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  • Issy Jinarmo

A Different Style of Green



I held tightly to the safety rail in the shower, my head lowered, warm water

running over my hair and down my back. It was comforting but not giving an

explanation I was desperately seeking. I didn’t know what to think. How could anyone

believe what I couldn’t believe myself? I tried hard to shake off the image I had seen

while gardening in my back yard; a normal suburban backyard, not a large country

property and just a half-an-hour bus trip from the Sydney Business District. My mind

ran over possible scenarios; was I hallucinating? Food poisoning, been drugged? I

hadn’t socialised much of late so that was out. ‘Maybe I’m having a nervous

breakdown’. I had been under a lot of stress at work of late. I should Google the

symptoms.

I always doubted the so-called ‘sightings’; the visiting aliens on deserted country

roads or eerie wide open spaces where no one was around, deserts and the like,

flashing coloured lights of a space ship. ‘How convenient’ I thought, yes, always when no

one else was around. How convincing! Yeah, Yeah! It all had been too clap-trap for me.

My opinion was booze or drugs, perhaps attention seeking. I wasn’t familiar with drugs

so had no first-hand experience of the effects, only from what I had heard.

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Soft towelling replaced the moist feeling of shower water. I was glad I had

started using vinegar in the rinse water, it certainly made for softer towels. I pulled on

fresh clothes and placed my dirty gardening clothes in the washing basket. ‘Maybe if I go

outside again, they will be gone and I can put it down to some sort of daydream.’ I

muttered, trying to convince myself.

I walked slowly down to, what now, appeared a backyard that stretched forever.

When I reached the old brick toilet I peered cautiously toward the grassy area behind.

“We asked you to leave us alone; we are having an emergency meeting.” The

largest of the strange group said. I knew now this was real and tried to think quickly.

“Can I be of any help to you? I am not sure where you have come from but I

mean you no harm.” As I looked around there was a group of about six, a motley lot of

all different sizes and appearances. They all started babbling aggressively at me, like a

bunch of unruly kindergarten kids.

“Excuse me!” I said, frightening myself by my quick response. “This is my back

yard and I have been warm and friendly, you could at least show some manners or don’t

you have any, where you all come from.” I bit my lip, took a step back and stood silent

waiting for a reaction. I looked around, my eyes taking in the array of beings so

unfamiliar to anything I had seen before. Although a range of sizes, they were all

smaller than me and had various skin colours, no green or anything you would see in an

alien movie but they looked vulnerable in their own way.

Without another word the motley lot turned and walked through the gate at the

bottom of my garden. I breathed a sigh of relief but felt a bit guilty. They hadn’t been

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doing any harm after all, but having a meeting in my garden? It was surreal. I didn’t

know whether to be afraid or intrigued. I felt a little of each.

So I went to the gate and looked through, planning on calling them back, but

they were already at the end of the back lane and turned the corner and almost out of

sight.

Curious I followed them but by the time I got to the corner they had

disappeared. I presumed they had gone into the old warehouse that had been

renovated by a government agency that no one knew much about. The gates were

always locked and the building had frosted windows set deep into the stone walls;

Security cameras were placed in obvious positions and the few people seen coming and

going used cards to open the gate. ‘Australian Government Security. Restricted Area’

was displayed on an imposing sign on the gate.

I knew there had been a lot of talk when the building was first renovated. It had

been in disuse and disrepair for many years and nearby residents were perplexed as to

why it had been let go in such a sought after area of the city. The building had been

owned by the Government, built by convicts in the early days of the colony; had been a

hospital and then a research facility for many years before being closed down in the

1970s. ‘Government wasting money as usual’ was the general consensus. So it was with

community support when the building was renovated and put to use. This support was

followed by some elements of doubt when the official use for the structure wasn’t

publicised and there seemed to be general reluctance for any information to be

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provided to the curious community. Time passed and it was just accepted that it was

secret, no details were going to be released and that was that.

‘It doesn’t stop me wondering though,’ I thought, pondering on the odd sounds

that seemed to emanate from the building at all hours of the night. A kind of whirring

mechanical sound and flashing lights could be seen lighting up the windows. ‘I guess

they were occurring during the day too but with the traffic and general busy noises

inherent in any city they were not noticeable. My house is a block away too, I’m glad it

isn’t closer,’ I mused. Mostly the building was surrounded by industrial businesses and a

garage. I was in suburbia but the city was expanding and the area much sort after.

