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Excerpt from 'Daisy Weal and the Monster'

Chapter One..The Invasion



In about nine months Daisy would be eleven, and was blossoming into quite the little lady. She was much too beautiful for a child of her age, and it was rapidly becoming apparent that at fifteen or sixteen there would be queues of young men prepared to commit murder for just one glance of approval from her, or even the merest nod of recognition. She had not quite reached that stage yet, besides which she always had a very large boxer dog walking beside her, and not far away there would be Alfie.


Alfie was the same age as Daisy, and at the moment, he was convinced that he was completely in love with her. At his age he should have been playing football or rugby, but he was so hopelessly smitten, that he was rarely anywhere else, but with her. His parents just thought he was being silly, after all, how could he possibly be in love at his age. He probably wasn’t really, but even at ten those huge green eyes had sucked him in, and his soul was lost, if not forever, then for the moment at least, to one Daisy Weal.


This was the week that the world was invaded, but what was worse was that the whole thing was Daisy’s own fault. However, she was not to know that until much later. It was quite a small invasion, as invasions go, because there was only one being in the first wave.


I call it a first wave, even though it was only one being, because this one being was pretty huge, and had forty-two arms, forty-two legs, and forty-two eyes. It did only have one mouth, but in that mouth were forty-two very sharp teeth, and a large number of tongues. There may have been forty two, who knows? I for one was not going in there to count, so the true number is anyone’s guess.


Big bold, terrifying, and totally confused it was, as anything would be, if it was only able to look in forty-two directions at once. Where it came from, things were different, and there was no confusion, as each single way was forty-two directions. Oh, and I almost forgot, it was one hundred and forty-two foot square, which for those who know no better is approximately 43 Metres. He was also a male of his species.


He wasn’t actually square, but if you were able to squash him into a cube, then that would be his size. It has to be admitted, that he was a little overweight as, in accordance with the prevailing precedents, he should only have been 42 metres square. Unfortunately though, this monster was rather fonder of his food than most of his brethren, and was consequently a little overweight.


I know that such a beast is impossible, and its very presence flies in the face of known science. However, I suppose you could say that of the centipede, which I believe has far more legs that it is entitled to. But this monster, not only did have forty-two legs and arms, it was also a garish purple and red, with a yellow underside. Its red fingers, on black arms, matched perfectly with its bright red eyes, which made it look a lot like a cartoon character. If anything, its appearance was the more terrifying for it.


You could say that it was an octagintapede, that’s eighty legs in Latin by the way, with an extra four tagged on for luck, but what made it more impossible was its head, which was, literally, covered with eyes. More peculiar though, was its diet. It had tried a human shortly after arrival, but had spat it out, because it had tasted so awful, before he had even taken a bite.. Then it had discovered road signs, and proceeded to wander towards Bishops Ashton, popping them into its mouth, like lollipops, on the way. But I am rambling, so let’s get back to the story.




It started as quite a normal day, with Daisy being awoken by an impending feeling of doom, which turned out to be Bruce in suffocating mode.


I might have to sleep in a protecting field, she thought, or I’ll wake up as that corpse I promised this silly dog.


“Who are you calling a silly dog?” asked a still half asleep Bruce.


“You, you half wit,” said Daisy aloud. “You have to be more careful, you are really big, and I am only little.”


“And that is my fault how?” He asked.


“Your size is not your fault,” retorted Daisy, “but how you use it, is.”


She looked at him sternly,


“Now get off the bed, and let me clean up in here.”


She brushed her teeth at the little wash basin beside the bed, and then went into the bathroom across the hall.


“You have ten seconds to get out,” she shouted back over her shoulder, “before I wave me magic wand.”


“You don’t have a magic wand,” protested Bruce.


“Wanna bet?”


“No,” thought Bruce, making it to the safety of his corner in a single bound.


“Today,” said Daisy, as she returned from the bathroom, “I am going to wander around a few in-between places.”


“Probably be a disaster,” thought Bruce, and then, “no probably about it. It will definitely be a disaster.”


“You really are a harbinger of doom, aren’t you?”


“For a dog,” he thought, “I am pretty bright, but I would really like to know what a harbinger is.”


Daisy reached for the dictionary that was in the bookcase beside the little wash basin, and thumbed through it until,


“Ah here it is. It says ‘One that indicates or foreshadows what is to come; a forerunner.’ and that, in my opinion, is as clear as mud.”


“Well I’ve been in ignorance up until now, so I don’t suppose a bit longer will matter.”


Daisy grinned as she led him downstairs,


“You and me both,” she observed.


