Mr & Mrs Johnson
When Rose opened her eyes and was back in the garden she didn’t waste any time in waking the others up. They gathered inside the girls tent and Rose and George updated the others on what had happened and what they needed to do today.
Alex was the first to speak. “This is so bad,” he said putting his hands to his face.
“What’s wrong Alex,” asked Callum, concerned about his little brother.
“Violet, you tell him,” replied Alex, looking down at the ground, “I can’t bear to say it.”
“Oh dear, I just don’t know where to start” began Violet. “I made it over to the butterfly kingdom to help Alex but it was too late. Alex had changed in some way. He was all deformed and had turned black. It was horrible! The other butterflies had locked him inside a glass cage to quarantine him from them. They said that his fears had got the better of him and that he had turned into a monster. This is what had happened to so many of the other animals when Maura had attacked them before. They had got scared and given up hope. Once they were at that stage they were easy pickings and now because they were struck with fear it was easy for Maura to control them. It wasn’t long from that point that they would start lashing out in anger. Seeing Alex like that was horrible. What can we do?”
“There has to be some way to turn him back” said Callum reassuring them all. “This is not over yet.”
“Not by a long shot,” said Issy, joining in. “Don’t worry Alex we will find a way to get you back to normal.”
“This is not going well is it?” said Rose solemnly. “I’m really sorry I dragged you guys into this and it looks like it could be all for nothing anyway. Maura said that my mum and dad are dead and that I should give up looking for them.”
“Rose you must not believe her and do not say that,” said George, jumping into the conversation. “She’s an evil liar and she probably just said that to try and stop you from finding them as she knows you’re getting close.”
“Oh I do hope so George,” replied Rose, “I couldn’t bear it if this was all for nothing.”
“So let’s stop moping around then guys and look at the positives” continued Issy. “Rose you mentioned that we may have a chance of finding out some more about your parents from Mr and Mrs Johnson when they come round later. You could ask them about what they looked like and if they have been heard of since. Also, George and Eldred are already with you along with the other dragons and are getting help to come from the wolves, bears and gorillas. Violet has made it to Alex and between her and the other eagles and butterflies they can make it over to you sometime tomorrow and they can even bring Alex with them. I’m sure there are other birds that they can gather support from too.”
“Yes,” cried Violet, “the Falcons have come with us and they have said they will stay with us wherever we go.”
“Great,” carried on Issy, “I know that we will arrive at the horse’s kingdom sometime tomorrow too, and,” Issy continued looking proud of herself, “I’ve got backup too! Elephants and rhino’s!”
“Whoa! That’s brilliant” said George smiling broadly. “At least we’ll be together and we can try and work out what we need to do.”
“Well Ruby has already reached me in the duck kingdom along with the other dolphins” added Callum.
“Yes I got there not long before night time and we brought with us the whales, polar bears, penguins and turtles!”
“Wow! That’s an army in itself” said Issy. “Do you think that you will be able to make it to the horse kingdom tomorrow too?”
“Yes, definitely. We already discussed it and we will get there sometime tomorrow evening.” replied Ruby.
Rose had been sat there listening to all of the updates and plans. She had been taking it all in but inside she felt uneasy. Everyone was still talking and getting excited about how they were all going to be together inside the crystal kingdom. She knew that she should be happy about this but she really was worried about what Maura had said. She had been sitting near the entrance of the tent and could see outside into the garden and up to the house. All of the adults were inside laughing and talking, although she couldn’t hear what they were saying. It was another bright sunny morning and the garden was full of life. Bees were dancing from one flower to another and birds were chirping in the trees overhead. She looked back at the others who were all staring at her. “What is it?” she asked.
“Your hair just changed colour Rose” said George. “It went pink for a few seconds and was glowing.
“That’s crazy. It can’t have been. Mind you with everything else that’s going on that seems to be the least crazy thing. I wonder why it did that. It’s never happened before. Well, at least I think it’s never happened before.”
Just as she said that there was a shout from the house across the garden.
“Children, are you up yet it’s nearly eleven O’clock” came the sound of Alice’s voice. “Mr and Mrs Johnson are here. Go upstairs and get yourselves ready and then come back down and help us get lunch ready please.”
The children jumped up and ran into the house and got themselves ready as quick as they could and then started helping out in the kitchen. Soon after they were all sitting down together to a lovely lunch of pizza and pasta. Although Issy didn’t really like Pizza which she just described as “cheese on bread and pointless”, so she just had extra carbonara which was her favourite anyway.
Mr and Mrs Johnson were really nice. They were a sweet old couple really with silver hair and smiling faces. They told them all about the area and how they had been together for the last 14 years. Mr Johnson had met Mrs Johnson in the local community centre and she had been amazed that she had never bumped into him since they had both lived in the same town all of their lives.
“We bought this house straight away,” explained Mrs Johnson “we just fell in love with it. Well actually you fell in love with it first didn’t you darling. You were quite obsessed with it in fact. Eventually you convinced me that we should buy it and so we did.” She smiled at her husband as he nodded enthusiastically and gazed back at her adoringly. “Then suddenly about eighteen months ago he said that he didn’t feel as comfortable getting up and down the stairs and so we moved into a bungalow in town and started renting this house out to families for their holidays. We do hope you like it here.”
“Oh we love it everyone don’t we?” said Alice looking around. Everyone replied at once that it was lovely. “In fact young Rose here has been an admirer of this place for a long time too. She was desperate for us to come here for this holiday so that she could find out about her mum and dad. Rose, why don’t you tell them about the photo?”
“Photo, what photo?” asked Mr Johnson suddenly. “Let me see it!”
“Darling, what’s got into you?” said Mrs Johnson laughing nervously, slightly embarrassed by her husbands bluntness.
Rose sat there, frozen to the spot. Suddenly she couldn’t speak. She had so much wanted to ask them all about the photo and about her mum and dad but she literally couldn’t say a word. It was like she had been struck dumb. She looked around and opened and shut her mouth but no words came out. Not even a squeak.
“Go on Rose, tell them about the photo, tell them about your dreams. This is your chance to find out about your mum and dad.”
“Mum I don’t think she wants to” interrupted George. “Maybe she’s not feeling well.
“She looks ok. Well maybe it’s better if you tell them instead George” said Alice, feeling slightly uncomfortable that her guests were looking at her with a “can’t you control your children” expression all over their faces.
“No Mum, I don’t think I can remember about it” said George pleadingly.
“This is outrageous” shouted Mr Johnson standing up suddenly.
“David, what are you doing” whispered Mrs Johnson out of the corner of her mouth. Staring at her husband in disbelief.
“I’m so sorry,” said Mr Johnson catching himself suddenly, “It’s just I wasn’t feeling too well suddenly. I’ll be alright. I just need to sit down for a moment.”
A minute passed and no-one said a word. Then outside there was a big clap of thunder, followed by flashes of lightning and a few seconds later the heavens opened up and rain poured down, hammering on the patio doors.
“Oh my goodness, where did that come from?” said Alice to the other adults in shock. “It was looking so lovely. Let me make everyone a cup of tea.”
“I’ll do it,” said Lucy jumping up and she scurried around the kitchen getting everyone’s drinks ready.
When they had all settled back down Alice turned to Mr Johnson and said “Mr Johnson, as you’ve lived here for such a long time why don’t you tell us some stories about your time here. I’m sure the children would love to hear about it. That’s if you’re feeling up to it of course?
Mr Johnson smiled. He looked around the room at the adults and the children and then spoke very slowly.
“Yes. I’ve got a story for you.” he began.