Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mysterious happenings on Planet FaBo2 with Kyle Mewburn!

Wow! What an amazing collection of mystery stories you sent in this week. And talk about mysterious. I was scratching my head the whole time, trying to solve the mystery before Sher did. (And no, I don't have fleas!) Lots of you scattered cunningly clever clues through your story, which is exactly what a good mystery needs. There were lots of trapdoors and secret passageways, too. Which is always good for adding mystery to a story. And in Chloe & Sophie's story, Sher had to unravel some clever alibis, just like a real detective.

There was lots of blood, too. Grace's story had a blood-stained dagger and people dying like flies. While in Maddie's story, Sher cut a monster in half and ate its two hearts! Urggghhh!

There were mysteries about missing jewels, a missing Star of Scotland, missing cupcakes, missing wallets and even missing grandmas. There were poisoned drinks, a plague and a murderous king. And talk about imagination! The Over Council of FaBo2 will be amazed when they read this week's stories. There was everything from magic wands to dragon trainers to talking dogs (called Ricky and Leonard) and even talking FURNITURE! And there were lots (and LOTS!) of goldfish, too.

Along the way, poor Jock McWat (who was supposed to be Sher's best friend) was everything from her brother to her boyfriend, a villain to a hired assassin! That was very confusing. I liked Sally's story about terrible King Humphrey, too, but it was more like a fairytale than a mystery.

But there can only be ONE winner! And this week I've chosen Caroline Moratti's story. Caroline is in Year 8 at Balmacewan Intermediate in Dunedin. I loved her quirky humour and the way she made Sher come alive. I also liked the twist at the end. You can read Caroline's story by clicking on the tab above! Caroline not only gets an awesome prize, she will also have a place on FaBo2 named after her. Check out what it is on the Planet FaBo page.

Hmmm, actually, the Over Council has just informed me we're now going to pick TWO winners each week - one primary and one intermediate. What a generous council! So this week's primary winner is Matthew Illing who is in Year 6 at Maungawhau. (Who is currently Number 1 on our Best Schools list. Well done!) A special prize is on its way to Matthew. He also gets a planetary feature named in his honour.

Oh, and a special mention to Millie Brown of Maungawhau for her great introduction! You can read it on the winning entry page as well.

In the meantime, here's MY mystery story called ...

The Mystery of the Missing Mist

Jock McWat twisted the lens of his telescope one way, then the other until the towering spires of Glottis Castle came into sharp focus.

“Hey, Sher, check this out!” he called.

"Mffflogrmmmlfrrt?” came the reply from behind.

“What?” Jock asked as he turned to where his best friend, Sher Lock, was busily polishing her gumboots by the fire.

Sher spat out the ends of her pigtails. She always sucked them when she was concentrating. Which is why they always looked more like two wet rat’s tails than pigtails. “I said - I’m busy.”

“No, seriously, you have to check this out,” said Jock. “It’s ... it’s ... I don’t know what it is.”

He sighed. It was a very long sigh. Sometimes it was very frustrating not having an imagination.

Sher’s sigh was even longer. It lasted all the way from the fire to the window. Considering she was dragging her feet as if they were made of Gloomstone, it was a very long sigh indeed.

“So what’s sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo important, McWat?” she asked, rolling her eyes dramatically. Nobody could roll their eyes quite like Sher. The thick lenses of her glasses magnified her eyes to the size of those weird puffballs that grew in Thompson Swamp.

Jock was so mesmerised, he could only point.

Sher’s eyes swept along Jock’s arm, leapt off his pointy index finger, then plunged out the window. They vaulted over the sleepy village of Gloomingdales, skipped across three mirror lochs and raced up the rocky slopes of Epi Hill, before finally landing on the stark shape of Glottis Castle outlined clearly against the clear, blue sky.

Her jaw dropped and her glasses nearly fell off her nose.

“It’s ... it’s ...” she stammered. “It’s totally weird.”

“I know,” said Jock. “Isn’t it amazing? You can actually see the castle. And the sun! The mist is like totally gone!”

Sher rolled her eyes even more dramatically.