Then there was the helipad. This was a new assault on the peace of the area

when it had been constructed on the roof of the mystery building in recent weeks. I,

along with other people living in the neighbouring houses were non too happy, that is,

except for the children, they thought it was exciting. Concern settled down though as

only a couple of helicopters had been observed coming in to land. Strange,

cumbersome, black helicopters, quite large and somewhat foreign looking was the

general opinion. ‘I wonder just what’s going on’, my thoughts were tumbling over each

other, ‘probably better I don’t know. I’m going home. Think I’ll call in next door and

have a coffee with June.’

“June…it’s Sally…can I come in?” I called through the partially opened doorway.

“June,” I call again. No answer. I look at my watch. 12 noon. Where could she

be? A retired journalist, she was exceptionally punctual, tidy and methodical.

A Different Style of Green I.Jinarmo

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I knock again and walk into her kitchen. Devastation greets me! Crockery and pot

plants smashed on the floor, tablecloth pulled from the table, the morning’s newspaper

torn to shreds, laptop upside down. I walk gingerly across the floor to pick it up, my foot

connecting with June’s mobile. I gasp in alarm. Something is seriously amiss; she is never

parted from her mobile.

“June, June, where the hell are you?” I call anxiously.

Still no reply. I hear a strange whirring noise coming from the lounge room. I

hurry across the kitchen, June’s mobile in my hand. The whirring sound increases in

intensity.

I scream in horror. Lying on the lounge room floor is my neighbour, June. She

isn’t moving. Watching over her is a thin, writhing creature, yes a creature. He or she,

there was no way of telling, is standing over June, long antenna-like fingers poking at

her body, laser-like rays streaming from its tentacle-like fingers leaving dark puncture

marks on her body.

“We need this earthly person,” chants the figure, turning the knob of a box

attached to its body. “We communicate to you earth people through this device. She is

our chosen one!”

“What chosen one?” I scream. “Get out of here. Leave my friend alone.” I

tremble and cry.

The whirring sound increases. June’s body rises from the carpet, unbending, then

with a whoosh, it changes shape into the foetal position, rising upward, laser rays

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guiding her toward the ceiling which parts and silently transports her body through her

roof and outward into the blue sky above.

I run toward the ugly alien who flashed laser rays at me. I feel weak, nauseous

and lifeless. ‘Oh my goodness,’ I think, ‘I am going to follow June.’

I move sideways, fall down on the carpet and crawl behind an armchair.

The room is quiet once more. June has disappeared skyward, and the ugly alien

is looking down on me, a hideous hissing sound coming from its mouth. His skin has

changed to a vivid purple. The whirring sound intensifies as the alien’s thin, coloured

body rises out of the roof, disintegrating mid-air. There is silence once more in the

house but from high above I hear June’s voice crying out, “Save me, save me.”

I scream loudly as two more ugly, thin-bodied aliens with boxes attached to their

chests, walk through the lounge room door.

“What do you want with me?” I sob.

The lounge room is suddenly filled with a vivid white light. One of the aliens

points his finger at the box on his chest. A loud whirring sound fills the room again. I feel

dizzy and faint and sit down heavily in an armchair. “Enough, enough,” I scream. “Why

have you taken my neighbour? What do you want with her?”

The two aliens stand menacingly over me, the smaller of the two saying, “We know

she is a clever lady with words. You have made a mess of your world. We will provide

her with our words, she will tell your world we are about to conquer you. This is just the

beginning – we have already taken over the government warehouse a block away and

set up our equipment. You earthlings don’t realise what we have in that building, but

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you are soon going to find out. Your lives will never be the same again, and your friend

June will tell you how you must obey us!” The aliens cackle loudly. I lose consciousness.

I wake up on June’s floor. Everything is back in order; the roof is intact and I

wonder if I could be hallucinating. Before I come to my senses, some of the motley

creatures who had assembled in my back yard enter the lounge room. I sit almost

motionless, trying to back away but my body won’t budge. The smallest of the group

steps toward me, I shiver.

“This is what we were trying to avoid, an invasion!” he yells.

“We are the Marotzans, the big hairy ones, the Arctinees.”

“Hairy is normal!” one of the Arctinees objects.

The Marotzan leader looks annoyed but continues.

“The Corints are bad news; we see they took your neighbour. We were meeting

with their leader when you interrupted us. We are from different planets of the solar

system but met together to negotiate with the Corints. We met them in the warehouse

they have taken over. The Corint’s leader stormed out of our meeting, we caught him in

your back yard and tried hard to get through to him again but when you disturbed us he

left. We feared what he would do next. You are lucky he didn’t take you,” he said with

some compassion.

“I don’t think I was smart enough, they said June was better with words. That’s

what they wanted.” I tell them with some relief.

A Different Style of Green I.Jinarmo

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“It sadly appears like their invasion has begun. We need to stop them before

anyone else is harmed. You must return with us to the warehouse to tell your story and

help us stop any more damage. We need you humans now to be part of the team.”