Daisy wasn’t in any hurry this morning, as it was her school midterm holidays, and that made the weekend longer than normal. Revelling in the unaccustomed luxury she took her time with breakfast, stretching it out for as long as she could. After her third cup of tea, she turned to her mother, who had been patiently reading the morning newspaper while she waited, and said,


“I shall be wandering off today, but only in my head of course. There are a few places I need to see.”


“Yes dear,” said Marjorie, understandingly, “where, the sand pit or the bedroom?”


“Bedroom, I think. The sky looks a bit thundery and as you know, I don’t do wet,” she replied.


“I can never understand why you don’t stick up a virtual umbrella or something,” said Marjorie.


“Because I keep forgetting to move it when I move myself.” explained Daisy, “It’s easier to avoid the stuff in the first place.”


“OK then, I’ll try not to disturb you, but I will let grandma know when she gets up.”


Daisy gave Bruce a mental nudge, and then trotted up the stairs with him closely behind. Jumping up onto her bed, she settled herself comfortably with Bruce’s head on her lap, and closing her eyes immediately drifted off towards the nearest in-between place that was within sight. Suddenly she was standing underneath the front arms of a… huge... something... and instinctively jumped away, as a head full of eyes and a massive mouth, came towards her. All she could see was this purplish monster, with these really weird stripes, loads of arms, legs, eyes, teeth, and a massive body.


In the blink of an eye, her mind was back in the bedroom, transferring her terror to her body, which started trembling almost uncontrollably. She had apparently jumped physically as well as mentally, because Bruce was in his safe corner, looking at her with wide eyes.


 “What happened? Are you OK?”


“Er... yes, I think so,” She said, her voice wobbling, but then a glint of amusement, “and you’re going to protect me from that corner...Oh my hero.”


“Well I withdrew to this corner, to consider my options,” thought Bruce defensively.


 “There was this massive thing... It was probably harmless, but one look and I was not hanging around to find out.  It scared the living daylights out of me, but I’ll be alright in a minute,” she finished.


“Huh!” thought Bruce, “just bring him here, and then we’ll see what’s what.”


“Ha! He’d have glopped you in one bite,” laughed Daisy, feeling much better.


Bruce showed his teeth in a mock snarl,


“Am I not big fearsome, and frightening?”


“’Fraid not,” said Daisy, “You are just a big old softy,” she said going over to him and wrapping her arms around his neck, but then she paused, and looking at the sky out of the window, she added, “and rain, or no rain, I think we’ll go play in the sand pit. I can always erect mum’s virtual umbrella, and divert the wet stuff around us.”




Back in a certain in-between place, the forty two eyes noticed that where that little thing had appeared, and then disappeared, there was a tiny place where he could see something else. It looked like a small rip in mid-air, with light shining through, that was no more than a few centimetres in length. The monster didn’t know it, but it seemed that Daisy had been so startled that she had forgotten to close the door properly before she left. He peered closely at the rip, and then reaching forward with a pair of arms, he started to prize it open. For a monster of his size, and with forty-two arms, it was easy and very soon he had made an opening that was big enough for him to squeeze through.


It is fortunate that in-between places and the real world, do not have fixed relationships, otherwise this would have been a very different story indeed. They do move about, so instead of the monster materialising next to Daisy on her bed, he popped into existence on the main road to Bishops Ashton. Being in a different place, with different laws of physics, he quickly became confused because of the conflicting stories that all of his eyes were telling him. However, he did notice the cyclist who was trying to scramble away on hands and knees, from where he had fallen from his bike, screaming at the top of his voice.


So, being suddenly very hungry, the monster grabbed the man with his closest pair of arms and then lifted him up to an eye. Looking the cyclist over for a second, he licked a great many tongues across his forty two teeth, and then popped the man into his mouth.


“Grrr Yuk thut!” he said, and spat the worst thing he had ever tasted out onto the ground. Then spotting the man’s bike, he picked that up and ate it instead. The man had tasted so awful on several of his tongues that he hadn’t even been able to take a bite, but had reflexively spat him out instead. Thus it was that a mortally terrified man, covered in monster slobber, and screaming as though it was the end of the world, ran away as fast as his wobbling legs would take him.


“Mmm,” said the monster, licking his lips with his whole load of tongues.


He then picked out the tyres and saddle, from between his teeth with his first pair of arms, and threw them away. The metal was delicious, but the leather and rubber was not his cup of tea at all. Looking around for more, one of his eyes spotted a speed limit sign, not that he knew it was a speed limit sign, but it seemed to be made of the same stuff as the bike, so a pair of arms plucked it from the ground, and into the mouth. All forty-two eyes rolled in ecstasy at the taste. It was even better than the first thing he’s eaten, so the serious task of finding more of these delectable morsels began.


