Have YOUR say in the story
The cart swung towards us through the trees, driven at breakneck speed by a cheery round man, red in the face.
‘Oh thank goodness!” he declared. “I was so worried I’d miss you. Up you get my youngling, need you on board or there’ll be no sewing done today. The duke’s in a terrible temper. Shockin’.’ He pulled the oxen that pulled the cart to a halt and gazed at Dilan’s trousers.
‘What kind of clothin’ is that?’ he said, pointing.
Dilan opened his mouth as if he was going to reply but I stamped on his foot before he could say anything.
Ethel smiled at me, which felt weird when I considered that she was nearly a thousand years old. ‘Don’t you worry about that, just now. Let’s get going,’ she said clambering up onto the cart.
‘Gidd – yup!’ the man shouted to the cow, and the cart rolled slowly forward, mud squeezing out from under the wheels. Ethel turned and smiled. ‘Thank you !’ she whispered and we stood and watched as she vanished out of sight.
For a moment no-one said anything. And then Dilan said. ‘So this is 1066?’
‘Isn’t 1066 a really dangerous place to be?’ he said.
‘Yes,’ said Lorna. ‘Let’s get out of here.’ And she yanked open the door of the fridge.
For a millisecond, we arrived back in the field. The robotic sheep began to lift their heads the pursuing fridge robots changed course and trundled towards us.
This wasn’t right – the fridge would never do this unless...‘Gerbils!’ I yelled. ‘They’re not in the fridge.’
I pulled the door open, no gerbils, four yoghurts. Slightly less ham and cheese than there was.
Pouring the yoghurt down my throat I caught sight of Will. He looked exhausted, confused, full of yoghurt.
A tree fell to the ground right next to us. Muddy grass, muddy track. A worried looking Ethel.
‘I’m so glad you’re back!’ she said. ‘Look, look what your rats have done!’ The trees were gone. Where the forest should have been were huge lumps. And holes.
‘Oh!’ Lorna clapped her hand to her mouth. ‘The darlings – they’ve had lots and lots of children. Ooohhhh how cuuuuuute!’
‘They’ve been digging,’ I said. ‘Gerbils dig! They don’t just eat wires; they dig!!! LORNA – DO SOMETHING!’
‘What?’ she screamed. ‘What on earth can I do – there are thousands of them.’
‘She’s right,’ said Dilan. ‘We’re going to have to go back and find them at the moment they escaped.’ He shrugged.
‘Or go forward and not bring them at all,’ I said, wondering if what I said made any sense.
‘Whatever,’ said Will, sinking to the ground. ‘I thought you guys said you could help? All that seems to have happened is a lot of stupid stuff with gerbils and very old things.’ He stared hard at Ethel, who stared hard back.
‘We go forward,’ I say, much more decisively than I feel. ‘And I promise you, Ethel, this won’t happen, because we can STOP LORNA BRINGING THOSE STUPID ANIMALS!’
Everyone went silent.
‘I hope you’re right,’ said Dilan in the end.
‘And what are we doing about the robots then?’ asked Will. ‘Or should I just stay here with the gerbil mounds and a load of marauding Norman invaders?’
‘We’ll stop them. The fridge must know how – it’ll take us to the right time.’
‘Oh yeah?’ said Will.
‘Oh yeah, no question,’ I said, crossing my fingers behind my back.
It sounded as if the fridge was feeling tired. It groaned and moaned alongside us as the landscape fogged in and out of recognisable finally leaving us in a pile of bricks and some long grass.
‘Wow,’ said Dilan.
‘Shh,’ said Will. He crouched and crept out through the broken doorway that might once have been our kitchen. Under my feet, dirt and leaves scraped away to show the tiles that Mum had chosen when we first saw the house.
‘It’s home,’ I said. ‘Almost.’
‘It’s the house of the woman who invented the robots.’
‘Is it?’ Dilan and I said together.
‘Yes,’ said Will. ‘She was called Dame L Splint.’
‘What did the L stand for?’ I asked.
‘I don’t know,’ said Will. ‘She was just a legend.’
I turned to look at Lorna. She was chewing her lip and had turned quite pale.
