Dalia waited for Miranda to get her food. She watched the flow of children, the colours. In her dreams last night they had been outside her window, looking in, and she couldn’t move. The bright blue eyes haunted her—they looked like insects. The whole world was saying—about the lights, not the insect things she knew and had experienced—that they were going to help them. They were not lights; Dalia didn’t know what the lights were or whether they contained the insect things, of if the two were connected at all, all she knew was that the insect things were bad, bad, bad. Miranda waved. She had had a week off school because one of the new kids had trapped her in the girl’s toilets and, what the teachers were calling “handled her inappropriately”. Miranda’s Dad had said it was rape—he had cried that loudly many times in an argument with her mother at Miranda’s house while she was there enjoying Miranda’s new laptop computer. There was a special aura of protection around the new kids, Dalia didn’t know why; they weren’t punished to the same degree or held accountable like the other kids, and it was always a chore trying to get work done in class, more than it had ever been, because they talked loudly, threw things and would even pull down their pants or spit—anything they wanted.
“What did you get today?” said Miranda. They headed quickly away, out of the cafeteria to their favourite spot under the oak tree, near the lacrosse field. “I don’t know,” shouted Dalia, laughing only because they were running and her hair was whipping into her mouth. Under the tree they ate their lunch and listened to the siren from the other school wind up, whine like a doomsday alarm, fall strangely, like a strange animal.
“What more did you find out?” said Dalia, finishing her fruit cup; pineapple. “About the aliens?”
“I found some things,” said Miranda, “but it’s hard because your ones are a little different, there isn’t a lot of stuff on them, the ones that other people are talking about look different, they have big heads and all that. Your ones are weird.”
“Did you even look?” said Dalia, doubly disappointed because she had just unwrapped her least favourite sandwich—corned beef.
“Yes!” said Miranda, but I’m not allowed on the internet for too long or else I get in trouble, I have to have time to look at the things I want to look at, too.
“Well I’m awake all the time now, anyway.” Dalia stretched open her eyelids with her fingers just licked clean of mustard and mayonnaise. “I’m never going to sleep again, otherwise they’ll just keep coming.”