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Authors: Philippa Dowding

Myles and the Monster Outside

BOOK: Myles and the Monster Outside
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Cover
Dedication

For those in the back seat,

who see things no one else can

THIS PART IS (MOSTLY) TRUE …

Y
ou
should know, before you even start this book, that it's a little scary. And parts of it are even a bit strange. I wish I could make the story less scary and strange, but this is the way I heard it, so I really have no choice.

It starts like this:

A long time ago, a beautiful dog got lost in the rain.

The dog's owner loved him very much and couldn't bear to lose him. So even though it was a stormy spring night, the old man put on his rich leather shoes and his expensive coat and went to search for his beloved dog.

The old man looked all through the fields and dark woods around his home. The rain fell, but still he walked further and further through marshes, swamps, and soaking meadows in the dark. But it was no use. His dog seemed lost for good.

So the old man turned his back to the fields and swamps and searched out by the highway. He walked alone along the dark, rainy road. He never found his dog (this is definitely the sad part). You should know that the dog turned up at home the next day, safe and sound. In fact, unlike his owner, he lived a long, happy life.

Here's the strange part. No one saw the old man again. He just wandered off and disappeared. That seems to be the truth of it, but no one likes a story to end that way. People usually want some kind of a proper ending they can believe in. Some people like a happy ending. Certain kinds of people will choose a spooky ending, every time.

So, in this story, the first kind of person will say that the old man was rich enough to wander away to somewhere warm and pleasant. Florida, perhaps.

But the second type of person will tell you this: the old man died of a broken heart. They may go on to say that many, many years later on rainy spring nights, the old man's spirit still walks the highway. And if you want to hear the truth (as scary as it may be), the ghostly old man waves down strangers in lonely cars to ask if they have seen his dog.

No one ever has.

Except once.

I'll be getting to that part soon.

You don't have to believe this story. But just because things are odd or a little strange or unbelievable doesn't always make them untrue. Truth is an odd thing; one person's truth can be another person's lie. That's the most important thing to remember about this story: sometimes things that seem like lies are actually true. And sometimes you never can tell.

That's the spookiest thing of all.

CHAPTER 1

MONSTER ISLAND

M
yles
leaned against the ship's railing. There was nothing to see but grey water, grey sky, and grey, misty islands. Or rocks that passed as islands.

All the empty grey worried Myles. Where was land? A huge, icy wave splashed up into his face. Myles spluttered.

It was windy and cold, too.

No one else was on the ferry because most normal people — tourists — only travelled on it in the
summer
. No one in their right mind would do it
now
, in the middle of April. It was freezing cold, raining, and there was nothing to see.

Plus the water was very choppy. On top of being worried, Myles was also starting to feel a little seasick.

The man who sold French fries (seasick!) at the snack bar inside the ship told Myles that in the summer, the ferry was a nice ride. The islands were covered with green bushes and wild blueberries. One island was called “Flower Pot Island” because of the towering limestone rocks with wildflowers on top. But right now, in April, the islands all looked the same: grey, dead, and covered in foggy mist.

The churning water and the misty islands also looked a little … spooky. Anything could be out there, waiting, in the misty grey.

Which was upsetting. But not nearly as upsetting as his next thought.

“I wish I was back at my old home with my friends. I'm going to hate Nobleville, and I haven't even been there yet,” Myles whispered to the grey, misty air.

There, he'd said it. Saying it didn't help untie the knot in his stomach, though.

He turned and looked through the cabin window. He could see his older sister Bea and his little brother Norman leaning on either side of their mother inside the ferry.

They looked warm. And dry.

But it was better to be outside in the cold, grey mist than inside with his family. Four days stuck inside a smelly, garbage-filled car together was enough to drive anyone crazy.

And one family member wasn't even with them. Myles's dad. He was already in their new town, in their new house, working at his new job so the family could enjoy a “better life.” Myles wasn't sure what that meant, exactly, but he hoped it included a room of his own and a dog.

Although it probably didn't.

It DID mean a new school for Myles, though.

Suddenly his stomach felt even worse.

Thanks a lot, Dad, for making us move across the country.

Another huge wave hit the side of the ship, and Myles got soaked. He turned around and saw Norman staring at him through the window. Myles made a face at his little brother.

He was SO sick of Norman.

“I want to go home,” Myles whispered once more into the mist.

He stared over the water and worried, because there was plenty to worry about. He sank deeper into his gloom.

Suddenly, an island loomed out of the fog. It was closer than the others, and Myles could see black, dripping trees and swirling mist. The island rose from the dark water like a strange ship or a house. But there was something different about this island. He could see it quite clearly, it was so close to him. He could almost reach out and touch the nearest trees.

Myles looked closer.

Something
moved on the shore!

Myles blinked and looked again. The island was quickly disappearing into the fog, but there was definitely
something standing on the rocks
.

And it was
looking
at him.

Myles gasped.

The thing looked like a man. It couldn't be a
man
, though, because it was huge. No man could be that big. Plus, it was … misty. There was no other word for it. It swirled in the grey like fog as it formed into the shape of a man. The misty man-shape moved across the rocks.

