Chapter Nine

Dick ran down the street, puffing and wheezing, and holding his side. "Mary!" he called out. The street was empty. He was sure this was her street, he had been there so many times before. He gasped and moaned, feeling that he couldn't maintain such a pace, and yet, how could he not, with Mary so close to his reach? Suddenly, there he saw it, her house, it drew his gaze and seemed to have a light shining above it, urging him on, drawing him near. He felt a surge of energy, his breath became easier, and all pain disappeared. Mary! He galloped on towards her house, finally reaching the front door and rattling on it with all his might. "Mary! Mary!" He yelled, desperately. The house was dark, the doors locked. She was not home, but, she would be soon. Patience was not Dick's strongest attribute, and he crashed against the door until the lock gave way. He could hardly believe himself to be standing right here on Earth, in Mary Albright's living room.

As he outstretched his arms, and spun himself around the room, he knocked a side table containing some important papers, which he bent down to look at, but not tidy up. A poster had caught his eye,

"Alien Abductees, UFO sightings"

All Welcome, Info sessions

Group discussions

Informal and Non Judgemental

Tea and Scones Provided

Rutherford Town Hall

Saturdays 12:30 - 1:30

Dick checked his watch, 12:30 on the dot! He had located Mary, and the only thing now, was to go get her! He tore off down the street, leaving Mary's front door wide open, and papers all over the living room floor.

He located Rutherford's town hall as a dimly lit, ramshackle old building in the back blocks of Rutherford. Old posters flapped in the breeze and the new grafitti shone brilliantly on the faded stone walls of the building. Dick found the main entrance, and charged in to the first meeting room. He sat nervously, looking around at the solemn faces of the other participants. He did not see Mary there.A large man with a thick moustache was standing at the front, head low, gathering his courage. Dick looked around, fidgeting in his chair. The other people seated around him looked annoyed at the intrusion. Finally the large man spoke, "My name is Allan, and I have an anger management problem," The other people murmured back, "Hi Allan," Dick startled, and jumped up, saying, "Forgive me, Allan, but have you ever seen a UFO?" The crowd rumbled and some laughed. Allan raised his eyebrows, searching the crowd for the speaker. Before he had a chance to answer, Dick blurted out "But more importantly! Have you seen Dr Mary Albright!" The crowd again murmured. Dick looked around, but no one replied. He pointed at one man, "Alien abductee, sir? I know that face!" Finally, it appeared the group had had enough of being interrupted, and Dick was shown the door, luckily noticing the poster he had seen in Mary's house pointing down the hall to another meeting room.

Mary was sitting quietly in the meeting room, feeling apprehensive, but confident. Today was the day! She was finally going to speak out about the experiences she had had. She had been attending meetings, in several groups, for months. She had heard it all, one person saw a flash of light while driving through a country road smoking drugs, another believed they had been abducted and been probed by an alien something, all while in a heavy coma. Yet another believed they had been impregnated by some alien force, but had miscarried and somehow the foetus was replaced by a human looking one. Mary had heard it all, and while sympathising with the group, for they surely believed their experience to be real, she knew that she alone had the real deal. And she was finally ready to tell all! They would celebrate her story, maybe even call the papers, and the government! She could be their ambassador! Finally, some real evidence of alien existence!

The lady before her finished her story about a country road and a blurry looking photograph which may or may not have contained a UFO sighting. The crowd applauded, excited. "Real evidence!" one was saying, "Amazing!" said another, "Looks just like the one I saw!" enthused another. Mary stood up, waiting for the calm and the quiet, ready to launch into her amazing story.

" I realize this may sound a little crazy," she began, her gaze resting awkwardly on a man who's frequent abduction stories were a regular feature at these meetings, "But, " she continued, "I am ready to speak of my experiences. I met someone, and continued on a long relationship, even an engagement with this someone, who turned out to be . . .." she paused for dramatic effect, the crowd waited, "An alien from another planet!" She waited for the response, and was not disappointed. The crowd gasped, and oohed and aaahed, they were excited. "In fact,. " Mary continued, ". . . . .his entire family were here, and they were all aliens!" The crowd murmured to each other, comments passing back and forth, "Can you believe it!" "All this time!" "We were right!" Mary stood back, surveying the crowd, basking in her moment, when suddenly, a crazed figure with wild hair busted through the meeting room door, and swept her up, "MARY! I'm BACK!" Dick exclaimed, overcome with emotion. Mary could not have been more surprised. "DICK!" she exclaimed, "What are you doing here!" And, while she had the moment, "Everyone! This is the man I was telling you about! This is him!" The crowd stared at Dick in profound disappointment. Mary waited for the response. It never came. Dick looked at everyone, realising his secret was out, and that he would need to do an emergency cover-up. He thought about it for exactly thirty seconds. "Mary! Poor, poor Mary! Have you been taking those pills? The docter said you would need them! Come along now! We have a straightjacket fitting to attend!". He ushered Mary towards the door, looking at the crowd with pity. Mary was too much in shock to respond, and allowed Dick to push her outside. The crowd were angry. "Boo!" "Making up lies!" "Too farfetched to believe in" "Never took us seriously" "To think, she was one of us!"

Mary made her way out of the Town Hall, half dazed, alongside a man she thought she'd never see again, out of a meeting she never thought she would be in, feeling worse than she ever thought she could feel again. But still, in spite of it all, she was glad to see Dick again.

Once outside, Dick grabbed her in a tremendous bear hug, clinging to her like a little boy clings to his mommy. On the outset, the ridiculous part of this was he towered at least two foot above the tiny blonde woman, and she was furiously trying to push him back to get some air.

"Oh Mary! How i've missed you!" Dick exclaimed.

Mary began to cry, confused and tired. "Oh Dick! I just want to go home!" she sighed.

Sally browsed the racks of shoes, breathing in the exhilarating scent of new leather and cheap vinyl, temporarily at peace with her warrior self. She spent a long time in the shoe shop, as if in a meditative trance. She got the sales assistant to measure her for one set of shoes, only to change her mind and be fitted for another. It was the fix she had been needing all this time. She wriggled her toes, padded barefoot around the store on the plush carpeting, admiring one set of patent black leather pumps, another set of dizzyingly high stilettos, yet another pair of uber-casual summer flipflops. In the end, she left the store with only one pair of semi-sensible ankle boots. Clutching her shopping bag, she felt almost refreshed, but needed just one more thing - a super-smooth Chai latte with cinnamon dusting. The coffee shop was just across the street, and as she sat enjoying her latte's milky froth, she couldn't help but wonder when the last time was she had felt this much at peace.

She was just finishing the last slurpy part of the latte, when she thought, suddenly, that she shouldn't be here. Shouldn't be drinking cinnamony drinks or buying shoes. Shouldn't be basking in the warm fresh sunshine. Shouldn't be sitting down! Get up! Get up! Her warrior's voice shattered her peaceful thoughts. What kind of soldier drinks chai! Sally leapt up, her woman's side ensuring to grab the shopping bag before her warrior side ordered her legs into action and she galloped off down the street once more.