The last flight came onto the radar screen exactly on time, and Jonathan instructed the pilot to come straight in and land on Runway 1. There was a crackle of static and then a cackle of laughter: Maglen airfield was so small as to only have one runway, and that was rolled flat every week by a steamroller that was literally steam-powered.
“Can I pick my own bay?” he asked, still chuckling.
“All yours,” said Jonathan. “But we’re closing up ten minutes after you land, so I wouldn’t park too far away.”
“Reckon I might wait for you to close then,” said the pilot. “That way I don’t have nothing to declare.”
They both laughed a little, and then the pilot said, “But seriously though, how about that jet that passed by earlier. Where was that going?”
“On the way in, ‘bout 10 minutes ago, something fast and long shot past me. Only really saw its tail-lights, but there’s no military round here so I figured it must be stopping out your way.”
“Couldn’t land,” said Jonathan with confidence. “Didn’t see it though. We got an anomaly, but that was going way too fast.”
“Huh,” said the pilot. “Guess it must have been the bogeyman then!”
“Sounds like it,” said Jonathan, agreeing happily. “Got a bit of a crosswind rising now, you ok with that?”
“Sure thing,” said the pilot. “Coming in in two.”
Estelle backed into the house, the Pastor following her, and the odd-shaped man waving things around in his long, spidery arms the whole while.
“Does it speak English?” she asked, and the Pastor shrugged.
“He hasn’t answered any of my questions,” he said. “Foremost of which was what he wanted with me.”
“It’s a he then?”
“Haven’t got a clue,” said the Pastor. “He doesn’t look human, so those words might simply not apply, of course, but I’d like to think that he’s a he. He’s waving weapons around, after all. I saw him kill two cows with one of them, though I’ve no idea how they work. He just pointed the things and the cows kind of exploded. There were chunks of meat everywhere.”
“Sounds nasty,” said Estelle, shifting sideways so that the Pastor was directly between her and the alien. “Let’s hope he doesn’t do that in here. I’d be cleaning up for days.”
“And why are you thinking that it’s me he’d be exploding?” asked the Pastor. His face was still smiling, but he sounded hurt.
“Jonathan’s due home in twenty minutes,” said Estelle. “It’s not like he’s going to know that we’re being held hostage by a mad alien with weapons that explode things.” She brightened up, suddenly realising that she might not need a divorce after all.
“Well then, we have a human duty to warn him,” said the Pastor. “You should try to call him, I doubt that the alien knows what a phone is or does.”
“You call him!”
“Estelle, my dear, I don’t know your husband’s phone number.”
“I’ll dictate,” she said, a touch of frost in her tone.