The Foreigner

The Foreigner Ch.13: Reunited–extended

Update 5/28/15. Hey, apparently I am one of those writers who takes a 4 month hiatus. Sorry to anyone who has been keeping up, and thank you again for reading! There is a lot going on in life–building a career, possibly gearing up for a move, finding a home for an adorable stray cat–so Foreigner hit the back burner and stayed there for A WHILE. But things are calming down. I do still have a lot of new material to write, so I can’t make promises on how often I will post. However! I will see Foreigner through to the end (should I add something dramatic here? Such as mark my words! Or, So long as I live and breath!)

Nonetheless, here is an extended Chapter 13


Dark clouds zip along just above water, contrasted by the light grey overcast above. Thunder continues to boom from the distance, though there is no longer rain. Shivering, Benny wades back to the beach, where the news crews are standing scattered about. The videographers have shouldered their equipment while reporters chat–yelling at each other over the wind–their hands on their hips, the wind tugging at their coats. Then they see Benny emerging from the water. They look at him, dumbfounded. A few people ready their cameras. Soon they are all rushing toward him.

For a moment, there is a bizarre silence, as though he is watching them through a lens of his own. Then one reporter yells out,

“Mr. Taggart, what were you doing in the ocean?”

And, like the levee breaking, noise comes back to him, and he is bombarded.

“Do you admit it was a hoax?”

“Did you plan this from the beginning?”

“Where is the alien?”

He easily out-runs them, hopping in his vehicle, pools of seawater gathering in the leather seats. Kicking into drive, he heads back home, feeling dazed.

A confusing mix of images swarms in his brain: stars shining brilliantly, fish tanks, and the thrashing waves of the sea.

Benny wakes with a start. He is lying in an uncomfortable cot with ugly grey sheets, his hair matted around his face. The plain white walls glare at him.


“I know you are very anxious to see your creature, Mr. Taggart, but while the team is getting the cameras set up, I would like to do a little interview.”

He grumbles but nods.

Jessick pauses, eyeing him curiously. She taps her pen on the table.

“Actually, do you have any questions for me?”

He gives her a furtive glance, looking very out of place in his flannel long-sleeve shirt.

“Aye,” he grunts. “So ah… what is the goal here? Wha’ do they mean to do with the creature… I mean if it’s here and all?”

“Ben… sorry, Mr. Taggart… the creature is here. They found it in a fishing boat in Michigan.” She laughs, “And it… well it’s been on a long journey, just like you. But–” she pauses, searching for words. “To be perfectly candid, there isn’t a lot of money for research in the budget right now. Especially on some weird animal that people are claiming is… you know… an alien. So basically you are here…”

He scoffs and gives her a wry smile. “Fer sensationalism?”

Jessick gives a surprised, booming laugh, “Well, yes. But Benny, listen, I have ulterior motives to their ulterior motives. I…” she pauses, as though considering how much to divulge, “I have been obsessed with that picture since it was released twenty-two years ago. And suddenly I found myself here, at this facility, with that THING… and I honestly felt that you should be here, too.”

Benny rubs his forehead and runs a large hand through his thick grey hair.

“Miss Sanders…”

“Call me Jessick.”

“Miss Jessick, all this will be very endearing, ya know, if I can actually see the damn thing.”

She chuckles. “Ok, just a couple of things to get out of the way first. You know that you will be on camera–“


“–So we don’t want you to feel pressured to act any certain way or to try and dramatize your feelings. Just be natural. As much as possible, we want you to pretend we aren’t there.”

“Ok, so, I meet the Creature, and then wha’?”

She gives him a blank stare, her eyes wide. “Ah… we’ll just see what happens.”

Now Benny gives a loud, booming laugh. “Oh, yeh migh’ be disappointed, Miss ah… Jessick. The creature in there? It’s only ever done wha’ it’s doin’ right now. It floats. Shimmers a bi’.”

A smirk. “We’ll just see, Benny. In the mean time, if you want to stay here, and not make me look like a fool, just… pretend you know something the research people don’t. And we’ll figure the rest out later.” She gives him a wink.

They enter two large industrial double-doors. Benny looks around. The room is spacious–almost the size of his house–and alarmingly empty with a large tinted window on one side and the giant water tank on the other.

“Where are all the cameras?”

“The cameras are discreet–” she points to two small devices, mounted on either side of the window, “-and the crew is on the other side of the window. We want you to feel like you have a little privacy.”


Benny walks to the tank. The slightest whizzing noise cues that the cameras are following him, zooming in, adjusting. There it is; glimmering, floating, its many silvery tentacles billowing around it, chaos turning to form, form becoming chaos again.

“There you are,” he whispers. He puts his hand up to the glass.

“Looks the same,” he says, turning briefly to the dark glass, to the cameras.

“I didn’t know how much I missed it. It wrecked my life, you know, but I still missed it. It draws yeh in, this thing.” He taps the glass affectionately.

Jessick glances at the glass.

“What do you remember about it from before?” she asks tentatively.

He scoffs. Giving her a significant look, he says, “Oh, she’s got secrets.” Touching the glass again, he whispers, “she’s got secrets.”

