Oliver Moon and the Broomstick Battle

Chapter 1

Oliver Moon was getting ready for bed. He had brushed his teeth with teethrotter paste. He had washed his face with skunk-whiff soap. He was just pulling on his toad-patterned pyjamas, ready to climb into his spiderweb hammock, when he suddenly heard a lot of noise downstairs.

First, there came a high-pitched whizzing sound. Next, a loud voice he didn’t recognize. And then a noise that sounded like a firework going off, followed by an excited squeal from his mum. What was going on?

Oliver crept out of his bedroom to listen on the stairs.

“I can’t wait! It’s going to be brilliant!” he heard his dad cry.

Oliver’s ears pricked up. What couldn’t his dad wait for? What was going to be brilliant?

“Ooh, look!” he could hear his mum saying now. “Look at that!”

Then there came a wail from his little sister’s room. “Too noisy! Me wake up!” the Witch Baby shouted.

Oliver went in to see her and carefully lifted her out of her cot. “Come on,” he said, “we’re going downstairs. Something exciting is happening, and we need to find out what!”

The Witch Baby gave a sniff. “Need to,” she agreed, wriggling out of Oliver’s arms and toddling ahead of him. “No more sleep. Finished sleep!”

Oliver and his sister went downstairs and peeped around the living room door. Mr. and Mrs. Moon were standing open-mouthed and staring at a…

Oliver rubbed his eyes. Was he seeing things? He looked again. No, it was definitely there – a gigantic green witch’s head, with no body, floating above the fireplace, and making some kind of announcement!

“Finally, there will be the Unicorn Showjumping event!” the witch’s head declared. “Marvel as the unicorns fly over flaming fences! Gasp as they gallop over giant gates! Cheer as they chase through the enchanted slalom! All at this year’s Cacklewick Olympics!”

Oliver watched in astonishment as the witch gave a wink, then vanished, with just a trace of green sparkly mist hanging in the air to show that she’d ever been there at all. A brightly coloured leaflet shot out of the chimney and whirled all around the room, before floating to the ground. “This was a public service announcement from Cacklewick Council,” a different voice said. And then there was silence.

“Gone,” the Witch Baby said, her eyes round with amazement. “Witch all gone!”

Mr. and Mrs. Moon turned at her words, looking surprised to see Oliver and his sister standing there in the doorway.

“Oops, sorry – did we wake you?” Mrs. Moon said, going over and scooping up the Witch Baby.

“Naughty Mummy,” the Witch Baby told her reproachfully. “Too loud.”

Mr. Moon was grinning at Oliver. “Did you catch any of that, Ol? Did you hear what the witch just said?”

“Only the bit about the unicorn race,” Oliver said. “Is it really going to be the Cacklewick Olympics soon? I’d love to go!”

“Let’s hope we can get tickets then!” Mr. Moon replied. He picked up the leaflet and sat down on the sofa with it. “Come on, let’s have a look,” he said, beckoning Oliver over.

Oliver didn’t need asking twice! He was already really excited about the thought of the Olympics starting. He rushed to sit down next to his dad, leaning over to look at the leaflet.

There was a great long list of races and competitions, and Oliver skimmed through them eagerly. “Ooh! Boulder-Throwing for the giants,” he read aloud. “That sounds good! Underwater Pearl Diving for the mermaids. And…” He broke off, as he saw a heading saying Junior events. “Hey,” he said, “does this mean I can go in for something?”