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by Sandra Glover
Demon’s Rock is shrouded in tales of dark forces and tragedy. Bug and Mona think it's superstitious nonsense, until a strange boy turns up with an even stranger tale to tell. Bug and Mona investigate, and are confronted by a truth much scarier than the local legend.
Sandra Glover took a History degree at the University of Lancaster before becoming a teacher. She now divides her time between writing and working with children on creative writing projects. She has published twelve books and has been shortlisted for several awards including: the Lancashire Children’s Book of the Year Award, the South Lanarkshire Children’s Book Award and the Leicester Book Award. She is best known for her hard-hitting teenage novels, such as The Girl Who Knew and Face to Face.
Sandra lives in Cumbria with her family and her dogs, Muppet and Morse.
Visit www.sandraglover.co.uk/ to find out more.
I’m fairly sure that, until a few months ago, we were a completely normal family. Very ordinary. In fact, ordinary to the point of dullness most of the time. Dad’s an accountant and you don’t get much duller than that. Mum’s a veterinary nurse. Not really important except it explains why we live in the country on the edge of the moors...so that the ever-increasing army of limping dogs, half-blind cats, geriatric goats and other strays she brings home have plenty of space to exercise.
So, apart from Mum’s peculiar pets, they were Mr. and Mrs. Extremely Average with their two children: a boy aged twelve (that’s me) and a girl, aged ten (my sister, Mona). She’s not really called that. Her name’s Anna-Mae, but I re-christened her Mona because that’s what she was always doing. Moaning. Usually about me.
“Go away,” she’d wail. “Quit bugging me!”
Which is how I came to be known as Bug. Almost everyone calls me that now. Parents, friends, neighbours, the lot. Only my teachers ever call me Benjamin.
Anyway, we were bickering away quite normally on a dreary Friday night at the start of October half-term, little knowing that our life was about to be thrown into total chaos.
We’d just finished dinner. Mum and Dad were poring over their latest bank statement. See what I mean about dull? And Mona and me were standing by the dishwasher, arguing about whose turn it was to stack it.
“I did it last night.”
“No, you didn’t!”
“Yes, I did.”
Honestly, it was like the Christmas panto come early. Not very imaginative, as far as arguments go. But then neither of us has what you’d call a good imagination. We never really played fantasy games, even when we were younger. We’re both more practical types. Which is important.
We’re totally sane, too. Though you might not believe it once you’ve heard my story. But everything I’m going to tell you is true, I promise. However unlikely, however bizarre it seems and whatever my parents might say, my story is true.
It all started with the shout from outside. A really loud, high-pitched, terrifying scream, which drowned out our bickering.
“Mum!” it squealed. “Mum, help me! Help me! What’s happening?”
Seconds later the back door burst open, letting in a blast of cold air and a swirl of damp leaves that settled on the kitchen floor.
We all looked and there was this lad standing in the open doorway, breathing so heavily it sounded like a dog panting. The lad was white. Not just as in white-skinned but completely, ghostly, ghastly white.
His short, brown hair was stuck up in little spikes, like he’d had some terrible shock. Or maybe he’d just been running his hands through it while it was wet. Very wet. Like the rest of him. So wet that the funny knitted sweater he was wearing was all sort of misshapen, dripping down over seriously naff grey trousers.
His lack of fashion sense intrigued me for about ten seconds until he screamed again. Which sort of distracted me a bit. Not least because Mona screamed in response. Mum and Dad leaped up. The dogs whimpered and scurried under the table while the two cats that had been lying, peacefully, on the floor, hurled themselves on top of the fridge-freezer, backs arched, tails fluffed up.
And the boy...well, he seemed to somehow move forwards and backwards at the same time, still screaming and waving his arms around, as if he didn’t quite know what to do.
The wind slamming the door shut behind him made the decision for him, I guess. He pressed his back flat against it, arms outstretched like a squashed cartoon character. Staring at us with wide blue eyes as if we were three-headed space monsters or something.
Somewhere, somehow, in all the noise and chaos, his screams had started to form into words.
“Who are you? What are you doing here? Stop them! Stop them! What have they done to me? I want my mum. Where is she? What have you done with her?”
I’m not sure I’ve got his words in the right order, but it doesn’t really matter. Whatever order they were in, they didn’t make much sense. Not least because they were spoken so rapidly, it was like being under fire from a hail of bullets, which made me want to dive under the table with the dogs.
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