THE MONSTERS’ DANCE SYNOPISIS:
Jenny and Ben accidentally receive an invitation to the Monsters’ Dance. Do monsters really exist? If so, don’t they eat children?The Monsters’ Dance is a celebration like no other – it is a time of great monster festivity because it takes place on the longest day, meaning the nights will soon draw in and true monstering can take place. When the brother and sister accidentally receive the invitation to the monsters’ dance they think it is a joke but what if it isn’t? Surely they have to go and find out… The only thing stopping them is the big question: what if monsters eat children? The pair are torn between curiosity and fear. Maybe they just need to come up with a brilliant disguise. That way they can find out once and for all: how do monsters dance?
THE MONSTERS’ DANCE
By Michelle Dry
Illustrated by Robin Dry
Proofread by Lynda Shea
For Jasper and Edan who always entertain me
with their monster insights,
spaceship designs and guinea pig hairstyles
WINDY GROWLING, SCOWLING AND MONSTERACIOUS HOWLING
There was a deep growl carried on the wind. It wound through the trees and blew from the forest. Ben, a stringy scruff of a boy, stopped riding his bike around the garden and paused.
‘Did you hear that Jen?’ Ben asked half whispering. He glanced over at his sister Jenny, her blonde curly hair defied gravity and had at least three twigs poking from the frizzy mess. She stopped bouncing on the trampoline and gazed at him with a concerned expression.
‘What was it?’ Jenny replied, climbing off the trampoline and making her way over to her brother. Ben scraped his fringe from his face as he considered what the noise could be. He found himself shaking his head and sighing. ‘I don’t know,’ he replied thoughtfully. ‘It can’t be what I think it was.’
‘What did you think it was?’ asked Jenny. She had her own ideas.
Ben took a deep breath and paced. ‘I think it was a…’
‘A what?’ Jenny leant closer.
‘A monster!’ Ben was serious, his eyes gave him away. Jenny studied her brother with a fretful expression. ‘It sounded like that to me too.’ She stroked her chin thoughtfully. ‘Do you think there are actual monsters in the forest?’
Ben glanced from side to side; he looked shifty. ‘I think there are lots of monsters in the forest. I just think adults keep them secret to stop us being concerned.’
Jenny had thought the same thing. ‘Do you think we should ask mum and dad?’
Ben shrugged, they will just tell us the same old stories. We need to find out for ourselves.
‘Tea time kids,’ their father called from the patio.
It was five-thirty and Jenny and Ben glanced at the forest. There were a few more excited roars and growls on the wind. They sounded as though they were calling to each other, something thrilling was brewing. The children had that ‘knowing’ feeling. What were those monsters up to?
THE TIME OF TIPPING TERRIFICATION
The feeling of anticipation coming from the forest couldn’t be contained. The trees whispered and rustled with the party news. The heavy monsters stomped excitedly, the menacing monsters moggled and the funny little monsters clapped eagerly knowing the merrymaking was drawing near. The longest day was just two days away and that was the tipping terrification time of year. After the longest day the days became shorter, and with longer nights there was increasing monstery potential. Yipeeeee!!! Double Roarrrrrry Yipeeeeeee! During the autumn and winter nights a monster could menace mightily, could brutishly blend and fiendishly frighten with such wonderful ease. With the long autumn shadows monsters could cunningly creep during twilight to their full monstery might. Oh what monstery marvelousness for every monster skulking the forest! The fun monstery times were coming and that called for a roarious-rowdy celebration. To make it increasingly exciting, it was not just an average celebration but the kind of magnificent monster merriment shared in monsteracious legends of the monstery beasty boogying kind. With dances like the Brutish Bop, the Most Monster-tastic Menacing Moves, the Hipity Monster Hop, The Raucous Ravenous Rave, The Jiggly Jazzy Joggle, Beastly Ballet, Tap-a-Clappa-Monstery-Rappa, The Gnarly Toothy Tango, The Sensational Salivatory Salsa, The Biggest Brashest-Bootie Boogie, The Terrifying Twirly Whirly, The Stompacious Sway, The Predatory Prance, The Jurassic Jump, The Wondrous Wiggle and prizes for the Best Monster Mover and Shakers of the year. There was even a ‘Special Award’ for the most original dance. Was it any wonder that the enthusiasm was so monsteraciously contagious?
