Sammy tentatively nodded as Emma took her hand and squeezed.
'Ready?' she asked.
Declan opened the door and, with the warmth of the flames surrounding them, the four of them headed for the car.
Once they were bundled inside and Sammy, Lana, Emma and Moira were squeezed into the back seats, Lana spoke.
'I'm afraid we've got a slight problem.'
'What is it?' asked Declan as he turned to face her.
'It's woken up,' she replied with a gulp.
'Oi, get me outta, outta here here. You can't keep me locked in a cage cage. I'm not some kind of animal animal. I'm a troll troll, I'm a pixie pixie troll. We have rights right, you know know. Get me outta here, get me out, out!' screeched the creature from the back of the car as it shook the bars of the cage.
'Shut up,' Lana shouted back at it. 'Just shut up, you horrible little thing. Why should we let you out? So you can freeze us all too? You're an evil little sh—'
'Lana, that's enough,' yelled Emma over the top of her voice.
Lana instantly quietened down, sulking.
'Sammy, this is my sister, Lana,' she said with a smile as Sammy sat, terrified, occasionally stealing a glance at the ugly creature in the back of the car.
'Hi, Sammy. Sorry about that,' she said, reaching across to shake her hand. Sammy shook it and then put her hands back underneath her legs.
'Wh...wh...what is that?' she gulped.
'That's a pixie troll and it's because of him and his kind that the world seems to have stopped, evil little...'
'Lana, stop it,' Emma said, shaking her head.
'Well it is!'
'I know, but Sammy doesn't understand any of this. So before you keep going on and on about him, we need to explain what's happening.'
'Oh yeah, right. Sorry,' she said. 'Did you get your tattoo this morning?'
'Did you discover any special power yet?'
Sammy shrugged and looked down shyly.
'You've probably just not had the chance to find out what it is, with all this happening this morning,' Declan said as they drove away from Salisbury towards Winchester.
'Erm... what's wrong with her?' Sammy asked as she looked at Moira, who not only seemed to be in a rather deep sleep but was also very pale.
'She was bitten, we're taking her to hospital,' Elliott said, turning to look at her from the front seat.
'Hospital? But what good will that do? Everyone's frozen.'
Lana and Emma smiled. 'It's not just any old hospital we're taking her to. It's a special hospital for the Watchers,' Emma replied.
'You're a Watcher, Sammy. That's what we are. We're half... erm... half...' Emma suddenly wondered whether she should be the one to tell her the truth.
'It's okay, Emma. She needs to know. Normally Eleanor would tell her, but I think under the circumstances, it's okay for you to go ahead and do the honours,' Declan interrupted.
Smiling, Emma continued, 'Sammy, we're special because one of our parents was special. We're all half angels,' she said.
Sammy raised her eyebrows.
'Seriously, we're half angels. You too, that's what your tattoo means.'
'Och, half angels, half angels angels. Who do you think you are, you are? I'm special, and you're special special, we're all special special. Get over yourselves selves,' muttered the troll angrily.
'Oh shut up,' yelled everyone at the same time.
'You're telling me that either my mum or my dad is an angel?'
'That's right,' said Elliott.
'Where are your parents?' Emma asked.
'My mum died when I was a baby and my dad, well, he runs a bakery in Salisbury, with my step mum.'
'So it is likely your mum was the angel,' Lana said with a sad smile.
Sammy's eyes glazed over, 'Does that mean she's not... not... not really dead?' she asked.
Declan looked at her through the mirror, 'It's a possibility,' he said. 'But that doesn't mean that you can see her. Most angels aren't allowed to return. But we can look into it when all of this is sorted out.'
'You can?' she asked, her face glowing.
'We will, I promise,' he said with a wink before he returned his full attention to the road.
'So what happened to you this morning, Sammy?' asked Lana.
'I was just working at the bakery with Dad when suddenly everything stopped,' she said, putting her head in her hands and sobbing. 'I don't know what happened, nobody was moving. I thought they were dead, but how can you die standing up like that? I was so confused,' she added.
'What happened to you before that, though?' Emma asked.
'I woke up at 4.30 with an awful pain in my legs, I just couldn't shift it. I got out of bed to have a look and that's when I saw it climbing up my legs, it looked like a tree root or something. It hurt so much,' she sobbed. 'And then it carried on moving up until it landed on my back and stayed there. I was so scared, I didn't know what to do. Dad was already at the bakery and I couldn't tell him anyway... what would he think? So I just went back to bed and tried to forget about it but I couldn’t get back to sleep. So I got up and walked into town early. But while I was walking, there were all these voices in my head. They just wouldn't shut up, it was horrible. It carried on until everything stopped just before ten this morning. Then there was nothing but silence.'
'Voices in your head?' asked Declan.
Sammy nodded, 'It was horrible.'
Declan smiled, 'I know exactly how that feels, Sammy.'
'You mean you have it too? How do you live with it?'
'You learn how to control it. Once you've mastered that, it won't bother you at all. In fact, you'll find it becomes very useful,' he winked.
She smiled back, 'But the voices didn't sound human. I don't know what they were, it was just weird.'
'Don't worry, we'll help you figure it out,' Emma said.
'Does that say mud?' asked Daisy.
