Excerpt From: Harald Davidson. “Francesca Spaghetti & Poppy Noodle’s Christmas Mystery“
(Book 2 in the series)
The Adventures of Francesca Spaghetti and Poppy Noodle
Francesca Spaghetti & Poppy Noodle’s Christmas Mystery
A book about the Magic Meadow – a place where anything is possible!
By Harald Davidson
Copyright © Harald Davidson 2016 – All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval without permission in writing from the author.
It’s Christmas Eve and Santa doesn’t know what to do. There aren’t enough presents, the children’s letters have disappeared and the naughty and nice machine has stopped working.
If these problems can’t be fixed immediately there will be no Christmas at all…for any children.
Join the twins, Lulu the cat, Lady Quicksilver and all their friends as they go to the North Pole to use their Magic powers to try to help a desperate Santa and his elves solve the mystery of who is causing all this terrible trouble…and why?
This is a light-hearted, fast paced, imaginative and fun story that is destined to become a firm favorite with children.
Chapter One (Click here to view)
* * *
Trouble at Santa’s Workshop
Two days before Christmas
School is finishing today, Friday, for the Christmas holidays and Francesca Spaghetti and Poppy Noodle are very excited just like all the other girls and boys at their school. In the afternoon, there will be a party, they’ll get to play some games and then there will be an assembly where the students will sing Christmas carols and listen to Mr. Spud, the headmaster, make a (long) speech. After that, everyone will go home and get ready to spend Christmas with their families.
Before that, there are still some lessons to attend. At this moment their teacher, Mrs. Bugg, is giving the class a talk about how to stay safe in the snow—which is a good idea given that the snowy weather has come and the village is covered by a blanket of white-blue snow. Darkness falls early and the ponds and streams have frozen over. It may look beautiful from inside a warm classroom but outside it is bitterly cold.
While Mrs. Bugg was explaining what to do if you get caught on thin ice (never a good idea) Billy Benson, the boy who sits behind Francesca Spaghetti in class, tapped her on the shoulder for about the fifteenth time.
“What is it now?” hissed Francesca Spaghetti.
Poppy Noodle, who was sitting at the desk next to her twin sister also turned to look at the eager face of the freckly, red-haired boy.
“Did you know that some animals can see colors that we can’t?” He nodded, pleased with himself.
“You’ve told me that a million times,” answered Francesca Spaghetti. “Stop bugging us. We’re trying to follow the lesson.”
“Yes,” said Poppy Noodle, rolling her eyes. “Please leave us alone, Billy Benson. We’re not interested in the silly things you say.”
But Billy Benson didn’t stop. A minute later he interrupted them again. This time, to tell them that Mars was about half the size of planet Earth and, after another few minutes had gone by, he told them how much sugar there was in a glass of orange juice. Nine teaspoons worth, to be precise.
By this point, Mrs. Bugg had gotten onto the subject of dangerous avalanches and what to do if you ever found yourself caught up in one. Poppy Noodle put her head close to her sister’s and whispered, “Shall we teach Billy Benson a lesson?”
“What do you mean?” asked Francesca Spaghetti, narrowing her eyes.
“We could use our Magic Powers and play a trick on him. You could sing a bit to stop time, and I could…” She whispered her idea very quietly in her sister’s ear.
Francesca Spaghetti smiled. “That would be funny, but you know we’re not supposed to use Magic for silly reasons. Flora told us not to. If we do, the Magic might decide not to work anymore when we really need it.”
“This isn’t a silly reason,” said Poppy Noodle. “Billy Benson is a pest, and we can’t hear the lesson. Suppose we get caught in a snowstorm? We wouldn’t know what to do.”
Francesca Spaghetti frowned, then smiled. She wasn’t totally convinced, but the prank Poppy Noodle had come up with was funny and hopefully it would stop him bothering them. So she said “yes.”
She looked around and checked no one was watching, then took a deep breath and began to sing.
“Dashing through the snow,
in a one-horse open sleigh…”
Around them, the movements of the kids and the teacher slowed down until after only a few moments they were all as still as statues, frozen in time.
Straightaway, Poppy Noodle got to work.
She reached into her desk and got out her sketchpad and her colored pencils. Very quickly she began to draw—with her tongue out, as it always is when she is concentrating.
