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Sunday, 17 February 2013

Short story by Louise Wise

I'm not entering myself into my own competition, but I don't want to be left out either! So here's my effort.  It was runner up in the Writers' Magazine competition many moons ago - Louise Wise

The Alien

Was it human? It didn’t look human. Its eyes were a strange blue colour, but they weren’t looking at me. Just staring up at the Winnie-The-Poo spinney thing over its cot. Its face was red from crying – or anger, I couldn’t tell.
I ducked down and wriggled out of the nursery on my belly. Better the alien not see me go, it might laser me with its weird eyes. My dad’s legs stopped me from wriggling all the way to the top of the stairs.
‘I’m going to feed Ella, and see if that sends her to sleep,’ he said, sounding tired.
The alien began to make strange noises, which rose into an ear-splintering wail. Dad stepped over me and headed into its compound.
I wriggled back towards the nursery, and watched as my dad lifted the alien into his arms making soothing noises. He settled into the feeding chair and began to feed it alien protein.
‘Is Mum still in bed?’ I asked from the doorway (didn’t want to get too close).
The alien grunted, and sucked furiously. After a moment, Dad pulled the bottle out of the alien’s mouth, and sat it up. He began to rub its back. The alien began to wail, and Dad quickly laid it down and stuck the bottle back in its mouth. The crying stopped.
‘Sorry, son, what did you say?’ asked Dad.
‘Is Mummy still poorly?’
‘She isn’t ill,’ Dad said. ‘She’s tired. You must be a good and play quietly. OK?’
I wriggled away. The alien was boring. All it did was cry, sleep and poo. The poo was a yucky green, which was the only cool thing about it.
The alien had been growing in Mummy’s tummy for months. She’d been getting fatter and fatter and fatter. I thought she was going to pop. Good job she didn’t. What a mess! The doctor called Midwife (stupid name) took the alien out. Mummies have a special hole for babies to come out. I was glad to hear this. I thought they’d cut Mummy open and forget to sew her back up or something. Or sew her to the operating table! I tried to imagine Mummy cooking dinner with a large table stuck to her back.
‘At least we’d have a table wherever we are,’ Daddy said in my head. ‘We could go into any Macdonald’s and no matter how full, we’d always have a table.’
Downstairs, I turned the TV on. It flicked straight to the programme I had on a moment ago: Clone Wars. Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi were leading Clone troops towards an impressive looking spaceship; their lightsabers were poised and ready for action. I’d seen this episode, but settled to watch it again. I wished I were Anakin. I wondered what he’d do with the alien upstairs.
Ah, what I needed is my sword. I didn’t have a proper lightsaber, so my pirate sword would have to do. Forgetting to be quiet, I ran upstairs and into my bedroom. Head and shoulders in my toy box I pulled out various items until I found what I was looking for, and pulled it out with a whoop of glee.
‘Sssh!’ Dad said from my doorway. ‘I’ve just got Ella asleep.’
‘I’m Anakin,’ I said, pointing my sword at him.
‘And I’m Tired,’ Dad replied.
I thought this was funny and giggled, but he hushed me again and pulled my door closed.
‘Be gone, Droid,’ I said to the closed door. I swivelled around, swishing my sword about and knocking my money box Tardis to the floor with a crash. ‘Take that. Ha! Can’t catch me.’ I dodged to one side and then the other as my imaginary Droid assailant took up my challenge. I didn’t hear Dad coming up back the stairs. He burst in looking cross, and pointed a long finger at me.
‘Downstairs, now!
I looked up at him in puzzlement, and for a moment I was scared he was about to wallop me. He’d never hit me before, and neither has Mummy. Only bullies hit, Mum says. With my head drooping, I walked from my room and downstairs. The alien began to wail from its compound and Dad said a word that I’m not allowed to say.
I felt so sad. My daddy was angry with me, and Mummy was so poorly that she was asleep all the time.
The doorbell rang just as I reached the bottom step. I’m not allowed to answer the door, but I could see Nanny and Granddad through the glass pane. I grinned happily as I struggled with the catch, and then pulled open the door. Nanny always has something in her handbag for me, and Granddad will pick me up on his shoulders then ‘pretend’ to forget I’m there. They won’t frown, shout or ignore me.
