‘You really are our only help’
Ellis was listening to the exciting conclusion of Pearly Stockwell and the Letter that Was Hidden but Everyone Could Really See when she heard a soft voice she didn’t recognise.
‘Help,’ said the voice. ‘Please would someone help us?’
‘That’s strange,’ thought Ellis. ‘I don’t recognise that voice.’
‘Help,’ repeated the voice desperately. ‘Please would anyone help us?’
To begin with, Ellis thought that the voice belonged to one of the characters in the story. Wanderley had just disguised himself as a scarecrow and was standing in a turnip field at midnight waiting for the letter thief to rendezvous with his wicked one-legged accomplice.
Though it was a freezing January night, Wanderley stuck bravely to the task and had just gritted his teeth against the cold for the third time when Ellis heard the voice again.
‘Help,’ said the voice. ‘You really are our only help.’
Wanderley wouldn’t be calling for help, thought Ellis. He’s a master of disguise and one of the Interesting Twins. Anyway even if he did, no one would hear him apart from the bad guys and that would mean the story wouldn’t make sense.
Ellis took off her earphones and looked around. There was no one in her bedroom. Her Mum was downstairs. Her Dad was still at work.
‘Please help,’ said the voice again. ‘We really must get out of here.’
Ellis was puzzled. I bet you are as well. Whose voice is this? Who does it belong to? How can Ellis hear it? How is this going to work? Really? What now? Are you sure? Do I really have to keep reading? Should we just ignore this voice?
‘Please don’t ignore me,’ said the voice, and there was a very real sound of panic evident now. ‘If you don’t listen then no one will.’
‘Who are you?’ asked Ellis. ‘What do you want?’
‘I’m Falcon Boy,’ said Falcon Boy. ‘I’m here with Bewilder Bird and normally we would be doing something to make Panic Town a better place but we have both woken up to find ourselves trapped somewhere dark and quiet.’ He sounded scared. ‘We don’t know where we are or why we are where we are.’
Falcon Boy’s words tumbled into Ellis’s ear like sand falling through a hole in the bottom of a bucket. Ellis thought for a minute. She kind of knew that hearing Falcon Boy’s voice could turn out to be really important for her and everyone else.
‘How come I can hear you?’ she asked.
And now we are at the heart of the matter.