“Can I touch ‘er?” he asks.

“Is it a her?”

He shrugs.

Someone is gesturing at Jessick. She hits her com.

Is that safe? Can he do that?”

She turns to Benny. “Have you done that before?”

He almost laughs. “Aye. An’ I promise it don’ bite or nothin. But–” he pauses, and is again looking right at Jessick, “we have a special connection.”

Jessick looks at the window again, and Benny hears chatter from her com. Finally, she nods.

The tank is up against the wall where it reaches above Benny’s head, but there is a bench alongside it. Once standing here, it only comes to his chest and he can easily reach inside.

“Eh,” he says, indicating the smooth lid with his hand. There is no apparent opening. Stepping up, Jessick presses a button on the top, a little door slides open on the lid. After a nod, she moves away, giving him space.

Benny takes a moment to regard the creature; his one true great discovery; the phenomenon which changed his life and tore his family apart.

“Alright, lass, here we go,” he says.

Slowly, pulling his sleeve back, he reaches in and, feeling the strange slick tentacles, finds the bulbous body and lays his fingers there. Ah yes, the stars…

“Whoa! Sir!” A man with the security uniform, whose nametag reeds “Ross,” points at the one way they have been able to moniter the thing–thermal imaging.

“That thing has been flat green since we got it.” Now, as they look, the blues, greens, and yellows fluctuate.

“Damn,” says a researcher, “We need to get some neuro-mapping on that thing.”

“Well, we can’t neuro-map the Creature, because we don’t know if it has a brain.” An man in his forties with dark hair and a slightly dark complexion is standing next to Gerard and has an air of authority about him.

“Thanks for the recap, David,” Gerard sneers.

He clears his throat loudly, “However, what I was getting at is that we can neuro-map Benjamin.”



The Foreigner

The Foreigner ch. 12: Lonely

Ben is sitting on a fairly comfortable chair. Its sturdy metal frame is softened by structured cushions, strung together with boring gray fabric. The vibrations of the bullet train rumble beneath him. He wears a pair of old slacks and a long-sleeve flannel shirt. As the train emerges from the tunnel, its mechanical deceleration tugging on his gut, Benny turns to look at the scenery passing by–endless fields with sparce trees. A flutter of anticipation bubbles up, such that he hasn’t felt in years. Is he really going to see the creature again? Although the thing wrecked his life, he feels strangely attached to it.

During the trip, the hours seem to extend, laying themselves out in great lengths along the tracks. But as the destination finally approaches, the old man feels suddenly nervous. Fidgeting, he wishes briefly that the ride was not over. It also occurs to him to hop off and jump right back on the next one going home. But, looking at the desert landscape beyond the station’s wide windows, Ben remembers that he is very, very far from home. After waiting to retrieve his luggage from the rear compartment, he walks to the QuikDrivr cars, loading his luggage into one and greeting the driver. Once settled in, he figets with his pocket to pull out a large wallet, and removes the invitation, stuffed alongside his train ticket.

He gives the driver the address, reading off the invitation. The drive is not a long one, winding through the desert, the landscape mostly flat with mountains distant on the horizon. A promising sunset is creeping across the Western sky, painting a thin red haze across the horizon. They can see the facility a mile out, an ugly tan block surrounded by holo-fences.

“S’reused,” the driver says.

“Pardon?” Benny asks, clearing his throat nervously.

“Used to be NASA or sommin.”

“Huh.” Benny diverts his eyes. He breathes a sigh of relief as the silence continues and the car finally approaches the building.

“Name and Business.”

“I’m here with uh… what’s your name?”

“Benny… Benjamin Taggart,” he replies gruffly.

“Benjamin Taggart.”

“We need to see his face.”

Benny leans forward, peering at the security screen from around the passenger seat.

“Step out of the car, please, and bring your face up to the monitor,” the man on the screen says.

The rear door opens, Benny eases out of his seat, kicking his legs a bit, stiff from travel. He puts his face up to the monitor. The man on the other side looks at him for a moment. There is a flash of light.

“Alright, Mr. Taggart. Thank you. You are both cleared to enter.”

The broad streams of light barring their way retract slowly into the sides of the gate. The grounds, aside from a few prickly pears, are barren and composed of sand.

“Well, friend, this is where I leave you.” And before Benny can reply, the car pulls away, leaving him standing there with his luggage and his uncertainty.

The doors, which tower over Benny, open mechanically.

A face appears on the other side.

“Sir. Are you coming in?” It is the security man from the camera.

“Oh… aye. Sorry. I wasn’t sure if I should let me-self in!” The man raises an eyebrow as all 6 feet and 5 inches of Benny shuffles through with three suitcases: one rolling, one carried, and a smaller duffle bag under his arm.

Inside is a painfully bare room with a security desk–behind which sits a man who is reclining comfortably–another door, and a couple of uncomfortable-looking plastic chairs.

“You can put your things down,” the man beind the desk says. He leans forward, retrieving something out of sight, and plops a clip board loaded with a small stack of paper onto the desk’s surface.

“Here bud, fill this out. Sanders will be here in just a few.”

