The Chapterbuzz challenge is to write 10k words in March, but leo, I would like to invite you to read the story as it is written. It is a first draft, so bear that in mind! You can search for the other parts on this blog, or you can jump over to the Challenge website and read the story so far. You can do that by clicking HERE.
Got some catching up to do, so with this update, you’re as far in as I am!
When Ellie woke up, she looked her clock. Mickey Mouse had one hand pointing to Goofy’s nose, the other to his knees. Ten minutes after three. It was dark in her room; her night-light had been turned off, and there was no light under the door in her bedroom.
Ellie turned over and pulled the covers up around her ears. She closed her eyes, but didn’t go to sleep. After a minute or two, she threw the bed covers back and kicked them to the floor. She was sweating and wiped a hand across her forehead.
She lay that way for a long while. Mickey’s hand moved all the way round until it was pointing at the sun. Four o’clock. Ellie had tossed and turned for almost an hour, before getting up and opening the window. A breeze came in, but it wasn’t a cooling breeze.
Ellie lay back down on her bed and stared at the ceiling. The mobile that hung above her, rotated slowly in the gentle breeze. She listened to the birds that were starting their early morning chirping, only somehow it was different.
She listened to the birds for a while until she realised what she was hearing. These were not the usual birdcalls that she had heard before. There was something else in the early morning calls. A high-pitched call of something else. Something she had only ever heard on television.
At some point in the night she must have fallen asleep, because she awoke to her mum opening the curtains, the sun streaming in. Her experiences of the previous night forgotten, Ellie spent the day playing in the garden, watching a DVD and kicking a ball around in the garden with Flynn.
The Jungle pop-up book already forgotten, Ellie said goodnight to her mum and went up to bed as usual. She made sure the night-light was on before she slipped under the covers. She closed her eyes, and was asleep in minutes.
When she awoke, the room was still dark; the only light was that which spilled through a crack in the curtains, from the moon. She was hot again.
The clock on the wall showed Goofy nose past Minnie Mouse. Five past two. Ellie sat up and stretched. The memory of the previous night came to her then, and she listened. There were no bird sounds, but there were insect sounds, something you would never hear in her part of the city. The insects chirped and clicked, buzzed and hummed. Ellie slipped out of bed, went across the room and turned the light on. The sounds continued, but Ellie could see nothing. No insects.
It was at this point she remembered the book that she had bought a day ago. She went over to the shelf where she had placed it. The book was open just a crack, but when she picked it off the shelf and closed it, the chirping stopped. She opened it back up again, but only a crack. The insects were back. She turned around, waving her hands around her head, warding off whatever insects might be there. There were none. She closed the book again, and the insects were gone.
She was too tired to investigate further, but just to be sure, she took the book back to bed with her, clutching it to her chest as she went to sleep.
The following day was a school day, so after breakfast it was straight out. Mum kissed them both goodbye, and Flynn and Ellie walked to school.
Ellie was still thinking about the book and what had happened the previous night. She had not mentioned it to her mum. She didn’t think mum would believe her anyway, so she had kept quiet.
Flynn might believe her.
“Flynn,” she started. She waited for a reply, but when none was forthcoming, she spoke again. “Can I tell you something? It has to be our secret.”
This caught Flynn’s attention, and he shot a glance behind him at Ellie. “What secret?”
“Remember that book I got the other day?”
“Yes,” he said, still walking.
“I think there is something in it that can get out.”
Flynn stopped, and Ellie nearly walked in to him. “Something? Like what?”
“Well, the last two nights I’ve woken up hearing sounds that you don’t normally hear.” She couldn’t look him in the eyes. If he laughed at her, she would run the rest of the way to school by herself.
He didn’t laugh. “What kind of sounds? And what does this have to do with the book?”
Her face was flushed and Ellie worried that Flynn would assume she wasn’t telling the truth. “I heard birds, and insects. Buzzing and chirping.”
“Ok,” said Flynn. “Insects and birds.”
“Yes, but when I looked at the book, it was open a little,” She held her thumb and index fingers a short distance apart. “and when I closed it, the insects went away.”
“You sure?” Even Flynn’s fertile mind thought that his sister was trying to trick him, to make him look stupid.
“Sure,” she nodded. “I tried it twice.”
“Well if you want me to believe you, you’ll have to show me after school. Then I’ll believe you.
“Fine then. I will.”
They walked the rest of the way to school in silence.
Ellie spent the day thinking about the book, although it would be more accurate to say that she had spent the day worrying about the book. Would it do as she had claimed it would to Flynn only hours earlier? Like any big brother, Flynn would not think twice about teasing her. He probably wouldn’t think twice about telling some of the other children at school, and that would be infinitely worse.
After their evening meal, Flynn took the opportunity to talk to Ellie while their mum was out of the room. “Are you going to show me then?”
Ellie looked around for their mum. “Be quiet,” she whispered. “I don’t want mum to know about it.”
“Fine. Just show me.”
The pair left the room and went upstairs to Ellie’s bedroom. When they got inside, Ellie closed the door. “You have to promise not to tell anyone,” Ellie crossed her arms in front of her chest. “or I won’t show you.”
“I promise.” Flynn held his right hand up. “Scouts honour.” He sniggered.
“You better,” was all Ellie said. She walked to her desk and pulled open the draw. She pulled out a pencil case, two workbooks and a dictionary. She had buried the book as far to the back as she could. When she found it, she pulled it out and placed it on the desk in front of them. She took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. “You ready?”
Flynn had to admit that he did feel a tingle of excitement. But just a little bit, and he wasn’t going to show that to Ellie. “Ready.”
Ellie rested her hands on either side of the book and pulled it open to the first page, revealing the title and the group of symbols.
“I can’t hear anything,” said Flynn, disappointed.
“That’s because we haven’t got to the pictures yet.” Ellie flipped the next page, and some trees popped up as they had before. Flynn had to admit that they were very realistic-looking trees, and he had to adjust the angle he was viewing it from to make sure he was seeing things clearly. But there were no sounds. No birds. No insects. Nothing.
“Is it supposed to do that?” Although he wouldn’t admit it, Flynn had been hoping that Ellie was telling the truth.
“Of course not!” Ellie was more disappointed than Flynn, but didn’t do as well in hiding it. She picked up the book and held it to her ear. “It was here yesterday. It was!” She put the book back down on the desk. “It was!”
“Good one,” Flynn said. “You nearly had me there for a minute.” He moved towards the door; he’d wasted enough of his evening.
Ellie stepped in his way. “It did! I promise it did!” Ellie looked as if she were about to cry. Flynn thought for a moment if he wanted to be responsible for making his sister cry. It didn’t take long, and he decided that he didn’t care.
I think we’ll find out more about the book in the next update.