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Authors: Hazel Edwards

Tags: #Children's Fiction - Mystery


BOOK: Fleeced
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A Frequent Flyer Twins mystery

Written by Hazel Edwards.

Illustrated and designed by Jane Connory.

Trekking with their eco-photographer parents, Amy and Christopher suspect a thief on New Zealand's famous Milford Track . Is it Ms Tree, the Freedom Walker? Other suspects include a keen golfer, a rugby international and Zoe, the guide.

When a mischievous kea bird steals from the twins, they change their minds. Dr Al, the celebrity explorer is being filmed on the Track, by their parents. Could he be involved in illegal kea or nugget smuggling?

Backpack mix-ups, , a loo-with-a-view and a kea copy-watch contribute to this heli-hiking mystery set in New Zealand. The Frequent Flyer Twins are nearly ‘fleeced' by a nugget smuggler.

Airport security changes fast. If our Frequent Flyers travelled tomorrow, there would be new regulations and electronic devices.

Some of their past mysteries were solved without the technology we have now.

Also in the Frequent Flyers Series, by Hazel Edwards.

Copyright © Hazel Edwards and Jane Connory, 2011.

Written By Hazel Edwards.

Illustration and design by Jane Connory.

ISBN 978-0-9871078-4-8

All electronic rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without written permission from the publisher. Although every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this book, the publisher and author assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. Neither is any liability assumed for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein.

Teacher resources and activities available -


Chapter 1 Full Alert

Chapter 2 Tracking and Tramping

Chapter 3 Feet Fleece

Chapter 4 The Freedom Walker

Chapter 5 Kea Snack Attack

Chapter 6 Lunch on Legs

Chapter 7 Dr Al's 70th

Chapter 8 Zig Zags

Chapter 9 Photo Opportunity

Chapter 10 Waterproof

Chapter 11 Watch Out

Chapter 12 Chase at Auckland Airport

Chapter 1

Full Alert

In flight, Amy found the hidden package.

‘Gold Scam ‘, had finished an hour ago. After the in-flight movie, Amy had curled sideways on the seat. A brother alongside was better than a stranger. She could spread out a bit. She flung her leg across Christopher's arm.

A little bump. The plane seemed to drop. She was almost asleep, when she slipped! Her seat belt wasn't clipped, so Amy finished on the floor between the seats! That's how she discovered the package. Her hand hit ‘something' , jammed underneath her seat.

A hard shape. Perhaps pushed through by the passenger in the seat behind? It felt like a clock radio or an I-audio. Amy'd seen them in the Duty Free. The latest sound toy. But this had thick tape around. Or so it felt. Too dark to see on the floor between seats. And there was a carpet bump in the gap beneath. The package was just too big to pull through from Amy's side.

Amy listened. A passenger snoring? Or was the parcel ticking?

Most passengers were snoozing. Narrow spotlights shone over those still reading. But the thin light beams didn't reach the floor.

Was the parcel just ordinary? Passengers often stuffed bags under the seat in front of them. Especially when a child-passenger was half-price , full-price adults felt it was okay to push bags into the child's space.

‘Christopher!' she hissed. Her brother just muttered in his sleep. His headphones were still clamped on. She poked him. He turned over and giggled in his dream.

The parcel was wedged tightly. So Amy kneeled on her seat. She peered over to find out who was sitting behind her. Nobody! The seat was empty! So whose luggage was it?

In the half-light, Amy felt a flight attendant brush past. And another! Who or what needed extra blankets and pillows? Perhaps the old man at the back was sick? Maybe that pregnant woman was having her baby early?

Amy watched closely. It was shadowy at the back and she couldn't see clearly. This was weird. Attendants seemed to be stacking the pillows on the inside of the plane!

The FASTEN SEATBELTS sign had come on. The plane dropped again and then came up. The attendants were walking downhill and then uphill, if you could say that in a plane.

Christopher!' She nudged her brother. He just turned over again, smiling.

Christopher had dreams like full- length movies.

‘Excuse me, ‘ Amy asked as the attendants came hurrying back. ‘What's wrong?'

‘Nothing for you to worry about, dear,' said the shorter attendant with the perfect nails. ‘Go back to sleep. We're not in Christchurch yet. Another hour.'

Amy hated being called' dear'.

‘Excuse me, there's something under my seat,' Amy started explaining, but the high heels tapped away. Dealing with that parcel might not wait until Christchurch. Unaccompanied luggage was very suspicious.

