Authors: Emma Fischel
âThis holiday is doomed,' I said. âBecause Rory should be on this holiday but Rory is
I glared at the back of Dad's head. Then, I glared out of the car window. I glared at the road, winding along, far above the sea.
Rory is my very best friend. I was three when I met him. He moved into my street and I spotted him straight away: as soon as he clambered out of his car seat, clutching a big green lollipop.
Rory spotted me too. He came skipping over, beaming, offered me a lick of the lollipop and that was it. I was Rory's best friend from then on and he was mine.
The mums and dads became best friends, too. So for the last four years we have all had holidays together.
But not this year.
âI was expecting this holiday to be brilliant, just like the last four,' I grumbled at the back of Dad's head. âBut it will
be. Because Rory's mum and dad have
First, they both got new jobs, two hundred miles away from their old jobs. So, one month and three days ago, Rory had to move.
Second, moving costs a lot, so Rory's mum and dad decided there would be no holiday this year. And they cancelled it.
âCheer up, Stan,' said Dad. âWe'll still have a good time.'
âI doubt it,' I said gloomily. âNot with no Rory. Just Magnus.'
I turned and glared at Magnus.
Magnus, my brother, is four years old and he's short and stout, with bobbing golden curls. He was lolling in his car seat next to me, fast asleep, dribbling, twitching and muttering. His big fairy-spotting guide was lying open on his lap.
first hour of this journey,' I said to the back of Dad's head, âI had to listen to Magnus telling me about his magic eyes.'
Yes. Magic eyes.
Magic eyes, so Magnus told me, are something all little kids have. Special eyes: eyes that can see fairies, and elves, and little pixies, and all sorts. Magnus also told me that a little kid who
see a fairy, or whatever, will keep hold of those magic eyes and be able to see fairies forever and
. Even as a grown-upÂ .Â .Â .
hour,' I said, âI had to listen to Magnus telling me
his fairy-hunting plans for this holiday.'
On and on and
Magnus went and I could
shut him up. Even when I stuck my headphones on, he kept pulling them off to chat more.
hour,' I said, âMagnus showed me pictures in his fairy-spotting guide. And he spent fifteen whole minutes explaining,
that I wanted to know, how seaside fairies have special waterproof wings so that they can splash and play in the waves without their wings getting waterlogged. And now, Magnus is
asleep but, judging by all the dribbling and muttering, he is
I slumped down in my seat, glum as anything.
âAlmost there,' Dad said cheerily. Then, the car slowed down and turned left, down a very narrow lane, winding towards the sea.
The sea got closer and closer and then, right below us, I could see it.
It was small and sandy, with big black rocks at both ends, and jagged cliffs stretching up and away above them. There were cottages, two of them, clinging to the slope behind the beach: a pale blue cottage the far end and right ahead of us, a white one.
Shiversands Cottage. Our holiday home.
* * *
Shiversands Cottage was old and crooked. It was leaning a bit to one side and all painted white, with a black wooden frame. It had lots of little windows with diamond-shaped panes.
I got out of the car and stood with Dad. He stretched and looked around, then gave a big happy sniff. âSea air,' he said. âA beach. Cliffs.'
Then he pointed out to sea, to a small island, linked by a rickety bridge from the edge of our cove. âAnd look,' he said, âthere. An island to explore. Perfect!'
Dad was right. It
perfect. But that made me feel even more glum, because it
perfect, except for one thing.
So I glared at the pale blue cottage at the far end of the cove. The one Rory should be been staying in, but wasn't.
âWe had plans for this holiday,' I said. âBig plans.' Which we did: digging plans, snorkelling plans, all sorts of plans.
âAnd if Rory were here, then Amy would be too,' I said. âSo Magnus could do all his fairy chat with Amy, instead of me.'
Amy is Rory's sister: another four-year-old fairy fanatic.
I felt my shoulders droop. âAnd Rory said we could train Bagel to do the high jump this holiday,' I said. âBut
, instead of Rory and his dog, I am stuck with Magnus and his hamster. And the hamster is an idiot, and it bites. SoÂ .Â .Â .'
I blinked. There was something out there, far out at sea, swimming behind the island.
I tugged on Dad's sleeve. âDad,' I said. âWhat's that?'
Dad looked. âWhat's what?' he said.
âIt's gone now, behind the island,' I said. âBut there was something there, something big, something greeny-grey.'
Just then, I heard a gasp from the car seat and a small piping voice.
âDaddy, Stan,' it said. âI am
ready to go fairy hunting!'
Magnus was awake: beaming out of the car window and struggling with the straps of his car seat. âStan, Help me, help me,' he said. âGet me out!'
I opened the car door and undid the straps. Magnus scrambled out, eyes all shiny as he stared at the sea. He clasped his hands together. âOh, I do hope I find a fairy! And if I do find a fairy, I must let Fairy Fenella know!'
I groaned; I just couldn't help it. Not Fairy Fenella.
. I heard a
about Fairy Fenella in the car: too much, in fact.
âMagnus,' I snapped. âFairy Fenella is
a real fairy.'
Magnus just tittered and patted my hand. âStan,' he said, âyou are such a silly. Fairy Fenella
a real fairy.'
,' I said. âShe'sÂ .Â .Â .'
,' said Dad.
Dad can get a lot of meaning into a âStan', and this âStan' was a warning. Say any more about Fairy Fenella being some grown-up idiot who thinks it's funny to prance around on TV, filling little kids' heads with nonsense about day-to-day life as a fairy, and magic eyes, and all that stuff, and you are in Big Trouble.
Even though it was the truth.
* * *
Inside, Shiversands Cottage was all higgledy-piggledy: full of sloping floors and small dark rooms filled with big dark shadows. It was very old, very dark and a bit spooky. Which I liked.
The sitting room was darkest and spookiest of all. I pushed open the door and walked in. It had two narrow windows, a sloping floor and two saggy old sofas. There were shelves crammed full of old books, and pictures everywhere: old black and white photos of stormy seas, of huge waves crashing over big black rocks, and of olden days people in olden days clothes, standing by olden days boats.
Over the fireplace was a big dark painting. It was some kind of sea monster, rearing up over a boat at night. An ugly sort of sea monster,
looming out of the waves and the gloom. Its head was arched back, its eyes were popping, and its snout was open, as though it was roaring.
Up the narrow, creaking stairs there were three rooms: a bathroom and two bedrooms. The one straight ahead had a nameplate on the door, which said:
Then, there were three small steps up to another room, with a sign, which said:
Crew's cabin was small but cosy. It had two beds, one for me and one for Magnus, with a big porthole-shaped window between them. I stared out of it and down the long, sloping back garden. It had a fence at the bottom with a gate on to the rocks above the cove, and the sand, and the sea.
The sea was flat calm in the cove; not a breath of wind was ruffling the water. Further out at sea, the sun was dropping behind the island, a red setting sun.
Huge ripples were coming in from the sea, rippling into the cove and widening in circles across it.
As if, wellÂ .Â .Â . as if there were a big fish somewhere out there: a
big fish indeed.
Next morning, the sun woke me, glinting in through a chink in the curtains. I sat up and looked out of the porthole. It was a bright sunny day and the sea was all sparkly. Then, just behind the island, out at sea: