Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer

He reeled out of the stinking alley into me.

He was nearly eight feet tall and looked too skinny to stand. His hair was several different colours but as I looked at it more closely, it appeared to be made of metal. It sparked just after he bumped into me and the colours in it shimmered and changed like the wings of a beetle.

I was fixated on that until I noticed his two extra arms and his tail. I say ‘his’ because his genitals were exposed. He was wearing what appeared to be tight chaps and a red cellophane cardigan.

If he hadn’t been staring into my eyes and grabbing my shoulders, I would have backed quickly away from him like everyone else on the sidewalk did.

“Pour gras que serachi marta kursk trench ma jakatra, triestin?” he screamed at me. He looked at me, waiting for an answer.

“Uh, what?” I said.

“Oh. I see. English. Okay. What day is it?” he said to me. His breath smelled like over-ripe strawberries.

“Uh, Wednesday?” I answered.

He looked at me with that expression like he didn’t understand my language again. He looked at a device on his wrist. I guessed it was a translator. He acted like it was broken. He spoke again, louder and more slowly this time,

“What day is it? Centrus? Martus?” he said.

“Wednesday.” I said back to him.

He shook his head and looked behind him into the alley. There were sounds of a struggle and some impossible sound. If I had to describe it, it was like a sheet of glass being ripped in half. It sounded like something pivotal to reality was being split by force.

“What the DATE, then? The DATE? It’s supposed to be the 46th! Is that correct?” he yelled.

“46th? That’s not….it’s the 13th. March the 13th.” I answered.

“Maaaaaarch” he said and looked at me as if to confirm that he’d pronounced it correctly. I nodded. He looked at his wrist translator in terrified frustration. I realized that his eyes were different colours and that they never blinked at the same time. First one, then the other. Every time.

“Posska DAMMIT!” he yelled and let me go. He seemed to realize that even though I’d spoken to him in the correct language, my information was useless to him.

It was like he was a time-traveler except his frame of reference was useless at his destination.

There was a blue glow from the alley. The traveler tucked in all four of his arms and ducked into the crowd. It didn’t help.

Tentacles shot out of the alley and entered the traveller’s back. He was dragged back to the alley’s entrance. He spread his arms wide and grabbed the bricks on either side of the entrance with his impossibly long arms, forming a giant X. He looked at me with clenched teeth. His watch device broke and fell off his wrist. He glanced at it and nodded towards me.

“Remember-” he said but a charge of energy came through the tentacles and he shuddered. He was lifted into the air for a moment before disappearing quickly into the shadows of the alley.

There was the sound of thunder and then a sound of reality zipping itself up.

People around me kept on walking. I lay on the sidewalk looking at the entrance of the alley. I looked at the wrist device the traveler had dropped. I scuttled forward, picked it up and brought it home.

I’m looking at it right now, daring myself to try it on.



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