Darkness was drawing closer, and Monday really needed to piss. After some vocalising of this issue, it was agreed that they would stop at the next place that seemed like it had a ‘piss hole,’ as Leon described it; and somewhere they could get food. They were about an hour more away from Startlington, and Viking had confirmed thrice more that he did, in fact, require feeding.

“There!” Ned said, pointing at the ‘Snack-Fuel-Refresh’ that had just come into view. The ‘Snack-Fuel-Refresh’ was an all-night petrol station, judging by the well-lit forecourt and sign that proudly displayed petrol prices.

Monday pulled in without comment and almost the moment the car came to a stop, he shouted, “Piss, piss, piss,” and quite literally, ran off.

Leon was looking at his phone and absentmindedly pulled the handbrake just as they inched forward.

Ned noticed the motion and noted that perhaps Leon was not quite as useless as he had always assumed.

“Well, I don’t have any spare cash. So, I’m not getting the petrol, snacks or coffee… or beer,” he said, almost apologetically.

Ned had been messaging his well-off, yet total arse hole of a mother for the last twenty minutes and she had finally transferred some money into his account. Quite a sizeable transfer, too. Enough for the rest of the month, and this little adventure. This was an interaction he went through every four to six weeks and was the only reason he could afford to be alive.

“Not a problem. I got this one! You fill it up, all the way. I’ll go investigate the offerings of the Snack-Fuel-Refresh,” he said.

Leon nodded and muttered something about Ned holding out on him.

The orange and green neon lights of the Snack-Fuel-Refresh were headache inducing but flooded the forecourt with an oddly interesting mix of colours, which struck Ned as being artistically pleasing.

As he pushed the door open, the sounds of Creedence Clear Water filled his ears and he began humming ‘Have you seen the rain,’ while he selected assorted crisps from the stand. He glanced around the oddly large shop that seemed to be part petrol station, part vape shop and part bakery.

The old woman at the checkout was reading a crossword magazine, pen in hand, and didn’t so much as glance at Ned.

Sadly, Ned noticed, the bakery section was closed and there were no entertaining pastries left. He settled for two multipacks of monster themed crisps and a six-pack of cherry cola.

He dropped his first round of goods at the desk next to the magazine toting woman. She looked up at him.

“I’ll be back!” he said, in response to no query at all. He dashed off to the chilled sandwich selection by the closed and empty bakery section.

He grabbed three ‘meat sensation’ baguettes from the fridge and then, remembering Viking, grabbed two more. That man could eat!

“Back!” he said to the woman, who replied with a raised eyebrow and began scanning the barcodes defiantly.

She was a plump, older woman with long black hair that had the occasional wisp of grey in it. Ned looked at her rainbow cardigan as she flipped a baguette, looking for the barcode.

He noticed a tattoo on the back of her hand. It was a small blue cartoon of a flying saucer with the word ‘Punk’ under it in red. The little ship sported a yellow dome on the top.

She stopped scanning and looked at him, poker face still set to ‘contempt.’

“Sorry,” Ned said. “I was just admiring your UFO.”

She raised her eyebrow another notch and pointed at the card scanner. “Are you a junkie?” she asked with the raspy voice of a career smoker.

Ned tapped his phone. “Not currently. No plans to try it either… why? Are you selling?”

The eyebrow raised even more.

“Also, fuel?” he said. Pointing at the car, through the window. The car which Leon had filled and was sitting on the bonnet of.

“Okay,” she said, adding it to the bill and adjusting the eyebrow dubiously.

Ned wondered as to how high the rogue eyebrow would be able to climb.

“It’s not a UFO, hippy! It’s a pyramid. Like from Egypt,” she rasped.

Ned raised his own eyebrow and pointed at her hand. “No, that one.”

He stopped. The woman’s hand had an old, faded tattoo of an all-seeing eye inside a pyramid where the flying saucer had been just a moment ago.

“Sorry. My mistake, apparently,” he said, feeling a wave of panic, and not for the first time.

“Where can I piss?” he asked as he picked up the almost see through blue carrier bag.

“Loo’s out back,” she said, pointing out of the window.

Ned glanced at her pyramid tattoo again and nodded. “Thanks.”


He stepped outside. As he did, the bell on the door rang. He didn’t remember it when he went in and looked back at the door. A movement in the reflection on the glass door caught his eye.

He turned with a start, dropping his carrier bag. The neon glow on the floor was purple and blue and reflecting from a puddle. When had it started raining?

The thought about the puddle had hit him only a moment before the massive object zipped past him. His eyes followed the train-like rumblings, which hovered on a blue cushion of light.

“Fucking space train?” he asked aloud as it lifted off the surface and rose into the air. His eyes lingered on its blue glowing rear as another sound caught his attention. A smaller vehicle passed. This one looked more like a truck than a train, but it followed the same path in the darkness, lit by a blue glow from its underside.

He turned slowly to see a city, alight with neon glass and steel, sprawling out from his little island of normality. His car was parked right where they had left it, and there was Leon sitting on the bonnet, watching cat videos by the looks of it.

Ned was, to say the least, agog.

He turned the other way and there it was, more spaceships and neon city. He looked at the moon through a purple tinted cloud and almost pissed himself there and then.

“There’s a lot of large ships this evening,” came a familiar voice from next to him.

He glanced to his side, then down to the small elfish woman next to him.

“Yeah,” he replied. Not sure what else to say.

“Big ships, this low. Must be Monday,” the woman said, glancing up at him with sparkling eyes.

“What?” he asked.

“Where’s Monday?” Leon yelled.

Ned looked around. Not sure what had just happened. He was standing in the forecourt. Lit by orange and green neon soup. A car drove past, going a little too fast. Ned followed it with his eyes, waiting for it to launch into the sky. It splashed through a puddle and vanished into the night.

Ned picked up his bag and handed it to Leon.

Monday came strolling from around the back of the shop, presumably from the toilet.

“Guys,” Ned prompted as Monday stepped closer. “Anything weird just happen to you two?” he asked.

“Yeah!” Monday said eagerly. “I found a tenner in the shitter!”

“What?” Leon asked.

“Ten pound note, just on the floor of the loo.”

Ned ignored him and glanced to Leon, who was opening a bag of crisps.

“What?” he asked.

“Never mind!” he said and left to find the toilet.

He checked his phone and took a moment to tap out a message, letting Viking know they would arrive soon.

Chapter 6