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SHAPESHIFTER

SHAPESHIFTER

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Published by Jemma Castle
Faye is just an ordinary girl. At least that’s what she thought.
Of course she had ideas and interests but she never imagined that being curious could lead her on such a path of no return by crossing the hedge.

After that, things would never be the same.

Shapeshifter


A working draft of a story we are working on. Read it as it grows day by day....

Faye is just an ordinary girl. At least that’s what she thought.
Of course she had ideas and interests but she never imagined that being curious could lead her on such a path of no return by crossing the hedge.

After that, things would never be the same.

Shapeshifter


A working draft of a story we are working on. Read it as it grows day by day....

More info:

Published by: Jemma Castle on Sep 06, 2010
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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10/14/2011

AGES 9 and up

Written and illustrated by Jemma & Ginny Castle

This book is a work of fiction. Any reference to historical events, real people, and real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author's imagination, and any resemblance to actual events of locales or persons, living or dead, is purely co-incidental.

Copyright © 2009 Jemma & Ginny Castle

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means or manner whatsoever (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the written permission of author. Except in the case of brief quotations embodied in articles and reviews.

The moral right of the authors to be identified as the authors of this work has been asserted by them in accordance with relevant Copyright, Designs and Patents Acts.

This book is available subject to the condition that is shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the author's prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the

subsequent purchaser.

Summary

Faye is just an ordinary girl. At least that's what she thought.

Of course she had ideas and interests but she never imagined that being curious could lead her on such a path of no return by crossing the hedge.

After that, things would never be the same.

-Pa e 2-

"Kittens are wide-eyed, soft and sweet.

With needles in their jaws and feet." <Psm Brown

"Its all perfectly true, ..... Luna" she conspired with her pure white kitten.

Thumping the thick book down on the windowsill, she read the title out aloud - "The Worlds Best Fairy Tales by Readers Digest".

It was actually quite difficult to find a place to put the book down. There were old mugs of half drunk tea littering every surface, as well as soft toys and beach shells. The book was extremely heavy and so it landed hard where it did and stayed put - .... after wobbling a little.

"You know what, Luna?" she pondered, "if I had only one wish in all the world, I would wish to have the ability to change into any animal I wanted, whenever I wanted".

"That's not too much to ask, is it" she continued.

"Not too much at ali", replied the purring bundle of fluff.

Not hearing her kitten, for it largely resembled purring, Faye daydreamed a little to herself.

-Pa e -

It had all begun with a book she had read recently called 'Animorph'. It was about some kids and some aliens and the kids had been able to change into animals.

It has stayed in her mind and from being a daydream it had become an obsession.

The truth is that even before she had read the book she had be obsessed with animals and dreaming of turning into an animal.

She sighed heavily and collapsed on the bed. The purple striped duvet folded in around her and the old bed sank a little. Lying there with her head on her arms she drifted off into sleep.

The deep, rhythmic purring of her kitten stopped abruptly and the room was filled with silence.

-Pa e 4-

HMany of our daydreams would darken into nightmares, where there is a danger of their coming true! II

~ logan Pearsall Smith

Faye felt as if her heart had stopped and her throat closed up. She struggled to breath. She was running into the deep, darkness of the night. She did not know where she was and was struggling to find her bearings. The last thing she remembered was lying down on her bed in broad daylight.

It had been a lovely sunny afternoon and she had made herself a cup of apple juice before settling down with a faerie book and a purring kitten.

Normally she would have been outdoors but this was not a normal afternoon.

Her parents were unexpectedly away, leading an anxiously awaited, full-week kayaking trip with some tourists. Though this was their livelihood, Faye and Luc were unaccustomed to being left totally alone. They were both responsible though and her older brother had been left in charge.

John, their neighbour was also close-by if there was any need and he was really nice.

-Pa e 5-

Luckily for her, Luc was not an overbearing sibling and he had soon left her to do her own thing after checking that her mobile was full charged and she had promised to keep it with her.

He had gone off skateboarding with a couple of his friends at the cage. The cage was an abandoned tennis court at the edge of the village, near the old school. The school had closed down four years ago as the local council had decided there were too few children to keep it going.

The remaining 10 children on the island were now either homeschooled or had gone to boarding school on the mainland.

Luckily for Faye and Luc they were homeschooled, via a computer-based tutor program, whilst their parents tried to eke out a living on their island. For the majority of the time their parents were around and about if they needed help, but occasionally during the long summer months they would be lucky enough to have a group of tourists who would pay a lot of money to travel to the Far Isles, by kayak.

Having completed their studies during the morning, Luc and his friends had gone off to enjoy the afternoon together.

Unfortunately for Faye there were no children her age on the Island so she tended to either be out with the kayaks and her parents, beachcombing or reading in her room.

Occasionally she landed a job of babysitting some of the Islanders bairns, who were too young to need schooling. To their delight she read them fairy stories.

-Pa e 6-

Faye loved fairy stories and mythical beasts and knew many of the stories by heart, having read them and re-read them so many times.

As her mind flickered over her daily life, she felt as if her dreamtime had gone into slow motion. She saw a narrow track leading into a group of trees and she hid there trying desperately to catch her breath.

Shaking with fear and drenched with perspiration, she clung to the lowest branch and hauled herself up into the leafy canopy of trees. Suddenly she was aware of how loud her gasping was and she tried to relax, hoping that this would silence the noise.

She was breathing again and she could hear her heart hammering away. It was a good feeling as it meant she was at least still alive.

A sudden pain on her cheek made her start and she brought her hand swiftly up to her face ...

-Pa e 7-

fIT urn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you. fI ~Maori Proverb

There was a loud rumbling noise and the pain came again.

Faye rubbed her fingers across her face and gasped as she felt a furry, prickly thing. She screamed.

Bracing herself she scrunched up her eyes and froze.

---51 LENCE---

She opened her eyes, and there were a pair of amber eyes starring right at her.

Her head shot backwards in self defence and a little white paw darted out and connected with her nose.

"Ouch, Luna - that was really sore and you gave me a fright waking me up like that" she scolded her kitten.

Not in the mood for Luna at all, she scooped her off her bed and put her outside the room. Closing the door firmly she put on the light. It was not dark enough to need it but it gave her some comfort. It was summer and it would be a few hours before it grew dark.

-Pa e 8-

She had obviously fallen asleep after reading the story and Luna had woken her up in the usual fashion of tapping her claws again her cheek repeatedly.

Faye was still breathing hard and the memory of her nightmare clung to her like a wet sheet.

Just 11 years old, she felt too scared now to be alone and desperately hoped that her brother would come home soon.

She glanced at her face in the mirror and ran her finger along the bright red scratches on her cheek. Luna had drawn blood ... She shivered and wondered if it had been Luna or if it had been her dream?

She remembered running away and hiding and not being able to breathe.

The nightmares had started after the book. By the book, she meant the "Animorph" book. Before that she had never had nightmares. These were bad ones. But she knew that they were linked to the book because the things she was running from were the same things that were in the book. All except that she did not have the skill for shapeshifting like the kids in the book, so she could not escape.

So far she had always woken up before 'they got her' but this particular nightmare, they had got too close. The alien slugs wormed their way into people's brains and that was what she was scared of.

Drawing a deep breath of air she stared out of her window but there was no-one on the street.

-Pa e -

"At! our dreams can come true/

if we have the courage to pursue them . ... If you can dream it; you can do it. H ~Wa/t Disney

Faye sat down at the small table in her room and opened her laptop. She pressed the power button and waited for it to boot up.

Seating herself comfortably on her dressing table chair, she waited for a moment at the password request. She smiled to herself, remembering the way the kids in the book changed into animals of their choice.

She typed in the letters of her password:

A.N.I.M.O.R.P.H.

and listened to the hum and buzz of the laptop as it loaded her settings.

Without pausing she clicked on the Google Chrome icon and the internet screen popped up.

She typed in her Facebook address and then entered her email and password.

"No, I don't want you to remember my password, thank you" she groaned, clicking the 'never for this site' button.

-Pa e10-

It was so annoying the way websites tried to store your information. Her parents had warned her to be careful on the internet and not to let sites save her password.

She smiled as she saw the small red notification circles next to her messages. She clicked on chat but her friend, Mia was no longer online.

"Oh no, I've missed her" she exclaimed as she looked at the time. It was already 17:21.

Normally she went onto Facebook about 3pm but today she had fallen asleep and missed her friend. It was so fun chatting on Facebook, she felt disappointed.

Clicking on the message button, she opened the message from Mia.

"Where are you, Faye? I have so much to tell you and I have been waiting for you to come on line! I can't even text you as I have no airtime in my mobile."

Faye moaned. She had no free SMS's left either and she could not phone Mia as she did not have much airtime herself. She had promised her parents she would not waste it whilst they were away.

Their land line was used only for their internet connection and for business. Once she had used it a few times to have some long phone calls with Mia and the phone bill, when it arrived weeks later had been over £200.00. Her dad had checked the itemised billing over the internet and it was all her fault. She had felt so bad. Of course there was free calls after 8pm

-Pa e 11-

but Mia's mother would not let her speak on the phone after 8pm.

She clicked on the reply button.

"Hi Mia

Sorry I missed you. I have a lot to tell you too. I can't wait until tomorrow.

Whats up? You sound excited? Is it a good or a bad thing?

I fell asleep this afternoon after reading a story and I had such a bad dream AGAIN! It's really getting to me.

Those slugs in the book really freaked me out badly but I do so dig the idea of animorphing. I wonder ifit's possible?".

Before she finished the email message, she opened another tab on her browser.

Typing in "animorph" she clicked and waited .....

Glancing through the search results she skimmed through the mass of text on the page:

... Did you ever wish that would could turn into your favorite animal? The Animorphs invite you along on their adventure! Did you ever wish that you could turn into your favorite animal? The Animorphs invite you along on their adventure!

.... Five human kids and an alien with the ability to turn into any animal they touch vs. an army of parasitic ...

... Animorphs on TV.com

Find the latest on the Nickelodeon show Animorphs. including video. season and episode gUides. exclusive pictures. cast bios. and more.

It was all about the book. Surely there was more than the book. She had read about the idea of shapeshifting in another book. It must be possible. In 'Animorph', the kids touch the animals and absorb their DNA. That was a bit far fetched but still Faye knew that magical stuff existed ...

-Pa e12-

She was not keen on the alien stuff in the book and it freaked her out a little, .... a lot. She knew it was not true or possible and that aliens did not even exist but her nightmares worried her and seemed very real.

