ISBN 9789899734890-5

2015 Words
'What's that?' asked Emma as she noticed something on her arm beneath her sleeve. Declan lifted the sleeve of her jumper to reveal a sore, red gash, oozing silver fluid. 'I'm not sure. Has she mentioned this to any of you before?' 'Not lately. Although she was slightly injured that night in Abney Park but she said it wasn't anything to worry about.' 'Injured? How was she injured?' Lana and Emma shook their heads and shrugged their shoulders. 'Shayne, does this look familiar to you?' As he stood up to take a closer look, Shayne's eyes grew wider and he nodded. 'She's been bitten, Declan.' 'Bitten?' said Lana, 'By what?' 'A Skull.' oOo It had taken quite a few weeks to take its toll on Moira's body, but she now had Skull poison flowing through her veins. And if she wasn't treated fairly quickly, Moira would start to change… and not for the better. Gently placed in a bed upstairs, the Watchers took their turn keeping an eye on her as the strange, fitful sleep continued to plague her. 'What can we do?' asked Emma as Diarmuid took his turn at Moira's bedside. 'There's not a lot we can do at the moment. Not while we're trapped in here by the trolls,' Shayne replied. 'But if we could get out, what is the best way to treat Moira? Is it with antibiotics or something like that?' Declan sat down at the oval dining table, next to Shayne, Lana and Emma while the other Watchers slept in the living room. 'I'm afraid antibiotics would have little effect on her, Emma. Moira needs to be treated at the Praxos hospital.' 'I've never heard of that before. Where is it?' asked Lana, resting her chin on her hands. 'It's in Arundel.' 'Arundel? Where's Arundel?' asked Emma. 'West Sussex,' he replied. 'We need the helicopter back,' she said. 'I know, but we can't reach them, unless Ava's ability will stretch that far?' Shayne wondered. 'I doubt she's that strong yet. Maybe in a couple of years perhaps, but not yet. You forget she's only 16, Shayne,' said Declan. 'I guess you're right.' 'I'm afraid there's nothing we can do but sit it out and hope that Moira's condition doesn't worsen before the chopper gets back.' 'This sucks,' said Rupert as he walked into the dining room, stretching his arms and yawning. He walked over to the window and flicked the curtain to one side. Rain had just started to splash against the glass. A c***k of thunder made them all jump, Emma especially, as until recently she would have been cowering under the table with fear of storms and all that they entailed. 'Hang on a minute,' said Imran who had wandered sleepily into the room, 'If time has been frozen, how come the weather is changing? Surely it should stay put too?' he asked. 'Sorry, but I've no idea what's going on out there,' Declan answered. As the rain began to pour, Rupert continued to stare out the back of Royal Crescent. 'Hey… I can see them!' he said suddenly. 'The rain - the rain's making it possible to see their outlines. There's hundreds of the little blighters. Look…' The others rushed to his side to watch as the outlines of the pixie trolls clearly became visible beneath the now constant downpour of rain. The pixie trolls had the back of the building surrounded. Emma rushed through the house looking for a window that looked out onto the opposite side of the building. Several of the bedroom windows did and she smiled to herself when she realised there were no trolls there. 'Hey!' she shouted, 'Shayne, is there another way out of this place?' 'There's a front and a back door,' he replied as he approached her, 'Why?' 'Because the trolls are only out by the grass. Look,for some reason they're not on the other side of the house.' 'Hmm, that's interesting,' he said, stroking his goatee. 'I wonder…' he rushed away from her and down the stairs until he reached what was actually the front door - they'd entered the back door earlier. Peering through the letterbox, he watched as the rain poured from above. 'You're right, I don't see any. The car is parked just over there,' he said, pointing to a black Range Rover in front of the building. 'Perhaps someone could take Moira and drive to Arundel. I know it's risky but she's very ill and she really does need treatment as soon as possible.' oOo So focussed had they been on the back of the Royal Crescent and Royal Victoria Park that no-one had even thought that the front of the property might be free of trolls. Declan drew straws on who would accompany him and Moira to the hospital in Arundel. Lana, Elliott and Emma drew the short ones. 'The rest of you must stay here with Shayne. Stay safe indoors until the helicopter returns and then do whatever Eleanor instructs you to do. Ava, I know it's a long shot but try and stay in communication with us. I know the further we go, the harder it is, but if you could shoot me a thought every 15 minutes, we'll try and stay in touch, okay? At least for as long as possible.' Ava nodded, her bright blue eyes wide with apprehension. 'I will. Good luck,' she muttered as she hugged Emma, Lana and Elliott. 'Be careful, babe,' whispered Diarmuid who stood holding Emma in a long tight hug. 'Come on guys, we need to get going now,' Declan said, rolling his eyes as Emma finally released her boyfriend. 'I will, I promise,' she whispered to him before they all sneaked out of the house and ran as fast as they could towards the 4x4. Declan very carefully placed Moira on the back seat before quickly climbing into his own. The others kept a sharp look out for any movement towards them. It wasn't until the moment the car doors slammed behind them that Shayne waved frantically from the window above, pointing to the rear of the car. 'They're coming,' he mouthed as he spotted movement in the rain. 