Just as he is finishing his paperwork, Benny looks up to see a young woman enter the room. She is dressed professionally, modern yet modest, with short brunette hair swept to one side.

“Hello Mr. Taggart,”–He stands to greet her–“My name is Jessick Sanders. We spoke on the phone.”

“Yes… uh… yes ma’am.”

“I’m so glad you are here! But ah… Before I bore you with all my thanks, why don’t I show you to your room?” she says with a smile, glancing at his weary face and his excessive luggage.

On through the other door, around a corner and down a corridor, Benny’s shoes click on cement floors, and his eyes adjust painfully to the white plaster walls and flourescent lights.

“They weren’t really going for ambiance when they built this place,” she says with a wink.

“Do yeh work here?”

“Oh… no. I’m a journalist. I’m here to make a film about you and… the creature.”

“So it is here?” His heart skips a beat.

“Yes, sir, and you will see it first thing in the morning. We don’t mean to make you wait but… you know there is a procedure for everything around here.”

He says nothing, but the most miniscule scowl settles into his face as they turn another corner, pass several plain doors, and finally stop at one.

His room is simple but comfortable with a bed, a desk, and a monitor screen.

“We have a little cafeteria set up,” she says. “You can eat with the rest of us. There is also a snack room and a bar, and I have finagled a little food fund for you.” He looks at her awkwardly.

“Oh uh… thanks. Thank you. Sorry, I’m… very far from my comfort zone here.” He manages a nervous laugh.

“I know. I told you I wouldn’t bore you with thanks, but … really… it means a lot to me–and the team–that you are willing to come out here. Um… we can discuss all the specifics in the morning, but I want to make sure you’re ok with being on camera.” She has the grace to look a little sheepish.

He frowns, then nods.

“Yes, eh… I remember we discussed tha’ and all. I understand… Bu’ do I really need to be on camera in my room?”

“Oh!” Her eyebrows shoot up under her bangs.

“No, sir, that is a touch screen.” She scoots past him and points at the icons.

“See, that one calls the front desk. This is a map of the facility–the areas you have access too, anyway–handy if you need food or the restroom. This one orders food, but you won’t need it tonight. I’ve already done that. They should bring it to you soon. Actually I can stay and make sure it gets here.”

There is an awkward silence. Benny is staring at the floor.

“Well, I’ll go ahead and leave you alone. But I’ll check on the food. Um… please call if you need anything. Oh–” she pulls a card from her pocket.

“Here is my number, and you have a cell phone there.” There is plastic black square roughly the size of a dime on the side table. With another awkward good-bye, Jessick leaves. The silence in the room is suddenly very noticeable. It feels bare and cold and foreign.

Benny sighs and doesn’t budge until his food arrives a few minutes later.

The Foreigner

The Foreigner Ch. 11: Jessick’s Proposal

Hey Guys! I went on a little hiatus. I have been busy with work, studies, and starting another blog. I don’t want to give up on The Foreigner though! I am really excited about things to come in the story. This chapter is the first one I have written from scratch (the rest are from Nanowrimo ’13) but I think I needed a little refresher and some creative room to breath. Anyway, on vis ze story!


Jessick sits leaned back in her chair with one foot propped on the corner of the table. The other guys sit around the table in varying degrees of boredom. One of them is wearing a lab coat, another has the same coat draped over the back of his chair. One of the soldiers on security detail, Lankford, is wearing a casual uniform–a grey shirt with the facility’s emblem, black slacks, and black sneakers. Tails and a couple other people in relaxed business attire are there.

Standing across the room from Jessick is Ted Montgomery; impressively tall and broad-shouldered, with handsome chiseled features, hidden by a long, sparce mustache and a short beard. And next to Ted is Gerard.

“Well this project is going really well,” he says dryly, and suddenly slams his fist onto the table.

“We have no funding, absolutely no results from that creature, and we are not allowed to interact with it because of–” he adopts a mocking tone, “–animal rights activists!”

The room is silent.

“Does anyone have any suggestions?”

“I do,” Jessick says, taking her foot down and sitting up strait. Ted’s mustache twitches. Gerard looks nauseated and says, almost through gritted teeth,

“Yes, Miss Sanders?”

“We need to capture the public’s attention,” Jessick says, standing up.

“You’ve mentioned this before,” Gerard interrupts wearily.

“Yes, and, I have the perfect plan.” She pulls a shiny photograph out of her back pocket and hands it to Gerard.

“Have you seen that photo before?”

He looks at her incredulously. “No, it looks like a blury squid. What does this have to do with anything?”

“Well, that picture is so fuzzy because it was taken on a cell phone,” –several people snicker– “and that squid is your specimin.”

Suddenly everyone is interested in passing around the picture.

“Holy shit,” Tails says.

“Do you remember a story on the news a little over twenty years ago about some guy going crazy in Scotland?” Most people in the room shake their heads or look at her blankly. Lankford’s eyes widen, and he perks up.

“Yeah! The crazy guy with the…”

“The alien,” Jessick says with a smile. “This picture is from his living room. It’s the picture that started the whole catastrophe… everyone was blowing up over this alien discovery, and then he went crazy and everyone forgot about it.”

