Just an etxtract. I hope it entices you…. if you happen to know of a really cool agent/publisher please tell me….



One Gargantuan scandal.


Michelle Dry

Part I
What does a kid really remember?

The fastest pace throughout the chase.

Davina hated being chased. So why was she in that situation? She glanced behind her. The men dressed in black were catching up. She gritted her teeth, put her head down and ran her absolute fastest. Effortlessly she wove through the crowds at such speed and agility she was barely noticed. It was like a warm breath had been exhaled, then she was gone.
In all directions the men yelled into small lumps of black. Their orders were to cut her off. Davina couldn’t understand how it had grown so out of hand: one minute she was eating from the large black container on the street, the next she was being chased. What was the problem? Earlier she had watched a hairy man with a long jacket do the same. So why were they picking on her? Had they been sent? Had they been informed of her arrival?
The chase kicked off a few seconds after she had taken her first mouthful.
‘Stop right there!’ A person dressed in black had hollered.
Instinctively she had scarpered. The chase began with one man and now there were already ten pursuing her. She had done nothing wrong! Well certainly nothing she could remember.
Across an expanse of dark grey, screeching sounded from the wheeled, metal cages carrying the men in black. They intended to surround her. Davina shook her head; there was no way she would let that happen! She was at that designated place for a reason. She just wished she could remember what exactly that reason was.
Davina rounded a corner searching for an escape or somewhere to hide. The crowd parted, all watching her curiously. She wasn’t panting or making a noise; so why were they all staring? Maybe it was because she was running, climbing and jumping at a speed none of them could manage. Or was it that she was far more agile than many children her age? Actually what was her age? That was a completely different matter.
Davina could see trouble approaching. Ahead of her two burly black-suits were gaining their positions, intending to cut her off. What did they think she was? Some kind of wild animal to be tamed?
Davina glanced behind her, there was no turning back. Four male black-suits were closing in. The onlookers expected her capture. They stopped in the street gawking, trying to work out what all the fuss was about. What was all the fuss about? Why couldn’t people mind their own business? She had to survive and that was it! At that moment Davina used everything she had to survive. What did it matter what she had eaten or where she had obtained it from? Maybe it wasn’t just the food. Had they been monitoring where she had been sleeping too? Had they followed her to the place where people pulled down their trousers and sat for a while before they left again? Or maybe another watcher had reported her when they saw her at that same place during the night? Why would they? All she did was climb through a small, square window each time the moon rose. It was completely opposite to her usual routine, but she had to blend in with the masses. During the hours of darkness she stayed in that warm environment until the sun climbed back onto the horizon. What was wrong with that?
Sprinting towards the two male black-suits blocking her path Davina grinned mischievously to herself. ‘Idiots!’ she muttered under her breath as they swiped at her. Davina smirked, ran sideways up a wall and used a dustbin to jump clear over them.
Some of the onlookers applauded.
Davina didn’t respond, she kept running. As she raced along she glimpsed a reflection in a window: the two male black-suits were aggravated. They huffed at each other, puffed out their chests and lolloped back into a heavy footed run.
Davina had to find somewhere to hide, somewhere she could blend in. She instinctively, without understanding what she was doing, ran towards the church. The same church she had woken up outside of on that first day. It was the same church where she had slept when she had first arrived. She didn’t know why, but all her senses told her she would be safe there. She hurdled the wall, sprinted the graveyard but ground to an abrupt halt. Something about the figures leaning out of the church jogged her memory. Why was that? Why did she recognise the stone shapes jutting from the building? Were they associated with her mission? Were they a sign? She darted to the nearest wall and used all her upper body strength to navigate the carvings up to a balcony. Hurriedly she climbed past all the strangely familiar faces and wedged herself into tiny alcove on the roof. When she stepped on one of the stone Gargoyles she could have sworn she heard a growl of welcome. Was she mad? Davina looked down; behind her a small pile of steaming stones appeared. They tumbled heavily to the ground. Plop, plop, plop! Davina frowned, what were they? No she couldn’t think about it; she had to seek safety, think later. Once she was safe she intended to piece together all the strange happenings. Maybe then she could work out what was going on.
Davina cautiously traversed the edge of the church and found a small nook where she could hide. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to hide her from what was over head. Davina heard the whirring of blades from a metal flying machine. She gazed up to the sky, the men were shouting into the dark talking machines calling in her location. Davina caught her breath and clung to the ledge. Why were they so desperate to catch her? The wind from the machine was strong; her hair blew across her face. Davina flicked her hair and erratically scanned the area planning her next moves. She considered fighting the black-coats directly, but that would give her away. She wasn’t supposed to draw attention to herself during the visit. If she slay the black-coats they would know she was something else… Davina sighed, if only she could remember. Davina squinted and scanned her mind. All that was there were the following words: ‘whatever you do Davina- do not draw attention to yourself. She will send people to catch you. This is all you are supposed to remember.’
What had she done? She had already drawn attention to herself without even trying. She was in trouble.
Davina gazed up at the whirring flying machine; it communicated her location to a mass of black coats beneath her. They followed the directions and circled below like starving dogs. Davina chewed her lip, a sense of panic welled in her stomach. She had to take action. She had to take it now! Her only possible escape was to leap to a nearby tree then across the adjacent field. Could she make it?
Davina took a breath and launched herself, swung to the end of a branch and descended to the ground. From there she frantically scrambled to a nearby field, hoping an escape route would draw her attention. It didn’t.
In all directions the black coats swarmed, each screaming her location into their communication devices. Before she could react Davina was surrounded. Whether she liked it or not she was going to have to surrender. She had been outwitted and had been caught fair and square. If she went without a struggle or a fight she might manage to get to her destination at the right time. Maybe she should play innocent; she could use the fact she didn’t have proper memory, that would work in her favour wouldn’t it? Maybe her memory loss was a blessing. It would to keep her safe and stop outsiders discovering her mission.
The mass of black coats herded her towards an armoured van. She stood still. Silent. Had she been set up? Davina shook her head and stared at the ground, she had an enormous amount to work out: who was she? Who was the person trying to capture her? Once she knew that then maybe she could finish what she had started. What had she started? If she explained her predicament to the black-coats they would never understand. All Davina knew was time was running out, she was there for a reason and that reason was greater than any outsider would ever understand. Why did she keep calling them outsiders?


