Spring in the suburbs. The evenings were drawing out nicely. The cold winter days when the sky was overcast and the early sunset often meant that house lights needed to be on by about three in the afternoon were now a memory. The date was 13th May and it was twenty minutes to ten in the evening. Kenny and Kelly Kelley (Yeah, she nearly rejected Ken’s proposal because of that) had settled in front of the television and were binge-watching The West Wing for what must have been at least the seventh time. C J Cregg was in the throes of blasting out The Jackal (as only she can) when the smart speaker on the coffee table announced, at a level successfully designed to drown out any other sound, Motion is detected at the front door.
“This time of night?” Kelly asked, “Who can be at the door now?”
“There’s been no ring or knock, so it’s probably nothing,” Ken opined, “let me check.” Ken called up the app on his tablet and looked at the live output from the camera. “Nothing there,” he said, “might have been a car going past or something.”
“Go and look.”
“Please look,” she said pleadingly, “for me?”
Ken paused the DVD, got out of his seat and ambled to the front door. As soon as he opened it, he gasped. “Quick,” he said to his wife, his voice laced with urgency, “come and look. You have to see this.”
“What is it?” she asked, almost but not quite breathlessly (one hopes she could manage a five-pace sprint without becoming out of breath), “I can’t see anything.”
“Funny, that. Neither can I.”
“So why make me come out to look, if there’s nothing there?”
“Precisely,” Ken said with a note of finality. Just as he was closing the door, there came from an east-south-easterly direction, a report that was sufficient to shake the windows behind them.
“What was that?” Kelly asked.
“Dunno. Sonic boom?”
“Have you seen any hedgehogs around here?”
“What on earth are you on about, Kel?”
“Okay, serious face on. As far as I know, there aren’t any supersonic capable commercial aircraft operating, and we’ve never had military aircraft active here before. But look…” She pointed to a trail crossing the sky, “That can’t be right – can it?”
“Not making that noise.”
“Do you know that’s what made the noise?”
“No, but I can’t see anything else – wow!”
“Fetch the binoculars. It’s all over Twitter.”
“You taking the pee again?”
“No, look.” He showed her the screen of his tablet. “The hashtags #sonicboom and, inexplicably, #alieninvasion are trending big time.”
“Do you think it might be aliens?”
“Given that the nearest exoplanet in the so-called Goldilocks zone of a suitable star, with a surface temperature that would support life as we know it is more than twenty light-years away, you’d have to accept faster than light travel to assume something could come here from there – and so far, there’s no support for that or for the use of wormholes. So no. Not aliens.”
“Are there no planets closer?”
“There are some closer, but if the aliens are adapted for life at plus or minus hundreds of degrees, they’d never survive here.”
“God, you’re boring. Let’s get back to C J Cregg.”
This was written in response to Kreative Kue 267 published on this site.