand against his forehead, shoulders sagging as he muttered, “Now I’m sure you were dropped on your head as a baby, Carrie. No one can be this stupid.”
Behind them, a dark shadow loomed. Fred slowly turned as Carrie grinned.
“Hello, police officer! Have you come to talk to the Gremlin King, too?”