A soaking wet, gabbling, man eventually waved down a passing police car, and poured forth the most ridiculous and impossible story, that the two officers had ever heard. They were about to arrest him for a variety of offences, when around a bend in the road rambled the monster, happily consuming road signs as he went. On went the sirens, as the police driver executed a perfect handbrake turn, and with his foot hard down on the pedal, accelerated away towards Bishops Ashton. His companion was on the radio, hysterically calling for police reinforcements, the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force, and even a nuclear strike. Not that the latter was about to happen anytime soon, but as no one believed him it didn’t matter anyway.


“The Navy won’t be a lot of good out here in the countryside,” the driver said helpfully, as he gunned the car down the road at a suicidal 140mph.


Screeching to a halt in front of the Police station, they were immediately surrounded by their colleagues, and taken into custody on suspicion of being drunk. After being breathalysed and found to have no alcohol in their blood, they were interrogated extensively, but eventually released back to duty, pending the review of the police car’s on-board camera.


But now, other reports corroborating the two officer’s stories were flooding in, and these were soon confirmed by the scenes captured by the car’s camera. In the end the Sergeant had to order everyone back to work as they crowded around the screen. Some very old wartime emergency procedures were put into action and the Civil Defence was alerted, but didn’t believe it until the online pictures started to arrive, then they called the Army, who called the Air Force. By now, the media had also been informed, and news teams from the BBC, ITV, Sky, CNN, and even Al Jazeera were en-route. Soon, newsflashes started to appear on television, and crowds of people with more curiosity than sense began to appear, and all heading for Bishops Ashton. It was early days yet for pictures, but soon cameras would be on site, but until then, graphic descriptions from obviously disbelieving newsreaders, saturated the air waves.


The first real pictures came in via the Air Force, which had sent a high speed, low level, unmanned, reconnaissance aircraft. A bit too low really, as the aircraft produced, briefly , wonderful pictures of a magnificent set of teeth, as it flew straight into the monsters mouth. Almost instantly however, these were shown on television, and that’s when Daisy saw them.


“Oh my god,” she said, “Oh mum, I think I let it out.”


“Well perhaps,” said Marjorie, who tended to be perfectly calm in even the most difficult of circumstances, “You had better get him back home, before he does some real damage”


Daisy had no time for running, so she zoomed up the stairs without touching them, and into her bedroom. Bruce, not having the same luxury took the flight three at a time and managed to arrive closely behind her, but it seemed like only a second before they both came back out again, and down the stairs.


By now TV cameras were on site, and the first shaky pictures began to be shown to accompany the almost hysterical commentary. Daisy and Marjorie pulled their chairs closer to the television, leaning forward to see as much as they could


“I can’t mum, I’ve locked on to where he’s from, but I need to be much closer, and he needs to be still. He’s much too big and too alive. If he was a building, I wouldn’t have a problem.”


“You can’t get closer, it’s too dangerous. Royal Air Force planes are probably going to be bombing him soon, if the Army doesn’t shell him to death first. Let’s just watch, and see what happens.”


“But I can’t let them kill him mum, I just can’t”


Tanks rolled up the road from manoeuvres, which had been taking place in an area not too far from Bishops Ashton, and practice ammunition had been hastily changed for the real stuff. As soon as the first tank came into view of the monster, it swivelled its gun, and let rip without warning. The monster did no more than place its mouth in the line of fire, and gulp down the shell, with much lip smacking, and tongues licking. The tank fired again, but the monster simply caught the shell in one of its arms, and bit the end off.


“I’m not sure you’ll have to worry about him being killed,” observed Marjorie, “He seems to be holding his own quite well.”


By this time, the tanks behind the first one, had fanned out into the fields, brought their guns to bear, and fired together, but the monster had a lot of arms, and was beginning to appreciate this sudden feast that was being thrown at him. He moved forward, picked up the first tank, broke off the top and shook out the very nasty tasting things inside, then took a mighty bite, then another, before shoving the remainder into its mouth to chew. The remaining tank crews had seen enough, and hastily fled, squeezing every ounce of speed that they could, out of their tanks. Later, it would be described as a controlled, orderly, and strategic withdrawal, but I saw it and I say they fled.


The first salvo of rockets, and stream of cannon fire, from the incoming ground attack aircraft, streaked towards the monster. Most were caught, but some managed to strike it. The small, intense, bursts of light from the explosions appeared to be only a minor irritant, and the 20mm cannon shells just seemed to bounce off. The aircraft were very careful to keep sufficient altitude to be out of reach of the monster, and after a couple more ineffective attacks, broke off and disappeared away to the west.