“What are you trying to say? That he deserves credit, or…”

“No, Gerard, I am saying we should reunite Benjamin Taggart with his findings.”

“Don’t be ridiculous.”

She shrugs.

“You want to sit around with no funding watching a squid that does nothing, or do you want to create the greatest story of our life time, capture the people’s interest, and get somewhere with this experiment?”

“Actually,” Ted perks up finally, “Your superiors gave us free reign with this project because they are also desperate to see something happen with this specimin. So if you really want to, you can try and argue, but–”

Gerard closes his eyes and pinches his nose.

“How do you intend to find this Benjamin character, and who is going to pay for him to stay here?” he asks without lifting his head.

Ted smiles at Jessick.

“You just let us take care of that. Funding will come from our end.”

The Foreigner

The Foreigner Ch.10: The Facility

Hello! Welcome to my page! The Foreigner continues in 2015! Woo!


A dark shoe emerges from the sliding metal-fiber door. Jessick takes a moment to look around, her dark hair swooping over one side of her forehead, curling back over her ear, cupping the occipital ridge and ending above her neck. Her eyes shine green in the vibrant yellow light blasting through the glass ceiling. The station is not terribly busy. A few people push past her as she takes in the sights… locals probably, busying themselves with retrieving luggage and heading home. But Jessick is not from here. The paneled windows above her extend from the train tunnel and curve down like an awning, open the New Mexican air where a wall of heat waits to assault new visitors.

The station is painfully well-polished, a brand-new installment as part of a government program to keep people from panicking over the transportation crisis. The railing is clean and shiny with no scratches. A nearby wall displays a TV air-screen flashing between news clips, train notices, and routes. A couple standing at the adjacent display selects a location from the menu, and Jessick watches as the screen zooms out to the train map, highlighting the route with bullet points on the side listing their exits and change-overs. With the press of another button, it prints out a receipt-like-paper mapping their route. As Jessick leaves the shelter of the curved window overhead, rolling luggage in tow, she heaves the dry western air.

“Just a dry heat…” she mutters, rolling her eyes. “Indeed.”

There is no parking lot, but a waiting area with picnic tables. Other travelers are walking next door to an attached building with snacks, bathroom, and information. A narrow road, looking more like a wide, smooth sidewalk, ends in a loop in front of the arrivals. Drivers are lined up in little smart cars behind a blue sign with white letters saying, “passenger pick-up.”

Climbing in one of the cars, she tells the driver the neighborhood she is looking for, assuring her that she will have a map pulled up by the time they get there. The woman rolls her eyes and off they go, whirring like a toy car. Cozy in the back seat, Jessick flips the switch on a tiny plastic-looking cap on her pinky finger. A square blue light flicks on and Jessick feels that familiar buzz in her head. On a petite band around her wrist is a small black box. With another click of a button, a transparent screen blinks itself into existence in front of her. As she stares at the screen, it changes a couple of times; a blank screen, a search bar, a map.


Coffee is a dangerous companion for Jessick. Its aromatic steam and rich flavor could talk her into doing just about anything. Traversing through abandoned buildings where nameless heinous crimes would probably be performed on her? “Eh,” she would say, latte in hand, “It’ll be an adventure.” Following a suspicious character with two teeth, a bald head, and overalls into a creepy old warehouse? “Whatever, as long as I get some coffee and a good story out of it.”

Now, holding a fresh cuppa joe, Jessick waits in a painfully sterile bare-bones lobby. A man in military uniform reclines behind the security desk, full with glass walls. The security guard’s blank stare is wearing her down just as a man comes bustling through a plane white door, closing and locking it behind him. A blocky head is propped atop a tall, round body. Scruffy blond hair frames kind blue eyes and a comically square nose.

“How the hell did you get here? Who let you in?” he says with a smirk.

“Turns out I’m really important,” she says, putting a hand on her hip. They laugh and shake hands.

“Good to see you, Tails.”

“Likewise. So this Ted person was supposed to get you clearance?”

Jessick raises an eyebrow, “I would assume… but maybe something is holding him up. Anyway, I was told to be here.”

The man shrugs. “Let me get Gerard. He’s the one heading the research.”

“Tails” disappears for several moments, and Jessick is once again left to stand awkwardly with the security guard.

A stuffy man who would look at home in a cravat, but wears a simple button-up shirt and slacks, walks into the room and looks around, down his nose and through his thick glasses. His balding head comes to a shiny point above watery eyes that hold a condescending glare. His small mouth is puckered with indignation.

“What’s this?” he demands, huffing importantly, coming up to Jessick’s shoulder, “Where is Mr. Montgomery?”

“He’ll be here in a few days, sir,” Jessick says calmly, extending her hand, “My name is Jessick Sanders, and I’m actually directing the film.”

If possible, he tilts his head back yet further, as if subconsciously wishing to distance himself.


No, the Pope. “Yes sir, I worked with Ted before, and he actually wants me to have the reigns in this project. He will be here in a few days to supervise and offer advice.”

The man blinks once. Twice. “So you are supposed to be the one documenting this whole experiment?”

“Actually, Gerard,” Jessick says, becoming impatient, “I am not just here to sit behind a camera. I’m here to give your story an angle.”