Opening a new tab, on her browser she typed into the search box "how to shapeshift" and waited ...

A sigh escaped her lips, there was an awful lot of waiting about on the internet. She clicked back to her Facebook session and carried on typing to her friend.

"Mia, I know it's just a book but I am certain it can happen. There are quite a few different stories and stuff about it on the internet. Just imagine how cool it would be if you could change into a rabbit and speak to your pet in its own language. You could go bounding about your garden together and eat lettuce and stuff. It would be way cool"

She paused and clicked by to her search results.

Cool, there was a 'Youtube' about shapeshifting. She glanced down the list of results. Astral travel, pulling power from the universe, ...

She clicked on the 'Youtube' and smiled. This was fun and without realising it she let go of her bad dream.

The 'Youtube' was a load of rubbish and had nothing to do with shapeshifting. There were a couple of other 'Youtubes', so she took a look.

There was cool one that someone had done with 'Adobe Aftereffects' with a cat and slippers changing in to each other. She copied the address and pasted it into her message to Mia.

-Pa e13-

"Mia, check this out - it's pretty cool. Got to go and get tea ready as Luc is still out with his friends. I am missing my mum and dad and wonder how they are. I was a bit scared just now with no-one in the house."

She clicked the send button.

There was a scratching sound at the door, a persistent scratching and then a meow.

"Hello, Luna" she crooned and got up to let her in. Scooping her little kitten up she returned to the chair to watch a few more 'Youtubes'. "Its ok Luna, I forgive you for cutting my cheek open and giving me a heart attack" she mumbled, clicking on the mouse pad and tapping away at the keyboard. Luna was purring away already, happy again.

Ok, so there was obviously a TV series or movie on the 'Animorph' book she read. The 'Youtube' she had just watched looked exactly like she would have imagined a scene from the book.

Stroking her purring kitten, she mumbled "Luna, I wish I could change into any animal I want and back when I feel like it"

I •

She felt a tingling buzz in her hand and her fingers felt like pins and needles. She snatched her hand back and glared at it, flexing her fingers and shaking her hand in disbelief. Had Luna bitten her? There was no sign of it and Luna seemed to be asleep, though still purring away.

She got up carefully and placed her kitten on her bed. Then she walked to the bathroom and washed her hands with some soap. Good, she felt cleaner now. She felt like a shower and went to fetch her towel. She wondered when Luc would be back.

-Pa e14-

-Pa e15-

HFive years from now

I'm probably going to look back on the things I'm doing and cringe. II - Fiona Apple

The shower was wonderful and she felt much better afterwards. Her brother came home and they chatted over their food. He was tired and went to bed early.

Faye stayed up a while and wondered about her parents and how they were doing.

The Far Isles were 2 days paddling away. They would sleep over at some of the uninhabited isles on the way and also for food breaks. The weather forecast was good so their paddling should be easy.

She went up to her room after feeding the kitten and settling it down for the night with some fresh water and checking the cat litter box was clean.

The wooden stairs creaked and groaned and she tried to walk as quietly as she could, so as not to disturb her brother whose room was downstairs directly under the stairs.

She settled down in her chair, and opened Windfinder.com to check the weather forecast for her parents.

"Weathers' good" she said to herself.

-Pa e16-

Faye stood up to brush her hair, which she did often and looked out her open window. The street lights were now on and it was quiet outside and not even a breath of wind. A cat ran across the street. Faye watched it carefully, enjoying its fluid movement. Then she moved her chair across to her dressing table, sat down and stared at herself.

She thought about the cat she had just seen and imagined, with all her energy, that she really could shapeshift. A curious feeling crept across, under her skin. As she watched, her eyes bulged in surprise.

Then the feeling took over everything she knew and she watched in amazement as her features changed in slow motion and her face sprouted hair and long whiskers.

She raised her hand and touched her face and suddenly she was totally grossed out and it was not fun anymore.

"Eeuw, Vark" she shrieked loudly.

Standing up and knocking her perfumes and deodorant from her glass table she screamed "No, no, no ... what have I done, STOP". She kept screaming, unable to stop herself.

After a while, at the back of her mind, she heard her brother running up the stairs. THUMP, THUMP, THUMP.

He barged into her room and shouted "Whatever is the matter, Faye?"

"Nothing," she managed, turning towards the window. Luckily her fairy lights are on and the only source of dim light in the room apart from her laptop screen. Holding her hands

-Pa e17-

around her face, she continued "I was just watching an awful 'Youtube' and it gave me a terrible fright. I'm sorry, Luc"

"Are you sure, your voice sounds weird" he questioned her, rubbing his sleepy eyes.

"Yes, thanks, I am fine now," she managed.

Sighing in disgust, Luc left the room, slamming the door.

"One day something will really be wrong and I won't come to help you, Faye" she heard as he complained his way down the stairs.

"Now go to bed for goodness sake. You still have to do school work tomorrow, even if Mum and Dad are not here" he finished, slamming his own door downstairs.

Faye felt her face with her hands, almost sobbing. "Why did I do this", she cried - not knowing how to undo it. But her fingers found nothing but skin and she rushed over to the mirror and stared at herself. Her face was nearly back to normal and as she watched the final changes she laughed in relief.

"Freak, that was scary" she whispered to herself and giggled rapidly with relief.

With a quick rub over her face, she confirmed that she was 100% girl again; complete but without the scratches over her cheek. Curious and weird, ..... freaky but amazing. It sort of made her feel like it DI D really happen as there were scratches before and now they were gone. Was healing a part of the transformation?

-Pa e18-

She flopped down on her chair with her face in her hands and then she sat up and clicked on her Facebook messages.

It was late now and Mia was not online until tomorrow but she HAD to tell her.

Opening a new message, she selected her best friends name from the list of recipients.

Mia used to also live on the island but when the school closed down, Mia and her Mum had moved to England, where her Mum had managed to get a job. Still the two friends spoke over the internet almost everyday. It seemed like Mia was still somewhere in the village at times, even though Faye only got to see her about once a year. This summer, Mia was coming to stay with her for a week during the school holidays. It was a really long journey by train and ferry but her single mother had agreed to it as she was working through the summer holidays and Mia had no siblings or family nearby to look after her. Faye could hardly wait.

"MIA YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE WHAT JUSTHAPPENED TO ME," she put down in a rush, not caring about any email etiquette.

"I FEAKING HALF TURNED INTO A CAT. I ACTUALLY DID IT. I REALLY DID IT. I don't know how, BUT you have to believe me. It was freaky and gross and I don't think I will do it again. I really did not like it at all. LUC NEARL Y BUST ME TOO> I HAVE TO SPEAK TO

YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !"

She clicked the send button and shut her laptop down, not waiting for it to close down properly before she jumped into bed. She left her fairy lights on confident that they would keep troubled dreams at bay .....

-Pa e1 -

HWake up, it's a beautiful morning Honey, while the stars are still shining Wake up, would you like to go with me Honey, take a run down to the beach

Oh momma, I wanna go surfin'

Oh momma, I don't care about nothinq" -The Drums lyrics

Faye was woken up at 5:00 am by the alarm on her mobile. It was a song by The Drums and it always put her in a good mood for the whole day. She took a while to cancel it, leaving it to go off every couple of minutes, on snooze, while she got dressed. It was fun dancing away and singing "Hey momma, I wanna go surfin" while she got ready to go down for an early breakfast. Reluctantly she cancelled it after a few times, knowing it would wake Luc.

Luc was a late riser but she was always up with the birds. Outside she could hear the seagulls squawking their greeting to the sun. She felt thankful to live by the sea and loved the sound of the gulls in the morning. Most people hated them but she liked them, especially Herring Gulls, which she sketched occasionally. They were as big as cats and intrigued her.

Dressed in her favourite purple sparkly leggings and miniskirt and her black velvet hood ie, she tip-toed downstairs and into the kitchen.

-Pa e 20-

Glancing around she decided on an extra thick layer of peanut butter on a white roll. It would drive her mother demented and was not the most healthy breakfast in the world but whatever.

As she was about to whip open the fridge door to drink some apple juice straight from the carton (hee hee) she was reminded of her little kitten by her sudden door scratching and repetitive meowing.

Luna slept in her cozy little catbasket in the back hallway, at night with her catbox because she was not totally pottytrained yet.

Faye leant over and hooked the door open with her wrist and Luna shot into the room with a burst of speed.

"Ok, Ok, Luna - Good Morning" she retaliated, "I'll have your breakfast ready in a mo". Silently she wondered why Luna did not just go out and catch herself a wee mouse. That's what she would do if she was cat.

She opened the back door and left it open so that Luna could go outside if she wanted to.

Faye always thought about what she would do if she were a certain animal. Today it was a cat. Hmm .... and away she went to dreamland as she prepared her kittens breakfast.

There had been little time to wonder about what had happened to her in her dream last night, was it just a dream? Absent-mindedly she brushed her free hand against her cheek and breathed in sharply remembering the mirror episode vividly. (That part at least was all true!).

-Pa e 21-

By this stage, Luna was gobbling down her Whiskers jelly, and Faye thought she would go out for a quick stroll to clear her head before homeschool time.

Thinking of Luc, she quickly scribbled him a note:

t.uo. I am going out far a whiLe.

I wu: be back by the time you have finished breakfast then we can do our schoo! work together.

Leaving the backdoor wide open, so that Luna could go out after eating, Faye first went to her favourite little clump of trees. It was nearly, but not quite, a wood. Once she was inside the trees she realised that this is where she had run to in her dream. It was suddenly all too real.

She started. There, hanging on one of the upper twigs was a piece of the shirt she had been wearing yesterday afternoon, during her nap! FREAKY. She took a step backwards and decided in a hurry to go somewhere else. Before she left she pulled the clothes shed off the twig and twirling it between her fingers she set off down the footpath and over the bridge to the cage.

As she crossed the bridge she sped up into a jog and took a left turn through the bamboo and briar roses. In full summer it was difficult to get through there and the thorny branches snatched at her clothes.

A short distance from the turn there was an enclosed section of trees, that some of the older kids used to hang about in

-Pa e 22-

the school holidays and they had damaged the fence by standing on it repeatedly.

She slowed down and jumped neatly over the tangle of wire fence that was half covered by matted grass. She almost slipped on some dew covered moss but managed to catch herself before she hit the ground. A young tree saved her fall and she clung to it with her life.

Hanging there, she felt in awe of the woods and their tree spirits and did not want to let go. Trees had such a good feeling about them and she felt very close to being a dryad - guardian of the trees. She felt so annoyed when the older kids damaged the trees as they did and left litter lying about.

