The Zentai Phenomenon: Serial Killer No. 5: the Finale
By Jeffrey Bishop
The Zentai Phenomenon brings back the serial storytelling style, which peaked in popularity in the daily newspapers and weekly magazines of the early 20th Century, prior to the advent of a large and literate middle class and inexpensive printing of books — and particularly, of paperback books. This serial presents a standard Scurry Tails short story, but will do so over time between Oct. 14 and Nov. 1. The series will use a news clipping motif to “cover” the story in “real time” with the fictional events it represents. Come back often or click Follow to be sure to receive each new posting in the story as it’s published!
Tell Time: 5 minutes
Scare Rating: 2/5 Ghosts
‘Zentai Phenomenon’ Claims World’s Youth; Skeptics and Scholars Agree: Alien Conspiracy Confirmed
By Janet Willem
PORTLAND, Ore. (PA News, Nov. 1, 2012) — Millions of families around the world today are dealing with the aftermath of the too-true Halloween horror that’s being called the Zentai Phenomenon.
While details remain sketchy, what is known at this time is that possibly 3 billion youth worldwide — between the ages of 6 and 18 according to officials — have disappeared from the planet. An entire generation gone overnight, seemingly bewitched into oblivion.
“My babies are gone!” wailed Tammy Carruthers, a toll booth operator and mother of three children: boys ages 9 and 11 and a girl, 14. “Who’s taken my babies?!”
Carruthers’ story is repeatable across every U.S. ZIP code and across both oceans. The only common element is that each missing child left behind a colorful zentai bodysuit costume. Witnesses report finding suits in the exact place and pose of their children the last time they were seen.
Government officials are reluctant to go on the record to speculate about the world-wide incident, but one United Nations analyst divulged that all the suits involved in the case were sourced to Xeno Imports. The company, a mysterious global concern that emerged from nowhere mere months ago, has a large if shadowy sales and distribution force that catapulted the bodysuit craze onto the world trend scene just in time for Halloween 2012.
Local officials were mum about events that transpired overnight, “under orders from the highest levels of our government,” said Sgt. Dan Hoskins of the Portland Police Department.
The only other other official statement we could gather by our publication deadline came from Ross Hamilton, a father of two and an FBI agent, who validated a number of formal and informal complaints about Xeno Imports before his supervisor could drag him away.
“What does anyone know about these guys, besides this: they didn’t exist this time last year; they have zero accountability to anyone — including governments, shareholders, or even customers,” said the agent. “They’re bad news, and we’re going to take them down, and we’re going to get our children back!”
While government agents won’t yet speak to the situation on the record, there are others who will.
Conspiracy theorists like Marc Adams generally don’t need a new “something” to get suspicious about; there are plenty of existing fringe notion ideas to pursue: in the history of Atlantis, in the Free Masons movement, at Area 51 and on the grassy knoll. But the Xeno suits threat has this small but vocal fringe community excited … and even scared.
Adams, leader of the conspiracy theory bunking group Xnow (pronounced “know”) based here, said he has irrefutable proof that the Xeno suits are of alien origin and of nefarious intent.
“We’ve got an agent from Xeno who has defected to us and revealed their plot,” said Adams. “What we’ve been able to ascertain from him is that it was simply a harvest; that they cultivated a large crop of what is nourishing and delicious to them — young humans — and took them away by the bushel-full.”
Adams wouldn’t — or couldn’t — answer where the aliens came from, how they got here and how they pulled off the heist; he also wouldn’t produce his Xeno rat, or even disclose whether the informant from the import company was human or alien. The lack of “hard” evidence for this reporter’s questions, however, didn’t stop the conspiracy theorist from stridently advocating his thesis.
“A look at the literature shows dozens of accounts of aliens in skin-tight, thin, shiny and multi-colored garb,” said Adams as he laid out books, artists sketches and eyewitness accounts of alien contact through the ages. “Fully half of these accounts ascribe some degree of symbiosis or performance enhancement — the same results we’re seeing in young athletes who have adopted these suits today.”
Reno Simmons, a professor of anthropology at the University of Santa Fe and a leading expert on conspiracy theories, said he initially doubted the claims about Xeno, and was actively working to debunk them for about a week when he made a discovery that, well, made his skin crawl.
“I had the notion to take a sample of the Xeno fabric and look at it under a microscope. This material doesn’t have the properties of cloth; it looks — and behaves — more like skin. Like living skin!”
However, Simmons demurred when pressed to show this effect.
“I don’t have the fabric anymore; it mysteriously disappeared the night that I tested it.” Unlike Adams, however, the scholar agreed to send additional evidence: video of the microscopic view of the fabric. Our independent review of the footage, conducted with some haste today with a forensics fabric expert and a coroner’s assistant, validated Simmons’ claim that the material is organic flesh, but decidedly not human.
“Yeah, sure, it’s alien,” said John Simpson, of the Multnomah County Coroner’s office. “I guess the trick’s on us, and our kiddos are the treat.”
While the children of Earth are gone, and the world is left with nothing but horror in the wake of their mass disappearance, the mystery remains. Gazing into the open maw of a now-empty Xeno zentai suit, one prays that the children are o.k. wherever they are, while knowing inside that they can’t be.