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 Dylan watched the icy flakes as they swirled past the car window. Caught in the wind, it looked like huge snow monsters were rising up; their mouths open in a wide silent howl. He nudged his sister, hard. 'Wow. Look outside. It's like we're being chased by these massive snow beasts!'

'Stop elbowing me,' she complained. 'Mum, tell him?'

The short journey to their Grandfather's house had already taken three times longer than usual. The arguments had started almost as soon as the car engine had roared into life.

'Both of you just be quiet,' said their mother. 'One more word and dad will drop you off at your great Aunty Greta's!'

The threat made nine year old Dylan Beaumont squirm in his seat. 'Urgh, she's ancient and smells of cats.'

'I'm just glad we haven't got far to go,' said their father. 'This snow is getting worse by the second.' The wipers were skating across the icy windscreen in a frantic attempt to keep up with the fast falling flakes.

'Did you pack the sleds, Mum?' Emily asked. She was trying to ignore Dylan and his silly yellow bobble hat.

'They're in the boot,' answered her mother. 'I just hope this weather eases off a little. It's hard to see anything with this snow swirling around.'

'It would be way cool if we got stuck and had to be rescued,' said Dylan. He pushed his glasses back up his nose and wished the snow would fall even harder.

'No it wouldn't,' scoffed Emily. 'It would be freezing cold, and it could take ages for someone to reach us. Isn't that right, Dad?'

'We aren't going to be stranded,' said their father. 'Ten minutes and we'll be there.'

Dylan ignored his sister; she was so boring. Just because she was eleven and going to the senior school soon. She never wanted to play with him now, and she never did anything fun anymore. All she kept talking about was her friend's stupid party next week. Christmas was going to be awful. He was going to be stuck at his grandfather's house, with just his miserable sister and no friends to play with. Even their grandfather wouldn't be there because he had to go away for a few days. It just wasn't fair!

He pulled his transformer truck from his bag, imagining an alien space-craft preparing to attack. 'Zooom, blast em from the sky... Emergency landing! ' The truck flew from his fingers. He hadn't meant to throw it quite so hard. It landed with a thump on Emily's leg.

Annoyed, she flung it back at him. 'Next time I'll throw it outside,' she threatened. But as usual, he ignored her. The truck was soon winging its way back. 'I warned you,' said Emily. A blast of cold air swept inside as she wound down her window half an inch. With it came the oddest smell, of dirty water and musty socks? Emily was looking straight at Dylan as she held up the truck to the widening gap.

But Dylan's eyes had bulged wide open in horror. Clinging to Emily's window was the most hideous thing he had ever seen. A snake-like creature, with a huge purplish face was squashed tight up against the glass. Jagged teeth bared, it was snapping and biting, trying to tear its way into the car. 'NO! No, no, please, don't,' he begged, unable to drag his eyes away from the revolting sight.

Emily smirked, not realising.

'Close that window now,' their mother ordered. She didn't bother to look around.

'Did...did you see that...that thing?' Dylan pointed to where the creature had been only seconds before. 'Outside, there was some sort of ice monster...?'

'Like I'm that stupid,' said Emily and turned away, refusing to talk to him.

Dylan twisted in his seat to look anxiously out through the rear window. Weird shapes seemed to dance in the thick, driving snow, but it was impossible to see anything properly. He shivered. He was sure he hadn't imagined it. Those teeth had been far too scary to be just snowflakes playing tricks.

'At last!' said his father, as the car turned left onto a long gravel driveway. I just hope this clears up by Saturday or your grandfather won't be going anywhere.' 

'It's got to,' said Emily. 'I've got to go to Lucy's party on Monday or she'll never speak to me again, ever!'  

The smiling figure of their grandfather was trudging through the deepening snow toward them. Dylan pushed open his door to shout, 'Dad thinks it might snow too much and you'll be stuck here.'

'We shall have to wait and see what happens,' said his grandfather cheerfully enough. 'The weatherman said it's going to stop and he's usually right.'

The first thing Dylan did was to trudge around the car to Emily's door. He swept off the few flakes that had landed, to stare at the blue paintwork. There wasn't a single scratch or mark in sight. Perhaps it had been the snow playing tricks after all?

DEADWOOD HALL - book 1 of the Oozing Magic seriesWhere stories live. Discover now