Prologue Ambes gazed over the rough edge of the Devil’s Horn to see another sky ship soaring, silently towards them, leaving puffs of smoke trailing behind it. His eyes met deadly spears and harpoons pointing there way, like hyaena’s eyes darting towards their meal of the day. He heard the crack of gun fire like popping candy in the rotting mouth of a child as fire licked at the polished sign that once read BloodHound. The smell of burning wood from the Bloodhound’s deck carpeted the air like the sweets from your Halloween bag that covers the table. Leaping to his Master, Ambes Howled, ” By all the ticks we have, you go first Sam, it’s time for you to parachute of! Humans have to, and always will go before Mechanicals! Now GO.”
Chapter 1 Edging the door slowly open, Max Ford drew his eyes round the field. Quietly closing the door behind him, he crept across the damp, foggy field to the ancient Oak. He gripped a piece of bark and hauled himself towards the bombed like crater, then, retrieved a torch from his bag. Steadying himself at the top of the trunk, he shuffled on to branch, ready for the leap to his freedom. Dropping like a ton of bricks, Max buried himself in a thick bush. Carpeting his body in leaves, he gazed forward through the thick fog. Standing behind him was the prison like wall. Jumping up, he bolted up a cobble path towards the wreck. Max slowly came to a stop: reached into his pocket; revealed a ripped, crumpled piece of paper and then opened it.
Once again, he stared at the paper as the words sprang to life. His heart leapt to his dry as dirt throat as he thought how horrible it would of been to be his father at the moment of the crash. Also his Dad’s last words had been the most confusing things ever,” open your heart to the past.” What was that meant to mean. Most nights, Max would read the letter from moonlight and fall to sleep whilst trying to figure it out. Frustrated, he shoved it back in his damp pocket, then pulled out a half soft apple from his bag. Shoving the apple in his mouth, he whispered a silent prayer to his Dad’s life.
At that instant, a distant snuffle and howl, woke Max up from his day dreaming. Suddenly, familiar face popped up from behind a thorn bush and frightened him out of my skin. “By all the tocking ticks, you took age to get out of that dreadful place,” howled Ambus, leaping out from the thorny bush. “Chuck me a whizz whazz on the winder,” he snarled,” I wasted a lot of my precious energy escaping from them horrible scallywags.” Max wound him up then hooked the key back round Ambus’s neck. Amazed, Max fixed his eyes upon the singed dull grey coating of Ambus and the torn fur revealing the brass cogs. Standing up, Ambus walked over to Max, and resting his his head on him, fell asleep.
Hours later, Max and Ambus headed for the Horologist’s shop at the end of the street, amazingly meeting Tom taking out the rubbish round the back. “Max,” called out Tom, running over to him,” The letter means we need to keep your Mum’s pocket watch safe”. Max slowly lowered his head in sadness. Every night, Max would stay awake and gaze at the rusted chain of the pocket as the seconds hand ticked like the drum of a mechanical’s heart, as it skipped a beat as if it was caught in a grasp of fear. It was the shape of a heart and had a picture of his Mum and Dad standing together. He never liked talking about his Mum after what happened 7 years ago. ” I am so sorry,” whispered Tom, who was now looking down. “Of course,” yapped Ambus, breaking the what felt like hours silence.” We need to get to Pear Tree Manor right away so them rapscallions don’t lay their ticking greasy hand on that tocking clock. Now, lets go!”