It just looks like a smudge in our still shots, but in motion it's a clear yet transparent human figure, merrily strolling down the path like someone out to test their new Predator cloaking device. The guard tracks it across all four screens as it walks right through the closed gate, crosses the street and then struts out over the river before fading from view:
I always beg for them to give him one last chance. Of course, they did at first. Charlie has been back home several times, each shorter in duration than the last. Every time without fail, it all starts again. The neighbourhood cats with gouged out eyes showing up in his toy chest, my dad’s razors found dropped on the baby slide in the park across the street, mom’s vitamins replaced by bits of dishwasher tablets. My parents are hesitant now, using “last chances” sparingly. They say his disorder makes him charming, makes it easy for him to fake normalcy, and to trick the doctors who care for him into thinking he is ready for rehabilitation. That I will just have to put up with my boredom if it means staying safe from him.
Once there, they start feeding. They also begin absorbing their mobility features and gills. The eyes and notochord (like a spine) go next. Finally, the brain is absorbed. Having no need to move about anymore, all of these body parts are considered superfluous by nature and dispensed with (an intriguing indicator that eyes and brains are necessarily mainly for reasons of mobility and are unnecessary for stationary organisms like plants—no wonder many of us feel an urge to travel). The material is then recycled to create whole new body systems, including digestive, reproductive, and circulatory systems. Then the hermaphroditic tunicate reproduces, expelling brand new sea squirts into the world. It doesn’t get much more alien than that.