Chapter 2: The Doubtful Guest

Chapter 2: The Doubtful Guest

A Chapter by Reese P. Holmes

Nicole watched with fright as the shimmering alien tendrils combed underneath the bed for her, but she was curled up in a ball just out of reach, she hoped. She silently thanked herself for getting a completely unnecessary (until now) king sized bed.

Just as all hope seemed lost, the escaped prisoner gasped and cried out happily. “I have an idea!” The terrified woman rose her gaze upwards. “Okay, ideas are good!”

“That pen, the one you took from me--”

“Oh, real smart, I'll write my last will and testament with it!”

“We're both about to die and you're coming up with snarky remarks? Pay attention!”

“Er, sorry," she replied ashamedly. The mad genius sighed. “That's my Portable Interdimensional Teleporter, or I suppose my P.I.T., as we're pressed for time.”

“Your pit? Really? Never mind. A teleporter? Are you serious? So we can just teleport out of here?” Nicole bit her tongue, trying not to laugh at the absurdity of her situation.

The nicer intruder spoke with a tone of disappointment. “No, we can't. It's still recharging, unfortunately.” Nicole opened her mouth, but before she could complain, her new strange friend continued. “Fortunately though, it is recharging. I'm going to command it to open, and when I do, you've got to manually take off the safety valve and give it to the worm! If my calculations are correct, the worm will be drained of energy until it implodes! Understand? That's what it's after anyway, the power it senses! May as well give him what he wants!”

Nicole wanted to tell him he was insane, that she wasn't about to mess with advanced technology, that she had no idea what he was saying, that she didn't even believe in teleportation, but she was desperate. “Okay. Got it.” The escapee smirked, sweat trickling down his determined brow. He sent the psychic signal for his P.I.T. to open, and his success was confirmed by the gasp of surprise from under the bed.

Nicole winced at the sudden brightness and the semi-transparent tentacles that reached for her now shimmered visibly in the unnatural blue light. The outside of the pen was customary enough seeming, but the inside was something completely new, unfamiliar, alien. There were multiple tubes filled with a pulsing blue liquid and several multicolored lights and tiny switches. Tiny symbols were hand etched into any free space available. They seemed unfamiliar to her, similar to the writing on the outside, and rather beautiful. Something akin to computer chips could be seen, and they were connected to the tubes via small wires.

“This is going to be easy," she said with as much sarcastic flair as her shaking body could muster. The man sighed in relief. “Good to hear. Alright, so the safety valve is the red cap right above the sub neural inhibitor. It's a little primitive, I know, but I didn't have a lot of-” Nicole huffed. “The what? What is that?” The man rolled his eyes. “The red cap above the spinning blue and green cylinder. Not the blue tubes but the tiny blue and green cylinder, near all the little red switches.”

“Oh, well once you put it that way," oh who was she kidding? It was still really difficult to figure out what he was talking about. Everything looked kind of blue, considering the only real light she was getting was coming from the bizarre device.

She made the best guess possible and a strange groaning noise could be heard from within the device. After a few tense moments it zapped her. In her astonishment Nicole sent it flying. The chameleon flatworm reached for it and scooped it up, its tendrils departing from under the bed. Then, in a potentially positive turn, the chameleon flatworm tossed the glowing pen into its gaping mouth, its strange little black eyes slitting closed as it swallowed.


Both Nicole and the stranger stared in anticipation, hoping for their lives, wondering if anything would happen. But nothing did, and the flatworm made off for presumably better meals. As soon as it made its exit, the frightened home owner clamored from under her bed and began to search frantically for the key to her cuffs. “Nothing happened. Did I do it wrong?”

“I'm not sure. I expected more of a reaction.” The prisoner stared intensely at the doorway.

Nicole noticed a glimmer reflected off her flashlight. There was the key, on the floor near the bed, just behind her end table. She grabbed the key and set the poor man free. Rubbing his tingling hands and readjusting his broken bonds, he smiled tiredly and murmured an exhausted “thanks,” while still keeping a suspicious eye out. Nicole smacked herself in the head, her attention divided between the strange visitor and where he was looking. “No! I'm an idiot. I nearly killed you. I'm sorry. I had no idea. I just- who are you?? An escaped secret agent? Are you from the future or something? Or a galaxy far away?”

The visitor huffed at her as though she were a silly child. “I'm just a pacifist. Time travel is impossible," the man explained distractedly, a growing look of realization on his face.

“How so? I bet we can,” she trailed off. “What? What is it?” The mysterious man shook his head, his expression grave. “I just expected more of a reaction than that.” Nicole cocked her head. “I guess you were wrong. How are we gonna fight that thing anyway? You think the police can call the men in black?”

“No. I don't think my calculations were wrong, unless...” The man rubbed his blood caked hair in frustration. “Of course! Get out of here; get to safety!”