“Over fields we go,
dashing all the way…”
Poppy Noodle finished. She set down her pen and sat back. After a short while, the picture began to swirl and whirl. Colored lights started to flash. Smoke—which smelled like cinnamon—billowed up and a pinkish bubble grew out from the page. The lights blinked faster and got brighter and brighter. The bubble stretched and stretched until—‘pop’—it burst, and two objects shot out and landed with a clatter on Poppy Noodle’s desk.
“What fun it is to ride and sing
A sleighing song tonight!”
Francesca Spaghetti grinned as her sister pinned the objects on Billy Benson and when Poppy Noodle gave her a thumbs-up to say that everything was in place, she stopped singing.
There was a short pause, then things gradually speeded up to normal and the teacher continued the lesson as if nothing unusual had happened. Before long, there came the sound of one snicker after another as each of the kids in the class spotted what Billy Benson had in his hair.
“What’s this disgraceful racket?” said Mrs. Bugg. “You, boy,” she pointed at one of Billy Benson’s friends who was red in the face trying to control his giggles, “what are you laughing about?”
“Please, miss,” he tittered, “Billy Benson’s got a…ribbon in his hair!”
The entire class dissolved into laughter. “Where’s your dress, Billy Benson?” shouted one very rude little boy.
Billy Benson’s face turned crimson. He reached around and unclipped a bright pink bow from the back of his head. He stood up and gawped as he tried to work out how it got there.
As he did so the class could see a large heart-shaped badge pinned to his tee- shirt on which were written the words, ‘I love my teecher.’ The laughter got even louder.
“Billy Benson!” Mrs. Bugg spoke sternly. “What is the meaning of this? You think you can make a fool of me and disrupt the class because it is the last day of school? Well, young man, you’ve got another think coming!”
Billy Benson began to protest. “It wasn’t me. Someone else must have done it and run away.”
Mrs. Bugg crossed her arms and peered over her spectacles at Billy Benson. His face was by now as fiery red as his hair “You don’t expect me to believe that nonsense? Go to Mr. Spud’s office this instant and tell him why I sent you. And, give me those articles. They’re confiscated!”
Billy Benson shuffled, head bowed, to the front of the class and handed over the bow and the badge. It was a long, lonely walk down the corridor to the headmaster’s office and, no doubt, he would receive a punishment.
“Settle down, class,” warned Mrs. Bugg closing the classroom door behind the droopy, departing Billy Benson. “Now where was I? Oh, yes…” She turned back to the board and went back to giving her lesson.
After a little while Francesca Spaghetti whispered to her sister. “I don’t feel good about what we did. I know Billy Benson is annoying, but now he’ll get detention while we get to play games…and everybody will tease him.”
“Well, it serves him right,” said Poppy Noodle defiantly although, truth be told, she was feeling uncomfortable inside also. She thought it would have been funny, but it hadn’t felt the way she had expected it to.
Later, in the afternoon Francesca Spaghetti and Poppy Noodle played Twister with their friends Louise and Ginny then, at last, the school term was over and they raced to get their sled.
They picked up Francesca Spaghetti’s pet ginger cat Lulu who waited for them every day at the school gates and set off for Mrs. Bloom’s ice cream parlor. Hot weather or cold, rain, shine or snow, the girls always, always had an ice cream there. And…why not?
Hanging on tightly to the sled, they went full pelt down the hill that led to the shop and crashed head first into the hedge that ran along the side of the snow-covered terrace. The girls were convinced the hedge was ‘magic’ as, no matter how many times they crashed into it, it never got damaged nor did they themselves ever get so much as a scratch. In fact, landing in it was like plopping into an enormous beanbag.
They parked the sled upright in the snow and raced in to choose their ice cream. Lulu, who had hopped from the sled a moment before it hit the hedge, followed them in her elegant ginger tail swaying and her nose held proudly in the air.
Mrs. Bloom’s shop was covered in Christmas lights and decorations. There was a fir tree with lots of glittery baubles and tinsel and an Advent calendar with a picture of Santa’s workshop on the front. All the elves were hard at work making toys for kids on Christmas day.
After they had chosen their flavors—chocolate for Francesca Spaghetti and mango for Poppy Noodle—Mrs. Bloom put down a saucer of milk for Lulu and asked the girls if they had been good that year.
The girls thought about her question.
“Mostly good,” Poppy Noodle eventually replied. Then she nodded. “Yes. Mostly good… Definitely.”
“And you Francesca?” asked Mrs. Bloom.
“I’ve tried to be good. Really I have.”
