Thursday, 9 February 2012

Children's Fantasy - Peter's Quest

For my Fiction for Children module we were discussing Sci-Fi and Fantasy. In the lesson we had to come up with an idea for a Sci-Fi or Fantasy book for kids. I went with Fantasy as I find it easier to write and more interesting to read. I also love the concept of Kings and Queens, Knights, magic, mythical beast, sword fights, castles, all of it! So here is the beginning of my Fantasy novel for kids.


Peter was extremely annoyed, Penny had done it again. She had made fun of him. She had said that he was so skinny a strong wind would blow him away. Sure, he was skinny and quite tall for his age, okay; 5 foot eleven was very tall for a 14 year old. And he hadn’t filled out yet, he was still as scrawny as he was when he was 11 years old. But that was no reason for Penny to pick on him. It was only now, as he was lying in bed, that Peter thought of the perfect comeback, he should have said that even a strong wind wouldn’t be able to blow her away because she was so fat. Only that wasn’t perfect, because as soon as he had said it Penny would run to their mum and tell her what he had said. Peter scowled to himself, stupid Penny and her stupid fake tears. Peter always knew she was faking it when she cried but because she was younger, only a year though, and because she was a girl, an ugly one at that, he was always the one that got in trouble.  Peter rolled over in bed, pulling his duvet over his head leaving his feet to poke out the end. Now that he thought about it, he should have told Penny that he had seen her with Mark Tannis in the park the other day when she had told their parents she was netball training. He should have told her that he was going to tell mum all about it. That would have shut Penny up. But like all good comebacks, it had come a few hours late.

Peter turned in his bed again, this time so he was facing his window, which even though the curtains were closed tight still let in a lot of light from the streets. Mum had promised to get him new curtains, but she had been saying that for a few years now. Peter was getting really fed up with them now, he had outgrown the friendly faces of the stars and moons years ago and yet they were still there. He looked at his digital clock; the red numbers of 03.17 looked back at him. It was so late and yet he wasn’t even tired, he would never get to sleep now.

Peter had just nodded off when a blast of orange light blazed through the thin curtains. But it wasn’t the light that woke Peter up it was the loud roar that banged on his eardrums. He leapt from his bed, his large feet getting tangled in duvet, and hurried to the window, trying to kick the useless duvet away. From Peter’s window it was easy to see over the rooftops of many of the houses, he could see at least four streets away from his, annoyingly he could even see the school. So when he ripped open his curtains he could see what all the commotion was, even though it was happening three streets down from him. He stared in disbelief at the huge fire that had engulfed nearly half the street.


‘They’re really lucky that no one died,’ Billy Parker said the next day on the way home from school. The fire had been all that anyone had talked about all day, the teachers had found it very hard to gain the attention of any of their students and had finally gave in to talking about the fire themselves.

‘Yeah, but weren’t like ten people sent to hospital, I saw all the ambulances and fire engines from my window.’ Peter had called for his parents and they had all watched as the fire fighters quickly arrived and tried to tame the blaze. It had taken them ages to finally put it out, and in that time many ambulances had taken more and more people to hospital. ‘My mum said they suffered from smoke inhalation, but they would be fine though,’ he added afterwards.

‘Can you imagine being burnt to a crisp while you were sleeping?’ Billy said. ‘You’re just lying in bed thinking that your feet were nice and toasty and then bam! Dead.’

‘Billy!’ Bethany cried, ‘that’s a horrible to say and so disrespectful.’ Billy pulled a face at her but apologised none the less. ‘I think it’s dreadful,’ she continued, ‘and you know, they don’t even know what started the fire,  I heard someone say that it happened to all the houses simultaneously,’ she finished in a whisper.

‘I heard,’ said Billy in an equally hushed voice, ‘that all the fires started on the roofs and not by accident.’

‘The roofs? How did anyone get up there?’ Peter asked.

‘Who knows?’ Billy shrugged, ‘Why would anyone want to burn down a whole street in the first place?’


Peter could not stop thinking about what Billy had said that afternoon. He was distracted while he watched the TV after school. He was distracted as he ate cottage pie for dinner. He was distracted as he played on the Xbox instead of doing his maths homework. He was so distracted that he didn’t even care when Penny made a joke about his lanky legs.

He was grateful when it was time for bed so he could finally sleep and not think about the fire. But instead of sleeping, Peter found himself sat on his windowsill staring out of his bedroom window waiting to see if anyone was climbing onto the roofs to set fire to them. Maybe if caught this arsonist everyone would talk about him at school. Maybe his parents would like him more than his sister. And maybe, finally, Penny would stop taking the mick out of him all the time. He could see it now, all the kids at school begging to be his friends, the teachers giving him top marks on all his homework even algebra, his parents saying how proud they were of him and why couldn’t Penny be more like him, and best of all, Penny at his feet gushing about his greatness, and saying sorry for the times she had ever made fun of him.

The clock glowed 04.32 at Peter as he yawned hugely; it was unlikely that there would be another fire tonight. Last night was probably an accident, nothing suspicious. It was probably best to go to bed so he didn’t fall asleep in class tomorrow, or was it now today? Peter was about to let the curtains fall shut when movement caught his eye. The movement wasn’t on the roofs, it was in the sky. Clouds completely blocked out the moon and stars and the streetlights coloured them in a gloomy orange. Against this backdrop a great mass was silhouetted. At first Peter thought it was a low flying plane, or a flock of birds, or even an alien spaceship, anything other than what it really was. Peter followed the moving object closely, pressing up against the window while cupping his hands around his face to block out any unnecessary light. Yet he still couldn’t see what it was. It wasn’t until it moved closer to the streetlights that Peter got a really good look. With a gasp he fell off the windowsill with a loud thud. He stayed huddled on the floor for a few seconds, hoping he hadn’t woken anyone up. When he was sure that everyone was still asleep he scrambled to the window once more.  He peeked over the top of the windowsill and peered out of the window. He searched the sky, the rooftops, the streets but it had disappeared. Peter stood up shakily and clambered into bed.

He knew it sounded crazy but he was sure he had just seen a dragon outside his window.   

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