Alban Island

This is a fantasy Fiction story for Children 8-12. Let me know what you think!

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1. Birthday Dreams

Chapter 1 – Birthday Dreams  

 

Staring in the mirror I look at my freckles and frizzy hair. I try to wipe off the big lipstick mark that my Auntie Alice had planted on my face earlier that day. Nope it wasn’t budging, pink lipstick never comes off and Auntie Alice was always wearing that horrible shade. It’s good that I like her I think or else I would be a little bit annoyed by now. Looking at my watch I realise that I’d now been in the bathroom exactly fifteen minutes assessing my looks. It was quite a special occasion it was my 12th birthday tomorrow and I felt that maybe I should be getting into that ‘looking good’ stuff. But who was I kidding? I was really a bit of a tomboy, a daddy’s girl, much to the dismay of my Mum. I think she wanted one of those pretty in pink girls, you know the type with pink clothes, pink shoes, pink handbags and all sorts of weird and wonderful hair accessories to top it off. But ‘yuck’ that just wasn’t me. I quite liked wearing trousers, t-shirts and converse trainers.  

‘’Emily, have you been flushed down that toilet?’’ my Mum screams from the bottom of the stairs. Ooops it was now exactly eighteen minutes I had just spent admiring myself in the bathroom mirror.  

‘’Just coming Mum’’ I scream back. ‘Nope, still no change’ I say to myself in the mirror. I’m still a bit of a tomboy, but I’m happy with that.  

‘’Do you want some birthday cake now or later Emily?’’ My Dad asks as I return to the kitchen. I give him a knowing look; he knows that of course my answer would be now. Birthday cake, well any cake was a yes from me. I loved eating.  

‘’So what’s the plan for tomorrow, your actual birthday Emily?’’ My Auntie Alice asks as I tuck into my first piece of birthday cake. 

‘’Hmm first day at my new senior school, so your guess is as good as mine’’ I reply, trying hard not to look too nervous. ‘’That’s why the birthday celebrations are today. I think I’ll probably be the oldest in my year. Unless anyone else has a birthday on the 1st September’’ 

 ‘’Oh yes of course, I forgot. So………off to big school, are you nervous? ‘’ I don’t answer but I’m sure they can tell by my expression that yes, the nerves had set in. I wasn’t exactly popular in my primary school, probably due to the fact that I wasn’t a ‘pink girl’. There was only one girl ‘Jenny’ from my primary school that was already at my new ‘big school’ and we hated each other. She was two years older but we had bumped into each other a couple of times since she moved up there. It almost made me reconsider going to this amazing school. But I was hoping that maybe she had left or been expelled, hmm well a girl can dream!!! It was a fresh start though really, only Jenny knew me so I hoped that it meant that I would have more luck at my senior school than I had at primary school.  

 

My whole birthday party consisted of me, my Mum, my Dad, Auntie Alice and my younger annoying brother Harry. Not that my younger brother really wanted to be there, we really didn’t get on at all. Mum and Dad could never understand why we were so different. He's only 11 months younger than me, but he's cool – really cool. He must be the most popular boy at school. Thinking about it, Harry was a ‘boys boy’ in other words he was a typical boy. He loved football, cricket and rugby – well all sports really. He was also good at all of them, so Mr Elms, the head of sport at school wanted him on all the teams. Now that was definitely something that worked in his favour. All the other boys always want him on his team when playing sport out on the playground and apparently the girls love watching him. One of the girls in his year kept coming up to me to ask me what his like at home – weird!!! She obviously likes him. Well at least that’s one thing that I can tease him about at home. 

‘Amy loves you, Amy loves you’ I chant at him when he's done something particularly annoying - which is most days. He's also very much a mummy’s boy, another thing I tease him over.  

 ‘’Did you have a good party dear?’’ Mum asks after Auntie Alice has left and she and Dad have started cleaning up. 

 ‘’Umm yeah…..I suppose’’ I manage, smiling awkwardly.  

 It wasn’t a bad party but it wasn’t the best either. I knew that my Mum and Dad felt sorry for me that I didn’t really have any friends. But my brother didn’t really understand the effect it had on me.  

 ‘’Emily has no friends, Emily has no friends’’ he screams over and over again and suddenly it all gets too much and I snap. 

