Stinking Shadow

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The Adventure of Father Christmas’s Sack starring Will Blyton and The Stinking Shadow.

Published November 30, 2012 by loonyliterature

When Will Blyton is not busy solving cases and sending people back to the past, he hangs out with his friends.  One of his favourite friends is Father Christmas.  Will likes to share a mince pie with the dear old gentleman and sing some jolly Christmas songs.

Father Christmas and Will Blyton.

Will Blyton shares a festive mince pie with Father Christmas.

When Will has finished his mince pie, he goes outside to feed the reindeer as they are making an awful racket.  Unbeknown to him, The Stinking Shadow has been hiding behind the curtains and when Will goes outside he pops out 0f his hiding place.

Father Christmas and The Stinking Shadow

The Stinking Shadow offers Father Christmas a festive Clementine.

If Will Blyton could see The Stinking Shadow offering Father Christmas something to eat, he would instantly know that there was something greatly amiss.  The Stinking Shadow has one rule about food and that is to eat it himself.  When he time travelled from the 14th century to the 1970s, he thought he was in food wonderland and never misses an opportunity to taste anything he can.

The Stinking Shadow has Father Christmas's sack.s

The Stinking Shadow has managed to get hold of Father Christmas’s sack.

Oh dear!  The Stinking Shadow must have grabbed Father Christmas’s sack.  Does this mean the end of Christmas?  Watch the film clip below to find out what happens next.

Will Blyton makes sure that all’s well that ends well.  As you can see, Father Christmas has got his sack back.

Writing For Kids – Three Easy Steps to Help Kids Create Characters.

Published November 1, 2012 by loonyliterature



I see so many people who remind me of animals and I don’t mean that in a nasty way as I am a great animal lover, what I mean is if people remind us of animals in reality, why not get children to use animals as a way of helping them create characters when they write stories, act sketches or make their own comic books?   Using these three easy steps, we can give children the confidence to realise that they too can create story people.



 Step One


This fun step shows children how people can actually remind us of animals and how  it actually works so that they get a full understanding of what we are trying to achieve.  I have given you  a choice of three different ways of doing this, you only need to pick the way which appeals to you the most   a) out in the field,  b )the internet or books   c) my chosen examples which are below.


a) Out in the  Field


For brave adults only, we have to play at being spies – we have to act as if we are invisible so that no-one will know what we are doing.  Sitting in busy places with a notebook offers up a glut of possibilities – train stations, bus stations, shopping centres and city centres have benches to sit upon with a notebook perched upon the knee.  The child has to remember  to keep quiet about their findings, notes can only be swapped later when safely away from the ears of the people we have written about. 


 b) The Internet or Books.


For the more sensible who don’t want to get chased by the dog walker or stressed out commuter , there is a treasure of photographs on the internet – Victorian ones tend to be very useful with all those whiskers, corsets and stern admonishing gazes.




c) Here are some ready made examples:


Boris Johnson

Is it a polar bear?


 Boris Johnson reminds me of a polar bear with his unruly blond mop, his big, clumsy body and his small, bear like eyes.


A male polar bear

A male polar bear (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Winston Churchill.

Is it a bulldog?


Winston Churchill reminds me of a bulldog with his stocky body, very round face and matching round, bulging eyes.


Meet our Winston.



Angelina Jolie

Is it a cat?


Angelina Jolie looks like a cat with her high cheekbones, almond shaped eyes and elegant body.


black cat face

Mildred or Angelina?


Ask the children to point out how the people in the photographs resemble specific animals.  This gives them the idea of how humans can remind us of creatures – doing this first exercise helps the children to get the hang of using animals to create human characters.  It helps them to see how it can work realistically.




Step Two


Next, we need to  read how creating characters from animals works in a piece of fiction.  Below is an extract (page 21) from “Will Blyton and The Stinking Shadow” which demonstrates to the children how we can put animal or bird like humans into our own stories.  Ask the children to point out to you what parts of Ravensmite are actually like a raven.




extract from “Will Blyton and  The Stinking Shadow.”


