K D Lathar

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Book 2

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Sound of the Changeling
Book II
Chapter 1
Instantly the girl’s image became more solid and the superimposed images of the bedrooms faded into the background, becoming even more transparent and ghostly.


‘I just had a dream. It was stronger, somehow closer.’

‘I know, I know. I share the dream with you, remember. He’s alive!’ Michelle said irritably searching her room for something among the warped screwdrivers, broken knives, wires, and a couple of hammers.

Peter sometimes wondered why he bothered trying to talk to her; she mostly knew what he was going to say. Gazing round her bedroom, he remembered his efforts to get his own identical ancient volume open. Ordinarily he could have opened the leather bound Book whenever he wanted, but for the last month, it had refused, its clasp couldn’t be budged and Peter couldn’t shift it. ‘I did all of that, including trying to burn the cover off.’

With his mind’s eye he glanced briefly at the transparent image of his copy which lay on his desk; a gateway to an ancient place that was as hard to enter, as it was elusive to get back out. Peter had been given the volume as a present from his Grandfather, and at first, despite having read the first page many times, he could not remember what was on it. Only recently, after his return from the other world, was he able to open it to the first page without forgetting. There was no writing on the pages, only a picture of a green dragon, a Raqsesh, which seemed to be fading into the walls and turning them green as well. The walls were semi-circular and formed the dome above an underground lake which now spanned the two pages beneath the fading Raqsesh. A cylindrical grey stone object, etched with symbols, lay at the bottom of it between the bindings of the two pages, bridging the break gap.

The pages showed the last place in the other world that Peter remembered. He couldn’t help but recall the whirlpool that had started in that huge underground lake straight after he’d released the Raqsesh and how he’d felt his time was up and he was going to drown. It had returned the three of them, his dad, Michelle, and him, back to their world. But not Paul.

His heart sank as an image of Paul flashed in his mind: they were being chased by the King’s soldiers, Paul’s grip had slipped and he had fallen, the arrows had hit his body and his head. Paul had tumbled into the drains of Castle Craven and Peter’s telepathic link to his friend had broken.

Michelle’s ancient Book lay at her feet. A curly figure three was emblazoned in gold on its front with curved symbols trailing off behind it. The gold would glisten even in dim light. There were six hexagonal indentations symmetrically placed around the figure, the leather pushed down perfectly into the thick cover, no crinkles on the inside, smooth, waiting to be filled. They weren’t all empty: the space to the right of the figure had a red stone in it, a stone that would occasionally flare with a blood red light.

‘We’ve got to get back in to save Paul. Did you ask your dad how he opened it?’ Michelle demanded, kicking the Book on the floor.

‘He wasn’t any help - said it happens when it needs to.’

‘Ask him again. Paul’s not dead. Did you see the Raqsesh that stood in front of him? He’s going to need our help. As for this?’ she said stamping on the Book in frustration and kicking it to the side in disgust.

‘That’s not going to help.’


‘I broke several knives and forks trying that, and Dad’s hammer bounced off it without making a dent. I don’t know how long I can keep trying to open this thing, we’re about to be evicted Michelle-.’ ‘We are too. Some heartless lawyer.’ ‘My mum needs me to give evidence.’’ ‘You don’t get it, do you? We’re up against time. It’s like with your dad; he probably would have died if we hadn’t got to him It isn’t just Paul this time. I’m sure, that woman in the dream is someone we know!’ ‘Who? How’d you know?’

‘Paul’s mother? Did you see the claws at the end of her fingers? She’s one of us.’ Goose bumps ran down Peter’s spine, hairs on his body stood up, Peter felt the cold and shivered. Outside the dawn broke with a golden red light that flowed into every corner of Peter Badger’s bedroom and lit up the darkest places, leaving nowhere for the shadows to hide. ‘It could be,’ he whispered. ‘It can’t be anyone else!’ ‘I’ll try again,’ Peter said reluctantly. ‘Is that a spot on your face?’ Michelle’s eyes shot open wide with fury. ‘It’s called puberty stupid. Get a girlfriend.’ For an instant, the telepathic image flickered and a predatory hawk replaced the image of the girl as she removed her hand from her torque and broke contact. Peter’s eyebrows shot up, ‘Oops.’ He hadn’t expected Michelle to have areas of sensitivity, not about a pimple.

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