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Posted by tisviv (U15188212) on Saturday, 21st July 2012
Lilian had spent a sleepless night and now she stood on Peggy’s front step, hammering on the on the door.
“Goodness, dear, whatever’s the matter?” her mother said. “Is something on fire again?”
They sat in Peggy’s sitting room, an homage to all things chintz.
“Don’t mind if I smoke in here, do you, Mum?”
“Of course not dear. During the War there was many a night when cigarette smoke kept us warm and – “
“Good. I’ll help myself to a large gin while I’m at it.” She stood up and walked to the drinks cabinet. The strains of “Waltzing Matilda” issued forth as she opened it.
“Isn’t a little early, dear? In my day, a lady never used gin before eleven, unless it was to cleanse her diamonds.”
Lilian ignored this and poured a hefty slug into a somewhat dusty glass, then began pacing the room.
“What is it you’ve come about?” Peggy prompted her.
“It’s, well, I - look, Mum. Didn’t you think there was something a bit odd about Ruairi the other day?”
“Odd?” Peggy laughed. “Not really. He clearly has his father’s ruthless streak and predatory instincts, especially when it comes to finance, but that’s only to be encouraged in a man. We don’t want him growing up a ninny.””
“But, Mum, his accent? It was totally different. Surely you remember that Irish lilt? It used to drive Jenny mad – now it’s totally gone.”
“That’ll be his school,” Peggy said. “They’ll have beaten that out of him – and a good thing too. In my day everyone spoke the Queen’s English or risked condescension or ridicule. I remember Walter Gabriel being chased by men with dogs when he tried his luck cordwangling in Mayfair. All because of the way he spoke - me old pal, me old beauty.”
Lilian looked at her mother. It was sometimes easy to forget how very old she was.
“Believe me, dear,” Peggy said. “It’s much better for Ruairi this way.”
Lilian wandered around the village listlessly. She wasn’t convinced by Peggy’s explanation. There had been something decidedly strange about the child – not just his altered accent or his wonderful way with Mathematical calculation; there was something else; something she couldn’t quite put her finger on.
She passed Nic and Emmur in the Lane.
“You look amazing today, Nic,” Emmur was saying, “I totally wish I had your hot bod.”
“Thanks, Em. Let me buy you a coffee. We need to talk about George.”
Ah well, it was good two see the two young mothers getting on so well.
Lilian went into the Village Shop.
“I don’t like to gossip,” Susan was saying to Tracy. “It’s never right.”
Shula and Usha stood in her way.
“I’d love to come,” Shula was saying. “Curried vegetables at the vicarage – what a treat!”
Lilian paid for her cigarettes quickly and hurried outside. Adam was there.
“Hello, Aunty Lilian,” he said. He had a rather goofy looking smile on his face. “Did you see her?”
“That gorgeous girl – she went to the green I think. An angel from heaven. I’d like to show her a good time in my hot-tub.”
“Adam!” Lilian was shocked.
Perhaps that bash on the bonce had changed Adam in more ways than one.
The air seemed suddenly thick and cloying.
She stepped away from her nephew and with trembling fingers, called up Matt on her iPhone. It was rotten luck that he was away up country.
“Tiger? It’s me. Look, you’ve got to come home – I think something’s happening in Ambridge.”
“Really, Pusscat? Well, I’ll be back tonight. I’ve got to see someone about making a big donation to charity first, then there’s a picture I saw earlier of some divinely cute kittens. I thought I’d buy it.”
“Are you – are you feeling OK?” Lilian asked.
“Never better, Pusscat. Look why don’t you go for a ride if you’re feeling a bit off? That usually does the trick. I’ll see you later.”
Perhaps Matt was right. A good gallop might put her in a better frame of mind – she felt so jumpy. Plus she had the increasing sensation that she was being watched.
Jim and Oliver were sitting outside the stables. A stunning young woman came round the corner – surely this must be the one Adam had mentioned? The two famous admirers of the female form didn’t even glance at her.
Soon Lilian was galloping like the wind, her trusty steed carrying over field and fence without tiring. She dismounted and led him up Lakey Hill. Near the top she say down and sparked up a ciggie while her horse cropped the long grass.
And then she saw it. A spaceship – there was no other word for it - appeared in the sky as if from nowhere. Instinctively, Lilian threw herself flat while her horse whinnied hysterically then took off down the hill.
After she was sure the strange craft had gone, Lilian rose and almost staggered to The Lodge. She had to warn her mother.
As she drew nearer, she heard strange music coming through the open window. Her mother was singing along:
“I got the moves like Jagger, I got the moves like Jagger, I got the mo-oo-oo-oo-ves like Jagger!”
Lilian went closer.
Peggy was dancing – not the waltz or the foxtrot but some crazy, wild steps; moves that would have taxed the energy of someone a third of her age.
Lilian walked round to the back door and went straight in.
“Mum? What on earth are you doing?”
Peggy ceased abruptly and dropped into her armchair as if her strings had been cut.
“Oh, hallo again, dear. Twice in one day? I am honoured.”
“What were you doing?” Lilian persisted.
“Just a little exercise. It’s good for me.”
Lilian sat on the sofa, causing Bill, or possibly Ben, to fly off it, screeching like a banshee.
“I had to come, Mum. There’s something so bizarre – well, you’ll tell me I imagined it. But everyone’s behaving strangely – and just now, on Lakey Hill, I swear I saw a flying saucer.”
Peggy laughed, “A flying saucer? Really Lilian!”
Lilian looked hard at Peggy – her mother’s pale eyes seemed different; brighter, larger, harder.”
“What’s going on, Mum?”
Peggy moved across to the sofa and sat next to her daughter. She patted her knee.
“You worry too much, dear. It’s all for the best. Ruairi was the first but now we’re nearly all the same. Your turn will come – they’ll get to you very soon I’m sure.”
“Who? Who will?” Lilian’s voice was the feeblest of croaks.
“We’re called The Bodysnatchers,” Peggy said. “It’s ever so much fun when you join us – you will join us, won’t you, Lilian dear?”
Peggy smiled, her teeth impossibly white and sharp, as Lilian began to scream.
Posted by Organoleptic Icon (U11219171) on Saturday, 21st July 2012
Posted by Fire-Pig - proud to wave the protest banner (U12231213) on Monday, 23rd July 2012
Love it , keep writing PLEASE
Posted by Elnora Cornstalk (U5646495) on Monday, 23rd July 2012
Love it, especially the 'homage to all things chintz' and the whole Peggy section. Oh, and the meetings with the rest of Ambridge. Please keep writing!
Posted by azbbc (U15161452) on Tuesday, 24th July 2012
Love it - you have them all to right! Keep it coming...
Posted by tisviv (U15188212) on Friday, 27th July 2012
Thanks, one and all.