"THE UNWELCOME INTRUDER"
It was Saturday morning. My name is Mike Findlay, I'm thirty-four years of age, divorced and now living on my own in a rented flat in Glasgow. I'd gone out early to purchase a packet of cornflakes and some other groceries at the supermarket round the corner and returned to find my outside landing door slightly ajar. Panicking slightly I laid my supermarket carrier bag down on the doormat, cautiously eased the door further open, and quietly stepped into the hall, listening intently for any sounds that would indicate that I had an intruder. Lifting my umbrella off a hall coat hook I held it out in front of me as I slowly went forward, the sharp metal ferrule pointing forward, ready to defend myself if necessary. Despite my tension, however, nothing untoward happened and my initial sense of panic eased somewhat.
Hanging the umbrella back up in the hall I went out and retrieved the groceries from the doormat and shut the door behind me, relaxing somewhat but still suspicious. Placing my purchases on the kitchen table I withdrew the largest of a set of kitchen knives from its holder on the kitchen worktop and tentatively moved from room to room, looking nervously in all the places where an intruder could possibly be hiding. The flat appeared to be empty and completely undisturbed in any way. I began to wonder if I could have left the outside door ajar myself but on reliving my departure procedure less than an hour before I knew, without any doubt, that I had closed and locked the door behind me. With this conviction my anxiety increased once more and, despite not finding anything immediately suggesting the contrary, I began to sense I was not alone.
I spent the next hour carrying out a systematic check of all my important possessions but, again, could find nothing missing or even out of place. It was weird and I still had an uneasy feeling that someone had been in the flat. This feeling would not leave me.
Having completed my exhaustive check on everything and feeling only slightly more at ease I went back into the kitchen, replaced the knife in its holder, and began putting my recent purchases into the cupboards and the fridge. Almost immediately the uneasy feeling that I was not alone returned. Since there was definitely nowhere in the kitchen for anyone to hide I pushed the feeling to the back of my mind, placed a cereal bowl on the table and poured myself some of the newly-purchased cornflakes from the packet and added some milk from the fridge.
It was while I was eating I heard the strange noise. Like the sound of someone slapping their hands rapidly and rhythmically on a wet smooth surface, but each time I looked round to try to locate the source of the sound, it stopped. I returned to my cornflakes. The sound came again and this time my eyes were drawn to the wall above the kitchen door. And there was the source of the strange noise.
It was shaped like an upside-down soup-plate but was bigger and was obviously alive. It was gently pulsating at about the same speed my own heart normally beat at but which was now beating twice as fast as this as my panic returned tenfold. Quickly standing up I dropped my spoon on the table and stepped back in shock, pushing my chair behind me with the backs of my legs.
On its top surface the creature had two short stalks surmounted by eyes, each eye moving independently of the other like those of a chameleon. One eye was watching me intently while the other appeared to be exploring its surroundings.
It moved about four feet along the wall and stopped and, as it moved, it generated the strange slapping noise. I backed off further away from the table, bringing my chair hard against one of the kitchen units. My thoughts were now running riot as I tried to figure out what the hell the alien-looking thing was. The nearest creature I could think of was one of these horseshoe crab things, but this was much larger and had no tail.
It moved again, this time crossing the ceiling by unseen means to directly above the kitchen table. I moved further along the front of the units, watching, frightened of the unknown. The Thing remained above the table for a few second then floated straight down, doing a graceful half-roll as it did so. It landed on my plate of cornflakes and began consuming them noisily through some unseen orifice underneath. It then went to the edge of the table and floated down onto the floor, from where it hastily climbed back up the wall to resume its original position above the kitchen door. The plate was completely empty. The Thing gave a sort of sigh as if in satisfaction, then settled down once more into its normal mode, gently pulsating and watching.
What the hell should I do? Was it dangerous? Should I inform the authorities? Should I try to kill it? As I considered the latter solution the Thing became agitated and fixed both its eyes on me at once with a stare which communicated a malevolence so powerful that it transmitted a feeling of threat to me which intensified my panic. Had it read my thoughts regarding its possible demise? It certainly appeared to have done so.
With it being so much smaller than me I now decided, illogically, that it could not physically harm me, so I decided to go through into the lounge in the hope I could get away from it and calm down to think. I edged round the kitchen wall and out of the kitchen, the creature and I keeping our respective eyes on each other as I did so. A sudden dash took me into lounge where I turned round and waited for something to happen. Idiot. I'd forgotten to shut the door but it was now too late.