Their parents were meeting the plane. Mum and Dad had a eco-photo job in the South Island. They were filming an old explorer walking the Milford Track. Four days of hiking. ‘A working holiday ,' Dad said. ‘Work for us and a walking holiday for you.' Aunty Viv had booked them on the Sydney-Christchurch flight. But she never flew with them. Tonight, Aunty Viv might be right about her fear of planes crashing or blowing up.

Twisting around, Amy watched the flight attendants. More pillows! And a couple of blankets! Behind their perfect make-up, they looked worried. Their pencil-thin navy skirts made them take small steps. But this time, they were hurrying. And a male attendant was following them down the aisle.

Most of the cabin was dark, with window shutters pulled down. Amy ripped off Christopher's earphones.' Wake up. That's Bill going down the aisle now too!'

Christopher yawned. ‘ Are you having nightmares again?'

‘No. This is real . And I've found something hidden under my seat.'

At that news, Christopher woke up properly. ‘Money? Or...' Amy grabbed the attendant's arm. ‘ Bill, there's something stuck under our seat.' ‘Feels like a radio.'

Kneeling down, Bill felt under her seat, but he couldn't get it out.' You'd better move. Just in case. We've had a warning about any mysterious package in the back of the plane.' Bill's deep voice was calm, but Amy saw his hand trembling as he picked up her blanket and pushed her forwards.

‘If it's not money, is it a bomb or something?' Christopher thought in pictures. Exploding planes was okay in a computer game, but he didn't want to be one of real bits in mid-air.

‘Move down the front kids. At once.' Bill pushed them forwards.

What was the use of that? If the plane was going to blow up, the front of the cabin would go too! Amy grabbed her purple and aqua backpack. Christopher took his bag too. He didn't want to lose his best drawing pens.

Unaccompanied Minors, known as U.M.s, travel up front so flight attendants can look after them. Usually they're seated beside an adult, for safety. But there'd been a mistake earlier in the twins' seat numbers. So their seats were down the back. If the plane blew up, ‘bits' of the twins would be nowhere near their original seat numbers. Too late to worry then.

‘Maybe my hand is small enough to fit under ,' offered Amy. ‘And pull it out, from the other side.'

‘Use my ruler,' Christopher always carried a drawing set.

'Forget it.' Pushing them ahead of him, Bill found two empty seats just behind Business Class . Then he hurried away to check what was under Amy's seat.

Amy squashed Edwina into a side pocket on her backpack. Ten year old sleuths had mascots, not teddies .

Edwina was a very well travelled mascot. If Amy was leaving the plane in a hurry, so was Edwina.

‘Was it a real bomb?' Christopher whispered. Amy hadn't felt a bomb before, so she wasn't sure. People around them were still asleep. What if the plane blew up while you were asleep? You wouldn't even know what happened. Sleep, then nothingness.

Just then, the captain spoke. ‘ Ladies and gentlemen. We need 100% attention. We have found a suspicious device on board. We believe it may be an explosive.'

‘A bomb!' said Christopher. ‘That's what he means.' Partly he was pleased to be right. Partly, he was scared.

Heads were jerking awake all along the seats.

‘We've found a micro radio. If you own such a radio, please speak to one of our flight crew.'

Heads above seats came upright. People spoke in whispers as if that would help. Then the cabin was silent. But no-one came forward. Nobody could believe that it was happening. Bomb threats happened on in-flight movies. They didn't happen on ordinary planes with ordinary people. Flying from Sydney to Christchurch was not a terrorists' route.

‘D'you think they've found just a radio? Or a radio and a bomb?' said Christopher.

‘Bill mentioned a warning.' Amy wasn't sure whether she was scared now or not. She just felt very alive. Little things took her attention. To check on their escape route, she pulled out the safety card just as the captain said,

‘Please look at your safety information card.'

A woman with sausage- balloon arms ripped a full page Milford Track map from her in-flight magazine. Another map-aholic? Amy had pointed out that map to her brother earlier. Christopher liked the land pictures suggested by maps. He always read details like distance or height. Then he could picture the place. But why had the woman torn out that page? The airline magazine was a freebie, anyway. He'd like to draw her, fiddling nervously with her gold watch on a neck chain as passengers at the back were now asked to move to the front.

‘Wish we were already over Christchurch,' said Christopher.

They were still flying over water. Aunty Viv had always joked about swimming backstroke when they crashed. Perhaps she'd be right this time? Aunty Viv never flew in planes anywhere. Once Christopher drew her flying on a broomstick, because Aunty Viv always wore Gothic black. She pinned that up in her Animal Actors' van.

Amy thought about going down into black water. Should she take a big breath first?

What about life -jackets? Would they go down that inflatable escape slide?

