‘The Interloper,’ a Short Story Without Dialogue

For class, I had to write a story without dialogue, and with a couple of pre-chosen items.  Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Drawing by Ralph Steadman
Drawing by Ralph Steadman


The Interloper

By Clinton Nix

Frozen grass crunched beneath the steps of a shambling man. His shoes were crusted and worn, and dirty toes protruded from holes in the sides. His quivering eye scanned the surroundings: a freshly paved path through the grass, which led to a double swingset, and a picnic table off to the side with a group of parents lounging in bundles, huddled to keep warm. Squeaky clean-and-combed children giggled and bounced as they weaved through the pathways with their hot breaths escaping into the air like smoke.

One boy clutched an ocean-blue rectangular box, which had a shooting star etched in the side. He unlatched the tin, and a plethora of snacks tumbled out. The ragged man cast his gaze upon the contents like a magnet, groping his midsection furiously. His face was ghastly, with a horrid expression that pierced the atmosphere like a spear. He stuck out like a sore thumb, and it didn’t take longer than a few moments for the loungers to catch a glimpse of this unsightly intruder.

The boy shuffled through his mound of snacks like plundered treasure. He kneaded the pile flat and even, leveling the goods so that every variation could be seen. A stray piece of edamame teetered on the edge of the picnic table, and slipped through the boy’s failed attempt to snatch it mid-air. The ravenous stranger eyed the lone piece of food and ambled slowly toward it, one step at a time. A man in a camping blanket rose to his feet in haste, with an iron stare that broke to pieces under sight of the slovenly being that walked nearer to his child.

With each step of the abominable thing, a gasp escaped from the bundled man at the picnic table. His frightened squeaks grew louder, but his body was as frozen as the grass. He was terrified, but he could not move a muscle to save his son. His breath became hotter, and the small white puffs from his mouth turned to steaming geisers, pulsing in rhythm with the monster’s steps. The others caught notice of the beastly man and pointed, but with arms extended, they froze in place, with the only sign of life visible by way of breath. The small boy looked directly at the approaching alien with serene composure.

The grizzly demon neared the picnic table overflowing with mounds of snacks. His gaze waved, and lowered from the boy, to the table, to the grass below. The ground thumped as he fell to his knee-like nubs. The rabid creature thrust out its grubby, filthy hand-claws, and purloined the treasured edamame from the earth and began to devour it with gangly teeth until no morsel remained. In a lustful craze, the disgusting alien beast thieved another snack from the table, and began ravaging it just the same.

While the horrendous abomination of a life form was occupied, the parents of the boy dethawed, as if a magic spell had been broken, and began to act. They snatched their belongings, along with the boy and as many snacks as could be hoarded in an armful. They fled the park and the wicked diseased creature without looking back. The subhuman thing had passed out during their mad rush, after gorging itself.

***
Upon waking, the disheveled man lifted his quivering eyes, and cracked a smile that cast a shimmering light upon his grimy face. Stumbling to rise, he noticed the pale green glow of another edamame placed gently by his head.

—-

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4 thoughts on “‘The Interloper,’ a Short Story Without Dialogue

  1. Interesting piece, Clint. It’s all in the convenient filters we apply to our perception. To see the suffering would demand action, a change, taking responsibility and risk. Much easier to see a beast and run away.

    1. This reply is late, as I finally noticed the comment (!). Anyway, I suppose late is better than nothing, so I will describe some things I intended for the story.

      The story is about a hungry homeless man, and the perspective of how people see this man. For the man is not a beast at all, but just a man, but the people picnicking nearby see him as an intruder, and their views become increasingly distorted throughout the story.

      The child, on the other hand, does not have any perceptions of the man, and thus does not share their reactions. Once the picnickers have left, we see that the description of the man becomes more normal, and we see that the boy had left another edamame for the man, because he knew he was hungry.

      It’s really just the simplicity of a child’s view, and how our perspectives can become distorted and tainted when we become adults.

      Thanks for your question!

  2. Cool man, you made quite the beast. And I hate being cold so I felt bad for him. Nice touch with the warm perspective of a child.

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