This story is by J. M. Gill and was part of our 2017 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the Summer Writing Contest stories here.
I woke up to the sound of my alarm blaring. As I fumbled for the snooze button, my eyes squinted in response to the brightness of my phone’s screen.
My whole body ached, and I shivered at the thought of emerging from the warmth of my bed. Within 20 minutes I was bundled in my wool coat and knitted scarf. After Dr. Smith’s complaint about my tardiness, I couldn’t afford to miss the Muni and get to work late.
I had expected a dense fog, but instead, the morning was so clear that I thought I could see something sparkling on the ground.
When the Muni ride ended, and its door opened, a cold, damp, ocean gust of wind struck me, sending a chill down my spine. No other passengers disembarked.
The morning was quiet except for the sound of leaves crunching under my steps. I allowed my mind to work through today’s experimental procedures.
Suddenly, a bright blue light flashed across the black sky. A loud crashing sound followed in the distance.
I now walked cautiously; scanning my surroundings with my flashlight.
An anomalous bright light shined near the laboratory building door. As I approached the light, it became identifiable.
I now beheld an incredibly beautiful creature.
Its skin was radiant as if it had been brushed with stardust. Ebony colored hair framed its masculine face.
A blue substance that was oozing out of a breakage of its skin covered its leg. Although it seemed pitifully helpless, I was still hesitant to approach it. But my curiosity overcame any ounce of rationality that I could possess at 4:30 a.m.
Before I knew it, I was squatting beside it with my hand outstretched to touch it.
Its eyes opened, revealing pain stained blue irises. With a forced breath, it mouthed “Ruuvlo needs to know the truth about Smith.” “What truth?” I shrieked, as I moved closer as to touch it.
Right away, I felt a surge of electricity pulse violently through my body.
My eyes opened to the blur of the world spinning around me. My head was throbbing with pain, and I was laying in a puddle of icy mud. I wondered how long I had been unconscious, as I brushed the dirt off my clothes.
Silence pervaded the dank halls of the laboratory building.
My head turned abruptly in response to the sound of claws clanking the floor behind me. The motion detecting lights had dimmed behind me making it too dark to see anything.
My heart thudded loudly, as I ran to the lab, locked the door, caught my breath, and looked at the clock.
It was too late to treat the neuronal tissue cultures. Dr. Smith wouldn’t be happy, but that seemed unimportant. Those penetrating blue eyes still burned at the back of my mind. Where did that creature come from and why did touching it shock me? What happened to it, while I was unconscious? Did Dr. Smith have something to do with it and its kind or was the creature referring some other Smith? Who was Ruuvlo? What was the truth about Smith?
I slumped into my chair.
I pushed aside the unlabeled pill bottle that lay on my desk and opened the Clinical Neuropsychology textbook, that Dr. Smith had lent me.
I sat at a table in the middle of the bustling dining area. The incident replayed in my mind.
“Where are you? You seem a million miles away,” interrupted Jodi.
I looked at her and replied, “Nothing… just tired.”
Jodi and I unpacked our lunches.
A 6-foot tall creature with iridescent skin, rippling muscles, sharp fangs, claws on its feet, and two sets of wings appeared in the entrance of the dining area. It pulled out a binocular-like device and started using it to scan the area.
I became deathly pale.
“What’s wrong?” Jodi asked.
“Didn’t you see that?” I turned my head inconspicuously in the direction of the creature.
“What are you talking about?” asked Jodi.
Realizing Jodi and all of the other people present had not seen the creature, I replied, “never mind.”
“You look as if you’d seen a ghost!” “You need to get some sleep, Erika!”
Scientists from across the country filled the auditorium. We had gathered to hear a lecture titled “Working Memory Deficits in the Context of Disorders with Psychosis.”
The same creature, accompanied by two other creatures, entered the auditorium and looked in my direction. The other two looked at me and started making eerie scoffing sounds at each other.
Everyone else seemed completely oblivious to their presence.
I rubbed my eyes vigorously in an attempt to make them disappear, but it didn’t work. One of the other creatures pulled out a device, resembling a laser pen, and pointed it in my direction.
I nearly jumped out of my seat.
They returned to communication amongst themselves. “Ruulvo” was the only recognizable word spoken. I continued studying them and noticed that they all wore the same type of silvery metal middle finger rings.
I had seen that ring before! Where?
I looked down at my hand, and there it was. I freaked. I couldn’t remember acquiring the ring.
Bingo! That’s why I was the only person seeing them!
I was sitting in Dr. Smith’s office waiting for her phone conversation to end when I remembered seeing the ring on the ground a few feet away from my apartment door.
How did it end up so close to my apartment? Was I meant to find it?
Dr. Smith hung up the phone, turned to me, and inquired about the experiment results. She questioned me relentlessly until I broke down.
I stammered, “Something happened.”
She demanded an explanation. I embarrassedly recounted everything, except the injured creature’s last words.
I looked down and realized that she was also wearing the ring.
Calmly, Dr. Smith asked, “Erika, have you been taking your medications?”
I replied, “What medications?”