“But you're hurt. Do you even have a plan?? Is it going to implode after all? What do you-”

“Just do as I say. Run. There's no time!” He opened the second story window and pushed her out onto the first story rooftop. She gasped, indignant, but he closed the window behind her, locking her out. She thought to break the window for a moment, but then she realized something. She trusted him. Nicole hopped down to the grass below and ran out to the street in front of her house. In her hurry, she unintentionally slammed into somebody, sending both parties crashing into the concrete.

“Oh God, Charlie, it's you! I'm sorry.” Nicole sounded more shaken than she'd expected. She proffered her hand and he took it, grunting as he lifted himself with some effort. Charlie swept some of the dust off of his round belly and Nicole helped with his back. They were roughly the same height, so Nicole was surprised she was capable of knocking him down. He was such a sturdy man. One of his jagged eyebrows twitched when he took in her appearance. “What are you doing out here without shoes on? You look like you've just seen a ghost.”

“Ah, well, it's sort of hard to explain but I think the meeting is canceled for tonight--” she started, but then Charlie interrupted her, his bearded face white as a sheet, pointing back at her house. They both helplessly witnessed as a giant fireball ripped through the face of her house, blowing the rooftop. It was unreal. Even stranger, the inferno imploded on itself, almost like a video in reverse, leaving her beloved home in ruins.

Nicole's heart sunk into her stomach. She felt sick. The stranger was in there. “He knew this was going to happen. He sacrificed himself, saved my life.” Charlie's face grew even more grotesque, to the point of near cartoonishness. “What?! Someone was in there?! Who?!”

“Who? Oh my God. I didn't even know his name. I didn't even know who he was. I pointed a gun at him!” She started to cry, mouth agape at the distressing sight that lay before her.

Charlie scratched his head and ruffled his short red hair in a mixture of confusion and frustration, then he tried to comfort her by offering her a hug. She shoved him away and punched him in the pasty freckled arm as a warning, backing up from him and crying into her manicured hands. “He destroyed my home! And he never even told me his name! That horrible man! I hate him!” Charlie shook his head, trying to find the right words. “It's his fault for not telling you.”

“No! Don't you get it?! I never asked. And now I'll never know.” His enigmatic smile plagued her vision. She hadn't even noticed that firetrucks and police had arrived, landing in the nearest free space on the street. She barely registered being forced to back away from the wreckage or being guided towards an ambulance. “Shock," they called it.

More like so pissed I can't move. I'll never know the truth of what happened tonight and no one will ever believe me. What am I supposed to tell them? I'd be sent away! How could you do this to me? Did that teleportation device even really work? Where does a chameleon flatworm come from? Who was that guy? Who WAS he? Was. He's dead.

She refused to go to the hospital, but she was wrapped in a little blanket anyway, basking in the afterglow of her ex-house. Somehow, in this odd mental state, it almost felt masochistically refreshing to be done with it all. Those old nostalgic things she couldn't bear to part with were no longer following her. The chores she had on hold, the paperwork from five years ago, her hideous driver's license, all gone. The worst had happened, and yet she was still standing. But he wasn't. She'd give nearly anything to change time, yet according to him there was no such thing as a time machine, it seemed. How could a time machine seem ridiculous to him? He had a... what did he call it again? A teleporting pen! Her friends surrounded her, all hugging her and talking to her about comforting things she wasn't listening to.

“Oh, hey, there you are.” A familiar voice cleared the fog surrounding her heart. Nicole's head snapped in the direction of the voice, startling her friends who all turned to look as well.

The visitor stood there, a little dirty but essentially unharmed, holding his big silver pen like a trophy with the stupidest grin Nicole had ever seen in her life. Her heart soared and she crashed into him, giving him a huge hug. He froze, looking from one individual to the next, confusion painted on his face. “You're okay!" she cried, holding him close. He nodded as the life was squeezed out of him, and then she let go, smiling warmly. He nodded again, offering up an unsure smile. “Yes, I'm okay.”

She frowned and decked him in the gut, which he seemed a little more expectant of, and he fell to the ground in pain, coughing. Nicole blazed at him, huffing. “You blew up my house!!”

“I'm sorry! I'm so sorry!” He took her hand and she lifted him back up, threatening to punch him again. He flinched, wincing. “I'm so very sorry! Let me take you out to dinner!” Her eyes deadened. “You blow up my house then ask me out to dinner?! What's wrong with you?!”

“It's 'sorry' dinner!” He smiled apologetically, looking back at the house and then at Nicole.

Charlie laughed, getting between the two. “I'll take you both out to dinner, my treat! I mean, you both nearly died today so it's the least I can do!”

“Wait, before anything else," she paused for the word, “insane happens, my name is Nicole. What's your name??” He looked away, frowning, then at the others, trying to figure out what to say. He then looked at his device. “Pen, my name is... erm, Pen.”

© 2014 Reese P. Holmes

Author's Note

Reese P. Holmes
Absurd? Yes. Good? You be the judge. Tear it a new one. Praise it to the high heavens. Give me everything you've got, no matter what it is.

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Added on January 20, 2014
Last Updated on January 20, 2014
Tags: Singularity Effect, War, Aliens, Teleportation, Space travel, Adventure, Action