Obviously, nothing short of a nuclear strike was going to have any effect, and no one, in their right mind, would authorise that on British soil and expect to remain un-lynched. A special cabinet meeting was scheduled, but everyone knew that nothing useful would be decided, because that was usually the case in cabinet meetings anyway, but as it happened a meeting never took place, because events were moving too fast.

Then, gasps of astonishment...


“What’s that?” said a camera man, pointing towards the small figure that was walking slowly towards the monster.


“It looks like a little girl. I can’t believe it... she’ll be eaten… quick, keep your camera on her.”


“Excuse me sir, what’s your name?” asked Daisy, looking up at the monster as he wiped the remains of tank from his lips. She realised he probably could not understand her, so she reinforced the message mind to mind.


“Go away,” he said, “I’ve tried you things and you don’t taste nice, and anyway what is this place? Everything is wrong, I can’t see properly.”

“Can you control all of your eye lids?” asked Daisy.


“Yes I can, why?” he asked.


“Well close all the others, but keep only two open in the front, like we have.” she said, pointing to her own eyes.


The monster bent down, and gazed into her face from only a few inches away, and the whole world held its breath. Then slowly the eyes all over his head began to close, and soon there were only two which gazed down sadly at Daisy.


“Thanks, that’s much better,” he said, “My name is Bllrrsdle. Apart from all this good food, I don’t like it here, but I can’t find my way home.”


“That’s OK Blursdel,” she said, not quite getting the pronunciation right, “my name is Daisy Weal. I can send you home, but I think we should get you some food first. You stay here, and I’ll be back.”


The monster sighed, and settled down on Forty-two haunches, folded forty-two arms, closed his mouth over forty-two teeth, and the world let out a collective sigh of relief.


Daisy made her way to the first person in the crowd that looked official, and he immediately asked what she had done, to pacify such a horrendous beast.


“Nothing really,” she said, and stretching the truth a little, continued, “He said he would go home, if he could have some more of those things to eat that you have sticking up all over the place.”


“What, road signs?” someone else of importance asked, then not waiting for an answer said, “I’m sure we can find a few... small price to pay.”

It only took a little mental twisting from Daisy, to prevent all of the awkward questions that people were dying to ask. There were however, quite a few that later wondered why they had not asked them at the time.


Orders were given, and trucks despatched to the local council yards, where new and old road signs that had been in storage were loaded, while other workmen began ripping up those, on all the streets, in Bishops Ashton. Soon, several Lorries loaded with signs rolled up to the monster, and tipped them into the road in front of him. He smacked his lips again, and began gathering them up into a lot of arms.


Daisy selected a man out of the hundreds of people that were staring in terrified fascination at Bllrrsdle and walked up to him,


“May I borrow your belt sir?” she asked.


Without taking his eyes from the monster, he removed his belt and handed it over, as if giving it to any little girl who asked for it, was an everyday occurrence.


She walked back to Bllrrsdle, wrapped the belt around a concrete lamppost, and securely tied herself to it. The monster was happy with his arms full of road signs, and sat still until Daisy sent him home. As he blinked out of existence, there was a massive ‘crack’, and a howling gale blew most of the onlookers off of their feet, while one man whose trousers were around his ankles was blown into a bush. Daisy was lifted from her feet for a second, but the belt held, and the wind died as the hole left by the huge, one hundred and forty-two foot, creature was filled with air.


Daisy made absolutely sure that the entrance was finally sealed properly, then untied herself and returned the belt to the onlooker, who was desperately trying to maintain his dignity, as he struggled out of the bush.


“Love the underpants, by the way,” she remarked, “What made you pick daisies?”


The man growled something, and hastily retrieved his trousers before disappearing into the crowd.


The small action of closing the door properly, in itself, brought an end to the invasion, and as a consequence there never was a second wave.

Daisy’s picture would be in all the papers the next day, if the amount of flash photography that was going on had anything to do with it, so she intervened, just a little, and none of the photographers seemed to be able to get the focus right. A huge crowd of reporters were clammering for her story, but as she turned to walk quickly home, she just made it impossible for them to want to follow her.


Bishops Ashton soon discovered that losing all of its road signs made absolutely no difference to the traffic, so they were never replaced, and a campaign of civil disobedience eventually stopped the Ministry of Transport’s efforts to do it for them.


Bruce just harrumphed, looked at Daisy, and thought, “I told you it would be a disaster.”

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