Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Chapter 4

The seagull was having a satisfying morning. Already he’d found a couple of sand worms and was feeling pretty pleased with himself. The beach was empty with no humans for miles around, it seemed. The day was warm and the slightly shorter days of the autumn were not yet a problem. He stood watching the waves lap up onto the pristine white sand, some of which had actually been imported from a place called Africa, though he wasn’t to know that, and cawed happily.

Suddenly a rather angular human stepped out of thin air in front of him. He stumbled back in alarm, and gathering his wits he flew off to perch on a nearby white, petrified log to recover his composure. No sooner had he done this and rearranged his feathers than another human carrying a smaller third one also stepped out of thin air causing him to fall off the log backwards. This was extremely embarrassing, and he hopped indignantly back onto his perch to show that he was still in command of the situation.

Then the third human that had been carried suddenly dashed at him with a large box in his hand. That was enough for the sea gull, who flew away to find a part of the beach where the laws of physics were more stable.

Meanwhile the three humans were in an extremely good mood. The angular one was dancing round humming to himself, the female was calmly laying a beach mat down to sit on, and the child was running down the beach looking for more local fauna to terrorise. The two older ones ate some watermelon and looked out to sea.

‘I can’t believe we’re here! It’s really Tenerife, in our cellar!’ said Mum.
‘Yes, it’s like the holodeck on Star Trek, but actually real and not a simulation.’
‘We could come every week. No more crowded Bigbury beach.’
‘We can come whenever we want, but I guess soon we’ll have to go back through when people start arriving. Our portal is rather obvious.’

The portal indeed stood there, a dark oval slightly above the level of the beach, and through it could be clearly seen the distorted outline of a dark, cold grey English cellar.

‘I assume we can get back?’
‘I tested it. I’ve put inanimate objects through, and brought them back, and, don’t tell Harry, but I also put his hamster through and pulled him back, and he was fine, so yes, we can get back, unless the power fails.’
‘Well, if the power fails we’ll have to return by plane, but the problem is we have no passport.’
‘Ha. Imagine turning up at the airport with no reservation, no passport and asking for a ticket back to Heathrow!’
‘We didn’t think of that, I think we ought to go back now and next time, we’ll take a passport with us.’
‘That won’t help. You know how connected the world is now with information technology. Well, you just try, as an English person, turning up in Tenerife with no computer record of how you got there. They’d go mad, we’d end up in the papers as the puzzle of the century!’

Mum got up in some consternation

‘Harry, we’re going back now’ she shouted at Harry who was now at the other end of the beach almost hidden in the heat haze, building castles.
‘Wait a minute, said Dad, we’ve only just got here!’
‘I don’t want Henry in the papers..’

Henry stood for awhile arms on hips ready to argue, then grudgingly turned and started stepping heavily back. Just at that moment, from the centre of the beach came a group of four people, obviously tourists, given their colourful clothes and bags. They started walking towards Fret and Mum.

‘Oh, blast, that’s done it’ said Fret and started packing.
‘We’ll have to get back through quickly and close down the portal.’
‘Harry, get back here now!’ shouted Mum at Harry who’d just discovered something very interesting on the sand and had crouched down to peer at it.

Kids get side-tracked at the drop of a hat, everyone knows that. Mum dashed off to get him, concluding it would be the only way to ensure his compliance. Meanwhile Fret nervously stood in front of the dark oval of the portal to try and hide it from the oncoming tourists.

Unfortunately, they had concluded that Fret and Mum were English and were coming over to have a chat.
‘Hello!’ they said as they approached the portal with a jolly English red rotundity.
‘H!’ said Fret with a grimace.
‘Lovely morning isn’t it? Why’s it never like this is Manchester eh?’
‘Indeed’ said Fret, laughing like a madman, as Mum arrived back carrying Harry, who was really getting too big to be carried. ‘Hello’ said Mum as she rushed back and disappeared into the portal.
The four English people were in a tranquil mood, most of them having hangovers from a great barbeque and party on the beach they’d had the night before, so didn’t immediately realise the seriousness of what had just happened. One of the men said

‘Hey, where’s your wife gone?’
‘Why, she’s just over there, look!’ said Fret pointing in the opposite direction, and as they turned around to look, he too dashed into the portal. The portal was of course still open so when the poor tourists turned around they could clearly see a dark circle hovering above the beach with dark old English cellar apparently within it.

Then Harry’s face appeared inside the circle and said simply with a huge smile.

‘We’re aliens. Have to get back to Mars, bye!’ and then the dark circle suddenly disappeared and the tourists were left looking at each other.
‘What the hell was that?’, said one of the girls
‘I don’t know but no one’s going to believe us!’

No comments:

Post a Comment