Extract from Sam Clamcorn & the Ruby of Rozara,1st in a series of fantasy books, age 8-11
|From where they stood, the group could go no further; they were literally stranded on the clifftop. To go further forward was impossible, and to return from the direction they came meant a terrifying drop onto the rocks below. Sam could hear in his head how worried Sandra was, and Dinah had turned to her ‘state-of-yeti’ as she shivered with fright. Some of the others in the group were looking at Sir Clamcorn – as the natural leader – to find a way out of their dilemma. The penguin-like birds flew round their heads, rather like vultures – if you can imagine such a pleasant looking creature having blood-thirsty intentions. Now that Escarlo had gone, the waves were no longer crashing down below, but were once again serenely lapping at the shore; the sky was azure blue and the air was warm and salty. The sheer terror of the circus group seemed at odds with the peaceful surroundings.
“Frank – oh what’ll we do, duck?” said a terrified Dinah. “I could lower you all down with my beard, but how do I get down there?”
“I don’t know, we just need to think” Sir Clamcorn replied, scratching his chin. “Sam?”
He looked quizzically at his son who was as stumped as the rest of them. Hey wait a minute! If I can shapeshift, could I turn into some steps? he thought.
With all his willpower he tried to turn into some steps, and to his credit, he did. But the steps he turned into led upwards towards the sky – and fresh air - not down onto the beach. “That won’t work, Sam – you’d have to already be down there to do that” his dad said. Sam changed back to his normal self and grabbed Dinah’s hairy arm.
“Dinah – will you lower me down?”
Dinah nodded her furry head. “O’course luvvy – glad I can be useful f’once!”
She stood near the edge of the clifftop and drew in her hair first of all, until she was back to her ‘bearded lady’ look. Her beard grew at an alarming rate – shooting out and winding round and round; dangling like a big thick rope over the edge of the cliff. Sam peered over the rocky edge and could see the beard had reached the sand, and had started coiling into the rockpools down below.
“Ok darlin’ – are you ready?” said Dinah. The others took hold of Dinah to anchor her at the top while Sam gingerly reached out for her beard. As he got nearer to the edge he realised just how far down it was to the beach and the feel of Dinah’s beard was slippy at best. He turned to look at the frightened group and, with a large gulp, wound himself into Dinah’s beard. He then slowly walked backwards to the cliff edge.
As soon as his feet left the safety of the ground, Sam’s body started to twitch. His mind went into overdrive; his hair started growing and retracting, his mouth went dry and his body started tingling. After a few seconds he realised the sky was turning dark again. The sinister clouds that had dominated the sky a while ago were back, bringing the lightening with them. Oh no! Not now – what’s happening?
A loud laugh in his ear forced him to focus. “Whats’s this – dope on a rope?” Escarlo sniggered. The swirling clouds and crashing waves started to disorientate Sam who began to swing on Dinah’s beard, occasionally banging into the cliff face. The lightening flashed again, and Sam’s body started to judder with what was now a familiar reaction. He managed to glimpse Escarlo standing with his sidekick on the beach from the corner of his eye; seconds later he went stiff and his eyes closed over. The lightening poured into his hands as he dangled helplessly, caught up in Dinah’s wiry hair. The heat from the power rushing into him caused Dinah’s hair to melt and sizzle. Oh God, no! I’ve melted Dinah’s hair! Even that’s not strong enough for me……I’m falling…