Option One: © T.M.Clark - Extracted from: Burnt Star Voyager.

Chapter Book: 720 Words. Aimed at 9 – 12 years.

Chapter one: The Ship’s Journey


    Nova was running out of time. 

    He lifted his left hand and looked closely. 


    Already he was dying, his life force draining out of him without his wings.

‘    Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!’ He muttered to himself as he gazed out over the rigging whipping in the wind, past the wooden masts, at the land-mass looming out of the Fourth Sea. The black water churned around, and white swirls smashed against the ship’s sides as it maintained its steady course, cutting through the darkness down the coast towards Lazarda.

    From the port they would head inland into the vast Red Deserts, going beyond Tsoming, looking for Zepha the Horworm in his homeland.

    It was here that he and Etria hoped they would find his wings. 

    Had to find his wings, or he would be no more.

    He’d simply fade from Endolozi. 

    He would lose his life force and cease to exist.

    Nova shifted and uncrossed his legs; he scratched them as if there were small red biting blants in his breeches. Standing up next to the barrel used to store water, and seconding as seating for the passengers, he sighed. ‘I wish this journey would end.’

    ‘Soon,’ Etria said. ‘I’ve travelled this way before. Believe me; the boat trip is the easiest part of our journey.’

‘    That’s fine as long as we can get off the water.’

    ‘Can’t you swim?’

    Nova shook his head. ‘Never needed to when I could fly.’ As he climbed back on his water barrel seat, he stared at the unlit brazier in front of him. ‘Emalf!' he muttered, and with a slight twist of his hand, blue-orange flames leapt from one twig to the next and within moments a warm fire burnt cheerfully, confined within the steel.

    Etria shook her head and said, ‘even after all these years I still needed flint and stone to create a fire. You’re so good with your sleight of hand, that you have me baffled as to how one as devious as you managed to lose your wings again?’ 

‘    Even a fairy can have a bad day in the gambling houses.’

‘    Gambling will be the death of you…’

    ‘Most likely, if we don’t get my wings back.’

    ‘That’s not what I meant. Not this time.’

‘    I know. You’re aware of the enchantment at The Green Slugboar, that is supposed to prevent the use of magic under its roof?’ Nova asked. ‘I was never supposed to be parted from my wings.’

    ‘But you were. And, that still doesn’t explain how that potion the giant threw over you was activated. Surely it should have been useless too?’

    Nova nodded. ‘I was counting on it. I have often bet my wings in a gamble for diamonds and jewels. Other creatures’ obsessions to fly always make them overlook the fact that I couldn’t actually remove them. But there was something evil and powerful in that potion that caused my wings to separate from my body.’

    ‘How do you know you’ll be able to reattach them when we find them?’

    Nova took a deep breath before answering to stop his voice from shaking. ‘I know my own powers will do that. I just do.’ He crossed his fingers behind his back. ‘It was a costly mistake losing them.’

    ‘One I hope you never repeat. Are you finished with chasing after the lustre of jewels?' Etria said. 

    Nova nodded. ‘Maybe, but you know a fairy and sparkly objects…it’s…’

    ‘In the blood.’ They said together.

    Etria smiled. ‘I know.’

    ‘Totally,’ Nova said. 

    ‘But what I’m curious about is where the Giant from Mobic got such a potion? And, more importantly, who made it?’ Etria asked as she moved closer to the fire, warming her hands.

    ‘To be honest, I’d rather not know. I just want my wings back.' Nova said. They were definitely on the trail, but he worried it would grow cold before they could retrieve his wings. He knew that fate was a fickle friend of the gambler, and that night it had shown him his worst hand ever. When his wings had fallen to the floor, dull and lifeless and the Giant had scooped them up and left. Before Nova could win them back in a rematch, or steal them, the Giant had traded them with a Water-Sprite from Tumeke. 


OPTION TWO: © T.M.Clark - Feeling Blue.

Picture Book: 270 Words. Aimed at 0 – 6 years.

Kelly was feeling blue.

Her animals tried to help make her feel better.

‘Go away, Echidna, I’m not taking visitors with spikes today.’

‘Go away, Kangaroo, I’m not taking visitors with pouches today.’

‘Go away King Parrot, I’m not taking visitors with bright coloured plumage today.’

‘Go away Tazzie Devil, I’m not taking visitors with sharp teeth today.’

‘Go away Wombat, I’m not taking visitors with hairy noses today.’

‘Go away Possum, I’m not taking visitors with rings on their tails today.’

A storm blew in.

It matched her mood. 

Kelly watched as large raindrops splish-splashed down.

She looked at the menagerie sitting on her front yard. 

They were her friends, and she had turned them all away.

But they hadn’t left her. 

They were wet.

She was dry.

Kelly felt terrible. Being in a bad mood was no excuse to turn her friends away.

She smiled as she had an idea. 

But not just an ordinary one, a super-industrious-worth-something-special-idea!

‘Come in for a visit, Echidna, I am taking visitors with spikes today (marshmallows on the end of his spikes, so he can’t hurt anyone.)

‘Come in and play Kangaroo, do you want to fill your pouch with some of my toys?’

‘Come in King Parrot, I could use someone to brighten my day.’

‘Come in Tazzie Devil, there is paper waiting to be shredded.’

‘Come in Wombat, I need someone who needs his tummy tickled.’ 

‘Come in Possum, I could do with something warm around my neck as we have our party!'

She had all her friends around her. Lifting her spirit.

Kelly wasn’t feeling blue anymore.