We Apologise for the Delay Added£1.29
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(A short story of 2825 words)

We Apologise for the Delay

Fantasy - Sci-fi Fantasy

by Cherry Potts

Aliens on the Underground...

"London Transport would like to apologise for the delay on the central line this morning. This is due to the discovery of a nest of… um…"

The message clicked uncertainly into hissing.

The listening intensity of the passengers increased as they waited, but the driver did not continue.

Ade closed his eyes, waiting for the inevitable explanation.

A couple of lanky adolescents in school blazers eyed each other and started giggling.

‘Nazis?’ said the redhead.

‘Vipers?’ responded the blond, although they both knew what had been found.

The train idled a few more feet into the tunnel.

The nests had been appearing, quite suddenly, for a couple of weeks now: when the cleaning gang had gone through at four am one Wednesday there was nothing there; the next day at four-ten, there they were, looking as though they’d been there for weeks.

The nests themselves were built of the typical slurry of jetsam – cigarette ends, plastic water bottles, coke tins, sandwich wrappers, gum, dropped pennies, expired tickets and lint.
The first nest had taken the cleaning gang by surprise and they had turned and marched back out of the tunnel, and up the static escalator at Bond Street, to where they could phone their shop steward.

As Ade said, ‘Rats is one thing, but those things are above and beyond the call of cleaning.’

And the rest of the cleaning gang had nodded emphatically and taken up positions of heroic resistance. Health and Safety was invoked, and their manager called the RSPCA to remove the offending brood.

The RSPCA came, looked, and climbed the escalator to call the Zoo.

The Zoo came, examined, and trudged back to street level where, after some hesitation, they called David Attenborough.

David Attenborough came, viewed and leapt up the still static escalator two steps at a time. He put in a call to a friend at the Metropolitan Police, and after some consultation, a further call to Immigration, who refused to believe him, and insisted on calling back in case he was really someone from Dead Ringers playing them a line.

What Mr Attenborough said, once immigration were convinced he really was who he said he was, what he said, and he should know, was:

‘These animals, if indeed they are animals, do not originate on this planet.’...

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