Ms Cheryl Diane Parkinson

Writer


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The Girl Who Ate A Cloud…

the girl who at a cloud 1                                             the girl who ate a cloud 2 The red lights flashed 12.45am on the dash board of the car. It was dark. Mum was whizzing down the country lanes, trying to get home as soon as she possibly could. They were all tired. Amelia lay in her car seat – mouth hanging open, tongue lolling to one side like a dog. Jordon had his seat reclined as his snores filled the rushing quiet of the outside world in the car. Jessica was always the last to fall asleep. Mum called her a night owl. That always reminded her of an owl with headlights for eyes, light beams cutting their way through the darkness. It always seemed like a funny saying to her. Mum’s eyes were like headlights too. They remained fixed, never changing, on the running black road through the windscreen as black trees, bushes and sky seemed to rush by. Jessica grew tired. As she lay in her car seat and relaxed, her eyes grew heavy. She peered out of the window. Tiny blazing stars winked at her in the black through the distance. She imagined one suddenly falling out of the dark sky, tumbling, tumbling, tumbling towards the earth. Once hitting the ground, it would bounce harmlessly like a rubber ball but shatter, scattering splinters of tiny diamonds in all directions, shining through the black. And, she’d catch a stray one that would fly in her direction, and clasp it tightly in the palm of her hands. Its aggressive spale would glitter and shine as if desperate to burst out, lighting up her hands like a beacon as she kept it prisoner in her fingers. Mum sped on through the night. As Jessica relaxed into her chair, the thick mist gathered around the car as they raced on. Someone, she couldn’t quite remember who, told her that fog was just low flying clouds. Low flying clouds? She had never thought of clouds flying before… as if they had little wings that carried their fluffy bodies higher and higher in the sky. Perhaps they only flew low once they had eaten too much dinner – what did clouds eat anyway? Relaxing into her seat even further, she imagined that in their car, they were actually quite still and it was the world rushing past her window in such a hurry. Where might the trees be going? Perhaps they were running away from something, rather than to something. In her mind, she imagined them hitching up their bark like skirts, revealing skinny, spindly wood legs with roots as toes, sprinting along beside her car, and disrupted soil from their feet flying and tumbling in their wake. The fog thickened. Her window was cracked open. She thought of stretching out her hand and rolling the glass down further so she could touch the flying clouds. In a moment of inspiration, she pressed the button which controlled the window, and it rolled down. In floated a pale pink fluffy cloud, as if to say hello. It looked just like candy floss! And before she knew it, she couldn’t help herself, she took a bite! Well…. It wasn’t like what she was expecting. It was light, fluffy, and creamy and fizzed on her tongue. The shocked cloud drifted promptly out of the window. It looked very cross. It looked at her as if to say, ‘Well! That’s a fine thing to do when you first meet someone! Didn’t your mother teach you any manners!?’ But by then, Jessica couldn’t pay much attention to it because her tummy really, really hurt. It was like a million snakes were squirming around in her belly! It was like an elephant was tickling her insides with its long, rough trunk! It was like a big, clumsy tortoise was working its way down, down, down in her stomach. Trampling and rolling around. Forcing its way through tubes that were just too small for it! She groaned, and regretted eating such a big chunk of the cloud. Her hands found her tummy to comfort herself, only to find that it felt different! It was skinny! Like a tube! She looked down and was completely taken aback to see that she had a snout at the end of her face! She wanted to scream, but no noise came out! Her nose was long like a crocodile’s but multi-coloured, and she immediately knew that it was the cloud! The cloud had done this to her… perhaps it was magic, or perhaps all clouds did this to you. After all, how many girls have eaten a cloud before? Surely she must be the first. Examining her body, she saw that she was thin like a snake: skinny, boneless and long. Her feet were scaled with claws where her toes used to be, and her back itched. She turned to see what was irritating her back and was greeted by the most beautiful rainbow wings she had ever seen! Her heart leapt in joy and her body twitched in excitement. The window rolled further down, and before she knew it, she’d slipped out of the window! And just like a gravity defying cloud, she drifted out of the car and flew out into the cool night. Her wings snapped and flapped open like an umbrella as she undulated in the air like a water snake. The car below chugged along the black winding road; fog lights blaring though the clouds while Jessica snaked higher and higher and higher into the pink fluff. She opened her jaws and took chunks out of more unsuspecting clouds as she soared by, and giggled as they fizzed on her tongue. As she flew higher, the world below became more and more distant and the world ahead seemed as if a different planet.  