TIME TRAVELLER EXTRAORDINAIRE
‘Phazanggggg,’ cried Tommy as he leapt onto his bike and sped off down the driveway of his new house in Parsons Court.
A tingle of excitement bubbled inside him, like a fizzy drink about to explode. It ran down his legs and arms and buzzed about his head as he gathered speed at the bottom of the drive. It made his skin tingle and his heart pound, and all of a sudden, the sky looked bluer than it had for many weeks. On the very last afternoon of the summer holiday, Tommy could remember what it was like to feel happy.
He had not felt this way for at least seven weeks. In fact, he had felt miserable. Just like the time he had accidentally spilt orange squash over his dad’s brand-new laptop and found himself grounded for three weeks without any pocket money. In fact, Tommy had felt miserable ever since his parents had sat him down and told him they were moving house. Away from his friends, his school, and the home he had lived in for the whole of his twelve-and-a-half years.
These days, he used words he had heard his dad say when he accidentally hit his thumb with a hammer or reversed his car into the dustbin. Tommy had got to quite like using them; they made him feel a whole lot better.
Like the word he had said to himself when his parents told him about his new school.
They had been in the middle of eating his favourite supper of bangers and mash, and Tommy had just stuck a huge forkful of buttery potato into his mouth, when his mum leant forward and grinned at him. It was a strange, unnatural grin. The sort of grin you might expect to see on a politician, and a chill trickled down his back. There was only one thing it could mean. Trouble. Normally, his mum only smiled at really important people, like the bank manager and his dad’s boss. And his six-year-younger sister, Sally.
‘Tommy, darling,’ said his mum, a little too brightly. This worried him even more. She never said ‘darling’ to him.
She paused for a moment and then gave a bright laugh. Tommy gulped down his mash in anticipation.
‘Tommy, we have the most exciting news to tell you. Haven’t we, Gordon?’ She nudged Tommy’s dad, who appeared from behind the newspaper he was absorbed in.
‘Hurrumph,’ he said, spearing a large piece of sausage onto his fork before returning to his reading. ‘You tell him. You’re better at it than me.’
‘Oh, Tommy,’ trilled his mum as she cut up some dainty portions of sausage to feed to Sally, ‘you’ll never guess in a million years, so I’ll tell you straight out. We—your father and I, that is—have found you the most amazing, wonderful new school. High Brooms, it’s called. High Brooms.’ She repeated the name slowly for added effect. ‘The very best boarding school in the—’
‘BOARDING SCHOOL!’ exclaimed Tommy. (This was when he muttered the word to himself).
‘Yes, yes, but you, my darling, will be one of the dayboys.’ His mum shoved a piece of sausage into Sally’s mouth, which was beaming from ear to ear at the look of horror etched on Tommy’s face. Nothing delighted her more than to see her brother looking miserable.
‘But what about me staying at Forrester? What about Digby—and the gang—and what about the football team?’ A queasy gurgle galloped around Tommy’s stomach. He pushed his food away, too anxious to eat another mouthful. ‘I was going to be made captain this year,’ he said quietly.
‘Ah well, there’s a slight problem there,’ his dad replied briskly, folding up his paper and clearing his throat. ‘Hurrumph. Go on, Pernilla. Don’t keep the boy waiting.’
Tommy glanced across at his dad’s fat, rosy face then back at his mum’s brightly coloured one. They both beamed at him as though he had just won the lottery.‘What problem?’ he gulped, fighting back the lump that was welling up in his throat.
‘Well, Tommy darling, the house we’ve bought is rather—’
‘HOUSE!’ cried Tommy.
‘Don’t yell, Tommy dear. High Broom boys certainly do not yell. Now, where were we? Oh yes. The fact of the matter is that the house is rather far from here, and it’ll be a bit difficult to—well, you know—travel the distance. But I’m sure you will make lots of new friends. And the right sort of friends at that. Some of the parents of High Brooms are terribly important diplomats. Just think of the parties we—umm—you’ll be invited to. It will be simply marvellous, won’t it, Gordon.’ His dad nodded his agreement and rubbed his podgy hands together.
Tommy felt as though a boa constrictor had suddenly shot up the chair leg and wrapped itself around his ribs. The mash he had just swallowed was threatening to show itself again. But the only thing he said was, ‘What about Digby?’ Digby was his best friend and fellow adventurer. They had met on the very first day of primary school and remained best friends for the last eight years. There was nothing Tommy had done without Digby as his sidekick, and they had stood side by side through thick and thin, all the years they had known each other. It looked as though all this would now end.
‘Digby can come and stay with you at half term.’ His mum’s voice broke into Tommy’s thoughts. ‘Now, no more whatabouts. Your father has been given the most wonderful opportunity with a very important company and we’re moving in four weeks’ time, whether you like it or not.’
Tommy Turner's Tremendous Travels
First published 2016
ISBN (print) 978-99959-965-0-5
ISBN (ePub) 978-99959-965-1-2