Elathargood: The Beginning

13-year-old Alana Lockwood has always loved her home in Yorkshire, and she never wanted to leave her house. When she moves house with her Dad's new girlfriend, she feels a sense of insecurity right from the beginning. She dislikes her new house and her Dad's girlfriend even more. Her new house didn't feel like home at all, and there are some really nasty people and strange happenings in her new school. However, with a bit of romance and a touch of magic, she is lead into what is probably an even better world than ever before.


1. Moving

I was awoken by the sound of thunder. I looked up at my wall clock, but I couldn't see the time because it was too dark. I decided that I should get some more sleep. I reached out for Wuddlesnuggy, the tatty bear I've had since I was born. I got him from Mum. He's so important to me because he's the best memory I've got of Mum. I never got to meet her - she died when giving birth to me. For 13 years I've lived with just my Father in a little cottage in Yorkshire.

I named the teddy Wuddlesnuggy because I used to say "wuddle" instead of "cuddle" when I was little, and he is very snug. He's the most worn out teddy you've ever seen, but his scruffiness is a big part of him and Wuddlesnuggy just wouldn't be my Wuddlesnuggy if he wasn't worn out. I call him Snug for short.

I still couldn't find Wuddlesnuggy. I thouroughly felt around for him in my bed, but I just couldn't find him. It wasn't until I got up and turned on the light that I realised where I was. I had moved house. We didn't arrive at our house until 10 o'clock, which is 45 minutes past my bedtime. I didn't feel tired, but at the same time I didn't feel like doing anything, so I just grabbed my sleeping bag and slumped into bed, not even bothering to find Wuddlesnuggy who I've never slept without in my life.

I really didn't want to move house, our old little cottage was just fine. In fact it was perfect. But I had no choice since Dad's found a new girlfriend and I'm not half as important anymore. I don't see why he wants a girlfriend - I thought him and I were doing perfectly fine with just the two of us together. It's been this way for thirteen years. I can't imagine how Mum would feel. I wonder what's wrong with me - am I no longer enough for him? Leah was her name. Leah Cottage. And she had a daughter called Delilah. I'd always liked the name Delilah until I met her. Now it makes me sick to get the name to roll off my tongue.

Wuddlesnuggy was still packed in one of my boxes. I looked around the tiny bedroom. I counted the boxes and there were ten. I had absolutely no idea which one Snug was in. My new bedroom was much smaller than my old bedroom, and it was freezing cold. I didn't like my new house at all, and I disliked Leah even more. But the thing I hated most of all was when Dad called Leah my step-mum. She'll never be my step-mum - I'll only ever have one Mum and that is the person who carried me around for nine months. No-one else deserves a name with the word "Mum" in it. I really don't see the problem with just calling her Leah. She tries to act like a Mum as well - cuddling me and calling me "sweetheart". It just doesn't feel right. I haven't had a woman caring for me like that for as long as I can remember, and it just felt so wrong for her to start treating me like I was her daughter.

I really didn't want to move in the first place. I often feel that, since Dad met Leah, he's not spending any time with me any more. He always wants to go along with what Leah wants now. She wanted to move and live with Dad, so we did. He'll do what ever he can to please her. I can tell he loves her dearly, but I can't see why.

I didn't think I would like my new house, but I didn't expect it to be this bad. Well, the house in itself isn't that bad I guess, but it just doesn't feel like home, especially with Leah and Delilah living here. Obviously I had the smaller bedroom; Delilah's room was twice the size of mine.

There wasn't any point in me trying to get back to sleep - I knew I wouldn't be able to. Despite me not feeling at all tired, it was much too cold and I didn't have Wuddlesnuggy. I was feeling homesick already. I grabbed my book from under my pillow. I've always liked to keep books under my pillow because I read in a book once that it will make you dream about it. Sometimes it works. Also, I will always know where it is and if I can't get to sleep I can just grab my book. I got my mobile phone, which I had also put under my pillow for the night, because I had nowhere else to put it, and used it as a light as I sat up and read my book. I was reading Animal Farm by George Orwell. It was all about the equality of animals. I have always been a fan of both animals and George Orwell, and I always struggled to put this book down.

The time on my phone said 03:17. I still had three and a half hours until I had to get up to get ready for school. My new school. I was going to the same school as Delilah. I wonder what it's going to be like...


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