It was a sacred place this, and she wondered that they did not feel it.

She felt small in comparison to the big trees and the chirping of a nearby bird caught her attention. All else was silent as the village still slept. She felt her full concentration drawn to every detail of the wee bird. It was a robin. Its chest was reddy brown. She felt as if her eyes were microscopic as she could suddenly see every detail of every feather. Then an abrupt movement in the grass below caught her eye and she flew down to tug the first earthworm of the morning out of the ground. Delicious. She snapped it down and chirruped her glee. Then she flipped her tail back and forth like a wagtail and took off to land next to the robin she had been studying. No other thought entered her mind.

The robin took off and together they flew a winding path through the trees. The early morning sunlight was streaming through and catching the green leaves and glowing with life.

-Pa e 2 -

All around there was the squeaking, scratch of other birds at song.

Even the air tasted different. The midges were out and she collected a few with her outstretched beak.

Other birds joined in their play and she felt at one with the world.

As she sang her song, it felt almost as if she were saying "cheerily, cheer up, cheer up, cheerily, cheer up"

There seemed to be no end of things to do or places to fly with the woods and time had no meaning.

She was lost in the glorious, multitude sounds. At dawn the song of the birds was more rapid and she glowed with the rise and fall in pitch but delivered her song at a steady rhythm, with a pause; before singing again.

As she sang her cheery song, she felt drawn toward the village and she flew off to inspect the lawns. No fence stood in her way and she felt equally familiar with the birds in the village, as those in the woods.

After a while, she felt a bit tired and sort of sat down a bit. Catching her breath, she looked closely at another bird that flittered about a boggy area of a neglected garden. It was eating a worm. She felt a bit weird as if she was going to throw up and her vision blurred, and she lost all consciousness.

-Pa e 24-

/~ . ./ike that little blackbird in a forest in Germania yes it's very pretty but he don't know where he is

life should be more fun

it should be a laugh a minute going ha ha ha ha ha ha

but we don't know where we ere" -Herrts Tweed lyrics

Faye became aware of voices around her and she opened her eyes a little to peek at what all the noise was about.

She felt a little disoriented and could not quite make out where she was.

There were people looking at her, so she closed her eyes hoping they would go away.

It really was quite noisy.

"Do you mind?" she muttered.

"Oh, she's alive and awake" she heard a familiar voice call out.

She winced. More noise. She had quite a headache as if she had bumped her head or something.

She could hear nosy comments and questions in the background.

-Pa e 25-

"Who is it?" "What happened?" "Who does she belong to?" "Ah, and what her name" "Faye?" "I've heard her called Faye" "Shame of them, leaving their children alone" "Children running the streets"

Someone shook her lightly and she opened her eyes again, trying to sit up.

"Oh, don't be worrying about that Lassie" said John, the ambulance driver. "You'd best keep lying down, until your brother arrives".

My brother, thought Faye to herself, .... my brother?

"urn, Where am I" she asked, some what confused.

Struggling to sit up again, she looked about her and was amazed to see that she was almost sitting in a bog, in a garden down the road from the cage.

"Urn, er" she managed.

Then she heard running footsteps coming towards her and she looked up onto her brother's anxious face.

"Faye, whatever is going on?" He demanded. "Are you alright, I was so worried when I got the call?"

Before she could manage an answer he carried on with his barrage of questions.

"Whatever are you doing in Mary Floras' garden?" he announced, glancing about at the onlookers.

-Pa e 26-

It was a nosy village where people liked to poke their noses in other peoples business. It was very annoying but Luc dealt with it in his stride. "I think you can all go home now, everything is fine, thank you" he said stiffly.

The folk narrowed their eyes at him but moved away grudgingly.

Faye was surprisingly on the garden side of the fence, next to the winding tarmac road that led down to the islands' only shop, near the pier.

How she got there she could not begin to imagine, and yet she very clearly was in Mary Floras' garden. She felt she must apologise and looked around for the old lady.

"Best to keep still, Miss Faye," John reminded her.

His bright ambulance outfit glared at her and she winced. She really did have a bad headache.

"Er, Luc?" she managed.

"Yes, Faye"

"I'm not really sure" she giggled a bit. "I mean, I left you a note, did you get it?"

"Yes, just ... "

"So, I went to the cage," she pondered "and .... ?"

"Miss Faye, are you ok, now?" queried John.

"Yes, John, I think so." She replied.

-Pa e 27-

"Well, I think we'd best take you home then".

"Sure" both her and Luc said together.

John was their neighbour and also the ambulance driver. Not much ever happened on their little island but he was on call, to assist if there was ever a need. Today had obviously caused much excitement as quite a crowd had collected at the sign of the flashing ambulance lights.

-Pa e 28-

"Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.

The fearful are caught as often as the bold. " -Helen Keller

By the time John dropped them off, they had both been forced to promise that they would keep in touch with him twice a day. He said that he did not want to worry their parents but they could both see that he was edgy.

On the way home, Faye had concocted a likely story. Saying that she had seen a cute kitten on her way down to the cage and had followed it. When it had run into Mary Floras' croft she had climbed over the fence without thinking and in her rush to catch up with the kitten, she must have tripped and fallen. Obviously she had knocked her head during the fall and must have been knocked unconscious.

That was how a passerby had found her and had called for the neighbours and eventually the ambulance.

"I really feel fine, John, honest" she insisted as they got out of the ambulance, still rubbing her head.

She cringed, as she caught a glimpse of their other neighbours peering out of their windows. She knew that before they had settled into their morning schoolwork, her version of the story would be running rampant right across the island. That was how things went in small communities.

-Pa e 2 -

Once inside, Luc avoided looking her in the eyes. He sat her down and made her a cup of apple juice. Then he just sulked about the counter as she sipped at it.

She was lost in thought when there was a loud knocking at the door. They both started and then looked at each other and winced. So, the news had spread already ...

Luc reluctantly strolled to the door, silently cussing under his breath. He kicked out at a marble that lay idly in the passage and it shot off, connecting with the metal storage heater with a loud clang. He swore loudly. Then realising that there was someone at the door, he said "oops", nearly as loudly.

His hand hesitated on the door handle as he tried to figure out who was lurking on the other side. Then quick as a flash the post flap opened and a stained, wrinkled hand popped through. It accompanied a shrill, echoing voice.

"Hello, anyone home?"

They both laughed. It was obviously the old lady that Faye had gotten her kitten from.

Luna had been a present for her 11 th birthday and she had gone with her Mum to choose her from the old lady.

Luc shuddered as he opened the door.

"Hello, young man, were you waiting for me to knock again?" she asked.

"Not at all" Luc replied.

-Pa e 0-

"Ah, well, shall I come in then or shall I just stand outside waiting for you to invite me in?"

Faye shot out of her chair, laughing loudly and pulled the door open.

"Come in, Medach" she giggled. Grabbing the old lady's gnarled fingers, Faye pulled her inside.

"We were just going to have a cup of tea" she announced, "would you like some?"

"Ah yes, don't mind if I do" replied the old lady as she settled herself down into Luc's chair which was smothered in morning sunbeam".

"Sit down Faye" growled her brother.

He clearly was not to keen to get into the whole scenario of what had happened but he clearly knew she was lying and was waiting for her to come clean. Honestly Faye did not have much of a clue. She had a fleeting memory of going for a walk and watching the sunlight in the woods and the trees. It made her feel peaceful.

In the background, the noises of the kettle boiling, filled the air.

"Is everything all right, dear" asked Metach. "Your Mum asked me to check up on you whilst they are away, you know".

"Yup" was all Faye could manage. Hoping to change the subject she jumped up and darted for the back hallway, to retrieve her kitten.

-Pa e 1-

Luna was fast asleep dreaming kitten dreams, but need exceeded courtesy and Faye lifted her up.

"Luna, Luna Loo" she came back into the room, crooning kisses at the sleepy bundle of white fur.

She dumped Luna on Metach's lap.

"So, what do you think?" she asked.

"Ooh, she looks just lovely and smells like she has just had a bath" the old lady replied, lifting Luna up to her nose.

Faye and Luc burst out laughing. Luna had been rather fragrant, in the worst way imaginable when she had arrived. The old lady's house smelt heavily of cats and it was not a pleasant smell.

Their Mothers' first condition for allowing the kitten to stay, had been that Faye had to give her a bath. Luc had helped her and luckily he had had the foresight to bring two pairs of long, heavy duty plastic gloves. Little Luna had had a few scratches in her. Soon enough though she had settled down and begun to enjoy the warm water and after a nice shampoo had smelt just like tea tree. Far more pleasant.

"Yes, she loves having a bath" Faye filled in.

"Well then, she looks good enough", Metach said, rolling her eyes towards the biscuit tin and Luc got up to get the biscuits.

Metach was very fond of their mothers' spicy home-baked biscuits and he had forgotten to offer her any.

-Pa e 2-

After a bit of chit chat, and no mention of the mornings' ambulance event, they both began to relax. Metach asked after their schooling and Faye showed her a couple of their text books and the online computer programme.

"I'm not interested in those computer things" Metach had said waving her hand at her laptop. "Let me see your art" she had insisted and Faye had fetched some of her latest paintings.

Murmuring encouraging sounds, they were both taken aback when Metach suddenly announced that she was off.

Seeing her off at the door, she suddenly grabbed Lyra's hand and whispered coarsely "Look after that kitten of yours for she is more magic than you realise".

Metach's eyes flickered and seemed to glow for a moment and Faye pulled back in surprise.

With almost super human strength, Metach pulled her forward and grabbed onto Luc at the same time.

"Don't you think I don't know what you've both been up to" she hissed before hobbling off towards the low pedestrian gate.

Faye and Luc looked at each other in amazement.

When they looked back, Metach was away already.

Stunned to silence, they ambled inside, careful to duct tape the post flap, just as they did in poor weather. They did not

-Pa e 3 -

feel like anymore interruptions today and if anyone else knocked they were going to pretend that they weren't there.

Back in the kitchen, Faye had to break the silence. "What do you think she meant, exactly".

Luc shook his head but he went a bit white, almost straight away.

"LUUUC?" interrogated Faye.

"Nothing". Luc went straight to his homeschoollaptop and shut Faye out of his space. "I'm busy and we've started late".