'Yes,' said Eleanor as she continued to read up about the pixie trolls. 'Apparently, they use it as a weapon against their enemies.'
'How do they do that?'
'By throwing it, apparently. I've no idea how that works though,' she replied. 'I can't imagine mud being particularly damaging.
'But how can they be stopped?' asked Daisy as Wilbur returned to the little office with cups of tea for them both.
'Thanks, Wilbur,' Daisy smiled as she took a long gulp.
'Here it is,' exclaimed Eleanor. 'House dust! If they are touched with house dust, the trolls become woozy and unable to do much for about 24 hours. Hmm, that's interesting,' she said as she turned to face Daisy and Wilbur, taking off her glasses, 'Who'd have thought the answer would lie with something so simple,' she said before taking a sip of her tea and then turning back and putting her glasses back on. 'Let's see what else we need to know. Hmm. The pixie trolls are said to have been put into a comatose-like sleep about 80 years ago by Phillip James Bottomley,' Eleanor frowned. 'I remember Phillip. He did this?' she whispered.
'Phillip died in 1941, Eleanor. He can't be responsible,' Wilbur offered.
'Yes, I know. It says here that he used the trolls’ own power against them, with the help of a very special artefact that he found in Lyndhurst. That artefact was eventually given to The British Museum in 1935... Goodness,' she said, standing up for a moment to stretch her legs. 'What's the time, Wilbur?'
'Time has stopped, Eleanor,' said Wilbur with a smirk.
'Oh, yes of course!' she exclaimed, her cheeks pinking slightly.
'But I do believe it's time to go to your chambers,' he added.
Raising her eyebrows, the elderly woman took the arm he offered and they turned to exit the room.
'Daisy, be a dear and print off the image of that artefact and then switch the computer off. Here's the key to lock up afterwards. We'll wait for you in the main living room', Eleanor said with a smile as the two walked out.
A younger and much more energetic Eleanor bounded out of her changing room wearing her favourite blue skinny jeans, tan knee high boots and a cream fluffy jumper. With a grin, she did a few yoga poses as she waited for Daisy to return.
Wilbur stood waiting for further instructions.
'Eleanor,' Daisy exclaimed as she pushed through the door and handed her the key. 'You missed something about the trolls. I scrolled down a bit and found that if they consume sugar, they'll grow to twice their normal size.'
'Oh, thanks, Daisy. Glad you spotted that!' she said, grinning. 'Now, we need to track down the other Watchers and get to the bottom of this. Wilbur, I could really do with speaking to Bryn. Where did he go today?'
'He took a group of students to Royal Tunbridge Wells,' said Wilbur as Daisy searched the room for something. Spotting a small bottle of water, she walked over, picked it and took a couple of swigs while listening to Eleanor.
'Right. While I think about what to do, would you pop down and get Beau and Habika?'
Wilbur nodded and rushed out of the room.
'How are we going to contact everyone?' asked Daisy, swinging the bottle in her hand.
'I'm still not sure, to be honest, Daisy. Our communications have never been hit quite like this before. Ordinarily, we'd use the CB radios but we can't even get them to work. Oh, do you hear that?'
A very faint sound could be heard from above.
'It's a helicopter,' Eleanor said as she rushed from the living room. 'Come on, Daisy!' she said as she grabbed her hand and they rushed down the long corridor towards the elevator.
They pressed the button a few times but nothing happened.
Eleanor slapped her forehead, 'I completely forgot the lift is out of action at the moment. I must remember to get the maintenance man in when this is all over. We'll have to take the stairs,' she said as she opened a secret door to the side of the lift. The two ran up, two at a time, reaching another corridor. Turning left, they entered a beautiful, old fashioned living room, with a huge wood burning fire at its focal point.
'Through here,' Eleanor said as she pulled Daisy through a wardrobe door, out into another room that was covered in a thick layer of dust.
'Grab a couple of handfuls,' she said, 'and then follow me down to the front door.'
The two stood either side of the door, looking out through the windows. A helicopter was expertly landing on a very tiny patch of green space several metres away from the building.
'There's Cassie!' yelled Daisy as they watched the blades eventually come to a halt as the curly haired blonde and the two other women waited patiently, working out their exit strategy.
'Who's that?' Daisy asked as she spotted a tall man with long white hair strolling towards the helicopter.
'It's a Skull,' cursed Eleanor. 'He's going for the girls. I've got no choice but to run,' she added. 'But first,' she said as she lay on the floor, 'help cover me in dust.'
'But it's not going to stick,' Daisy cried.
Quick thinking Eleanor sat up and grabbed the bottle of water, pouring the remains over herself before they sprinkled the dust on top of her.
Daisy held her breath, as it began to swirl all over the place while Eleanor made sure she was covered, from top to toe.
Daisy then watched as Eleanor opened the door and shot outside.
As she ran, troll after troll began to reveal itself. Each one that tried to touch her fell to the ground. Daisy smiled as Eleanor's plan worked.
Upon reaching the helicopter moments before the Skull, Eleanor turned to face him. With a grin, she crouched to the floor before jumping high into the air. She kicked him, square in his chest, and knocked him back at least ten metres.
'Quick,' she shouted to the girls. 'Start up the engines. It's better that we move this baby out of here. I think that's what the Skulls are after. We can land at the rear. I'll show you where.'