The Spacebook S.K.R.E.A.M Team - Chapter 1
“Ali, what are you doing up? It’s nearly midnight.”
“I had another nightmare.” Ali stood in the lounge doorway knuckling his eyelids.
“You poor thing, come and sit down.” He shuffled over to his mum at the computer - right sock snaking from his foot, left sock already escaped. Mum crouched beside him and swept the fringe from his clammy forehead. “Is it something to do with your new school?”
“I hate it!” His head drooped like a snowdrop. “Everyone thinks I’m stupid.”
“It’s always hard when you change schools. No one thinks you’re stupid.”
“They do! The teacher made me stand up and talk. She asked about my favourite things.”
Slime-creatures from Ali's bedroom posters squelched and oozed into Mum's head. “What did you say?”
“I said I believe in aliens and I’ve seen spaceships.”
Mum held Ali’s hand. “You didn’t tell them about your Uncle Mo did you love?”
“You know what your Uncle’s Mo’s like – always inventing crazy stories.”
Ali pulled his hand away. “It’s not a story – it’s true! Uncle Mo told me about it. Him and his whole class were abducted by aliens when they were little.”
Mum slid her trendy specs to the top of her head and took a deep breath. “So then what happened?”
“Everyone burst out laughing, especially Frankie Lime. At playtime Frankie told his brother in Year 6, and he told everyone else. Boys kept running past making alien noises. Frankie says I’m from Poopiter." Ali looked at his Mum. "And he says you’re from Faturn.”
“Right, I’m going into school on Monday morning. I’ll have a word with that Frankie Lime.”
“No Mum.” Ali lifted his head and watched his mum pace like a pigeon. “Please don't.”
She saw Ali’s eyes fill up. “OK... but if anything else happens, you’ll tell me won't you?” She put her arm round Ali and squashed next to him on the chair. Ali nodded.
“Not good enough,” Mum said. “Say: ‘I promise to tell Mum everything for the rest of my life, because if I don’t she can keep all my pocket money and spend it on shoes.'” A grin fought its way across Ali's face. Mum smiled a sigh as his new front teeth brightened the room.
Ali swivelled to look at the computer screen. There was a column of 5 smiling photos beneath the sentence, ‘You have five new friend requests.’
“Who are those people?”
“Oh it’s that Facebook - it’s addictive. They’re just old friends trying to get in touch.” Ali’s crooked smile disappeared in a blink. Mum yanked her cardigan from the back of the chair and threw it over the monitor. “Who needs silly computers anyway. Tell you what - I'll go and make us a delicious hot chocolate. Then we’ll work on getting that smile back.”
Spoons and cups clinked in the kitchen. Ali pulled the cardy from the monitor and looked at his mum's long list of friends. "I want some friends," he said and dropped his chin into his hands.
Suddenly, a tiny black dot appeared in the centre of the screen. It zigzagged like a blind fly, then stopped in a corner. Ali rubbed his eyes. The spec began to grow. It wasn’t a dot anymore. It was a small rectangle. Ali leaned in. There was something written on it. The rectangle was now the size of a thumb. It wobbled in the middle of the screen and exploded into a million pixels. He jumped back into the chair.
The dots reconnected and formed a cosmictastic envelope. It was covered in stars and a planet and had a weird, slobbering creature on the stamp.
Weirder still – Ali’s name hovered across the front.