Mrs. Bloom laughed. “I’m sure you have. What would you like Santa to bring you?”
Francesca Spaghetti’s eyes lit up. “I’d like a guitar. A green one…with yellow stars on it.”
“That’s certainly unusual,” said Mrs. Bloom. “What about you Poppy Noodle?”
“I’d like a drawing set,” she answered, “with lots of paper and some pastels, colored pencils, and pens.” After a moment, she added, “I want a reindeer, too.”
“A toy one or a real one?” asked Mrs. Bloom, astonished.
“A real one,” Francesca Spaghetti jumped in. “She asked Mama and Papa but they wouldn’t let her have one so now she’s asking Santa Claus.”
Poppy Noodle crossed her arms and frowned at her sister, who stuck out her tongue and crossed her eyes.
“We asked Santa for some stuff for Lulu too,” said Poppy Noodle. “She wants a cat bed, some cat food… and a cat magazine.”
“That sounds nice,” said Mrs. Bloom.
“We sent him a letter two weeks ago,” said Francesca Spaghetti. “I do hope he got it.”
“I’m sure he did,” said Mrs. Bloom. “And, I’ll cross my fingers that you’ll get what you asked for.” She left the girls to their ice creams and went into the back storeroom.
While they were eating, Poppy Noodle decided to draw a copy of the picture she had seen on the Advent calendar, as it looked so festive.
With Francesca Spaghetti slurping her cone and looking over her shoulder, Poppy Noodle sketched a very merry Santa with rosy cheeks and a rather big tummy. He had little round gold-rimmed glasses that balanced on the end of his red nose, and he was enjoying a steaming cup of Christmas tea with Mrs. Claus who was bringing in a tray of delicious-looking cinnamon cookies. Behind them, there were stockings on the fireplace, an enormous log fire and a tree festooned with candles and all kinds of colorful, shiny ornaments.
“That looks so Christmassy,” said Francesca Spaghetti, shivering with excitement. “I can’t wait for Santa to come.”
Suddenly, there was the most remarkable sound—a low fizzing noise—and a smell like cupcakes baking filled the room.
“What’s that?” asked Francesca Spaghetti.
Before Poppy Noodle could answer, a strange glowing began on the page, which meant that Magic was about to happen. Like a cake in an oven, the picture ‘rose’ until it popped into to life. Two doll-sized people dressed in red clothes appeared. They were having a very serious conversation. They didn’t talk directly to Francesca Spaghetti and Poppy Noodle, but the girls could look down at them just as if they were watching a game of football in a stadium or a TV program in 3D!
“I don’t understand it,” Santa said to Mrs. Claus. He sounded very upset. “This Christmas everything is going wrong. There are so many problems, I don’t know what to do. If we can’t fix this very soon…there will be no Christmas this year and all the children will be disappointed.”
Mrs. Claus walked over to Santa and put her arm around his shoulder. “Don’t worry, Santa,” she said. “I’m sure someone will come and help us and everything will be all right.”
“I hope so,” said Santa… “We need a miracle. Otherwise…Christmas is in danger.”
As gradually as it had appeared, the image faded until it was again nothing more than pencil marks on Poppy Noodle’s drawing pad.
Copyright © Harald Davidson 2016 – All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval without permission in writing from the author.
Chapter Two (Click here to view)
* * *
A Message for Santa
Francesca Spaghetti raised her eyebrows and looked at her sister. “Did you hear what Santa said?”
Poppy Noodle rubbed her cheek, then her chin. She was thinking.
“I heard,” she said. “I wonder if it’s true.”
“How can we find out?” said Francesca Spaghetti. “Shall we write Santa a letter?”
“We could,” Poppy Noodle said, “but it wouldn’t get there in time and, even if it did, there’s no chance we would get a reply before Christmas and that would be way too late.”
“We could send an email,” Francesca Spaghetti suggested.
“That’s a brilliant idea!” said Poppy Noodle. “Let’s do that.”
The girls wolfed down the rest of their ice creams and put their rubbish in the bin. They called out goodbye to Mrs. Bloom, who came out of the storeroom to wave at the back of their heads and wipe the table. They got their sled and dragged it—and Lulu who was sitting on it like queen of the cats—up the deep-snowy hill and back to their apartment.
Mama opened the door for them. She wanted to know how the last day of term had gone and if they’d had a nice party. Impatiently, they told her everything—except the part about Billy Benson—and when she finally went off to make dinner (pasta with lots of Parmesan cheese on top, of course) they scurried into Papa’s office and switched on the computer.