He shrugs, “What does it have to do with me? I will oversee my experiments, and you can film from all the angles you want.”

“I just want to make sure we have an understanding. Like I said, I don’t just want to film what’s going on. You see, you need to capture the people’s attention so that you can get more funding.”

Gerard’s eyes dart around the room, apparently searching for someone to share his incredulity.

“Let’s get you settled, Miss–ah–Sanders, and we can talk about details when Mr. Montgomery arrives,” he says finally, speaking too loudly, as if desperate to regain control of the conversation.

Considering it a moot point, Jessick agrees to be led to her room, unable to contain a little smirk on her face.

The Foreigner

The Foreigner will return in January!

Hello! If you are here, you may be one of a handful of people keeping up with my novella, The Foreigner. If so, thank you for reading and taking an interest!

On a personal note, I can’t complain that my family is going to Hawaii for Christmas (yay!) but it is a little stressful trying to get presents ready and prepare for travel. So, I have to put editing The Foreigner aside for now (there is A LOT of editing to do!) I do have the next few chapters outlined (the whole novel is written, but some of it is in a fantastically rough draft,) and I promise to keep posting once the New Year is behind us.

On another note, I have not gotten any comments about the Foreigner, so I tried my hand at the new Google Forms (even easier to use than I thought!) and made a little survey. It is only 5 quick questions, so if you have been reading, please follow the link and give me your input! Much appreciated!

Click here for the survey

Happy Holidays, and I will be reading/posting/connecting with you all in a couple weeks,

The Foreigner

The Foreigner Ch.9: Jessick’s Country

Like a person, the countryside has all different faces and flavors. It can be the glory of the great Earth, with sparkling waters and rolling green hills. It can be daunting and mysterious with dead trees rising above you in the night, their jagged edges stabbing the dark sky.

In the morning it is quiet, like the most precious secret. The soft rays of the early sun brush feather strokes on the hovering mist, turning it from silver to gold as time seems to stand still. From a high perch, one can watch the mist rise in curtains, making the great ascension from their early morning grave to the white fluffy clouds in the heavens.

For Jessick, it is mostly simple and dirty. There was mud, the occasional waste of the animals, swarms of gnats and sticky sap from the trees. Her skin scuffed with dirt, her hair matted, the knees of her jeans green with grass stains. There is always that decision to make: should I keep my careful distance from the great wild, my hair clean and tame, my boots protecting me from the dirt, or should I just give into it and let it take me over? As a child there was no question: let’s dive in! She ran, she rolled, she skidded, she swam. Now, as well-composed adult, she preferred to only allow the great country just a step in her door, a breeze through her window. Even enjoying a day outside with a paintbrush in her hand, she wonders how, as a child, the mosquitos never bothered her. Perhaps there weren’t as many back then.

Bright green eyes greet the late-morning sun with a shine of their own. A faded tee-shirt hides a short, medium-sized frame. Old jeans that still fit just right show off her curvy figure, ending in frayed edges around her boots. She stands in the great outdoors, a broad field stretching across several acres. Several yards behind her is an old country home which is two and a half stories tall with a porch that wraps all the way around and has a built-in gazebo.

She drinks tea from a mason jar and sets it on a make-shift table: an old box. Her palet is a recycled piece of vynil from an abandoned, tattered grill cover, now holding pools of paint in blues, greens and browns, dashed by random streaks and swipes where she has pulled colors and mixed them together. The painting shows a countryside but not the one in front of her. Instead it depicts a field with a pond and a nearby line of trees; the beginning of a forest.

She smiles and takes another drink, lifting her brush to add some blue to the sky, making white whisps for clouds. With another brush, she adds a hawk flying high, searching for prey.

She steps back for a moment, using one small hand blotched with dry paint to sweep chocolate-brown locks of hair from her brow.

“Jessick!” An old man yells across the field, standing in the doorway, leaning on a cane, “you have a phone call!”

“Oh bother,” she says, tossing her brush on the vynil. With her old, clunky boots, she trots through the dry summer grass, entering the door open door into a clean, sunny, kitchen with wood floors and a large island. Her cell phone is on the island and she picks it up.


“Jessick. Hi. My name is Theo Montgomery and I have a proposition for you.”

“I’m listening,” she says, perking up an eyebrow.

“I don’t know if you remember, but we worked together years ago during the Reform.”

“Oh, Ted! I didn’t realize it was you. The Truth Behind the Movement was a great film to be involved in. What can I do for you?”

“Well, Jessick, I have another project. It is government-related, but small time. Well, small government… big project.”

“If you think it’s interesting, I’m in.” She reaches for a sip of tea and realizes she left it outside.

“Well, you might have not have as much creative freedom as I’m sure you’d prefer. But I think the project could use your insight. The location is–well not TOP secret, but an off-the-map research facility.”

At this point Jessick’s eyes and mouth are hanging wide open. Secret research. Government facility. She gets a hold of herself.

“Yes? And the subject of your film?”

“Well… it’s a complicated situation. They’re doing research on a recent discovery, but they want it documented professionally. Not just a bunch of amateur hand-held crap. You know, something tasteful. Something for the history videos. I can tell you more when we meet–that is, if you’re interested.”

