Angel wanted to go to see the ducks. Bertie, who has become a self-appointed guardian to the toddlers because they are the only ones young enough to do what he tells them to, offered to go with her.
After feeding the ducks, Angelina went off to play with her doll. Bertie kept an eye on her from a distance.
After a while, she came back, close to tears.
'Bertie!' she said. 'Oh, Bertie! My Hattie hat has gone. I dropped it!'
'We'll find it.' replied Bertie. 'It can't be too far from where you were playing. Let's look over there.'
Angel looked in the direction Bertie was pointing towards. She shrieked, turned round and hid her face in Bertie's sweater.
Looking over her head, Bertie squinted into the distance.
When he saw what had scared Angelina, he wanted to shriek too.
'Aliens!' he whispered. 'They look just like E.T. when he was riding in the basket of the flying bicycle!'
Two seconds later, he added, 'Sh! Angel, we've got to go and get a bigger person. One of the big ones will know what to do.'
As they ran as fast as Angelina's legs would carry her, they met Angharad and Wren taking a stroll. Bertie quickly told them what he thought he'd seen and told them he was going to find some of the older boys. Angharad told him that girls were better with aliens than boys, so she and Wren would deal with things.
Bertie was only too pleased to leave the matter to anybody who wanted to deal with the aliens. He grabbed Angel's hand and they ran back to the house.
When they got through the farm gate though, Wren was beginning to wonder whether she was brave enough to go on an alien hunt.
'Ermmm, Annie, .....' she began. 'I just put this dress on and I don't want to make more laundry for Mam by getting it muddy. Maybe we should go back to the house and let one of the boys.....'
'You don't REALLY think those two saw aliens do you?' asks Angharad. 'They are both just little kids who think their own shadows are scary. There won't be anything there but a couple of sheep, or something like that, and I don't want the boys to think I'M a fraidy cat!'
Angharad had travelled back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean by herself at least twice and she really wanted Wren to realise how brave and independent she was. Aliens? No, she didn't believe in aliens and she certainly wasn't going to be afraid of a couple of sheep!
'Well, erm..... I'd better stay here and watch. Then my dress will stay clean and if you do get into any danger, I can run for help.' said Wren.
Angharad had watched lots of movies where people sneak up on baddies. With no thought for her own clean dress, she dropped to the ground and began to belly-crawl across the grass.
When she finally saw what Bertie and Angelina had seen, her courage almost failed, but she knew she would never convince Wren that she was totally fearless if she ran back to her without getting a close look at the aliens first. After all, E.T. hadn't been a horrible alien had he? He'd been a good alien and these might be his friends......
Just as she got to Dada's veggie garden fence, the larger alien stood up and... well..... it was a lot taller than E.T! It was as tall as a girl...... It WAS a girl!
'My goodness!' thought Angharad. ' What an untidy girl! Her mother must be even less fussy than Mam.'
'Who are you?' she asked the girl.
'I'm Girl 53,' replied the girl. 'And I brung him back!'
'Brung, I mean, brought who back? And, is your name really a number?' Angharad wanted to know. She was wondering whether this girl's mother had too many children and couldn't think of good names for them all.
'Boy 124.' the girl told her. 'I brung Boy 124 back because he had his address on the card so I know he has a real home. Our orphanage isn't a nice place to be and he's a sweet little boy, so I thunk you might be missing him. I runned away to bring him home and I don't know what sort of punishment I'll get now, but he needs to be home.'
'And you really are called Girl 53?!' Angharad can hardly believe it.
'We all have number names. I never had no real girl name 'cuz I was at the orphanage from being a baby.' the girl told her.
' I like your clothes. You look so clean!' she added.
Angharad looked down at the grass stains on her dress and thought Mam would not agree with Girl 53 on what the term 'clean dress' might mean.
'Oi! Come on, Boy 124!' called Girl 53.
' 'ello Annie!' said a familiar little voice. 'What for tea? Me 'n' Girl 53 is starving.'
'Connor?' Angharad began, 'Is that..?'
'Nope!, I did be Lucas, and now I be Boy 124, but I not Connor!' giggled the toddler.
Back by the gate, the four children discussed what they should do next.
'Mam will be really glad to get Connor back and so pleased that you helped him get home that she'll be sure to help you.' Wren assured Girl 53.
'I Luc...' began the toddler.
'You are hungry aren't you?' Angharad asked him, sweetly. 'What shall we ask Mam to make for tea?'
'Marmite sammernitches!' yelled the little boy.
'It's Connor!' Angharad assured Wren. 'I happen to know that none of the children at The Village like Marmite, they weren't brought up on it like we were and Lucas had a diet of mostly ice cream before he lived there.'
'Will your father be angry with me if I come in your house?' asked Girl 53 nervously.
'DADA???!!!!' the girls screamed with laughter.
'Mam is always sneaking more of us into the house and he just thinks he's forgotten who the new kid is and that he or she has always been here. He's not good on names and calls most of us either Sweetheart or Mate, depending on whether he's talking to a girl or a boy.' Wren explains.
'Yes if you stayed here you could probably keep the name Girl 53. There are at least 53 of us, I'm sure.' joked Angharad.
Girl 53 didn't want to get into more trouble, or get these two friendly girls into trouble either. It seemed sensible to go now, before any adults saw her.
'I'd rather be called Sweetheart, though.' the girl said sadly, as she turned to leave. 'Or have a real girl name. The matron of our orphanage doesn't let us have names, or nice clothes. And we NEVER have Marmite sandwiches.'
Connor's lip began to tremble.
'If my friend Girl 53 go back to the orphanage, then Connor want go back too.' he told them.
'Neither of you will go back' decided Wren. 'Mam won't let you go back, I know she won't. She'll find a way of getting the orphanange closed and finding homes for all the kids there. We'll all help. I'll start a petition and Gregory can do a news report and..'
'Yes, but you and Connor need to eat now. Then we can explain to Mam and think of a real girl's name for you. Not even Dada is so bad at remembering names that he would want to call you by a number!'says Angharad.
'Now, I'm really named Angharad but English people find that hard to say, so I'm usually called Annie. This is Wren and she has a twin brother called Robin. If you choose a name now, we can tell Mam that that it really is your name and you'll probably get to keep it. What do you fancy being called?' Angharad said, the words rushing out of her at top speed.
The girls and the two fake aliens headed off towards the kitchen. Wren was quiet, thinking hard.
Where had Connor been?
Why had the people at the Customs Office said they'd sent 'livestock' for safekeeping?
What card was Girl 53 talking about? What awful person ran an orphanage where children had numbers instead of names, walked around in rags and with bare feet?
But most of all, what would happen to Girl 53 and the other children from the orphanage now?