Chapter One - The Encounter

The first chapter of my new blog story The Strange Case of the Other-worlders.

There is an old tale told of the other-worlders, who shift in and out of existence. Sometimes for a flash, sometimes for a longer period. But in all cases it is equally terrifying when it happens. Nobody knows who or what they are. Some theorised they were apparitions or spirits of the departed, others thought they were time travellers or beings from another dimension. But little did I know, that I would be running into them within the next hour.

I woke up from bed as usual that morning. I looked outside the window and it was still dark. On the ground there was a thick snow coverage. It was the middle of January on a Sunday. I went into the kitchen to make some coffee. I had just gotten a new coffee machine, which has a nice aroma feature and a digital display. While I was waiting, the phone rang. It was Anne, who wanted to know what I thought about the movie we watched last night, each in our own homes, called ‘Reflections’.

“I enjoyed the plot more than I thought I would. The main character was annoying in some parts. But overall it was okay.”

We made plans to see each other later at my place for takeout. I ended the call and took a cup of coffee with me to the living room and sat down to watch the news. The headlines were pretty much what you’d excepted them to be -possible war, scarce resources, and people being people. I sighed and closed my eyes for a bit to listen.

Suddenly the news anchor was interrupted by a loud clank coming from my balcony. It startled me, so I got up and opened the balcony door. I could barely see what was the cause of the noise. Then I noticed the ash tray was on the concrete floor. I bent over to lift it back up and turned around. I almost went white in the face and had a heart attack on the account of what I saw. There before me stood a translucent and transparent figure, what appeared to be a young woman. It was an other-worlder.

“…” It stood there without saying anything. Though I could hear what resembled waveforms buzzing in my ears. I shivered there, in the cold, unable to move. It extended an arm towards me, and touched mine. It felt like I was getting an electric current shot up through me. It vanished at that very same moment. I quickly went back inside and closed the door.

My heart was racing as I tried to calm myself down. My hands were shaking, and I could feel cold sweat running down my back. I sat down on the couch. The door bell rang. I hate it when that happens when I’m anxious. I went to open the door, it was Anne. “…You’re early,” I said. “What are you talking about?” She pointed at the clock on the wall behind me, it showed late afternoon already. I was confused and in shock, but I didn’t show it to her.

“Is everything okay, Alex?” I fumbled with the takeout she brought to the living room and we sat down. “…Yeah, just a weird day,” I replied. They enjoyed their food, well, Alex was trying to at least. But his head was way too busy with going over the timeshift and the figure in the balcony. They talked for a while after which she gave him a long hug and left.

It was evening. As Alex went to open the fridge to get a beverage, he got a jolt from its handle, and that caught him by a surprise. “…The hell is happening today?” He sat down and turned on his favourite streaming service to watch a series to try to switch his attention to something else. He fell asleep.

Suddenly he woke up to mysterious glow in the darkness of the living room. He opened his eyes fully and then it happened. The figure grabbed his arms sitting next to him and started whispering in woman’s voice: “…All…Seem…Wrong…” Alex was scared out of his wits, but he asked causiously: “W-who are you?” The figure slowly let go of his arms and continued to sit there on the couch. “…Is this better?” she said. Alex stared at her completely mute. “The adjustment takes a while after the first contact. That’s why your sense of time probably sped up too. Sorry about that,” she continued. She seemed to get more dense and human-like.

“I’ll ask again, just who are you?!”

“…Before we get to that, can you tell me where am I?”

Alex was puzzled. “Oslo, Norway.”

“…Oh. Well… I suppose it was worth the shot.”

“A-are you an other-worlder?”

“…I do not know what that is but for safety, I will say no.” She was completely manifested now, but one thing that stood out, was that she was naked, to the embarrassment of Alex. And yet she kept talking like nothing was weird about it. Alex offered her a blanket, which she put around her, but she had an expression on her face though which indicated she had no idea what a blanket was. And this confounded Alex.

“Do you drink coffee?” She was silent. Alex made her a cup anyway. He brought it to her. She smiled at him, and took the cup. They stared at each other. “You do know what to do with it, right?” Alex asked looking dazed. She smiled again and examined the cup very throughly, from all possible sides, until finally slowly taking a sip. At least she wasn’t complaining, Alex thought.

“So, you’re going to tell me who you are now and what are you doing here, sitting naked in my living room, after coming out of thin air?”

“…My name, is Sofia,” she said and then continued drinking the coffee.

“And?”

“…You would not understand if I told you everything.”

“Try me…”

“…I am you.”