This story is by Janet Leigh Green and was part of our 2017 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Butterflies fluttered in Kevin’s stomach, and he felt a mixture of nerves and excitement. Long years and even more sleepless nights, accompanied him as he clawed his way through class after class, and lecture after lecture to get to this point in his life. Head down, deep into his day planner, he made his way to his new office. He knew that he should go all electronic, but he didn’t see the point. He picked up his pace, rushing to his first appointment, and he slammed into something. The impact jarred his planner and briefcase, juggling them to hold his grip he glanced up to see the cause of impact.
“I’m so sorry!” Kevin stared at the beautiful woman in front of him, barely registering her words. His heart did a flip and he watched as redness started at her neck, then spread like a rash across her cheeks.
That is how he met his wife Silla, and he loved her with a fierceness that filled his heart to capacity. Kevin thought about her all day, that day, the women he usually dated didn’t hold a candle to her; even those the world dubbed as beautiful. He saw an internal radiance when he looked at her. Curly brown hair kinked up around her cherubic face, and he loved the way her blue eyes sparkled when she laughed.
Their happiness began to wane when Kevin started to get sick, it seemed such a small thing at first; Kevin’s body temperature dropped to an alarming level, but he complained about the heat, while the temperature in the house was seventy-two degrees. His fingers and toes started to tingle and he noticed a blue tint on his fingertips. The sensation worsened each day, and his extremities were cold to the touch, while the rest of his body felt hot as fire.
Late one evening, Kevin sat in his office, just about to leave for home; he looked out the window, as he rubbed his hands to get the tingling to stop. Lost in thought, he didn’t notice the figure standing beside the tree in the parking lot at first. He leaned forward to get a better look, “Who is that?” A man, cloaked in black, stood watching him; his hair black against his pale skin, and a strange glow emitted from him. Kevin blinked and the man disappeared, he disintegrated into thin air. “What the hell?” He looked around, but the deserted lot held only a handful of cars and no people. That night the dreams started.
Kevin woke each morning after the dreams with a hazy, disconnected feeling and it took him awhile to shake off the grogginess; the details of the dreams dissipating, as sleep left him. He went through the motions of getting dressed for work, sitting down to breakfast with Silla. He thought he did a good job of hiding his symptoms, but Silla watched his every move.
“Kevin, let me take you to the doctor.” She said despair, evident in her eyes, the sparkle dampened by his illness.
“No, honey, I told you I’m fine. Can you turn the fans on?”
She glanced around the frigid room at the five large fans blowing directly onto Kevin, all set on high.
“Baby, there are five fans on full blast, and you are still hot? It’s sixty-eight degrees in this room.” She walked over and laid her hand on his forehead.
Kevin shrugged away from her, “Give me some air, it is too hot for you to stand so close to me, get me another fan! Please?”
Silla jerked her hand away from his head, but not before she felt his cold skin. “Let me at least take your temperature, your skin is ice-cold.”
“No, I told you I am fine, just please get me another fan, I am suffocating in here.”
“Ok, I will go buy another fan.”
She stopped when she got to the door and turned back to watch him, worry etched on her face. He sat naked in a chair beside the window, as close as he could get to the largest fan in the room. Black hair and blue eyes a strange compliment to the pale blue hue of his skin in the setting sun.
Kevin felt as if he were going to burn alive, his armpits dripped with sweat. He knew Silla worried, but there was nothing wrong with him, it was this damn Texas heat. Maybe they needed to move somewhere cooler, he just couldn’t handle this heat anymore.
He jumped at the sound, and looked toward the door to see if someone came in after Silla left, but he was alone.
The unfamiliar voice boomed in his head.
“Kevin Mills, you belong to me.”
“Who’s there? Why don’t you show yourself?” Kevin jumped up from his chair, and turned in circles, his eyes darted around the room, to search every inch of space; he still came up empty, he was alone.
“I guess I’m going crazy.” Muttering under his breath, as he walked over to the thermostat.
“Sixty-eight, just like Silla said. Damn! It feels like it is a hundred degrees in here.” He wiped the sweat from his brow.
“And why am I sweating?”
He started to walk back to the chair when dizziness overtook him, he sat on the bed. “Oh God, I need air!” He stood again and made his way around the room, turning the fans toward the bed. He needed to lay down, maybe there was something wrong with him.
Kevin lay on the bed gasping for air when Silla got home. “Kevin, there is man outside who says he knows what’s wrong with you. I think you need to listen to him.”
“Who have you been talking to? Did you tell everyone you saw what is going on? How would a total stranger, just happen to know what is wrong with me?”
I didn’t tell anyone anything, he was standing at our door when I got home. He already knew what was going on with you. He said he could help, and you are turning blue.”
“Mr. Kevin Mills?”
Kevin jumped up from the bed at the sound of his name. He looked past Silla, the man who owned the voice in his head stood eerily still. Kevin felt as if he were looking in a mirror, ice blue eyes, which matched his own, looked back at him.
“Silla, can you give us a minute?” Kevin said, not taking his eyes from the man.
Silla Mills stared out the window beside her ghost double, her breath, leaving wisps of fog on the glass, as she looked out. She watched the multicolored leaves flitter in the autumn breeze and softly land in beautiful piles across her lawn. Fear bubbled up in her chest, she felt scared and alone; loneliness a foreign feeling, frightened her. A flutter moved across her stomach, and instinctively, her hand moved to her belly in a comforting motion, and she rubbed it; she knew she lost Kevin when she invited the man inside, she felt it deep in her soul.
Kevin stared at the man, who stood silently watching him from across the room. “Who are you? How can I hear your voice in my head? What are these dreams I can’t remember?”
“Has your mother told you anything about your birth?” The man asked patiently, stepping further into the room.
Kevin looked closely at the man, and noticed the blue tint which matched his own. “No why…and why are we blue?” Kevin felt his life slipping away, somewhere on a deep level, he had always known he was different.
“I am your father and you are not of this earth, you must come with me or you will die here.”
“No,” Kevin felt his throat close and pain seared his heart, branding it forever broken at the thought of losing Silla. “I am not leaving my wife, if I have to go, she goes too.”
“That is impossible, she will never survive on Siberian; she is human, we are not.”
“Siberian? That is the name of your planet? It means frozen here.” Kevin said.
“Yes, that is the translation, your Silla will die there, but you will thrive.”
Silla opened the door and rushed into Kevin’s arms, “No! You can’t go.” She said, choking on her tears; collapsing against his hard-naked body.
“Oh Kevin, you are like an iceberg,” She trembled against him, her heart filled with anguish. “I’m pregnant,” she said, her body wracked with sobs.
The man put a hand on her shoulder to turn her toward him, the cold of his touch was like a spear through her heart.
“My dear, I am sorry, but this is a doubly sad day for you, your son won’t survive here either, and someday I will come for him too.”