Urgently monstrous invitations were printed and huge monstery posters made. Of course they were posted only where monsters could see them. Humans had no idea of what the monsters were up to and that was how they liked it. The monsters’ smugaciousness came from being able to hide, blend in and camouflage without even the hint of monster presence in evidence. They enjoyed the fact that humans imagined them, but never saw them unless they were invited to. Monsters chose to be seen on rare occasions or there was an accidental sighting where an oblivious monster was caught off-guard. That way the creeping monster contingency stayed safe. In fact the first rule of monster survival was ‘don’t let humans see you,’ because they were fed up of being hunted down and put on show. It had happened in the past and would never happen again! There was no way they were ever going to be paraded in circuses or flaunted in stupid shows! The monsters made sure of that!
With all the excitement during the poster and invitation making, one lone invitation lifted from the pile. The wind tickled it through the air and transported it away. A magpie, sitting on a branch, noticed a sparkle and a glint and cocked its head to the side. The silver writing on pale purple card, decorated with all manner of sparkle around the trim, instantly captured its attention. A moment later the bubbly bird flew, swooped and glided away. After numerous flaps, the magpie circled a tree and perched on the edge of its nest. The wind picked up, prized the invitation from its beak and blew it to a special destination as the sun set. A pink basket surrounded by silver streamers was where that invitation drifted to rest. That basket was attached to a white and purple tricycle that belonged to Jenny. Little did she know that she was about to make such a marvellously monstrous discovery.
AN INVITE THAT COULD CAUSE A MONSTERY FRIGHT
That morning Jenny ran out to the garden to collect her tricycle to ride to school. Ben grabbed his scooter and noticed Jenny stood silently gazing at a purple sparkly piece of paper.
‘Did you put that there?’ Jenny studied her brother suspiciously. ‘Was it a trick?’
Ben sidled over and glanced over her shoulder and read the invitation. ‘No I didn’t.’ He said in a tone of amazement.
‘Do you think it’s a joke? Do you think someone heard our conversation last night?’ Said Jenny watching his reaction.
‘Come on kids you are going to be late for school,’ their dad called. ‘Come on then, get on your bike and scooter. Your mum will be really annoyed with me if we are late for school again.’ Their father stood holding their school bags and tapped his foot with impatience.
Jenny glanced at Ben and shoved the invitation in her fluffy backpack. ‘We can ask Tabitha and George what they think,’ she whispered to Ben.
‘Do you think we should tell them?’ Ben asked seriously. ‘It is kinda strange.’ He was thoughtful as he considered how odd the conversation would be.
On the way to school both Jenny and Ben were absorbed. Usually they rammed each other and got in each other’s way as they rode and scooted along in their helmets. When they reached the school gate their father studied the pair of them. ‘Right what’s going on?’ He asked. ‘This is the quietest you have ever been.’
‘Nothing’, Jenny and Ben replied in unison.
‘If I know anything about the pair of you, ‘nothing’ always means ‘something’. The last time you two said ‘nothing’ like that was when I found Summer, ‘the creature’, wearing your mum’s clothes in my shed. Now I sense something is going on… In the meantime, give me a cuddle, and you can tell me more later.’
Both Jenny and Ben took it in turns to hug their dad. He was onto them. He was right, only a few months before the pair had discovered The Hairy-Legged Mystery, where they had found an escapee beast in their garden. They had thought that Summer, the creature, was a monster and she turned out to be something entirely different. If that was the case, then maybe there weren’t real monsters. Maybe it was just a joke or something else in the forest was making loud roars. If it wasn’t monsters then what could it be?
