Oliver Moon and the Monster Mystery

Chapter 1

“Roll up! Roll up! Who’s going to have a try?” called a tall wizard in a crooked black hat. “Guess the number of eyeballs in the jar – win a cuddly vampire bat!”

“Dragon rides! Line up here for your dragon rides!” bellowed a red-haired giant, with an orange dragon flapping its leathery wings and puffing smoke behind him.

“Anyone for the Bouncy Dungeon?” screeched a wart-nosed witch. “Only two gold coins a go!”

Oliver Moon stared around the Magic School playing field, feeling shivery with excitement. It was the school fair today, and you could hardly see the grass for all the stalls and sideshows that had been set up everywhere. Oliver was there with his family and his best friend, Jake Frogfreckle. He turned eagerly to Jake. “This looks brilliant!” he said. “What shall we go on?”

Jake’s eyes were shining happily. “Everything!” he replied.

Mr. and Mrs. Moon, Oliver’s parents, chuckled at the looks on their faces. “Let’s get some raffle tickets first,” Mrs. Moon suggested, pushing the Witch Baby, Oliver’s sister, along in her buggy towards a nearby stall. “There are some great prizes, look.”

“Ooh, yes!” Jake said, elbowing Oliver as he read the sign. “Star prize – two tickets to see the Cacklewick Lightnings!”

Oliver’s face lit up. The Cacklewick Lightnings were the local Wizardball team, and he and Jake were big fans. Unfortunately, tickets to their matches were quite expensive and neither of the young wizards had ever been able to go and see a real game.

“This could be our lucky day, Jake,” Oliver said excitedly. “Imagine if we won!”

Mrs. Moon took out her witch-wallet and paid for some raffle tickets. Then they set off for a proper look around the fair.

First, Oliver and Jake had a go on the Bouncy Dungeon, a huge inflatable room with real bats that flapped around you as you bounced. “Whoopee!” yelled Jake, arms flailing as he leaped up high.

“Whoa-a-a!” Oliver laughed, bouncing off the walls and feeling dizzy.

Then they had a go on the Hook a Frog stall, where they each managed to catch a curious vanishing frog using magic nets. “Well done, boys,” the stallholder said, giving them bags of pet spiders as prizes.

Next, they tried the Lucky Dip, where you had to plunge your hand into a spooky dark cauldron and feel around for a gift. Oliver pulled out a colour-changing pen, and Jake got a glow-in-the-dark badge in the shape of a cat. And then the Witch Baby had a go – and leaned over so far, she fell head first into the cauldron! “Ooooh!” Oliver and Jake heard her cooing from inside. “Hello. Me win YOU!”

Mr. Moon hauled her out by her ankles to find her clutching a green toy imp. “Look!” she beamed. “He my prize!”

“Very nice,” Mrs. Moon said, as the Witch Baby gave her prize a squelchy kiss.

Just then, the voice of Mrs. MacLizard, the head teacher, rang out across the field. She was standing on a stage, wearing a special gold cloak and a long purple dress. “Could everyone gather together over here, please? The raffle winners are about to be announced!”

Jake nudged Oliver excitedly. “Quick! Let’s go and listen,” he said. “Still feeling lucky?”

“Too right,” Oliver said. “I’m telling you, those Lightnings tickets are going to be ours, Jake. I’ve just got a feeling.”

Oliver, his family and Jake made their way to the stage, along with lots of other witches and wizards. Mrs. MacLizard was holding a huge pointy hat with silver stars all over it, stuffed full of folded raffle ticket stubs.

Oliver’s heart thumped as he held the ticket his mum had bought for him earlier. It was a shiny green colour, with the number 279 written in swirly black numbers. “Come on, 279,” he muttered under his breath, crossing his fingers. Oh, he so wanted to win those Wizardball tickets!

On stage, Mrs. MacLizard closed her eyes, delved a warty hand into the hat and pulled out a bit of paper. A magical drum roll filled the air as she opened it up, and Oliver held his breath.

“The first winning ticket is... number 279,” Mrs. MacLizard announced. “Does anyone have number 279?”