It is a well-known fact that our subconscious mind cannot tell the difference between reality and fiction. In a world of amazing, even miraculous, things happening - what is real?
We each have our own definition. This can pose a serious problem when confronted with an unsettling reality that grabs our definition by the tenders and says “Oh, yeah?”
Do you know what is real?
Wendell never saw it coming. The shock wave pummeled him in the chest, shoving him through the lounge chair. Defensively, he wrapped both arms around his head and ducked, failing to protect his ears from the shrieking that he thought would leave him deaf or the intense green flash that left him seeing spots. Either way, he was definitely shielding his face from the dirt and grass that flew up and across the yard.
Eyes clenched, he waited for the pelting debris to stop, the small objects stung his exposed arms, plinking off the metal frame of the chair. He felt a few small rocks ricochet off his back and neck and then all was still.
The knots in his gut relaxed, and he loosened the grip around his head.
WHAT WAS THAT!??
Cautiously opening his eyes, he found knees in his face and feet in the air. His mind reeled with possibilities as he twisted, turned and stretched to see around his legs.
The force of that blast pushed me right through the chair. No wonder I fell over. Ugh! I can’t see anything!
His face was painfully pressed against the rough concrete and he couldn’t move without scraping off skin. Twisted like a pretzel, he struggled to untangle his legs.
With a grunt and a few yoga moves he saw on his moms fitness video, he gained some leverage. Unfortunately, when he paused to take a breath, Wendell lost his balance and fell over again.
In that moment of silence, Wendell’s ears twitched to an odd sound.
…a rustling in the bushes on the far side of the yard.
Adrenalin flooded Wendell’s pulsing veins. He didn’t feel the scraping and tearing as he jerked his limbs loose and jumped to his feet.
Stumbling back, Wendell blinked hard.
The bush shook violently, losing a fist full of leaves.
Bewildered, he reached up and felt around his head.
Hmm. No bumps. Must have been out in the sun too long. Blinking hard again, Yeah. “Hehe.” Just turn and walk away.
But he didn’t.
And he wished he hadn’t.
The bush was definitely shaking in sporadic eruptions.
While weighing his options, (check it out or run screaming) another sound grew out of the bush.
Sharp bursts at first and then deep, cursing, and…well, pissed off.
Wendell’s stomach lurched into his throat.
His mind was morbidly curious, intrigued even, Run!! but every nerve recoiled.
Maybe I should…run!?!
With eyes riveted, he took a step back.
Maybe it’s just a bear. Or a really large raccoon.
Maybe I should go help it out…Yeah.
He brushed at his jeans and t-shirt, hoping he looked calm, collected.
Then again,…it could have rabies or something.
He took another step backward.
Better to be safe than sorry.
“What a load of crap!” the bush jerked.
Wendell froze again, this time mid-step, jaw dropped.
The bush is talking?
Wendell blinked once, then again, swallowed hard.
THE BUSH IS TALKING!!
Eyes darted from side to side, scanning the yard. It had to be a joke of some kind. Evan had to of come back out and…but there wasn’t anyone here. There weren’t any trees to hind behind…and the bushes were barely knee high. He took his index finger and wriggled it inside his ear. No, he knew there wasn’t anyone here. I must have hit my head really hard.
Ah-ha! This is a joke!
Careful not to move too much, he looked around the yard again using only his eyes.
Probably hiding around a corner of the house with a camera, waiting for me to freak out.
But there was no sign of anyone else. No hidden cords or speakers, not even cameras peeking around the corner of the house. He frowned.
It was at that moment…the bush exploded.
Leaves flew out at every angle, violently giving birth to a green, white, and purple mass.
It hit the dirt, rolling to a pair of enormous, hairy, green, bare feet.
It was short.
Really short—like, not even up to Wendell’s waist short and it looked like something from a role playing game that would likely give you nightmares.
A goblin, was the only thing that came to mind
An ugly brownish-green, poop colored creature with a lumpy head, thick arms that hung to the ground and abnormally huge hands and feet, carpeted with black hair.
It was almost naked, too.
All it had covering its lower extremities were purple polka-dotted boxer shorts that were obviously too big…and nothing else.
The smashed cigar butt in its mouth was quickly spat to the ground.
Unsatisfied with glaring and muttering vile insults at the plant that had bound him, the goblin shuffled up to the roots and gave it a swift, disgruntled kick.
Then he turned those bulging, baseball-sized eyes mapped by intense red veins and overshadowed by bushy tufts of eyebrow, on Wendell.
The stare was so menacing, so penetrating, Wendell didn’t dare to look away. So, there they stood, staring at each other for one endless moment as Wendell’s heart stopped.