The pair waved goodbye to their dad and hurried into the playground. Their best friends Tabitha and George stood waiting by a bench. Tabitha was a chunky little girl with ringlets and the kind of voice that sounded as though she had a sweet stuck to the roof of her mouth. George, had one of those round friendly faces and a wonky fringe. Unfortunately his mum had been a little too experimental with the scissors, which had unfortunately resulted in a hair catastrophe. Of course the other kids couldn’t help but point out the skew-whiff trim, yet George was clever, he said he went to one of the top hairdressing salons and he was actually a model. Admittedly that fringe disaster was so bad that it could actually have been good. He played on that too. ‘I am unique and have a fashion fringe’ he would say with a smirk and a flick.
‘Guess what?’ Ben said as he made his way over to his friends.
‘I thought we weren’t going to say anything,’ muttered Jenny, following closely behind.
‘About what?’ asked Tabitha, her eyes lit up. Anything with ‘Guess what?’ or gossipy excited her.
Ben took a deep breath and glanced at Jenny. ‘Soooo something weird is going on in the forest.’
‘Weird like what?’ George asked, in his ‘I am not that interested but actually am very curious tone’.
‘We heard some really loud roars and… well…’ She glanced at Ben.
‘We think there are monsters…’ Ben said in a serious tone.
‘Oh not that monster stuff again!’ George shook his head and folded his arms. Admittedly discovering a strange creature in the garden and dressing her up was actually pretty exciting. The thing was, Ben always explained everything with monsters. If there was a strange noise – it was a monster. If there was a big tuft of hair caught on a gate then it was definitely a monster. If anything rustled in a hedge, yep, it was probably a monster.
‘This time is different. Those roars are not like anything you ever heard and they sound like they are excited or planning something.’ Ben was the most convinced he had ever been.
Jenny paused and took a deep breath, ‘And…’ She looked to Ben to make sure that he agreed with what she was about to share.
‘And?????’ Tabitha lent in closely. There was a glint of intrigue in her eyes.
‘Go on show them,’ Ben said gesturing at Jenny’s backpack.
George remained reluctant with his arms folded. He rebelliously flicked his wonky fringe and pouted. He had a weird feeling.
Jenny pulled out the sparkly invitation:
INVITATION: MONSTERS ONLY!
You are cordially invited to the MONSTERS’ DANCE
SUMMER SOLSTICE – TIME 8.00PM – LOCATION: THE MONSTER PIT
Directions: turn right at the two giant Centennials, follow the path over the bouncy bridge to the Monster Pit. MUSIC, DANCE and FOOD will be provided just bring your jazzy selves and be ready to show some original Monsterlicious Moves.
8:00PM – MONSTERACIOUS MOVES CONTEST
Prancing means prizes: Monster Medals will be awarded to entrants who are first, second and third. There will be a special award for the most original dance. The overall Dangerous Dancer will win The Monster Cup and their Monster name will be engraved upon it.
9.00PM-ish UNTIL THE EARLY HOURS – THE DELIGHTFULLY DREADFUL DISCO
Additional fun prizes will be awarded in the disco for Magnificent Monster Movers, Dangerous Dancing Divas and Popular Prancing Prowlers. The ultimate Monster Groover and Absolute Shaker will receive a voucher for a Monster Dinner on us.
THE BOARD OF MONSTERS
She showed the purple sparkly paper to Tabitha. George’s curiosity made him glance over Tabitha’s shoulder. He frowned and read the invitation a couple of times. For a short while the group were silent.
‘What do you think?’ Jenny asked.
George kept his arms folded, huffed and shook his head.
‘Well?’ Jenny asked glancing back at the school. ‘We haven’t got long. The school bell is going to ring soon.’
‘Where did the invitation come from?’ Tabitha asked. She then mouthed the invitation words as she read them once more.
