The Queen of all Mermaids took the hand of her eldest daughter.
”I am weary. Your time has come, time to take my place. Our people are waiting to crown you. Go, child’.
‘Are you not coming with me Mother?’ she asked.
‘I cannot Princess, this you must do alone to prove you are worthy.’
‘But where do I go?’
‘To the horizon’ her Mother said.
‘How will I know when I’m there?’ the Princess asked.
‘You will know little one. You will know’
And with that, her mother was gone.
She was alone.
She swam with a kaleidoscope of fishes, through forests of coral and above deep dark places that made her shiver. But the horizon came no closer.
‘How far is the horizon?’ she asked a dolphin. ‘As far as you can see and farther still’ it said.
Which way is the horizon?’ she asked a starfish. ‘That way child’ it said pointing in five directions.
‘How long will it take?’ she asked an oyster. ‘How long is a string of pearls?’ it replied.
‘I’m tired, may I ride on your back?’ she asked a seahorse. ‘No Princess’ he said. ‘You have to go alone’.
Suddenly the ripples began to glow. Flowers floated around her. From the shimmering sea towered a rock of silver, gold and sparkling diamonds. At its peak, a jewel-encrusted throne and alongside it sat her Mother. Finally, she had reached the horizon.
She heard her Mother’s voice. ‘Your journey is over Princess. It’s time for you to lead your people’.
A hundred smiling mermaids swam to the surface and formed a circle around her. They splashed, they frolicked, they laughed with joy. They formed a nest of arms and gently lifted the Princess higher and higher. Songbirds of every colour fluttered and whistled, rainbow fish lept and dived.
‘Place her upon the throne’ said her proud Mother. ‘Let us all welcome our new Queen of all Mermaids’
Tom saw a time traveller on television. He was sitting in a chair wearing a special helmet and goggles and when he pulled the lever, he went back in time, and when he pushed the lever he went into the future. That looked fun! Tom thought he’d try it.
Daddy’s desk chair was perfect. He found a big wooden spoon for a lever and some string to tie it on with. Mummy’s tin colander looked just like the helmet. It just needed an aerial on top, so he got a twig from the garden and poked it in a hole. He put on his sunglasses and he was ready!
He closed his eyes a pulled back the lever. When he opened them he was in the park, but it didn’t look the same as it had this morning. The swings and the slide were made of wood. There was a tall thin tent on the grass and kids were sitting in front of it watching two funny puppets. He spotted his friend Charlie, but instead of riding his scooter, he was chasing a big wooden hoop and whacking it with a stick. He had funny clothes on; trousers down to his knees, long socks, a brown jacket, and a cloth cap. Then he saw Mr and Mrs Jones from next door. She had a funny little feathery hat on her head and a green and white spotty dress almost down to the ground. She even had a dead fox around her neck! Mr Jones usually wore a baseball cap and trainers, but now he had a hat with a brim, a stripy blue suit and shiny black and white shoes. All around, kids were skipping with ropes, playing hopping games, and rolling little tiny glass balls along the ground. Everyone looked so happy!
Tom pushed the lever forward and blinked. He was still in the park, but there were no children there. There were no birds singing, the flowers were dead and the trees had no leaves. The lake was filled with slimy mud and plastic bags and squashed bottles. Everything around him was grey and dusty. A sad looking old lady sat on the path holding out her hand.
Tom heard a ghostly voice in his ear. ‘Don’t let this happen Tom’ it whispered.
Tom didn’t like what he was seeing or hearing, so he tugged the lever upright.
‘What are you doing in my chair young man?‘ said Daddy.
Yesterday was Sunday. I like Sundays because we don’t have to go to school. I go to a kind of school though. It’s called Sunday School and it’s at the church. It’s more fun than real school.
The day before yesterday was Saturday. We don’t have to go to school on Saturday either. I had to go shopping with my mum. She was buying knickers and things. How embarrassing. We did go into McDonald’s though and that was nice.
The day before the day before yesterday was Friday. We played football. Freddie tripped me up and made my knee bleed but I didn’t cry because I’m brave.
The day before the day before the day before yesterday was Thursday. We do painting on Thursdays. We had to paint a picture of our teacher. He looked at mine and said ‘I haven’t got a red nose’, but he has really.
On Wednesdays we do maths, adding up and that kind of thing. I only got nine out of ten because Mrs Wilson said twelve plus seven isn’t eighteen, but it is, isn’t it? On Tuesdays, we have a club after school where we plant things in a garden next to the playground and I can’t remember what we do on Mondays.