I open the door and look out but there is no-one there.  The rain lashes down and a cold draught attacks my cheeks and then something appears.  


Standing on the path, by the front door is a tall, thin figure dressed in black.  One of his thigh length, leather boots rests on a stone gargoyle as he sharpens his curved fingernails on the back of a stone.   The nose is too large and hooked for the teenage boy he appears to be.  His coat is like bird’s feathers when they are wet and glistening.   He drops the stone and his hand disappears inside the feathered coat.  It emerges with a lump of something that I cannot identify but has a long, thin tail.   The boy crams the lump into his mouth and his tongue flicks out as he greedily gorges upon it.   He spits a small bone out, and sucks in the tail.   A harsh, watery belch follows and then he wipes his mouth with the back of his clawed hand. 


A hard lump lodges in my throat but I am drawn to the figure and the gargoyle as an invisible thread pulls me out into the cold rain.   The figure stops what he is doing and looks at me.   The large nose becomes a black dagger of a beak whilst the coat becomes feathers and the boots slicing talons.   It opens its weapon of a beak and caws.  Black, beady eyes glare directly at me.


“Watch out Blyton, Master Corpsehound has sent Ravensmite.”


The raven unfolds its large wingspan and flies at me.   A waft of air from its wings hits my face.   Its muscular legs shoot forward and its talons spread and point, ready to splice.   I beat it off with the pogo stick.  It veers over my head scraping my hair with its hook like talons.  I gasp as the claws scratch the side of my face.   My fingers automatically feel for the pain.  They are wet and sticky.  The raven disappears into the darkness. 


“Takest me back into thine abode for safety, Blyton, thou puppet.”  


Although I am shaking, I quickly put Hamnet into my pocket to muffle the sound of his shrill voice.  I bend down.  There is writing scraped out of the top of the gargoyle.  Before I read it, I look around for the raven, I shiver; it has gone for the time being.  The gargoyle says ‘How do we find the village?’  



The idea of Ravensmite came from teenagers who dress in black from head to foot and even dye their hair the same colour.  They reminded me of the wonderful bird, the raven.  So this character was created by using the same exercise I am offering here.  From then on it was easy to create this shapeshifting boy as he had to have a large, beak like nose.  His nails had to be like a bird’s talons and as he was a menacing character I could use all the sharp parts of an actual raven to make him more so.




Step Three


Once it is clear how it can work – choose an animal or bug or bird and take aspects of them which you can create a human character with.  It can be fun to use a family pet.  For instance, if I used Mildred, my sophisticated, black cat – she would  be a slim, elegant,  mysterious and beautiful character, probably a female spy.   I would take parts of her personality and put them into the character – for example, Mildred washes herself more than any other cat I have come across; she often forgets where she is going because she stops to have a wash so often.  My character then would be a spy who often got herself into trouble because of her obsessive need for cleanliness.  Mildred is also always falling off tables and chairs because when she sleeps she is completely floppy and she often rolls off things in her relaxed state.  So I would also have my spy as someone who is a bit dozy and falls asleep very easy.  As you can see, my character is already becoming quite interesting as the way she looks actually belies her personality – she is a spy but it would have to be a comic spy – I think she would get into too many scrapes to be a serious spy. 



Main steps.


1) Find people or use the examples in this post to see how real people can remind us of animals..


2) Read the extract and discuss how a raven could be similar to a teenage boy.


3) Choose a specific animal and using parts of its physical appearance, create a physical appearance for a person.  Think about how these animals act e.g. bees are very busy and add personality traits to your character. 




At this point, the children will have created a character which they can use in a story, an acting sketch or even their own comic books.  They might not use the character straight away as the sub conscious needs to work out what to do with it.  However, I know the character will pop up in some future piece of creativity .  Have fun.


