I never understood why the other kids thought Harvey was creepy. “It’s the teeth,” they all said. But what’s creepy about having teeth? I had teeth; these other kids had teeth; you most likely have teeth. Teeth are not creepy; they’re normal. What’s creepy is all those stuffed animals out there without teeth.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
The first time I saw one of Them was at a train station on a Saturday morning. I was going into London to visit the shops, and I presumed it was a new art installation. The council had warned there would be more statuary in our town future, so it made sense that this blocky metallic man would be related.
When I disembarked the train, I saw another of Them. “Must be an advertising campaign,” I thought.
The third one of Them was standing on the tube platform. The fourth was near the exit. By the fifth one of Them, found just outside a sandwich shop, I was starting to get nervous. Everyone else was ignoring them, but when I touched one, it was most certainly there. Maybe everyone else knew what they were about?
“Excuse me?” I said to the next person to pass. “Do you know what this is?”
“It’s a sandwich shop.” He didn’t even slow down as he passed the sixth one of Them.
At this point, my blood was icy cold and my skin had erupted in gooseflesh.
I stared as the man who had just passed came to a stop and transformed into the seventh one of Them. What was happening?
“You!” said a man with bushy brown hair and a ridiculously long scarf. “You see them!”
As he was pointing at one of Them, he must have as well.
The man’s blue eyes widen. “And you haven't transformed?"
"That must mean something!" He proclaimed as he reached out to take my arm. "Come with me!”
And that is how I met the Doctor.
Monday, October 17, 2016
When I was five, my cousin got a new playhouse. You know, one of those little prefab structures to sit in the yard and let her imagine a future of domestic servitude? My parents were worried because they couldn’t afford to buy me one and thought I might be jealous.
I laughed when my mother broached the subject of my theoretical envy. “I have a house, Mom. I don’t need a smaller one.”
She smiled at me and turned to her mother. “See, she’s fine.”
Grandma gave me a long look. “So, you really don’t want a playhouse of your very own? Not even for your birthday?”
I snorted, rude in the way that only the very young can get away with. “No. I want a spaceship.”
“A spaceship?” she replied slowly.
“Yep!” My neck nearly snapped with the enthusiasm of my nod. “I want to travel to other planets and meet aliens!”
I never got my spaceship, but it’s all I can think of as I look into the yard of the house we’re checking out. “Honey,” I tell my husband. “A spaceship!”
“That’s cool,” he says. But he doesn’t run up to it with me, and doesn’t act like we should buy this property without even walking inside the house.
“I’ve always wanted a spaceship!”
His lips curl up. “Then you shall have a spaceship. But, I’m not sure this is the one.”
“Are you kidding?” I run my hand over the side of the glorious thing. Although it looks like metal, the outside is actually some form of plastic. This means there’s no rot or rust, so even though it obviously hasn’t been maintained, it’s not falling apart or dangerous. It just needs a good cleaning. And maybe an exterminator. “It’s perfect.”
Carlton looks at our realtor as I stick my head inside the saucer. “Do you think they’d sell just the spaceship?”
She laughs. “We can ask. I know they were planning on leaving it.”
A light blinks on a panel across from the door. “Oh!” I say. “It still works!”
“Works?” Carlton asks. “What do you mean?”
I’m busy climbing into the spaceship, but I answer over my shoulder, “There are electronics in here.”
“I don’t know that they’re safe,” he answers. “Something this old, and outdoors… Be careful.”
I love the man, but sometimes he really isn’t much fun.
My phone illuminates the interior of the ship. It’s small, but oddly comfortable. Cozy even. I can easily see myself putting some floor pillows in here and spending the day reading classic sci-fi. The panel with the blinking light on it is smooth save for the bulb and something in the shape of a hand.
I smile to myself as I place my palm on the panel.
I stop smiling as the entire room brightens and swirling noises fill the air. The spaceship hums to life, and the doorway slides closed.
Through the portals, I can see Carlton yelling, but his voice doesn’t make it through the hull.
As the ship rises into the air, I realize I’m finally getting my interplanetary adventure. And I think I still want it.
The first thing I think of when I see the bright light is the song “Mr. Spaceman” by the Byrds. “Hey, Mr. Spaceman, won’t you please take me along? I won’t do anything wrong. Please, Mr. Spaceman, won’t you please take me along for a ride?”
The second thing I think is, “Run!”
These thoughts hit each other head on to cause me to stand staring at the approaching luminescence.
Approaching luminescence… Whatever it is is getting closer, coming toward me through the dark forest. It shouldn’t be able to make a straight line, not with all the trees in the way. I dart to the side, but the light turns to stay directly in front of me. That’s probably not good.