‘’Shut up you little brat, at least I’m not annoying like you’’ I scream at him. And for a moment I nearly laugh because I have finally shocked him, his face going pale. I wasn’t surprised, it wasn’t like me to stand up for myself, I normally just take it. But maybe this was the new me. The nearly twelve year old me. But of course he doesn’t leave it there, he never does. 

 ‘’Well at least I have friends Emily, unlike you, you’re such a loser’’ he says proudly, knowing that it would get to me. I knew I wouldn’t win and mum and dad had had enough of our arguing. They always say ‘well don’t look at us, the only way you’re going to sort it out is between the two of you’. They were right of course, they always were.  

 ‘’What do you say to that then loser?’’ Harry carries on, pushing me further. But Harry always wins and I wasn’t really up for a fight. So I take myself off to my bedroom in a sulk.  

 I love my bedroom; it’s a haven for all things ‘Emily’. Mum and Dad call me a ‘bedroom child’ and maybe they’re right.As I wander around my room, I admire all my hard work with dad. I gaze at the small ships and electric gliders, which we’d made in the past. I wonder if I’ll have time to add to my collection when I move schools. Probably not!!! Even though it looked like a fun school, with nice teachers and fantastic grounds I’d heard it was very strict. They had already given me a mountain of homework to complete before the first day. There had been French, geography, history and a lot of literacy and maths. I assumed it was to get an idea of levels and intelligence from day one.  

 

I had started the geography project quite early on. In fact I couldn’t wait to start on it when I knew what was involved. It was an in depth study into a local park/green area. I knew exactly what to choose, my local lake. We lived almost in Verulamium Park, our house backed onto it. As a family we had spent numerous Sunday afternoons running around the lake and enjoying the green areas. The rolling hills and the history of the place made it an easy place to pick. I knew there was a lot of history as the Romans had settled in St Albans. There are Roman remains still scattered around the park. I also managed to twist Mum and Dad’s arm to take me to the Verulamium museum. It was a pretty good project all in all. Dad even helped me make a small model of the place to go with the project. It included the hills, Roman artifacts and the main lake right in the middle. I even drew a little island in the middle of the lake; well two of them to make sure it looked more realistic. I was secretly hoping that no one else had chosen the same area, but I was sure they had. Verulamium Park was a pretty important and central area within St Albans. 

 

One of the other reasons I liked the park was because Mum and Dad had actually met at the lake. It was back on 15th July 1995 on a Saturday night. They have told us this story so many times, but I never bore of it. They were both at a local pub just next to the lake when Dad was introduced to Mum through a friend. At the time mum had just started teaching at the local primary school and dad was working for his father. Apparently as soon as they met they just knew, or whatever that means. As it got dark, mum asked if dad would go for a walk around the lake. Mum always explains that as they were walking around the lake, they stopped to gaze at one of the big houses that backed onto the lake. They were both taken aback at how pretty the houses were. Dad said by the time he got around the lake he knew that this was the women he wanted to marry. 

 ‘’Time to get ready for bed’’ Mum shouts up the stairs, snapping me out of my thoughts. It had been a long day and I was drained. I was glad it was time for bed. As I get ready for bed I make sure all my things are ready for my big day tomorrow. Just as I’m getting myself into bed Mum and Dad poke their heads around the door. 

‘’All ready for tomorrow?’’ Dad asks while Mum does a quick sweep of my room for any mess. ‘’I hope you had fun today’’ he continues. 

‘’Yes’’ I reply. ‘’Just a shame it wasn’t my birthday today, it’s kind of weird not celebrating your birthday on your birthday. But it’s probably for the best’’ 

‘’Well you never know, we may have saved a little birthday present for you to open tomorrow’’ Mum says with a glint in her eye. ‘’Now get some rest’’ 

‘’Okay I’m pretty tired so I’m going take your advice this time’’ I reply with a giggle. 

‘’Night’’ they both say as they kiss me goodnight and leave. 

As a drift off into a deep sleep I have a strange dream. I see lakes, islands, grass, ducks and swans. They all swirl around in my head. I almost try to wake myself, but relax into my dream realising I am probably just worried about the following day.  

 

 

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