Soon screams and shouts could be heard through the thick clouds, so she flew closer to investigate. Her ears pricked up as she heard yells of ‘Star bow! Star bow! Move it quickly before they get away! Look alive son! Look alive!” And through the pink fluff slowly emerged an enormous war ship with a pirates flag flying high! And as she looked, she saw another ship, slightly smaller seeming to be trying to run away from the pirate ship. Arrows flew in the air. “Fire!” was yelled as cannons flew through the clouds and disappeared into fluff. Jessica heard the crashing of wood and splinters as she knew that it made contact. Her attention was interrupted as someone shouted, “Dragon! Dragon!” For a moment, her heart stopped as she halted in the sky and all were silent. It was as if everything stood still. The silence before the storm. The still was finally broken by another voice shouting, “It’s a fire breathing dragon! Run for your lives!” Fear momentarily gripped her heart before she chuckled, unafraid, for she realised that SHE was the fire-breathing dragon! To test her fire, she thought of the burning furnaces within her stomach. She imagined it full of white-hot coal, and as she did so, puffs of pink smoke came through the tunnels of her nose and she knew she was ready. “Dragon! Dragon!” the pirate screamed at the top of his lungs as a volley of arrows whizzed past her ears. Jessica’s shoulder suddenly exploded with pain. It was as if her whole shoulder burst into flames and was burning ferociously. An ear-splitting roar filled the air and echoed through the misty clouds. Her jaws snapped wildly in anger when she saw an arrow sticking out of her right shoulder, before she responded by blowing blisteringly hot breath all over the pirate ship! She blew and blew and blew! Her mouth was like a hydrant but instead of water shooting it, it was roasting hot flames! In less than a minute the whole ship and all its pirates were burnt to a crisp! Jessica regarded the charred mess in surprise at her own anger and strength – but, after all… she was a fire-breathing dragon. She turned to the other ship and was greeted with whoops and cheers of approval. She smiled, but to them it looked as though she was merely showing all her gloriously white sharp teeth… to which they smiled back nervously. “Thank you so much Great Dragon!” One of the passengers yelled up at her. Apparently, she saved them from being robbed by the notorious pirates that regularly roamed these parts of the skies. It was soon made clear that the person shouting to her, was in fact, a prince! (of course) and he was very thankful to Jessica for saving them and their royal treasure. “Such a feat such as this one deserves a worthy reward!” he said. And from below the decks, the Prince brought out the most shiny, glittery sparkly diamond Jessica had ever seen in her life! Jessica was so grateful, she was actually at a loss for words (which to those who know Jessica, was extremely rare.) But he wasn’t finished. He offered her a job – Protector Of the Most Royal Family and all their treasures. What an honour! Jessica was overwhelmed with gratitude, and was terribly sad that she had to decline. “After all,” she said, “I’m only 10 and I really ought to be getting back home… well to my car anyway.” Naturally the prince was very disappointed, but said he understood. So with that, Jessica said her goodbyes to the Prince and his crew and snaked her way downwards, through the pink fluffy clouds towards the car that her mum was driving. It was easy to spot from so high up. Her mother, eyes still fixed in the road, was concentrating as she drove down country lanes and trees ran past with their skirts hitched up. Jessica was beginning to feel very sleepy herself now after all her adventures, and so she slid in through the open window, snaked herself onto her car seat and closed her eyes. And, as she fell asleep finally, the corners of her mouth twitched in a smile as she thought of her mothers’ reaction when they finally reached home. She would park the car in their driveway, crunch on the gravel path to the back car door, open it quietly only to find a snoozing multi-coloured dragon with magnificent wings, snoring where she left her daughter Jessica! Now what would she say to that!? J