Staring off seemingly into the distance, Darrel sits in his usual spot in the pub, pondering about life.
The town centre has died down to the bare minimum, as it is now nearly one in the morning.
"Last orders!" A lady from behind the bar shouts.
"Fucking hell, we're only just getting started" Joe gargles in response, swaying his glass about as he does so.
"So what are you doing tomorrow then?" Alex asks him.
"Haven't decided yet" Darrel replies.
A late night repeat of an earlier report from the news channel is being displayed up on the TV attached to the wall next to them.
"Five years on after the disappearance of scientist Jacob Bluechain, both military personnel and colleagues remain baffled by the unexplainable disappearance, with many claiming that it's because of the dangerous work he was researching for the military as seen by whistle-blower Mary Whitecroft" the reporter states.
"What do you think happened to him?" Alex asks.
"Aliens" Joe interrupts swaying his glass about again, before drinking it and slamming it down onto the table.
"He's fucked" Alex remarks as he watches Joe sitting still in the chair, with his hands by his side, and head slouched back.
"Are you going to be alright getting him back?" Darrel asks.
"Yeah I'll be fine" Alex replies with a smile.
"Joe, it's time to go mate" Darrel encourages him with a nudge.
"You'll never … Never … Never take me alive" he mutters back in response before falling off the chair, and curling up into a ball on the floor.
"God help you" Darrel tells Alex before finishing up his drink.
"I think God has forsaken me at this point" Alex sighs, now picking Joe up off the floor.
"Take care I'll see you later, GOOD NIGHT JOE" Darrel says before giving Joe a gentle slap to the face.
"Alex, I will defend you from those wicked people" Joe states in his drunken state.
"I'm not even gonna ask" Darrel mumbles as he walks away trying not to laugh.
Stepping outside into the cold chill and light drizzle, he pulls his coat around him doing his zip up in an attempt to keep warm.
No one else is around as he walks up the high street, it is at least another hours walk before he makes it home, no busses run at this time and very few taxis are still around.
Walking across the middle of the road and without warning, Darrel walks through something invisible.
To his shock he is no longer in the middle of the road, but instead, he finds himself in what appears to be a field.
Looking around, he can feel a cool breeze gently swishing through his hair and cooling his cheeks. There are bright stars in the sky up above, not obstructed by any city glow, and tall grass.
He runs his fingers through the grass whilst taking a few steps forward, suddenly, he is startled by a noise to his right.
A figure, standing a short distance away from him, has an equally shocked look of confusion and bewilderment on their face at seeing him, as he is at seeing them.
But there is something not quite right about this figure that Darrel is staring at, for a start, they aren’t any skin tone he is used to seeing on a daily basis, they have red skin from what he can make out, with an almost tiger like pattern on it.
“Errr” the figure stutters, clearly not sure what to say.
Darrel doesn’t move, waiting to see what the best decision to make is.
“Ermm … Hi?” They say to him, in an almost questioning manner whilst giving a little hand wave in a friendly gesture.
Suddenly Darrel realises that he has understood exactly what they have said.
His heart at this point is beating heavily in his chest.
"It's ok, I … I won't hurt you" they tell him in a reassuring manner.
"You speak English?" He asks, quite confused at this point.
"Well … We don't call it English, but yeah" they reply.
"Where … Am I? Darrel asks, clearly quite bewildered in this new location.
He hasn't realised how much of a panic he is now in, nor to the extent that the dizziness is starting settle in.
"Hey, just take it easy" the figure tells him attempting to approach.
"This … This isn't happening" he moans and collapses on the spot.
"This is so cool" the figure states in excitement.
"Welcome to another world" they mutter, ruffling Darrel's hair, before running off in the opposite direction.