Mildred Drummond

My name is Mildred Drummond.When these events started I was 62 years of age and believe it or not I still had all my own teeth. My friends said I don’t look a day over 61. On the night of the winter solstice in 2022, I was one of the few people in the world who really believed in Ghosts. On that evening at around 11PM I was in the grounds of an old deserted Castle somewhere in Central Scotland. I had been there at least thirty times. It was where I had first sensed or seen something. Something not of an ordinary reality. Because of that sensation-of something other than us- I devoted my life to proving the existence of ghosts or spirits-call them what you may.

Although at that time Ghost watching was not as popular as it had once been, my website was full of comments from people who had recently seen “something”. I knew I would soon have the proof I was after. No longer would locals call me, “Dotty old Drummond”. Let me make it clear that I have never suffered from any form of dementia. My mind is as sharp as it was when I was a young adult. In my experience, I have found that newspapers will make up a story if they don’t have one to hand.

I was in the cellar of the castle listening to the rain lashing against the ruined sandstone walls above. As usual, I had my flask of hot vegetable soup to keep me warm. All I wanted was a photograph but I got much more than that.

At first, I sensed a presence in front of me. Just a few feet away. I had not yet finished setting up my camera and tripod but I could not stop looking at the spot where I knew something was. I was not scared. But I don’t recall exactly what emotions I had felt at that moment.

A rip was torn in the darkness and a brilliant white light came out of it. The light took on the form of a human. It looked solid. I remember trying to stutter out a, “Hello”. But I never managed it. I reached out to grab my tripod and camera but my shaky hand never found them.

After about twenty seconds the shape was fully formed and was that of an atrractive middle aged man. It was the spirit I had sensed all those many years before.

It did not speak with its mouth but sounds came together to make words in my brain, “Welcome to my home. I have been here such a long time. It is nice of you to visit again. I like the new tripod. How are you keeping Mildred? Joints ok?”

I eventually managed to say, “Hello. What do I call you? I am so pleased to have met you. At last I have met a real ghost. You have brought meaning into my life. I have been proved right after all these years of searching. Thank you friend. Who are you? Who are you the ghost of?”

He answered in the most pleasing of voices, “What you call ghosts … Well, we are not what you think we are. Over the centuries we have travelled here from another star system. We all, have a job to do. My real name you could never pronounce. But you can call me, Fom. That means, Friend Of Mildred. It will give you power when you have to meet world leaders. It will show that you speak for us. As I am sure you will do. You will, won’t you?”

I answered in a shaky voice, “You are aliens? Yet I will speak for you. You are not spirits? Not really the dead who walk again?”

He answered, “We are life forms that exist in a form beyond the understanding of humans. Please don’t take offense at that. We came here because we knew of a threat to your world. We came to help your planet.

“Your world had its Mongol invaders. Well this part of the universe that we dwell in has the Dreitch. They are a life form that feeds off other life forms. When they have destroyed one world they move onto another. We have fought them from star system to star system over tens of thousands of years. A thousand years ago, we saw that they travelled in your direction. So we travelled far faster than they could and came to Earth to try to save you. If your kind ignores what I am saying to you then your world has less than ten years left to it. I will be the spokesperson for my kind and we ask you to contact your Governments through your web page at first. Then later you can speak directly to world leaders. You will be our sole contact. We can not have this message diluted. And I trust you Mildred. I trust your honesty and I trust your passion. ”

I gasped at him, “What can I say. People will never believe me. How can I tell them that their world is in danger and ghosts want to be our saviours?”

“We will fight alongside your kind Mildred. But most importantly you need to build weapons of a kind that you do not have on Earth. All nations must work together and must start work as soon as possible. To show the world leaders and mathematicians of your world that I speak truly, I will ask you to write down some formulae for them. With your permission I will place these into your brain. These formulae will be evidence of an intelligence far beyond the capacity of humans to understand. We need your leaders to speak to you and me and no other. We need you to do this work immediately. There is no time to waste. I have received confirmation that our enemy is within a few light years of earth.”

I let him place all the formulae he wanted into my brain. He said it wouldn’t hurt and it didn’t. Over the next few months I spent hours and hours in debates and conferences with scientists and mathematicians. And then finally some world leaders. Eventually I spoke at the United Nations. I had been given a speech, put directly into my brain by Fom. I, or rather Fom, received a standing ovation.

