Hot on the heels of yesterday’s post, here’s the next raw and uncut part of the continuing saga of Granny Battle and Ellis…
To make things a bit easier if you’d like to catch up, here are links to earlier chapters. You’ll have to scroll through varying amounts of introductory waffle in each case!
Granny was already halfway down the garden path and bustling fast as Ellis shut the door behind him. The orange dragon had now taken up residence around her shoulders like a spikey scarf, although admittedly most scarfs tended not to have scales or to puff wisps of smoke from one end. He jogged down the path and caught up with her as she opened the battered, creaky gate. The sun was dipping down behind the trees in front of them, and everything was beginning to look decidedly dusky.
Granny stopped on the old platform and checked her watch.
‘Right,’ she said, ‘Pay attention now, I don’t want any silliness – there isn’t another train for two hours and we have stuff to do.’ She hutched her bag up a bit and the dragon snuffled and untangled his tail from the strap.
‘One. Don’t loose sight of the dragon. Two. When I say NOW -‘ she said this rather loudly and Ellis jumped – ‘. shut your eyes tight. Three. When I say NOW again -‘ Ellis was ready for that one – ‘open your eyes again and follow me. Quickly. Repeat that back.’
Ellis checked the instructions off on his fingers, ‘One, keep looking at the dragon, two, shut eyes, three, open -‘
‘NOW!’ yelled Granny suddenly. In panic Ellis looked quickly to the dragon then closed his eyes tightly.
For a split second nothing happened, then everything happened at once.
The still evening erupted into sound, as if he’d accidently hit play on his MP3 player, with his headphones on and volume on maximum. The noise was deafening – screeches, banging, and an ear-splitting hiss, and at the same time he felt as if he was suddenly in the middle of a huge cloud of hot, choking, smoke.
His instant thought was that the dragon must have exploded, and forgetting Granny’s instructions he opened his eyes.
The world was instantly wrong. He was standing on the disused, mossy, platform looking at the trees opposite, with the rustle and tweet of a dusky summer’s evening all around him, but at the same time he was standing on a dark, crowded platform, and a massive, hissing, screeching, clanking, steam train was rolling by inches from his face.
He did the only thing he could be expected to do under these circumstances, which was to yell loudly, stagger backwards, and fall over.
‘You bloody idiot!’ he heard Granny yell, ‘I hadn’t said the second now!’
He felt himself being hauled up by his rucksack, and he squeezed his eyes tight shut in an attempt to stop his brain exploding.
‘It’s a bit late now,’ Granny muttered, pushing him in front of her and holding him tight by the shoulders, ‘Step forward and up, NOW!’
He did as he was told, and felt a solid step under his feet – and at the same time nothing at all. He nearly fell over backwards again and Granny pushed him from behind. Then he felt her pull him sideways, and he rebounded between what felt like people and seats – and also nothing – then she pushed him down onto what felt like a bench. And also thin air.
Granny was panting, and he felt her squeeze down beside him. His rucksack was pushing him forwards on the seat but he daredn’t move, and his eyes were squeezed so tightly shut that multi-coloured fireworks were exploding on the backs of his eyelids.
‘Okay,’ said Granny a little breathlessly. ‘Okay. Okay. We’re here. Could have been easier if you hadn’t panicked, but here we are. Okay.’ She exhaled noisily.
Ellis sat very still concentrating on his personal firework display.
‘Okay,’ said Granny again, and he felt her rumagging around next to him. Then he felt something warm breathing on his face, and tried to lean back but was hampered by his rucksack.
‘Right, now then,’ said Granny, ‘Listen carefully, and this time do EXACTLY what I say. Okay?’
Ellis gave a tiny nod.
‘Good. Now. I’m holding the dragon right in front of you. What am I holding?’
‘Dragon,’ said Ellis, trying to move his mouth as little as possible.
‘Not a cat?’ asked Granny.
Ellis shook his head quickly.
‘Are you sure?’
Ellis nodded again with a tiny bit of irration.
‘Okay,’ said Granny, ‘When I say NOW, picture the dragon in your head, then open your eyes and see it. NOW!’
Ellis wasn’t expecting the now to happen quite so quickly and for a second his mind completely failed to find a picture of a dragon. He saw a cat – no, she said not a cat! – then a succession of completely irrelevant objects including for some reason a fridge which had long scaley arms that were waving at him, then finally as he concentrated harder than he’d ever concentrated in his life, he saw the dragon as it had looked on the kitchen table, crinkling its snout in a dragony smile.
He opened his eyes.
Update: Here’s the next chapter…
Chapter 8 – Particularly pungent…