‘I found it in my bike basket this morning.’ Jenny felt weird, the fact that such an invitation had mysteriously arrived made her wonder whether it was some sort of monster trap.
‘What do you think?’ Ben asked George. He had watched George’s confused facial expression. ‘Do you think monsters are real now?’
George shook his head. ‘No I don’t think monsters are real. I think this is a joke. Someone must have heard about Summer and thought they would play a trick on you.’
‘Do you believe in monsters?’ Jenny asked her best friend Tabitha.
‘Yes I do!’ Tabitha glanced rebelliously at her brother. ‘Well I think monsters are real and I think they eat children. That is why we aren’t allowed to see them or allowed to go and find them.’ She seemed convinced by her knowledge.
Jenny didn’t like the idea of monsters eating children. ‘How do you know they eat children?’
‘I thought everyone knew that,’ said Tabitha in her all-knowing tone.
‘But why eat a child? There isn’t much to them.’ Jenny was concerned.
‘Stop being ridiculous Tabitha. Those are old stories and myths to scare children. Monsters do not exist!’ George stomped his foot to make his point.
‘Well what if they are real?’ Ben asked. ‘Don’t you want to find out?’
‘I would like to prove to you that there are no monsters.’ George loved proving people wrong.
‘So that means we have to find out in person. We will have to go and see the Monsters’ Dance.’ Tabitha’s eyes lit up with excitement. She then began to bop around as though she was listening to disco music.
‘What if they are scary?’ Jenny now had her doubts. She definitely didn’t like the idea of being a monster snack.
‘They aren’t going to be scary because they aren’t real!’ George said in a matter of fact tone.
‘Well we will only know if we go to the dance,’ said Tabitha barely able to contain her delight. She shook her bottom and waved her arms with enthusiasm. She loved dancing and she loved music. So, attending a secret Monster Dance party was enough to send her into a thrilled frenzy.
Jenny didn’t like the thought anymore. ‘But I’m scared. They might actually eat children,’ she said reluctantly.
Ben was thoughtful. ‘Monsters don’t eat monsters though do they?’
‘How would I know? I only just learned they eat children,’ replied Jenny.
‘I don’t think so,’ Tabitha said, not really knowing. ‘No they wouldn’t get together and dance and eat each other. So they must not eat each other.’ She paused thoughtfully. ‘That would be odd for a whole load of monsters to get together and eat each other.’
‘So then why don’t we go to the dance dressed as a monster? That way we can see if they are real.’ Ben had a plan forming in his mind.
‘I don’t know. I just feel frightened,’ Jenny’s little voice quivered as she thought about it. ‘Plus we only have one invitation.’
‘Well if we all go as one monster then that would work. Plus it would be fun.’ Ben intended to prove George wrong.
‘Like one of those Chinese dragons,’ said Tabitha with a small clap. ‘We will be really big because there will be four of us.’
‘We will be fine. The four of us will stick together.’ Ben had the image clear in his head.
Jenny still wasn’t convinced.
‘Dare you!’ said Ben.
Jenny was quiet and thoughtful. Did monsters really eat children? George was bigger than her and ran slower. She should be okay…
‘Double dare you!’ cried Ben.
‘We will be fine,’ said Tabitha.
‘Come on scaredy cat…’ Ben often called Jenny that when she felt reluctant about something.
The hair on the back of Jenny’s neck bristled. Ben was sooooooo annoying!
‘They aren’t real Jenny. We need to prove Ben wrong. There are no monsters and it will be fun and an adventure. Come on… You know you want to…’ George made a big smile and flicked his wonky fringe as though he was cool.
‘Triple dare you. You must want to find out…’ demanded Ben.
‘Okay!’ said Jenny just as the class bell rang.
‘We need to make a plan at lunch time,’ said Tabitha. ‘The dance is tomorrow night. If that is the case, and we are going to go, then we have to get everything ready.’
With that the group dashed to class. It was going to be a long morning!
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