Return to the Rock
Stanley Buggles stood on the station platform of the gloomy industrial town where he lived. He was fully prepared for his winter visit to Crampton Rock, swamped by two suitcases and a large bag, all filled with itchy woolen garments knitted by his grandmother.
His first visit to the island had been filled with all manner of adventures and he wondered if his return would be as eventful. He was hoping for a more peaceful time, even if it was to be considerably colder.
His mother was there, with his stepfather at her side. She wore the most ridiculous fur coat. He hated it because when she hugged him, its hairs tickled his face. Within minutes Stanley was on the train, and waving goodbye to his weeping mother. He made a gesture with his hand that indicated he would write.
The train creaked and groaned and then finally hurtled forward into the darkness of an early winter’s evening.
Stanley made himself comfortable and drifted into thoughts of the previous summer. It was six months since he’d inherited Candlestick Hall from his Great-uncle, Admiral Bartholomew Swift. Stanley had never met him, but he knew every detail of his unfortunate death. A dark encounter with a fearsome werewolf had left him headless.
Now the winter was about to come, thick and fast. Stanley had not slept peacefully since leaving Crampton Rock. Each night he dreamed of the Ibis, the great and ancient artifact that he had discovered hidden in the house.
It had rested quietly in the belly of the preserved pike that was mounted on the wall. And to protect its safety, Stanley had been forced to outwit the three deadly pirates that had darkened his door.
As the winter winds beat at the train window Stanley dreamed of the huge fire at Candlestick Hall and already, he felt cozily warm.
Meanwhile, the pike lay in his glass case, mumbling away to himself. He felt a warm hum from the precious gift that lay inside him, but he was not comfortable. Stanley had taken the Ibis out and held it in the warmth of his hands, and that could only lead to one thing. The chain of events that would put everything at risk had begun and nothing could put a stop to it. Of course the pike would try, but there was only so much he could do. He was confined to his see-through box on the wall.
The pike knew that, slowly but surely, the Stormbringers would begin their awakening. He had a daunting feeling that they were already on the move.
Text and illustrations © 2007 Chris Mould. First published by Hodder