Startled, Faye collected the mugs and rinsed them off. She wiped the surface, trying to collect her thoughts and then picked Luna up off her chair. Luna always loved to sit on her chair. No matter where she was put, she would end up on Faye chair. Even if Faye was sitting on it, she would claw her way up Faye's back and perch between her shoulders, like a parrot. There was no way Faye was going to be able to study with Luna in the room. As she carried her little kitten across the kitchen, Luna burst in to a purr. Faye opened the back door and put Luna outside in the sun, before shutting the door. She had to push Luna back with her foot, saying "No, Luna" to stop her sneaking her way back in, straight away.

Faye switched on her homeschoollaptop. She was very lucky to have one for school and a private one in her bedroom. Most people on the island did not even have one in their house and had to use the facilities in the local community hall.

As her laptop was busy starting up, Faye looked at her brother. He was pretending to work very hard and was

-Pa e 4-

moving his notebook and pencil-case about loudly but he was clearly avoiding her.

She sighed and cast her mind back to the morning's events.

Far from having a relaxing walk before schoolwork, she seemed to have been flung into an adventure that she was not ready for.

-Pa e 35-

"The happiness of the bee and the dolphin is to exist. For man it is to know that

and to wonder at it. " -Jecques Yves Cousteau

Faye tried to concentrate on her science topic. It was linked to a book called Horrible Science "Ugly Bugs". She leaned over and grabbed her kindle. Part of her homeschooling bundle had included a kindle and it was pretty cool. Most of the folk in the village had not even heard of a kindle, never mind used one. As she read through the pages, she giggled. The 'Horrible Series' had such a funny way of putting things, it did not really feel like one was doing school work.

That was certainly one thing she didn't want to turn into, a bug ... she thought to herself.

She felt herself starting to relax as she got drawn into the story.

After a while, she realised she was hungry. She looked over at Luc, but he was very involved with his studying.

It was time for a snack. She got up quietly and tiptoed across to the kitchen and peeked about for something to eat. What did she feel like? Hmm. Another peanut butter sandwich would do and she made 4 of them, spread thick with butter and then plastered the peanut butter down on top before

-Pa e 6-

closing them. They looked like mountains and she smiled. Then she got 2 plates down from the cupboard above the drying rack and put 2 on Luc's plate and 2 on her own. Then she set about making two glasses of Ribena.

Picking up Luc's plate and his glass, she ambled back to the study.

Standing behind Luc, she hesitated before calling out his name. She could not believe her eyes. He was on Google.

She looked at his search results .... and gasped out loud.

"LUC, WHAT ARE YOU DOl NG?" she shouted.

Luc nearly jumped out of his skin and he quickly pressed AL TTAB and switched back to his homeschool tutor.

Then he spun around his chair and glared at Faye, almost making her drop his lunch.

"What are you doing sneaking up behind me" he growled.

"Here's a snack" she spat and stormed back to the kitchen.

She stood there shaking. She could not believe her eyes. That must have been what Metach was talking about and she never knew!

She was amazed.

Luc followed her through to the kitchen and she heard his footsteps but was too afraid to face him.

-Pa e 37-

"I'm sorry, Faye," he started. "I did not mean to snap at you so, it's just that you gave me a heart attack".

"Its ok, Luc." she offered. "I guess it's really my fault, I should not have shouted so loud".

She turned around and looked down at the floor.

Luc moved forward and took her hands in his. "Its Ok. Faye, really it is".

She looked up at him, with tears welling in her eyes.

They almost never fought, so she felt a bit emotional about it.

"Luc" she ventured. "I never knew you were interested in shapeshifting?"

"Weill am, so what?" he retorted.

"Nothing, Luc" she said, "Its just that ..... "

"Faye, don't try and interfere in what I am doing, just keep it a secret, OK!" he threatened.

Faye could not help herself. She giggled.

"What's so funny?" he demanded. "It really is possible".

"Luc, you misunderstand me" she said.

Then she sighed a deep sigh of relief. They had always been very close and had had so many adventures together. Why should she have felt that she could not talk to him?

-Pa e 8-

Its just that over the past couple of months he had been out with his friends so much and she had been on her own so much that they had grown apart a bit but now she thought to herself, it seemed that they had not really grown apart at all.

Smiling, she said, "Luc, you don't have a clue, do you?"

"Don't be horrible, Faye, of course I do" he replied. "I have been studying shapeshifting for a couple of years now. I know quite a bit!" He sounded really put out.

"Luc, that's not what I mean" she said softly.

"Well what do you mean, Faye" he raised his voice.

"Why don't we eat our sandwiches in the lounge in the sun and I'll tell you what I mean," Faye said picking up her glass of Ribena and her plate of sandwiches. She was starving.

In the lounge she settled down on the rug, waiting for Luc to come through. He didn't.

"Luc" she called.

Then he was there, standing in the doorway. He looked peeved.

"Oh, Luc, don't be upset with me" she pleaded. "Let me explain."

"OK" he mumbled.

"I really want to hear your story but I can see you're confused so I'm going to start first.

-Pa e -

Faye blazed through her account of the previous night and her experience in front of the mirror.

Luc's eyes bulged. "I don't believe it" he said. "I had no idea" .

"I just could not tell you," said Faye "I felt like you would never understand".

"Weill do and what's more, I have a lot to tell you" he said. Luc looked at her and then came over and learning down, he gave her a big brother hug.

Suddenly the whole world seemed brighter. Luc was just the best brother in the whole world.

"Ok, Luc," she began. Before I tell you anything else, you need to spill the beans!"

Luc seemed a bit embarrassed but he started his story.

It went something like this.

He had been fascinated by the same book, which he had read 3 years before her.

It had been on his mind almost constantly and he had paid a lot of visits to the community centre and the free internet service there. He had also searched the books in the public library attached to it, but had not found any answers. Yes, there were kid's books but that was it.

Then he had started to search the internet. He had found out as much as her, really at that time. Recently he had become obsessed with it again and had been spending a lot of time

-Pa e 40-

investigating it. Using some of the techniques, he had read about, he went out to the cliffs where he could be alone. There was a cave up there that overlooked the hidden bay and no one went there. He had by chance met Metach who was out gathering mushrooms, as she did and she had recognised him straight away.

He had been meditating and trying to change his state of being and she had startled him. After a while they had gotten into conversation and he had asked her if she had read a series of books by David Eddings. She replied that she had. In those books there was an old mage, whose wife was a wolf and he had also taken the form of a wolf. In time she had taken the form of a human and after that an owl.

He and Metach had sat up there by the cliffs chatting about shapeshifting for hours.

Metach was different from the other villagers. She spent a lot of time on her own and she did not gossip with the rest of them. It was almost like she was above them. She was a special lady even if her house smelt unbearable.

Still she had said some interesting things and he had gone back to the library to do some more research. Using the computers at the community centre allowed him more privacy than at home. He had given the excuse that he was off with friends at the cage but that was just an excuse.

Really the other boys did not spend much time with him, still considering him an outsider but it made his parents feel better if they thought he was off with friends.

"Ok" Faye interrupted "but have you, like .... "

-Pa e 41-

Yes I have, OK! Do you not remember Dad telling about the dolphin he saw in the bay, last week?" he rushed. "That was me! I jumped right over his kayak!"

"Wow, Luc, that's amazing" Faye squealed. "But how?"

"Well, I suppose if you want to enough you can do it" he said dreamily.

"REALLY, really, really LUC", squealed Faye. "A dolphin?"

"Yes, Faye, a dolphin" he insisted. "I really did it".

"But how?" asked Faye.

"Well, the other afternoon, I had been thinking a lot about it and Luna was distracting me, by bugging me in my room. So I took her outside. When I came back to my room I locked the door. I did not feel like being disturbed," he explained. "I lay down on my bed and I was thinking very clearly about dolphins. I read about a year back that if you practice and meditate properly, you can make contact with your animal guide. It's possible to shapeshift in the astral realm but rare in the physical one."

"I don't know anything about any of that," sighed Faye.

"Well, I read up on meditating and have been mediating for about a year," he explained. "There are different ways to meditate but I found a method that works for me and you can really feel it working."

"Wow, I never really heard anything much about meditating" said Faye.

-Pa e 42-

"Yeah, well Dad and Mum know a whole lot but they have been too busy struggling so hard, just to make ends meet since the grant fell through that I guess everything else has been put on hold," ventured Luc. "Anyway. they taught me some stuff when I was a bit younger - it's good for relaxing and stuff".

"Cool!"

"Well, like I said, I was meditating and I sort of went and had like a vision and I actually met my animal totem, it was a dolphin. How cool is that! Then I think because I focussed on it so hard, I actually felt myself sort of merging with my totem and I became a dolphin," he explained. "It was so like, awesome. Very different, not like you would expect at all. One minute I was there in the spirit and the next I was leaping for joy in the ocean. I was very conscious of everything I was doing, but it was sort of instinct and I did not have to think about my movement before I did anything. Everything went in super slow motion and I still remember all of it. Does that make any sense at all?"

"Yeah, it does, more than you realise" murmured Faye dreamily.

"Well, it carried on for a while and then we, ... my spirit totem and I, swam into the bay. I recognised it straight away. It was like a REAL dream. Have you ever had one of those?" he asked.

"Mmm, I have actually, sort of like dreaming but that you are in control of yourself in your dream and you can question things and that," replied Faye.

"That's it. So in my dream vision, I sort of saw that there were some tourists kayaking in the bay and then there was this one kayak coming straight towards me. I felt this surge of energy and as it came right near me, I leapt right up out of the water," he said in a dreamy voice, as if he was in a trance. "It was Dad and he saw me. He was like - wow, so happy and amazed and I was like trying to get him to really look at me but he did not see past the dolphin, then I thought that it was just a dream vision."

"But Dad really did see a dolphin in the bay" spluttered Faye.

"Yes, I know and it was me. I really did it, I really did .... but it was from a dream vision into reality, sort of like astral travelling into reality, I don't fully understand but it happened" he splurted.

"WOW!"

"It was something I will never forget, but I don't know if I cant do it again, I have been researching it so much, that's why I am out most of the time, I am sorry .... " He ventured.

They lapsed into silence. Then Faye breathed heavily and said "I think I have something else to tell you, Luc."

"What is it?"

"I think I changed into a bird this morning" she whispered.

"WHAT! You think?" he asked

"Yes, I think" she confirmed. "I have a memory of being a bird, not changing into a bird but it's a very different thing to be and birds don't think very deeply," she continued. "When

-Pa e 44-

I woke up in Mary Flora's garden, I was confused but it must be that I exhausted myself and passed out."

"Faye" he gasped. "A bird, weill never".

Faye smiled. It was kind of neat. She had had two shapeshifting experiences and Luc had only had one.

"In real life, Faye, are you sure? I mean in broad daylight in the flesh?"