‘Hello,’ Dad said from the top of the stairs as Nanny and Granddad stepped into the hallway. The alien was in his arms making funny sounds. ‘You’re a sight for sore eyes,’ he says. ‘I could use some help with this little bundle of joy.’
Nan held out her arms. ‘Let me take her. You look shattered, love.’
Dad came downstairs and handed over the alien. Nan lifted it up on her shoulder, and the alien quietened immediately. ‘How’d you do that?’ Dad said, but he laughed.
‘Years of practise,’ Nanny said. ‘Lynne in bed?’
Dad nodded. ‘We had another bad night with Ella. Lynne did the night shift.’
‘Stop pulling at my bag, Jacob,’ Nanny said without looking at me. ‘It’ll get easier,’ she said to Dad.
Dad nodded again, and I stopped trying to look in Nanny’s bag for sweets. I sat on the bottom stair and looked up at them. None of them looked my way. They all went into the front room leaving me in the hall. After a while, I climbed back up the stairs. About to cross the landing, I heard the shower from Mummy’s bathroom in her bedroom. I lingered outside, and finally, the shower ended.
The door opened, and Mummy stood there belting up her pink dressing gown. ‘Jakey,’ she said with a smile. She hugged me, and I buried my head against her tummy. I loved the way she smelled: a special Mummy smell.
‘I thought you’d forgotten to wake up,’ I said, pulling back.
She laughed. ‘I’ve been tired. Mummies with new babies are always tired.’
‘Why did you have a baby. Don’t you want me?’
‘Of course I want you! I love you, Jakey. Having another baby doesn’t mean I don’t want you. My goodness, you’re my first ever baby. My precious little boy, and baby Ella loves you too.’
‘She does?’
‘Of course. We all love you.’
‘I think Daddy’s forgotten.’ I frowned as I remembered the way Nan and Granddad seemed to ignore me at the front door. ‘And Nanny and Granddad.’
We went downstairs to find Nanny changing the alien’s nappy on the pink changing mat on the floor; I looked for green poo but the alien was clean.
‘Babies need looking after, Jake,’ Mum said. ‘Lots and lots of looking after. You are such a big boy now, seven years old and almost a man.’
‘Will I grow a beard?’
‘Not yet, but you don’t need us as much care as Ella does. You can go to the toilet on your own, you can tell us when you’re hungry. You can ride a bike, you can do lots of things that Ella can’t.’
My chest swelled until my Sponge Bob T-shirt strained against the pressure. ‘Is it because she’s stupid?’
Mummy shook her head. ‘It’s because she has to learn these things. There will be lots for you to teach her.’
I chewed on my lip as I mulled on this new information. Maybe I could teach her how to tidy my room?
‘Ah,’ said Nanny, and winked at my mum. ‘Time for you know what?’
Mummy nodded. Daddy came in with Granddad; Dad was carrying a tray with cups of tea and a huge chocolate cake.
Mum and Daddy swapped funny expressions, and then Dad’s gaze dropped to me. ‘Want some chocolate cake, son?’ he asked. ‘You can have a piece with the most chocolate flakes.’
Nanny finished dressing the alien and, with it in her arms, stands. ‘I’ll take her up,’ she said.
‘Thanks,’ said Mum, and she sat on the settee. I snuggled next to her and happily awaited my slice of cake.
Granddad sat on the other side to me, and squeezed my knee. ‘I bet Ella won’t be as good at football as you,’ he said.
I’d already figured she’d be rubbish, but nodded anyway. Dad handed me a huge piece of chocolate cake, then Nanny came back looking puzzled. In her hands, she held a gift-wrapped parcel.
‘Look what I found at the bottom of Ella’s cot,’ she said.
‘That’s odd,’ said Mum. ‘Is it a present for Ella?’
Nanny shook her head. ‘It’s from Ella, only I can’t read the label.’
‘Let me see,’ Dad said, taking the parcel from Nan. He turned it over in his hands. ‘The writing isn’t very clear.’
Granddad, his mouth full of cake, said, ‘It’s for me.’
Dad shook his head. ‘I think I can make out the letters J and A.’
I’m almost bouncing up and down. ‘I’ve got a J and an A,’ I said.
Dad looked at me in amazement. ‘So you have,’ he said. He hands over the parcel. ‘I guess this must be for you then, from Ella.’
I unwrapped it quickly. Inside was a lightsaber. I pressed a button and the sword shot out in a range of colours with a high pitched buzzing noise. My cake is quickly taken off me, as I danced around the room fighting an imaginary foe.
I think the alien isn’t so bad after all.


Read another short story from Louise Wise on Kindle: Scruffy Trainers by Louise Wise


. . . featuring the good, the bad, and down right awful reviews of Eden from the critical review site YWO.com

  
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