I flew several feet into the air, still unable to scream, and I landed precisely on my right leg.
Pain exploded through me, and now the screaming came. It felt like my leg had been torn apart, and when I looked down, I saw the white flash of bone. I immediately rolled over and threw up, which was worse, because it put more pressure on my leg.
I did my best. If I didn’t know the answer to something, I just thought of my own name. I made some wonderful new elements: Rickium, Larrium and Maxium. I wasn’t going to get any marks for them, but at least I had some fun.
As soon as we came out of the exam hall, Max said, ‘So how did it go?’
‘Why do I need to read in English?’
My students often ask me this. They think, ‘I go to classes, I do my homework, I watch films in English. Why should I read books?’
Actually, reading is the best way to improve your English. I will tell you why.
‘Hey, what are you three losers up to?’
I turned around. Bethany was standing right next to us. She was the only girl in our team, and none of the other boys liked her very much. Sure, when we were on the field, we were a team, but it was strange when you were hanging out with other boys, and then suddenly there was a girl there. And she wasn’t like the other girls in our year, either.
One day, the Little Frog with the Big Mouth woke up and thought, ‘I don’t feel like eating flies today. I have eaten flies every day of my life. How about a change?’
But the Little Frog with the Big Mouth had never eaten anything else before. He didn’t know what other food there was. So he hopped through the forest to find other food.
‘Shadows,’ said Max. ‘Let’s call them shadows. They’re all dark, and they change shape. Just like a shadow.’
‘Max,’ I said, ‘this isn’t a video game, you know.’
‘I know, but we’ve got to have a name for them.’
‘Ugh,’ I said. ‘Fine then. We’ll call them shadows.’
‘What’s up, Coach?’
‘Bad news, I’m afraid. Although the weather is lovely today, there’s a storm forecast for Saturday. A big one. A bit of rain might be OK, but a storm… Unless a miracle happens, I’m going to have to cancel the match.’
My stomach clenched again, and I felt like I was going to be sick.
Jemima started hissing.
‘I agree, Jemima. He’s being a real—whoa!’
I turned around and saw why Jemima was so angry. Next to her, there was something. It was big and had lots of black hair, sharp teeth and claws. They made Jemima look like a mouse. The monster was moving slowly towards Max, and it looked hungry.
As he walked through the shadows of the trees, he saw an orange glow in the distance, shining like a star. It was a fire, and at once he headed towards it, as his feet were cold and his belly was empty.
‘But wait!’ thought Butcher Boy George. ‘What if that fire was built by evil thieves, who wish to beat me and rob me in the night? I cannot fall for such a trap!’
Of course, Butcher Boy George could have easily beaten any thief with just his pinky finger, but he had never been outside his village before, so he thought the thieves in this part of the land might be as strong as mountains.