As Janet collected her washing off the clothes line, she was mentally planning the afternoon ahead of her. She would do the ironing watching ‘Diagnosis Murder’ and then relax for half an hour with her library book before the boys came in from school, desperate for drinks and slices of cake. She ironed three shirts as Dick van Dyke got involved in yet another murder, then spread a pillow case out on the ironing board. Ugh, whatever was that, a glutinous pinky coloured blob about the size of a ten pence piece was sticking to the corner.
‘What the heck is that’ she muttered to herself, and turned to pick up a spatula to scrape it off. As she transferred it to the blade of the spatula, it changed shape to a flat oval, and it appeared to pulse. She watched in horror as it split across the top and two round lumps popped out. One of them bobbed from side to side and she could hear a tinny voice.
‘Help us, help us please dear lady’ piped the little voice. ‘You are our only chance of survival.’ Janet turned the TV off and peered more closely at the blob, convinced that she must be dreaming and would wake up in a minute. She heard the voice again.
‘I am Drak and this is my wife Skat. Please help us’. She was sure she had imagined everything, but nevertheless, Janet found herself answering him. ‘Who the devil are you’ she said, ‘and where have you come from. How am I supposed to help ?’
‘Our planet Worb was struck by a huge meteorite, and it disintegrated. A group of our ancestors managed to escape in a capsule, and travelled around in outer space for thousands of years.’ said Drak. ‘Then in 1986 the capsule got caught up in the tail of
Halley’s Comet, and it spun into the earth’s orbit, then eventually fell to earth and landed in Higham marshes.’
‘Higham Marshes’ repeated Janet ‘ I am finding all this very hard to take in. You mean there is a colony of aliens living on the marshes in this village ?’
‘No’ said Drak ‘Not any longer. You see the one thing we can’t cope with is water, and everyone but us melted very quickly when they left the capsule and got wet. We anchored ourselves to a large leaf. We were quite safe for a while, then a few days ago there was a terrific storm, and we were blown away .It blew us across Church Street and up School Lane We whirled around in the air for ages, and when the wind died down, we were in the gutter on the corner of your house.’
Janet had the fleeting vision of her little semi being the centre of a city of aliens, and couldn’t resist a smile. ‘So what help do you want from me then ?’ she said.
‘We saw you taking in your washing’ said Drak ‘and as you carried it indoors, we jumped to safety into it, and here we are.’
‘I still don’t know what you want from me’ said Janet, still not quite sure whether she was asleep or awake.
‘We need a dry place where we won’t be disturbed’ said Drak. ‘ We will multiply and in a few years there will be enough of us to form an independent state.’
‘I know just the place for you’ said Janet. She picked up the spatula with the blob attached and carried it to her bathroom, where she flushed the blob down the toilet. ‘An independent state indeed’ she muttered, ‘there are enough freeloaders and spongers about already without nurturing more.’