The singing city

Caleb and Jay are London city born and bred and they're nothing short of spoilt. When Caleb decides to play hooky from school he goes missing and jay searches for him. She finds a hedge that's oddly shaped in an arch with silver leaves that sits in front of Big Ben. Going through it takes her to an alternate London which is not only enchanted but has a secret that only her missing brother knows.

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1. The gateway

When I was 13, I joined Crighton Secondary school. Although nobody admitted it, it was for the rich and the snobs who looked down on the rest of the middle trying class. Unfortunately at the time, I was a spoilt little rich kid trying to live up to the reputation of my older brother who could be described as the king of snobs. Of course everyone thought he was brilliant, most of all me, because despite all of the sarcasm and arrogance, he would do anything for anyone. On the day we recieved our end of year grades, Caleb seemed unusually quiet, the type of quietness that's deafening...but only I seemed to notice. He was acting strangely all throughout lunch and towards the end I saw him heading for the school gates. I ran to catch him up and grabbed his arm, "Caleb, what the hell are you doing? If Father catches word you're playing hooky again he will ground you forever! I swear one day that vein on his forehead is going to explode and I don't want to be around when that happens and I don't think you want to be the cause." Caleb looked at me tiredly and let out a short sigh. "Jay, if he sees my report card that vein will explode twice over. I just need to get rid of it, you know, like destroying evidence in those mystery books you like reading." "But only the criminals do that." I knew I was being clever but Caleb just smiled meakly and turned his back to me before climbing over the gate. When he was almost over, he turned to me, "cover for me?" I nodded. I knew the routine. He disappeared over the gate and I made up one of my stories about how he had to attend a special meeting for his acapella group. Our Father was incredibly rich so the teachers often took our excuses and stories because no other pareny contributed to the school as much as ours. That evening, Caleb didn't come home. He was always home by 7 to play football with our neighbour James Pritchard, but he didnt come home. I started to worry at 7:30 and I knew Father would be home by 9 so I had about an hour and a half to find him.

I wandered about the city and time passed quicker than expected. I was about to give up when I saw something was out of place. I was standing by Big Ben. Caleb would take me to hear it chime every Sunday. His report card was lying near to the fence. I picked it up and shoved it in my pocket. As I drew myself up I heard humming. It was coming from the shrubbery it seemed. I thought maybe Caleb had dropped his iPod in the bushes but the music wasn't coming from them. I followed the sound and I was confused as I stood before a hedge trimmed into an arch. The humming was emanating from it. Looking closer I saw that single leaves were almost silver and glistening. I stroked one and the stem started to grow, wrapping the tiny leaf around my index finger. I felt the humming grow louder, drawing me into the arch. So I let myself be pulled through and I stepped into the arch. I turned around. I was in the same position as if I hadn't moved. But then I looked up. And I saw it.

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