The day before the day before the day before the day before the day before….lot’s of days before yesterday it was Sunday again. I like Sundays because we don’t have to go to school.
‘Guess what I got for my birthday’ said an excited Harry as he hopped from foot to foot.
‘Give me a clue’ said Bobby.
‘It begins with Z’.
‘Nothing begins with Z except zebra,’ said Bobby ‘and I don’t think you got one of those’.
‘No, I was wrong,’ said Harry, ‘it actually starts with an X not a Z, at least I think so’.
‘An Xbox, an exercise machine thing, a kiss from your girlfriend?’ joked Bobby.
‘No silly, it begins with an X but it sounds like a Z’.
‘That’s stupid Harry. I give up, what is it?’
‘It’s a xylophone!’
‘What’s a xylophone?’ asked Bobby. ‘Is it like an iPhone?’
‘No, it plays music silly!’
‘So does my iPhone said Bobby pulling it from his pocket. ’Listen’. He went to push a bud thing in Harry’s ear just as he turned his head and it went up his nose instead!
‘Let me explain’ huffed Harry. ‘It’s like a row of wooden bars and you bash them with hammers, one in each hand’. He demonstrated by flipping his arms up and down whilst singing ‘plink plonk plink plonk’ very loudly.
Bobby still had no idea what he was talking about so Harry took him to his house to show him his present.
It’s the school concert next week and Harry and Bobby are performing a duet on the xylophone while the choir sings a song beginning with Z. What’s it called? Oh yes, Xanadu!
Violet rarely spoke. When she did it was in a hushed voice. She thought no one would understand her. Sadly she came into this world without the gift of hearing. At six years of age, she had no friends and was schooled by her loving Mother at home. She read books, played games and watched children’s television but she rarely showed emotion.
One afternoon she was walking hand in hand with her Mum through a crowded underground station. Violet suddenly stopped. Her Mother signed to her to keep moving, she didn’t want to miss the train. But Violet stood firm. She pointed to a tunnel leading off to the right, then tapped her ear. Then she tugged as hard as she could. Normally Mum could read Violet’s thoughts through her expressions and gestures, but just then she had no idea what was racing through her daughter’s mind.
Violet dragged her Mother as quickly as she could, weaving this way and that through the crowded tunnel. They turned a corner and a busker came into view; a flaxen-haired girl in a flowing dress playing a sweet melody on her violin. Violet dropped to the floor and sat cross-legged in front of her. They locked eyes as the notes flowed from the instrument. Then Violet turned to her Mother and smiled. She rarely smiled.
Nobody was able to explain why she was able to hear the violin that day, or if in fact, she had. Perhaps she felt it, sensed it. Whatever it was, her life changed from that day forward.
Several years have since passed, and she’s now at university and one of the most popular girls in her year. Tonight she is to lead the Festival Orchestra in their performance of Bruch’s Violin Concerto, and the proudest member of the audience will be her Mother. Violet won’t hear the rapturous applause she is certain to receive, but she will relish it just the same.
Samantha and Simon crawled ever so quietly, and ever so slowly across the lawn on their hands and knees. As they got closer and closer, the grasshopper just sat there. Closer and closer, then ‘Ouch!’
‘Be quiet Samantha’ whispered Simon. ‘I said don’t make a noise’
‘But I knelt on a stone’ hissed Samantha. ‘It hurt’.
‘Don’t be such a girl’, said Simon. ‘I knew I should have brought Sean’
‘I won’t help if you are horrible’ said Samantha, ‘you are so mean’.
The grasshopper still sat there. They were just feet away. Closer and closer they went.
‘Have you got the jar?’ whispered Simon.
‘Of course’ hissed Samantha sounding a bit cross. ‘And I’ve put some grass in it’.
Jack knelt up and made his hands into a cup shape, then very slowly, very very slowly, he shuffled forwards on his green knees. He moved his hands towards the grasshopper. Six inches away, three inches, then one inch and ……
Suddenly the grasshopper jumped high up in the air, nearly as high as the house! It landed on a yellow flower by the shed.
‘Grrrrr’ said Jack.
They crawled ever so slowly, and ever so quietly across the lawn on their hands and knees towards the shed. The grasshopper just sat there. It made a chirruping sound and Samantha started to giggle. Then she flung herself forward and reached out as far as she could to try and catch it.
Again it hopped high into the sky. Nearly as high as the tree!
‘Now where is it?’ said Simon.’
‘I don’t know’ said Samantha. ‘It was a silly idea anyway.’
‘Hey’ said Simon. ‘Let’s go and catch a butterfly instead!
‘You can go on your own’ said Samantha.’ I’m going to pick some daisies’.