"Luc, do you know that birds think different to us, really they do" she ventured.

Luc was silent.

"I'm being serious, Luc, they really do" she stated.

"Yes, Faye, I suppose they do. I'm just thinking about when I dream-changed into a dolphin," he started. "They think differently as well. But it was so cool. I never knew my totem was a dolphin but I sure was getting so sick of everyone seeing dolphins on the kayak tours and not getting to see any myself. I went and researched dolphins until I thought I knew everything about them."

Faye looked at him, and stopped eating.

"I was sitting in my room and Luna was scratching at the door of the kitchen to come into the house. It was distracting me, so I got up and let her in. She followed me into my room and climbed up my back and sat on my shoulders" he glared at Faye as if it was her fault.

Faye laughed knowingly.

-Pa e 45-

"Well she was sitting on my shoulder, a bit like a parrot and I was reading about dolphins" he continued. "She was purring away and I was talking to her, telling her all about dolphins".

"Yes" said Faye. She was beginning to realise what must have happened.

"Well, I know it sounds stupid but it seemed like she was listening to me and I told her what I was thinking."

"What?" asked Faye.

"Well she knew that I really wanted to be able to turn into a dolphin. I REALLY wanted to".

"YUP" .

"Well, she must have dug her nails into me because I got this weird buzzing feeling all over and felt kind of pins and needles all over" he said. "It creeped me out and so I took her back outside".

"Hmrn ... " murmured Faye

"Well, she was not happy with me and it must have been my imagination but I swear I almost heard her say something!"

he said " A h "

e sal. ... ny ow .

"Luc".

"Yes" .

"I think we need to speak to Metach" announced Faye. "I think there is more to her than meets the eye."

-Pa e 46-

"Why?"

"Well something she said to me at the door about Luna, really" .

"You mean about her being ?" he asked incredulously.

"Yeah, that's what I mean" confirmed Faye. "But in the meantime, you and I have a lot of catching up to do!"

"Yeah, I guess" smiled Luc. "You know, it feels good to be able to share this with someone, little sis!"

Faye smiled. This was so cool!

"Still, there is something else, Luc" she continued.

"What?".

"We do need to keep this secret," she insisted. "and I think Metach already knows, if you consider what she said to us when she left, I am not sure she approves".

"Faye, have you not heard the stories about Metach?" asked Luc.

"What stories?"

"Well people in the village, stay clear of her, that why she is such a loner" started Luc.

"But Mum and Dad like Metach," countered Faye.

"Yes they do, but we are not from here, Faye, don't forget that" ventured Luc. "Mum and Dad are different from most people anyhow, and you know that?"

"What do you mean?" asked Faye

"Well for starters, why do you think we were raised on fairy tales? Don't you think you're a little old for faerie tales" said Luc.

"No I don't think, I am too old for fairy tales, and besides, what does that have to do with it?" she asked.

"It has everything to do with it," said Luc.

"Dad is actually a professor of folklore" he announced. "You do know that don't you?".

"NO, I don't know that!" spat Faye. Suddenly she felt a bit worried. It was as if things were changing and she was not in control anymore.

"I did not mean that in a bad way, it's just that ... " he started. "You must have been too young to remember but that's the reason we first came out here. Dad came out to study the local folklore."

"I don't understand!"

"Well the funding fell through unexpectedly and we were stuck here. That was just before the local school closed. There was no way Mum and Dad had enough money to move again as they had used all their savings to buy this house. So they thought about things. Before Mum and Dad met, he was part of a Watersports Club on the mainland. They ran

-Pa e 48-

courses and Dad qualified as an instructor in a very sort time. He did sailing, kayaking, powerboats and even some windsurfing - so he knew a lot about stuff already. When the school closed, many families moved away and most of the kids went to boarding school on the mainland. Schooling was not a problem because Mum is a qualified teacher and homeschooled me when we were still on the mainland. Dad decided to start doing kayaking with the tourists as there were so many of them in the summer. Mum really enjoys kayaking as well so when the school closed and she no longer had a post as assistant teacher there, it seemed logical that they would do the kayaking together. It meant they did not need to employ anyone." Luc took a deep breath.

"SO" demanded Faye.

"Well, that's how we got where we are now." He said. "But let's not forget how we got to this part of the story!"

"OK"

"Well, I was telling you that Dad was a professor of Folklore," started Luc.

To cut a long story short, Luc told her how much Dad knew of all the all stories and that he believed they were true. Although they may have been changed by time, and people had changed them by word of mouth over time, the truth was in there.

He was fascinated to talk to all the local people about their individual family histories and their stories. Most of them clammed up and would not tell Dad anything, much to his disappointment but Metach had bonded with them and she told them a great deal. Seems Metach herself believed in

faeries and such and she had herself had experience with falling in love with a selkie when she was young. He was a handsome young man and they used to meet at the shore. As time passed, Metach discovered he was really a selkie. A seal man. She found his seal skin and hid it and persuaded him to come and live with her.

She was in her late 30'S by then and her mother had already passed away. Her father had been a fisherman but he had never come back home from when she was very young. Lost at sea or what, they never knew.

Obviously the locals here are so suspicious anyway and they never accepted Metach's lover. The locals found Metach quite fey enough anyway but when they could not find local links when they questioned the man, that was the end of that. If you're not from around here, the locals don't want to know you.

So Metach lived happily with him in her cottage for several years. Metach had 3 children, all boys. The boys were just like their father and they never felt quite at home on land. Sadly Metach was very attached to the land. One day as the story goes, Metach's man found his seal skin and off he went. The boys followed him and though they visit her from time to time in the form of seals they never return to land or to human form. The boys missed her though and you can still hear them calling for her at times but she does not go down to the shore much anymore and spends her time in the hills and cliffs searching for mushrooms and stuff.

"That's totally amazing, Luc" squeaked Faye. "I never knew that" .

-Pa e 50-

"Ah, well that's because you always have your head stuck in a book and don't see the magic before your eyes!" he taunted.

"That's not fair" said Faye pouting.

Luc went on to tell her that their parents were very involved with the world of faeries and folklore and believed it.

It seemed amazing how little Faye knew.

No-one in the village spoke to her really and she never heard anyone speak about Metach. They just turned their backs, when she came into the village shop.

"Poor Metach" she mused. "Did you speak to her of this?"

"Yes, I did and she told me her story, straight from her own lips" he announced. "I told Dad and he has a record of it himself. He was fascinated."

"DAD"?

"Ha ha, yes Dad," he countered. "I've even spoken to Dad about shapeshifting myself".

"You have?" Faye was disbelieving, "What did he say?"

"Well we had a bit of a long talk about it but I did not say I was interested in it. It was more of a genera I talk. Dad knows a whole lot about these things!" he explained.

"WOW!"

-Pa e 51-

"So, I don't really think you need to keep it secret from Dad and Mum but from the rest of the village YES, it must stay secret!" he explained.

"LUC!"

"I was even deliberately trying to get Dad to recognise me when I was leaping next to his kayak", he continued. "He was so dense, he could not focus on my eyes and see it was me."

"I remember how excited Dad was, " said Faye remembering hearing the story from her father. She even remembered Luc, teasing him and saying it could not be true and that dolphins never came into the bay.

"Luc, ... "

"Yes, Faye"

"I really want to do the dolphin thing, can we?" pleaded Faye.

"OK, but only on one condition"

"What's that"

"You have to show me how to do the bird and cat!" he insisted.

They grinned at each other. So much for school work.

-Pa e 52-

H/f you get to thinking you're a person of some influence, try ordering somebody else's dog around H

-wm Rogers

They must have talking deeply for hours when Luc suggested they have something more to eat. It was really time for their afternoon break.

They moved through to the kitchen and Faye put the kettle on. There was a sharp rap at the door and she glanced at Luc, who shook his head. He had answered it last time and that was enough.

They both looked at the clock in the kitchen, it was nearly 3pm.

Faye dragged her feet to the door. Never a moment's peace in this place. There was always someone at the door. She peered through the frosted glass trying to place the persons' shape. Then she carefully unlocked the door, trying not to make a noise with the keys. It would not do for it to get out that they locked their door. Here no-one locked their doors and it would soon be out all over the island. Something else to talk about.

There was another sharp rap on the door, just as she was opening it and she got a fright.

-Pa e 5 -

"Hello there, Faye"

"Hi, Mary Margaret, how are you? Would you like to come in?"

"Ah, not to bother, love. I just wanted to ask you to take my dog, Mara for an afternoon walk."

"Sure, I will. Are you feeling alright, you look a bit pale?"

"Aye, I'm thinking I've put me back out"

"Sorry, of course I will help you walk Mara"

"Do you think you could get my messages for me when you are out?"

"Sure, have you got a list?"

After about 5 minutes of chit chat, Faye came back to the kitchen after neatly closing the door.

"How could you leave me out there with her for so long?" she demanded from her laughing brother.

"It was only five minutes" Luc replied.

"Did you hear her?" Faye asked.

"Nope" he confessed. "I was on Google". He smiled at her and she could not help smiling back.

"Please will you come with me," she begged.

"Where?"

-Pa e 54-

"Mary Margaret wants me to take Mara for a walk and also to get her messages from the shop" she explained.

"You know, she is just being nosey. She has no right to ask you to do her errands, when you should be doing your school work. Mum would be really boiling, you know!"

"M&M says her back is out"

"Weill think she just wanted to see if you would say anything about what happened this morning." He said. "Actually you do look pale, Faye, I'm not that sure you should be going out" .

"Yeah, I feel quite wiped out, but I said I would".

"Ok, I'll go with you, it's our afternoon break anyhow. Quick grab your sandwiches" he said, heading for his room.

Faye put her sandwiches in a lunch box and filled up two juice bottles for the walk. It was not that far, but she always got thirsty. She was actually looking forward to taking Mara for a walk, especially if Luc was coming with. She really wanted a dog, but so far had only just succeeded in getting a kitten an that had taken long enough.

Grabbing her mobile, she called to Luc as she passed his room, "Lock up will you, I'll meet you in the road outside M&M's house."

"In a minute" he called back.

Soon they were making their way along the shore-path to the pier. That was the only shop on the island. Just one. It was

-Pa e 55-

actually the other half of the post office, which also served as the only place to buy fuel.

The scruffy shop stocked up on a few odds and ends and if you were lucky a newspaper - but those ran out quickly.

There was a small ferry that came across once a week, with both tourists and supplies for the shop. It brought the mail too.

Island life was slower and you did without, for the pleasure of waking up to the seagulls.

