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The Zebramander, prologue and chapter by Maya

 

Prologue:

You’ve probably been to Happiness-on-Sea. In the summer, you’ve probably swam in the crystal clear sea and licked the loveliness of a fresh ice-cream. When you came, you probably went to the fish and chip shop and munched on a delicious meal. It’s that sort of place… in the summer!

But in the winter, you probably felt the bitterness of icy icicles dangling off the rocks and the water was frozen over, so you would be able to ice-skate on it. The shops would probably have been closed, the only item giving warmth, a steamy cup of hot chocolate. Even villagers keep away in the cold season though…. and many say, it is a good idea.

Chapter 1:

My name is Naomi Cumer and I work at the boat docks and on the beaches, checking everyone is safe and jolly. The majority of people call me Naoms, but personally, I like Naomi. I stride about, making polite conversation; I pick up litter, attempting to keep the shore clean; I help people who need it. Someone once told me that it was an awful job as I don’t get paid much, but I like it, and that is the most important thing, right?
I live in a little cottage and have a toasty fire in my bedroom, so I am nice and snug.
In the summer it is great and the beaches are busy. In the winter however, I feel a little bit lonely, there is the occasional dog-walker or brave hiker, though.

A girl taps on my window. I whizz round, startled. “Let me in,” she hisses. I do as she says, too scared to disobey her as she looks cold and miserable. Her emerald eyes glisten in the moonlight. The girl’s hand looks frozen, and a glum facial expression plasters her face. “Please hide me,” she begs. I threw a blanket to her and she set up camp under my bed.

Before I continue and tell you what happens next, I have a secret to share. This happened about an age ago, so only the minority of the locals know about this.
A monster, a species of mander, the Zebramander. Apparently, it has multi-coloured fur and it has a pungent whiff of mouldy fish, chips and birds. It rules the villages of Happiness-on-Sea and its silhouette casts shadows in the moonlight. Some say it left a path of footprints and others say it moaned at night, waking everyone in the houses. When locals heard this noise, it is said that they hurriedly shut the windows, locked the doors and scrambled to draw the curtains.
Many say it was scavenging for food, while others say they were in pain. I’ve never seen it, but in the stormy weather I often wonder that it is skulking around my cottage, but it could just be the wind.

“Why on earth do you need to be hidden,” I hissed, “What’s going on?”
“I…I…I’ve seen it,” she was clearly startled,” Hurry! Look sharp. Lock the doors, close the windows and draw the curtains…”

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