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It happened so quickly I had no time to think, only react.
“Checkmate” Jacob said.
“Pure luck” I said begrudgingly, lying through my teeth.
“Whatever. I’m going to get a Coke. Want one?”
Jacob was always over at my house, he was like family. I’ve known him since kindergarten when he threw-up on me after snack time. I thought it was cool and we’ve been inseparable ever since.
“Why does Maine have to be so cold” I groaned to no one.
I hate it here. The winters are freezing, the summers’ are too short and everything is about as boring as a thumbtack. Even our street names are! I mean come on. Oak Street, First Street and the oh so clever Main Street, which is mine.
Its time like these when I wish I had the ability to melt things. Okay, it’s not as great as invisibility or being able to fly – whatever. I just want to get rid of the white cold blanket that’s slowly and painfully crawling over my world.
Interrupting my rant, a flash of light from coming from the window catches my attention. I got up to look out and noticed a taxi pulling up against the curb across the street. Written across the bright yellow rusted door was ‘Boston Taxi’.
“What’s a guy from-”
I nearly jumped out of my skin.
“Jacob! Can’t you warn a guy first?” I exclaimed running on fresh adrenalin.
“You’re such a baby Tim. Anyway I was trying to say what’s a guy from Boston taking a cab out here for?
“How would I know?” I sarcastically replied.
Turning my attention back towards the cab, I noticed a thin middle-aged man getting out of the back seat. His skin looked like an early diagnosis of jaundice, only with a greenish tint that was barely noticeable. His hair was a dark grey color with black streaks juxtaposing his bright red glasses that looked like Harry Potter’s but only bigger. I wasn’t close enough to look at his facial features, but I could tell women would turn the other cheek. He had a lanky build, but walked liked he was gliding across the sidewalk. He was wearing a striped red and orange sweater covering only half of his arms with a pair of brown corduroy pants embellished with bursts of lint. What really boggled my mind was that he wasn’t wearing a winter coat.
“Where did this guy come from?” Jacob asked while slurping his soda.
I was too fixated on this stranger to reply.
He didn’t even look like he was cold. No shivering, rubbing his arms, nothing. When he exhaled, you couldn’t see his breath like you usually did in winter. It was safe to say that is man didn’t belong here – anywhere for that matter.
He reached into the back seat to grab his suitcase like a businessman would carry but only brown, bigger and more worn out like he had been carrying it for years.
Meanwhile, the cab driver came out of his seat and walked around the front of the car to the coatless man. He held his hand out anticipating his big payday mouthing how much the total was.
“It’s going to be at least three-hundred dollars” I said in awe.
The strange man took five bills out of his wallet and stared at them like he was holding the key to lost city of Atlantis. The drivers face was in amazement as five-hundred dollars was gently set down on his palms like a feather gliding from the sky.
“Are you kidding me? A three-hundred dollar cab ride with a two-hundred dollar tip?! We are so shoveling his driveway” Jacob half whispered.
He parted ways with the flabbergasted driver and walked up to the house that was newly built after the old one burnt down.
He opened the door and looked outside like he was searching for someone. Then he quietly closed it shut careful not to make a sound.
It was like he never existed.
The next day word got around about the new neighbor thanks to Jacob. People started coming over to visit the strange man and welcomed him to the neighborhood. Curious, I watched through the windows near my front door. Their conversations were brief and probably only lasted less than a minute, but people didn’t seem to notice. They walked away content knowing the new neighbor would be no trouble to their quiet little town.
I on the other hand wasn’t convinced.
As the sun started to set, my suspicions multiplied. I thought back to when he arrived here and how oddly dressed he was. A man dressed like that didn’t belong here. He belonged in the seventies with bell bottoms and cassette players. And what was with the one suitcase? Wouldn’t a moving truck already come by now? What about him staring at the money like lost buried treasure? Can he read? He did take a cab from Boston to the middle of nowhere Maine. Who would do that?
I have to look inside.
“Mom! Jacob left his coat. I’m going to bring it to him” I lied again.
“Ok. Don’t stay long. And say hello to Dave, our new neighbor” she yelled from the
Finally, a name to the face.
Opening the front door, the frigid winter air slapped me across the face while engulfing me like I had fallen into cold water. Feeling like pure torcher, I trudged through this menacing wind making my way across the street. I looked around paranoid that someone was watching me as I made my way to the window on the side of the house. Kneeling down before Dave had a chance to see me, I caught a glimpse of something that was neon green and glowing. It was only a blur so I couldn’t see it too well. I figured out that if I stayed near the bottom corner of the window, I would be safe if he looked my way.
