Aliens, Owls and Mirror Images

By Lyssa Stevens


What if the clouds were alien spaceships that monitor humans? 2020 would make a lot more sense if we were an experiment that went completely out of their control. We became a few too many, and how perfect a pandemic is to kill some of us off. But what if the clouds were just clouds? That means we humans would have to take accountability, and we all know how that’s going.

But what if there are aliens watching us fumble about? Does that mean they control the weather? That’s probably why it rains so much. Maybe they think rain is poisonous to us but have yet to figure out that it’s nothing but a minor inconvenience. I hope we can make contact soon so we can tell them to stop playing around with Melbourne’s weather. I don’t want to carry around a coat for an entire day when I only need to wear it for five minutes.

This leads us to another dilemma. Where do they go when it’s warm? Here’s the answer: the other side of the world. Like the weather, seasons are an alien construct. There aren’t enough of them to keep us in check all at once. Or maybe there are! Maybe they are some of us. Infiltrators. Ever met a person who didn’t seem like a person? Like Mark Zuckerberg. A billionaire. Millionaire? Not the point. He’s got the money. He’s got the power. He created Facebook. And who doesn’t have a Facebook account? We’re being tracked, people! He’s helping the aliens keep tabs on us at all times!

I do worry that my data is being sold. Not to big corporate companies, but the aliens. Why do they need to know when my birthday is? Or what fun activities I’m doing with my friends on the last weekend of July? My feed is creepily specific to me and my search history. Even to what I say. I feel like technology can read minds now. That would make sense as to why I see specific items on my timelines before I even speak them into the universe.

The universe is so big. I saw a post the other day about how small the Earth is in comparison to the Milky Way and had to stare at a wall for like half an hour just to comprehend how small and insignificant I am. Sometimes, I think about how one day, no one will remember me. All my friends and family will die, and those who have only met me in passing will also die, and I will follow them. Deep down into the dirt. Or a pile of ash. I haven’t decided yet. Sure, I can carve my name into tree trunks and wet cement, but it’ll just be a bunch of words. And I’ll just be a bunch of bones.

Sometimes it really gets to me. That once I die, there might be no one that remembers me. That I’m not important enough to be remembered. Not even by one measly person. I lull myself into a false sense of comfort by saying that it doesn’t matter whether people remember me. But I know I’m lying to myself. I know myself too well, and I resent that about me. That no matter how hard I try, I know what’s going on in my brain. I want to be remembered. I crave it. But I know I won’t be. One day, far into the future, I’ll be nothing but a blip in the existence of the universe. But how insignificant can I be if I’ve got aliens watching me? That’s got to amount to something.


‘Is she okay?’

Meg looks at me with her face scrunched up. She closes Ella’s diary with a dramatic thump, making sure to leave her thumb in between its pages.

‘What do you mean is she okay?’ she said. ‘Obviously not, she thinks aliens are real.’

May be real. She’s thinking about the possibility of their existence.’

I reach for Ella’s diary. Meg stretches her arm out behind her.


‘We’re reading this.’



Imagine this. Humans can turn their necks around like owls. The whole 270 degrees. Yes, it isn’t 360 degrees, despite popular belief. If owls could twist their necks that far around, they would probably snap them off. Same with humans. If we could do that, a whole lot of heads would be rolling around, and even the image of that makes me sick.

But I digress. Humans and their 270-degree turning necks. If that were a thing, I would have gotten a whole lot more detention while I was in school. Teachers would have caught me passing notes and gossiping with my friends. Maybe that would have been a good thing. Getting caught. I would have been forced to complete my work while in detention. I could have gotten better grades. I mean, my grades in school weren’t the worst, but they were close. They were enough to let me leave. Or maybe the teachers unanimously agreed that I was making their lives a living hell, which meant I had to leave for the sake of their sanity.

If I’m honest, school wasn’t that bad. Besides the grades, of course. I had enough friends to make me not look like a loser. I didn’t get invited to house parties to drink alcohol while I was still underage, nor did I experiment with illicit drugs like the rest did. Nor did anyone want to take me on a date. The last guy I liked in high school went from being my friend to pretending like I didn’t exist. But if I were an owl, with my freaky neck turning, I wouldn’t be required to care. I’d just have to make sure I didn’t swivel my head further than 270 degrees and snap it off.


‘I think she needs–’

‘I think we need to go on.’

‘Meg, no. This is her safe space, why did you think this was a good idea?’

I reach for the diary once again. Meg stands up and holds it above her head, balancing on her toes. I stand up and walk over to Meg. I rise to the tips of my toes and reach my hand out towards the diary. Meg allows the diary brush against my fingertips before tilting her head to the side and cocking an eyebrow.

‘I don’t think she’s okay. I really think we should–’

‘Continue? What a great idea!’ Meg turns around, clutches the diary to her chest and walks back over to the couch. As she slumps back between the cushions, she flings the pages open. I watch her, shocked.

‘Talk to her, Meg. We should talk to her.’



Do you think that your reflection in the mirror doesn’t turn away when you do? It watches you while you brush your teeth. Style your hair. Put your make-up on. Shower.

They have eyes on us in our most vulnerable moments. One of the biggest fears in the world is dying while naked. Don’t fact check me on that. But having someone – better yet – a version of yourself watching you without knowing…it sends shivers down parts of my body that I didn’t know could shiver.

Imagine if our reflections could jump out. Swap lives with you. Take over the mess that the universe gifted you. I wouldn’t mind being stuck in a mirror. It would be like a vacation. I would also be able to do the watching. Judge people from afar. I do that now, but at least I won’t be judged for judging.


‘Is that my diary?’

Meg stops reading and looks at me. I gently shake my head, sneaking a glance at Ella as she stands in the doorway. The tips of her ears are red, and her eyes are wide with embarrassment.

‘You shouldn’t have made it so juicy,’ Meg said, slowly closing Ella’s diary before slipping it under a couch cushion.

Ella creeps towards us with a stern face. She places her handbag on the coffee table before glaring at Meg and I, the heat from her rage rolling over us. Before anyone can speak again, I stand and place a hand on Ella’s shoulder.

‘Sit,’ I say in a calm tone, leading Ella to join us on the couch.

I sit between Ella and Meg and hope they don’t lunge at each other.

‘We want to know if you’re okay.’

I slide my hand down her arm to hold her hand. I can feel the pulse of her veins as she clutches mine.

‘Why wouldn’t I be?’ Ella looks down at our hands, and a small smirk twitches on her cheek.

‘See? She’s fine.’ Meg stands up and huffs her way to her room.

Ella sighs and rolls her eyes, sinking further into the couch.

I continue watching Ella as her expression changes from rage to confusion to understanding. Her eyebrows furrow together and then run in the opposite direction. Her nose crinkles and softens.

‘Are you really okay?’

Her eyes trail their way up to mine.

‘I’ve seen them.’ Her hand slips away from mine. ‘They’re real.’

My brows furrow. I adjust my body to face her fully.

‘What are?’ My heart is pounding. I can hear the blood rush through my veins.

Ella’s laugh bounces off the walls and echoes into my eardrums.

‘We’re an experiment, Bonnie.’ Her laughter dies down, but her eyes and smile remain wide. ‘They’re coming.’

‘Who are?’ I know the answer, but I don’t want to hear it. I want to cover my ears and scream. Or walk away and ignore Ella all together.

‘You know who I’m talking about, Bon,’ she says. Her eyes are empty when she leans in towards me. Her nose is so close to mine I can feel her breath. ‘Don’t pretend to be stupid now.’



I told you they were coming. I said that we were being watched.

Next time, you should listen.



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