Bobbie Joe

 

This is my first attempt at 2nd person. I wrote it a couple of months ago as a challenge from a group. The story is meant to make the reader ask what the truth is. Who is Bobbie Joe? Rough draft.

***

You’ve always called yourself The Unbelievable Bobbie Joe. Your title draws attention, which isn’t exactly what someone in your situation should do. You have secrets to hide. You have secrets, but you’ve learned that if you want to keep something hidden, you do so in plain sight.

This room is cold. You shiver under three heavy thermal blankets. The walls are white, and people sit around you whispering things you can’t make out. They’re like children, these humans. Worrying so over things that don’t matter. Not really. But you’ve always loved children.

The kids in this little town all visit you and ask for stories. Stories you have plenty. Truth …not so much. No one suspects you, at least you hope. These people have all loved you, offered their friendship, never realizing that when they ask who you are, you lie. And you justify it with one thing. They’d kill you if they knew the truth. They would fear you, condemn you because you aren’t one of them. And they would be right to do so.

A small, brown-haired woman walks into the room. She wears colorful cotton clothes meant for those in the medical industry. She stands beside your bed, smiles down at you, and asks if you’re all right. Yes. You are fine. You tell her to just leave you alone and stop pestering you.

So you’ve lived in this little town in your pink, fleshy disguise. You’ve done all the mundane things that make a human seem human. You bake cookies for the kids. You drink your coffee. You eat their fatty foods. They tell you what a wonderful woman you are, doing so much for your community. Their children love you, and when someone needs a babysitter, you’re the first one they ask.

The small woman leaves, and you turn your head just enough to see the others. They sit there with puffy eyes, red from crying. One of them touches your hand, and you pull it away. “Don’t touch me,” you tell her. But your voice sounds foreign. It’s weak and croaks out of you as though you were one of this planet’s amphibians. You swallow and return to your precious overview.

It’s true, you’ve embraced this life. You’re somewhat good at this human form. Perhaps that’s why you were chosen for this assignment. The others knew you’d excel in this place, studying what they call the Terran Race. And if you were being honest with yourself, you’d admit that you’ve enjoyed your time among these people. You like them, love them even. If they hadn’t been so kind—so accepting—perhaps you could leave more easily.

The time is coming however. Twenty years have passed and soon your kind, the ones you belong with, will arrive and take you aboard. They’ll want to know what you’ve learned. The question is what can you tell them? People are strange things, filled with an incredible array of emotions. Their minds work in such complex ways that it seems more work that it’s worth. They enjoy variety, hold tightly to the ideals of their leaders, follow the path of a man who died over two thousand years ago.

The door opens again. This time it’s a man and he wears a white coat. He shakes his head when the others look up to him. “It doesn’t look good,” he says.

“How long, doctor?” The girl who touched your hand bites her trembling lip.

“I can’t be sure,” the doctor answers. “Hours…days. One thing is for certain. She’s too far gone.” The doctor offers a reassuring smile with the tilt of his head. “I’ll leave you with her.” And with that he’s out the door again.

You know this girl beside you, but her name escapes you just now. It doesn’t matter. Soon you’ll be on your way to your home world and none of this will matter anymore.

How can you say it doesn’t matter, though? This life you’ve built here has certainly affected you in ways you can’t begin to explain. You have known happiness—joy even. One of these humans even married you, and while you’ve always considered him just a part of your studies, you loved him in return. He’s gone now. That’s when you learned what devastation meant. When everything inside of you fell apart. You never knew you could experience such a strong reaction. The others will enjoy hearing about that.

A monitor beside you beeps, and that’s when you notice you haven’t been breathing. The girl begins to shout, and the man beside her makes a run for the door. Why do they panic so? It isn’t as though you can’t just start breathing again. Humans are such curious things.

Curious indeed. They take everything to heart. They even have sayings for calming themselves. Things like, “There’s no use crying over spilled perfume.” What an odd thing to say to someone. It never helps anyone from what you’ve seen. Your kind rarely panics unless such a thing is warranted.

Something is wrong. You find it’s harder to breathe than you previously thought. You sputter and try to force your lungs to suck in air with little success. The room fills with humans, and the girl slinks back, leaning against the wall. That’s when it hits you. You know this girl because you made her. Sally. That’s her name. She’s your daughter. How can that be, though. She has to be more than thirty.

Oh God, what have you done? What has your mind done to this girl? She lost you so long ago. Look at the pain on her face. Look what you’ve done.

You reach out to her, a cold, shaking hand for her to latch on to. You manage one final breath and…

Where are you? Why can’t you breathe? Who are these people? The humans—they’re trying to kill you.

 

 

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