Mary went 5 more steps, then turned back. The car lights had gone! She gasped, and Karen’s voice came at once “Mary! What’s taking you so long? If you can’t find it, come back now!” sounding very close, which made Mary feel brave again, so she took a deep breath and said “Just a bit further!”. She heard Jake’s voice sounding quieter from inside the car call, “Hurry up, Mary!”
Because she could see no ground or sky, Mary found it hard to keep her
balance. Then, she saw something tall and thin infront. Was it the signpost? When she got a bit closer, Mary found that the post was bent, maybe a car had hit it? A bit further on was another one. That was bent, too. But when she went right up to it, she saw there were thin things growing out of the post, each one with a ball of fog water at its tip. Mary knew nettles had hairy stalks. Maybe on the island nettles grew really big? She looked up. She couldn’t see where it stopped, and there were no leaves. A rustle came from closeby in the fog, and the tall thing moved! Mary jumped away, not wanting to be stung incase it was a nettle. The rustling stopped. Mary thought she had better go back to the car - even if Dale was cross that she hadn’t found a sign, she would be happier than being out here alone.
As she took small, careful steps, so as not to bump into anything, she thought about what had made the rustling sound. Was it wind? But the thick air felt so still! Or a big animal, a deer maybe. Mary would have liked to see a deer.
How many steps had she done? There was no sign of the tall hairy
things. She thought she should have passed them by now. She knew she was going the right way, but still couldn’t see the car lights yet, or even hear Jake. She called, “I’m sorry, I can’t find it, I’m coming back now!” but there was no answer. Had they shut all the doors? That would mean they didn’t care about her at all! To stop feeling so alone, she thought about Dad and Mum. What were they doing, right now? Maybe Mum was cooking, Dad next to her, looking through the window at the birds. That made Mary remember the seagull, and the jackdaws - they
were only a short drive away. She remembered how kind Dale and Karen had been on the ferry, and Jake giving his holiday money! They would not have shut her out! She kept walking through the fog.
It seemed ages before anything changed, and then it was opnly that there was a lump of even thicker grey. When she reached out, it wasn’t fog, it felt like cotton wool, but stuck to her fingers. She almost rested her other hand on the grey stuff to get them free, then understood that would have got stuck, too. Mary stood for a little while, thinking what she could use to push on. It would have to be something she could leave. Her coat! Mary tugged and tugged the zip undone with her unstuck hand, then wriggled her arm out of its sleeve. The seagull feather fell down and she hoped she wasn’t stepping on it as she pulled the other sleeve down so the coat was stuck round her stuck hand, then Mary pushed away from the sticky stuff and her hand came free! She
rubbed her sticky palm on her coat where it hung, then crouched down, feeling the rough tarmac till she found the seagull feather, and pushed it down inside her jumper. As she stood up again, Mary saw a tear in the sticky stuff, with something brighter showing through, the colour of the car! Mary walked round the lump of grey. There was a hole, and Karen’s legs and feet, not moving. Could this be the car? Was Karen alright? Were Jake and Dale inside? What had happened? Mary shook Karen’s shoe, “Karen?” but Karen didn’t move, or say anything. Mary gripped
her ankles and pulled! But she could not get any more of Karen out of the sticky grey stuff. She went over to where she thought Dale’s car door would be, but it was just the grey stuff.
“Dale?” she called, then, loudly “JAKE?” at first there was no sound, but then, as if coming from far away, Jake’s voice saying “Go away, I’m tired, I want s...” “Jake! Jake!!!” She tried calling him again and again, but nothing more came from inside the car. What should she do?
If this had happened yesterday, Mary would have stayed beside the car,
scared to leave Jake, Dale and Karen, all that joined her with home here. But today she had talked to a seagull and jackdaws, and they weren’t even people! She said loudly, incase anyone in the car could hear, “I’m going to find the town, someone there will help you, don’t worry!” then
she started walking away from the car again, going the other way.
