01-05 An Alien Baby

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Granny is an ingrained technophobe, and doesn’t even have a cellphone – even if she’s been thinking about it since the incident the other night. All the other kids at Taïga’s school have sophisticated cells and tablets, but Taïga doesn’t know how to ask Granny for something as expensive. So Derek let her borrow his iPad over the weekend, just to show Granny the magic of new technologies…

‘Granny, you should have one. There are games and the Internet…!’

Granny doesn’t look up from her book, ‘Uh-huh… Too complicated…’

‘But there are also lots of books! Look, I’m reading “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” and Derek didn’t even have to go to the bookstore to buy it.’

‘Don’t you like going to the bookstore?’

‘You know I love the bookstore, Granny. That’s not the point.’

‘What’s the point then?’

‘It’s… You could have lots of lots of books-’

‘I already have.’

‘Not that you can carry with you everywhere!’

‘Everywhere?’ Granny glances briefly at Taïga, ‘I don’t go far from my library anyway. So no thank you, I prefer a real book!’

‘But it’s the same, Granny.’

‘I prefer real paper books anyway… Now, stop bothering me, please.’

They both continue reading in silence for a while. But something is troubling Taïga.

‘Derek told me something yesterday…’

‘Did he now?’

‘Yes. About his sister.’

‘Has he got a sister? Hmm… I thought…’

‘Yes, he has! Or no… Well, it’s complicated.’

Granny marks the page and closes her book, ‘Now you’ve raised my curiosity, young lady.’

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Taïga looks eagerly at her grandmother. ‘You know his dad, he’s always been interested in astronomy. His mom says when he’s not in the basement inventing new gadgets, he’s got his eyes on the stars.’

‘I don’t know him that well, they just moved in from Falls Harbor I think…’

‘Bridgeport, Granny.’

‘Whatever…’

‘Well, he had one of those stargazing thingy’s-’

‘A telescope.’

‘Yeah, a telescope.’

‘Like the one you got for Christmas?’

‘I guess so, but I think his was much bigger!’

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‘Anyway… It all started with the TV. In the middle of the night, it suddenly went all flimmery downstairs. It woke M. Vargas up and he tried to fix it, but he couldn’t. So he thought of, like getting up on the roof, adjust the antenna and such.’

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Taïga pauses dramatically, ‘But he never got as far as up on the roof…’

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‘… because he got abducted by aliens. Right in front of their house!’

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‘Really? Just like that?’

‘Yeah! A spaceship with a kind of laser sucked him up from the ground!’

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Granny sighs. And she who thought her granddaughter was the one with a vivid imagination. This Vargas boy is something… ‘And then what? It left? With M. Vargas?’

‘Sure did!’

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‘But I talked to him yesterday when he called to ask me to send Derek home.’

‘Well, the aliens didn’t keep him. They sent him back, and boy was he fat!’

Granny’s lips twitch, ‘So that’s when he put on weight?’

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‘Not exactly… I think he eats far too many donuts. This was another kind of fat.’ She pauses before adding theatrically, ‘He was pregnant! With an alien baby!’

Granny’s eyes widen in mock surprise, ‘Ohmygod!?!’

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Taïga plunges on, ‘Just a week or so later, the baby popped out.’

‘What did they say at the hospital?’

‘I don’t think he went there. Derek didn’t say… But, Granny. It was an alien baby. It probably did just “pop” out. With sparkles and such.’

‘Probably… What did it look like?’

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‘Like baby’s do. But Derek said it was green.’

‘!!!’

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‘They named her Alya, because it was a girl.’

‘Humpff… So aliens can be boys or girls?’

‘Granny… Of course! Now do you want to hear the rest of the story or not?’

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‘One morning there were a lot of bizarre footsteps in the snow around the house. M. Vargas said it was alien footsteps and that they probably had come to make sure Alya was all right.’

‘Alien footsteps?’

‘Err… I guess they were not sneaker prints!’

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‘Anyway. Alya grew fast, much faster than normal kids. There was a lot of sparkling around her and suddenly she wasn’t a baby anymore, but a toddler.’

