Sunday Stories: Not Directly (fiction, obviously)

The trick is to not look directly at them. They can get you if you look straight at them, you have to kind of use your peripheral vision. It’s not easy to learn, not simple to do, but with practice, almost anyone can manage it, and it may be the very thing that saves your life.

I know that sounds melodramatic but I’ve seen them turn vicious in a moment, all because someone stared. It’s hard to resist. I don’t blame you if you want to look. It’s a natural inclination, I think. Human curiosity, we all want to know more and we’re just arrogant enough to think that it is okay for us to put our eyes on whatever we like to look at.

The creatures don’t like it though. They want to stay on the edges, not in full view. I’ve had to clean up the mess when someone has forgotten the rules and it was all over but the sobbing.

It happened a lot more often at first, right after they got here. I spent a lot of time scrubbing back then. Of course, the authorities cared a lot more about keeping things quiet at that point. Now, they’ve gotten sort of complacent, the government doesn’t even bother to try and hide what’s happening.

I still spend a lot of time scrubbing, just not as much. And I think the things are more vicious because they don’t get to attack as often. They kind of save it up.

I know you’ve heard the ads about trying to get along with the creatures. It won’t work though. They aren’t interested in getting along with us, they just want what they want. They’re just trying to find a reason to attack.

You’ve seen the posters about how to look without looking. No one can tell you how to resist the temptation though, the government thinks that telling us what NOT to do should be enough. It doesn’t work that way, your brain doesn’t like it.

I try to tell people how to keep things blurry in front of them and clear off to the sides. Back in my day, we had these books that would show you a 3-D picture if you looked at them just right – staring off into the distance but with the book in front of you – that’s the kind of thing I advise people to practice. It’s easier to bring to mind when you are in a panic than just trying to avoid looking.

If they put up posters like those 3D books everywhere then people could get in the habit of watching the world that way and we wouldn’t have so many people in danger. Then I’d have a lot less blood to clean up. I think I’d like that.