The word
monster
whispered in Myles's head. He backed up across the ferry deck.

He blinked again.

No denying it this time.

Something
huge and grey skulked across the shore. It moved fast toward the water, like a cloud. The grey, misty form turned and looked at him.

Myles held his breath.

It
was
an enormous man made of fog and mist, with huge, wispy legs, a swirling grey chest, and long, floating arms. Misty fingers reached toward the water. In the centre of the face swirled two bright RED EYES.

Like fire.

Myles tried not to scream. He bit his tongue and his heart hammered painfully in his chest.

The monster stood at the water's edge and looked at him. It raised its grey head and sniffed the air. Then it slipped below the waves.

A trail of bubbles started toward the ferry.

CHAPTER 2

VICTOR-THE-VOLVO

W
hat
IS that thing?

Myles bolted into the seating area, the heavy glass door slamming behind him. The sudden warmth and brightness inside the ship made him stop. The old wooden benches had just been painted, and the place smelled like oil paint, bubble gum, and greasy French fries.

It made Myles's stomach lurch even more.

He darted over to his mother, Bea, and Norman, who rested his head on his mother's shoulder. Bea was reading and ignored the world beyond her book, as always. Myles's mother was snoring gently. He didn't have the heart to wake her up. He knew she had hardly slept since they left home. Hotel rooms weren't very comfortable, especially if there was just one bed, a pull-out couch, and four people.

Myles looked around. What had he just seen? Who should he tell? The other adults on the ferry, the few that there were, all read their newspapers or had their eyes closed like his mother.

What would he say, anyway?
There's … uh … a huge, grey, misty monster thing out there! And it's coming this way!

Now he was inside the ferry, not outside on the cold, blustery railing, he was less sure of what he'd seen. He was almost thirteen. He shouldn't be scared by misty grey islands and things that his tired brain likely made up.

It was probably nothing.

Probably.

A swirling mist-man with burning red eyes sniffed the air then slipped below the waves….

Myles gulped and looked at his sister on the other side of their sleeping mother.

“Bea!” he whispered.

She ignored him.

“Bea!” he said a little louder. She sighed and put a finger on her page. She lifted her eyes and raised her eyebrow in a silent, annoyed,
What?

Myles wasn't sure what to say. He wanted to tell his sister, to tell someone about the
thing
, but what could he say?
There's
something
out there, in the water.

“N — nothing,” he stammered. The chance to tell someone was gone anyway since a moment later a voice came over the loudspeaker. Everybody jumped.

“Good evening, passengers, this is the captain speaking. We will be arriving in ten minutes. Please get ready to leave the ferry. If you are travelling by car, please go to your car now.”

The loud voice woke his mother. She sat up and yawned.

“Are we there already? Myles, please hold Norman's hand.” Then she shuffled around, gathering bags and Norman's toys. Bea stood up, but she never shifted her eyes from her book.

Myles held his little brother's hand and followed his mother and sister down the steep metal stairs to the bottom of the ferry. His foot clanged on the steps, echoing loudly in the belly of the ship. The belly of the beast.

There's a monster out there!

Just be calm. Breathe. You'll be off the ferry soon. It was nothing.

Probably.

Myles and his family found their car.

You should know a little about their car.

First of all, it was an ancient red Volvo.

Second, it was huge and roared like a dragon.

And third, Myles and his family named it Victor-the-Volvo, the enormous beast of a car. Unfortunately, Victor also stank. It smelled like every take-out meal they had eaten since they left home. There were wrappers and drink lids everywhere. Norman's peanut butter sandwiches were smeared all over the place. Plus, Norman had spilled a huge chocolate milk on the first day.

It was now clear to all of them that nothing gets out the stench of sour milk, no matter how hard you try to hide it. As he settled into his seat, Myles's stomach lurched again. He DID NOT want to add eau-de-barf to the car.

It was weird and a little creepy being at the bottom of the big ferry, waiting. It was dark down there, and you could hear the water slapping against the ship, just on the other side of Victor-the-Volvo's door. But now it was even worse.

Don't think about that thing in the water! Stop! You imagined it!

Myles's mother and Bea sat in the front. Norman was in his car seat in the back beside Myles, who tried to breathe normally and not focus on the stink of the car. He counted from one to ten then back down from ten to one a few times. He slowly curled and uncurled his fingers, then his toes.

Then Norman started singing.

“C, C, C, comes after B, B, B! But before D, D, D! Where we find C! C! C!”

Myles rolled his eyes and tried to tune it out. “Can't wait until he learns a new letter,” he muttered. For the thousandth time, he wished he had something to listen to. But there was no money for electronics, or headphones, or anything like that. Except now, with his dad's new job, maybe there would be.

It didn't help him feel any better.

“… C! C! C! comes after B, B, B …!”

Finally, the ferry worker came along and told each driver, one by one, to start their car. When it was their turn, Myles's mom turned the key.

Nothing happened.

She turned the key again. And again. And again.

And again.

It was no use.

Victor-the-Volvo, their trusty old car, wouldn't start.

Victor-the-Volvo was dead.

BOOK: Myles and the Monster Outside
10.07Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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