Lizzie woke with a start. The room was filled with light and she got a nasty feeling that she had overslept and the kids would be late for school. She tried to stretch her legs and put her hands on the bed to lever herself up – but it was such a strange thing. She could hardly move! Lying there, in shock, she turned her head from side to side and looked down at her hands, clenching and unclenching as they tried to grip the bed. THEY WERE NOT HER HANDS!
The hands she saw were thin and gnarled, dark skin stretched tightly over knobbly knuckles. And where was her emerald ring? Terrified and shocked, she screamed as she saw someone approaching. The light from the window was in her eyes and she couldn’t at first make out who it was; she called out: ‘Bobby, get help – something has happened to me and I don’t understand...’ Her words trailed off as she saw it was not her son, but an adult of indeterminate gender dressed in a loose pale garment. Her eyes, straining against the glare in the room could not make out the features, but she could see the person wore large round glasses. As the being bent over her, Lizzie could see a reflection in those lenses – it should have been her but in fact she saw a thin faced woman at least 40 years older than herself. The scream she let out then was terrible to hear.
The unknown person spoke in a strange staccato voice : My name is Maretha. ‘Don’t worry, you are safe with us. We will look after you.’
Mustering strength she never knew she had, Lizzie raised her head from the pillow and screamed again: ‘WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY BODY?’ By now she was trying to struggle, but realised she was strapped down to the bed. Her captor spoke again : ‘Hush now Lizzie, don’t upset yourself. I will give you something to make you sleep, and when you awake, all will be well.’ Lizzie felt a needle in her arm, and a sleepy warmth spread through this strange body she was trapped in. Through hazy eyes she saw others approaching her bed. Soon she was asleep.
When she woke, she had no idea of how long she had slept, but did notice that the light in the room was less bright now. She began to remember the vivid dreams she had been having – how foreign men and women had surrounded her bed and stuck needles and pulsating machines all over her body; she remembered the screen above her where she could see herself being mutilated and cut; most of all she remembered the woman on the screen was not her. Now she understood, though she could hardly believe it. She had been the victim of one of these alien abductions which she had heard of (but never believed), and they had transplanted her brain into another body as an experiment. Tears streamed from her eyes as she wondered whether the brain from this alien body had been transplanted into her own body and the alien was even now back in Hampshire looking after her two kids.
One of the aliens – for she was sure now that was who they were – approached her bed and offered her water to drink through a strangely incongruous shocking pink straw. Parched as she was, she turned her head away and said : ‘I know what you have done. Where are my children? And what has happened to my body?’
The being replied : ‘You and your children are quite safe my dear. Your children are grown up with children of their own, and tomorrow will be your 80th Birthday. You have just forgotten, that’s all. You have been very ill in hospital for several months now, and now you have recovered your strength a little, you have been brought here to a special home for the Elderly to be properly looked after until you are quite well again. Now I am going to get you washed and brushed up a little, ready for your big day tomorrow’.
When the nurse had finished freshening her up, and she was feeling a lot better in a clean nightie with her teeth brushed, she held up a mirror for Lizzie to do her hair. Lizzie saw reflected in the glass an elderly lady, not bad for her age actually, and looking a little how she remembered her own grandmother. Now she understood, and willingly drank the sweet pink liquid left by her bed.
As she settled back into the soft pillows and drifted gently off into a more peaceful sleep, two children in Andover were having their tea outside on their lawn, catching the last of the sunshine. Bobby thought his Mum had been acting a bit strange lately, but she had recently split up from his Dad so he thought that must be it. As she came out of the kitchen with a plate of cakes, a bright flash of light shot through the clear blue sky, then seemed to dip down and sweep upwards again – then it was gone. ‘Wow Did you see that Mum? I bet it was a spaceship!’ Bobby shouted. His sister raised her eyebrows, tutted and got on with her book in her usual superior manner. Mum smiled indulgently, twisting the emerald ring on her finger as it sparkled in the light, saying a silent goodbye to her compatriots. The first wave of the invasion had begun.