This story is by Philip Shepherd and was part of our 2017 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the Summer Writing Contest stories here.
I was late for work and thought, “Oh, come on, as the group manager is here today.” The traffic seemed like it wanted to make me late as it was so slow. I left the bus at East 14th Street; near Union Square West. I hurried on my way to the coffee shop. It was already 7:05 a.m. and the sidewalk was busy with people going to their jobs. We all had to avoid collisions with each other. There were all types of characters, tall, short, well dressed or in work clothes.
A flash of blue caught my eye in an unusual location. I saw a small person dressed in a convincing costume. It looked like a blue coloured alien. A large head with brain-like shaped curves. There were lots of red blood vessels wrapping around the characters face and upper body. A fabulous costume, and looked brilliant. I smiled at the costumed person and walked passed.
The coffee shop was only at the end of the block. A car screeched around a corner behind me, so I twisted my head to look. The alien looking character was right behind me. I stopped and turned around to talk with this person. “Why are you following me? Can I help you? Excellent costume by the way.” There was no reply. I frowned and turned to continue my walk to work.
Several steps later, and trepidation got the best of me, so I twisted my head and looked. The costumed person was still walking behind me. I stopped, turned and said, “Look, what do you want?”
No response. I crouched in front of this character. “Are you not going to say anything?” Reaching to touch its arm, I could feel the warm blue surface. I removed my hand with some shock as a costume would not have warmth. It had large red eyes, and its body was blue in colour with muscled arms and legs. No nose, or lips around its small mouth. I’d had been in front of this being for about thirty seconds. I saw passers-by looking at me with an expression of confusion. A man walked by, and his face seemed dismayed. A young woman glared at me, so I spoke to her, “This is an alien and not a dress costume.”
She giggled and walked on her way. What was so funny? Couldn’t she see the red-eyed blue character in front of me? I caught the eye of another passer-by. This one was a man in a suit scowling at me. I spoke louder, “Hello there, what’s the problem? Can’t you see this strange costumed person here?” He gave a sigh and had a look of disgust on his face. He turned and walked on.
Now I was becoming uncomfortable with fear and confusion. I crouched lower in front of this blue, red-eyed alien. “You appear to have chosen me on purpose. Why me? —I only work at a coffee shop along the road. There are others who would help you much better than myself.” I looked at this alien in one of its huge red eyes, and its head moved to one side like it was trying to learn. I sat cross-legged on the floor in front of the blue alien. I took my mobile phone out of my pocket and said, “I’m going to phone someone who can help, ok?” looking at it in the eye. It didn’t seem to understand anything. I called the police and said, “Hello, I’m sat in front of a red-eyed, blue alien on the corner of East 14th Street. It’s near Union Square West.”
The officer on the phone responded, “Indeed? Oh, this is a prank call, isn’t it? I’m busy, please don’t prank call.”
“I realise this sounds absurd but…” the phone was then hung up. Damn. I turned my phone off.
All right, I was in a situation, and I needed to take action as this grey alien is real to me. I looked back into the eyes of the blue creature and thought, “If I could see it, someone else might too. All I need to do is to make matters clear to the people in the area. Someone might also see the alien. There was a fire hydrant, behind the alien. I made sure the creature was close to it. I stood to my feet and moved towards the steps leading into a building. I’d be in a greater location to speak to everyone. On the third level, I could see all along the block, and there were fifty people in view. I announced, “Excuse me, everybody!” This got a lot of attention. “I have this situation, where there is, in fact, a strange creature near this fire hydrant.” As I said this, I was pointing to the blue large-headed alien. “I have come to the assumption not everyone can see it.” At this moment, everyone was beginning to look away and walk in their original direction. “Someone must be able to see it.” A group of five men stopped in front of me, and one asked, “Where is it?”
So, I responded by saying, “It’s right in front of that fire hydrant—there.” As I pointed to the red-eyed, blue alien. It raised its massive blood veined head and seemed to smile at me. Then it disappeared altogether. “Oh, it’s now disappeared to me too. Oh shit! Not my day is it.” Everyone was still looking at me. The embarrassment was overwhelming, and I wanted to disappear myself, but I couldn’t. “Err…”