Brain drain what a shame.

Davina listened to the two adults talking in hushed voices. They assumed she couldn’t hear. They were wrong. Adults always did that, or spelled out words when they didn’t want a child to understand. Davina sighed, leant against the wall and listened. Her future was in their hands.
Sergeant Riley, wearing his black police uniform, noisily sipped from a cup of tea while Ms Kirk flitted about in her long, black dress. ‘So what you’re telling me is that little girl out ran ten policemen and a helicopter? That kind of behaviour suggests she’s guilty of something.’
Sergeant Riley nodded blankly and gazed at the television: it played a news feature which was far more interesting. The standard wind-swept presenter talked about a church with ten extra Gargoyles. What made it particularly strange was it happened to be the place the small girl had run to.
‘Did you see that?’ asked Sergeant Riley.
‘What Sergeant?’
‘That there church is where we were today. Where we rounded up the girl. It’s probably nothing- just a coincidence.’
‘What are they saying about it then Sergeant? Is there anything about the girl?’ asked Ms Kirk sharply.
‘It’s just the weird statues were miscounted by the people in the middle ages. Nothing about the girl… But I wonder why she ran there of all places?’
‘Mmm,’ said Ms Kirk mid-stride. ‘The people in the middle ages probably couldn’t count properly because they had fingers missing or hands chopped off for stealing. Didn’t they all have leprosy at that time? I think the girl running there is a coincidence Sergeant Riley. You only notice it on television because you were there today rounding up a badly behaved child.’
‘We don’t know for sure that she’s done anything wrong.’
Ms Kirk stopped her pacing and turned, ‘so tell me that again sergeant. You chased a girl because she didn’t do anything wrong?’
Sergeant Riley stirred his tea again and huffed, ‘Ms Kirk it was an anonymous tip off. Anyway she doesn’t seem to remember doing anything wrong. In fact she doesn’t remember anything. She seems fascinated by some of the simple things we take for granted.’
‘Like what?’
‘Well she stared at me curiously when she heard the voices down the radio.’
Ms Kirk paced some more, the girl ‘said’ she remembered nothing. ‘Are you completely sure? She remembers nothing at all?’ demanded Ms Kirk leaning closer to Sergeant Riley.
‘Well only her last few days.’
‘Sergeant Riley that is not nothing. That is something! If she can remember a couple of days then she could very well remember more. You know how these children are always pretending… All this make believe twaddle they’re fed and look what happens-they start believing it. It’s no wonder there’s such a need for a naughty children’s home like this. The thing that’s bothering me sergeant is why did she run if she’s not guilty of anything?’ Ms Kirk rubbed her cheek with her bony hands. ‘God whoever invented children? Life would be so much easier without them! Anyway she must know more. Kids don’t forget. They’re like elephants but with smaller brains.’
‘Look I don’t think she’s lying,’ said Sergeant Riley.
‘You can never tell. Some children are so well trained at lies that they don’t even know when they’re lying to themselves. So tell me Sergeant Riley has she been naughty or not? Does she fit the criteria to be brought here?’
‘I don’t know. It’s just she seems quiet and she keeps staring at me with those large, green eyes. Sometimes she does it without blinking too. Then at other times she seems to have so much energy that she practically bounces off the walls.’
Ms Kirk rolled her eyes, she wasn’t surprised. ‘Kids do that. They do it to freak you out. Now listen to me. I will only allow her to stay if you can prove to me that she’s been naughty.’
‘Well I didn’t want to mention this, but I saw her eating out of a dustbin. That was what originally started the chase.’
‘But sergeant you chased her because she ate from a dustbin. Then why the use of the helicopter?’
Sergeant Riley flushed red. ‘Miss Kirk, well… that anonymous tip off said she was a threat.’
Ms Kirk scratched her chin, ‘hmm, what did they say exactly?’
‘I don’t know exactly but my Gov gave me orders to round up a girl fitting her description. He said she was around twelve or thirteen, highly athletic, caramel skin, green eyes and long straight black hair. His source said she was dangerous and she had to be captured before she…. Well before she got violent.’
‘And, well she ran but was not aggressive.’ The Sergeant stirred his tea again. ‘So Ms Kirk will you keep an eye on her?’
Ms Kirk huffed, she didn’t like it. ‘She can stay but we don’t want her to think it was that easy.’

