The Sentients




They were back.
The hair on my neck rose, and I focussed on my notebook, forcing myself to keep my writing steady as I tried to ignore the feeling of eyes on my back. Like every other time, I tried to convince myself that I was just being paranoid, but instinct overwhelmed me, and I knew they were watching again.
Who were they? No matter how much I tried, I could never get a glimpse, except for occasional movements caught in the corner of my eye. I needed proof that I wasn’t hallucinating, that I wasn’t going crazy. But with a speed almost superhuman, they vanished whenever I tried to look for them, leaving no trace behind.
Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a movement. Against the bright moonlight, I saw a shadow detach from the trees and move stealthily towards my open window. I grit my teeth and forced my fingers to relax from the way they had convulsed around my pen, my heart beating wildly. They had never been so bold before. Was I finally going to get a glimpse after three weeks of fragmented nerves? And at what cost? I took a deep breath and trained my eyes on my notebook as the shadow soundlessly approached my window. I almost started when I spied another shadow reveal itself from between the trees, though it didn’t follow the first one. So my instinct had been correct – there were more than one, though I’d never caught more than one shadow in my peripheral vision.
Though my eye never moved from the sheet in front of me, I followed the movement of the first shadow as it inched forward. This stalking from afar was unnerving me, with all the lack of evidence and motive. This was going to have to change, I told myself, as the shadow moved closer. Then I took a deep breath and whipped my head around to look at it directly, expecting it to vanish as usual. And then I froze. ‘Cause the shadow had not moved.
I stared at the shadow for a few moments, overwhelmed that I hadn’t been hallucinating after all, before registering its shape. And then my blood ran cold. The shadow didn’t resemble that of a human. It wasn’t a person who stood outside my window. With the shadow, the thing, standing just beyond the reach of light from my window with the moon shining at its back, I could register only its shape. And then it stepped forward and light from my bedroom spilled on it.
I jumped out of my chair and opened my mouth to scream, but no sound escaped. I was right. It wasn’t human. It wasn’t superhuman… it was inhuman. It had a cylindrical torso that gave a dull metallic glean, and it stood on a circular plate that hovered above the ground. No wonder they didn’t leave footprints, I thought incoherently. But what seized my attention was the tentacle like projection from the place where our neck, on whose other end was an orb… an eye, I suppose you would call it. And that was what brought the word inhuman to my mind.
Its eye was focussed on me, and I couldn’t tear my eyes away. But I didn’t feel that this was just another ‘animal’, just another ‘creature’. Its ‘gaze’ was sharp, clear, cold. It was sentient. The intelligence behind that gaze was infinitely more, it’s thinking coldly methodical. And I could feel that this sentient being was up to no good. When an inhumanly cold creature lurked out in the fringes, it couldn’t mean anything good. I felt all these instinctively, and I knew I was right. My instinct had never been wrong yet, especially when it came to these shadows. And whether that evil was focussed on me in particular or all humanity in general, I was too scared to contemplate.

I don’t know how long I stood like that, eyes locked with the Sentient. Then when it moved closer still and suddenly dull grey things burst out from its cylindrical body to grip the edge of my window, sound finally escaped my lungs as I screamed. The last thing I remembered before I fainted was the spine, tentacle holding the ‘eye’ leaned forward to get a closer look at me.

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