Series: Dreary Inkling School
By Matt Brown
A Historic Thing
Ian stood with all his classmates at the bottom of the stone steps that led up to Leviathan Hall. There was a quiet moaning sound coming from inside the stately home.
“What’s that noise?” asked Luna Axminster.
Ian looked at Remington Furious III. “It sounds like the Northern Timeworms,” he whispered.
Beano Lerwick turned around just in front of Ian.
“The Northern Timeworms?” he said, smiling. “From Time Vacuum? You play it?”
Ian nodded. “All the time,” he said. “Don’t you think that noise sounds like when the Timeworms transport you through time?”
Beano listened to the moans, which were getting louder.
“Oh yeah,” he said. “You’re totally right. Nice one.”
Ian smiled and was just about to try and talk more to Beano about Time Vacuum when the source of the moaning appeared. Dozens of hooded figures slowly walked out of Leviathan Hall with their arms stretched out in front of them, their hands hidden by their enormous sleeves.
“Do not be alarmed by the staff here at Leviathan Hall,” said Mr Grimble. “They are dressed like servants would have been dressed when Leviathan Hall was first built over nine hundred years ago. It’s an historic thing.”
“An historic thing,” repeated Ms Husk, looking at the other teachers. “Wow.”
Ian watched as the Leviathan Hall staff staggered down the stone steps, took bags and suitcases out of the coach’s luggage compartment and carried them up to the house. And all the while they softly moaned.
“Are they alright?” said Ms Husk. “They’re making quite a strange noise.”
Mr Grimble looked nervously at Ms Husk and then at the Leviathan Hall staff.
“Er, yes they are all fine. The moaning is actually a form of medieval chanting,” he said. “It’s another historic thing.”
Ms Husk looked impressed. She nudged Mr Jagger.
“Another historic thing,” she said. “That is good, isn’t it? Two historic things before we’ve even got into the Hall. We’re certainly going to get an immersive experience here. I think—”
But no one got to hear what Ms Husk thought because she was interrupted by a suitcase clattering down the stairs, which nearly knocked Ian over. Everyone looked at the suitcase at Ian’s feet, then turned and looked to the top of the stairs. One of the Leviathan Hall staff was standing there looking down.
“ME SORRY,” he moaned, and began shuffling down the stairs to retrieve the case.
Mr Grimble smiled uneasily. “Don’t worry, Keith,” he said, through gritted teeth.
“Bag heavy,” moaned Keith, picking up the suitcase. “Me tired.”
As he began to heave the large suitcase back up the steps, Keith’s enormous sleeve flapped open. Ian, and the rest of the class, saw that Keith’s arm was a strange greeny, grey colour with patches of skin hanging off and flapping in the breeze. Everyone jumped back in shock at such a horrible sight.
“Er, please don’t be alarmed,” said Mr Grimble, smiling. “We have used make-up to recreate a skin disease that was popular among servants when Leviathan Hall was first built.”
Ian noticed that Mr Grimble’s teeth were the same colour as his skin.
“Now, I am sorry but the owner of Leviathan Hall, Gertrude Leviathan, will not be able to join us today,” he said, in a way that Ian thought was an attempt to change the subject.
Ian looked up at Leviathan Hall and, just for a second, he saw a shadow move at one of the upstairs windows. He thought he saw a faint green glow from behind the windowpane but the glass was all grimy that it was a bit tricky to tell.
“She is, er, feeling a little weak,” continued Mr Grimble. “But she is very much looking forward to seeing you all soon. So, if you follow me, we can begin your exciting school trip.”
Ian looked back up at the window but the shadow had disappeared. It left a troubled feeling flapping its wings inside Ian’s tummy. He turned and walked up the steps. Ms Husk, Mr Jagger and Miss Fluther-Smack strode after him, while the rest of Ian’s class followed behind.
“What was that up at the window?” whispered Ian, walking up the steps. “It was creepy, like someone was watching us.”
“This whole place is creepy,” said Remington Furious III. “It looks like the sort of house that should be owned by the devil or spooky ghosts or a blood-thirsty witch or something.”
He looked at Ian. Ian shivered nervously.
“Er, although, I’m sure that it isn’t,” added Remington Furious III, disappearing in a puff of smoke.
At the top of the stone steps, Mr Grimble stood before the open front door.
“Welcome to Leviathan Hall,” he said. “Please, come through.”
And with that, he scurried inside and disappeared.
Ian stood at the top of the old stone steps and stared into the open doorway, which looked to him like it was a hungry mouth that wanted to swallow him whole. The air was cold so Ian pulled his coat tightly around him. He took a deep breath and followed his classmates inside. There was something very odd about Mr Grimble and Leviathan Hall, something Ian couldn’t quite put his finger on.
Ian Ianson has never spent the night away from his parents, so he is super-nervous about the upcoming Year 6 school trip to Leviathan Hall, a mysterious old stately home. Thank goodness his imaginary friend, Remington Furious III, will be accompanying him. But the trip takes a sinister turn when Ian discovers the truth about Gertrude, the creepy owner of Leviathan Hall, and her evil plans for Ian and his class...
Matt Brown is a broadcaster, husband and dad (although not necessarily in that order!) As a TV presenter he appeared on kids’ channel Nickelodeon and hosted loads of shows including The Bigger Breakfast, Love Island Aftersun and “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here…Now!”. He is currently the host of a Heart Breakfast radio show.
Visit www.mattbrownwriter.com to find out more.