AN OLD HOUSE. NEW BEGINNINGS. BUT IS IT THE END FOR MEG?
A Stormy Start
"Is it much further?" asked thirteen year-old Megan Marshall, attempting to mask a full-blown whine. She really wasn't looking forward to seeing the old house her Dad had inherited, even though it was reputed to be truly magnificent inside.
Apparently, the sprawling country house boasted fourteen bedrooms and even servants' quarters, but as far as Meg was concerned, it was situated in the middle of nowhere... (in the middle of Houndmoor, to be exact). And... well... who would want to live in a mouldy old house miles away from anyone, anyway?
Besides, they had been travelling down from London, all cooped-up in the back of the family car for hours now; Meg could do with stretching her legs.
Her Mum was sat in the front passenger seat. She turned around, bubbling with excitement. "Not long now," she said. "If only it would stop raining!"
"Woooooh! Woooooh!" Meg's younger brother teased, pretending to be a ghost.
"Oh shut up, Ben," Meg said. "You really can be an idiot sometimes!"
"There are no such things as ghosts," said Dad, matter-of-factly. "Just bear in mind that the house we're going to see is old and no doubt full of eerie noises, but it is made of bricks and mortar, and what's more, it's empty!"
"Yes, I know that, Dad," said Meg, flicking a strand of brown hair out of her hazel eyes. "It's just that young Ben, here, obviously believes that all old houses are haunted!"
Ben sniggered. "I don't just think, s-meggie. I know!" and he beamed her a cheeky, freckle-faced grin.
Meg decided not to give her brother the pleasure of her reaction, so pressed her forehead onto the window.
She peered-out through the streaks of rain considering how she'd never seen so much of it in such a short space of time; It was torrential. Field after field they passed were flooded.
What on earth would it be like on the moors?
Mr Marshall suddenly slammed on the brakes. "What, the-?!" he cursed under his breath; a battered old tractor had veered out from a farm entrance and almost collided with them. "He wants to watch where he's going!" Mr Marshall commented, dryly.
There was no room on the narrow lane to pass the tractor, so Meg's Dad reluctantly resumed the journey at a snail's pace behind it. "Now he wants to drive slowly!"
Meg tutted. 'Welcome to the countryside-' she thought huffily, '-where life is as fast as a tractor and your best friend's a sheep!'
"-We interrupt this broadcast to bring you a serious weather warning report..." came an urgent voice on the radio. Mrs Marshall turned it up. "Flooding on roads between Haymoor and Crookbank. Water levels also rising fast near Willowcreek and Chudknighton. Please keep us informed of any new developments in your area. Call us here at Haymoor Weather Watch, on..." Dad quickly turned the dial and sighed with contentment as orchestral music floated to his ears. "That's better," he said.
Meg sighed for a different reason, wincing as the screech of a violin blared from the radio. She hid under her mop of hair. 'This trip's going to be exciting!' she thought sarcastically, considering who and what she had left behind back at home; Her best friend, Mira, her favourite clothes shops...
....and the delicious new boy next door!
Mum turned around with a big brave smile for her two children. "Just see it all as an adventure!" she said cheerily.
'Yeah, right!' thought Meg in an even darker mood. 'How adventurous it is to be in the smelly countryside stuck behind a slower-than-slow tractor in a major thunderstorm!'
Why couldn't she have stayed back at home where her life was exciting? NOT in the countryside where nothing happened! It wasn't fair. It just wasn't!
The world suddenly darkened as the thunder rolled-on heavily overhead. Meg jumped as a sudden bolt of lightening forked menacingly through a cluster of lone trees nearby. The girl shivered. It was only two in the afternoon, yet Graham, (Meg's Dad), already had the headlights on full beam.
The car bounced and slipped violently along the rugged track, as the window-wipers squawked back and forth at full speed. Visibility ahead was becoming harder.
Meg pulled her eyes away from the grim scene outside the car. She decided that she was well and truly stuck with her family for the next week or two, so she may as well keep herself occupied with something she enjoyed.