Read Mumbersons and The Blood Secret, The Online

Authors: Mike Crowl,Celia Crowl

Mumbersons and The Blood Secret, The (13 page)

BOOK: Mumbersons and The Blood Secret, The
5.47Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

 

‘Get to the point, you scruffy old man...!’ Venska said, coming closer, her wand at the ready.

 

‘You now have all this wealth. I think you can afford to return the diamonds to me. We’ll call it quits for all the trouble you’ve put us to today.’

 

Metabola had turned to see what was happening. She dragged herself away from the treasure, and took a few steps towards Venska. ‘Give him the diamonds, Venska. Who needs anything belonging to that ridiculous sister of ours?’ Venska shook her head violently, clutching the pocket where the box of diamonds lay. ‘Venska!’

 

‘No!’

 

Metabola pointed her wand straight at Venska and with great speed spoke five angry words no one understood. Venska shrieked as though her hand had been set on fire. She tore the box out of her pocket and threw it straight at Mumberson’s chest. The box burst open and the diamonds scattered around the floor.

 

Nursing her hand, Venska
screeched a stream of foul words at
Metabola, who merely laughed. ‘Go back to the treasure,’ she said, as though she was talking to a naughty child.

 

Standing her ground, Venska said, as calmly as she could, ‘But what about the
blood
?’

 

‘Look behind you. We already have the treasure.’

 

‘So
you
say. I prefer to hedge my bets.’

 

Metabola lost her patience. With another wave of her wand she swept Venska up off her feet and sent her sailing through the air to the treasure. ‘Take your share before your sisters commandeer it all!’ she shouted, as Venska landed with a crunch in front of the pile.

 

Before Metabola turned back to the treasure herself, she said to Billy, ‘I’d leave now, if I were you. Be thankful you’re still alive.’

 

Mumberson and the others knelt down and seized the diamonds, making sure they deposited each one into Mr Mumberson’s hands. ‘Come on, Dad,’ said Jerry. ‘We need to get out of here.’

 

But his father didn’t get up off his knees. He was staring at the witches. They continued to fight with each other, pulling hair, slapping faces, tearing clothes. Even Metabola was back in the thick of things. These weren’t Sisters; they were enemies.

 

‘Look at what those women are doing,’ said Mumberson.

 

‘Come
on
, Dad.’

 

‘What if these diamonds have magic in them? Will they make me as greedy and vicious as that?’

 

‘Dad.’ Jerry tried to get him to stand. ‘Let’s
go
.’

 

‘I can’t, Jerry. Not yet.’

 

He stood up and began to walk towards the witches and the pile of treasure, Jerry holding onto his arm but unable to get him to turn round. Billy and Olivia stayed close behind.

 

Some of the witches noticed. Ligula, with a horrible look on her face, shouted, ‘Changed your mind, old man?’ And another witch said, ‘I’ll take them off your hands.’

 

‘Haven’t they got enough already?’ whispered Olivia to Billy, but he was more concerned about his grandfather getting closer to the witches. He didn’t trust them an inch.

 

‘Grandad, what are you doing?’ he whispered.

 

‘I’m getting rid of the diamonds. I lost twenty years of my life. But these things won’t bring them back.’ His voice had become blurry, as though he was about to cry. ‘But I’ve got you, Billy. And you...Jerry. I’ve got another chance.’

 

He lifted up the fist in which he held the diamonds, as though he was going to throw them on the pile. Then he lowered his hand, looked at his closed fist, raised it again, and stopped once more, his hand in mid-air.

 

Billy took his grandfather’s arm and pulled it down. He opened the old man’s fist and stared at the diamonds, entranced by their beauty. Even uncut, they glittered with a brightness he’d never seen. Were they pleading not to be left with the witches? The diamonds would help his penniless Granddad and Grandma get started again. His Dad had threatened to kick them out on the street. Perhaps the diamonds would make things come right...

 

Just then one of the witches screamed the most vile language imaginable at another. A fight broke out, with one of the sculptures crashing to the floor and breaking.

 

Billy closed his grandfather’s hand over the diamonds, and said, ‘Go on, Grandad, you can do it.’

 

Mumberson closed his hand tight, lifted his arm in the air, and tossed the diamonds as far as he could into the treasure pile.

