Here’s a spooky little snippet from my kids’ novel Gateway to Magic, the story of a gaming fanatic trapped in Fairyland where all tech is banned by law. Steven has been made to live in a toadstool and work for the Fairy Queen, and he’s hating every minute…
Bedtime came at last, and Steven sank gratefully into his bunk; but just as he was dropping off, he heard a hideous snorting sound right under his window. ‘I’m not having another sleepless night,’ he decided. ‘The Queen said there were no sockworms, so it must be some ordinary animal making that racket. I’m going out to chase it away.’
It was the first time he’d been outside at night since he’d first come to the Sock Garden. Once again everything was shrouded in mist, so he couldn’t see much; but he could still hear the grunting and snorting of whatever-it-was under his window.
‘It sounds like a pig,’ he thought, as he crept round the outside of the Toadstool. ‘And it smells horrible…’
The smell reminded him of cheese – not yummy cheese-on-toast-type cheese, but ancient and deeply rotten cheese that someone forgot to throw away. He longed to bolt back indoors, but he knew this creature must be chased off if he was to get any sleep.
‘You can’t be scared of a smell,’ he told himself, creeping on until he could see the outside of his window. Below it, a blob of darkness quivered gently as it snuffled about in the flowerbed.
Steven took a deep breath and shouted ‘BOO!!’ at the top of his voice.
The Thing stopped quivering and snuffling, but it didn’t run away.
‘BOO!!’ he shouted again, flapping his hands.
The Thing turned to face him, snuffling with renewed vigour. Steven could now see two points of burning yellow light in the middle of the black shape. He tried to shout ‘Boo!’ again, but all that came out was a squeaky whisper.
The creature changed shape, elongating and rearing up, and hissed loudly. Steven hissed back – he was trying to say the word ‘snake’, but all that came out past his chattering teeth was the first letter. Somewhere in his head was the thought that he should run away, but he couldn’t move.
A sudden breeze stirred the fog, ripping it apart so the moon could pop through, providing just enough light for him to see the mysterious creature in detail.
It wasn’t a snake. It was something much worse.
It was certainly snake-shaped, but fatter and lumpier than any snake should be. Its skin was patterned with diamond shapes in shades of brown, but instead of being smooth and scaly, it looked sort of fuzzy. Half of it was coiled up in the flowerbed while the other half reared up, cobra-like, its head on a level with Steven’s.
The head was the worst, being mostly mouth, stretched in a snarl and crammed with scissor-like teeth. Its eyes seemed to be full of boiling, luminous, yellow oil, and above them a pair of antennae waved menacingly.
There was only one thing this horrid creature could be, and when Steven finally got a word out it wasn’t the word he’d started to say a moment ago:
‘S-S-S-S-SOCKWORM!!’ he shrieked, and bolted back to the front door…
…only to find a second sockworm hissing and grinning on the doorstep.
Love it! Well done!
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Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it – it was fun to write! 🙂
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