Ships on the Horizon
Waiting for Our Ship to Come In
Pale light filters through the drapes of my bedroom window as I drop out of slumber. It must be early because my room is cold and crisp from the cool of sunrise.
Swinging my legs out of bed, I tip-toe to my desk at the window and drop to the wooden chair. Rubbing sleep from my eyes as I peer out across the backyard to a forest of Huon Pine trees.
I like to call it my forest, because it has special meaning to me. Within that five acres is Alien Glade, the meeting point for visitors from beyond our Solar System. Yes, I have an active imagination for a twelve-year-old, and a fascination with spaceships and UFO sitings.
When did it all start? Well, that is a intriguing story of adventure and family. So, I might as well start at the beginning.
My name is Sammy Williams, and I was born in July 2008, at the Royal Hobart Hospital. In those early years I spent a lot of time with my favourite grandparents, Gra-nan and Gran-pa. At two years old, that was all my vocal skills could manage, but those names have remained with them to this day, in their house.
I really loved my paternal grandparents but unfortunately in 2014 my father received a great job offer from a company in Perth, Western Australia, that took me away from them.
My memories of the day we left for new horizons, are those of a five-year-old. Although vague now, I do remember it as tear-filled and frightening.
After the initial settling-in and homesickness, life in Perth was actually great. Dad’s job came with a large modern house on the water. My bedroom window overlooked the sea and a paved path led from the back door directly onto the soft white sand of the beach.
Near the end of the year, Mum invited both sets of grandparents over for our first WA Christmas. But in the end, only Granan was able to come. My maternal grandparents were visiting family in New Zealand and Grandpa said he had to stay home to look after their two cats and dog, Millie.
I overheard Dad saying, “The real reason, is that my father hates flying, so the long flight to Perth would be too much for him.”
It wasn’t a White Christmas because it falls in the middle of Summer in Australia. But we had the best day, laughing together and eating seafood while overlooking our picturesque beach. Later, the four of us had a swim in the surf, before drying off in the warm afternoon sun.
A perfect day in an ideal location. What could possibly go wrong?
As the sun was setting Mum said, “Sammy, Grandma will put you to bed tonight. Your Dad and I are going for a walk on the beach and hopefully we’ll see the sailing ships on the horizon, as they race into Fremantle.”
Of course, I didn’t know it at the time, but that would be the last time I ever saw them.
I got ready for bed and Granan tucked me in and read me a story, one of my favourites, The Little Engine That Could. I fell asleep with her sitting in a chair watching over me.
Sometime later I awoke when it was nearly dark, with ‘Nan snoring softly in the chair overlooking my bed. Apart from that, the house was silent, and I could just make-out the waves crashing on the beach.
I don’t know why now, but I remember walking quietly to the window and looking out over the water. At first everything seemed normal, peaceful and as it should be, but then I saw a shape on the horizon. Was it one of the sailing ships Mum mentioned? It seemed to be getting bigger as if moving towards me. But suddenly, it appeared to rise up above the water and like a huge menacing bird, it hung in the air, waiting for its prey.
To this day, I recall it as an Alien Ship, a spaceship. And what came later, the next day, only made my impression grow stronger.
We both woke at first light. Granan had a sore back from sleeping in the chair all night. Together we went downstairs to see Mum and Dad, but no matter how hard we searched, we couldn’t find them anywhere.
Remembering their evening walk, I ran down to the beach to look for the two most important people in my life. With tears in my eyes, I ran frantically up and down without any sight of them. All I found was a pair of tan sandals, my Mum’s, about twenty metres from the water’s edge.
The Police were called, and a search was initiated, but after three days it was called off. Although their bodies were never found, the verdict, their deaths, were recorded as an Accidental Drowning.
I told ‘Nan and the Police about the spaceship. The UFO! But they disregarded me at the tender age of six, saying “No matter how real the memory of your sighting appears, you must have just dreamt it.”
I don’t care what they thought or what people still think. I know what I saw, and I know that my parents were abducted by Aliens!
That was the end of our Perth adventure. We flew back to Hobart and now I live with my grandparents in Huonville. Life is nice in south-west Tasmania, about half an hour from Hobart. We live on twenty-five acres with the pine forest and of course, Alien Glade.
‘Nan and ‘Pa really love me, and now that my parents’ Last Will and Testament has finally been settled, I can’t ask for any more. But ever since they were taken, nearly seven years ago, I have a recurring dream every few days.
It’s a wet stormy night but for reasons unknown, I am standing in the middle of Alien Glade. Lightning flashes in the sky and the wind roars, circling around the clearing within the trees. Thunder booms and echoes throughout the enclosure, yet somehow, I hear a loud droning noise above me. An alien yet mechanical sound.
