This story is by Melody Kenoyer and was part of our 2017 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the Summer Writing Contest stories here.
Jack bolted awake and slapped his neck. He looked at his palm and watched the mosquito fade into his hand in a pink puff of smoke leaving nothing behind but pink glitter.
That was weird, he thought. He felt the welt on his neck and wondered what was in that concoction he drank last night.
Late for work, shit. He quickly showered, ran a comb through his wet hair, dressed and ran out the door. His car was parked askew in the lot. He hated Mondays.
People in passing cars were staring at him with strange expressions. He checked himself in the rear-view mirror. Passing the park he noticed a young girl, maybe eight or nine, playing with a little dog. They both had pink hair. She was tossing treats to him as he leapt into the air with delight to catch them. The girl waved at Jack with great enthusiasm and a huge smile. The dog just stared. Jack stepped on the gas pedal. Maybe he wouldn’t be that late.
As he entered the office he expected to hear some razzing from Maggie at the front desk. Jack! Let me guess, car wouldn’t start? But Maggie just ignored him. He slipped past her thinking maybe he was in the clear. As people trickled into the office it became apparent that no one noticed him. They couldn’t see him!
“Marian, it’s me, Jack!” he said to his counterpart with no response. The mail kid rolled by shoving his cart, “Hey Jimmy…” he said as Jimmy pushed past him. Stunned and panicked, he ran to the bathroom and splashed water on his face.
“Get a grip Jack,” he said to the mirror. He checked his neck, remembering the mosquito and found flecks of pink glitter. He recalled his drive to work and how people were staring. Did they see me?
That girl with the dog! She waved at me! He ran out to his car to find her.
When he reached the park, the girl and her dog were sitting on a picnic table. He ditched his car and ran to them.
She’d been expecting him.
“There you are. Took you long enough,” she said playfully.
“You can see me!” Jack proclaimed.
“I told you,” the dog said to her sarcastically.
Jack, breathing hard, stared at the dog.
“Did he just talk?”
The girl smirked.
“Bark like a dog for me Fred!” she commanded and burst into laughter. She loved to tease him.
Jack stared at them.
“I’m not sure he’s ready Violet,” the dog said to the girl, “he seems agitated. You know how they are when they’re agitated,” Fred sighed, “so very tiresome.”
Violet smiled, patted his head and gave him a treat, then jumped up in a flurry of pink glitter.
“I think he’s OK,” she was looking at Jack who jumped back instinctively.
“Wait, Violet is it?”
She slowly nodded.
Fred droned, “I told you. Full of fear.”
“I am not!” Jack abruptly countered, then tried to relax his posture.
I’m arguing with a talking dog.
“Sit down Jack and I’ll explain everything,” Violet said calmly.
“OK, shoot… NO! Don’t shoot! That’s not what I meant. I mean tell me who you are. Why can’t anyone see me and why is there pink glitter on my neck?!”
Violet held up a hand and began her speech.
“My name is Violet and this is my transport, Fred.”
“Transport?” Jack quizzed.
“This is easier if you let me talk,” she retorted.
“Right,” Jack shifted and watched her.
“I’m a recruiter from the planet Europa.”
“I thought Europa was a moon,” Jack said as a matter of fact.
Fred rolled his eyes letting out an exasperated breath.
“Yes, I know. That scary movie with the monolith,” she shivered and pink glitter fell from her hair. “You know, there is life there, but it’s not scary…” she continued.
“Am I being abducted?”
“Oh please!” Fred moaned. “Can’t we just throw this one back?”
“Stop it! Both of you! Let me talk!” Violet stared at them both until she was sure she had Jack’s full attention.
“I’m from Europa. The planet Europa. Our people had to flee to Earth during the great glue storm of Elmers…”
Jack jumped up.
“The Elmers glue storm? In glitter world!?” His voice was raised as he eyed his car sitting cockeyed on the grass with the driver side door flung wide open.
“You got me! I don’t know how you did this but – Ok,” he was waving his hands in the air and walking toward his car, muttering, “this is some crazy hallucination or I’m asleep or something…”
Fred jumped down from the table and stood next to Violet.
They both just stared at Jack who was still talking as he walked away.
“Do I have to say it?” Fred mused.
“He seemed ready,” she said, wondering how she could have been so wrong.
“You really need to work on your delivery,” Fred gruffed.
“Yes, I believe you’re right.”
She pulled a vial out of her pocket and released a blue mosquito that immediately flew over to Jack and bit his neck, then vanished in a puff of blue smoke. Jack never felt a thing as he climbed into his car.
“Nice parking job,” the meter maid teased as she handed him a parking ticket. He looked confused, not sure why he was there.
“You got kids?” she asked.
“There’s blue glitter on your neck,” she pointed out.
He checked the side mirror and brushed blue flecks from his neck then carefully backed up and took off.
Violet looked perplexed as she watched him pull away. Fred grew to the size of a small motorhome, opened his mouth and dropped his lower jaw to the ground. Violet walked inside. Fred closed his mouth and began to glow, then vanished in a pink puff of smoke leaving nothing but a spray of pink glitter on the grass.