Time Travelling Heroes – The Doctor from Doctor Who (part one)

Published June 5, 2012 by loonyliterature
Robert the Bruce

Robert the Bruce (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Will Blyton and The Stinking Shadow, I tried to get Hamnet, the Tudor boy magician  who is trapped in the stone, to send me back to the 14th century, so that I could get Robert the Bruce to teach me how to be a warrior.  It turned out that Hamnet sometimes gets things wrong and instead brought a 14th century monk to me.  After getting me into all sorts of trouble we did manage to send the monk back in time.  Yes, we really do dabble in time travel.

English Heritage plaque for inventor of time t...

English Heritage plaque for inventor of time travel (Photo credit: jaywood_uk)

Anyway, moving on – as you know, I have waves of genius.  It occurred to me that if Hamnet watched Doctor Who on the television – it might give him some time travel ideas.  So I introduced Hamnet to my time travelling hero – The Doctor.   I love watching Doctor Who but was not sure how an insulting Tudor boy would take to it.  He watched The Monster of Peladon.  Now here is the shock.  The shock is not that Hamnet loved it; the shock is that he loved it so much, it improved his magic spells and he took us into the future.  The only reason he took us into the future was that he wanted to see what happened in The Monster of Peladon.  I don’t know about you but if he can take me forward one week in 1974, surely he must be able to go back in time. 

I questioned Hamnet about this and he thinks that he will have to focus on going forward in time for the moment.  He is obsessed with finding out what happens to The Doctor.  It is 1974 and I have no idea how long Doctor Who runs on the television.  It is great for Hamnet because it is making him focus on his time travelling skills.  My worry is that The Doctor never has another adventure after The Monster of Peladon.  Who knows what the future holds for The Doctor in 1974 and beyond?

My Favourite Detecting Equipment (2). The Torch. No Adults Allowed.

Published May 8, 2012 by loonyliterature

Detectives need the right equipment for the job.  In my eyes, apart from the magnifying glass, the torch is king.  If I did not have a great torch, I wouldn’t have been able to creep into The Floating Wreck Lighthouse in the pitch black when I needed to hide Hamnet (the boy in the stone) from the evil shapeshifter Ravensmite.  In fact, even if you have a torch, when your birthday comes up, ask for another.  I would have been in a right mess if I hadn’t had my spare torch with me when I was hiding Hamnet in the lighthouse.  He shouted and I dropped the torch down the lighthouse steps.  If I hadn’t had a spare in my pocket, I would have had to find my way in the pitch black up 300 spiral steps.

Here I am on my latest adventure.

Top detecting tips for torches.

When your brother or sister, or in my case a Stinking Shadow, creeps into your bedroom to borrow your stuff when you are asleep, pretend to be asleep.  Have your torch ready and then shine it on them when they are rummaging through your favourite stuff.  You will catch them red handed. They will think twice before they mess with a budding detective again.

Will Blyton – The Alternative Detective’s Video Diary 1.

Published April 3, 2012 by loonyliterature

Find out what The Stinking Shadow steals.

Watch the video and find out what happens when Will Blyton comes face to face with The Toad, Ferret and Snot.

Notice what The Stinking Shadow hides under the table.  I think there might be the beginning of a story there for you.

After watching the video, why not make up your own scene about bullying with some friends.

Act it out.  How does the person who is being bullied feel?

How do the bullies feel?  Think about why they do it.

If you have access to a camera, why not film yourselves.

Have a great Loony Literature time.

Will Blyton and The Stinking Shadow. (Chapter one.)

Published April 2, 2012 by loonyliterature
When, Hamnet, a tiny boy trapped in a stone, promises Will Blyton time travel, he thinks his problems are over. When a 14th century monk becomes his Stinking Shadow, he realises the trouble has just begun. Find out how Will stops the malicious shapeshifter, Ravensmite, from returning Hamnet to his cursed existence whilst, at the same time, plotting to send The Stinking Shadow back in time. Amidst the chaos and dark humour is the story of a boy battling with his own self worth and the start of a strange and powerful friendship.  Join Will in 1970s Groaningsea for a rip roaring time.

A boy trapped inside a small stone cannot exist – but he’s still there even when I use my magnifying glass.