‘I bet it stood for Lorna,’ said Dilan.
Lorna nodded her head up and down very slowly.
‘But what good is it coming back here to a wreck?’ I asked.
‘Hmmmmmbmbmbmbbmghghgh,’ the fridge replied.
‘She could have worked in the garage?’ said Dilan.
We filed out of the door and crossed the overgrown garden to the lean to garage. A forgotten skateboard lay out in the long grass. A really old, really familiar skateboard.
‘Gosh,’ said Dilan.
Lorna pulled the door open. Inside, what was a tangle of broken lawnmowers was now a hi-tech white laboratory. In the middle of it, stood a middle aged woman wearing goggles and safety helmet. She was working on something that looked very like our fridge. She turned to us.
‘Hello.’ She said, a broad smile spreading across her face. ‘Bugg, Dilan, and Lorna – how beautiful you look. How young.’ She was scarily familiar and yet a complete stranger. ‘And who is this?’ She turned to Will.
Will looked baffled. ‘Are you L Splint?’ he asked.
She nodded. I noticed that she had tears in her eyes.
‘I think you need to stop doing whatever it is you’re doing,’ he said. ‘If you wouldn’t mind.’
The woman bit her lip, just like Lorna, and sighed. ‘I was fixing the fridge,’ she said.
I looked at the heap of metal in front of her. ‘It’s not that you shouldn’t fix it,’ I said. ‘It’s that you need not to change it.’
‘You’re telling me that I’ve altered time, aren’t you?’ she said. ‘That somehow in the future I’ve messed it up? Like I always do.’
Dilan and I nodded.
‘So what happens?’ she said. ‘In the future I’ve meddled with.’
‘That,’ said Will, pointing at the fridge. ‘Becomes a robot – and the robots take over – getting rid of the people. They never even give us a chance to deal with all the things we’ve done wrong, they just throw us off the planet.’
The woman raised her eyebrows. ‘So if I don’t alter it, what’ll happen then?’ she said.
‘Perhaps you should go and find out,’ she said, putting her screwdriver down. ‘And if it’s worse, you can come back and find me again.’ She picked two furry creatures from her lab coat pocket.
Lorna gasped. ‘Bunfight and Coleridge – where did they come from?’
The woman smiled. ‘I picked them up on my travels. I found them wandering around Kent in the 11th Century. I knew they shouldn’t be there, because they should ALWAYS be in your pockets. Anyway – off you go, and,’ she smiled again, this time sadly, ‘it was lovely meet you.’
We rushed back into the house, scrabbling over the bricks and standing in a circle next to the fridge.
‘One more go then?’ I say.
Will nods. ‘Am I going home now?’
‘Yes,’ says Lorna, handing out the yoghurts. ‘Hopefully we all are.’
The yoghurts tasted sweet and I could really have done with a glass of water but I swallowed it down and watched as the world shifted and settled.
We’re back by the wall. The grass is green, the trees are green, but there are no robotic fridges racing towards us, and no robotic sheep either. Instead, a distant stripy tent and the sound of music drift towards us over the breeze.
‘People,’ says Will. ‘People and music.’
He clambers over the wall and trots off across the meadow towards the distant sea. Just before he disappears out of sight he turns and waves. He might say thank you but I’m not sure.
‘So that’s that then?’ said Lorna. ‘The end of the adventure.’
‘I suppose so,’ says Dilan. ‘Although, Bugg – can we go and see what’s going on? Can we look into the future.’
‘Do you think that would be a good idea?’ I say.
Dilan and Lorna look at each other. Lorna takes a gerbil from her pocket and strokes it. ‘Probably not,’ she says. ‘We should probably leave things just as they are.’
‘Yes,’ I say. ‘Shall we go home now?’ And I open the fridge. Three yoghurts are standing there. I check the date. July 4th 2014 - and hand one each to the other two.
‘Ready?’ I ask.
‘Ready’ they say, and we all rip the tops off and start eating.
Whew! We did it!
And here's the downloadable version: Fridgpocalypse_F.pdf
Join this conversation! Add a Comment or Picture (jpeg, gif or png)