You have probably been to Sunnyrock-on-Sea at some point. In summer you probably dug sandcastles on the warm sand, jumped over the towering waves and hunted for crabs in the rockpools. When you went there, there was the ice cream van where you begged for two scoops of your favourite flavour. You probably got taken to the Minnie’s Gallery by your grandparents and got told: “Look with your eyes, not with your hands!” It’s nice there… in the summer.
While in winter, you probably felt the bitter wind whip your cheeks as you fight the rain on the treacherous cliffs. You should try visiting when the streets are deserted or when a thick blanket of snow is covering the village. Very few people visit at that time of year. Even the locals keep away from the beach… and some say, they have a good reason.
Chapter 1 – The Legend
My name is Samuel, Samuel Lemon, but most people call me Sam. I work at Minnie’s Gallery! I am the caretaker: I dust the artefacts, polish the glass cases and mop the floor. Someone once told me that the lady who owns it, Mrs Dove, is a maniac! I don’t see her much though… I sleep in a little pod in the attic which has a warm fireplace to keep me warm. It’s cold and lonely at night but during the day the gallery is packed with tourists so there is plenty to keep me busy. It’s quieter in winter, some days there are no visits at all.
A girl bangs on the window. “Let me in!” She hisses. I stand there, mouth open, wondering what I should do. It’s pitch black outside and the Gallery has been closed for three hours! She shivered as I scramble to the window. Heaving it open, she tumbles in and lands in a heap on the floor. She looks up at me with bulging emerald eyes. Suddenly, she leaps to her feet and hurries towards me – I back away. “Hide me.” She whispers.
Before I continue with the story, I better mention something about this town… It happened many decades ago so nobody really remembers many details. The legends tell of a gigantic sea-monster that hides among the rocks and swallows you whole if you come too near. They say that it was a type of mander, a thundermander to be exact, that haunts your dreams and sends clouds of thunder over your house. No one knows what it smells like, no one has got near enough to catch the scent and make it back alive. Apparently, it cries at night, longing for a companion. At that time, the locals locked their doors and drew their curtains at the sign of any strange noise or movement.
Some say that it was in pain. Some say that it was lonely. Some say that it was a cruel beast that deserves no pity. I haven’t heard nor seen it during any storms, when the world is silent and the whistling of the wind stings your ears.
“Why do you need to hide?” I hissed back at her.
“I’ve seen it,” she replied, “Draw the curtains and stay on your guard!”