Like the heroine in Stephen King’s The Tommyknockers, I stood in front of it with my mouth open in awe. It was a ship in the earth. I was looking at the tip of a flying saucer protruding from a field where it had become wedged thousands of years before after crash-landing.
I had been walking across the farmland at the back of my parents’ house with the builder boyfriend and Cydney the spaniel when we came across it. Let me paint the picture: mile upon mile of rugged countryside stretched in every direction. Stubble fields were lit by a magical golden light. Cows ambled around grassy meadows.
Perhaps it was portentous that we were walking along a track that had been recently tarmacked to allow access to these fields to cyclists, disabled people and members of minority communities who are offended by mud. Multi-user route, they call it. Every few seconds a cyclist in Lycra raced past us at top speed. Joggers flew past too. One stopped and refused to move until we called Cydney to heel, presumably for fear the tiny spaniel would savage him.
We put all this out of our minds, however, and continued to try to enjoy our walk. We pressed on along the multi-user route until we were brought up short by the ship in the earth. At first sight, all we could make out was a huge, gleaming, solid silver block, nearly the height of a man, rising incongruously out of the stubble field.
We approached it cautiously, barely daring to think what it might mean. I was immediately put in mind of the alien ship in The Tommyknockers because I am reading that novel right now. The similarities were uncanny. Just as King’s writer heroine Bobbi Anderson finds the tip of a flying saucer protruding from a remote wooded area at the back of her father’s house in Haven, Maine, so I appeared to have stumbled upon a piece of a flying saucer protruding from a field at the back of my parents’ house in Warwickshire.
I grasped the boyfriend’s hand. ‘What do you think it is?’ I asked. ‘I’m not sure,’ he whispered, so as not to disturb whoever might be inside it.
I hung back while he approached the ship in the earth and reached out a hand to touch it. I winced, remembering how everyone in the novel who touches the flying saucer first hears deafening radio interference, then suffers nose bleeds, then starts to lose all their teeth. Eventually, as you will know if you have read the book, the characters all get turned into monsters with tentacles.
I didn’t want the builder boyfriend to end up with tentacles. ‘Stop!’ I said, but it was too late. He had not only touched it but was now also pulling at a huge handle contraption in the front. Was this the hatch? He pulled harder and it opened like a grotesque bank deposit machine, revealing a black, gaping hole.
He turned round. ‘It’s a sort of disposal unit,’ he said. ‘A solar-powered waste disposal unit. For cigarettes. And something else…’
It was terrifying. On the top, was a solar-generation panel. And on the sides were little funnels that claimed to be ‘ashtrays’ where you could stub out cigarettes. Not just a few cigarettes. There was enough capacity in this monstrous thing to stub out all the cigarettes in the world.
In the hatch, one presumes, one could place larger items. Chillingly, it was big enough to dispose of a small person, or maybe even a large one, if you cut up the body. We turned and fled. Back at the entrance to the track, I caught sight of a noticeboard displaying a strange scrawled note: ‘Has anyone lost a set of dentures while walking?’ it said, and gave an address where they could be picked up.
I am not inventing any of this. I took photos with my phone of everything, including the notice about the teeth. Clearly, a flying saucer crash-landed here thousands of years ago and due to recent movements of the earth, a part of the craft has now become exposed, leading to passersby suffering radiation sickness.
There can be no other viable explanation. Statistically, I suppose, it is just about possible that the local council chose to spend thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money installing an enormous cigarette disposal unit in the middle of a field mainly used by health-obsessed joggers and cyclists and where no one has ever been known to stand around smoking.
And that, quite coincidentally, people are now so moronic they will fall and drop their false teeth out of their mouths even while walking on specially tarmacked multi-user routes.
But surely the more likely and sensible explanation is that aliens have landed.