It was quite by accident that I discovered this incredible invasion of Earth by all these life forms from another planet. As yet, I haven't done anything about it; I just can't think of anything to do right now. I could only think of writing to the Government, and they sent back a pamphlet to me on the repair and maintenance of frame houses. Anyhow, the whole thing is known to everyone; I'm not the first to discover it. Maybe, it's even under control for now.
I was sitting in my easy-chair, idly turning the pages of a paperbacked book which someone had left on the bus, when I suddenly came across the reference that first put me on the trail. For a moment, I didn't respond at all. It took some time for the full import to sink in. After I'd comprehended, it seemed odd that I actually hadn't noticed it right away.
The reference was clearly to some nonhuman species of incredible properties, those who are not indigenous to Earth. A species, I hasten to point out, customarily masquerading as ordinary human beings. Their disguise, however, became transparent in the face of the following observations by the author. It was at once obvious that the author almost knew everything. Knew everything – and was taking it in his stride. The line (and I tremble remembering it even now) read,
‘...his eyes slowly roved about the room.’
Vague chills assailed me. I somehow tried to picture the eyes. Did they roll like dimes? The passage indicated not; they seemed to move through the air, not over the surface. Rather rapidly, apparently. No one in the story was surprised. That's what tipped me off. There was no sign of amazement that too at such an outrageous thing. Later, the matter was amplified.
‘...his eyes moved from person to person.’
There it was in a nutshell. The eyes had clearly come apart from the rest of him and were on their own now. My heart just pounded after reading that and my breath choked in my windpipe, literally. I had stumbled on an accidental mention of a totally unfamiliar race. Obviously, non-Terrestrial. Yet, to the characters in the book, it was all perfectly natural – which also suggested that they belonged to the same species, may be.
And what about the author? A slow suspicion burned in my mind. The author was taking it rather too easily in his stride. Evidently, he felt this was quite a usual thing. He made absolutely no attempt to conceal this knowledge. The story continued,
‘...presently his eyes fastened on Julia.’
Julia, being a lady, had at least the breeding to feel indignant. In the book, she is described as blushing and knitting her brows angrily. At knowing this, I really sighed with relief. They weren't all non-Terrestrials, to know the least. The narrative continues,
‘...slowly and calmly, his eyes examined every inch of her.’
Great Scott! But here the girl turned and stomped off and the matter ended there. I lay back in my chair gasping with ultimate horror. My wife and family regarded me in wonder.
"What's wrong with you, my dear?" my wife asked.
I couldn't tell her. Some knowledge like this was way too much for the ordinary run-of-the-mill person. I had to keep it to myself.
"Nothing," I gasped. I suddenly leaped up, snatched the book, and hurried out of the room.
In the garage, I continued with the reading. There was much more in it. Trembling and shaking, I read the next revealing passage,
‘...he put his arm around Julia. Presently, she asked him if he would remove his arm. He immediately did so, with a smile.’
It's not said what was done with the arm after the fellow had removed it. Maybe, it was left standing upright in the corner. Maybe, it was thrown away. I don't care. In any case, the full meaning was there, staring me right in the face.
Here was a race of creatures capable of removing portions of their anatomy at will. Eyes, arms – and maybe more. Without batting an eyelash. My knowledge of biology came in handy, at this point.
Obviously they were simple beings; I guess uni-cellular, some sort of primitive single-celled things. Beings no more developed than starfish. Starfish can do the same thing, you know.
I read on. And came to this incredible revelation, tossed off coolly by the author without the faintest tremor,
‘...outside the movie theater, we decided to split up. Part of us went inside the theater and the other part head over to the cafe for dinner.
Binary fission, obviously. Splitting in half and forming two separate entities. Probably, each of the lower half went to the cafe, it being farther, and the upper halves to the movies. I read on, hands shaking. I had really stumbled onto something here with great amount of curiosity. My mind reeled as I made out to read this passage,
‘...I'm very afraid and there's no doubt about it. Poor Bibney has lost his head again.’
Which was then, followed by,
‘...and Bob says that he has utterly no guts, whatsoever.’
Yet Bibney got around as well as the next person. The next person, however, was just as strange as I can think of. He was soon described as,
‘...totally lacking in brains.’
There was no doubt of the thing that was written in the next passage. Julia, whom I had thought to be the one normal person, then reveals herself as also being an alien life form, similar to the rest of the characters,
‘...quite deliberately, Julia had given her heart to the young man.’
It didn't relate what the final disposition of the organ was, but I didn't really care. It was evident that Julia had gone right on living in her usual manner, like all the others in the book. Without her heart, arms, eyes, brains, viscera and then dividing up in to two halves when the occasion demanded that from her. That too, without a qualm.
‘...thereupon she gave him her hand.’
I sickened. The rascal now also had her hand, as well as her heart. I shudder to think what he's done with them, all by this time.
‘...he took her arm.’
Not content to wait, he had to start dismantling her on his own. Flushing crimson, I slammed the book shut and leaped it hard to my feet. But not in time to escape one last reference to those carefree bits of anatomy whose travels had originally thrown me on the track,
‘...her eyes followed him all the way down the road and across the meadow.’
I rushed from the garage very quickly and came back inside the warm house, as if the accursed things were following me too. I saw that my wife and children were playing Monopoly in the kitchen. I joined them and played with frantic fervour, brow feverish and teeth chattering.
I had, just had enough of that thing. I want to hear no more about it. Let them come on. Let them come and invade the Earth. I just don't want to get mixed up in it.
I have absolutely no stomach for it. Not at all!
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