‘Could she walk and talk like we do?’

‘I think so, Derek didn’t say! Granny-’ she frowns at her Grandmother, ‘-you ask too many questions.’

‘And maybe you don’t ask enough.’

Taïga doesn’t understand what Granny means, so she continues. ‘Well. A couple of weeks later she sparkled again, and she was a child my age!’

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‘She grew so fast she got ill. Or maybe it was the food…’

‘The food?’

Taïga nods. ‘Maybe her stomach wasn’t made for pancakes and stuff and she needed alien food…’

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Taïga ponders the food question before continuing, ‘Whatever… one night she disappeared.’

‘What?’

‘Yeah, they woke up in the morning, and she was gone. Derek thinks her alien family came for her…’

‘Think? They’re not sure? What if she got kidnapped!?!’

‘She didn’t… she left a letter to them.’

‘What did it say?’

‘Granny! How could they know? They don’t read alien script!’

Granny can’t keep a straight face anymore. ‘This was a good story!’ she chuckles, ‘But don’t go around telling it.’

‘Of course not. Derek said it was a secret. I shouldn’t even be telling you!’

‘I’m glad you did, dear.’ She looks seriously at her granddaughter, ‘But I don’t think you should play with Derek so much. He’s got a bad influence on you.’

‘Why?’

‘Taïga, he’s older than you and apparently he’s got a lot of imagination. You do know there are no such things as aliens and green babies, don’t you? And most important – men can not get pregnant.’ She rises from her armchair, ‘It’s time to go to bed…’

Taïga doesn’t say anything. She believes Derek… And wouldn’t it be exciting if there were spaceships and such…

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Much later that night, well past bedtime, someone trudges muttering up the over snowed path to the Grey Cove.

‘She should clear the path with all that magic of hers… But she’s probably leaving it like this on purpose, trying to keep me out…’

The old woman pauses, her attention drawn by the snowman…

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Granny opens the door on her sister before she even has the time take a step towards the hated snow sculpture.

‘Missy! Don’t you dare touch it!

Missy blinks. ‘I should have known I couldn’t surprise you…’

‘The palantìr doesn’t lie… But I was fooled a moment by your disguise.’

‘Disguise?’

Granny looks pointedly at Missy’s grey hair. Her sister touches her chignon self-consciously, ‘It gives me a classy look, doesn’t it?’

Granny mumbles, ‘Very.’ She closes the door behind her so not to wake up her granddaughter.

‘But I also think it makes me look older, so I’ll dye it back to red when I get home again…’

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‘Oh, but I almost forgot why I’m here.’ Missy clears her throat, striking a dramatical pose as she prepares to speak.

‘Ahem… Beware!’ She points an accusing finger towards the house. ‘There’s someone inside.’

Granny sighs, rolling her eyes. ‘Of course there is. I didn’t make that snowman myself…’

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Missy glances at her sister, ‘Err… What bad luck! I’ve seen it coming, like a dark cloud spreading over my crystal ball. You must do something, before it’s too late…’

‘You don’t have a crystal ball.’

‘Never mind. Beware anyway!’

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‘Beware of what? Or of who? Why should I do something? What if I don’t want to? And it’s none of your business, she’s my granddaughter, not yours!’

‘Err… I’m talking about your grandson.’

‘Missy, Shasta is long gone. Where to, I don’t know… She left her daughter with me, she doesn’t have a son! And you’re such a pessimist. Nothing will happen!’

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‘Granddaughter? But I was so sure the Tarot cards said it was a boy with a heart frosted over… Well. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…’

They stare at each other.

‘And you came all the way from Transylvania to warn me? Don’t you have a telephone anymore?’

‘Yes! Of course I have a phone.’ Missy fidgets under Granny’s scrutinizing stare, ‘I have some business with the Council and thought I’d pop in.’

‘The council?’ Granny pales, ‘Better discuss this inside.’

‘Well, I do have time for a cup of tea before I have to leave…’

 

Part I – End of Chapter 05

Next Chapter

 

 

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