“Ted, I can hardly define just how much interest I have right now. I tend to get a little overwhelming when I get excited, so let me stop talking before I embarrass myself.”

The man on the other side of the phone chuckles affectionately.

“Well, hell, when can we meet?”

The Foreigner

The Foreigner Part 2 (ch.8) Blake and Martin

A note from me: Yes, there is more Foreigner! Nothing in the way this story is structured was planned ahead of time, so I am still figuring out how to present it. It would have been better to initially present the first 7 chapters as “Part 1” or a prologue. But it’s not like an optional prologue. Are prologues usually optional? Anyway, thank you for continuing this journey with me. Unfortunately the story has still been copied and pasted in too many various text editors, so off to code I go 🙂 Enjoy!


WARNING This chapter contains obscenity, and is not work or child safe.

“Benjamin Taggart, a local fisherman in the small city of Pittenweem, Scotland, has become a household name for many over the last few days. But we just received this footage showing that Mr. Taggart was last seen running madly along the beach, holding a bundle believed to be the alleged creature which he was supposed to reveal to the public…”


“OK, today for our Weird News, we go to a crazy video posted this morning, which has gained over 3,000 views on Youtube. Apparently this man is supposed to have discovered some kind of creature, I don’t know have you heard about this, Ted?”

The other man laughs. “Ah, I saw a little blip about it somewhere. It didn’t really catch on, but some people think he found an alien–”

“From outer space?” The first man interrupts incredulously.

“From outer space!” His co-anchor confirms, and continues, “–Discovered… ah… washed up on the beach by this man in Scotland.”

“Well, that is hilarious, but even more hilarious is the fact that he apparently went mad and was caught on film running across the beach holding… something. Looks like some rolled up clothing or a blanket or something. And the last thing you see is him running out into the water.”

“You know, Ted, anyone with any sense knew this whole thing was a hoax. And this just proves it. It’s just another kid trapped in a flying saucer: It’s people trying to get attention on the internet. I feel bad for all those X Files buffs who –” The man starts laughing again, “–will be sorely disappointed!” They both laugh together and the television clicks off.

The man holding the remote continues to stare at the television. He is short and stalky, though well-built, with a square forehead and square jaw. Usually pristine, his short dark hair looks ruffled and his tie is sloppily tucked into a white button-up shirt covered in wrinkles and creases. His lop-sided shiny metal nametag reads “W. Blake.”

The other man in the office sits in a rolling chair, leaned forward with his head in his hands, looking similarly tired and distraught. His light-colored ginger hair is sprawled atop a comically long face. He looks up, not making eye contact with the shorter man or the television, but stares off into space. His almond- shaped green eyes are bloodshot and accentuated with dark circles. His name tag reads “I. Martin.”

“Shit,” The first man says, finally lowering his arm, tossing the remote into a mess of papers.

They both sit in silence for several minutes. The office, usually decently chic and neatly arranged, is currently covered in disarray. Papers cover the two desks and many have migrated to the floor. Some lay intact, while others have been stamped with shoe prints or rolled up under the wheel of one of their erganomical wire-mesh computer chairs.

“This could be a lot worse,” Martin offers, obviously trying to ease his partner’s rage.

“We can’t tell anyone,” Blake says, “No matter what happens, we absolutely can’t tell anyone.” There is a note of panic in his voice.

“Wulfric, relax. No one believes this guy,” The red haired man replies tiredly.

“No!” The other man yells, banging his fist on the desk, “I will not relax! There is no solution! This is a catastrophe! Best case scenario: We are out of a job!”

Martin looks at him darkly.

“Panicking is not going to help. Come on… sit down.” He turns in his chair and reaches for the mini-fridge, popping the door open, “Have a beer.”

Hours later, as the setting sun casts a blazing yellow sheath of light across the office, the two of them are kicking back a couple beers. Martin has his feet propped up on his desk.

They try to keep conversation casual and off-topic, but that only lasts for so long.

“Seriously, pretty soon this will all just disappear, man, and nothing will come of it,” Martin says, as Blake starts exclaiming expletives and becoming pessimistic again.

Somehow this upsets Blake rather than calming him.

“What about the reports, MAN. What about the God-Damned research grants!”

“It flopped,” his partner says, with a dramatic shrug, “It’s gone. It didn’t work. Big deal.”

Blake huffs loudly and, after a moment, calms down. His wide gray eyes look at the floor, wild anger replaced with despair. His expression is unfitting on such a masculine face, such an otherwise professional appearance.

“Ok,” he say, “Let’s go home.” As they leave, his hand lingers on the desk for a moment, brushing over a report sitting serenly among the chaos. Under the transparent cover, the front page is broadly titled “A New Brain: A New World.”