“Don’t run,” says a voice that sounds like it’s being projected from a million surround-sound speakers. “Stay. Please.”
The voice is both terrifying and serenely comforting.
I force myself to speak. “Who are you? What do you want?”
“I love you,” the voice replies. For some reason, the answer doesn’t frighten me.
“Who are you?” I ask again. The light has continued to grow closer and is now filling the entire clearing with blinding radiance.
“I am Iyrin, a watcher.”
A watcher? A watcher who glows with the force of a star. “An angel?”
“Some call me that.”
“Can I see you?”
The light dims until all I see is darkness. As my eyes adjust to this, a shape begins to form before me. It’s tall and human-shaped, save for the wings. I can’t tell what gender the being is, but it is the most breathtakingly beautiful individual I have ever beheld.
The being - the angel - draws near. Near enough that despite the dark, I can suddenly see his- her?- eyes. They’s a pale yellow, like buttercups, and are filled with adoration.
She - he? - reaches out and embraces me. And the world becomes nothing but light.
Sunday, October 16, 2016
“No,” I state, firm in my conviction.
“You’re the one who picked dare.” Connie folds her arms and gives me a look that clearly communicates there’s no backing out of truth-or-dare. “And the dare is, go swimming in the abandoned bunker.”
“But I didn’t know it was this gross!” I wave my hand over the murky expanse, which is lit only by Trina’s cell phone. It also smells like… I don’t even know what. But it smells awful. “I want another dare!”
“Nope,” says Trina, her voice holding laughter. “Although if you want to tell us who you were making out with in the library, we’ll let you switch to truth.”
I can’t do that though. The things in the water could quite possibly kill me, but nowhere near as quickly as Connie and Trina would if they found out I’d been with a vampire. They wouldn’t call me a fanger slut, but they would make it very, very clear that I’m not to be involved with anyone who considers me food. And there’s no way they’d buy that Alec is different, that he doesn’t view me as nutrition; they’d say I’m deluded.
“Fine,” I grumble. At least they let me change into my swimsuit, so I’m not having to do this naked. I draw a breath and run into the water with a squeal. I stop with it hitting my knees. The water isn’t actually that deep, just slimy.
“Swim!” Connie calls out. “You can’t just stand there, that’s cheating!”
I sink down to my knees, bringing the water up to my waist, and I start to gag. I can’t do this.
Feeling sick, I rise to my feet and trudge back to my friends. Time to face the truth...
Friday, October 14, 2016
Back home, people know who I am. They respect, maybe even fear me. But I'm in a new city now, and the man who just approached me late at night has no clue what he's up against.
It's always amusing, that moment when they start doubting their sanity. Even more entertaining is the instant when that disbelief turns to terror. I look forward to it as I size the man up, certain he's going to provoke me.
Yes, I could just turn into a tree and repel unwanted attentions that way, but where's the fun in that? My dryad father gave me the ability to sprout bark, but thanks to my human mother, I'm not immobilized by the transformation.
The man approaching me sees only a young woman, about twenty years old and a hundred twenty pounds. “You don't have to be scared, baby girl.”
I smile, confident that despite his creepy leer, he's no threat. He stinks of alcohol, and his eyes have the unfocused quality you see in people who are high. Like I said, no threat at all.
If he just wants to flirt, I'll let him go. But he responds to me saying I'm in a rush by blocking my way and creeping closer. Close enough I get a good view of his teeth. He needs to visit the dentist more often.
“You don't want to talk?” he asks. “We don't have to talk.”
“I don't want to do anything with you,” I say, just to be clear.
At this point, he still has a chance to back off and survive our encounter. But he elects to reach out and grab my arm. Bad choice.
I transform my arm, making him drop it in surprise. I grin as I feel my hair turn to branches, knowing my eyes have started to glow with magic.
The man curses. “I'm sorry! I didn't mean anything! I was just being friendly!”
He back peddles as I laugh.
His eyes widen in shock as I place my hands on the sidewalk and send roots to grab his feet.
“I'm sorry!” he says again.
Thursday, October 13, 2016
He’s thawing. He’ll be gone soon.
I rush up to the window and look out at my friend. He smiles sadly back at me and raises a hand to the glass.
My palm chills when I place it over his.
I want to go outside, but not everyone out there is as magnanimous as my friend. And some of the creatures, they get desperate when the air starts to warm.
Beads of water trickle down both of our faces. Mine are tears. His might be. Or he could be melting that fast.
He meets my eyes and blows a little kiss. And then he turns and glides away, fading quickly into the melting snow.
He’ll be back next year. But it still hurts to see him go.