Francesca Spaghetti typed the words, ‘Santa’s contact details,’ in the search engine and in a few seconds they had found and entered his website.
“That’s the email address there,” said Poppy Noodle. She read it out: “Contact@SantaNorthPole.com.”
Francesca Spaghetti clicked the link and began to type a message:
“My name is Francesca Spaghetti. My sister, Poppy Noodle, and I have heard that things are going wrong, and Christmas is in danger.
“We want to help you fix the problems as we are lucky enough to have Magic Powers.
“We can come at once. We have our own transport.”
She signed off: “Sincerely, Francesca Spaghetti and Poppy Noodle.”
“That’s perfect,” said Francesca Spaghetti. She read it out loud again to make sure there were no mistakes and, satisfied that there weren’t, she pressed ‘send’ and sat back in the chair.
At almost the same moment the computer made a “ping,” and a new message appeared in the inbox.
“Has Santa replied already?” asked Poppy Noodle.
Francesca Spaghetti clicked on the message and read it. “No,” she sighed. “It’s an error message. ‘Your email was not delivered.’”
“That must be one of the problems Santa was talking about?” said Poppy Noodle.
“Could be.” said Francesca Spaghetti. “It’s less than two days till Christmas Day, and if no emails are reaching him then it could be some kids will get no presents. That would be terrible!”
“But, Santa said there’d be no presents for anyone,” Poppy Noodle reminded her. “That would be a disaster!”
“I wonder what the other problems are…and what can we do if we can’t get through to him?” Francesca Spaghetti asked.
They leaned their elbows on the desk, rested their heads in their hands and thought very hard.
“I’m not getting any ideas,” said Francesca Spaghetti. “How about you?”
“Me neither,” said Poppy Noodle. “My mind is blank. Maybe we could ask Flora?”
“That’s a great idea!” said Francesca Spaghetti, sitting up. “Let’s go right away.”
“Hold it! Where do you two think you are going?” asked their Mama as the girls were putting on their coats and scarves getting ready to sneak out the front door. “Dinner’s ready and afterward it’s teeth and straight to bed.”
“B…but…” said Francesca Spaghetti, “we’re only—”
“No ‘buts,’” said their mother. “Now be good girls or Santa won’t come.” She wagged her finger.
Francesca Spaghetti and Poppy Noodle looked at each other. The way things were going their mother was probably right without even knowing it. Santa might not be coming to anyone this year. It was going to be a long and anxious night, but they would have to wait till morning to visit the Magic Meadow.
Copyright © Harald Davidson 2016 – All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval without permission in writing from the author.
Bonus Chapter (Click here to view)
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“It was a bright crisp morning when Francesca Spaghetti and Poppy Noodle set off through the crunchy snow to the old playhouse. Lulu came along with them. She had on a special Christmas coat with white trim. It had words on one side that said, ‘Cool Cat,’ and on the other there was a picture of the face of a funny-looking cat wearing sunglasses and a Santa hat. Lulu was very proud of her fine red coat.
They found the playhouse half-buried in deep snow that had drifted along each of its sides and blocked the entrance. Francesca Spaghetti and Poppy Noodle dropped to their hands and knees and began clearing a space around the tiny door. Bored, Lulu jumped up on the roof. Unfortunately, her claws couldn’t get a hold on the steep, frosty surface and all she ended up doing was spraying the girls below with snow as she scrabbled frantically to get a grip. Arms and legs spread out she slithered down the roof and landed with a soft ‘bump’ on top of Francesca Spaghetti, knocking her bobbly hat off and causing the rest of the snow to slide off the roof and come crashing down on top of their heads.
“Hey! Cut that out you silly moggy,” cried Poppy Noodle. “We just cleared a big pile of snow away, and now you’ve put even more here.”
Lulu slinked away in shame and plunked herself down, licking her hind paw and trying to pretend nothing embarrassing had happened.
Once the entrance had been cleared again, the girls went inside. Lulu followed them in and, as always happened when she went into the Magic playhouse, she turned into a tiger cub with fierce orange and black stripes. Of course, the coat that fitted her perfectly when she was a ‘cat’ was far too small for the bigger animal she had become and the seams and buttons bulged as thought they were about to burst at any second.