 

Jerry took his father’s arm. ‘Come on, Dad. Let’s get out of here. Let’s go home.’ They all headed quickly towards the enormous door, but had only taken a few steps when they heard screams more horrific than any previous ones. Each and every one of the witches began shouting, ‘The Treasure! The
Treasure
!’

 

The five glanced back, and stopped. The glitter and gleam of the pile was fading, slowly at first, then more and more quickly. The treasure’s brightness had lit up the room; now it was as if someone was dimming the lights. Worse, the piles the witches had gathered for themselves had begun to slide towards the large pile, until the two were indistinguishable.

 

The witches howled, grabbing at different objects. But the treasure had a mind of its own, and refused to be held by anyone. The pile formed itself into a large mass, jewellery merging into gold and gold into statues. Everything turned a foggy gray colour, became transparent, and then vanished completely.

 

Panic seized the witches. They ran to and fro feeling for any shape, anything to show them where the treasure had gone. But there was nothing. It was as if there had never been anything in the space.

 

Then the
re was a fearful silence.

 

And suddenly Ligula and Venska screamed as one, ‘The
Blood
!’ and turned and looked straight at Billy.

 

‘RUN!’ Jerry shouted.

 

All five ran as fast as possible towards the door. The witches chased them. Olivia was holding the second capsule of blood tight inside her t-shirt. She tripped as she ran, stayed upright by grabbing at Mr Mumberson, then saw the capsule drop to the ground and shatter. The blood splattered across the floor in an arc behind them. And had an unexpected effect.

 

The first witches to reach it stumbled as though they’d tripped on a hidden wire, and fell in a heap. Metabola went down heavily and stayed there. ‘Madeleine,’ she moaned, to Billy’s consternation. And then she screeched, ‘Madeleine!’

 

But there wasn’t enough blood to stop the others from giving chase.

 

Billy made an instant decision. Still running, he pulled out his pocket knife, and flicked it open. Clenching his teeth, he cut a gash in the palm of his left hand. Blood rushed out of the wound. Jerry shouted out in horror, and all of them came to a halt around Billy.

 

With his other hand Billy smeared the blood on the ground between himself and the witches. Jerry tried to pull him away. Billy shook him off, and used more of his blood to draw a tight circle around his father, grandfather, Olivia and Adiblo.

 

It was as if he’d created not only a protective circle around them, but a glass cage. Apart from Metabola, the witches were now all about them, but couldn’t touch them. They scratched and hammered at what appeared to be thin air, and made no effect. They brought their wands out but their wands split right up the middle and flew off in splinters.

 

And then something began to happen to the witches themselves.

 

A few metres away Metabola tried to stand. ‘This is Madeleine’s doing!’ she said with enormous venom, looking straight at Billy. Even while she was still trying to push herself up off her hands and knees her hair flared up on her head as though she’d received an electric shock. Her arms spread out wide against her will and she was pulled upwards off the floor by some invisible force. Her legs splayed out, and she was lifted high into the air. And then moment by terrible moment she began to turn to dust. The last thing they saw were her eyes, full of fear, and then they too vanished. The dust swirled like a sandstorm, lingered in the air, then scattered and disappeared.

 

At first the other witches didn’t notice, they were so intent on trying to scratch their way through the invisible cage. But when they saw Billy and his family looking up with their mouths wide open in consternation at where Metabola had vanished, they turned around.

 

And at that moment another witch found herself flying off, over and over, head over heels, and disintegrating into thousands of tiny pieces. And then another and another.

 

Necessita was next. She reached out to Ligula with an awful scream before twisting round and round like a whirlwind, faster and faster, until she suddenly burst into thousands of fragments like an exploding firework
.

 

Ligula shrieked at Venska, slapping her face and pulling her hair as though it was her fault. But blaming Venska didn’t help her in the slightest. The eleven other witches had already vanished, and there was no hope for these two. Ligula tore at Venska in fury, and Venska gave her as good as she got, until they discovered, as they rose in the air still fighting, that there was less and less to tear at. All in a moment what had been a perpetually angry Ligula and what had been a sneering, overbearing Venska disintegrated together in millions of particles of dust.

 

Everywhere above the Mumbersons’ heads dust clouds swirled, but soon even those dissipated through the length and breadth of the enormous hall, until it was impossible to tell what was the dust of ages and what was the dust that had once been witches.