An emergency door was curved into the plane wall , Christopher noticed. Neat! Was sitting next to the emergency door a good or bad thing? Would they be the first out? Or would others push across the top of them?

A man wearing a rugby top was sitting on the aisle. He skim-read the safety instructions. Then he gave Christopher a little smile. ‘Just in case.' His neck was thick like a tree trunk. Frown lines deepened between his bushy eyebrows. He kept checking the time on his Rolex.

‘Great safety diagrams.' said Christopher. ‘We'll know what to do.'

Rugby Top just fiddled with an unusual package between his feet. ‘My fishing rod. Might break easily.'

‘Useful if we need food... in the water,' joked Christopher nervously.

Judging by the size, the rod must fold up, thought Christopher just as the captain spoke again.' We have done everything we can. Landing in Christchurch in fifteen minutes.'

‘We hope,' added Rugby Top.' I was in a light plane crash once. On a rugby trip to a Fijian island. Times like this, I wish my job didn't make me fly so often.'

Amy wasn't listening. She'd switched into Amy-the-sleuth. What about the parcel-dropper? Was the person who left the parcel still on the plane?

‘D'you remember if that seat was empty when we got on? The one behind me?' Amy asked her brother. ‘Did you draw anyone from there?'

Christopher flipped back through his sketch-pad. He'd drawn Bill, the flight attendant. And the hoops in the rugby player's top were hard to get right. Christopher shrugged. ‘Didn't notice. Empty I think. Would you stay on board with a bomb?'

Amy shook her head. ‘Someone must have left the package this trip. In between, the cleaners would have found it. Cleaners always vacuum the aisles and take away rubbish from the pockets.'

Christopher had a sketch-pad full of passengers' faces, Aunty Viv's goat Wilhemina , a ride-on airport vacuum cleaner and an unusual belt buckle. He liked unusual shapes.

‘Remember, the plane was late leaving.' Christopher shut his sketch pad. ‘Perhaps the cleaners didn't finish?'

Twisting around, Amy peered down the plane. Too many crew . She couldn't see anything except navy shoulders.

‘Lost it.' Balloon Arms was fussing with her bag. The padded shoulders of her baggy tracksuit were silver, like alfoil. They crinkled.' My lucky charm. Unless I hold it on landing, we'll crash.'

The map page slipped off her lap. Christopher picked it up, noticing some black crosses she'd added.

‘Thanks. Just working out my route. If I ever get there.'

At that moment, the plane dipped . The FASTEN SEAT BELTS sign flashed.

Christopher found the lucky key charm with the rainbow tag on the floor.' Why is this lucky?'

‘Just is. I rub it every time I want to eat something.'

‘Does food appear like magic?' Amy clicked her seat belt. During landing , there was nothing you could do to help the pilot.

‘No. I'm on a diet you see,' said the Balloon Lady. ‘My lucky charm padlocks my ‘frig.'

Although Balloon Arms had a big rucksack up the front with the hanging suit-bags, there wasn't room for a frig.

Fat or thin, you could still be blown up. Some pieces might be bigger that's all, thought Christopher.

Amy tried to calm her down. ‘ The aircrew are trained for emergencies,' she said reassuringly. ‘ Click on your seat belt.' She helped the woman stretch her seat -belt across her tummy. It was a tight fit.

‘But this is an emergency.' said Balloon Arms. ‘There's a lot of water out there.'

She was right. ‘Land safely. Land safely, ‘ Amy chanted in her head. She imagined the cockpit which the twins had visited last flight. She pictured instruments flashing. She pictured the pilot landing the plane safely.

The FASTEN SEAT BELT sign was still flashing. Christopher clicked on his belt.

Hurriedly the aircrew sat and strapped on their own seat belts. There was a thud as the wheels came down.

Then the plane came down very fast. Amy's tummy zoomed down too. Bump! Bump! Thud!

Christopher closed his eyes tightly. Amy hoped he wasn't having a scary movie replay behind his eyelids. ‘Gold Scam' had had some frightening bits .

Bump! Thud.

When they touched the runway, everyone cheered. Passengers clapped as the plane skimmed safely , and stopped.

‘Please stay in your seats.' came the captain's voice.

Bill checked on them. ‘Okay?'

‘So was it a bomb?' asked Amy. ‘ It ticked and it felt like ..'

Bill interrupted. ‘... a radio-clock, bound with tape. But our airline had been warned about a terrorist threat. So we couldn't take any chances. False alarm, luckily. Just a present. Left behind by a businessman when he got out in Sydney. Usually the cleaners would have checked, but it was a direct flight.'

BOOK: Fleeced
2.32Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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