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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Sci-fi · #2255313
Things can hide in plain sight. It might be dangerous to find them.

Length 1637 words


CASE: 173B46-A                     Submitted: 30/04/08
ROUTING: Storage
ITEM: Manuscript

See attached incident report

April 23, 2008

Dear Terry
          Someone needs to know the truth. I'm writing this just in case.
          Telling you this will put your life in danger. I apologize for that, I really do.
          Terry, you've known me for years, you know that I'm a pretty straight guy. No flights of fancy, no wild imagination. Always the sober one, always the designated driver after a party. Sure, we used to read some science fiction and some fantasy stuff when we were in school, but you know that these days I'm more apt to have my nose in "Scientific American" than in "Bizarre Tales".
          So you know that I am perfectly serious when I ask you this: If you were an alien visiting Earth who did not want to be caught or seen or even noticed, what would you do?
          Obviously, the safest thing is to be completely invisible. Turn on the old cloaking device and distort light rays or something. For all we know, invisible aliens are all around us, observing our every move, recording our every thought. Relax; I don't believe that for a second.
          But if you can't be invisible, the next best way of hiding is to be unnoticeable. An alien that looks like something commonplace, something we see every day and overlook because of that--something harmless, something innocuous--such an alien might as well be invisible, because even when you look right at it, you think that you are seeing something else. Most of us look but don't really see; or at best, we see exactly what we expect to see. An alien could easily take advantage of that failing and, either through technology or mental ability, project an image of itself that would deceive us completely.
          I'd better get to the point.
          Last month, one morning when I was rushing out late for work, I spotted a sock under my living room sofa.
          This should strike you as strange, because you know what a neat freak I am. It struck me as doubly strange because I don't undress in the living room. Well, okay, that weekend last month when Linda was here, yes, we left a trail of clothes all the way to the bedroom, but I distinctly remember that I was barefoot when I answered the door to let her in. And I picked everything up afterwards. There wasn't a sock in the living room. I would have noticed. You know I would have.
          Now, when I got home from work, and went to pick it up, it wasn't there. I searched the apartment carefully, and nothing else was missing, so I didn't phone the police. But I also didn't find that sock. And I assure you, I looked very, very carefully.
          It showed up in the guest bedroom a week later. I found it when I went to tidy up after Mom came for a visit the weekend after Linda was here. I know darned well that I never took my socks off in that bedroom. There is absolutely no way I took that sock in there.
          So when I saw it, I picked it up and clutched it tightly right there on the spot while I flipped my cell phone open and dialed.
          "Hi, Mom. I wanted to thank you for coming up this weekend."
          "Thank you, son. It was a nice visit".
          "Say, Mom, are you missing a sock? A dark blue polyester blend dress sock?"
          "Not that I know of, David. When I unpacked, everything was there."
          "When you stayed here last weekend, did you notice a dark blue sock in the corner under the dresser?"
          "What, you're thirty years old and you still don't pick up after yourself? No, and even if I had seen a sock lying around I wouldn't have picked it up."
          I carried sock and phone into the master bedroom. "No, mom, I picked it up already. It's just that when I went in to change the bedding, I found this sock, and I thought it might be yours. Though, actually, it must be mine, because I see the mate to it here in the drawer."
          "Well, at least you found it. I always used to say that the dryer ate socks because you were always missing one of a pair." Mom paused for a minute. "You know, it's odd. You never lose two of a pair. It's always only one. If you lose two, it's always two different socks. I wonder why that is."
          I wondered too, at the time. Now I know, and I wish I didn't. I thanked my mother and hung up.
          It occurred to me to mark the sock with a little bit of thread. I stitched a couple of loops of red onto the toe, and then folded the traveler up with its partner in the drawer.
          Well, I really started to think hard when I found it yesterday in my office, in the kneehole of my desk. I would never have noticed it except that I knocked some papers off, and when I bent down to pick them up, I saw the sock just peeking out from behind the computer tower. I recoiled in shock and banged my elbow against my chair.
          Same sock, marked with red, no question. And absolutely no question of my having brought it with me. I had seen it in the drawer when I dressed that morning.
          For a while, I thought I was losing it, man. But I know what I saw, I know that it had been in my bedroom, I know that it was now in my office. I didn't touch it. I left the damn thing right where it lay. Just before I left work I whipped out my cell phone, made sure the date/time stamp was turned on, and took a picture. And that, I'm afraid, may have been a very bad mistake.
          When I got home tonight, the sock wasn't in the drawer. I was greatly relieved--until I was making supper, and spotted it squeezed in the little crack between the dishwasher and the cupboard. I swear, it was hiding. I wouldn't have seen it except that I bent down to wipe up a spill.
          By this time, I couldn't deny what was happening. It was then that my suspicion began turning to certainty. What I took to be a sock might actually be something else. Something disguised as a sock. Something alien.
          I'm not saying that the aliens are socks, or that all the world's socks are aliens in disguise. I'm just saying that if you were an alien and wanted to stay hidden, and you could make yourself look like anything--no, that's wrong--if you could make any human being think that what they were seeing was something else--it would be as good as invisibility.
          It may look like a sock, feel like a sock, smell like a sock. But I don't think I've ever worn that particular sock. It's always somewhere else. It's always missing from the drawer. Its mate is a perfectly ordinary sock but I never wear it, either, because it's always alone.
          The sock is teleporting. It's following me around. Stalking me. Watching me. Spying on me, and on my family and friends. It probably took great interest in what Linda and I were doing that first weekend. But where has it been during all those days, all those weeks, when I hadn't noticed it? Where has it been going and what has it been doing and who has it been spying on?
          But why did it come to the office? It must have known that it would be out of place there. It took a great risk in being there. Do aliens have courage? Do they know self-sacrifice?
          Probably it already suspected me, and has been keeping me under close surveillance. Certainly I must have justified its suspicions. Taking a picture of it at the office was definitely not a good idea. When you take something's picture, you give a definite message of "I see you!" When you notice something that doesn't want to be noticed, you may irritate it. And it might not be a good idea to irritate an unknown alien being that can go anywhere, any time.
          So I have decided to write this all down and send it to you later tonight.
          The sock is no longer under the dishwasher. I don't know where it is.
          Terry, I'm scared.

Westridge Police Department
17 Civic Center
Westridge, AB T4K 3K7

Case #173B46                    Date/Time Reported: 23/03/2008 21:20
Offense: Suspected Suicide          Statute: 241(b)          Committed [X] Attempted [ ]
Date occurred: 03/20/ 08 (est.)           to same                              
Officer 1:          Jason Smythe           Badge No: 346
Officer 2:          Denvall DeWitt          Badge No: 519

Person 1:
Type: Victim                    Soc. Sec.: 413-276-200
Name (Last, First & Middle): Whitmore, David Francis                              
Race: Cauc Sex: M ale Age: 30 Height: 5'10" Weight: 180 est
Hair:          Brn          Eyes:          Brn          Offense Indicator: Deceased & cyanotic
Injury: Suffocation          Extent: Fatal                                                            
Weapon:          fabric          Caliber/Gauge:                    Finish:                    
Foul Play Suspected:          No disturbance of scene, no indication of force          

Unit responded to call from apartment manager who entered for scheduled          
maintenance and found the victim. The door was unlocked. Victim was          
found on the living room floor by the sofa. Cyanosis and eye hemorages
suggest suffacation. There was no evidence of a struggle, no damage to
apartment contents. Preliminary examination by ME Dr. Kavanagh revealed
a blue sock wedged in victim's throat but no sign of force and no evi-
dence of foul play. Note found on coffee table by body (tag 173B46-A) suggests severe mental disturbance.          
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