Cassandra got off the tube a stop early. She had no choice. She had to do something. After what she’d heard, how could she not?
Deep underground, phone service is interrupted. Cassandra didn’t mind that. She mainly used her smart phone as a music player anyway. She’d been riding along, trying not to stare at the crotch of the man standing in front of her, and listening to George Michael when the voices had started. Not the old voices – not those voices; the meds had put paid to them long ago
Cassandra pulled out her phone, thinking she had inadvertently switched on a radio app or something, but she knew from experience that radio signal can drop out in places on the Bakerloo Line. The voices weren’t speaking to her – that’s how she knew they weren’t the old voices – but what they were talking about quickly became compelling to Cassandra.
Hit Piccadilly, they said. Maximise the number of people they could hit. Early evening rush hour. Greatest potential impact. Ray guns at the ready.
Cassandra turned pale. She had to get off the train. Piccadilly was the next stop and not her destination. But she had to tell someone about it, had to warn them. There was still time.
She fought her way past elbows and armpits and was thrust out onto the platform. The heat of the underground station was oppressive, adding to Cassandra’s sense of rising panic. She jostled her way up the escalator, scouring for members of staff, searching the blank expressions of tourists and travellers, listening out for the voices.
There was an attendant at the ticket barrier, shepherding people through.
“Please!” Cassandra gasped. “Piccadilly Circus! They’re going to hit Piccadilly Circus!”
“That way, love,” said the attendant, bored. “Move along, please.”
Cassandra was shoved along by the tide of people. She climbed steel-edged steps up to the street. The illuminated advertising hoardings, the statue of Eros poised high above the throng. All those people!
Cassandra tugged at a policeman’s sleeve and pleaded with him to do something. She repeated what she’d heard, waving her earphones as a visual aid. The policeman asked her to move along.
“But it’s the aliens!” Cassandra screeched. “I intercepted their transmission. They’re going to hit Piccadilly. Right now!”
“Course they are, love,” said the policeman. “Now, let go of my arm or I’ll take you in for assaulting a police officer.”
Cassandra wailed in despair and plunged into the teeming horde. She forced her way around the statue, interrupting people posing for photographs with desperate pleas for attention.
A black van pulled up onto the kerb. The doors slid open and out onto Coventry Street spilled a group of creatures with tentacles and silver suits, their eyes bobbing on springy stalks.
Cassandra screamed and pointed but no one would take any notice. She ran and ran, dropping her phone, her bag and a shoe. She ran into the path of a bin wagon and was crushed beneath the wheels.
The aliens proceeded to hand out flyers. Invasion – the new energy drink, for those who like to stand out in a crowd.