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from The Kiss by Shirley Holder Platt

Copyright © 2020–2021 Shirley Holder Platt

The Monster in the Basement

Alice had heard every joke in the book, but today she felt like she really had fallen through the looking glass. Finding an alien in your bathtub is, by anyone’s standard, an odd way to start the day. She didn’t see him at first, as she was not much of a morning person and was surely running late for her job. She rushed through her morning face scrub and teeth brushing. As she raised her head from the sink, her eyes landed on the creature in the tub. If anyone had been watching they might have measured, but by her reckoning, she jumped at least 4 feet off the floor, and spit the whole mouthful of toothpaste onto the mirror. The scream that she didn’t even think to censure, seemed to wake up the creature. He was the color of water. That’s the only way she would ever describe him. And she might not have noticed if the tub had been full for a bath, but with it empty, he was clearly visible. She always referred to him as a he, because, to her dismay, he spoke to her after the scream.

“Do not scream again, human, it is unpleasant to my ears,” he said.

It was at that point that Alice decided to run out of her own bathroom. As a matter of a fact, she decided to run out of her own house. She made it no further than the bathroom door before a rubbery hand slipped around her wrist.

“Do not try to leave,” a deep voice commanded as the grip around her wrist tightened.

At this point, Alice went into full blown panic. All the years of training for self-defense flew out of her head as she twisted her arm and pulled ferociously.

“Stop now or I will hurt you.”

“NO!” she screamed, turning to face this watery monster from nightmare realms. 

“I said do not scream again. Now I must punish you.”

At this pronouncement, anger took the place of her fear. Alice pulled her arm with as much strength as she could muster. She pulled it across her face so that the creature’s arm was at her mouth. And then she clamped down with as much force as she a mad alligator. Aiming to maim, she held nothing back, sure that the iron grip would slip enough for her to run. But to her surprise, her teeth sunk into the arm, and she would swear for years to come when she’d tell her kids and grandkids the tale, that the monster’s arm was the consistency of rubber.

A low rumble began emanating from the monster’s chest. It built as she clamped down harder and tried to shake the arm in her mouth like a hungry dog with a poor rabbit. She thought her teeth would come out of her head before that arm would move. Her eyes flew open and she was standing face to face with the beast. In that instant, she saw his long, willowy arms and legs, his elongated torso, and the blue green skin that reminded her of a plastic toy her nephew played with when he was quite young. But this was no toy. One look at the face would put all thoughts of playtime to rest. He had the features we’re all used to seeing, but they were not in the same arrangement. Close set eyes filled the middle of a hairless head. They were large and shaped a bit like cashews with the round end pointing out and the other pointing to his mouth. As he was laughing at her by now, she could see the two rows of tiny, but very pointed teeth. When he spoke, his tongue was forest green. He had no lips, but a slit that went from the ear to ear. And the ears were pointed outward to make the oval shaped head even longer. Tufts of feather-like hair sprouted at the ends, which made it look as if his face wanted to go in two directions, following those points. Under the mouth, she saw what could only be a dual purpose nose/gill. She realized all these things as she tried to grind through the rubbery skin in her mouth.

“Stop this nonsense now. You cannot harm me.”

This damnable creature has some kind of gall, Alice thought as she dropped her pretense of biting through that tough skin. It didn’t occur to her to think it odd when she answered by spitting into the cashew shaped eyes. When he blinked the spit away, she noticed his lids were as green as his tongue and moved upward instead of down. Then his long, thin tongue snaked out of his mouth and tasted her spittle.

“You do not taste like other humans I have eaten.”

Alice kicked toward what she thought might be a groin, only to have her ankle end up in the iron grip of his second arm. This knocked her off balance. As she toppled tow...

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