From behind the wall Davina frowned, did she really want to stay in a place where children were sent because they had been naughty? What was going on? Why have such a home anyway? Who had tipped them off? Was it true what they said about her or was it a mistaken identity? Davina chewed her lip, she had done nothing wrong! Yes she had eaten out of what they called a ‘bin’ to survive. She had no shiny lumps of metal or drawn on paper to exchange, so how else was she supposed to eat? If she hadn’t seen something called a tramp do it, then she certainly wouldn’t have considered doing it herself. Davina waited for the adults to come over and inform her of what was happening. They took ages; for some reason they wanted to discuss her further. It was probably because her very presence was livening up their incredibly mundane lives.
‘Is there anything else I should know about her?’ asked Ms Kirk.
‘Well… When she finally spoke she talked with a strange accent. I don’t think she’s from this country. I think she’s foreign.’
‘I don’t like foreigners Sergeant Riley. They scare me.’
‘Ms Kirk, she’s a child.’
‘How do I know she isn’t a spy? How do I know she hasn’t been sent? You know this school is still in its trial stages. Too much of a coincidence if you ask me. So what is the accent?’
‘I couldn’t tell you.’
‘You see… There’s something awfully suspicious about not being able to identify an accent isn’t there Sergeant?’
Sergeant Riley shook his head, ‘Ms Kirk, my Gov says can you do him a favour and keep the girl here for a short time? ‘Til we find out more? I know you have some spare beds ‘cause you had two girls adopted last week.’
‘They’ll be back before the three month trial is up… Mark my words!’
‘Maybe they’ll change. Maybe they’ll like having a home and a family,’ protested Sergeant Riley.
‘They never change, that’s the problem. Once bad always bad. Rotten children are like rotten apples. Once they turn nasty they stay that way. That’s the truth and you know it. As they say… even the nice ones turn nasty!’
Sergeant Riley sipped his tea and sighed, ‘come on give her a chance. She’s just a kid after all and she needs a bed.’
‘Well where was she sleeping before?’
‘We heard she was sleeping in a cubicle of a public toilet. A disabled one at that.’
‘Well maybe that is where she belongs: in toilets, eating out of bins.’
Sergeant Riley shook his head. ‘Ms Kirk, will you please take her? Have some compassion for goodness-sakes.’
Ms Kirk stamped her right foot emphatically, ‘let me talk to her. She will talk to me! Mark my words, she will tell me everything. Then we’ll see where she’s really from.’
Davina heard the clatter of heels as Ms Kirk stormed out of the office. Davina skidded across to the seat where she was supposed to be sitting. A few of the inhabitants of the home peeked through a door opposite, trying to see who was causing all the kafuffle. Davina studied the other children; they looked scruffy and unkempt, just like her.
Davina froze; an intimidating dark, bony shape emerged from the office. The scowling woman not only wore a black dress, but a black dress with a high neck. Ms Kirk looked like a hawk, her face was full of sharp features, scanning her every movement for fault. Yet something about the woman didn’t feel right; her skin seemed grey, actually no, it had more of a blue glow and her eyes were pale. So pale they were like ice. Davina averted her eyes, the presence of the woman made her feel like she was in trouble (even if she hadn’t done anything wrong).
Ms Kirk stomped over to Davina and placed her hands on her hips. ‘Right! What is your name?’
‘Davina – I think.’
‘Davina I think what?’
‘I don’t know. Davina is all I remember.’
‘Okay Davina no name, we are not playing games any more. What’s your last name?’
‘I just told you… I don’t know!’
Ms Kirk leaned forwards and stared into Davina’s eye. ‘You’d better not be winding us up! You’re not here for fun. This is not a fun day out or a bit of a lark! This is the Nadim Naughty Children’s Home. The children here have all been disowned by their parents. You understand? Their parents do not want them anymore because they’re so bloody awful! How does that make you feel? The children here have been so bad that their parents get rid of them. Now I assume you are bad because your parents have got rid of you and obviously don’t want you. Is that true?’
Davina’s lower lip quivered. Was it true? ‘I don’t know miss. I don’t remember.’
‘Of course you don’t remember! You don’t remember anything do you? That’s a good excuse isn’t it! You mean you won’t remember!’
‘No miss I can’t remember.’
‘What is that stupid accent of yours anyway?’
‘I don’t know and it’s not stupid!’
‘Have some respect girl! Now you’re not from round here, you’re not even from this country. Where are you from?’
‘I have no idea.’
‘Of course not. You seem to be sticking to the same story. How long have you been practising this?’
‘I haven’t been practising,’ said Davina.
‘Likely story!’ Ms Kirk sighed, adjusted her dark bun and placed her hands behind her back. ‘Now… I need you to prove your naughtiness.’
‘I don’t understand?’
‘What have you done that is really bad?’
Ms Kirk spun on her heel. ‘Do you think I was born yesterday? All children do bad things; they’re just excellent at hiding it!’
‘I slept in a toilet and ate garbage. Is that bad enough?’
Ms Kirk came to an abrupt halt and turned slowly, ‘what did you say?’
‘I slept in a toilet and ate garbage.’
‘Disgusting! You are foreign. Do you eat garbage in your country? Doesn’t matter… I hate foreign people. So tell me how old little Davina is?
‘I don’t know I…
‘Don’t remember,’ said Ms Kirk mimicking Davina’s voice. ‘Look I’ll let you stay for a short time. Mark my words if any non-foreign people arrive, you’ll be kicked out instantly. Do you hear?’
‘Yes ma’am.’
Sergeant Riley smiled and nodded, Davina had a place to stay. ‘I think you should tell her what’s expected of her Ms Kirk.’
‘I was coming to that Sergeant Riley. Stop getting your ten peneth in where it’s not required! So Davina no name… You will do your chores like everybody else. You are not special- do you understand? Then on Thursdays you will line up like everyone else for the selection process.’
‘Selection process?’
‘That’s where desperate people come along and try to adopt a child. It seems all the good ones are running out and some people are even considering the dregs we have here. Can you imagine? Anyway the potential parents choose who they want from the line-up. And before you ask it’s a new system based on an old system. And don’t think you stand a better chance because you’re cute.’
Davina frowned, ‘so the children here have been disowned to be then offered for adoption. So they aren’t orphans?’
Ms Kirk shook her head in aggravation, ‘haven’t you listened to a single word I said? These children are not wanted because their previous parents couldn’t cope. They are the opposite of adopted they’re disowned. There are always some do-gooders who think they can make the children good. It never works, they always return within three months… That’s usually before the full trial period is up. Once bad, always bad. You can’t teach any child new tricks.’
‘But why do they come here then?’
‘Questions, Questions, Questions! Ask your other inmates, I mean kids, I mean children… I haven’t got time for dull brat chit chat!’
Davina sighed, where was she? How had she ended up there? Why did the way she spoke sound so very different and why couldn’t she remember?’
Ms Kirk leaned forwards, her sharp nose almost touched Davina’s nose. ‘From now on you are a Nadim child. That means you are here to repent for all the bad you have done.’
‘What if I haven’t done anything bad?’
‘Then you can repent for all the bad others have done!’
Learning to lie and not to cry.

