From Chapter 9


   Aimee, startled out of her reminiscences, turned around and faced Lord Larus. She gripped the bottle tightly in her right hand and quickly put it behind her back. 

   “I’ve been waiting a long time to meet you again and I see you have my Star Fall with you… very good. I’d like it back now if you don’t mind young lady. I have plans for it.” Larus’ voice was chillingly smooth and deep. 

   Her right hand started to move around to the side of her body without her intending it to. She couldn’t decide whether it was doing it on its own or perhaps Larus was making it move. What she could decide was that she couldn’t stop it moving so she had to do the only thing she could think of; she leapt up onto her bed to her right and with one great bounce landed on the other side of it and made for the door.

   Larus turned and lurched forward to make a grab for her but managed only to grasp a few strands of her hair which came away in his hand.

   Aimee felt the sharp pain on her scalp but carried on through the door, catching hold of it and slamming it shut behind her. As she reached the top of the stairs she turned and caught a glimpse of Larus opening the door and striding out onto the landing. She didn’t linger to think about what had happened but took the stairs several at a time and in four jumps landed in the hallway. The front door opened as she landed and in walked Jamie.

   Seeing Aimee land with such force startled him but he had no time to say anything as she shouted, “Larus!” at him and turned to look up at the looming figure on the staircase. 

   Jamie looked up at him and without pausing to think he moved forward to the bottom of the stairs to block his way. He did have to think though as a quivering oily coldness moved through him and left in its wake the worst feeling of wanting to be sick that he had ever felt. His eyes went blurred and so did his head but he managed to turn and as they cleared he saw that Larus was moving towards Aimee who was cornered with her back to the kitchen door.

   “Aimee… PASS!” he shouted and Aimee immediately threw the bottle over Larus. Jamie caught it in both hands and turned to run up the stairs. 

   Larus wheeled around and dived after him and with his right hand caught hold of his left foot. He gripped tightly - now that Jamie held the bottle he was solid to him and he pulled him back down the stairs. Jamie kicked out with his right foot and managed to hit Larus on the chest but this only seemed to make his grip grow stronger and his lips creased upwards at the edges to form a smile so ugly that Jamie squealed with fear.

   “Jamie… PASS!” Came the call from Aimee and again the bottle flew through the air. It scraped the hall ceiling but with a stretch she caught it and opened the kitchen door.

   As soon as the bottle left Jamie’s hand Larus’ hand passed through his foot and he was free to scuttle up the stairs to his bedroom and away from him. 

   Larus stood up and shouted angrily, “I grow angry at these games. I will have the power of the Star Fall and if I have to destroy this house and you to get it… then so be it!” 

   Aimee walked slowly out of the kitchen holding the bottle above her head, “Do you really think that we will allow you to have all the power that this gives? You… you killed Thomas May and you’ve probably killed lots of other people!”

   “Lots? I would say hundreds, maybe thousands… one loses count of such trivialities. Now give me the power before I add one more to the count.” Larus inclined his head slightly and held out his hands.

   “Oh, I don’t think so. What’s to stop you killing us even if I do hand it over?” She paused as she saw Jamie creep around the bottom of the stairs with one hand behind his back. “I mean, you’ve got to give us something in return… our freedom and safety at least.”

   “You may have that, you mean nothing to me. You are merely an irritation, a pimple on the face of a mighty Lord… Lord Larus, master of time!” Larus sneered. “Oh, and I know that your pea brain of a brother is behind me! But what can he do? Ha! He is not even a pimple!”

   Jamie smiled at his sister and nodded.

   Aimee looked into Larus’ eyes and said in a calm, firm voice, “Our freedom and safety then… Shake hands on it.” She held out her right hand and as Larus took hold of it she squeezed it tightly and felt the cold grip of her enemy squeeze back.

   “You have a good grip, Aimee Hawthorn and you have been a good adversary. I…” He had no chance to finish his triumphal speech as the cricket bat thudded into his skull and he dropped to the floor.

   “Oh well played, sir, a six I think!” Aimee smiled.

   Jamie held the bat up in the air and smiled back, “So do you think I’ll make the team next…”

   His banter was cut short by the sight of Larus’ body shrinking and fading into a shadow that rose up from the floor, drifted around their heads and then at some speed flew straight through the kitchen window. The window bulged outwards as the shadow went through, then returned to its normal flatness and promptly shattered into tiny pieces - just as Mum walked in through the front door.

   “Aimee, Jamie… I thought I’d pop home for lunch to see how you’re behaving… What the hell have you been playing at?” 

   Jamie looked at the widow, then at his cricket bat, then at Aimee, shrugged his shoulders and said with a pleading puppy smile, “Cricket?”

A walk on the beach … a landslip… a scavenging gull… suddenly Aimee and her brother are forced to confront their enemies, past and present. The ‘accidental’ discovery of an old bottle with remarkable properties brings them face to face with Larus, an evil adversary of their ancestors. This conflict is mirrored by their families fight with George Walmsley, a murderous villain, who is responsible for their father’s disappearance. And when Walmsley and Larus join forces only quick wits and a united family can hope to survive. Great excitement, great fun and Cuddles the dog as well!