I've been really rubbish at doing the blog this year, been busy doing other stuff. However, I did get a right positive response for the first chapter of a book I posted in January. So here's a draft of Chapter Two. You can still read the first chapter here.
So far...Megan's grandmother has exploded on holiday, leaving Megan a mysterious package and letter. The letter reveals that Gran knew the secret Megan has been hiding for months...she can fly...
It was true. Megan could fly. Properly fly. Out of windows and up through clouds.
It had started happening about 3 months ago – she had woken up with her nose squashed almost flat against her ceiling.
At first she thought there must have been an earthquake, there had been a few rumblings and tremors earlier in the year, but then she realised everything else was still where it was supposed to be. Only she had moved. Megan spent a few moments not falling, and gently moving about by pushing her hands across the ceiling. Then she pushed away, floating horizontal and happy in the middle of her room.
The best bit, the strangest bit, was how it all seemed so easy to work out, how good she got at it so quickly, like it was something she had always known how to do - not at all like riding a bike. Megan had dented 3 cars, knocked over a shed and broken a leg learning to ride a bike. It wasn't even her own leg. Poor wee Mr Graham had been really understanding about that.
Megan continued reading her Gran's beautiful old fashioned handwriting
I really want to be able to explain it all to you, but if you are reading this, it's because they finally caught up with me. I can't risk writing it all down. But Megan I need you to find out for yourself. Follow the map. Then you'll know what you have to do. All my love sweetheart. Fly safe.
That was it.
Next, Megan carefully unfolded the map, laying it out on her bed. Greenock, Port Glasgow and Gourock and Surrounding Environs 1953 Ordnance Survey. Megan stared at the map, at street names and places she did not recognise, avenues and parkland from long ago. There were five red circles on the map, each one of them numbered. None of them in any places that she knew.
'Right. Gran wanted me to go to these places,' thought Megan, 'so maybe she's left things there for me to find. Maybe more letters.'
The letter and the map made some sort of sense to Megan, but the newspaper page was a complete mystery. There was a story about new schools being built, an advert for Golden Syrup and a big photo of a ship launch from the yards. She folded it back up and put it with the letter in her China print keepsake box in the space under her bedside cabinet. The map she put in her schoolbag.
'So. My dead Gran knows why I can fly, she was trying to get away from someone, and she's left me a treasure map.'
Excited, she did her best to fall asleep, because unfortunately, none of those things were going to stop her having to go back to school tomorrow.
A pale thin man in a suit stood at the front of the class beside Miss McCue. He was completely bald, in that really shiny way, and the fact that you could see his whole head meant you could see how bumpy it was.
'Maybe he's got a really big brain or something.' said Cameron, not even all that quietly.
Cameron was Megan's best friend, they sat together in most classes and had done since Primary 3. Even then he was the tallest in class. He pretended he wasn't though, always hunching up or curling in on himself, like some massive spindly legged spider constantly trying to hide under the nearest rock. Except there were no rocks big enough. Sometimes though, when he said rude things far too loudly in class, Megan really wished there were.
Miss McCue looked at Cameron, very briefly, before beaming her award winning smile across the class.
‘Well class, today we have a real treat for you. Mr Finn is here from Waterworx, the people who are building all the new offices, shops and houses at the riverside.’
Miss McCue was used to the awkward disinterested silence which followed the news of a ‘special treat’ which clearly wasn’t all that special, so she bravely soldiered on.
‘Waterworx are also making lots of new sculptures and statues to brighten up the town, and they have come along today because they want us to help.’
Cameron had his hand up, always a potential pitfall when a visitor came.
‘Yes Cameron,’ said Miss McCue, trying very hard to send Cameron a telepathic message along the lines of, ‘Best behaviour. Please remember how upset that fireman got last time’.
‘Are they going to pay us to help?’ asked Cameron.
Miss McCue did her best charming laugh. ‘No Cam, we’re helping design a statue because we’ll all learn something and it will be good fun.’
Cameron had his hand up again, even though Megan had just elbowed him.
‘Yes Cameron,’ smiled Miss McCue, very seriously.
‘It says in the paper Waterworx have millions and millions of pounds.’
Miss McCue smiled nervously at Mr Finn, who thankfully seemed to be taking it all in his stride.
‘That’s actually true Cameron,’ said Mr Finn, ‘but most of it is to spend on new buildings, I tell you what though, I’ll do you all a deal. You all want to make a deal?’
The class perked up a bit, instantly more interested now there was a potential opportunity for gambling and free stuff.
‘This is an old building you have here. Your head teacher was telling me you have a very leaky roof…is that right?’
Stacey's hand went up this time.
‘There was a big bulge in the ceiling in French class and it burst and all this water poured out onto Steven Barclay and there were drowned pigeons in it.’
‘Dear me. Well, if you help us with a new sculpture, we’ll make sure your leaky roof is no longer a problem. How does that sound?’
Miss McCue could tell they were unimpressed, and hoped Mr Finn had something other than that up his sleeve.