Davina was lead by a tall gangly girl with matted, curly, brown hair to a room that seemed to go on forever. The room had numerous beds all dressed in grey blankets. ‘That will be yours,’ said the girl pointing to a bed ten beds away. ‘There is a fresh school uniform there. Ms Kirk said you had to wear it so you would fit in. She says that your own clothes can only be worn once you leave.’
‘Thanks,’ said Davina, studying the brown and yellow uniform. It was horrendous!
‘Look I’m Rose. I’ve been in care for three years. I was sent ‘ere when it opened. Now I’m in charge of bed allocation.’
Davina nodded, ‘I’m Davina. Erm, can I ask you a question?’
‘If you must.’
‘Why are you here?’
‘I burnt me parent’s ‘ouse down.’
Davina frowned and stepped back. ‘What made you do that?’
‘’Spose it seemed sensible at the time. Me parents wouldn’t give me what I wanted, so I fought I’d burn their ‘ouse down. Kind of a tantrum like.’
Davina sighed, ‘then what happened?’
‘Well they kicked me out and ‘ere I am.’
‘Don’t you miss them?’
‘Kind of. Davina in it? Let me give ya a tip ‘bout being ‘ere. Don’t get all e-motional like ‘cause the other kids‘ll pick on you. These kids are bad, nasty and I ‘ate ‘em all. You’re going to ‘ave to learn to survive quick like. You make up a story far more awful than any kid can fink of and then they’ll leave you alone. That’s the only way you’ll get through being ‘ere.’
Davina nodded, she didn’t like lying, but if it was going to help her to survive she was going to do what she had to. Davina scratched her cheek, ‘erm Rose what is this place?’
‘Some of us reckon it’s some kind of experiment. I reckon they fink kids ‘ave all got out of hand and they want to discipline ‘em before they let ‘em back on the streets or into normal ‘omes.
Davina frowned, it didn’t make sense. ‘Discipline?’
Rose rolled her eyes. ‘God you’re so bloody naive! They can whack you if they want. You do know Ms Kirk has a cane. God and I bet you ain’t been told about the Head of Corporal Punishment neither ‘ave ya?’
Davina shook her head.
‘Mr Whacker, we call him. You’ll get to meet him soon enough if you’re bad.’
‘What they actually hit you?’
‘Yes Davina they hit ya.’
‘But that’s Barbaric!’
‘Mate far worse things go on here. Stay ‘ere long enough and you’ll see.’
Davina didn’t like it- a school that beat its pupils?
Davina noticed Rose staring at her, she had questions.
‘Okay. So Davina why are you even ‘ere?’ asked Rose.
‘I got picked up by the police because I was eating out of a bin and sleeping in some public toilets.’
‘That isn’t even in the remotest bit scary.’
‘It’s the truth.’
‘Truth’s not welcome ‘ere. You need to make up somef’ing real bad. I’ll try ya again and ya ‘ave come up with somef’ing sick like. You know so I don’t want to go near ya. So why are ya ‘ere?’
‘I ate my parents.’
‘Oh my God! That’s more like it… ’
Davina rolled her eyes.
‘What did they taste like?’
‘Wicked! You’re good at this. So why’d ya really eat them?’
‘Because they ran my hamster over.’
‘What?’ laughed Rose. ‘So what’s the real reason?’
‘I didn’t eat my parents. I don’t even remember if I have parents or anything at all. I don’t even know how old I am, or which country I am in, or even if this is my own country.’
Rose sighed and sat down on the bed. ‘I don’t know wev’er you’re good liar or wev’er you’re a bit screwed up like.’
Davina shook her head, ‘imagine not remembering and not knowing where you are. All you know is that you have something to finish, but you don’t know what it is. Now tell me honestly wouldn’t you feel a bit weird about it all?’
‘Okay, that’s pretty ‘arsh. I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes.’
Davina shrugged, ‘look I have a cut by my ear. I think I must have fallen or something.’
Rose studied the cut; the blood wasn’t the usual colour: it was a dark blue.
Davina sensed something wrong. Rose was staring at her again. ‘I’ll give ya some advice right for you. When the potential parents come- suck your thumb and do ya best ta look sweet. You don’t belong ‘ere, that’s somef’ing obvious. Hang out wiv me, and when the new parents come we’ll watch ‘em to decide who suits ya. Then when we line-up you’ll do ya best to get chosen. That’s definitely the best ‘fing for ya to do.’
‘Do the others pretend to be good too?’
‘Don’t think so! You don’t get it do ya? The others ‘ere don’t want to go to nice homes and learn to be nice little darlings. They’re just not like that. You’re a cosy kid, I can tell and I can tell ya ya won’t survive a month ‘ere otherwise.’
Davina chewed her lip, Rose seemed wise. ‘Is there anything else I should know?’Asked Davina.
Rose nodded, ‘how are ya at animal noises?’
Davina frowned. ‘I don’t get it?’
Rose sighed, ‘look there are some real nasty pieces of work ‘ere. When you’re in trouble make an animal noise at them.’
Was Rose winding her up? Davina did her best to remember the animals she knew of. She liked pumas, so she gazed at Rose and made a low rumbling tone which developed into a roar. ‘Like that?’
Rose sat back and stared incredulously at her. ‘How on earth?’
Davina shrugged, ‘I guess I like pumas or something.’
Rose crossed her arms and shifted away. Davina sensed Rose‘s reaction and noticed Rose’s gaze, she was studying her clothes. Davina’s clothes, although mucky, didn’t look as though they were made of normal materials. They looked completely different.
‘There’s somef’ing real strange about you Davina and I don’t know what it is. I’ll keep an eye on ya, but I think ya need to get that memory or yours working so we can find out why you’re ‘ere.’
There was a moments silence while Rose thought. Davina glanced about the room; she liked the large glass windows facing out onto the grounds. The arc at the top of the window and the fact it reached from the floor to the ceiling made it kind of cool. Was the building once a manor house?
‘Oh one more thing, some of the boys here are real nasty. Be careful… Come and look,’ said Rose, signalling for Davina to follow her to the window.
Outside a group of boys were fighting on the lawn. ‘Watch them,’ said Rose.
Davina watched the boys whack each other then run away. Davina wasn’t impressed; instead she took the opportunity to study the grounds. It seemed the Nadim School was set amongst a vast forest. It worked perfectly as a deterrent against escape. What child would risk making their way through a massive forest to freedom? Davina sighed; she had to work on an escape plan.
‘See that one over there… standing on the far side not moving?’ said Rose pointing to a lone boy. ‘Keep an eye on him ‘cause there’s somef’ing real weird about him too. He doesn’t talk, he doesn’t fight and no-one knows his story. All we know about him is he’s dangerous.’
Rose grinned, ‘look they‘re going to ‘ave a go at him.’ The nasty boys stopped fighting each other and ran in the pale boy’s direction.
Rose had an air of excitement, ‘Davina come closer and watch what ‘appens.’
Davina peered out of the window; one of the boys walked towards the silent boy and went to slap him. Before impact the silent boy twisted and moved in such a way that was so graceful and fast that the attacker had no idea what was happening. Davina watched the silent boy take the other boy to the ground, remove his jacket, tie him up and return to where he was sitting staring at the building.
Rose glanced at Davina. ‘We ain’t got no idea what’s going on with him neever. He keeps to himself, no-one has ‘eard him talk. You wait ‘til you see his eyes, they’re different colours and one is almost white. You keep an eye on him. Some of the boys call him Ghost ‘cause he keeps appearing from nowhere and when he sleeps he sleeps with his eyes open and hums.’
Davina was intrigued. ‘What did he do to get here?’
‘Nobody knows. One day he was just dumped on the steps with a note saying ‘DANGEROUS!’’
Davina shook her head, it was all too much. The home was weird, the people were weird and she wanted out.