'They're coming!' repeated Lana, as Declan swiftly put the car into gear and the vehicle’s wheels spun on the damp tarmac. Within seconds, they were speeding safely away from the Royal Crescent. oOo Dodging the hundreds of vehicles that had been frozen in time, Declan deftly manoeuvred the large car in and out of the streets of Bath, carefully avoiding people scattered everywhere. 'I wish we knew where all the trolls are,' said Emma. 'I would imagine they'll be wherever the Watchers are,' answered Declan. 'They will have tracked down anyone not affected by their... their spell, or whatever it is.' 'How come you and Shayne knew they were trolls?' asked Lana. 'I don't know about Shayne, but I remember my dad telling me a fairytale about them when I was a boy. It told the tale about an ugly young pixie troll who became invisible whenever his enemies were near.' 'How did it go?' 'Huh?' 'The fairytale, how did the rest of it go?' asked Lana. Declan shrugged his shoulders, 'I don't really remember, to be honest with you. All I remember is the troll was called Peter.' 'Peter the pixie troll? That's original,' sighed Elliott from the front passenger seat. 'How's Moira doing?' Declan asked, peering into the rear view mirror to try and catch a glimpse of her. 'She's okay, I think. Same as before, a bit calmer though,' Emma whispered back as she gently pushed Moira's long mousy hair out of her eyes. Turning his attention back to the road, a loud bang on the front bumper made them all jump. 'What was that?' screeched Lana as Declan slammed on the brakes. 'I don't know, I didn't see anything in front of me,' Declan said as Elliott moved to open the door. 'No!' cried Lana, 'It could be a troll, don't get out.' 'She's right, Elliott.' Putting the car into reverse, they very gingerly drove backwards, all looking out their windows to see what it was they'd hit. 'There,' screeched Lana as she pointed out of her side window, 'There's something weird over there. Look...' It was curled up like a rather large hedgehog, minus the spikes, and rolled into a ball. They watched as it slowly unravelled itself and stood up, shaking its limbs clumsily and muttering something under its breath. When it finally stood up to its full height, the creature placed its hands on its hips and shook its head energetically. It then fell straight back onto the floor again and didn't move. 'Do you think it's hurt?' asked Emma. 'Who cares? It's a troll, it's evil,' replied Lana, tutting. Emma let out a sigh. 'It didn't look mean. Maybe we should check it out?' 'Emma, I can't believe we're even related. I'm not going anywhere near that thing and I don't think anyone else should either. For all we know, it could be a trick to get us out of the car. Declan, I reckon you should put your foot down and get us out of here.' But Declan had other ideas. 'Emma, do you see a cage in the back of the car?' 'OMG,' cried Lana, 'You're not serious?' 'Afraid so,' he said as Emma nodded. 'But how are we going to get it?' Elliott asked. 'Because I doubt we can touch it.' 'If there's a cage in the back, then there should be a catch pole too. We can use that.' 'What's a catch pole? And why on Earth is there a cage and a catch pole in the car anyway?' Lana asked in irritation. 'Sometimes we have to try and catch animals and wild supernatural creatures. If they're dangerous, they need to be transported in cages. Does that explain it enough for you?' he said, with his eyebrows raised as he looked at her. 'As long as we don't touch it, we should be fine. Elliott, you come with me. Girls, you stay put.' 'But what if something happens? What if there are more trolls around the car that we can't see? Declan?' Lana asked as she became more and more concerned. Declan grinned as he pointed to Elliott, 'Elliott here is going to surround us with flames,' he grinned as he patted the teenage boy on the shoulder. 'Okay with you?' he asked. Elliott grinned and nodded. 'But if something does happen to us, just get out of here and drive. You can drive, right?' he asked the sisters. Emma and Lana both nodded. 'Yeah, Dad taught us as soon as we could reach the pedals,' said Emma. 'I thought he might have done,' Declan grinned. 'Okay then, ready Elliott? Now!' he yelled as the two jumped out of the car, slamming the doors behind them. Lana put her fingers in her mouth as she watched Elliott create a massive ring of flames all around them. He was careful to keep the fire some distance from the car itself, as they ran to the back of the car to open the boot and the cage door. Declan grabbed two catch poles before they both carefully stepped towards the troll that still appeared to be unconscious. Placing one noose around its neck and the other around its ankles, he handed one of the poles to Elliott. 'Careful not to hurt the little guy,' Declan said as Elliott nodded. 'On two. One, Two...' They picked him up and carried him awkwardly towards the car. 'I can't get him in,' said Elliott who moved closer, trying to manoeuvre the pole so that the troll could be pushed into the cage and the nooses removed. 'Concentrate, Elliott, concentrate on the flames,' Declan whispered. Elliott nodded. 'Wait,' Declan said. 'Don't get too close. He might wake up. Here, let me do it.' He took the other pole from Elliott and swiftly removed the nooses from the troll's neck and legs. Elliott rushed to his side and slammed the cage door, locking it with the padlock, while still maintaining a low circle of flames around them. 'Flames, Elliott, more flames,' Lana shrieked as she thought she saw movement in a nearby bush. Elliott responded instantly, causing fire to erupt from all around them as they returned to the sides of the vehicle and hopped back in. 'See? Lana, you had nothing to worry about,' Declan laughed as something hit the windscreen, making them all jump again.
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