“WHAT!?!” the goblin finally snapped, looking rather irritated.
Once again, Wendell found himself paralyzed.
No breathing, no moving, except his eyes that grew wide as ping-pong balls and a mouth gaping so big that a train could pass through.
Is it talking to me?
Wendell wanted to move.
I should run.
He told his legs to run, but it didn’t work. All he could do was stare while the scary creature took a step closer.
Screaming!? Who is screaming? Wendell’s whole body jolted at the sound, arms and hands shooting out from his sides, head whipping all around. Where is it coming from?
The sound was awful—like a scared girl.
The scream trailed off as red hot humiliation set in.
It’s me! Ugh!
Wendell’s heart was going to pound its way out of his chest and all he wanted to do was hide.
The goblin stopped short.
Scowling, he yelled to the skies with his hands raised, “SERIOUSLY??! Can I ever show up and have someone say, ‘Hey bub, what’s up? How ya doing? But NO!! I gotta have peasants screamin’ their lungs out!”
Squinting, he gave Wendell a critical once-over.
“Whoa! And yer screamin’ at me? Hat eta break it to ya, kid, but you’re what I call a twisted piece of work,” pity on its face. “Big, bugged out eyes, mouth hanging open—hollers like the women-folk and so…scrawny!”
As the creature came closer and closer, Wendell could smell rancid ashtrays and rotten fish.
“Ughhh!” he flinched.
Repulsed, he staggered back and slapped a hand over his nose. It was just shocking enough to trigger the ‘Wendellizer’, Wendell’s alter ego for when times got hard, crazy…and survival was first priority.
Come on, Wendell. Pull your crap together! This could be it! Your moment. This is Hollywood come to life, man…and you’re in the center of it all! Buddy, this could be the moment that changes your life…and the world!
Gripping his toes tightly, Wendell steadied himself with a deep breath and gulped hard.
You can do this, Wendell. You’re the MAN!
Drawing on his extensive alien knowledge from watching the Sci Fi channel and late night Google searches, he cleared his throat.
Raising his right hand, he spread his middle fingers in the Vulcan gesture of peace.
“Welcome to Earth,” Wendell squeaked with a tight toothy grin. “Live long and prosper.”
The goblins mouth slowly stretched across its face, revealing a huge, intimidating maw of sharp, yellow teeth. Then, it raised its right hand, imitating Wendell’s Vulcan gesture with its four digits. “We have chosen you as the one and only perfect human specimen.”
I knew it! Wendell trembled, I knew there was intelligent life out there!! YES!!
The wide, yellow grin remained unnervingly frozen on the aliens face. “Long have we awaited this opportunity, oh Great One. I have come to take you back.”
NO!! Suddenly, reason set in and Wendell’s feet were unglued.
Arms flapping wildly, he lunged forward, sprinting for the back door of Evan’s house. He didn’t know how the green goblin got here, and frankly—Wendell no longer cared.
He simply had to escape.
The creature watched for a moment before shaking its head and placing a hand to its forehead. “Why do they always hafta run?” Growling, “Get BACK here!”
Before Wendell knew he was being yelled at, the thing had crossed the gap running on all four limbs like an ape and lunged.
Thick fingers made contact and thick arms grabbed both Wendell’s legs, tackling him to the ground.
No, No, NO!
Its hands twisted in Wendell’s shirt, flipping him over. Using it’s toes like secondary hands, the goblin climbed onto Wendell’s chest, knocking Wendell’s flailing arms to the side. Within moments, the creature had him pinned.
It leaned in closer until their noses touched.
“Look here, bub,” the goblin growled deeply, “I’ve come an awfully long way to find ya. Something like this takes a LOT o’ energy. I’m tired, very hungry…and I wanna get home. Now. So…,” it produced a mock smile, bearing the yellow teeth once more, “if you wouldn’t mind…shut yer face and hold STILL!”
Wendell was suffocating under its shocking weight…and stench. Its hot, rancid breath was curling his nose hairs. Wendell’s world started to spin like that ride at the carnival that always makes you throw up. He wanted off.
All he wanted to do was scream for help.
An idea flashed in his mind.
Evan! I need Evan’s help—HE can whoop this thing!
But the urge to scream was pushed from his mind with a single realization…
Wait. Did it say it was…hungry?
His body convulsed as he tried to breathe. The thought of being a main course at some aliens table made him sick to his stomach.
Scream Wendell. You have to scream! Do it…DO IT NOW!
Wendell forced air into his tight lungs…
The creature reached forward, grabbed Wendell by the back of the neck and grinned extra wide.
“Clench yer teeth and hold on tight, kid,…we ain’t goin’ ta Oz.”
Wendell opened his mouth and…