Fragments, Figments, The Foreigner

The Foreigner Ch. 7: The Ocean

Benny looks up at the stars. Having spent many nights on a boat with only the quiet sea and the vast array of stars to accompany him, he has often acknowledged their beauty, the infinity they suggest, and the wisdom they inspire. But now, thinking about the creature, about the possibility of real aliens, he sees them differently. The stars no longer resemble inanimate Yuletide lights, but a distant city. These lights are not just decorations, they are signs of life. And now, his breath catching in his gut, he sees every single burning star as a sign of life, a neighbor, a home. Out on the island, one can see thousands and thousands of stars. He wonders, the world seeming to spin around him, if each massive ball of burning magma is effectively a street lamp, casting light so that little forms of life don’t lose their way in the dark. Do they shiver at night, and look to the sunrise for warmth? Do they fish and hunt and eat? Do they look up at the stars and wonder what is out there? Possibilities swarm through his mind until it feels full and tires him.

The sun has only just breached the horizon. A shaft of soft blue light jets across the kitchen floor. Jane’s hair is messy, and she wears her usual baggy house clothes, dragging her feet lazily into the kitchen.

She stops, surprised to see Benny there, sitting at the kitchen table. He looks dazed, his eyes wide and vacant.

Jane asks, “Did you sleep at all last night?”

Benny blinks, slowly at first, and then quickly, finally rubbing his eyes.

“No, not much,” he answers distractedly.

“Um… are you ok?” she regards him with suspicion.

“Fine, fine.”

Now Jane trudges over to the window, where she moves the curtain ever-so-slightly to peek out. It looks as though the news reporters have just arrived and are setting up their equipment.

“Great,” she says flatly. “Looks like I’ll be hiding in my room. Don’t let any of those people in here.”

“Are you ever going to tell me what’s going on with yeh, Jane?”

She stares at him. “You said I didn’t have to.” She bristles, “Do I need to find somewhere else–“

“No,” he says, putting his hands up in surrender, still sounding very drowsy, “No, Jane, I’m sorry.” He sighs, “Well no one will be inside the house except…. the lawyer.”

He furrows his brows, as if this last statement has disturbed him somehow, and Jane regards him with concern.

“Are you sure you’re alright?” She gives a great sigh, “do I need to make breakfast?” When he doesn’t reply, she sighs again and gets to fetching the cookware.

“Eggs and hash!” comes her muffled announcement from under the cupboard.

A short while later Benny, Jane, and Cecil are digging in to her delicious breakfast.

The phone cuts into the silence as gently as a hammer tumbling down a lead pipe. Everyone jumps, Benny flying fron his seat as he hurries over to get it. They hear his nondescript responses such as “uh huh,” and “yea sure,” “of course.” Finally he hangs up the phone and looks at the rest of them.

“It’s the lawyer” he says, “Shes coming.” He is suddenly pale.

“What”s wrong?” Jane asks.

“I dont know. I mean, nothing,” he says, “I’ll be right back,” and trots off down the hall.

“It’s ok, Cecil,” Jane says, seeing the boy’s worried look. Shaking her head, she instructs Cecil to finish his food and ignore his “crazy father.”

As Benny closes himself in the junk room, he hears a knock on the front door. Voices float through the house.

“Yes, I am Jessie McManus. Is Mr. Taggart here?”

“He um… just went to grab something.”

Opening the door carefully, he sneaks out into the hall, stops to listen for Jane and the lawyer in the kitchen, and tiptoes into his bedroom, sweat beading on his forehead. He finds his keys, turns around, and runs directly into the one person he is avoiding.

“What are you doing, Mr. Taggart?” she asks, a little too sternly. The woman is unusually tall, currently towering over Benny, who is, embarrassingly, crouching. She is wearing a silky white top and sleek black slacks.

“Oh! Ah… just… gettin’ some things ready!” He laughs nervously, standing up, “Thank yeh so much fer comin’. If you would like to wait in the kitchen fer just a mo’… uh… I’ll be right there.”

He not-so-delicately nudges her, leading her to the kitchen, giving Jane a big wink and disappearing again.

Looking around, back in the junk room, he finds an old, well-insulated wind-breaker tossed on a pile of clothes. Carefully lowering his long arms into the tank, Benny grasps the creature firmly, its strange rubbery skin undulating against his hands. He is glad to bundle it up in the jacket. He has to climb over some things to get to the window. It is an old, thick window, and opens with a hatch. Taking some effort to unlock it and wrench it open, Benny huffs and finds that there isn’t much room. Going feet-first, he barely squeezes through, and carefully holds the bundled foreigner above his head. Once he is clear of the window, he runs to his old jeep.

Hopping over the door, he sets the creature in the passenger seat, turns the engine, and peels out, kicking sand up behind him and speeding toward the beach.

Nearby reporters are snapping their fingers, camera crews rushing to load up and hopping in their vans to follow.

Once a good distance from the reporters and anyone else, Benny approaches the ocean, the front two wheels meeting the water’s edge. The man grabs the jacket, hops out of his vehicle, and runs into the water.

Waves splash against his ankles. The water looks beautiful under the bright sun and clear sky. He hears people approaching the shore.

“Mr. Taggart, what are you doing?” They yell into the wind.

“Nothin!” he yells madly. He high-steps over the waves as the water meets knees.

“You cant take it!” It is likely that no one can hear him. He is waste-deep in water, which slows him.

“You can’t have it back! You can’t trap it again!” He heaves. He dives in and attempts to swim but is slowed down by the bulky load.