Stalling and calling.

That night Davina could hear whispering throughout the dormitory accompanied by the patter of the girls’ bare feet. Many crept about talking in hushed voices; others tried to ignore what was going on.
‘Come on get up,’ said one to another from a bed further down the dormitory.
‘She’s definitely asleep. We need to go through her things; find out what’s going on with her.’
Davina sensed the talk was about her, something bad was about to happen. Davina focused her mind as best she could; she tried to remember where she was before a few days ago. The harder she tried, the harder it became to remember, it was just darkness.
Davina continued to listen to the girls preparing themselves.
‘She has no idea does she?’ they whispered excitedly.
Davina remained still listening to the girls; all the while she ran through the calls of all the different animals she knew of. There was the bear, the puma, the lion, the tiger, the wolf and some other creatures, creatures she could not name. Davina recalled how each communicated and wondered whether she could make any of those calls whenever she wanted. If that was the case did she have something to do with animals?
Davina’s bed faced a large window; outside the window the moon was bright. The light from the moon gave her a level of comfort. That dim light enabled Davina to see the shapes of the other girls darting about the room. What were they plotting? Davina curled up and laid on her side, she was not scared, but she was alone. Davina continued gazing at the moon. There was something about it, something so strange and so enticing, something she recognised. Davina blinked; in that second a few distorted shapes flew across the moon then disappeared. Davina sat up, what were they? The distorted shapes were familiar to her, she just wished she knew why and instinctively wanted to call them. Davina shook her head, there was one particular sound she wanted to make, she had to hold back! No one was supposed tohear it. It was natural for her, but not for the ‘normal’ person. Did that mean she wasn’t a normal person? Davina gasped, she had a flash of memory. It was something to do with stones. It was something to do with…
‘Get up,’ called a girl wearing a disfigured Venetian mask.
Davina noticed the mask was ornate with gold with patterns swirling about it. Davina turned slowly and saw all the girls encircling the bed were also wearing decorated masks, they intended to intimidate her. She was not frightened. They had no idea what she could do if she needed to. What’s more that flash of memory had reminded her of something, something that would terrify them.
‘Tell us why you’re ‘ere,’ said the leader.
‘I ate my parents.’
‘You didn’t, you made that up!’
Davina looked confused, ‘why do you say that?’
‘Rose told us, you stupid girl. Rose is the gossip here, she checked you out and she knows who you are. You just have no memory, so you’re not bad like us. Now, we’re going to show you what bad really is!’
Davina shook her head, ‘look it doesn’t need to be like this.’
‘Of course it doesn’t, but we like it like this, that’s why we’re ‘ere.’
Davina shifted awkwardly in her bed. Out of the corner of her her eye she noticed three shapes fly past the moon. She glanced at the moon, she had an idea.
The girls in the group made animal noises. One growled, another barked until the area became frenzied.
Davina took a deep breath, her stomach knotted, she was in trouble. What should she do? There was only one option: she had to make ‘the’ sound. Davina turned her head from the frenzy and gazed at the moon. Once focused, she took a deep breath and made a loud and ferocious roar. All the glass in the area cracked. The frenzy fell silent. Each girl glanced nervously at another trying to determine who was in front of them. Davina altered her pitch and gave a low rumbling growl, cracking the glass further. Some of the girls covered their ears, others glanced nervously, some stepped away folding their arms.
‘You freak!’ screamed the leader.
Davina stared into the leader’s eyes, shifted her legs out of her bed and stood in front of her. ‘No I’m not a freak. You make one more comment about me and I will eat you while you sleep. Now leave me alone. I’m warning you!’
Davina walked to the centre of the girls. ‘Take off the masks, I know who you are.’ One of the girls, Sheba, was angry and reached out intending to pull Davina’s hair. She wanted a fight. Davina dodged, turned to face her, took a deep breath and let out the full sound she’d been suppressing. The sound blasted through the room. Windows exploded, glasses blew apart and the room shook. Some of the girls’ noses bled. At the same time the dark shapes flying through the sky turned and swooped towards the home. Bang. Bang. Bang! Three thuds collided with the outer wall forcing the room to vibrate with the impact. Some of the girls screamed, others cowered. A few eyed Davina. What was she?
Sheba scowled and pointed a black finger nail at Davina, ‘what did you do you freak?’
Davina stared her in the eye. ‘You touch me again and I’ll do worse than that! Now I mean it – keep away from me!’
One of the girls guarding the door peeked through and saw a familiar shape on the rampage.
‘Quick Ms Kirk is on her way!’ she yelled.
Down the corridor a heavy, flat-footed stomp collided with the cold tiled floors. Ms Kirk carried a search light and stormed towards the girl’s dormitory. ‘Always the same, always someone new and look what happens,’ she muttered pounding past the boys’ dorm. The boys were curious and followed. ‘Get to bed! This is not for everyone to have a bit of a party!’
Needless to say the boys didn’t do as they were told and followed.
Inside the girls dormitory there was a flurry of movement. All the girls hid their masks, dived under their covers and pretended they were asleep. Davina laid back down and stared at the door.
Slam! Ms Kirk threw it open. Smack! She barged in searching for a culprit. There was nothing, it all appeared peaceful. She swished her torch about the dorm, the girls pretended to wake up when the light hit them.
‘Don’t act the innocent! You can’t fool me, so don’t try!’ Ms Kirk walked the length of the room. At first she was confused by the draft until she stepped on some shattered shards of glass lying on the floor. ‘What’s this?’ screamed Ms Kirk.
‘Someone must know something, where are the windows?’ she demanded.
Ms Kirk shone the search light on each person trying to determine a guilty party. No-one responded. ‘Right extra chores and tomorrow is Thursday. Looks like there’ll be no girls in the line-up unless all the chores are done.’
There were tuts and sighs from around the room. ‘Oh and don’t think you’ve got away with this. Tomorrow we will get up early and I will be interrogating every single one of you. You can’t smash my windows and think you’ll get away with it. You had better be ready to inform me as to who caused this mess otherwise the cane comes out. There will be beatings for everyone you hear? Or maybe someone would like to own up right now!’
Davina stared past Ms Kirk at the moon. She wasn’t going to take the blame. Although one thing was for certain: a search party was looking for her.
Davina sighed, something was bothering her: someone’s eyes were upon her. There was one person standing alone, peering through the gap in the door, that one person had different coloured eyes. Did he know what was going on?

Avoiding explaining the unexplainable.