The grand hall was always a bit different each time they visited, and on this occasion, there was an enormous Christmas tree right in the middle of it that reached all the way up to the golden dome. It was decorated with thousands and thousands of glittering diamonds that scattered the light from all the candles in all directions and cast warm, dancing flickers on every wall. The needles on the tree were made from real silver and it all looked and felt very, very Christmassy.
On the wall to the right, the girls saw there were many different types of clock—each one showing a different time. They were ringing their chimes in harmony playing ‘Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.’ Francesca Spaghetti hoped they were right.
‘Wow!” said Poppy Noodle looking first at the clocks and then the giant tree. “This is so beautiful. I wonder how they got that in here?”
“There’s no time for that now,” answered Francesca Spaghetti in a very businesslike manner. “We have to find Flora and somehow figure out how get in touch with Santa.”
She strode around the tree and walked to the back door, which led out to the Magic Meadow itself. Poppy Noodle followed more slowly gawping up at the huge, glittering pine tree. Not watching where she was going, she tripped and fell over the old brown-leather Chesterfield sofa. She picked herself up, brushed down her skirt, apologized to the sofa for bumping into it and headed out the back door to join her sister and Lulu. The sofa didn’t seem to mind.
Outside it was very snowy but, unlike the ‘real’ world, the snow in the Magic Meadow was quite dry and warm. The color of the sky kept changing, but the girls were used to that by now.
The roses in the patio garden were always delighted to see the girls, and they leaned forward to sniff their hands and clothes. Francesca Spaghetti and Poppy Noodle shooed them away just as they did the little crystal sparrows that hopped up to them to chirp ‘hello’ and to generally be little pests. Lulu’s sharp eyes spotted some golden butterflies near the gazebo so she rushed off to terrorize them.
The girls tried to see if they could spot Flora, but all they could see was a family of purple penguins skating on the frozen lake. They were wearing long yellow scarves…or were they red?
‘It doesn’t look like she’s here,” said Francesca Spaghetti disappointedly.
“Don’t worry,” said Poppy Noodle. “I’m sure she’ll be along soon.”
“Who’ll be along soon?” said a familiar voice from behind them.
Francesca Spaghetti and Poppy Noodle turned around to greet Flora. She was standing in a violet and gold sleigh that was being drawn by Lady Quicksilver, who was wearing a leather harness with brass bells on it. Flora smiled warmly and held her arms open to welcome the twins.
She had on a shimmering gown of silver and blue trimmed with white fur, and she was wearing a dazzling tiara that was made from real-silver holly leaves with genuine rubies for berries.
The girls rushed over to give her a big hug and then say hello to Lady Quicksilver and pat her warm nose and flanks.
Once the greetings were over, Francesca Spaghetti explained to Flora that Christmas was in danger and there might be no toys for the boys and girls. She told her about their email to Santa and how it didn’t get through. While Francesca and Flora were speaking, Poppy Noodle reached up and grabbed a handful of the fluffy clouds floating above their heads and stuffed them in her mouth. These clouds might look like normal clouds, but they were actually candy and they tasted delicious! They also made you hover for a little bit after you’ve eaten them.
Francesca Spaghetti watched what was happening out of the corner of her eye. “Come here, greedy guts,” she scolded. Reaching out her arm, she grabbed Poppy Noodle and held on to her wrist to stop her floating away like a gas balloon. “This is serious. We must find a way to get a message to Santa.”
“This is dreadful news,” said Flora. “It will be awful if the children wake up on Christmas morning and find there aren’t any presents. Everyone will be so disappointed. Poor Santa, his reputation will be ruined!”
“Do you know any way to reach him?” Francesca Spaghetti begged.
“It will be difficult—no, impossible—if his email isn’t working. I don’t have his phone number—it’s unlisted, you see? Santa doesn’t like getting unwanted calls from people trying to sell him stuff.”
Francesca Spaghetti’s spirits sank like Poppy Noodle who, meanwhile, plunked gently back to earth.
Flora thought again for a moment, then frowned.
She said, “The only thing I can think of is that Santa might have a fax.”
“What’s a fax?” asked the girls at the same time.
“In the days before computers and emails,” she explained, “people used to write messages on paper and send them to each other using a fax machine. It’s sort of like sending a photograph through a telephone line. Hardly anyone uses a fax these days. They’re very old fashioned,” she continued, “but they used to be very popular once upon a time. Lots of little children used to send their letters to Santa that way.”
‘Wow!” said Poppy Noodle. “That sounds like Magic.”