Finally, he pins the creature to his back, putting it between himself and the jacket, his arms through the sleeves,using the drawstring at the bottom to secure the jacket around his waste, and he takes off swimming frantically, desperate and fast.

When he is far enough out to worry about the tide taking him, and the people standing cluelessly on the beach look like insects wearing little coats and pants, Benny finally unclasps the jacket and takes a hold, once again, of the foreign creature.

He suddenly feels very foolish, seeing himself out here, treading water in the North Sea, reporters swarming around–probably wondering if he’s gone mad. But he remembers his conversations with the Creature, and he knows this is right.

I will never forget you, he thinks. He has never tried to communicate with the creature in this way, but he is sure the creature can hear his thoughts.

Gratefulness washes over Benny as he lets go. For a moment, he can see the strange, silvery being floating there in the water, its many worm-like tentacles swirling around it in and endless dance, and then it swims away, fading into the murky water.

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.

The Foreigner

The Foreigner Ch. 5: A Touching Moment

From the author: Hi guys. Thanks to everyone who has been reading! I just want to apologize for font and size inconsistencies between chapters. It’s a matter of the original draft having been copied and pasted between different word editors, and then copied and pasted into WordPress. The layout I’m using on my blog has one font and size available… but I don’t want to choose a different blog template just for The Foreigner. Big sigh. I’ll try to get it all sussed out. In the mean time… think of it as… a novelty? See the double meaning there? Eh? Eh? 🙂 Also any comments or criticism are welcome! Thank you!

*~*~*~*~* On vis ze story! *~*~*~*~*

Benjamin Taggart is tossing and turning on his blocky king-sized mattress. He sits up, his dark hair in a tousle, his eyes wide. He can’t stop thinking about the little fish disappearing in a blink of light. He can’t stop thinking about outer-space.

His heavy, 13-size feet hit the rough wooden floor, as he sits for a moment before slowly rising. The house, like any, is a different animal at night. It floats peacefully underneath the stars, unnoticed until morning. Benny always liked being up at night, sharing in this pensive moment, but tonight his mind is elsewhere. Tonight, all he can think about is that strange, foreign creature lurking in the tank. He walks into the kitchen, past the long dining table, and retrieves a pitcher of water from the refrigerator, pouring himself a cup. But after just one sip he stands motionless, and he soon sets the glass down and walks back down the hall.

He contemplates the creature for a long while. He realizes that he hasn’t actually touched it: When he and Jane initially retrieved it, they used a towel. Abruptly, he stands, takes one step toward the cage, and dips his hand into the water.

Walls. These walls… stop me. If I am still, they do not assault me. If I try to leave, they attack me. My world is small here. It is simple here. It is still here. I stay here, not moving, and nothing happens. I dream, sometimes, of the great brilliant orbs of light, their homes in the darkness, dancing in circles; dancing in spirals.

I dream of smells and sights and colors… but they are distant… were they ever real?

I stay here in eternity. Nothing but my dreams and the lulling, soft caresses of this heavy air comfort me. Sometimes when I am very still, when I am not wallowing in miserable boredom, I sense this movement. It is outside me. It is outside the violent walls. It is outside of everything. It pulls me, gently, as though I am on the back of a great monster moving ever so slowly through existence. I take comfort with this monster. We move together.

THINGS ARE MOVING! Sudden change! The heavy air swirls, buffets against me, knocking me, turning me! VIOLENT AIR. And then… calmness. A touch. A firmness. A million little … tingling…

Little worlds. The center is chaotic, but held in order… like me, in my cage. Dancing, dancing planets… vibrating light, delicate balance. They clasp to each other. There is a universe of them. And then… rushing liquid, thumping rhythm, a machine made of sound and light, a dance of life, of memory and movement. The rhythm never stops. The dancers never stop.

Skin flakes. Hair follicles. Messengers! Always moving, running to and fro, they are sucked up, they are spit out, swimming, zipping around. Electrical currents zapping across the trees, lighting up the forest, dancing, sizzling, twinkling. On. Off. On. Off. A circus of sparks, an unending orchestra.

Oh, how this thing functions! And then… sights, sounds, colors, tastes… enveloping me, delighting me.

I am taller than everything else. My head swims above the ground, always pulling. My feet carry me, sway me forward, step to step. My limbs hang heavily. I am in the water. No, I am above the water. The surface below me is hard. Its colors are aligned. Boulders move in my head, gnashing, echoing in my ears.

I float above a smaller one like me, his eyes are round and blue, his hair is soft and shines like the sun. There is a connection to him, a bond. He does not speak, but I understand.

A stranger. Fiery head. Noises. My home is not my home. I feel her space.. it pushes and nudges me, little twinges in my brain.

Water. I am always on the water. The world is not still–it tilts, it sways. The sea is a god who gives me gifts. They make me think of the smaller one with sunshine hair. I dream of a monster, a beast, a different god. A god who would bring me glory, happiness, riches. I build the walls–the violent walls. I fill them with heavy air. And I wait.

Benjamin removes his hand from the water, his eyes drifting, and stumbles backward into the old lounge chair. He sits there for a long time.