That morning, in Ms Kirk’s office, Davina sat in an uncomfortable high backed wooden chair staring Ms Kirk’s contorted features. Her rage was apparent by the way she whacked the palm of her hand with the cane. The angrier she became the more regularly she struck her palm.
‘So you say you don’t know what happened,’ said Ms Kirk. Whack. Whack!
‘One minute you were asleep, there was a blast of wind and all the windows smashed at once?’ Smack, smack, smack!
‘Then how do you explain that God awful noise then?’ said Ms Kirk leaning close to Davina’s ear. Swipe.
Davina felt the breeze of the cane close to her face. She shrugged, struggling to appear innocent. ‘I don’t know. I was asleep. Maybe it was the wind?’
‘Davina you’re a terrible liar! You are completely transparent. I know you’re something to do with this. I don’t know why you’re being so loyal. You do know as soon as the others get in here they’re going to grass you up. Then you get all the punishment.’ Whack. Whack! Ms Kirk slammed the cane on the desk.
‘This is your last chance. What happened?’
Davina sighed, ‘do you mind if I go and do the gardening now?’
Ms Kirk slammed her fist on the table. ‘Davina you will answer the question!’
‘I was in bed.’
‘I don’t believe a word of it!’
‘Look Ms Kirk the truth is- neither you nor I want me here. That’s obvious. The sooner I get into that line up the sooner I’ll be out of your hair.’
‘So you do want to get out of here? That’s a good sign. But tell me one thing, how come my home was quite peaceful until you arrived?’
Davina shook her head, ‘Ms Kirk I told you I have no idea what’s going on and I want to get on with my chores.’
‘Go, but I’ll be watching you. There’s something peculiar about you and I don’t like it! Not only are you foreign but there’s something a bit weird… I just can’t put my…. Now go!’
Davina turned to leave.
‘Oh and Davina no name, if you have any memories as to who you are, you will tell me won’t you?’
‘Yes Ms Kirk.’
Davina slipped out of the room into the corridor. The line of disobedient girls sitting on seats extended as far as she could see. Davina glanced at them, the girls whispered. Davina clenched her fists and turned to leave. She wouldn’t allow them to get her into trouble, she intended to escape. But how?
When Davina walked past Rose, Rose looked apologetic. Davina wasn’t having it; Rose would never get close to her. How dare she tell all the others about her? How dare she think she could be two faced? Davina headed towards a door leading out into the corridor and glanced back. Ms Kirk stood by her office door smirking. ‘Rose if you would like to come in and tell me in your own words what happened with Davina. I know I can rely on you.’
Rose stood up, glanced at Davina and walked into the office with her head down. Davina was in trouble. All the girls were going to blame her. She would not be allowed to join the line up and would get a beating. She had to escape!

Perfectly formed, steaming piles of stones.

