Is Your Blood as Red As This?

by Jahnelle McMillan

“Are you mad?” Arjun chuckled, rolling his shoulders into the back of the sofa.

“It’s the anniversary gift I want,” Jyoti said, tossing the hedge shears onto the coffee table. The Japanese steel gleamed under the lamp. She had only asked the minimum of Arjun, one simple favor any self-respecting, human Londoner would do for their well-deserving, endlessly supportive partner. Kill the alien who moved into the flat upstairs.

Jyoti watched every BBC news segment about the alien murders and the response from Scotland Yard. Many people had been doing it lately, from school librarians in Istanbul to your average stock market hacker on the Central Tube line. There were tutorials on TikTok and subreddits with alien autopsy diagrams and tricks to not get caught. She read the message boards late into the evening, liking the posts recommending tarps and tools and reporting posters asking for mercy and integration with the blue creatures. It really seemed no different from Arjun shopping at the village market, except he might need laundry detergent to clean the entrails from his locs.

Jyoti had been watching, well, stalking, her prey for just over a fortnight. She couldn’t take it anymore – the alien’s smug, beluga-like face when it entered the building, nor the scent its spongey-blue skin would leave in the elevator and hallways. Her chest stiffened with hate each time she shared a small pleasantry, “Morning,” and heard the cheerful, “G’day” in response. An Aussie? In Brixton? Worst of all, it wore a hat and trench, Burberry of course, and its appendage made the coat pop out like a tent around its pelvis. One evening, after a particularly stressful day of resolving the incompetence of her coworkers, Jyoti narrowly made it to the elevator to see the appendage sticking out through a gap in the small brown buttons. It looked like a shameless, shriveled penis jutting its way into everyone’s lives, safe spaces, and sanities. She narrowly made it to the hall and vomited across the entry to her apartment.

If Arjun truly loved her, she’d have an alien carcass on her couch in time for their anniversary dinner next week. Other women would ask for a grand wedding or an all-inclusive holiday in the Maldives. Jyoti wasn’t asking him for much. That creature had to go.