This year the Bath Festival of Children’s Literature decided it would be a right laugh to start a blog story, co-written by a whole heap of children’s authors, illustrators, and other creative types. I was lucky enough to be asked to take part, and today is the day my little ‘chapter’ goes live.
You might want to catch up on the story so far by visiting all the blogs below. Once you’re up to speed, you’ll find my bit below.
Part 1: Bath Kids Lit Fest Blog Part 2: The Etherington Brothers Part 3: Annabel Pitcher
Part 4: Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell Part 5: Hannah Shaw Part 6: Writing from the Tub
Part 7: Lauren Kate Part 8: Marcus Sedgwick Part 9: Alan Gibbons Part 10: John Boyne
Part 11: Catherine Bruton Part 12: Achockablog Part 13: Samantha Mackintosh
Part 14: Awfully Big Blog Adventure Part 15: Kate Maryon
And now, the story continues…
‘Whoa, now steady on, lad,’ said Catch, fisherman of legend, submarine-builder of not inconsiderable skill. ‘You were chatting away quite the thing back in Part 12.’
Scribble grabbed for his notepad. NO I WASN’T, he wrote.
‘Yes you were. I could barely get a word in edgeways.’
WASN’T, wrote Scribble.
Catch stroked his wiry beard and narrowed his wiry eyes. ‘Well, you were, but we’ve got more important things to worry about. Like… was it my imagination, or did we just slip into present tense for a while? Summat very fishy is going on.’ He grinned. ‘Very fishy. Get it?’
Scribble, whose blue fur was growing back in at an astonishing rate – much to his relief – picked up his notepad. I GOT IT, he wrote. HA HA.
‘That was a sarcastic laugh,’ sniffed Catch. ‘You wrote that sarcastic.’
OH, I SOOOOO DIDN’T, scribbled Scribble.
‘And that,’ said Catch. ‘But enough of this. We’re back in past tense again, so let’s just pray we stay there.’
He nudged the throttle and spun the wheel. There was a creaking from outside the submarine, but they were firmly snagged in the underwater foliage. He pressed the button marked: Do Not Press This Button. He could remember building the button, but he could no longer remember why. There was a faint ping from somewhere close by, but nothing else happened. They were well and truly stuck. The sub was going nowhere.
Catch slumped down onto the bench he had nailed together just that very morning. ‘I don’t know about you, lad but this adventure is really taking its toll. Maybe it’s the lack of oxygen down here, but my brain’s gone all fuzzy. I feel the need to recap what’s happened so far.’
Scribble scrawled a note on his paper: THAT’LL HELP EVERYONE TOO LAZY TO READ THE OTHER PARTS, TOO.
Catch winked. That had been the sly old rogue’s plan all along. ‘Basically, I see it like this,’ he began. ‘The moon fell into the sea, an old mermaid gave us a box of magic junk…’
MOBY DORIS, wrote Scribble, helpfully.
‘I wish you’d just talk again,’ sighed Catch. ‘You have a voice that enchants and delights like the giggle of a baby angel.’
Scribble wrote on his page and held it up:
‘Harsh but fair,’ Catch conceded. ‘So, Moby Doris gave us the magic junk, we built this submarine, your hair fell out, grew back, you spoke, you didn’t, and now we’re stuck at the bottom of the ocean.’ He took a deep breath. ‘And I haven’t met her yet, but I’m getting the feeling the moon’s going to turn out to be a right miserable cow. Have I missed anything?’
YES, wrote Scribble. MINNALOUSHE.
Catch’s wrinkled old brow wrinkled even further. ‘Minnaloushe? That was one of the words you wrote a minute ago, when you were going mental, wasn’t it? That and something about Scotland. What’s Minnaloushe?’
NOT WHAT, Scribble wrote. WHO.
‘Oh,’ said Catch. ‘Well who’s Minnaloushe, then?’
Scribble slid his pencil into the spiral binding of his pad, then set the pad down on the floor. His stubby fingers reached around to the back of his head and fumbled there for a moment. There was a sound, short and quiet, but deafening in the silence of the submarine.
Scribble’s fur fell away – not in clumps this time, but suddenly and all at once. It landed on the floor of the submersible with a soft thud. A black shape was revealed where Scribble had stood. It stepped out of the furry blue suit and Catch gave a sharp gasp. The figure that had until a moment ago been Scribble gestured down at the white T-Shirt it wore. The words: I AM MINNALOUSHE were printed on the front of the shirt.
And below that, in smaller writing: DIDN’T SEE THAT COMING, DID YOU?
So that was my contribution to the story. I hope you enjoyed it, and will follow along to see what happens when My Favourite Books takes up the tale on Monday 10th October.