Leah couldn’t believe what she’d just heard. Surely it was a joke.
Shaking her head, she continued to dust the furniture in her home. But it’s no use—intrigued, she fired up her PC and waited for it to come to life. Once connected to the internet, Leah found the radio station’s website and downloaded a transcript of the interview.
Her eyes scanned for the section. Desperate to learn if she heard correctly or not. She was engrossed until the door slammed shut, causing Leah to jump slightly.
‘Leah? You here?’ Sam’s voice echoed in the hall.
‘In the study, love.’ Her heart skipped a beat, her skin felt cold and clammy. Sam was never home this time of the day. ‘Anything wrong?’ she asked, fearing his response would be connected to what she’d heard. She kept staring at her computer screen.
‘It’s the weirdest thing,’ he said. ‘An alarm rang out, across the entire CBD. The boss sent everyone home at a minute’s notice. Told us to stay safe, stay indoors.’ He rested his arms on his hips. ‘Everyone out there’s gone mad. I almost got crushed in the rush to board a train. And the roads are a nightmare.’
Leah nodded. It fitted with what she’d heard on the radio.
‘Do you know something?’
‘Oh no. Not really.’ It was odd how calm her voice sounded, when internally she was a throbbing mess. ‘I just heard an interview on the radio a while ago. It was strange. Wasn’t even sure I’d understood correctly, so I downloaded the transcript.’ She moved the mouse to keep the screen from falling into sleep mode.
Leah moved her head, indicating he should join her. ‘I’m just looking at it now.’
‘Well, I thought the person mentioned an alien invasion.’ Leah’s voice trembled as she spoke. ‘See, it’s so out there, I can’t even say it.’
Sam’s eyes widened. With shock or disbelief, Leah couldn’t tell. ‘Can’t be real,’ he said.
Leah nodded. ‘But look at this.’ She pointed at her computer screen where the transcript contained many phrases she’d previously thought were used only in science fiction novels.
‘What the hell? Who is this person?’
‘Some academic who has a PhD in the end of times. Most of it sounded like stuff we’ve heard before. Plagues, floods, locusts, you know. But he started to talk about an alien invasion, how the signs were leading to that, and that’s when it all when sideways.’
Sam whooshed out a breath, long and slow. ‘What’s this mean?’
‘Dunno. That’s why I’m looking at the transcript. Such an odd term. I mean, have you ever heard it before?’
They both stared at the screen. Sam leaned in, as if closing the distance would make it all clearer. ‘Inspired carpet? What does that even mean?’
Leah read on, scanning through the responses by the academic. ‘According to this bloke, he reckons that the aliens use these carpets to find new worlds to invade.’
Sam scoffed. ‘This is nonsense.’
‘I agree.’ She reached for his hand. ‘But think about it. An alarm in the city. You were sent home from work immediately. Panic on the roads, on the public transport systems. We’re all told to stay indoors, to keep safe.’
Leah’s eyes darkened, at the same time as the sky outside was covered in an inky blackness. Four hours before dusk was due to settle. ‘I think this is real,’ she whispered.