Sunday, 16 October 2011

Sample sunday: opening chapter of Kiwi and the living nightmare

Chapter 1: The dream

“Wow, what a weird dream,” mumbled Amy, rubbing her eyes. Her bedroom was still dark and a bit chilly. Light streaked in through a gap between the curtains from a street-lamp outside. The small, round, blue clock on the bedside table ticked 3am on the dot. “Ah, I thought it was morning,” she signed, and slumped back down into the pillow. She hugged the warm duvet closer around her neck, hoping to dream about something different, something nice.

Across the hallway in his own little bedroom, wallpapered with red cars with big grins, James slept. But it wasn’t a peaceful sleep. Every ten minutes he was tossing and turning in his bed; the duvet had been kicked into a pyramid on the floor. Every now and then he muttered something inaudible, but he didn’t wake.

Downstairs in the lounge by the sofa, curled up in her little fluffy, pink bed, decorated with yellow paws, Kiwi was snoring in her sleep. This was unusual as she never snored. She breathed really heavily, slowly in and out. Every now and then her ears would twitch, and her tail flicked slightly at the end. Then a paw would twitch as if she was running in her dream. But she didn’t wake. 

The children didn’t say a word at breakfast, lost in their own thoughts. Every couple of minutes or so, one of them would yawn, and the other would catch it, and yawn an even bigger yawn. And so it continued in a game of yawning ping-pong across the table.

“Did you not sleep last night?” asked their mum, warming her hands around her mug of steaming coffee.

“Not much,” said James, cupping his hand over his mouth to stop a yawn.

Kiwi was sitting on the kitchen chair next to Amy and her eyes were sleepy.

“Me neither,” said Amy, frowning. She loved sleeping and if it was an Olympic sport, she knew she would have been a great contender for the gold medal.

“Is your room too cold again?” asked mum. It was nearly the end of October and the house was already starting to get chilly.

“Not really,” replied James. “I had a weird dream...”

Amy glanced up from her cornflakes. Kiwi’s ears perked up and she looked up at the little girl.

“What about?” asked mum.

“I’m not sure because I remembered all the details when I woke up, but now it’s a bit blurry,” mumbled James, rubbing his eyes. “But I remember an old house in the middle of some woods. It was really spooky and there were lots of rooms. And there was a cat in there...”

Amy stopped eating her cornflakes, but forgot to shut her mouth. Kiwi froze.

“...and the cat needed help. She was lost. And it was dark in the house. The horrible thing was that there was someone else in the house, someone bad...”

Amy dropped her spoon.

“... but I can’t remember any more. I just remember being really scared and I couldn’t wake up...” said James really quietly.

Kiwi tapped Amy’s leg with her paw. The little girl looked down and nodded to Kiwi. The little black cat looked puzzled.

“Don’t worry,” said their mum, rubbing the top of James’ head, which messed up his hair. 
“It was only a dream. Maybe I’ll turn the heating up a bit so that your room isn’t so cold. Or get you another blanket.”

“It seemed really real mum,” said James. 

“It could be something you ate,” she replied. “No cheese or bananas for you before bedtime! They can give you bad dreams. Now would you like some hot chocolate?”

James’ eyes lit up. “Yes please!” Hot chocolate was his favourite and their mum always put a couple of mini marshmallows in it. Gorgeous!


“Yes mum. I’d love one,” smiled Amy, turning round. Their mum took a couple of mugs out of the cupboard.

“Why are you staring at me like that?” whispered James. Amy and Kiwi were both eyeballing him really strangely. “I’m no chicken, but that dream was scary.”

“We know,” whispered Kiwi, her eyes looked worried.

“So, why are you staring?” asked James.

“Because we had the same dream,” whispered Amy across the table. She looked round, but their mum was busy, stirring a saucepan of milk and adding some chocolate powder into two mugs.

“That’s impossible!” mumbled James.

“Well, I guess it is!” hissed Kiwi. “What colour was the cat?”

“Grey...” whispered James.

“Same...” said Amy. Kiwi nodded.

“Anything else about the cat?” asked Kiwi.

“She had three legs,” whispered James.

“Same...” said Amy. “We definitely had the same dream.”

“There must be a reason,” hissed Kiwi. “It’s too big a coincidence...”

Just then their mum returned to the table with two mugs of steaming hot chocolate. “Now this should wipe away any bad dreams, James,” she smiled.

Kiwi was doubtful. They would have to do some research on the house in their dream as soon as possible. The little grey cat really seemed to be in danger.

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