The path along the shore was not a well worn one but it was where most of the island kids used to hang out, before the school closed down and they went off to boarding school.

It still felt eerily quiet without the familiar faces. Some of the kids would be back for summer holidays later in the season but some families had moved away permanently.

They chatted along the way, letting Mara tug them off, in turns.

Mara was the usual collie type dog, that most people had but taking her for a rare walk was like having a temporary best friend. Faye ran her fingers through Mara's long coat, which was warm from the sun. Mara was spotless and smelt good. Mary Margaret rarely let her go outdoors, unless it was for a walk and so she was mostly an inside dog. She was a clean as Mary Margaret's house. Though you could not call it a home, it was just too tidy. Still a dirty, unkept dog was not a nice thing to smell or run your hands through, that's why she liked Mara so much.

-Pa e 56-

There was quite a list of messages and Faye and Luc thought that Mary Margret was having them on but sure enough, her order was already waiting at the front of the shop. All they had to do was check it and pack the items into the bags they had brought.

Faye raised her eyebrows at Luc and returned the gesture. It was quite a bit to carry so far.

Mara was no use. She was off following every scent she could find. She especially wanted to chase a cute little black and white kitten opposite Mary Floras' Croft on the long way back. From the pier shop they had walked uphill for a bit. They had followed the narrow winding tarmac road looking for something to catch their interest but almost no-one was out. The weather was turning and Luc suddenly announced, "Its going to rain, hurry".

Less than a minute later, they got caught in a downpour. It was impossible to run with all the messages and Mara was not enjoying the rain either. She was trying desperately to hide away, her long nails clicking on the wet road. They were all sopping by the time they reached their road and they headed for their own door first, desperately wanting shelter.

Once inside, Mara took a dive at Luna and pulled Faye headlong down the passage, growling. As Luna tried to escape, Faye tried to hang onto Mara. Luckily Luna had in inherent dislike of dogs and hid under the sofa in the lounge. Faye almost dropped the heavy bags of messages. As it was, a couple of eggs got broken in all the bashing about.

"Damn" she shouted. "What a disaster".

-Pa e 57-

Shoving Mara into the kitchen, she closed the door and dumped the bags of shopping.

"I am going to change, I am sopping" she whined.

"Me too!"

After a bit, Faye made her way back downstairs and was about to pop into Luc's room when there was a sharp rap at the door.

"Argh" she growled.

It was Mary Margaret. The rain had stopped and she was wanting her messages and her dog.

Faye was bushed, so Luc took them over straight away, so as to get Mary Margaret out of the house.

He came back bearing a bag of sweets for Faye.

Faye had collapsed on the sofa and was almost asleep. They had a quick chat and nibbled some of the sweets.

"I am so tired, Luc" she yawned. "Just wiped out".

"You don't look too good, perhaps you're overdoing it?" he looked at her with puzzled look on his face. "Have anorak".

"A 'norak'?"

"Yeah, isn't that cool?" he laughed. "I learnt that off one of the old codgers, down by the pier. It means a snooze in Gaelic."

-Pa e 58-

"Ok." She frowned at him. "Whatever. Anyway it stays light really late in summer, so there is time to catch up what we missed today, later."

"I was thinking of trying your mirror thing. Do you mind going over it with me quick?"

"Yeah, sure" she agreed. "It was quite simple, I just looked in the mirror and focussed on me really wanting to change into an animal. I had just seen a cat running in the street outside my window, so I suppose that must have been fresh in my mind."

"Anything else?"

"mrnm, weill had that incident with Luna that I told you about but I am not sure. I tried not to think to much about it but then again, Metach mentioned something about Luna as well... " she drifted off in thought.

"I'll keep that in mind, but it's not really my style. Not boy stuff, I mean, .... if you understand ... " he elaborated.

Faye giggled. Boys were so ..... like boys, really.

"I'm falling asleep any minute, dude" she yawned again. "Go check out the mirror thing on the internet and see what else you can see before you do anything. Don't do anything daft and if you need help, just come wake me up, if you can ... "

"I'll be fine, besides you did not even tell me before you tried it!!" he pointed out.

"mrnm, but be careful anyway, and go away now and leave me alone. I'm dead on my feet .... YAWN".

-Pa e 5 -

Faye was asleep before he even left the room.

-Pa e 60-

"People who hate cats

will come back as mice in their next life. rr .~ Faith Resnick

She was gasping for air again. Her lungs burning like they would burst.

"Don't try and breath, Faye, just use your gills". It was just a thought that floated through her head, as liquid as the water that surrounded her. But it made sense. She relaxed and her gills opened slowly at the suggestion and absorbed some oxygen from the ocean around her.

Almost instantly she felt a deep sense of relief flood through her brain.

She looked around. A silver fish darted past her and she stared at it. She wondered if Luc was somehow nearby or connected to her.

"Where are you?" she put out into the waters and instantly received a millions answers. Anemones waved at her, mussels showed her what they were made of. She laughed out loud. Streams of bubbles rose upwards and the echo of her noises rebounded off the surrounding seascape.

Despite her relief at being able to "breathe" and the humour of the sea creatures, she still felt panicky.

-Pa e 61-

She knew something had been and probably still was pursuing her. It was the same old nightmare except that she had run. She had taken the same turn they had on the way to the shop earlier that afternoon. She had run along the shore path. When she reached the pier, she had glanced behind her and she was still being perused. All she could do was jump off the pier and swim for her life.

She had made her way out to the moored boats hoping that someone there could help her. Usually she was really fit and could swim unaided for some distance, but after running the entire way along the shore-path, she was out of breath.

She had run out of energy and cramped up. Unable to tread water and fearful for what followed her, she had panicked.

Then before she could reach one of the tourist's boats, she had started to sink. It was far deeper that she had imagined. Way deeper that she could have feared.

What had potentially been an escape route was turning into a watery grave.

There was a loud, knocking noise and she heard someone call out, somewhere a door opened. She was rudely brought back to the land of the living.

Faye leapt off the couch and into the passage, before she was fully aware or knew what she was doing.

She was just in time to see the postman throwing their post on the hall carpet and then before he closed the door, he popped a small black and white kitten in the door. Then he shut the door firmly.

-Pa e 62-

Faye took one look at the kitten and one look at the door. Then she stepped over the kitten and opened the door. She called after the postman, who was already climbing over their shared low fence, to deliver John, the ambulance drivers' mail.

"Hello, this is not our kitten" she called.

"Ah, well, it was scratching at your door hard enough, I thought it must be. Never mind, throw it out again! He muttered all in one breath before completing his step over the fence between them and their nearest neighbour.

Faye shuddered. It felt as though a cool breeze had passed right through her. Then she looked down and felt her hair stand on end. She was sopping wet. Even her hair was dripping. Her jeans were stiff with water and there was seaweed between her toes. She quickly stepped back inside and behind the closing door, she stifled a scream.

The stray kitten clambered up her leg and the pain shot through her like a knife. As she bent down to remove it, it licked her hand. Half holding, half clamping the kitten she felt torn between putting it straight outside or taking it to the kitchen to give it some milk.

First things first.

She had to get changed.

Faye leapt up the stairs, two by two. Into the bathroom she flew and grabbing a towel from the banister outside, she started peeling her sodden clothes off. It seemed to take too long before she climbed into the shower to warm up.

-Pa e 63-

She was already going purple with cold and full of gooseflesh.

Warming up, under the steaming water, she blocked her mind. She was really not going to think about this.

She shampooed her hair for a long, long time under the hot, hot water. She smiled at the delicious smell of the shampoo.

She was brought back to reality by the visiting kitten, which was literally climbing up the outside of the shower cubicle.

Faye reluctantly switched off the shower and climbed out grabbing her towel. She felt a bit better now and this kitten was kind of cute. She was sure that Luna needed a friend but would her mother agree.

Thinking again, she was sure that it probably belonged to someone, just like Luna belonged to her even if she went wandering about.

She skipped over the landing and into her room, firmly closing the door. It was still a strange kitten and it definitely was not going to be in her room, whilst she was changing. She laughed at herself.

Outside the kitten wailed its frustration and it scratched at the door.

Faye changed as quickly as she could. She wanted to speak to her brother. This nightmare thing was getting out of control and even though she tried not to think of it whilst she was awake, it was frightening her. The last two dreams had come in broad daylight.

Coming out of her room, she scooped up the new kitten and called out as she traipsed down the stairs.

"Luc, where are you?"

SILENCE

The kitten bit her finger and she put it down. Going into her brothers' room, she held her nose. Then she opened his windows and the curtains. He was obviously not inside. She quickly picked up his laundry and went through to the kitchen and popped it in the washing machine. Phew, he needed to clean up his room. "Boys" she though to her self and sighed.

The kitten followed her everywhere and kept scratching her leg or alternatively bit her finger when she finally agreed to pick it up. It was impossible to do anything with it around. Luna was not so demanding.

She had an idea and picked the kitten up again. As quick as lightening she rushed to the back door and popped it out.

"Thank goodness!" she exclaimed.

Then she pion ked herself down in her homeschool chair. For a moment she did nothing at all and then reluctantly she grabbed the land line phone and punched in his mobile number.

Within seconds, she heard it ringing and leaving the handset up-turned on the desk, she strolled through to his room. There was his phone - ringing, right next to his bed.

-Pa e 65-

She sat down on the bed and answered the phone. Not sure what she expected to hear, she said "hello".

It was stupid, she knew but it seemed automatic.

On the other-side, all she could hear was relative silence. She hung up.

Where on earth was Luc? She cast her mind back. She must have fallen asleep on the couch. She remembered feeling exhausted after all the excitement of the day and deciding to take an afternoon nap.

She got up and went to his bathroom. Her brother was lucky enough to have and en-suite bathroom, whilst she and her parents shared a bathroom upstairs.

She peered at the mirror. Nothing there but a pale-faced girl with vague lines under her eyes.

"Mmm, I wonder" she said aloud. Just then there was a noise at the window and the strange kitten came bounding in, followed by Luna.

"Ah, well, so I see you have made yourself at home then, coming as you please" she said chirpily.

She definitely did not feel chirpy. She closed the window after them. Perhaps his room has aired enough. One thing was for sure, when she put them out again, they were NOT going to come in again without being invited. Who knows what a strange male kitten would do to the house. It was probably not even litter trained and if her mother came back to a house that stank of cats pee there would be trouble. No, no, no - this kitten was going straight back out the back door.

-Pa e 66-

Even as she was thinking about it, the kitten climbed up her leg. She was wearing her black leggings and they were not very thick and it hurt.