All over Earth, factories started to produce the new weapons and we made ready for war. I still spoke with Fom in private but we were watched by spies and Fom told me there were listening devices all over the castle. He was always very polite but had a job to do and we did not have much time for small talk.

When the first of the weapons had been built and were being tested Fom came out into the open and into the daylight. With me at his side he spoke to world leaders and to Generals and Admirals. He explained that the only way we could effectively fight this menace was by his species fighting closely alongside human armies. And both of us using these new weapons. Although we had assumed the presence of a few dozen “Ghosts” around the world, there were in fact thousands. They all took on the form of humans but all of them were – to us humans – very “Ghost” like.

A few people still did not trust Fom and his kind. They said that Fom probably lied and that the Dreitch could be our friends. Fom convinced most people on Earth of his case but not all. His species sometimes trained to fight alongside our soldiers as they knew better than anyone else how to use these new special weapons. However, some Generals refused to work alongside “Ghosts”. Fom was a diplomat and worked hard to avoid any disharmony between his species and ours. There were argumentative beings amongst Fom’s kind but they were hugely outnumbered by the antagonistic humans. At times I felt ashamed to be human. Faced with this threat from space, a dozen different Generals all demanded that they personally lead the defence of Earth.

Eventually there came a day when the Dreitch took orbit around the Earth. There were three huge spacecraft. They took over all communication systems-apart from a few built by Fom and his kind. Humans were told to surrender within one day or the planet Earth would be wiped out. Destroyed completely.

Fom told us of the lies of the Dreitch. Told us that even they would find it hard to totally destroy out a planet. And anyway he said, “They want to capture you humans alive so they can feed on you and use your energy for sustenance. Indeed, they plan to feed on all animal life.”

Fom had told us exactly what they would say and it had long been agreed that the only we could survive was by destroying one of their spacecraft before their time limit was up. We had to take the initiative and keep it.

Fom and I were in one of Earth’s six highly protected strong points. I had wanted to fight in an army group but Fom told me I was too valuable to risk being killed in battle and that I could do a better job by working closely with him. We watched on monitors as a battle group of “Ghosts” smashed their ramming spacecraft into the largest of the enemy’s craft. Its shell was punctured and the Ghosts fought their way to the inside of the enemy spaceship. There they detonated their own spacecraft thus also destroying the spacecraft they had attacked and one that was nearby. They had used one of the new energy weapons that I had been given the details of by Fom not that long before. Fom was near to me when this attack happened and I felt waves of anguish come from his mind. I do not know if he cried but I cried for him. All of our allies in the ramming craft had died in that attack. It made us all united in our fight against the enemy.

There was still one enemy spacecraft left and it immediately fired missiles at the nearest army base. The base was a decoy and only a few humans died in that assault. But the Dreitch are fighters and their troops came down in airplanes that each carried a hundred troops. Dozens of Earth’s best fighter planes attacked in flight after flight. All were brought down by energy blasts before they got to their target. By dawn the next day, thousands of heavily armed soldiers were attacking the nearest city which was London.

They set up huge mortars which bombarded London. Their intention at that point was to destroy as many roads and railways as possible. They also wanted to destroy our morale.

A human army had argued for the right to defend London with human weapons and they were given the chance to do this. It was a disaster. Most of them failed to harm any of the Dreitch. Within less than a day, an army of humans 10,000 strong was almost totally wiped out. The antique weapons of the humans either failed to hit their target or never harmed the Dreitch when they did. Fom had correctly forecast what happened.

The Dreitch fortified position was impossible to assault. Millions died in London and millions more fled from the burning city. Fom knew that the Dreitch tactics meant that they would look for total control of one area before they moved to the next. Fom’s plan was for Birmingham to be evacuated while London was fought over. The evacuation was quick and effective. Most of the World’s cities had practised evacuations and London was attacked just too quickly for the plan to work there.

Fom’s elite troops laid traps just before Birmingham and their advanced weapons stopped the Dreitch from any more movement on the ground. Newly built pulsed energy generators brought any Dreitch airplanes crashing to the ground. While this was going on, every major nation on Earth was sending new energy missiles against the remaining Dreitch spaceship. It could not defend against them all and after taking one hit lost the ability to defend itself against any. It only lasted a few more minutes before it was torn apart.