Last night I dreamed of Groaningsea.  The closed railway station had a train again – it was a shiny, black monster with a leering face hurtling down the track towards me.  A pop eyed toad, wearing a railway cap, hung out of the window and flicked its tongue to catch the flies that clustered around its head.  The station was full of clowns and puppets dressed in stripy jackets and straw hats.  A shrieking voice caught my attention as Mr Punch hit Judy with a policeman’s truncheon.  Suddenly, a weasel faced ferret, with razor sharp teeth, poked me in the ribs with his walking stick and I woke up sweating.

I threw back the blankets and rushed to the window but nothing had changed.  The sky was vast with heavy, black clouds almost meeting the roaring, grey sea in the distance.  Groaningsea was still dead.  Could I imagine it being returned to the days of the ghost train and donkey rides when people would come for miles to get the sea air?

The door shuts heavily behind me as I pull on it and then run across the empty road to the deserted beach.  I try to remember my dream full of stripy clothes, fried onion smells and the tinkling circus music that makes the horses dance.

A sharp nip stings my cheek and my specs are gone.  All I can see is a head resembling a dead bat moving towards me; it has to be The Toad.  You can always tell him from the fake, leather jacket he wears.

Always watch your back; it will save you frantically sticking your hands out when you’ve been shoved. 

I know it is Snot who has pushed me; I can hear his whiny, nasal voice shouting. Snot is The Toad’s sidekick; a dried crust of mucous always covers his face, hence the name.

I ask them for my glasses back but my voice sounds weak and I feel like an ant before a shoe takes away the daylight.

My glasses hurtle over my head and I get a short, sharp pain in my back.  The Ferret cackles that he thought I was a football.  Ferret is the other sidekick of The Toad.  He is small with pointed teeth and omits a malodorous odour when excited.  I suspect he is very excited.  I swallow deeply to rid my throat of the lump in it.  I dream of being Robert the Bruce – the freedom fighter who beat his oppressors.  The sea rages in the background and I wish it was me with all that power and fury. I try to get up but Snot pulls my legs from beneath me and I hit the sand again.

Robert the Bruce

Robert the Bruce (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My grandma believes in angels and when I hear the croaky voice of Toad’s mum shouting for her crumpets, I believe in them also.  

The Toad answers to the name of Elvis only to his mam, as he calls her.  I hear him shouting back to the croaky angel as if he too is sweet and heavenly.

The Ferret sniggers as he drops my specs in the sand.  My breath comes quickly and heavily through my lips as I watch their outlines saunter away.  My belly is determined to shoot my Weetabix out through my mouth and my legs want to give way beneath me.  I gulp down a sob and get on with the job of finding my specs.

I kneel down thinking I am automatically going to set hands on them but all I grab are millions of tiny grains, an empty Dandelion and Burdock bottle and a piece of soggy seaweed.   The Thunderous Mother will go bonkers if I go home without my specs.  If I tell her about The Toad she will march around to his house and complain to his Mum.   She thinks being nice is slamming the door in someone’s face so I’d better keep digging.

“Thine intestines wilt be mine!”

I glance around.  I am alone.  The sky is almost black and the furious rush of the sea is urgent.   A shiver runs down my back as I edge my blue scarf further up my neck.  The sound of the wind often gets distorted on Groaningsea shores, although it has never sounded like a threatening voice before.  I shrug at no-one in particular as my fingers grasp something smooth like glass.

“Thou wilt regret this warty nose.”

I rub my ears with my free hand.  A voice without a body is not possible.

“Leave me be, thou fetid, old skanky breath.”

I freeze as I hear the clucking of a tongue.

“Thou art nought but a worm eating corpse.”

Without a word of a lie, the threat appears to be coming from my hand.  I slowly look down at my fingers wrapped around the stone and then quickly spring them open as if on a mechanism.  The stone is clear like glass.  My eyes widen at the shock of being able to see it clearly without my specs. 

