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Chapter the Second -- Section 3

The sun went down and the moon rose.  The night grew cool, but that was pleasant after the heat of the day.  Lightfeather slept soundly, deep in her torpor.  Miss Madeline poked Jennie in the foot with her parasol, “Wake up!” 

“Stop that, I am awake!” replied Jennie testily. 

“You were not.  You were drifting.”

“My eyes were closed the better to hear.” 

“A likely story, Miss Virginia,” chided Maddy.

Jennie was about to respond when the call of a barn owl softly came to them.  “The signal!  Something’s coming.  Shush, shush!”  The two little old lady bears firmly grasped the mulberry branches in front of them and watched the sleeping Lightfeather only a foot away.  Maddy hefted her parasol and Jennie brandished a long pin she had taken out of her maroon hat. 

“Whirr, whirr, whirr, whirr!!” came the sound from somewhere in the leafy green thickness of the tree.  And then a small disc came into view, hovering without wings at the end of Lightfeather’s branch.  Only a three feet across and flattened, it certainly looked like a tiny flying saucer. 

Slowly, slowly it approached until it was just inches from the hummingbird nest.  A hatch opened on underside and a small figure, no more than a foot high, stepped out. 

Well, the creature would have stepped out, if it had feet.  Instead it used a handful of pseudopods to propel itself down the ramp onto Lightfeather's branch.  Maddy almost let out a gasp when she saw the plump thorax with a bulbous cephalum sporting three eyes.  Out of its thorax it produced a pseudopod with two gripping protrusions and extended them towards the sleeping hummingbird.

“No you don't!” cried Maddy as she burst forward and gave the alien a good swift thwack between the second and third eye.  The alien pseudopod moved with astonishing quickness and grabbed her parasol before she could get in another blow.  But Jennie had already jumped to a side branch and with a nimbleness borne out of desperation, dove at Maddy's assailant.  The alien's first eye saw her coming and it narrowly dodged her hat pin, but she caught it full in the thorax with a cross-body block from the side.

For a moment time stood still.

Then Jennie and the alien tumbled off the branch.