Chapter 29

The last mile home was the longest.

I sensed that I was being watched, but I didn't know who by or where from. Despite having reassured myself that I was in no immediate danger because I didn't seem to matter, I was still filled with an unimaginable dread  -  not that my life was in danger, but that I was never going to see Siobhan or Rob again. I was almost home. I had to force myself to close my mind to all memories of Siobhan because I knew that there was hardly any chance of me ever being by her side again. The end of everything that I knew and loved was beginning to seem hopelessly inevitable.

I continued to run for a while but eventually stopped. In the dense silence which filled the world around me my footsteps seemed to echo and bounce off the walls of empty, lifeless buildings. In contrast to ground level, the skies above me were teeming with activity. More and more alien ships seemed to arrive with each passing moment. If each ship was like the first (and many seemed to be much, much larger) then it stood to reason that there were many thousands of aliens arriving every minute. Thatcham was a small and insignificant place. Elsewhere there would be countless more. I knew that there would be millions of aliens swarming through the skies above every country in every continent.

A salty spray hung in the air, washed over the grey sea wall by a strong wind gusting off the ocean. The smell was instantly familiar and strangely comforting. The rest of the world felt different, as if all the life and energy had been drained from it. There was little movement. I couldn't see another soul.

I paused at the bottom of the hill and looked up towards my house. It was little more than a dark black silhouette against the cold grey sky behind. It looked like all the other houses I had passed  -  empty and lifeless  -  but for one slight difference.

There was a silver alien shuttle craft hovering outside.


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