S’grktlak stared intently at the disgusting sack of flesh before him. Absorbing every detail before taking the memories was important. Otherwise S’grktlak would project the Mayor’s self-image rather than what the pitiful human actually looked like.
Gurgling pensively the alien creature struck a stiff and artificial pose. S’grktlak took one last look into the mayor’s ornate Jacobean mirror. He filed away all the usual reference points in the distant parts of his forebrain. It would be a shame for him to forget his broad rounded chin, the elegant sharpness of his pointed skull, or the roguish droop of his head fin.
S’grktlak sat down on the floor and placed the human’s head in his boney lap. A few minutes of concentration were all it took to redistribute his handsome fat reservoirs away from his feet and forearms. S’grktlak now had the rough shape of the human he was to supplant.
Mayor Wilkins stirred slightly. S’grktlak would have to hurry. The alien raised the back of the human’s head into his sickeningly open mouth. Carefully the alien bit down with too many broad pointed teeth and allowed his viscous saliva to penetrate the wounds.
Wilkins’ pate came away easily. S’grktlak’s long strong tongue found the brainstem, and the rest of the feeding commenced without issue.
S’grktlak moved a plum and mustard Persian rug to cover the burnt spots on the floor. Nothing more was left of the human.
“Dear what is that smell?” asked Mrs. Wilkins coming from the other room.
S’grktlak gurgled his reply, “Oh, nothing, I dropped a box of matches, darling. One must have lit.”
But, thought is faster than hearing, and Mrs. Wilkins thought it her husband’s voice. Rather, S’grktlak thought that for her. She saw nothing amiss as she strode into the room.
The next several days were just as easy.
S’grktlak secretly planted stores of food and gold in the homes of every other community leader, every potential rival. After the blast his accusations of complicity in the otherworldly attack worked perfectly. Within two days the town was completely in his control. All the betrayers had been hung. Soon more and more of his kind would trickle into town, pitiful survivors and refugees. The same story was repeating itself all across the globe. Within a year the planet would be theirs.
The nighttime knock on the Wilkins’ backdoor came as a bit of surprise. S’grktlak, home alone, answered it mildly annoyed.
A rough-looking tanned fellow in a dingy plaid shirt stood framed in the lantern light. The guard assigned to the door snored somewhere nearby.
“Howdy,” said Rutherford dryly as he drove his steel-toe into the Mayor’s hip.
The flesh felt rubbery but far too firm beneath his boot. Spinning backwards, the creature collapsed onto the floor with a high pitched gurgling hiss.
“Boy, you sound like a phlegmatic tea kettle,” quipped Rutherford with a grin.
Just as the human leaned back to deliver another kick, the alien screamed once more. S’grktlak sent with it a wave of psychic pain. Several lifetimes’ worth of inhuman misery crashed over the man.
Rutherford was reeling forward. The gape-jawed alien quickly slithered beside. S’grktlak would have to make this quick. The alien was quite surprised when Rutherford stuck him with a big damn knife.
“Now that’s a neat trick, but you see I joined this here club. Got some interesting perks.”
A twisted silver talisman hung from the human’s neck.
No matter, thought S’grktlak. “HELP!” gurgled the alien. The whole town heard their beloved Mayor scream in abject terror.
In a sudden rush, the alien spread his claws and lurched towards Rutherford. S’grktlak stopped short with a taught wire wrapped against his neck.
“Gentlemen, let us take this outside,” suggested Sandra Ellen.
It wasn’t long before a large crowd had gathered around the three of them out in front of the Mayor’s well lit back porch. Sandra held the doppelganger with a garrote while Rutherford kept a gun to the creature’s head. The angry crowd had many more guns.
“I reckon it’s about time, ma’am,” decided Rutherford.
Sandra Ellen agreed. Her eyes rolled back into her skull as she hissed out two strange sibilant words. S’grktlak’s illusion shattered. The crowd recoiled in horror. Some moments later, a shot rang out in the night.