"Kitten, stop that", she shouted grabbing it before it could scratch her more. It was insistent.

Holding it in the crook of her arm as she usually did Luna, she looked around for her own pure white kitten. Luna meowed from the passage. As soon as she got near her, Luna bounded off and into the study.

"ah, Luna what's up with you?"

Luna jumped up next to Luc's laptop and rubbed herself against it.

"Now that's an idea", Faye said as she settled into his chair, still holding the strange kitten.

She looked at his screen. There was a series of search results opened and it all centred on one topic - shapeshifting. She clicked back to the search page, after making note of the last tab he had left it on.

The kitten bit her finger really hard and she looked at it firmly, right in the eyes as she lifted it up by the scruff of its neck.

"Listen right, here kitten" she started and then it rubbed up firmly against both sides of her face - then stared at her.

She gasped. Something about those eyes was really familiar.

-Pa e 67-

She looked at the screen and then back at the kitten and the kitten nodded at her.

"Luc?" she asked, surprised.

The kitten bit her finger softly and then stretched up and carefully side swiped her face.

-Pa e 68-

"Bleck' cat or white cat:

If it can catch mice, it's a good cat. rr

... ' Chinese Proverbs quotes

Faye, picked her "brother" up and carried him very gently into his bedroom and closed the door.

"We need to talk," she announced.

This was weird! She sure was not into having a cat for a brother. Definitely weird.

<Nod>

"Ok, so you don't know what to do, right?"

<Nod>

"OK .... " she puzzled.

<Nod>

SILENCE. ..

"I'm just trying to think of how it went with me" she explained. "First off I panicked and then I screamed NO, NO, NO - then it kind of reversed itself."

-Pa e 6 -

<Nod>

"I'm thinking" she confirmed. "Ok, what about us going to speak to Metach?"

<Vigorous shake - negative> accompanied by a low angry growl.

"Ok, Ok, I think I have another idea .... " She pondered. "What about this .... um, you did the mirror thing, right?"

<Nod>

"So, ..... how about we go to the mirror and you can focus on your image to change back".

The kitten jumped up and ran through to the en-suite bathroom room, purring. Faye followed and watched as the kitten peered up at the high, shaving mirror above the basin and meowed loudly and insistently.

She got the idea, really quickly and bent down to pick it up. It seemed so weird despite her own experiences but she knew it must be true. Her brother was a cat. She hoped he could return to being himself, as she really needed to talk to him.

She popped the kitten down on the shelf above the basin, carefully moving the razor and shaving cream out the way. Then she giggled loudly, just thinking about what a big shave her brother would need if he stayed in his current form. Oh dear.

"Luc, just look at your eyes, they are still the same. Human eyes! Just focus on your eyes and move your face really close

-Pa e 70-

to the mirror so that's all you can see. Maybe try and think about all the things you really like. I'm going to go through to the kitchen to make you a cup of coffee and your favourite chocolate biscuits. By the time I get back, you'd better be back!" she insisted.

With that she left the room, resisting the temptation to give the kitten a stroke on its back.

Passing the study she had an idea and picked up the land line. Quickly punching in the digits of her brothers mobile, she waiting until it rung a few times and then hung up. Perhaps that would trigger something. She had heard it ringing and remembered that it was next to his bed, in his room. He would hear it too.

She opened the kitchen door and out sprang Luna. "Hello, my baby, how are you?," she said stroking her kitten roughly. Luna immediately began to purr loudly. "Lets get you some food, but first I must put the kettle on for Luc. I really wish he was back to himself, I do!" she said vehemently.

She felt the fine hairs at the back of her neck stand up and she felt weird.

Checking that the kettle was full enough, she popped the switch and listened as it rumbled into life. Then she lent down to open the bottom cupboard where they kept the cat food.

Sometimes she went down to the shore to collect fresh mussels for Luna on the instructions of Metach but the past two days there had been no chance for that. Normal cat food would have to do. She was about to tear open another foil packet of Whiskers when she heard a disconcerting noise

-Pa e 71-

behind her and she froze, remembering her recurring nightmares. Surely not here ..... in broad daylight!

Then she screamed as something took a firm grasp of her shoulder.

She screamed and screamed and screamed ...

-Pa e 72-

"Borrow trouble for yourself, if that's your nature,

but don't lend it to your neighbours. " Rudyard Kipling

"Don't panic, Faye, it's only me" she heard a voice say and she spun around to face the intruder.

It was John, the ambulance driver from next door, come to check up on them.

"Aye, John" she commented. "But you should have knocked, you nearly gave me a heart attack!"

"Sorry, dear" he apologised. "The door was unlocked and I was a little worried as neither of you has been to see me this evening, like we arranged".

"This evening?" said Faye with surprise. True enough it was evening as she glanced at the kitchen clock. In summer it stayed light so late it felt like it was still daytime but it was definitely evening. No wonder Luna was demanding to be fed.

"Oh, John, we are fine, thank you!" she managed. "Don't worry so much about us. I really just tripped over my shoelace this morning. I had a sleep and I feel fine now. We are so busy with our homeschool work that I did not notice

-Pa e 7 -

the time. Mary Margaret was also over and we had to walk Mara for her and fetch her messages, so time kind of ran away with us today. I'm ready for bed already!" She smiled, hoping that he would feel happy and be away already.

She definitely did not feel comfortable with him in the house at the moment.

"I'm just making Luc a cup of coffee, would you like one too?" she asked.

"Thanks but no," he replied. "I'm on call in a minute - 12 hours shift, you know".

"Yes, we're about to have our 'tea' in a mo, so well, see you tomorrow. Thanks for dropping by John and thanks for this morning," she added.

"Not so fast, young lady," interrupted their neighbour. "Where is your brother, I've not seen him about at all this afternoon?"

Faye froze.

SILENCE

"Well, .. ?" John repeated.

"I just said, I'm making Luc a cup of coffee. Remember I said we have been busy with our school work?" she started.

"Where is your brother, right now, my dear?" he repeated. "I just had a quick look through the house looking for you both and I did not find him".

-Pa e 74-

"Urn, he's having a shower" she insisted.

"Ah, well, I'll just wait until he's out," he announced. "perhaps I will have that cuppa you were offering after all".

Faye moved towards the kettle and popped it on, to reheat. What on earth was she going to do. She quickly prepared 3 mugs and leant down to take the milk out of the fridge.

Just then there was a shrill, repetative beeping sound.

"Ah, that's me pager," said John. "I'll have to run. Tell you what, I'll pop by in the morning," he continued jotting his pager number down on the whiteboard in the kitchen. "You two give me a shout if you run into any trouble. Any trouble at all!" he repeated, raising his eyebrows up and down.

Faye sighed loudly. "Thanks John, but I am sure we'll be fine. Not much going on around here, so we'll be in bed right after our meal".

She followed John down the passage and firmly closed the door behind him, locking it. She leant with her back against the door and put her hands over her face.

That was a bit too close. She was sure that Luc and her could sort things out before her parents got back, even with the help of Metach but the pressure of having John unexpectedly in the house was too much for her. He really was being a mother hen.

She heard the kettle click off in the kitchen and ran down the passage to pour Luc's coffee for him.

-Pa e 75-

"Luc, I've got your coffee here. What do you feel like eating for supper?" she shouted as she ran.

Luna was busy trying to trip her and then she remembered her milk and finished feeding her.

No answer from Luc. She felt almost terrified to go into his room.

She yawned. On top of everything else she was exhausted. She deliberately sat down at Luc's computer in the study, not sure of what to make for supper and feeling a bit ill worrying about her brother.

She read through the tabs he had open in Google Chrome. Nothing new there. She typed in "How do you transform back into human form?" and "shapeshift" and waited while the search screen loaded.

The only decent website that came up was Wikipedia and that was only folklore related. Bearing her brothers conversation about her dad and folklore, she decided that there might be something in it and had a good read.

Seemed that if you were the victim of a spell or curse, you became trapped in a form but if your shapeshifting was voluntary, then you would return to your original form, even if it took some time.

Well, that was encouraging. She was surprised at the distinct lack of info about shapeshifting. Perhaps she was just using the wrong term and needed to look on more magical sites. Perhaps some pagan sites? They knew quite a bit about pagan stuff and their Mum was very open minded. She had taught them about all the religions in the world and about

-Pa e 76-

the crusades and how so much old knowledge had been destroyed, books burned and people too.

Faye leant back in the chair and stretched. Then she rubbed her face and stood up. She had a mission. There was no putting it off any longer. She had to go and visit her brother.

She walked through to the kitchen and picked up his mug of coffee.

She was just about to turn around when she heard a gruff voice behind her.

"Faye" it said.

She felt the hair on her neck stand up on end and Luna arched her back and hissed, moving towards the door slowly, backwards.

She spun around reluctantly.

A very worried boy was looking at her. It took her a moment of surprised wondering to realise that it was actually Luc. He was a bit hairy and odd looking.

Then unable to contain herself she leapt through the air and wrapped her arms around him.

"LUC, I'm so happy, you have no idea how worried I was about you" she shrieked.

"I don't feel so good" he replied.

"Here, have your coffee" she insisted.

-Pa e 77-

"Urn, well maybe but I need to talk to you he said.

Handing him his mug, she asked "What's wrong, you don't look totally yourself?"

Taking a long sip, he mumbled something inaudible. Then said, "That's much better, thank you".

"What did you say?" she asked.

"I am N EVER doing that again!" he said very loudly.

"What, the cat thing?" she guessed.

"Yes!"

"I sort of understand that, I only half changed but I felt creeped out. But truly the bird one was awesome but when I ate that worm it was gross. It did not hit me until I watched another bird do the same thing a bit later, that it hit me so hard. That was when I passed out. It was pass out or throw up," she laughed out loud. "I definitely won't be doing the bird thing again in a hurry.

Luc gagged. "I ate a mouse" he managed to get out. Then he threw up all over the kitchen floor despite holding his hand over his mouth.

Faye realised that she should have been quicker off the mark when she saw him heaving but she could not think of anything to give him to throw up in.

It stank and she felt like throwing up herself. Ergh.

-Pa e 78-

Luc handed her his half spilt mug of coffee and tugged off his splattered tracksuit trousers. Then dashed back to his bathroom.

Faye felt like laughing and crying at the same. She had her brother back. He did not look totally right and he had just thrown up all over the kitchen, and guess who was going to clean it up? She had to be grateful to have him back though.

She shuddered. A mouse, YUK!