I never noticed how nice this house was. Tan paint with crown molding, cherry oak hardwood floors with the occasional scratch, brand new appliances and more. It was like a picture out of a Sears’s home catalog, only empty.
My eyes glazed over the kitchen where I saw the neon green blur. It was in some sort of large beaker with steam coming out of the top. It kind of looked like the liquid in a glow stick but only thicker: and alive. Forming before my eyes was a hand with four fingers reaching for the rim of the glass like it was trying to escape. This simple blob morphed to a hand with incredible detail. The hand itself was a slimy green color that looked a bit see though. Red rings were forming around the fingers as it started reaching for the table below.
“NO NO NO NO! Not yet I just got here!” Dave exclaimed through the window startling me.
I heard the beaker hiss something at him, but I couldn’t understand it. It was muffled thanks to the window. Dave picked up the beaker and placed it underneath a large bowl so it wouldn’t escape.
“Don’t worry. We’ll be out of here soon.” Dave said laughing sadistically.
As fast as my feet could take me, I bolted for my house. My hands were still shaking as I picked up the phone and told Jacob what I just saw.
“HAHA! Yeah, right Tim. Next thing you know, there will be a newscast on the radio saying an alien invasion is happening” Jacob chuckled over the phone.
“I’m not lying man this is serious!” I knew he wouldn’t believe me. I didn’t believe myself when I spoke about what I saw.
“Get some sleep you’re talking nonsense. I got to go.”
I know what I saw was real. The question was would anyone believe me? I set the phone down in defeat. Throwing my body onto my bed, I mulled over what I saw. I fell asleep sometime later because I woke up to darkness pouring into my eyes.
I looked at my clock, “Wow two a.m.” I said to the silence.
As I stood up, the feeling of being watched washed over my body faster than the water flowing over Niagara Falls. My door was shut along with my closet, so I was hesitant to look out my window. I scanned the lawns across the street only to find Dave staring directly at me from his house. He was in the same spot I was when I was spying through the window and saw the hand clawing to escape.
He knew I had been watching.
I stood there motionless and frighten to the core. I felt like a deer in the headlights; frozen in fear and thought.
Dave turned away and casually walked to his front door. His hand barely reached the doorknob before he turned back and looked at me. In the dusk, his eyes changed color. His eyes glowed piercing red and venomous. It was like two red lasers pointing straight into my eyes. He turned the rest of his body to face me keeping his stare. Dave glared at me with such intensity as if he was trying to make me burst into flames.
“He’s not human” I mouthed.
He blinked, and his red glowing eyes disappeared. The lights from my front porch shined against him and at that moment, I noticed his shadow against his house. My eyes were immediately drawn to his outstretched hands to his sides like he was about to tackle the night air. On his body, five fingers showed. But in his shadow, only four were there.
Just like the hand in the beaker.
Dave took notice of my changed expression and followed my gaze. He jumped when he saw his shadow against the front of his house. He turned away the second he noticed his shadow and his fingers. Never looking back at me, he walked into his house as if he was stomping on spiders slamming the door behind him.
I tried to move my feet, but they wouldn’t budge. They felt like they were incased in cement. My eyes were still fixated on Dave’s house where I saw him running around frantic in the windows.
Faster than I had ever before, I ran down the stairs in full panic and terror. I sprinted towards my front door and threw it open. The second I did, the sound of engines starting shocked me. It was louder than a freight train and almost as loud as commercial airline jet.
I jumped off my porch and kept running until my foot slipped beneath me and I landed face first into the snow. I wiped away the snow blurring my vision and looked up to see Dave’s house shaking. The sound of roaring engines seemed to turn into turbines as the noise got louder and louder. I was too distracted to notice no one else was outside or even seemed to hear what was happening.
Right before my eyes, Dave’s house started to lift off like a space shuttle on Cape Canaveral’s launch pad. Smoke and fire spewed out from underneath the house as it slowly rose up above the trees. Faster and faster the house started gaining speed as it rose higher and higher into space. The house became smaller until it was a tiny white dot.
Then, it was gone.
In an almost out of body state, I carefully pulled myself up from the bitter snow. I had no thoughts, only questions that will remain unanswered.
As I looked back to the sky, another white dot appeared. It seemed to grow and looked like a pens ink bleeding through paper. The whole sky turned white and a bright white light engulfed my vision and my thoughts.
My sight started to return as a familiar room slowly crept into my vision along with a familiar voice.
“Checkmate” Jacob said.