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Good evening, everyone!

So what’s all this about aliens? Well, you see, it’s a tale of inexplicable mystery in the night, of occurrences so fantastic and improbable that surely no earthly force could have been responsible. Surely the only explanation could have been something uncanny, even supernatural… or could it?


It’s a fine late evening in a seaside town in Wales. The two of us are out walking along the pier in the night, past the closed shops and rides, while the rest of the party remains in the arcade. I never was much of a one for gambling, and, since I have a gamer’s reflexes, I darn well notice when a machine is cheating me. (It’s happened.)

Pausing to look out across the bay, I can see past the headland of this one and into the next. (Or possibly I can just see England, I’m not quite sure. I know it is possible from here, in good weather.) I spot a really bright light, moving back and forth above the town lights on the shore, and point it out — is that a helicopter?

Pretty cool, then, but not that interesting. We walk on.

I look at the distant shore again, because it’s pretty, and I realise that the light I thought was above the lights of the distant town is actually on the somewhat nearer far headland, moving back and forth as if it’s negotiating a series of S-bends. Which, on a steep face, is reasonably likely. I point it out again, realising it must just be a car on full beam, and I misplaced it while glancing at it earlier. The headlights are close enough together to look like a single light at this distance, and so bright they’re reflecting in the waters of the bay. It weaves back and forth as I watch, presumably rounding the tip of the headland.

We walk on, and suddenly the light darts to the right, so fast it must be going over 90mph. Shocked, I stop again, and as I do it reaches another series of S-bends. Back and forth… but still not seeming to go either up or down.

Is it a helicopter? It couldn’t have got from above the city to the headland that fast, and it couldn’t have flown that fast from a circling start, and all the while it’s been a constant brightness. Now my mind is getting full of crazy things. I think about how bright the reflection in the water is: no way it’s a regular car. Or a regular helicopter. It’s not a plane, because they (mostly) can’t hold position like that. It’s nothing overly loud, or I’d hear it echoing across the gently rippling water, the swish of tiny waves the main sound.

So there’s no known object this thing can be. And what kind of military genius tests cutting-edge technology over a highly populated area?

But it can’t, can’t, can’t be aliens.

It just can’t. That would be stupid.

And all the while this insanely bright light is just weaving back and forth like it’s taunting me.

I look at the reflection again in the vain hope that will tell me something I couldn’t see in the air. Yellow-gold light on black water, it starts illuminating… not all the way to the far shore. At first I think it’s maybe halfway across the bay, then I recalibrate, remembering the rules of perspective. It looks halfway, which means it’s way, way closer than halfway.

Staring into the darkness, I slowly begin to make out something. A shape. A kind of triangle shape, black on black, the light at its tip…

I’m an idiot!

The light’s not bright, it’s just close by, sixty metres or so from me! It’s one of the conical buoys that mark out sections of the bay! I saw them not ten hours ago! But it’s black against black water, black rock, and black sky… and that’s why I didn’t see it.

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