Ah, yes. She reopened the chat window and started to type.
I know, Spook, it’s hard, but can’t you understand? She sat back and waited for a reply, taking the opportunity to watch a few more fireworks, even though leaning around the side of her laptop gave her a crick in her neck.
I still do not grasp the concept, the chat window read when it beeped a moment later. What are these ‘parents’? Spook was Anna’s friend from a Writer’s website. She was also an alien. Anna wondered quite how the bizarre friendship had come about. Had it been the website they met through? Or had it been the fact that Spook understood her like no one else, not even her best friends?
How were you born, Spook? Anna wrote. If she knew that, this would be a lot easier to explain.
Two Elders met up and decided to have me, Spook replied. Why?
Parents are the people who … have you, Anna answered. My parents are like two … Elders who met up and decided to have me. There was a pause. Less than thirty seconds later the computer beeped – Spook was evidently a fast typist.
But how do they control what you do if that is all they are? I mean, my Elders have nothing to do with my life. Anna gaped.
You mean, you don’t live with them? Even though they’re your biological parents?
Of course not. I live in the Dorms, with everyone else my age. Now, you promised we could meet …
Anna bit her lip anxiously. Her parents had taught her never to meet up with anyone from the internet that she didn’t know, and she herself had read all sorts of things in the newspaper about girls who had done that.
How? You live on a different planet, Anna pointed out after five minutes of musing. And they haven’t invented space travel here.
Seriously? Anna could almost see Spook’s incredulous expression. Except, of course, for the fact that she did not have a clue what she looked like.
Spook, I told you that before, Anna said. Honestly.
Hmmm. I know! Spook added excitedly. I’m coming to Earth soon, with my Elders. It’s a tradition – when you turn fifteen you go on a trip to a planet, and of course, I chose Earth. I mean, it’s the most interesting, and you hear all sorts of stories about it, you know? I can’t wait to see it all in real life. Everyone tells you all sorts of things.
Uh, really? Anna wrote, slightly surprised. It’s not that great, really. She was used to people being excited about where she lived; people not listening when she told them that London was just like any other city, except that it was the capital city.
Of course! Why, it’s the centre of culture, of music, and of good taste! Anna was now in a state of shock.
Who told you that? Evidently someone who thinks backstreet cinemas are cultural, rap counts as music, and bright neon is tasteful. She sighed. Her parents were calling her again.
I’ve got to go.
Oh, why? Spook sounded almost pleading. Are you … parents … moaning at you? It was almost comical how proud the alien was of her human vocabulary: “moaning”, “That sucks”, “facebook” … the list went on.
Yup. See you! Anna hovered the mouse over the ‘close’ button.
What does ‘yup’ mean? asked Spook before she could sign off.
Oh, it’s just another way of saying ‘yes,’ Anna told her, and shut the window before she could get any more distracted.
“Anna!” her father’s voice said. “Are you coming?” She got up and closed her laptop. Her parents would moan at her about that, too, but after all, if they weren’t nagging her, she’d have time to shut it down properly.
“Quit nagging! Of course I’m coming!” Anna spun on her chair, then slid across the floor on it. That was the best thing about swivel chairs.
She pulled open her sock drawer.
“Hurry up, or we’ll go without you!” It was her mother this time.
“Just let me get some socks, for goodness sake!” called Anna.
Grabbing the nearest, most brightly coloured pair, she ran out of the room, pausing only to snatch her jumper from where it lay, draped over her pillow after she had dumped it in a rush this morning.