Looking up I see a bright light above me. As it draws ever closer, I see a large golden brightness in the centre surrounded by smaller beams, in a circular pattern. Although occasional lightning flashes, split the dark sky, the source of the illumination is hidden as it descends.
Is it a craft? A spacecraft … a SPACESHIP!
They have come back for me, as I have hoped every night for many years. The Aliens have finally found me, and I will be reunited with my parents!
I feel warmth approaching and cannot contain my excitement, as the moment of truth approaches …
But yet again! As happens every single time, I wake-up before the climax of the dream!
A knock at my door brings me back into the room, back into the warm, morning sunlight. I hear the door opening and see a familiar face peer around it.
“Hey lazybones, time to get cracking! Don’t forget the two of us are going into town this morning to get supplies.”
“Sure Granan, I remember. I’ll be down as soon as I get dressed.”
“I’ve made your favourite … pancakes.”
“Thanks! Be two minutes.”
The door closes and the day begins proper.
We have a great, fun day together. Even though ‘Nan is nearly fifty years older than me, we get along like best friends. She has a wicked sense of humour and the heart of a saint, caring for others before herself.
It’s now evening after a special dinner from fresh supplies, and the three of us are sitting together watching Toy Story 2, for the twentieth time. I know Grandpa would prefer to be watching AFL, Australian Rules Football, or anything else on the Sports Channel. But we know, that his rough exterior hides the fact that he loves spending time with us and listening to our news.
Tonight is a little different, in that, he starts the conversation. “Hey you girls. While you were out spending the family fortune, I heard a newsflash on the radio. Two prisoners escaped from Risdon Prison Complex today. No sight of them yet, but there are police out looking for them, over the river.”
“Well, I hope they don’t cross the Derwent and come out here!”, says Granan.
A confident reply from Grandpa. “There’s no chance they’ll get out this far, that’s for sure!”
The escapees come up in conversation throughout the night until 'Nan puts an end to it. “Right Little Missy, it’s getting late and after your bedtime.”
“But the Movie’s not finished!”
“You can finish watching it tomorrow. It’s getting cold, I think there’s a storm brewing. Better close-up the windows John!”
And with that, I trot upstairs to bed.
A crash of thunder disturbs my customary dream before the big reveal. Checking my glow-in-the-dark Star Trek watch, it’s 12:11 and pitch dark, except for the occasional fork of lightning.
Wow that one was close, only a split-second after the flickering flash. And then between claps, I hear a familiar noise. An alien, mechanical sound.
Jumping out of bed I rush to my closet and grab some thick jeans, a flannelette shirt, farm boots and my Driza-Bone, full-length coat. No time to waste, so the warm clothes go straight over my pyjamas. Then, quietly opening my door and creeping downstairs, so as not to wake anyone; I head for the backdoor and Alien Glade.
The rain is really heavy and seemingly blowing horizontally into my face, but determination based on years of dreams, urges me forward, to my forest and journey’s end. The ground becomes rougher and slippery with pine needles as I trudge the worn path to the glade. Only a few more pre-teen strides and I burst into the clearing.
A dream-previewed image swirls around me on the wind and echoing thunder. I can no longer observe the alien sound or even hear myself think, as I am bombarded with noise and stinging water! Anticipation, fear and Mother Nature, batters me senseless, as I sway in the building crescendo.
Anxiety builds into courage as I face my heart’s desire … “I WILL NOT BE DENIED!”
And then, there it is! That intimate sound … alien yet mechanical! I look up and see the light as it descends toward me. Closer and closer …
This is the moment I have been waiting for … the re-joining of my true family.
But the brightness is too white, not golden. And the surrounding circle of smaller beams are absent. The light is piercing and shaking from side-to-side, more and more erratically.
The craft is heading directly for me. Desire turns to terror as I attempt to run from its path …
… but too late.
Morning News ...
A helicopter crash at a property in Huonville has taken the life of twelve-year-old Samantha Williams. She lived with her grandparents on their hobby farm, after her parents died under suspicious circumstances in 2014.
The Police helicopter involved in the incident was following up on a reported sighting of Robert Callahan and Cecil Roper, both of whom escaped from Risdon Prison Complex the previous morning.
Pilot, Peter Green and “spotter”, Corporal David Johnson, were taken to the Royal Hobart Hospital and are in a serious but stable condition.
Initial investigations have revealed that they were struck by lightning, causing the helicopter to fall uncontrollably to the ground at around 12:30 this morning.
Tim StiX April 2021
All images by Jane and Tim StiX.
See timstix.com for more information.