“Nooooooooooo,” she said. Even though what Jock said true enough. For the first time in her entire whole life, there was no mist filling the village streets, and no dark cloud concealing Glottis castle from view. Which was totally weird when you thought about it. But Sher wasn’t going to tell Jock that. Besides, there was something even weirder than a clear sky in the Gloomingdales.

“I didn’t mean the sky. I meant the castle. Look at it! Have you ever seen such a weird-looking castle?”

Frowning, Jock stood studying the castle and tugging his left pigtail. (Everyone in the Gloomingdales wore pigtails. Even though it made most of them look pretty silly, they couldn’t imagine any other hairstyle they might choose. So pigtails it was.)

“I guess it does look a bit weird,” said Jock.

“A bit???” said Sher. She started to roll her eyes again, but stopped when Jock’s cheeks turned as red as a strawbeet.

“OK! OK!” cried Jock. “It’s like totally weird. It’s the weirdest castle I’ve ever seen.” (Which was true, too, because it was the only castle he’d ever seen.) He cleared his throat. “So what do you think is the weirdest part?”

Sher pushed her pink deerstalker hat back and scratched her head.

“Well, for a start, have you ever heard of a castle with four enormous chimneys?” she asked somewhat hesitantly, glancing slyly at Jock to check his reaction. After all, she had never seen a proper castle, either. But she had read about them in fairytales so many times, she could almost imagine what they might look like if she had an imagination. One thing for sure, they wouldn’t look anything like Glottis castle. No way!

Jock shrugged. “It’s probably cold living in a castle.”

Sher sighed. “Aren’t castles supposed to have towers and battlements and moats and stuff, too?”
“I guess,” said Jock. The castle did look a bit odd. It was a long, squat rectangular, grey building that needed four adjectives to describe it because it didn’t have any features except for the four towering chimneys. “But what’s that got to do with the missing mist?”

“I’m not sure,” said Sher. “But it’s our first clue, I think. Let’s go.”

The normally bustling streets of Gloomingdale were eerily quiet. If it wasn’t for the sounds of children laughing and a moghorn symphony drifting on the breeze, Sher and Jock might have thought the whole population had vanished with the mist. (Assuming they didn’t notice the signs on every shop reading “Gone Fishing” or “Closed until further notice”.)

As they puffed their way up Epi Hill, Sher kept stooping to inspect strange objects littering the path. There were octagonal stones with grooved holes through the middle. Peculiar sticks that looked like mushrooms, with grooved stalks just thin enough to fit through the holey stones. And the hillside was dotted with tangles of rusting gloomstone.

“What are they?” asked Jock each time Sher paused to peer at an object through her magnifying glasses.

“More clues,” said Sher.

Finally they reached the castle entrance. There was no moat or drawbridge, just a simple door with a sign reading – “Glottis Gloomstone Co.”

“Just as I suspected,” said Sher.

“What?” asked Jock, scratching his head. But his voice was drowned out by a loud creaking as Sher heaved the door open.

Inside was a vast, silent cavern with a damp, stone floor. As Sher paused in the doorway to allow her eyes to adjust to the gloom, huge shapes slowly separated from the darkness. Her head swivelled left, then right. When she saw the small, red light, blinking like a dying star on the far side of the cavern, she gave a grunt of satisfaction, then set off towards it.

Her hand touched cold metal first. The skin of some enormous machine. Then she found the light. With one gentle press, it turned green.

The cavern filled with clanking, grinding sounds as Sher retraced her steps. By the time she reached the door, the first holey octagonal stone rolled off the end of the machine’s conveyor-belt tongue, and onto the pile that had been creeping towards the machine like a slow-motion avalanche for a hundred years.

“What did you do?” asked Jock.

“Nothing,” said Sher with a smug smile. “I just solved the mystery of the missing mist. That’s all.”

As they wound their way down Epi Hill, the famous Gloomingdale mist began to thicken around them. At the foot of the hill, Sher glanced back over her shoulder. But there was no sign of Glottis castle.

The people of Gloomingdale never suspected their famous castle might be a factory. So they never imagined the sun might return again with a single push of a button.

And Sher? Well, she never imagined it might be a good idea to tell them.