A boy, the size of my palm, is in the stone and scowling up at me.  He is in a prison cell.  It has bars on it and there is a small bed at the far end, a desk and a chair.  There is a writing quill sitting on the desk.

“Who art thou?  I thought thou wert that devil Ravensmite.”

I open my mouth to reply but nothing will come out.  The boy has long, dark hair with black, piercing eyes.  He is dressed in a green knickerbocker suit with a frilly ruff around his neck.  Huge, shiny buckles sit on the front of his shoes.   I stare at him like a goldfish.

“Mule’s manure, that is what thou art.”

I finally manage a few words.

“What… What are you?”   

“Marry, I am a grand warlock.”  The boy struts up and down within the stone prison cell, like a male pheasant.  I am sure that I should be saying something important or clever or well, anything really.  It’s not easy when faced with someone who is dressed so oddly.  I decide to act as if this type of thing happens to me every day.

“You’re a minute boy in a stone.” I wrinkle my nose to throw doubt on his personal hygiene.

“I can slay thou withal one breath, thou bent nosed fool.” He puts his fists up.

I scratch my head.  I’ve never been in a situation like this before.

“Why do you want to fight me?”

“So thou art not an agent of Corpsehound?” The boy in the stone drops his fists.

“Corpse what?”

The boy’s body becomes like a glove puppet when the hand has been taken out.

“Does thou hast a dwelling, thou springy haired oik?”

My hand shoots to my hair and I pat it down frantically.  The boy’s voice is suddenly soft and sweet, it makes me want to eat marshmallow.

The boy said something about a dwelling.  We don’t seem to be speaking the same language.  Some people have started flying to Spain for their summer holidays so I wonder if he has come from abroad.  For some strange reason he starts to sob and a tear shaped bit of rock, like a piece of dried snot, falls into my hand.  At this point, I feel like running away but I need to know more.

“Hast thou got a dwelling young ruffian?  What name do they give thee?  It must be Turnip Head.”

“Will Blyton.  I live at that house over there.” I point to my home across the road.  I thought that the boy was strange from the beginning but when he gets down on his hands and knees and starts to pray – I am sure he has come from somewhere far away.

“Take me to thine abode, Blyton, thou jug eared clown.  I am a powerful magician who can grant thee any wish.”

I don’t believe him, of course.  His face leers up at me and I stand back in shock.  He is handsome until he smiles; his teeth wear a thick, yellow coating as if they are covered in custard.

“I don’t know.”  I try to play for time to help me think.  “Do you have a name?”

The boy sticks his small chest out.


I eye Hamnet carefully and wonder how he can be of use to me.  Would it be possible…  I wonder…

“I will take you home if you can send me back to the fourteenth century; I need to ask Robert the Bruce how to decimate The Toad.”

Hamnet stands up quickly. 

“Will he helpeth me?”


Hamnet pushes the palms of his hands out quickly and nods eagerly.

“Robert the Bruce – the great magician who can turn evil creatures into a thousand pieces.  Thou really art a wart headed fool!”

For a moment, I can’t work out what is going on.  l look up at the darkening sky; I then realise what the boy is getting at.

“No, he is not a magician.  He is a freedom fighter.  Oh never mind.  Make me time travel.”

Hamnet blinks quickly and closes his eyes for a moment.  He slowly opens one, I peer at him hopefully.   Hamnet opens the other eye and tries to smile. 

“I wilt make thou travel through the mists of time if thou takest me to thine abode.”

I clutch at the stone and think about the forthcoming journey back in time.   If I take the strange boy home, he will call me names and I get enough of that from The Toad.   I don’t fancy it.  I glance down at the boy again.  It would be worth it if he could take me to Robert the Bruce though.  I decide to give it a go.  After all, I am never going to get another opportunity like this and I can always take the stone back to the beach.  I will take a chance but first I need my specs.

I fall to my knees and rummage through the sand at ninety miles an hour with my free hand.   Sand flies everywhere but there are no specs to be had. 

“Get off thy knees thou feeble minded dog, I do not care to hang around this dreaded place too long.”