 

Billy couldn’t even begin to guess what his mother had to do with it all. By this time Jerry had ripped off his jacket, and then his shirt. He tore the shirt into a makeshift bandage and wrapped it tightly around Billy’s hand. The blood soaked through almost immediately. Billy shivered, feeling as though he was going to faint. Olivia held his other hand, and told him he was very brave. His grandfather wrapped Jerry’s jacket around him to keep him warm, and then wrapped his arms around him too.

 

Meanwhile Adiblo tapped at the magic cage that had protected them from the witches. He hit it once, twice, and both times it was solid. He thumped hard with both fists, and nothing happened. ‘Oh, for goodness sake!’ he cried and banged his head against it in frustration. There was a loud crack, which was
not
his head breaking, and then a bang like an enormous balloon bursting.

 

He pushed once more at where the invisible cage had been. His hands went straight ahead, he fell forward, and landed sharply on his knees.

 

‘It’s gone!’ he said, with a smile.

 

‘Then let’s get out of here,’ said Jerry, picking up a pack of cards that had fallen out of his jacket pocket.

 

They raced towards the dungeon door but were stopped by a cry from Lavitch, who was entangled in cords from his shoulders to his feet. ‘Don’t leave us here! We’ll never get out.’ Slaggard was incapable of saying anything because the cords had wrapped themselves around his head.

 

‘Forget them,’ said Mr Mumberson, walking faster. ‘It’s what they deserve.’

 

But Olivia stopped him. ‘We can’t. They’ll die in here.’ She ran over to the two men. ‘Can we cut the cords round their legs so they can walk?’ she called back to the others.

 

Jerry, with an enormous sigh, took Billy’s knife from him, and raced across to the two men. He hacked away at the cords tangled around their feet. ‘Get Billy out of here,’ he shouted to his father. ‘He needs to go to Emergency.’

 

Mumberson and Adiblo helped Billy, who was now feeling very faint, towards the door. They were within a metre or two of it when all three realised something that made their hearts sink like stones.

 

The door was locked. The key had been in Necessita’s pocket. And Necessita - and the key - no longer existed.

 

Chapter 13 - The door

 

‘Dad, we can’t get out!’ shouted Billy. He felt sick. Was he going to die in this awful prison?

 

‘I’ll be there in a second!’ Jerry shouted back. He’d managed to cut the cords around Lavitch’s feet but the man was still bound from the waist up. Slaggard was almost buried beneath cords around his upper body and head, but could walk once he was helped to his feet. Jerry told them to get moving. ‘And no funny business,’ he added, ‘otherwise I will definitely leave you here.’

 

Lavitch mumbled, ‘No funny business,’ and sounded like he meant it. He was bent over, and stumbled along, even though Jerry insisted he move faster.

 

Adiblo was trying to pull the door open, which was ridiculous. His chin only reached the handle and the door was as heavy as a house.

 

‘Stand out of the way,’ said Jerry, giving the handle a pull himself. It made no difference. He turned to Billy. ‘What about the blood?’

 

Billy hadn’t thought about that; his head was more woozy than ever. With Jerry and Olivia’s support, he took hold of the handle and smeared some of his blood on it, twisting it back and forward.

 

Nothing. The door stayed firmly shut.

 

Slaggard had just reached the group. He said something but it was muffled by the cords around his face.

 

‘What?’ barked Jerry, pulling the cords away from Slaggard’s mouth.

 

‘Better be quick.’ With some difficulty he nodded at the top of the door. ‘Magic timer. Top of the door. Door will vanish in sixty seconds!’ Far above their heads they saw a dial none of them had noticed before. A clock hand was racing around at great speed. Each time it passed a certain point, a number flashed: 55, 54, 53...

 

Lavitch groaned. And sniffled.

BOOK: Mumbersons and The Blood Secret, The
5.47Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Waltz Into Darkness by Cornell Woolrich
No Place Like Holmes by Jason Lethcoe
Songbird by Jamie Campbell
MySoultoSave by S W Vaughn
Bayley, Barrington J - Novel 10 by The Zen Gun (v1.1)
Kieran & Drew by L. A. Gilbert
The Professionals by Owen Laukkanen
Roman o Londonu 1 by Miloš Crnjanski
Horse Named Dragon by Gertrude Chandler Warner