May 23, 2017


Each Tuesday, rather than a POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY, I'd like to both challenge you and lend a helping hand. I generate more speculative and teen story ideas than I can ever use. My family rolls its collective eyes when I say, "Hang on a second! I just have to write down this idea..." Here, I'll include the initial inspiration (quote, website, podcast, etc.) and then a thought or two that came to mind. These will simply be seeds -- plant, nurture, fertilize, chemically treat, irradiate, test or stress them as you see fit. I only ask if you let me know if anything comes of them.

Carlos Bander looked up at Djeneba Abuladze and said, “There’s something here.”

“Duh,” she said, squatting next to him. The joint of the wall and floor along the hallway of the home looked sealed tight. “But how? He was pretty specific about what he saw.”

. He saw an intruder.”

“Who suddenly disappeared with a ‘clattering swish’.”

“His exact words, correct?”

She pointed to the base of the wall. “We’ve scanned the house. There’s no way the intruder could have escaped. The door,” she nodded to the entryway. The door to the outside was reinforced concrete. “He say to you why he has a door designed to protect him from a nuclear blast mounted in a frame that’s closing in on a century old?”

“He didn’t say anything to me. He just stared at me like I was crazy whenever I asked him where he thought the intruder escaped to.”

“Me, too.” She stood up. “There’s only one thing we can do.”

He stood next to her, “We tried surveillance, but there was nothing – even though the intruder appeared to him during that time.”

“What is he?”

Carlos stood up, pursed his lips, kicked the wall gently then said, “What if the intruder isn’t a ‘who’ but a ‘what’?”

Djeneba stood up beside him, crossing her arms over her chest. “We’ve tried setting traps for ghosts, spirits, trolls, and any other apparition we’ve dealt with.” She took out her cellphone and after tapping it a few times, turned in a slow circle, scanning the hallway. “There’s no residual ectoplasm readings that I can pick up.”

Carlos hadn’t moved. He took a deep breath and said, “Try scanning for non-human DNA.”


He shook his head slowly. “If it’s not paraterrestrial, maybe it’s extranomal.”

She hummed as she made adjustments on her phone, then swept the hallway again. She paused, facing the bathroom door. “I’ve got an anomalous reading from the door.”

“Behind it?”

“No. On the door.”

“Anomalous in what way?”

“Strong terrestrial insect DNA – about what you’d expect in a house this old. But there’s some sort of…” she paused again. She stepped up to the door, adjusting her phone. For an instant, the door lit up from top to bottom then went dark. Faint marks glowed. She stepped closer then back, frowning. She swept the screen three times then said, “The DNA has been altered. The only thing my T-comp can match with it comes from biological material that’s been…”

“Looking for someone?”

Carlos and Djeneba spun around. A Human figure stood at the end of the hallway, unmoving as its arm slowly slid up its leg from the floor. A faint, rattling hiss filled the close space. The creature said again, “Looking for someone Mr. Bander? Mrs. Abuladze?” The voice was raspy and seemed to come from the entire body of the creature rather than just its head. The light above them was dim and it was hard to see it.

“Your arm’s attached now. What are you going to do?” said Carlos carefully.

“If you’re afraid that I’m going to attack you both, you have nothing to worry about. I’m typically a scavenger.” It said the word with the emphasis on the first syllable, as if it were saying the name of the comic book and movie group of “Earth’s mightiest heroes”. It continued, “But I have a different mission this time.” With a loud rattle, the figure swelled until its head touched the ceiling. “I’ve come to prepare this world for occupation.”

Carlos and Djeneba frowned. Carlos cleared his throat, “This world has already been approved for contact – not…” The figure shimmered for a moment then seemed to melt as the rattling became deafening…

Names: ♀ Mali, Armenia; ♂ Mexico, Iraq

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