“What are we going to do?” Priya said, throwing her arms into the air.
“I suppose we should tell someone but who would believe us?” I answered.
“But surely if we just show them where he is they’ll have to believe us, won’t they?” Priya said, pointing up at Sugar who had now reached one of the upper arms of the pylon.
“I guess so, but they’re adults. They’ll just think we put him up there.”
“We’re not that stupid!” Priya exclaimed,”It’s way too dangerous to climb up there.”
“Adults always think they are the clever ones and we’re just kids.” I sighed,”Besides by the time we convince somebody, he’ll have made the signal. We need to stop him now.”
We both slumped in the grass and leaned against the fence. Both of us were thinking the same thing: how on earth were we going to stop Sugar making that signal. I looked up at him and could just make out his silhouette against the sky. He was standing with his arms raised and there were blue sparks coming from his antennas.
“We’re too late.” I said,”Look, he’s started already.”
Priya took out her ‘phone and started fiddling with it.
“You can’t video this and put it online!” I said.
She didn’t look up but just said”I’m not. I’m going to see if I can detect his signal.”
“Look, he’s a fairly simply piece of electronics.”
“Apart from the walking, talking and invading the Earth bit you mean?”
“Well yes, apart from that. But he doesn’t have a big transmitter up there with him so maybe he’s using the mobile ‘phone networks to communicate with his masters.” She was getting excited now.
“Even if he’s not it’s bound to be some form of radio wave. So his signal should interfere with my ‘phone.” she explained. This actually made some sense.
“True,” I said “but even so what good is that to us?”
“At least we’ll know that he is signalling. At the moment we don’t know what he’s doing up there.”
“Good point.” I agreed,”Okay so do it and let’s see what happens.”
Priya fiddled with her ‘phone,”I’m getting it to scan for all networks now.” The ‘phone vibrated a few times and the screen had a little animation on it but beyond that nothing happened. Priya fiddled with it some more and then said”I’m not picking up any networks in this area. So something is blocking them.”
“So he is sending a signal!” I gazed up at Sugar and saw that the blue sparks were getting brighter. Whatever he was doing, I had a bad feeling about it. Somehow we had to get him down or stop him signalling but it was far too dangerous to climb up there. There were stories of idiots climbing pylons for a dare and getting fried.
Something flew past my ear. Then something else did and then again. I turned round to see Priya looking on the ground.”What are you doing?” I asked.
“Looking for more stones to throw at him. Maybe we can knock him down.”
“You’ll never reach him from down here!” I said and then as I thought about it,”But maybe we don’t need to throw anything. Wait here.” and I started to run back to the house.
“Where are you going?” Priya shouted after me.
“Just keep an eye on him!” I shouted back without stopping.”I’ll be back in a minute.”
I ran as fast as I could back to the house and through the back gate. I heard Mum and Dad in the lounge as I ran past. I ran to my room and quickly grabbed what I was looking for. When I got back downstairs Mum was blocking the back door.
“And where are you going in such a hurry?” she said.
I skidded to a halt just before I ran into her.”Mum, this really isn’t the time. I need to get back to Priya with this.” I held up what I was carrying.
“But I thought you hated that?” Mum said, looking puzzled.
“Well it is a bit lame but me and Priya are…”
“Priya and I” Dad interrupted.
Sometimes Dad’s pedantic grammar corrections could be really badly-timed.
“…sorry, Priya and I” I continued,”are - er - working on a project up in the back fields and we need this.”
Mum shook her head dismissively”Well before you go, you can explain what you know about these!” She held up a pair of very muddy knickers with blue flowers.
I looked at Dad accusingly,”I thought you said you’d explain to her?”
“I tried”, Dad shrugged,”but to be honest I didn’t really understand it myself. I thought it best if you explained it.” Sometimes my Dad is a right coward.
“Well?” Mum said, folding her arms.
This was it. I could either tell them the truth or tell them something they’d believe. I thought about it for a second and realised that as much as I wanted this to be just between Priya and me, we would need help if we were to stop the invasion. I took a deep breath. “Okay. Yesterday I got Sugar working and..”
“You got him working!” Dad interrupted.
“Yes but that’s not important. The thing is he..”
“Not important?” Dad said,”Tim, you’ve been working on him for five years. How can it not be important?”
“Four years actually but, well it turns out there’s more to him than meets the eye.” I said,”A lot more.”
I expected one of them to interrupt but they just stared at me. I carried on, trying to find the right words to tell my parents that my toy robot wanted to take over the planet.
“It turns out that he’s alive and yesterday he started looking up things on my laptop…”
“Alive?” Mum said,”Oh now you’re making things up.”
“No it’s true Mum, yes Sugar is alive. He’s not well, you know, human but he is definitely alive.”
“I see” said Dad,”and you know this how?”
“Mostly because he can talk.” I said. This was when they really started to think I was making it all up.
Mum looked at Dad, Dad looked at Mum and both looked at me as Mum said”Now Tim, I know this is fun for you but I want the truth now. What happened to my knickers?”
“Sugar escaped out of the window and fell into them. Then he ran out of the gate dragging them with him.” There I had said it. I felt better for the truth coming out.
“Oh for goodness’ sake!” Mum said.
“Tim!” Dad said sternly,”Enough about Sugar. How did Mum’s knickers end up at the end of the back alley?”
“Hup!” Mum said holding up her hand and snapping her fingers closed.”Not one more word about Sugar!” She leaned towards me,”Tell the truth. Have you been stealing my knickers!”
“What? No!” I exclaimed.
“Er, I don’t think we’re saying Tim stole them, are we?” Dad said
“I blooming well hope not!” I said.
“Well explain how they got like this then?” Mum said, holding them up. They really were very muddy.
At this point I decided this was all taking too long and reverted to the same story that Dad fell for. I explained, with the help of Dad, that Sugar must have fallen out of my open window and landed in the knickers. I said that the knickers must have acted like a parachute and Sugar drifted over the back gate. Somehow the knickers must have gotten caught up on next door’s cat and he dragged them to the muddy field along with Sugar.
“Ok, that sounds reasonable to me.” Dad said.
“Does it?” Mum said.
“Really?” I said, even more surprised than Mum.
“Yes”, Dad replied”A lot more plausible than Sugar coming to life.”
“Well if you put it like that, yes I suppose it does.” Mum said.
“So can I go now?” I asked hesitantly.
“Yes”, Mum said and then just as I started to run off, she said”But these knickers are ruined. I’ll have to buy new ones now and I’ll be taking the money out of your electronics fund.”
“What?!” I stopped and turned.
“It’s only fair Tim.” Dad said,”After all you did ruin them.”
“I thought we just agreed it was an accident?”
“Yes but it was your toy which caused this.” Mum said”They were my favourites too.”
“They were her favourites Tim.” Dad said with a mock frown. This got him a dark stare from Mum.
This was getting silly. I could be there forever. I had no choice.”Okay, that’s fine. You buy a new pair and take it out of my electronics money.”
“Thank you.” Mum said smugly.
“So now can I go?” I asked again.
“Have you tidied those clothes off your bedroom floor yet?” Mum asked.
“No. But I really need to get back to Priya. She’s out there on her own.”
“Okay, but I want you to tidy your room before bed tonight.” Dad said. At least I think he said that, I wasn’t really listening at that point to be honest. I had taken too long already, I just hoped Priya was doing okay.