Tales From My Back Yard
It was a cold and wet night, everyone in the suburbs was asleep, nothing made a sound, except a low rumble from a chunk of alien seeds plummeting to earth….
I had not slept well. The evening news had troubled me. The usual Perseids meteor shower would be especially large this year. I really love shooting stars and these are extra special because they fall on my birthday each year, but I can never stay up late enough to see them. So, I reluctantly went to bed as usual. I woke up to an ominous blue light coming from my window. Looking outside I could see it was in my garden. I could see strange flowers growing there and they were shining in the dark of the night. So, I decided to wake up my brother, Robert. I crept silently into his room. I woke him by loudly whispering,
“You got to see this!”.
His mouth gaped wide when he saw the plants and I saw his eyes widen in amazement. We went downstairs as quietly as ghosts, two ghost boys drifting silently into the night. We quickly unlocked the back door and tiptoed towards these amazing plants. As we got closer, we could see the flower’s shimmering light reflected in the water of the pond and we could see that the fish had swum close to the surface, totally mesmerised, like we were. The flowers were up to our knees and we could smell a mixture of sherbet and toffee. We both crouched closer taking in lung-fulls of the sweet scent. I reached out my hand. “Don’t do it!” Robert shouted, but it was too late my hand was already on the bristly leaves. My hand tingled and I could see spots of fluorescent blue were tumbling across my palm, up towards my elbow. It looked amazing. It felt incredible. The tingling sensation grew and grew until all of nerves were dancing like Mexican Jumping Beans. I looked around me and felt everything getting larger and larger. Robert’s gigantic mouth said, “Nooo! You’re shrinking Edward!”. I was only as big as his foot now and saw him scream and run away towards the house. His jolting giant footsteps sent me bouncing up into the air again and again. I realised I was only the size of an ant!
As Robert was running away to the house, I felt afraid and alone. I was now standing ankle deep in the mud between the old paving slabs that surrounded the pond. There was a smell of earth and pond weed. It reminded me of when I helped Dad clear the pond, how we removed the excess weed plants and left them on the side of the pond to allow the insects a chance to return to the water. It was my world now. I would have to get used to it.
The glowing flowers were now a long way away to my left. Perhaps I could change back if I touched them again? All around me rustling noises made my heart beat faster. Suddenly, a woodlouse appeared, it was as big as a horse! Its body looked like it was armour-plated. Each segment made a clunking sound as it moved. I thought I could catch a ride on its back to the plants or, maybe make my way into the safety of the house. It looked so far away. Dawn was breaking and my new world seemed to be waking up. More woodlice came out of the undergrowth and drank the dew from the grass. My attention fell onto a moving shadow on the ground next to me. It was an intriguing, shape-shifting pattern. What could be making it? The movements looked familiar. Then I realised! Eight legs could mean only one thing, a spider! I looked up to see its enormous body rapidly abseiling down a chord of its web towards me. I screamed for help but it was too late. The creature had captured me in its vice-like claws. I could see two fangs dripping with venom, coming closer and closer to me. Suddenly, there was a flutter of dusty wings and the spider gave a gigantic sneeze and let go of me. I fell to the ground and could see that my saviour was a moth. It was beating its wings close to the spider’s face so that it was covered by a huge cloud of dust. The spider curled up into a ball and had a coughing fit. All eight of his eyes were tightly shut. The dark brown moth then quickly flew towards me, took me into his arms, and flew towards the other side of the pond. He gently placed me at the base of one of the glowing plants.
“Thank you for saving me!”, I said. The moth seemed to understand and nodded his head. How silly of me to think that he could talk. I sat down and rested my back on the stem of the plant to catch my breath. There had been non-stop excitement this morning and I was tired. Through my shirt I could feel the plant pulsating as if the stem was a tube pumping water. I leapt back to my feet, “of course!” I cried. I could ride up the stem in a xylem vessel, I was probably small enough. I found a sharp piece of rock and cut into the stem. Squeezing my body through the layers of the plant was like putting my head through a wetsuit. I took a deep breath and pushed on through into the xylem tube. The flow of water was surprisingly fast but I managed to keep holding my breath. I felt like I was a milkshake being sucked through a straw. The path narrowed and I used the stone to cut my way out. I found I was up at the leaves and could finally breath again. I couldn’t stop from laughing, amazed that it had worked.
“Greeting Earthling” a breathy voice said. I looked left and right and could not see anyone.
“Who’s there?” I whispered.
“I am the plant you are inside of. My brothers and I have come from the planet, Alpha Gardenia, several light years to the North of this galaxy.” The voice said.
“You wwwwhat?” I stuttered.
The plant explained, “We came from the meteors and want to make this planet our home.”
Adrenalin surged through me, “Have you come to destroy the humans?”
“No, child, we come in peace and want to live in harmony with all of the lifeforms that make up this food chain. We are sorry for the impact we have had and are modifying our DNA to a structure of plants that are native to this place. My name is Dion and I want to help you”.
“I would like to be my usual size again. I’m sorry if I hurt you making my way through to here…” I hung my head.
“You have done no damage. I am healing now. The nectar of the sycamore tree will restore you to your original form.”
Sitting on top of the leaf I could see the sycamore tree in the distance. I would take me days to reach it. I turned my head towards the house. I could see that Mum and Dad were still trying to calm Robert down. I wished I could be there to explain things. I wished that they could help me. There was a fluttering to my left and the brown moth had joined me on a neighbouring leaf.
“Can you help me? I need to get to the flowers of the sycamore.” I said, pointing to the enormous tree ahead of us. Again, he just nodded but more enthusiastically this time.
I tried to stand up, but it was very wobbly on the leaf. The breeze kept moving it under my feet. I fell back to all fours. “This is like a bouncy castle!” I thought. The moth hovered above me and held my body in its legs and I was in the air again. It was like going up in Willy Wonker’s glass elevator. The wind rushed past me and it was difficult to breathe, just like going on Dad’s sidecar with the windshield down, and even more exhilarating. Higher and higher we flew, I could see my pet cats below me.
“Hi Ramesses, hello Lyra! It’s me, Edward!” I shouted with all my might but I it must have sounded like a little squeak. They both turned their heads and their pupils dilated like they do when I move a stick for them to chase. “Oh, Crikey!” I thought “That was dumb! I don’t want them to chase us.”
Luckily, we were miles too high for them to reach us. We settled at the very top of the tree, near the flowers. They smelt almost like honey. There were already bees and flies drinking the nectar. They were bigger than me and I sat in amazement was they uncoiled their long tongues. The noise of their buzzing was deafening. The moth shielded me from them with his wings and I broke off a flower, brimming with nectar. We both guzzled the sweet drink, the flower had made a perfect cup. The nectar tasted warm and I felt very full.
We wiped the stickiness from our mouths and the moth took me into his legs again and we flew down to the base of the tree. I could not keep my eyes open and pulled a sycamore leaf over me and immediately fell asleep.
The bright sunlight shone through my eyelids and I woke up with a jump. My world had returned to normal size, I had returned to normal size! The moth had turned into Angus, my neighbour.
“Holy Sacramento sausages! It’s you!” I said.
“Yes, it’s me!” Angus replied. He jumped up and patted his face and arms with delight.
“I touched some of the blue flowers in my garden and was turned into a moth. I didn’t think I would ever be me again.” Tears of joy ran down his cheeks. He was so happy.
“Thank goodness we’re both back to normal.” I said.
Angus laughed, “Yeah, whatever normal is!”.