We knew from Fom that the Dreitch on Earth would never surrender. In less than a day, humans and Fom’s species had turned Birmingham into one huge trap. This scenario had been acted out in mock battles and in game play and in computer programmes.

The troops of the Dreitch nations took three days to battle their way to an empty city centre. A decoy command centre had been placed there. The Dreitch had been allowed to intercept communications that erroneously told them that most of Earth’s leaders were there planning a fight back. The energy blast that was unleashed on the Dreitch killed all but a very few of them. The remaining Dreitch troops had to be hunted from house to house by our joint forces. The battle was fierce.

When the last of the invaders had been defeated there was much rejoicing. Fom told me that when the Dreitch were defeated somewhere that they hardly ever invaded that planet again. They did not like an equal battle. As well as that, Fom said that in only a few decades, humans would be advanced enough to repel the Dreitch on their own. Though the bond our two species had formed would remain for a long time. Fom and I had formed our own very special bond.

Fom told me that even though he was, to my eyes, a shimmering patch of translucent light, yet he was a male of his species. It took him some time to properly explain their concept of male and female. We both giggled at his explanation. He said that he loved my smile and he wanted to marry me. He could perform the rare ceremony of energy changing: I could become, if I wanted, like Fob. To age only a little in every century. Never to have to wear dentures. To be loved by Fob. To marry a “Ghost”. Of course I said, “Yes!”

Advertisements

The Street Name War

(This story was first published on the Static Movement website. Thanks to the editor Chris Bartholomew for that.)

 

In 2024, for a while, all wars stopped on the planet Earth. In 2031, the last war started and ended. As I am a Zibxen, you may me accuse me of bias against the side of the humans. Yet, I don’t think I have ever fallen prey to telling mistruths or exaggerating. And our side deserves to have its side of the story told.

In the Galactic Council, we Zibxen were always being talked about and slandered. All the other member planets happily took sides against us because we were a bit different. We were the only planet represented whose ruling species ate other sentient species. Also, we were the only ones who were brave enough to stand up for our rights by waging war. You do not obtain new territory or new technology by politely asking for it. You take it. Our philosophy is, “Take it and you make the Galaxy a fairer place”. No planet has better weapons or faster spacecraft than we do.

Eventually however we were thrown out of the Galactic Council. We were accused of some dreadful massacre or something like that. It was a long time ago and I have a bad memory. Something to do with, “improper use of a super nova”.

A deputation set out to Earth where we knew the ruling people ate other sentient species and also hugely enjoyed waging war on each other. We wanted the friendship of a species with an outlook on life similar to our own. Imagine our surprise on entering Earth’s orbit to find that the humans had just banned war. They banned it through the offices of their United Nations. And they seemed quite serious about it. They even destroyed lots of perfectly good missiles. Anyway, it did leave them with fewer weapons and in a peaceful frame of mind.

After giving the humans gifts of pretty jewellery, diamonds and the like, we persuaded them that we had just endured a natural disaster and that they should please accommodate the rest of the Zibxen people who were two weeks behind us in storage spaceships.

The humans we spoke to were either kind or extremely stupid, depending on your point of view, and they let our spaceships land on earth unopposed.

Some seven earth years later, we asked, very politely, to have all street name signs have a Zibxen street name under the English or Spanish name. In Scotland, the Gaelic speaking humans had their street names under the English street names. An elderly Zibxen had been killed at a travel crossing and his death could, possibly, have been prevented if proper Zibxen street name signs had been put up. We knew we were in the right.

The peoples of the Earth were all against us. The humans never had much use for logic or for any notion of equality for alien races.

A policeman in New York pushed one of our protestors. Luckily for us, we are a proud and stubborn people and are used to having to fight for our rights. We too believe in the right to bear arms. North America was a smoking plain after the first week of assaults from Space. By coincidence one of our war fleets had arrived at just the right moment.

We now have Zibxen rulers in every Country on the Earth planet. This will ensure that we get sufficiently large Zibxen street signs put up. Ones that even a blind Zibxen can see.

After all we have suffered at the hands of humans, we, as is our custom, still show respect to the past rulers of planet Earth. Earth has, of course, been renamed, Ziiiishsggf.

