The Foreigner

The Foreigner Ch. 6

Ben’s bedroom, like the rest of the house, is simple, practical, and a little messy. The blocky King-sized mattress, his one luxury, is covered in forest green sheets and a plain, cream-colored blanket. His floor is mostly bare, not having a lot of belongings, save for a few dirty clothes sprawled in a corner and half-rolled-up socks. The only meager window is covered with heavy black curtains, not that Benny usually sleeps late enough to be disturbed by the morning light. But on this morning he rolls over, feeling unusually drowsy and terribly unmotivated to get out of bed.

There is a knock on the door.

Strange dreams are still filtering out of his head; a galaxy of lights, weird squid-like creatures, a young woman with messy blond hair, a flying fish, a pool of blood. As consciousness slowly sets in on him, he realizes the last couple of days have been fuzzy. He vaguely remembers his neighbor, Gilly, coming over for a visit, and wonders why no other details are apparent to him.

There is another knock, this one more urgent.

Benny springs up, his feet hitting the floor with a dull thump, and rubs his eyes.

His reverie is short, and he is soon struggling to get a fleece sweater over his head, dragging over-sized wool socks on his feet as he makes his way to the front of the house. He opens the door to find a woman dressed in a red jacket over a crisp white blouse and a matching red pencil skirt. She is holding a microhone. There is a man behind her with a camera.

“Eh… what’s… goin on?” Benny asks

“Mr. Benjamin Taggart, My name is Laurie Hughs …”

“Whats with the camera?”

“The man behind the cam is my coworker, Stephen, and we wanted to be first on the scene to ask you about the fascinating creature you apparently have locked up in your back room.”

“My wha’?” he asks sharply, heat rising up his spine, “How did you… I mean… ah… what’re yeh talkin’ about?”

“Mr Taggart, this image is all over the internet!” She holds her phone up and shows him–how she got it he can’t fathom–a picture of his very junk room, and his very own home-made tank, and his recently discovered strange creature.

At this point, his heart is thumping in his chest.

“… look I’m not sayin’ anything righ’ now. I don’ know how yeh go’ that picture, but I go’ nothin to tell yeh fer the moment. Thank you, goodbye.”

He shuts the door. Jane and Cecil are standing there, staring at him.

Plopping down at the dining table, Benny says, “They go’ a… a picture. Of the creature. The … thing in the tank.”

“What? How?”

“I don’ know!” Cecil is quietly watching this exchange.

“Get a lawyer,” Jane says, before disappearing to her room.

“Cecil, I need you to stay inside, ok?”

“Da, I want to go see the news people! Are we going to be on the telly?”

Benny eyes his son, at a loss for words, as Jane re-enters the room. She is wearing an over-sized beanie, covering her hair and falling just above her eyes, a baggy sweater and sweatpants.

“I can’t be on camera,” she says, staring pointedly at Benny as she once again plops down on the bench.

He looks at her distractedly for a moment, and then appears to remember something. “Oh. Right. Yeh won’, Miss Jane.”

She rolls her eyes. “Dont’ call me that.”

“Why can’ you be on camera, Miss Jane?”

She sighs.

“Miss Jane is very, very camera shy,” Benny says in an attempt to be helpful, and winks at his son.

“Call a lawyer,” Jane repeats.

Not answering, Benny stands up and walks cautiously to the front window, parting the curtain slightly. There are a few people with microphones mulling around, including Miss Hughs. She stands out with her nicer clothes. Apparently she didn’t anticipate the terrain around Benny’s house, because she was the only one wearing heels. There is a news van and several cameramen, a couple of whom hold the camera up, waiting for something to catch on film. Some of them are looking around the side of the house, which is curious to Benny. Will they try to peak in the windows? Will they try to sneak in?

He gulps, looking back at his son and housemate.

“All over one photo?” he asks aloud. “Don’t people make fake ones?”

A distant rhythmic noise registers in his mind. It grows, and suddenly he realizes what it is. Turning around to peak out the window again, he sees–

“A helicopter?!”

Thank you for reading! I will post another chapter this week since 6 was late.

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