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  • Asirini Parakramawansha

The mystery of the missing, well, EVERYTHING!

Today our kaleidoscope swirls with an artificial glow and a quiet, insistent buzzing. Perhaps we're going to an underground bee farm? Push through the strange colours and take my hand as we step onto this unknown land of cream tiles and labelled aisles. If I didn't know better, I'd think this was my local supermarket. It even smells the same, if not cleaner. Except, there seems to be a few key differences...



Nothing.


Not on the shelves, in the crates, and certainly no one's around. Whatever could have happened to everyone? And everything? Maybe a millionaire shopaholic bought out the entire shop? Could the kaleidoscope have played a trick on us all and just taken us to a closed supermarket? Or maybe the whole earth's population has been abducted by aliens during the split second it took for us to travel here? If so, why did they take our shop supplies? Maybe they were hungry aliens with a desperate need for toilet paper? Do aliens use toilet paper? I, for one, say we should get to the bottom of this air-conditioned mystery. And quickly too. There's no telling when whoever (or whatever) emptied this shop will come back for us...


Green tentacles reaching out from beneath a surgical mask on a lady's face and grabbing toilet paper.
What could be beneath that mask? -an illustration of my view through the kaleidoscope (as drawn by yours truly)

First contact


Did you hear that? It almost sounded like the soft shuffling of feet and the creak of a trolley. But the only breath I hear is muffled. Could we be dealing with a cyborg? Maybe it's a very dedicated Darth Vader cosplayer? Stick close and have your kaleidoscopes ready. Who knows whether we'll round this corner to find something otherworldly and sinister. Something like... a normal person? At least that's what she seems to be from the eyes up. The rest of her face is concealed behind a surgical mask of all things. I guess she must be a doctor. Or an alien that's hiding her tentacles just out of reach.


Strangely enough, Dr Alien seems to have crammed her trolley full of four packs of various snacks, pasta, and a bathtub full of hand sanitiser. Maybe we should just ask her what's going on? Let me reach out first. Despite my efforts, she only reacts by backing away whenever I approach. Sometimes she coughs, pointing to strange circular markings on the floor. If I wasn't mistaken, the extra-terrestrial symbols could read, "Please keep 2 metres of distance between customers for your own safety."

Is this a threat? Perhaps that's as close as you can get before the aliens unleash their tentacles. Or maybe those circles are the safe zones we can use to hide from the aliens? Thankfully, the masked lady seems to have disappeared for now. I can only hope that exploring the other aisles could point us towards their mothership. Or whatever else has caused this. But every aisle seems more or less empty. I guess that leaves one last place to check. The cashier.



The Mass (microscopic?) Invasion


After approaching another masked extraterrestrial at the cashier counter, I've discovered the real reason behind this bizarre mass abduction. It turns out that we're in the middle of a mass viral outbreak. A disease called 'COVID19' has spread rapidly and globally, causing worldwide panic and consequently 'panic buying' to avoid going to stores and potentially getting infected. Not to mention that most stores are now closed as the whole world has been quarantined in their own homes. It sounds like something out of a dystopian novel! No wonder there's no more hand sanitizer left! But that still doesn't explain the missing toilet paper...


They can't mask the truth forever!


Despite the cashier's calm explanation from behind his glass barrier and mask, I still have an uneasy feeling about all this. One small virus couldn't frighten the whole world this much, could it? Whatever is going on, I think it's best if we stay home for the time being and keep our ears open to what might really be happening. After all, there's no telling which of us is really a tentacles monster in disguise now that everyone's wearing a mask. It may seem confining to stay inside during this lockdown. But if you're careful and find a quiet corner of your house, away from hidden tentacle monsters, you'll find that a new world is simply one twist of the lens away...

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