An environmental disaster. An undersea adventure.
Tom and Beth are not happy when they move to Scotland and find themselves facing a rainy, windswept beach, a house that’s falling to pieces, and a school full of strangers.
But when an oil tanker crashes into the Bass Rock, their small seaside town is shaken to its core and Tom and Beth suddenly find themselves in a race to rescue the local sea life and save their new community from environmental catastrophe…
Jubilee Hall was on the High Street, a huge Victorian building with tall windows and round, gothic turrets on the roof. Tom hesitated outside.
“This looks kind of posh,” he said.
“It also looks nice and dry,” said Beth. “Let’s get inside.”
Together, they climbed the wide stone steps and found another green notice stuck to the massive front door.
“POP inside and join today,” read Beth.
“POP… that must be People Opposing Pollution,” said Tom.
Another pink post-it was stuck to the bottom. It was soggy from the rain and the ink had run, but it was still more or less possible to read. Beth’s eyes lit up. “It definitely says dogs welcome.”
The heavy wooden door opened with a gothic creak, revealing a huge, dimly-lit entrance hall. Directly ahead of them an elegant staircase led up into the gloom. The walls were hung with portraits of men with huge beards and dark, old-fashioned clothes, who looked down in deep disapproval as Tom and Beth’s damp shoes squeaked across the polished wood floor. They stopped and looked around.
“There’s nobody here,” said Beth.
“Clever of you to notice,” said Tom.
Somebody sneezed and they both jumped.
“Who was that?” whispered Beth.
“No dogs in the building,” said in a hoarse voice.
Beth looked up in disbelief at the nearest portrait, then tried to pretend she hadn’t when she saw a man emerge from the darkness behind the staircase.
“Sorry kids,” he said. “Guide dogs only.”
Tom’s face fell. “Not again.”
The front door creaked open and they turned to see a small, grey-haired woman in a red bobble hat walking towards them. She smiled pleasantly.
“Afternoon, Mike,” she said. “POP?”
Beth stifled a giggle. She didn’t dare look at Tom, knowing that he, too, was struggling not to laugh.
“Just down the corridor,” said Mike, his eyes fixed on the woman’s dripping umbrella. “Third door on the left.”
Deeply envious, the two children watched her march confidently across the hall and down the corridor. The sound of a door opening was followed by a clamour of voices. One, louder than all the rest, was yelling for everyone to shut up and listen.
“Sounds exciting,” said Beth.
Mike pulled out a hankie, blew his nose hard and then moved forward, herding them towards the front door. “Come on kids, out you go.”
“But the sign says dogs are welcome.” Beth said stubbornly.
“And it’s raining,” added Tom, as if that might somehow make a difference.
“I know it’s raining,” growled Mike in a hoarse, cold-sodden voice. “Muddy puddles everywhere. I’m not even supposed to open on a Sunday, you know.”
Beth was determined to have one last try. “It definitely says dogs welcome.”
He scratched his head. “Are you sure?”
Beth nodded firmly. With a defeated sigh, he gave his nose another wipe and followed her to the front door. Tom trailed along behind with Toby. Beth hauled the door open and pointed to the note.
Frowning, Mike stared down at the post-it. “Is that an arrow?” He reached out and traced one of the smudges with his finger. “Ah,” he said, his frown clearing. “You want the professor. Angus likes animals. He thinks they should have the same rights as humans. Come on. I’ll show you.”
Thank you, Annemarie Allan and Love Books Group
About the author
Annemarie Allan’s first published novel, Hox, won the 2007 Kelpies Prize and was shortlisted for both the Scottish Children’s Book of the Year and the Heart of Hawick book awards. Her third novel, Ushig, a fantasy based on Scottish myths and legends, was shortlisted for the 2011 Essex Children’s Book Award.
She writes for both adults and children and her novels and short stories range from fantasy and science fiction to historical and contemporary fiction, taking their inspiration from the landscape and culture of Scotland, both past and present. Annemarie lives in Prestonpans, near Edinburgh.