I boggled at Mai. I supposed I’d known, in my heart of hearts, that she was different, but to the extent of being an alien... I would never really have imagined; I knew I didn’t know who Mai was, but she had never before struck me as someone who wasn’t born on the earth I called home.
Then again, a dear friend of mine, Jenifer, had beaten all my expectations...and hers, I supposed.
I wonder where she is now.
“I was just going to wait here for a bus...” I mumbled meekly. I realised then how right Mai was, and how wrong I had been, in supposing that nobody would be able to tell that it was us trying to leave America.
“And did you think that one would arrive before you caught the attention of the reporters? They’d probably end up interrogating the bewildered driver before you even boarded.”
I shrugged then and stepped back into the shelter and shade from the light.
Erica glanced across to the now-ruined pub, biting her lip. It was hard to tell whether she was more frustrated or scared.
“So, what can you do, Mai?” she finally asked.
“Well...” and I detected a hint of embarrassment in Mai’s voice as she said this, “I’m from another world, and we have many different abilities from you humans. Firstly, there’s that ability to ‘shapeshift’, and very useful it is, although, there are not many times that I actually use it. Finally, I have the abilities to transport from one destination to another (so long as it is not too far away) in the blink of an eye, or almost as quickly.
“It takes a bit of energy, and I’ve never transported anybody but myself, so three extra people will be something new. But I’m prepared. I think I’m ready.
“All you need to do is be in contact with me, even as one link in a chain.”
Once again, I boggled at Mai.Déjà vu!She sounded so mystical and incredible, but to have a life like hers... It sounded amazing, but heart-breaking. Placing my own life, with its demonic ups and downs, into context with hers made it seem mediocre; an alien, an outcast, a healer, a friend.
Distracting me from my reverie, I heard Aidan sigh from the back of the shelter, a little ‘hmm’ of uncertainty. I cast my eyes back towards him.
“I’m not sure about this,” the religious man said.
I slipped back and quickly took of one his hands in mine.
“Trust me. I know, in your position, and with everything that’s been going on, that may be an impossible task, but this is a way back home, toEngland. Perhaps, we’ll start afresh. I’ll care for you...”
I smiled at Aidan, gently squeezing his hand as I did so. In response, he squeezed mine back and led me forward.
“Okay, Mai, do what you need to do.”
Leading Erica and Aidan, I took one of the alien-woman’s hands, and Erica the other. Once she had made sure that my Aidan was holding tightly onto my arm, Mai closed her eyes.
“I hope this works.”