“What’s that?” Mary asked, slathering her face with cold cream.
“Come and look, would ya?”
“Howard, you need to stop reading Ray Bradbury before bed,” Mary laughed. “You see aliens everywhere.”
“What’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with using my imagination once in awhile?”
She heard the defensive note to her husband’s voice, the one that let her know it was time to either back down or be prepared for a debate. It had been a long day. And this most definitely was not something she wanted to argue about. Aliens. Really. You’d think the man had nothing else to occupy his thoughts with.
“All right, Howard,” Mary sighed, sliding into bed, “show me the aliens.”
Pouting, her husband pointed to the window.
Mary squinted. The structure on their neighbor’s roof did look oddly life-like.
“Well?” Howard said.
She was unable to take her eyes away from their neighbor’s roof. Was it moving? No. Impossible. Mary closed her eyes. Counted to ten.
“Well?” Howard repeated.
“I can see,” Mary began slowly, “how you could think that.”
“G’night.” Howard sighed, put an arm around her, and snuggled close, his breathing even.
Mary couldn’t take her eyes off the structure. It really did seem to be creeping closer. Stupid, she told herself. Nutso.
In the early morning, when sleep still evaded her, Mary climbed out of bed, and went outside. She looked up at the roof of her neighbor’s house and wept with relief at what she found. Loose wires. That’s all. Just a bunch of loose wires.
She turned to go back inside, vowing to give away Howard’s collection of sci-fi books. Let him read cowboy or spy novels. At least if his imagination went wild with those, it would be less likely to disturb her sleep. He’d be angry, but, “Oh! You scared me,” she said, holding a hand over her heart. “Howard?”
Her husband, his eyes looking oddly blank, closed the door. Mary heard the dead bolt slide. She banged on the door until someone touched her back. She whirled around and stared into the alien’s eyes.