‘And of course the person with the winning design will get a new playstation.’
‘Okay everyone,’ said Miss McCue, ‘I think we all agree that sounds like an excellent opportunity, so now Mr Finn is going to take us to see one of the new sculptures being built at the shipyard in Port Glasgow. Yes Cameron.’
‘How much are we allowed to make our sculpture cost? Can ours be made out of platinum?'
'No.' said Miss McCue, ‘In twos, downstairs to the bus.’
Megan and Cam sat in the middle of the bus, far enough away from the snogging at the back, but not near enough the front to be involved in rehearsing songs from the school show. It was the first time they had properly talked since Megan’s Gran died.
‘She left me a letter.’
‘That’s nice. My gran left us lots of out of date catfood and an old handbag full of fivers and raffle tickets.’
‘It had a map with it,’ explained Megan.
‘I got fifty quid and bought a new game,’ said Cam, drifting off.
‘Cam are you even listening?’
‘A map. Your gran gave you a map.’
‘Yes. A map of round here. It’s marked with numbers. I think she wanted me to find something.’
‘What? Treasure you mean?’
‘I don’t think so. She already left us quite a bit of money. This is something else, just for me.’
‘And I want you to help me find it.’
Megan saw a smile flicker briefly across Cameron’s face. Right now, she wasn't totally sure how she was going to get Cam to help her find the secret of why she could fly without actually telling him she could fly, but she knew she wanted someone with her she could trust.
‘Let’s see it then,’ said Cameron.
Megan took the map out of her bag and unfolded it, ‘Careful though. It’s a bit old and damp.’
Cameron peered at the map. ‘This is like the street maps you can still get in the newsagent. It’s just from years ago.’
‘There’s five places she’s put a circle at. The first one is in Port Glasgow.’ Megan pointed to the tiny red circle numbered "1".
'Do they join up into a mysterious symbol?' asked Cam, who had read the Da Vinci Code.
'Nope. Not even a pentagon. They're all over the place.'
Cam traced his long fingers across the streets. ‘Some of these places aren’t there anymore.’
‘But I bet you know where to find them?’
‘Maybe. I’m pretty sure that one is the old hospital, and that’s the entrance to the railway tunnel – that track doesn’t get used now either.’
Megan smiled, ‘See. I knew you’d be able to do it. What’s number one?’
‘Behind the new flats in the ropeworks? It’s just a supermarket I think. Wait…’
Cam took out his phone. ‘Map app,’ he explained and started tapping and swiping.
The coach pulled up outside the shipyard
'Right. I've added the other four as locations as well, got them all. Number one is the hill behind the supermarket. It's an old bomb shelter apparently. Just over there.'
'No,' said Cam, 'absolutely not. We're here to appreciate some rubbish art, I was grounded for a month after we got caught skidging last time.'
'But how good were those monster trucks?'
Miss McCue shuffled everyone off the bus and Mr Finn led them into a big warehouse. There were bits of scaffolding and old boats in the far corner, random traffic cones were scattered around, presumably warning the unwary against some unseen health and safety issue. In the centre of the floor, there was an enormous metal egg. Mr Finn was pointing at it, looking very proud.
‘This sculpture is called Phoenix Egg. It’s going in the new town square,’ said Mr Finn, ‘Can anyone guess why we've chosen the name Phoenix Egg?'
'Do you really like eggs?' asked Scott Malcolm.
'I do really like eggs,' said Mr Finn, 'but that's not the reason.'
'Could you just not think of anything better?' asked Cam, pretending not to understand symbolism.
Mr Finn was a very quick learner, and so was already ignoring Cam, ‘The phoenix is a very symbolic bird. The sculpture represents rebirth and the new future for the town.' said Mr Finn, 'Because a Phoenix rises from the ashes and ruins to live again.’
Mr Finn paused dramatically, as if he was waiting for a round of applause.
‘Our town isn’t in ruins. Or on fire.’ said Megan.
‘No,’ smiled Mr Finn, ‘of course it isn’t. Shall we take a closer look at the sculpture?'
Cam took out his phone.
'Sorry,' said Mr Finn, 'no photos yet. We don't want to spoil the surprise for everyone.'
The class quickly wandered around the sculpture not touching, and off towards the other sheds. Megan and Cam, slipped outside.
Megan peered through the drizzle. There was a steep slope behind the supermarket, entirely covered in untidy bushes and trees.
'Is that it over there?'
'Think so. I'll check the phone to be sure.'
Cam rifled through his pockets.
‘Not here. I must have dropped it back in the shed.'
Down by the riverside, the rest of the class trooped past a large ship in for repairs, Miss McCue and Mr Finn out in front.
'Come on then,' said Megan.
The lights were now out in the shed.
'Here it is,' said Cam, 'must have dropped it when he tried to censor me.'
'Shh!' said Megan, 'What's that?'
There was a tapping and hissing from inside the egg, and between tiny gaps in the riveted plates, a red glow, more obvious now in the darkness. It was as if there was something inside the metal egg, waiting to come out.