The Secret Gate
Published by Michelle Dry
Proofread by Lynda Shea
Copyright Michelle Dry
This book shall not be lent, resold or hired out by way of trade or otherwise without the author’s consent. All rights remain with the author: Michelle Dry
Especially created for little Davina.
Bounce, bounce, bounce.
The person with the most natural bounce I ever met.
Thank you for being an inspiration.
Thank you for advising me that Gargoyles eat walls
– I never knew that before.
What does a kid really remember?
The fastest pace throughout the chase.
Davina hated being chased. So why was she in that situation? With her heart pounding, she glanced behind her. The beefy black-suited men were catching up. She gritted her teeth, put her head down and ran her absolute fastest. Effortlessly, she wove through the crowds with such speed and agility that she was barely even noticed. It was as if a warm breath had been exhaled and then she was gone.
In all directions, the hunters yelled into small lumps of black.
‘Cut her off!’ screamed the voice in charge.
How had the situation grown so out of hand? One minute she was eating from the large dark container on the street, the next she was being hunted. What was the problem? She had watched a hairy man with a long jacket eat from the cabbage smelling place. So why were they picking on her? Admittedly she was small, acrobatic, with long, dark hair and pale skin. Nothing that unusual, other than her blue freckles.
‘Stop right there!’ a brawny bloke had hollered.
Instinctively she had scarpered. The chase began with one angry-looking man and now there were already ten involved. She had done nothing wrong! Well, certainly nothing she could remember.
The screeching sound of the wheeled, metal cages jerked her from her thoughts. Her pursuers intended to surround her. There was no way! She had to escape but she was at that designated place for a reason – but why? There had to be a clue…
Davina rounded a corner and searched for an escape or somewhere to hide. The crowd parted and watched her curiously. She wasn’t panting or making a noise, so why were they staring? Maybe running, climbing and jumping at a rate none of them could manage was something to do with it. Or was she more agile than many children her age? Actually, what was her age? That was a completely different matter.
Ahead of her, two burly black-suits blocked her path. She glanced behind her – four grimacing men, waving their arms, attempted to round her up like a chicken. The onlookers expected her capture and stopped in the street, gawking. Why couldn’t people mind their own business? What did it matter what she had eaten or where she had obtained it from? Maybe they had been monitoring where she slept at night. Had they followed her to the place where people pulled down their trousers and sat for a while before they left again? All she did was climb through a small, square window when the moon rose. It was completely opposite to her usual routine, but she had to live the same rhythm as the ‘outsiders’.
With a deep breath, she sprinted towards the two chunky chasers blocking her path. ‘Idiots!’ she muttered, ran sideways up a wall and used a dustbin to launch herself clear over them.
Some of the gawping onlookers applauded.
With an elegant landing, she continued. As she raced along, she glimpsed a reflection in a window: the two male black-suits huffed at each other, puffed out their chests and lolloped back into a heavy-footed run.
Frantically, she searched for a place to hide. The church – the same church she had woken up outside of on that first day. She hurdled the wall, sprinted the graveyard but ground to an abrupt halt. Something about the carved, stone figures leaning out of the church jogged her memory. Were they associated with her mission?
She scurried to the nearest grey, stone wall, ingrained with yellow and green lichen. Using all her upper body strength and her fingers like claws, she navigated the carvings up to a balcony. The strangely familiar Gargoyle faces appeared to grin at her as she wedged herself into a tiny alcove on the roof. Had she heard a growl of welcome?
Below her, a small pile of steaming stones appeared. They tumbled heavily to the ground. Plop, plop, plop!
Cautiously, she traversed the edge of the roof and found a small nook to hide in. Unfortunately, it was not enough to conceal her from what was overhead. The whirring of blades from a metal flying machine made her jolt. Up in the sky, men shouted into the dark talking machines and called in her location. She caught her breath and clung to the ledge. The wind from the machine was strong and blew her hair across her face. Davina scraped it back and erratically scanned the area for escape. She considered fighting the black-suits directly, but that would give her away. Davina sighed, if only she could remember. ‘Whatever you do Davina – do not draw attention to yourself. She will send people to capture you. This is all you are supposed to remember,’ was all that remained.
What had she done? She had already drawn attention to herself and that meant trouble!
Davina gazed up at the whirring, flying machine and glanced below. The black-suits beneath circled like starving dogs. She had to take action. Her only possible escape was to leap to a nearby tree then across the adjacent field. Could she make it?
Davina took a deep breath launched herself along the balcony. Bang!
The bitter sting of something sharp bit into her behind. Darkness descended upon her. Time was lost with her last thought – who were the outsiders?