Outside Davina stood in a carved doorway watching Ghost curiously. Ghost leant on his rake staring at the walls. He was in deep thought about something. Davina watched him scrape the remaining leaves into a large pile, he was preoccupied.
There was a swirl of activity: two naughty boys ran past and kicked the pile scattering leaves in all directions. Ghost didn’t react; instead he continued staring at something on the walls. He then crouched down and studied some objects on the ground below him.
‘Ghost’s a freak,’ taunted one of the boys.
Ghost frowned, bent down, picked up a stone and examined it.
Davina watched Ghost run his fingers over the surface and frown. What had he found?
The boys continued to taunt him. Ghost didn’t pay attention; he was fixated on the object.
Davina was fascinated by Ghost’s non-reaction, why didn’t he shift his focus? What had caught his attention?
Davina shuffled tentatively closer; what was it? When Davina drew up close. Ghost didn’t make eye contact instead he cleared some leaves away from something he was hiding. Davina crouched beside him. The pair stared at a small pile of steaming stones. They were hot and fresh.
Davina glanced at Ghost; he silently stared back. Neither said a thing. Davina couldn’t help herself, she was mesmerised by him. Ghost’s hair was white, his skin pale and his eyes different colours: one green, one blue and as clear as pools. Ghost blinked, Davina quickly turned her attention back to the perfectly aligned stones: each was specifically balanced on top of another. ‘Did you do that?’ she whispered.
Ghost didn’t respond.
Davina was curious and went to move one of the stones.
‘Don’t,’ he murmured.
‘You can talk?’
Ghost nodded.
‘I only talk when I want to and to whom I choose.’
Davina was stunned, ‘why do you talk now?’
‘Because of that stunt you pulled last night.’
‘I didn’t pull any stunt!’ Said Davina.
‘Yeh right! Then how do you explain it?’
‘The fact these piles of stones have appeared randomly all over the lawn. They were never here before you arrived. Then there are the stone carvings on the walls.’
Davina looked up; there were no stone carvings on the walls. Davina wasn’t going to say anything. Maybe the boy was deranged. ‘It’s just coincidence, that’s all.’
Ghost shook his head, ‘no Davina it’s more than that.’
What was he saying? ‘Okay then… How do you explain it?’ She asked.
Ghost studied Davina, ‘I reckon you’re about thirteen years old. I reckon you’re from a strange place, maybe overseas, maybe somewhere completely different. But whatever it is, there’s something ‘bizarre’ about you.’
Davina giggled, ‘that’s coming from you!’
Ghost smirked, he wasn’t normal either, in his opinion normal was dull.
Davina gazed at Ghost’s haunting eyes, ‘so why are you here?’
Ghost shook his head, ‘don’t change the subject.’
‘Tell me.’
‘You must have heard I’m dangerous.’
‘But why?’
Davina anticipated his answer, but something shifted in the forest. That something was a large, solid shape moving through the trees. ‘Did you see that?’
Ghost turned slowly, something was definitely amongst the trees. ‘I saw something earlier. I assumed it was the wind but I had me doubts.’
Davina stood up and was drawn to the forest.
‘I wouldn’t if I were you,’ said Ghost.
‘I have to Ghost.’
Ghost frowned, why did she have to?
Davina jogged towards the forest. There was definitely something there.
‘Be careful it could be something dangerous,’ called Ghost.
Davina wasn’t listening; she had to find out what was out there. Maybe it held answers to her predicament. Just maybe whatever it was could give her insight into what she had to do.
Once inside the forest Davina climbed through some gorse into an area surrounded by trees.
Ghost watched her disappear into the forest and gazed up at the walls. The stone carvings had gone. ‘What on earth?’ Ghost launched himself towards the forest, he had to stop her.
In silence Davina scanned the forest. She stood quietly listening to a heavy pounding beyond the trees. Davina stared ahead. The leaves were moving. Whatever was out there intended to reveal itself. Was she ready? She stared ahead, just deciphering a glint of an eye.
‘Crack!’ Ghost bounded through the thicket.
Davina jumped and grabbed her chest. The sudden motion startled whatever was beyond the trees. Davina glared angrily at Ghost, ‘you scared me!’
‘Erm sorry… Did you see anything?’ Ghost panted, bending over to regain his breath.
Davina was silent; another pile of steaming stones had appeared. She bent down next to the stones and tentatively touched them, ‘they’re hot.’
Ghost touched them too. ‘No Davina they’re boiling.’
Davina shot Ghost a look then pushed her hair behind her ear, ‘where on earth do hot stones come from in small piles?’
Ghost shook his head. ‘Davina there’s something really weird going on here. I don’t like the feeling I’m getting.’
Davina said nothing but intensely scanned the area; what was out there? Davina chewed her lip and sniffed the air. There were the usual forest smells, but there was a stronger scent on the breeze, a scent she recognised. What was it? Why couldn’t she remember? Davina noticed some branches move, she glanced at Ghost and gestured for him to be quiet. He watched the same spot.
The burning feeling of being watched intensified.