I stand up and hold my palm out so that I am looking at the boy.  I explain to him that I have lost my specs and cannot see very well without them.  He has his fingers lurking near his nose again and I wonder if it helps him to think.  The next moment, his eyes start to gleam and he is pointing and shouting to a spot in the sand.

“Marry, the seeing instrument is there.  I see it! I see it!”

I sink to my knees again and grasp at my specs.  I wipe them on the bottom of my jumper and quickly put them on.  Hamnet is jumping up and down and waving his hands about.

“Hurry Blyton, we have no time to waste.”   The boy is bossy; anyone would think he has someone after him.

I cross the road to go home.   The fury of the sea lashes behind me so I will be glad to reach the warmth.

Once inside the house, I tiptoe up the stairs, missing the third one altogether as it has a wailing creak.  Scurrying quickly across the landing before anyone sees me, I rush into my inner sanctum and close the bedroom door shut.   I lean against it and listen.  All is quiet so it is safe to pull the stone out of my pocket.  I proudly tell him that I have brought him home.  I wait for him to be flabbergasted at my fantastic bedroom.

Hamnet peers through the stone.

“Are thee a servant Blyton?”

I shake my head.  Once again, I am lost for words as I watch Hamnet gazing around my room.  I feel a sinking feeling in my stomach as he wrinkles his nose; anyone would think it was a pig sty.

“I thought not, thou hast many objects but thine chambers are a pitiful size.”   

My bedroom holds a bed, a wardrobe, a set of drawers and a bookcase full of my Sherlock Holmes detective stories, Doctor Who books and annuals.   All of these have been painted blue to cover up the scuffs and scratches when I have barged into them. 

There is also my special curiosities cabinet which holds my old coins, bones and fossils.   On top of it is a pea shooter, water pistol and catapult.   Hamnet obviously hasn’t noticed the precious treasures like my cassette recorder and my camera.   I had to wash up, empty the bins and dust forever to get that camera.   It seems he is not that well up on the latest technology.  I wonder if I should show him my dark room down in the cellar.  I know for certain that room will impress anybody.  He doesn’t deserve to go there.  I will ignore Hamnet’s comments because he never says anything nice.  To get my own back, I order him to make me time travel.

Hamnet sits down at his desk.  He rummages around in the drawer and then takes some parchments out and places them on the desk.  He runs his index finger along the parchment and tuts.  He then mutters to himself.  I am impressed.  Suddenly, Hamnet springs up and reads aloud from the parchment.


To the fourteenth century, send this

young skunk

To behold a squire, a knight, or a


Hamnet waves his hands about grandly whilst my stomach churns but nothing happens.  He picks his nose with his little finger; removes a bogey, looks at it and then flicks it in the air.  He then seems to remember me standing there waiting.

“It wilt happen later, septic earache.  Hamnet will keep thee safest when thou goest to the fourteenth century.”

I open my mouth to protest but Hamnet walks to the back of the cell and the stone becomes a dull pebble.  I rub it and knock on it but nothing happens.

I look through the bedroom window.  The rain pours down like a river and the wind sounds like a giant cow mooing.   I sigh, nothing has happened.  I hold the stone and stare at it.  No matter how hard I stare, I am in the twentieth century.  Even when I screw my eyes up and grunt hard, I am still in my own 1970s bedroom.   As you can imagine, I do not know what to do.  One moment, I am on the brink of a time travelling adventure with an insulting boy in a stone – the next moment – nothing.  Life just isn’t fair.

I grab a book called Medieval England off the bookshelf.  I hurriedly flick through the pages to find what I want and then leave it open on the bed.  Perhaps I am not concentrating enough.  I hold the stone in my hand and place it over the book to give Hamnet a flavour of what I want.  There is a picture of Robert the Bruce fighting his oppressors, the English, on one page and monks outside a monastery on the other page.   I sigh; the Slade posters still hang on my bedroom walls and the stone lies flat and grey. 

