I awoke with a start. It was half light and quiet. I could hear the blood pulsing through my head whoosh, whoosh, whoosh … and a subtle rustle at the end of the bed, the feeling of weight by my feet. How did the cat get in at this ti-
There was a figure sitting there, the silhouette of a conical head, long spindly arms, large, almond eyes. No pupils, just dark, pointed ovals. I was frozen.
“Morning,” said the figure, “no need to be alarmed. You’re perfectly safe, although, to ensure you didn’t panic, I’ve administered a small dose of anaesthetic to prevent you from moving. You’re unable to speak, but, as you will discover, you can answer my questions quite simply by telepathic means. Just as I am communicating with you now. Is there a fault with that human? It’s making a dreadful noise,” it said, extending a long, slender finger at Lady Barton St Mary. The digit glowed red, then green, merging into purple, just beneath the scaly skin, like oil on a lake.
“Erm… no, she’s sleeping. That’s called snoring,” I explained.
“Gna!” the creature explained, its eyes widening slightly, its own version of showing humour, I surmised. There was a slight pause as it continued to observe Lady BSM, before turning its attention back to me.
His body glowed with a pleasing blue, like rock pools on a sunny day in Cornwall.
“There is something we need to know about your …people.”
“Yes? What is it? It doesn’t involve probes, does it?”
“What? No. No probes. It appears that many humans have deserted their work posts for something called Easter. What is Easter?”
I considered for a moment.
“It’s a religious celebration,” I tell it.
“What is that?” the eyes turned a shade of green, as did its skin.
“Well, it’s a celebration involving something called God,” I explained.
“What is God?”
“Well, that would be a super being that created life and lived somewhere else, like, in the sky.”
“I am God?”
“No, not exactly. although some people might think you are. Have you heard of David Icke?”
“Never mind. Anyway, there’s a religion called Paganism, which celebrated the death of winter and the rebirth of spring. There would be lots of dancing and drinking and sex and music. A bit like Glastonbury. There may have been a bit of sacrifice thrown in as well. You know, goats, pigs, sheep.”
My friend was turning a rather weird shade of yellow.
“Fascinating. And these Pagans call it Easter?”
“No. No, not pagans. Now there are humans called Christians, they’ve sort of cornered the market in Easter celebrations.”
“What is Easter then?”
“Well, it’s about the story of a man called Jesus, who was the son of God…”
“No, forget Pagans, not a Pagan God, another God. Jesus’s dad.”
My interviewer turned a confused shade of taupe. Mentally, I caught his eye.
“It may be best if you just hear me out,” I said gently. He made jazz hands, which was slightly puzzling until I realised it was his way of agreeing. I took a deep breath and started again.
“So, in this story, Jesus is born from a woman after God plants him inside her. He grows up to become a prophet in Roman times, but he’s a bit more than that. He’s a bit of a dissident, a rebel, a character the Romans think is threatening their authority with his seditious behaviour. So, he’s arrested and sentenced to death…”
“What a terrible story,” said my new bed mate.
“Yes. Awful. They crucify him on a cross, which was how they used to kill people in those days.”
“Urgh. Deplorable,” he said, drumming his fingers on his elongated head, making a pulsating rhythm – Thrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrruuuuuuuummmmmmmmmm…..
I managed to gather my thoughts and continue.
“Ah, but,” I said, mentally wagging a finger, “that’s not the end. He’s put in a tomb; after a few days, the tomb is found open and Jesus is reported to be alive.”
He considered a moment.
“So now Jamus is a zombie,” it said.
“Jesus. No. He’s… well I suppose technically … how do you know what a zombie is?”
“I interviewed another being about the pictures we received in our craft called ‘The Walking Dead’. Now most of my crew refuse to work until they’ve watched all 94 episodes.”
I stared wonderingly at it.
“I’m no expert, but in the stories, it gets a bit patchy. One version has him being seen by Roman soldiers and his friend Mary and her friend Mary that nobody knew. In another, he meets up with his pals and has a blow out meal to prove he isn’t a zombie. I mean dead. In yet another, although being killed and put in a tomb, he manages to wander around for another 40 days before ascending to a place called heaven.”
“How is this a religion?”
“Well lots of people wrote about it a couple of hundred years later, making a religion called Christianity. The followers of Christianity wear a cross as a religious symbol.”
“Why a cross?”
“It’s what was used to kill him.”
My interrogator pondered, a swirling pink and purple.
“ So, Easter was invented by a zombie death cult who show their allegiance by wearing an instrument of torture around their neck?”
I thought for a moment.
“I think you may be being a little disingenuous,” I suggested, “anyway, it’s a story that’s been repeated in other civilisations; ancient Greece, Egypt, pretty much the same – immaculate conception, sacrifice and resurrection. Nothing new.”
“ So all humans follow this religion?”
“Not at all. There are many popular religions: one about a man who flies on a winged horse to meet God on a mountain; then there’s another one that thinks that we have been seeded by visitors from outer space (I study his big eyes carefully for a reaction) and yet another that is all about yourself and what you want – very popular with people in Hollywood.”
It studies me silently for a few moments.
“So, what God do you follow?”
“I’m an atheist. Which means I don’t think such a thing exists.”
“What about – aliens?” it teases, his enormous eyes glittering, his body glowing red and purple.
“Due to the unimaginable size of the universe, it is pretty much a certainty that another civilisation exactly the same as ours exists somewhere. But, using the same mathematical logic, it would be virtually impossible for us to find such a planet. Like finding one grain of sand on all the beaches in all of the world.”
Another pause, more glittering eyes, tidal waves of indigo and mauve cascading down his torso.
“In that case, how am I here?”
“Good point,” I whisper, as the alarm brings me round for Easter Sunday.