‘Ghost, there’s definitely something huge behind the tree,’ she whispered.
Above her a woodpecker pecked making the pair jump. Both took a breath and fell silent. Both stared at the leaves, something was looking back at them. ‘Do you feel it Ghost?’
Ghost nodded, he didn’t like it. The whole place felt bizarre, something was out of kilter. ‘We have to go,’ said Ghost urgently.
Davina agreed. The pair could hear more than one creature behind the wall of leaves. They breathed heavily like weary race horses.
Davina and Ghost stood up and slowly backed towards a large boulder. The pair stood for a moment. Davina noticed Ghost trembling.
A low rumbling tone resonated, a few of the massive creatures were communicating behind the trees. Those creatures were about to reveal themselves. To their right some branches snapped. Ghost and Davina turned their attention. Was more than one thing was happening at once? Where should they focus? By the trees the culprits behind the snapping branches were about to reveal themselves. Snap!
‘So the two weirdoes’ got together then? Are they kissing in the woods? How romantic!’ taunted Sheba.
Ghost and Davina glanced at each other. Had the others seen the creatures?
Sheba quickly signalled to the group behind her. Numerous aggressive looking kids stepped out from behind some trees. Each carried a stick.
‘The weirdoes and their weirdness together… how sweet,’ said Sheba.
Davina couldn’t stand the girl: her eyes were black, her nails were black and her hair was black. She was messed up. What’s more she had red scar cutting through the left side of her face.
‘The little bitty weirdoes together kissing in the forest…’ she sung.
‘What do you want to do Sheba?’ asked Rose, sucking up to her.
‘I think we should teach them a lesson for getting us all in trouble. Dunt ya reckon?’
Sheba smiled wickedly signalling for the group to surround the pair.
Ghost and Davina stepped back and pressed against the large stone. Ghost glanced back, something wasn’t right: the boulder was warm. Ghost stared at the stone. Was something inside? For a split second Ghost frowned was it an animal? Wink. They hadn’t seen it wink had they?
Davina and Ghost couldn’t go any further. They were blocked by the warm boulder. Another pile of hot stones formed on the side of the boulder and plopped on the ground. There again was the perfect pile. The other children didn’t notice. There was silence; each anticipating what was going to happen next.
Davina looked down then glanced at Ghost questioningly. He didn’t have answers. Ghost glanced back over his shoulder and frowned. There was now a series of boulders as far as he could see. Why hadn’t he ever seen them before? He was always exploring the forest.
Smack! The silence was broken. One of the boys whacked his hand with the stick. Ghost took a deep breath, they were in trouble.
Davina pressed back into the boulder, what should she do? She didn’t want to fight, nor would she let them win. There was only one thing for it. Davina took a deep breath. Sheba lunged. Davina made a roar-scream resembling a lion’s roar.
Ghost jumped, glanced back. Something weird happened. He froze in a state of fearful paralysis. What the? That call changed his life. In that elongated moment, he saw something so bizarre and so unearthly that shock overwhelmed his body.
He couldn’t react, he couldn’t move, instead he became rigid.
Davina prepared to fight. Her attackers were motionless, paralysed with fear. Each was suspended mid-motion; each stared fearfully at something behind her. What was it?
Tears trickled over their cheeks, yet their bodies remained still. Why? Davina glanced at Ghost and back to the group. What had happened? The blood drained from their faces, their minds had switched to survival. Had the roar done that to them?
One girl at the front of the group unintentionally wet herself. Another sobbed. Davina followed their gaze, as she rotated a branch snapped. The cracking sound broke the atmosphere and the petrifaction. The first attacker scurried away.
‘You bitch! You’re going to get it freak!’ screamed Sheba running.
The rest of the group glanced at each other, turned quickly and ran in the direction of the school.
Behind Davina there was a heavy thud and a rustle. She turned, the boulder she had been leaning on remained in the same place. There was nothing out of the ordinary, everything seemed fine. As far as Davina could see there was forest, a few stones and Ghost trembling beside her curled up in a ball. What was wrong with him? Davina knelt down beside him. Ghost pushed her away and protected his head.
‘Ghost we’re fine, we’re safe now,’ said Davina in a soft tone.
Ghost shook his head and shivered. ‘What the Hell are you Davina? Why did you do that?’
Davina said nothing, what did he mean? ‘I don’t understand.’
Davina looked down, another pile of hot stones appeared. This time they were red hot. Davina glanced at the nearby boulder. Things were beginning to make sense.


Michelle Dry

Bournemouth, United Kingdom

  • Artist

Artist's Description

Just an etxtract. I hope it entices you…. if you happen to know of a really cool agent/publisher please tell me….

Davina is caught up in a chase but doesn’t know why. All she knows is she is searching for something-but what?

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