What if alien creatures could not only snatch you out of space, but also time, so you ceased to have ever existed?
“Ian? Cicely? Andrew?” I said in shock. Then as the tearoom began to shimmer like desert air in the distance, I knew that I had to get out of the church building quickly. In case I also ceased to exist when Centre-West was plucked cruelly from space and time to be replaced by a pie shop or milkbar.
* * *
It was a bright, sunny day in March 2012 when the police car turned slowly into Leander Street, Maribyrnong and headed down toward number 122.
“What number is it again?” asked the middle-aged sergeant behind the steering wheel.
“Number 122,” said the tall, thin redheaded policewoman in the back of the pale blue Fairlane. Although she had a plastic clipboard in her hands, she had all the information that she needed in her head.
“Aren’t you going to check that on the clipboard, Janice?” teased the young policeman in the front passenger seat. Although he knew that the redhead had a near-photographic memory.
“If you insist,” teased back Janice Snyder ruffling through the papers in a pretence of checking them. “Yep, I was right.”
Laughing, Sergeant Eric Paulsen said: “You know Janice has a memory like a computer, Liam.”
“So, what, every time it’s a little bit colder than average, a little bit hotter than average, or there’s a tiny bit of dust in the air, she freezes up and forgets everything that she knows?” teased Constable Liam Fredericks.
“No!” said Janice pointedly.
“Well, that’s what my computer does,” said Liam.
“Well, maybe that was a bad analogy,” conceded the sergeant with a laugh as they drove down Leander Street, noting the procession of derelict houses, some missing front doors. Others with weatherboards hanging away from the walls. Still others with most of the roof gone – tiles, or corrugated iron laying on the near jungle-like lawns out front of the derelict houses.
“D-Notice after D-Notice,” observed Janice Snyder. “How can anyone be living among all these houses marked for demolition?”
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