Then she stepped outside and gathered the mop and mop bucket. Adding some disinfectant to the bucket, Faye lifted it up to the sink to add some hot water.

This was totally gross.

-Pa e 7 -

'~ friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be. H -Douqles Pagels

Once Faye had finished the kitchen, it was sparkling. It had taken a while to get finished but was worth it. Floor mopped, dishes washed, and the sweet fragrance of the rose air fresher that she had just sprayed more than enough of.

Too much air freshener actually, .... she thought as she leant over the counter and opened a window.

Luc had come in halfway through to apologise and she had sent him off to bed. It would be good for him to get an early night, and besides she felt much better. He on the other hand was looking rather green.

There was a noise at the window and as she jerked her head towards it, she saw a face looking right at her. Then she breathed a sigh of relief. It was Luna.

She cuddled her kitten, who started purring immediately. Luna was happy and she did not have the heart to put her away for the night. "Tonight you can sleep in my room and keep me company", she nattered away to Luna as she closed up the kitchen. Luna purred even louder and needled Faye's arm.

-Pa e 80-

An early night would be good for her too. It was just past 9.2opm. She poked her head into Luc's room to check on him. He was already fast asleep. She left his night light on, in case he had to get up in the night and then she began her journey up the wooden stairs to her room.

What a whirlwind today had been. It seemed to have dragged on far beyond a usual day.

Gently plopping Luna down on the closed toilet seat, Faye brushed her teeth and washed her hands and face. There, she felt a bit clearer already. She changed out of her clothes and popped them into the laundry basket. That was something to do tomorrow as it was Saturday tomorrow. Air out Luc's room, vacuum and do the laundry. Another day. Perhaps Luc would feel up to helping.

A quick shower and then Faye was ready for bed. She held the towel around her and picked Luna up, pulling the light strand behind her.

"I wish I could get a good sleep tonight" she announced.

Luna purred extra loudly.

Faye was just finished putting on her pyjama's when her laptop started ringing. The screen blinked into life. Mia was online.

Faye jumped over and sat down. She quickly switched to her Skype screen and answered the call.

"H ELLLOOOOO MIA" she squealed.

-Pa e 81-

"Faye, where have you been?" demanded Mia. "I have been calling and messaging you all day.

"Oops, sorry Mia," she replied. "It's been a busy day," she confessed.

"What's happening?" demanded Mia

"Mia, I have so much to tell you, I don't know where to start" she squealed. "But how are you?"

Oh, I am ok, you can read your messages BUT I WANT TO KNOW ABOUT YOU!" she insisted.

"Sure Mia, but I thought your Mum made you take Skype off your computer".

"Yeah, she did but I was desparate to speak to you, now tell me what's going on!"

Faye gave her the lowdown on what had happened and Mia listened quietly to it all, exclaiming out loud at appropriate occasions.

Near the end, she said, "You need to read this stuff I found on the internet, it's a really good site. It's the only one I found on real shapeshifting stuff. I already sent you the link on Facebook."

"Thanks, so much Mia. You are the best friend!" shouted Faye.

"Still I think you guys need to be careful. It's a bit gross eating worms and mice! I really think being human is quite good enough for me," Mia laughed. "Even better, if Luc

-Pa e 82-

thinks your parents won't mind, maybe you should tell them about everything so that something dangerous does not happen to you both!"

"We're being careful, Mia, don't worry" consoled Faye.

"NO, YOU'RE NOT!" accused Mia. "You're my best friend but you're not being careful. You're being impulsive and it could get you into such bad trouble, I can't help you. Maybe nobody could, .. " she finished off lamely.

Faye was speechless. She did not know what to say. Really Mia was right but it was so exciting and she was hooked.

"Faye, are you there?" asked Mia.

"Its OK Mia, really." She went on "I understand your concern and you are a good friend. Thanks".

"Phew, I thought you were fed up with me, but I had to say it, Faye, I am really worried. I am excited too but worried. I can't wait until the holidays. Why don't you just wait until I am there and then experiment some more?"

"I can't think straight anymore, Mia. I am really tired and think I need an early night without nightmares, I hope. I'll speak to you in the morning," she said.

"Oh, Faye don't be mad with me," begged Mia.

"Mia, I am not mad. Just tired. Tomorrow is Saturday and I can speak to you when I wake up. How's that?" she asked

"Sure, sleep tight and I miss you. Cant wait for holidays," said Mia.

-Pa e 83-

"Sleep tight and hold on ..... Mia thanks so much for calling. It's so nice to talk to you and don't feel bad. True friends can say what they think, its ok really. Love you" said Faye before she ended the call by clicking on the button.

As much as she wanted to go and check all her messages, she could hardly keep her eyes open. Even Luna felt like a dead weight lying on her lap and she was asleep already.

Not bothering to shut down her laptop, Faye staggered over to her bed and switched her nightlight on. It was still quite light outside but her nightlight made her feel a bit braver. She flatly refused to have nightmares tonight.

Then she slumped into bed and pulled the covers up. Luna was curled up neatly on the duvet beside her and Faye placed her arm around her kitten.

She briefly glanced at her new book that lay mostly unread on her bedside table. It was a really good book and normally she was such a bookworm but the last couple of days had held such adventure that she had forgotten-to-remember to read. It felt as if she was trapped within a story herself. A living adventure.

Within seconds she was fast asleep.

luke: I'm not afraid.

Yoda: You will be. You ... will... be.

- Star Wars: Episode V-The Empire Strikes Back

Faye awoke with a sudden jerk. She lay there breathless. It was light outside but that did not mean anything. Summer's 'daylight' hours were long this far north. It was light until after 10pm at night and again from about 3am. Winters were far longer, about the reverse really. Dark untll ioam and dark again at 3pm. She had not thought about it so clearly before.

It seemed forever before she breathed. Then she heard a noise and relaxed. It was the chirp of an early morning bird which set the time at about sam.

Fear left her like removing a cloak. Amazing, she thought to herself, no nightmares. The first full nights sleep in a long time. She reached her hand out to her kitten and stroked her. Luna burst into a dawn chorus of purring. Cozy in bed, Faye smiled to herself.

Sometimes life was so good.

She sat up in bed and fluffed her pillows, then she reached over for her book. Soon she was lost in thought, absorbed by the developing story and Luna purring contentedly. She was so drawn into the story that she did not hear Luna murmur, "not even a word of thanks". Still Luna was happy to be

-Pa e 85-

sleeping inside on her mistress's bed. She briefly dug her claws into Faye's wrist and gave her a sharp bite but nothing seemed to draw her attention. So Luna drifted back into slumber purring contentedly, with Faye's hand on her back.

Within an hour, Faye's book had been devoured. Not that she read every single word, or understood every single word - but she was a rabid reader for her age.

She sighed with pleasure. It had been a good storyline. A book they had ordered the internet. She loved the story and it was part of a series. The author made the world of "Ingo" sound so real. She liked the way the author described the change, especially the first times when the girl was gasping for air and had to stop trying to breathe. That had really helped her when she had gone into the bay to escape her nightmare. She thought about it a bit. At first she had thought Luc was close-by speaking to her but now she wondered ...

"Luna, I wish I could turn into a mermaid, sometime," she whispered aloud to her kitten.

Luna's rumbling purr stopped for a second and she looked at her mistress but Faye was already climbing out of bed and aiming for the bathroom.

"First animals, now mixed beings," Luna complained with a low growl. "Never content are they - HUMANS!!!"

The sound of the shower lulled Luna's senses and she relaxed a bit. Then she decided that she herself needed to make a visit downstairs to the catbox. She meowed. "I'm hungry too, for some milk," she announced to the world.

-Pa e 86-

Faye was soon back in her bedroom with her hair wrapped and wearing her thick, purple gown. It was so nice and warm.

She glanced in the mirror and thought about using her Clearasil and then sat down at the computer. She booted it up and put in her password. She giggled to herself as she changed her password to:

LN.G.O.

How cool was that!

She moved her mouse pointer to the bottom right hand corner and the start bar popped up, awaking from its autohide feature. It was 5.21am. She looked at the calendar and mentally marked off the days until her parents returned. The time seemed to have gone by so fast, it was almost as if they had just left and yet they were soon to be back.

She wondered at how things would turn out and heard the voice of her sensible friend. Yes, definitely Mia was right and only a good friend would really speak their mind. A friend who just agreed with you was not really a good friend were they?

Luc and her really ought to cool off about this shapeshifting. It did seem to have its unpleasant side and was not as simple as one imagined. One was clearly not totally in control of oneself as she could remember with the worm episode. She barely remembered eating the worm at the time but watching another bird eat a worm had brought it back to her.

It was quite weird realising that different animals actually thought differently and lived differently. It seemed obvious

-Pa e 87-

she knew, laughing aloud but it was 5000 different when you actually experienced it. She certainly knew more about birds now that she had shapeshifted. Much more in fact, than if she had done one of her homeschool projects. Still it was not something you could publish, was it? she asked herself.

Usually Faye published her homeschool projects on-line on a schoolwork website. So far she had a few documents that others had downloaded and had a few subscribers. It was good experience really. Mostly she published Powerpoint presentations on different subjects but she could not imagine publishing something on shapeshifting. Still there was not a lot she had found herself on the topic that was any good and perhaps what Luc and her had experienced would help some other kid their age. Maybe if she had read about some of the more unpleasant things herself, it might have made her think twice.

She logged into Facebook and paused before clicking on her messages. A while back she had started with this cool application. It was called "Horse Saga" and she had a foal to deliver. She could not believe that she had been too busy to check on it.

Faye was obsessed with animals of all kinds and there were no horses on the island they lived on. Not even one! Definitely not something to shapeshift into as a horse running about the commons would cause a lot of interest. Even her brother's astral dolphin adventure had people talking. It was so easy to get people talking in this place.

She decided to do her "Horse Saga" first and her messages later. Besides Mia would still be fast asleep!

-Pa e 88-

It was quite surprising that Mia had used Skype last night. She must have been really worried because her mum was adamant that Skype was not for 11 year olds.

Some time back, Mia's mum had insisted that Mia remove Skype from her computer and Faye thought she had. They used to talk late into the night because it was free but Mia's mum disapproved and had caught Mia after hearing the noise at some late hour after Mia was supposed to be in bed asleep. That had been the end of that, until last night.

-Pa e 8 -

Codger Old man
Kindle Electronic reading device
Messages 1 Shopping
Messages 2 Email messages or chat messages
Norak Snooze
Shapeshifting Physically transforming into an animal
Tea 1 Supper
Tea 2 A hot drink made with teabags -Pa e 0-

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