In Plain Sight

I used to work in central intelligence. I only mention it as it’s something that sets me apart from everyone else: my ability to notice small details, in even times of disorder or panic. It is because of this that only I know the truth.

Stirring my coffee with a dirty spoon, I looked up to see a ratty, disheveled man in a dirty brown coat at the far end of the diner. I watched him stand and it was then I noticed his mouth was bleeding. The other patrons took notice and started to stare as well as he bent over and began to grunt and groan and mutter.

And then his coat exploded in a splatter of gore, and long green tentacles writhed from his back. They shot out in all directions, grabbing the other customers, twisting up their bodies in slippery slick coils and lifting them from the ground.

Pandemonium ensued. Tables were overturned. Silverware spilled out on the checkerboard tile of the diner floor and glasses shattered. I was caught up in the fleeing mob, but as I glanced back over my shoulder I saw the man’s back had transformed into a gaping maw with fearsome giant teeth and was devouring the victims the tentacles pulled in.

We stampeded out onto the sidewalk and the creature followed. Our panic spread to the crowds in the street. The brown man gave pursuit, carving a path of mayhem and destruction. Bodies were eviscerated and devoured. Cars overturned. Hydro poles splintered like matchsticks.

But the details, oh, the details.

The boy behind the counter in the diner wasn’t among us. When I’d glanced over my shoulder I saw him still slowly wiping down the bar in the erupting chaos, as if nothing at all was happening. The man on the street corner smoking a cigarette and reading a newspaper hadn’t joined the fleeing mob; I saw him calmly turn a page while the brown man devoured a banker in a business suit, briefcase and all. The old vendor of the hotdog stand kept shaking his head in time to the music of his cheap radio as I fled past him. I saw him flip a sizzling sausage like he had so hundreds of times before, unshaken.

This isn’t an isolated incident. And it isn’t an invasion either. They’ve been here among us all along, just waiting for the right moment.

This is only the beginning.

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