I shout out that I wish to travel back in time.  It doesn’t work but I can’t give up.  I would never have a flashy camera if I wasn’t a determined sort of person.  I squeeze the stone, it changes to glass and the boy appears.  

“Does thee never restest that flubbering tongue Blyton?”

I take my glasses off and rub my eyes.  I put on my best cross voice and give him pain because he has gone back on his promise to make me time travel.  I finish off by loftily telling him that there is no way that he is a magician.  I wait for him to try to better that.

Hamnet shakes his head and wags his finger at me.

“Thou! Thou! Thou leaking guts.  Goest to the fourteenth century and fall in a dung heap.”

I pull the stone up close to my mouth and loudly whisper that I am taking him back to the beach in the morning.  I accuse him of telling me lies about time travel and as I am sick of him calling me the most stupid names I have ever heard, I tell him that too.  Suddenly, I don’t feel as glum.

Hamnet clasps his hands together and falls to his knees.

“I wilt take thee back in time Blyton.  Marry, I need to work on it.”

I put my glasses back on.  Things are looking up.  I’m not going to let him off that easily though.  So I make it clear that the name calling has to stop.

“I promise thee, thou mangy rat’s bum, that I will give thee only names of nobility.”

I am about to point out that I have just been compared to the worst part of a rat when I hear a distant rumbling again.  I count three strides across the floor to look for the storm through the bedroom window. 

The wind tosses the waves about across the road.  If I stand to one side of the window, I can see the Floating Wreck Lighthouse which The Thunderous Mother runs as a museum in the summer months.  A force of electricity flashes behind the lighthouse in the shape of a fork, this eerily lights the white building up.  The huge waves slap angrily against the sea wall and the rain lashes down non-stop onto the pavements. 

I give my specs another quick clean on the bottom of my jumper and put them back on.  Standing under the yellow street light is a monk with his hood up; he goes down onto his knees and starts to pray.  The rain falls heavier as if whipping the ground but the monk does not seem to notice it. 

I open the window and stick my head out as far as it will go.  The window creaks open and the monk stops praying.  As he looks up at me, the rain hits his face.  His lips are cracked and thin under the street light.  He stares at me so strongly that my stomach churns; I can only imagine the rest of his face and I back away.

In the safety of the room, I hold my hand out as my fingers tremble and I hold onto Hamnet.  A shiver travels down my back; I have never seen anyone like the monk before.

I grab the book from the bed and hold it in front of the stone.  I prod the book harshly as I tell Hamnet that there is a similar monk standing outside.  Hamnet gives that wave of the hand again; it is as though he can get rid of all our problems by waving them away.

“Thine seeing instruments are bewitched and playing tricks on thee Blyton.”

I prod the book again as hard as I can and argue that the monk outside is exactly like the one in the book.  I am beginning to wonder if Hamnet only listens to what he wants to hear and that I am wasting my breath.  He leers at me with a yeasty smile and I wonder what is coming next.

“Hark, clothead, it was not really my fault.”

A prickling sensation begins at the back of my head as I see the fixed grin stuck on his face.  What does he mean, it is not his fault?  The prickling sensation comes down all over my head and I know exactly what he is saying.  I must be dreaming, surely this cannot have happened?  I point my finger at him and accuse him of making the grotty monk time travel instead of me.  My heart sinks as Hamnet clutches his hands together and smiles generously at me.

 “Thou dost not need to give me thanks; it was nothing, old flatulent one.”

My head is going to burst, no, my whole body is going to burst.  It is not just the fact that he gets things wrong but he acts as if he is so clever when he does it.  I can’t let him get away with thinking he is so much better than I am.  I tell him that he could have at least brought me a knight instead of a grotty old monk.  I am on the verge of telling him that he is a rubbish magician when The Thunderous Mother shouts up that dinner is ready.  Nobody keeps The Thunderous Mother waiting and so I let her know that I am on my way.

I look back through the window but the monk has gone.  I put Hamnet in my pocket and wonder where the monk can be.

I go downstairs and sit at the dinner table.

“Putrid bums!”

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