“No,” answered Flora sharply. “That’s not Magic, that’s technology. Never confuse the two.”
“A few businesses still use faxes for receiving important letters,” she went on. “I suppose it’s possible Santa could still have one. I might have his fax number somewhere, but I have no idea if it still works.” She reached into her purse and fished around for her address book.
“It’s worth trying,” said Francesca Spaghetti. “Where do we find a…fax machine?”
Flora scribbled the number on a piece of notepaper and handed it to her. “There’s an office in the house I use sometimes. It’s got a fax machine in it. It hasn’t been used in a very long time but it should still work,” she said.
“That’s wonderful,” said Francesca Spaghetti. “How do we find the office?”
“You go upstairs and turn left three times,” said Flora.
“Upstairs?” said Poppy Noodle scratching the back of her neck. “How do we go upstairs? There aren’t any stairs.”
“They’re there,” Flora laughed lightly. “You might not have seen them…” She shrugged, “they’re…invisible, or, partly invisible.”
“How can we find them if they’re invisible?” asked Francesca Spaghetti.
“Partly invisible,” Poppy Noodle corrected her.
Francesca Spaghetti glared at her sister.
“It’s quite easy once you know where to look,” said Flora. “Go back into the house, turn right and go all the way to the library at the end. Then turn around and they’ll be right in front of you.” She smiled before wishing them good luck and fading away steadily until she completely vanished.
“This sounds crazy—like everything in the Magic Meadow,” said Poppy Noodle, “but we have no other choice.”
“We have no time to lose either,” said Francesca Spaghetti. “Let’s get going!”
The girls darted back inside and looked around the hall. Straight ahead, they could see the entrance door. They could also see the huge tree in the middle as well as all four walls. There was definitely no staircase there.
Nevertheless, they did precisely what Flora told them to do. They turned right and walked forward passing the Chesterfield, the mirror, the globe with the funny islands and the strange scientific instruments but they still didn’t see any staircase.
When they reached the bookcase on the far wall, they counted to three, turned around and there in front of them was a wide, sweeping staircase made from a lovely, dark wood with a deep wine-colored carpet and a carved bannister.
“Wow!” said Francesca Spaghetti. “I would never have believed this!”
Poppy Noodle, meanwhile, had gone to look at the side of the staircase and to her astonishment the staircase was perfectly visible. “Weird,” she said and shook her head.
Remembering that there was no time to waste they charged up the stairs two steps at a time until they reached a landing where they halted. In front of them was a life-sized painting of a shepherdess. She was wearing a wide brimmed hat with flowers on it and gown of pale blue silk. Although she was holding up a fan, which partly hid her face, the lady looked a lot like Flora!
Poppy Noodle said, “That looks so real. The grass and trees in the background look like they’re swaying.”
Francesca Spaghetti looked closely and, sure enough, everything was definitely moving—kind of like in a film. Even the fabric of the lady’s dress was rippling in the breeze.
Poppy Noodle was captivated by the scene and reached out to check if it was a painting or if the dress was made from real material. All of a sudden the lady folded her fan, rapped Poppy Noodle on the knuckles and then winked at her to show it was in fun.
Astonished, Poppy Noodle looked around to see if Francesca Spaghetti had seen what had happened but, no, she’d already made the first left turn and was marching off down the landing. Poppy Noodle promised herself not to try to touch the paintings anymore.
“Wait for me!” she yelled and scooted off after her sister.
At the end of the corridor was a window with two panes of glass through which they could see the Magic Meadow, the oak tree and in the distance Lady Quicksilver’s paddock. If you squinted you could make out the lake with the skating penguins and the faraway hills.
They turned left for the second time and another corridor opened up in front of them. They scampered to the end of that one and they saw another window just like the previous one, but this time it had three panes of glass. The oddest thing was that it looked out at exactly the same scene as the first window.
The two girls looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders. They were still surprised by the extraordinary things that happened here.
They turned left for the third time and yet another corridor came in sight. This time it led straight to a wooden door.
When they got to the end they saw that there was a brass plate attached to the door on which were written in capital letters the words, “OFFICE. PLEASE KNOCK.”
“I knew Flora wouldn’t let us down,” said Francesca Spaghetti. Inside she felt very relieved.
She took a deep breath, raised her hand, and rapped on the wood.
Tap, tap, tap.
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If you enjoyed these chapters, why not read an excerpt from Book 1 in the series: “Big Beard the Pirate“?