Slap, slap, slap. The creature joined me in the lounge, taking up position on the wall directly above the door as it had in the kitchen. It began visually exploring its new surroundings, once more only with one eye, the other again clearly focused on me. In a panic born of desperation I decided to take some drastic action.
Slowly and surreptitiously I picked up an empty vase from the coffee table and, gripping it firmly, suddenly turned round and flung it with all my might at the Thing on the wall, hoping to kill it or at least disable it sufficiently to allow me to dispose of it. To my astonishment I missed it completely. There was now a deep scar on the wall at the exact position my visitor had occupied a second before and the vase lay in pieces on the floor. I swear the damn thing didn't actually move. Rather it seemed to have disappeared and reappeared instantaneously three feet away, now turning a dark red colour, apparently in anger at my attempt to harm it.
Now extremely distressed and shaking in fear of this weird and alien visitor, I sat in one of the armchairs facing the lounge door to think things over.
I studied my Intruder intently. What the hell was it? Where had it come from? How the hell had it got into the flat in the first place? Dammit, my flat was three floors up. Was it really an alien as it appeared to be? If so, were there any more of them in the flat? Were there any more of them in the world? Was there any way of getting rid of it? Each question remained unanswered.
Ten minutes later it moved again. It traversed round the room to above the display unit on which I had a bowl of fruit. As it had done in the kitchen it dropped onto the bowl and began noisily eating its entire contents, after which it returned to its position above the door, gave a sound like a muted burp, and just waited, pulsating rhythmically. What the hell was it waiting for?, I wondered. One of its eyes continued to explore the room but there was nothing else edible that I could see.
I was wrong. A pair of shoes I had been wearing the previous day were sitting on the hearth. The uppers were leather and therefore organic. The Thing saw them, noisily crossed the ceiling, and dropped down onto them. They, likewise, disappeared, apart from the soles, which were of a man-made material. How much could the damn thing eat, for God's sake? It appeared to have already consumed at least twice its own volume in the space of a few minutes, but appeared no bigger.
This eating pattern continued for the rest of the day. Everything organic was consumed, including part of the woollen carpet. Despite my size I now began to wonder if I really was safe from the Thing's attention. After all, I was organic, wasn't I?
I tried to phone the police but the phone was dead. The braided outer covering of the wire had been consumed earlier, leaving bare wires. I tried to go outside to get help but the creature somehow, and instantaneously, transported itself to the inner face of the outside door. Not knowing what it was capable of I quickly backed off.
Night came. I slipped quickly through into the bedroom and this time slammed the door, but wondered if my visitor could transpose itself through the solid wall. Thankfully it didn't and it appeared I was safe for the time being, but by three a.m. I was exhausted and fell into a shallow and troubled sleep on top of the bed.
I wakened at six a.m. with a start, cold, and wondering if it had all been a nightmare. I quietly opened the bedroom door, hoping against hope that my unwanted guest, if there really was one, would have gone. My hopes were rapidly dashed for there it was, pulsing gently over the bedroom door. This time I was able to dash through into the kitchen, slamming the door behind me again.
I tried to eat some cornflakes but had lost my appetite. I was now becoming desperate and spent the next hour sitting at the kitchen table, thinking. Taxing my brain to find a way to get rid of my unwelcome intruder, and hoping it could not read my mind through the closed door, an idea started to form. I placed some diced steak from the fridge in my pressure cooker with some water and seasoning, leaving the lid off but close by on the work top beside the cooker. I placed it on the unlit hob then walked over and calmly opened the kitchen door. As I had anticipated, the little horror quickly came in and took up its usual position above the door.
Pointedly ignoring it I sat down again on one of the kitchen chairs close to the cooker and waited to see if my plan would work. It did. After a few minutes assessing the situation the Thing noisily crossed the ceiling and stopped directly above the cold pressure cooker, apparently eyeing up its contents. After a couple of minutes the temptation was too great and my unwelcome guest dropped down and squeezed into the pressure cooker where it began noisily to consume the meat. I quickly slammed the lid in place, locked it onto its seal, then lit the gas ring under it.
For the next minute or two I could hear the little horror screaming in rage and pain as the water heated up. Eventually it ceased its noise and I allowed another fifteen minutes to make sure it was dead.
I cautiously remove the lid and, sure enough, the Thing was there, beautifully cooked, and steaming away. It smelled wonderful and I served it to myself with potatoes and broccoli. It was delicious, tasting somewhere between chicken and venison.