“No, no way!” I yell. I am becoming comfortable with this lot, but my experience

with the Corints had been terrifying. “They said they had their equipment in the

warehouse. I don’t want to go anywhere near them.”

“What’s wrong with you humans, don’t you want to save your planet?” He roars.

“Yes, yes, but you need the military, the government, the brains of our world,

not simpletons like me,” for once I feel glad not being so smart.

“True, okay, take us to your leader.”

‘Gee’, I think, that is so cliché, am I sure this isn’t a horrible dream. My thoughts

are tumbling over in my head. Who am I supposed to put them in touch with? This is all

certainly out of my comfort zone. I had just intended to do some relaxing gardening.

There’s a knock at the door and it’s with immense relief I see it is Harold, June’s

latest boyfriend and police superintendent, conveniently he’s in uniform.

“ Harold, I’m so pleased to see you, these…people…are looking for our leader.”

“What people?” Harold is not surprisingly looking perplexed.

“In here”, I lead him into the living room and am somewhat relieved to see the

started expression on his face when he sees the visitors.

“What…”

“ You are leader?” The Marotzan holds out his arm in what I think is a salute.

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“Well, of my station, locally anyway,” Harold is looking intrigued now. “Who the

heck are you? Is this a fancy dress party?”

“ I do not understand what you mean Fancy Dress. We are from Marotzan, the

hairy ones from Arctinees.”

“ Hairy is good,” snapped an Arctinees.

“Right…I might need backup.”

I can see Harold isn’t taking the situation seriously and whisper to him that it’s

not a joke and June has been abducted and is being held in the warehouse.

“Who abducted her? Why?”

“The Corints, because she is good with words. They want to use her as a

spokesperson…”

“Are they dangerous? What on earth is going on Sally? I’m getting concerned.

The joke is becoming tiresome.”

“It’s no joke Harold, you must believe me. Get some backup to meet us at the

government’s warehouse down the road. Seems everyone has been right thinking

something nefarious is going on there. Believe me, this isn’t a joke, these ‘people’ are

aliens.”

The visitors start babbling amongst themselves, their agitation obvious and my

nerves increase.

“Meet us at the building, as quick as you can, time has run out,” the leader

signals the others and they march out the door.

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Still looking mystified, I don’t blame him, Harold rings for backup and we run

down the street to the warehouse.

We are greeted with a chaotic scene. The flashing lights radiating from the

windows are blinding and the whirring sound now deafening. There is no sign of the

Marotzans or the Arctinees, presumably they are inside.

“I think this might be out of our league,” Harold sounds worried as the police

cars start to arrive.

It is now I see a dozen, maybe more, of the black helicopters arrive overhead.

They circle the building and rays are directed towards it; rays that encompass it.

“ Looks like the government is onto it anyway Harold. Maybe your crew won’t be

needed.”

“Where’s June?”

We look at each other.

The flashing lights are changing colour, they are now bright red, no, becoming

pink, fading as we watch. The noise that was so piercing a few minutes ago is now a dull

roar, no longer painful to my ears. The helicopters continue to aim their rays until all

becomes quiet. Suddenly it seems they turn as one, like a flock of birds, and fly away.

“ Follow me,” Harold calls to the police officers and we run to the building

accompanied by the other onlookers who have gathered. The door is locked but no

match for the police tool that smashes it open. Harold and I are first inside.

“ June, June,” we are both yelling.

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“ Harold…Sally?” A voice is calling from the end of a corridor. With huge relief

we see June sitting looking very bemused rubbing her head. “Where am I? What the

heck is going on?”

A group of men, no doubt warehouse staff are sitting not far away, also looking

perplexed. “ What’s happened? Who are you? You’re not supposed to be in here.”

Harold flicks his ID towards the man.

“I…” the man starts

“No time for explanations now, we need to get you all to the hospital. Are the

ambulances coming Sergeant?”

“Nearly here Sir.”

“Thank heavens. June…” I hug her. “Looks like our government knew more about

the situation than we thought…they were onto it, weren’t they?”

“ What situation?” June is looking very confused.

I look at Harold and we laugh…nervously.




🙟 About Issy Jinarmo 🙜

Issy Jinarmo is a pen name for writing trio Jill Baggett, Narelle Noppert and Maureen Kelly OAM. We live far apart in Australia - Mudgee, Picton and Adelaide, but started writing never ending stories by email during the lockdown. We have been published twenty seven times in magazines and anthologies from such diverse areas as Australia, India, England and USA. We have released a book of detective stories. Some of our stories which have been published by online magazines can be read from our Issy Jinarmo Facebook site.

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