Most humans are well cared for and are fattened in well-designed facilities throughout the planet. Our efficient methods mean that no part of a human is wasted. As a compassionate being, I am glad to boast that no human has ever suffered or been mistreated in any part of the food production process. Myself, I find humans a bit stringy. I have to confess though, I am a fussy eater. Also, eating humans makes me flatulent.

And now I look into the future, and I see humans and Zibxen continuing this very successful partnership. Indeed, humans breed well in captivity and so we will never be short of protein. They are almost as profitable a crop as Soya.

We soon found that Planet Ziiiishsggf is ideal for dumping weapons waste. When the planet gets too contaminated, then we just move on to another planet. This planet is not far from our new enemy’s planet, which we will soon be visiting. As usual, we will take pretty jewels with us.

DICTIONARY

(First printed in Exiles magazine in 2013. Thanks to them for using the story.)

 

 

She – or perhaps he – has brought along a Dictionary, the kind that can be used for translations. Made from twisted reeds it looks as light as an empty beer can.

 

I miss all of you so much. It is especially hard, at this time, as you celebrate the, Festival of Remembering. I suppose though, that to use this particular book, at this time, is quite appropriate. As my longest digit points out the proper syllables, his weak human tongue and mouth try hard to recreate the sounds of our sophisticated words. Words that have been in constant use for over a thousand years. They don’t fully understand that on our world, words are used in many different ways.

 

Together we say her word for “Love” again and again. As the sounds come from her mouth, her heart seems ready to burst out of her fragile body. And my own heart begins to beat just as fast as hers. My lips say the word and my wild eyes let her know that I speak truthfully.

A few pages are turned, slowly, and then we speak her word for, “Truth”.

Her voice is indescribably beautiful. I love her totally, without any limits or demands.

The bond that we are forming is far deeper than the bond formed between any human couple. My skin starts to shine like hers.

She can speak a dozen languages from three different worlds. People like me cannot conceal it when we feel attracted to some person or some thing. And so I tell her that when she speaks her own language it is, “Like praying”. And then I say that she is, “Like an angel”.

 

The salary is quite good and I feel as if I can be of help to the humans. Mostly, I need a job. Money is everything here.

 

The crowds in the distance are invisible to us. Our minds are united in one great task: two quite different minds from two very different worlds.

When we say the word for “Knife”, well that is difficult. My breathing becomes laboured and I start to sweat. Ugly memories kick down the doors of my mind and fight for my attention. We say the word four times. One for each…

 

I have to use all my energy to redirect and control the hate that has been released in George. It has to be confronted and conquered. It is a difficult thing to do.

 

The word for “Justice” is powerful and we say it over and over again.

The first feelings of “Peace” flow through my body, as we sing her translated version of our own humble word. Yes, I now feel at ease with myself and with my past.

I have never before been as happy as I am now, singing these strange words in this prison yard. I am so glad that she has been the one picked to perform the ceremony. We were introduced only a few days ago. Her differences mean nothing to me. She is wonderful. We seem to be made for each other. Made for what we have to do together. We have something worthwhile to do, and we are working hard to achieve it. It is better than killing.

 

His mind and body have been through a lot. They cannot take much more of my firm touch. I have never before used my abilities for doing such a thing. But it helps George. I am sure it does.

 

And now, her trembling digit moves over the word for, “Death”. She kisses my head. Then we close our eyes as the sound of her planet’s word for “Death” roars out from both our mouths. That awful sound is loud and strange but I am not scared.

 

In our earlier talks he had seemed upset and nervous but that could all have been explained by what he was to go through. He had just seemed like another self-concerned human. I search his mind closely but, there is little else that I see in him. I ask myself, do all humans have such ghosts of choice hidden deep within them?

 

I have been given chance after chance. Yet I have never been able to control the weaknesses suffered by those born without hope, like me. My victims had been chosen at random. I didn’t particularly dislike any of them. There was nothing personal in it. Indeed, killing had been the only thing I was ever any good at. Only thing I enjoyed.

The families of my victims watch my every movement. Watch, the spasms that take control of my limbs. The blood that dribbles from my lips. I can not run away from justice this time.

 

I don’t know what to feel. He is not from my own world, and he did awful things but, to take his life…

 

There is no more anger. She smiles as she looks down at me. This is a good thing, to die with no pain. I die with dignity. Dignity…