Mary was trying so hard not to bump into anything she didn’t notice the
ground under her feet changing, till she tripped and landed on a big,
soft cushion of moss and found she was not on the road anymore, but a smooth mud path through thick fallen leaves. She got up and tried going back the way she had come, but just when she was thinking she had been walking much longer than it had taken to lose the road, it looked as if a huge animal stood still infront of her, as if waiting. Mary
held her breath, afraid it would hear her, but when it didn’t move, she went closer and found it was a big strong tree, and as she went on, there was another tree and another, their new spring leaves like scrunched up green tissue paper on the tip of each twig.
The fog was thinning at last into grey rags and the sun beams snipping
through, which made Mary feel brighter too, but she could not still see the road or the car or any sign posts. There was only the path, curling infront of her like a giant question mark, to show anyone had been here before, making Mary think “It must go somewhere!” as she walked along. Then birds started singing and the wood stopped being a scary place. The sun felt lovely and warm on her back and Mary was thinking, “If I was walking with someone it would be fun”, when she heard "CRASH!” come through the trees then “Yooowww!”
There was someone else in the wood! Were they cross or hurt? Would they be friendly? Mary went forward trying to stay hidden behind tree trunks till she could see. There! Orange and white and as big as Mary, half way up a tree, struggling to climb out of what looked like some cardboard boxes tangled in the branches. “Yooww! Ah! Stupid pigeons! OW!” it said, then, “Ah! That’s better, can’t keep a good cat down!” as it
got out of the box at last and stood on a branch, then “Owowowowow!” as the cat slipped and fell through lots of other branches and landed “OOOOf!”on the ground. Mary ran over to help.
She found a very big, fluffy orange and white cat lying with its round furry tummy in the air, on a pile of leaves. “Are you alright?” Mary panted. The cat turned to look at her. He (Mary felt sure the cat was a he) had a white furry face with orange fur all round, and in the middle was a triangle shaped pink nose, with a golden freckle on, and his bright green eyes were going round and round.
“Why wouldn’t I be?” said the cat, in a deep, rich, raspy voice.
“It’s just – your eyes are going round and round?” said Mary.
“That’s just your point of view” said the cat, crossly. “Who are you anyway? And why are you breathing funny?”
“I’m panting!” said Mary, who was starting to feel dizzy, from looking at the cat’s eyes.
“That’s a silly name!” said the cat, then pointed a paw over Mary’s shoulder”What’s that?” While Mary turned to look, the cat hit the side of its head with his other paw, which made his eyes go straight. When
she turned back, the cat looked at her, closely.
“Did you know your eyes are going round and round?”
“Ahhh!” she groaned, then explained “My name is Mary! I saw you fall out of the tree so I came to see if you are alright?”
“Alright? That’s another weird name, never heard of him!” said the cat, wriggling about on his back in the crispy brown leaves. “I’m Wong. Pleased to meet you, Mary. Oooh this is GOOOD! Why don’t you try? There’s lots of room!”
He moved over sideways. It did look like fun. But Mary knew Karen
wouldn’t like it. She looked down at the new clothes Karen had chosen for her – the pink jumper and pale pink trousers and pink sparkly trainers – they were all muddy.
While Mary was thinking hopefully, “Perhaps the leaves would make the mud come off?” Wong was pushing the leaves into a great big pile, sometimes with his front paws, sometimes with his back paws and now the middle of the pile was as high as Mary’s tummy. “Hey!” called Wong, “Ready?”
“Yes!” said Mary, and they both jumped into the pillowy leaves together, with a crunchy whispery whoosh!
They made tunnels (Mary had to keep her mouth shut so the leaves didn’t go in) then burst up and out and threw armfulls into the air, they scooped them all back up, and kicked them as high as they could. In the end they lay on their backs tired and happy. Then Mary heard the most wonderful sound, soft, and deep, it made the pile of leaves shake.
She turned to look at Wong. He was purring, his eyes shut and his
mouth curled up into a smile in his fluffy cheeks. Mary went to sleep.