Jeremy and JC made so much noise when they ran down the stairs that Dad stuck his head out of the kitchen door.
“Oi! You two! It’s like a herd of elephants running down those stairs.”
“Sorry, Dad!” called Jeremy. “We’re just off to see Mister Tremble now.”
“Right,” Dad replied. “Be back by four,” he said, closing the kitchen door.
Jeremy and JC looked at each other, then JC reached into his pocket and pulled out some Superglue. Jeremy’s eyes popped.
“JC! You can’t!” he whispered.
JC reached into his pocket again, and pulled out a girl’s hairband. “They’ll think it was the girls,” he muttered to Jeremy, and his hand went out to the door.
Chuckling naughtily, the boys hurried outside and ran down the garden path. They had heard the girls coming downstairs, and wanted to be out of the way when the superglued door was discovered.
They were still laughing as they walked down Mister Tremble’s drive. Mister Tremble was waiting for them at the entrance to his shed, and he waggled his eyebrows at them until they were quiet.
“Hello, Jeremy. Let me see, I’ve seen you before, haven’t I? JC isn’t it?” asked Mister Tremble.
“Hello, Mister Tremble,” replied JC, quite politely. Mister Tremble gave him a look.
“Right then, so you two boys have come to help out then?” Mister Tremble said.
“Yes,” answered Jeremy, “and don’t forget we’ve got the barbeque starting at four o’clock.”
“Oooh, yes.” Mister Tremble rubbed his hands together. “Bangers and burgers! Lovely.”
“Last time I came to a barbeque at Jeremy’s I was sick,” complained JC.
“Well that’s something to look forward to then!” Mister Tremble laughed, and turned to unlock his shed door.
“I’ve never seen such a big lock as that,” Jeremy said.
“Well, I’ve just taken delivery of some very special eggs. They are secret though, so don’t tell anyone boys. If you keep quiet about them, you can help me feed them when they hatch.”
“What sort of lizards are they, Mister Tremble?” asked Jeremy. Mister Tremble looked all around, and waggled his big scary eyebrows at the boys.
“Big ones!” he said, in a low tone. “Very big ones!”
JC and Jeremy looked at each other excitedly.
“Great!” said JC.
Jeremy put his hands into his pockets to keep them still, and then went very still. He had just found the Goblin’s silver whistle. He had forgotten it was there. JC was still so excited that he didn’t see Jeremy’s face go as white as chalk.
Mister Tremble opened the door carefully, and stepped inside the shed. JC followed, and left on his own for a moment, Jeremy lifted the whistle to his lips, and blew it hard, twice. Then he shoved it deep into his pocket, and hurried after the others into the dark shed.
He didn’t look back, or to either side, so he missed the sight of Kenny’s head sitting on top of one of Mister Tremble’s garden gnomes, watching him closely. As Jeremy went into the shed, Kenny got up from behind the gnome, and put it’s plaster head back in place.
“Ach, whut has the boy been getting himself into now!” muttered the dwarf. “Suppose I’d best be waiting to see fer a bit.” Kenny leant back comfortably against a green bush, and pulled a rather bent ginger nut biscuit out of his pocket. He banged it on the bush a few times, to get the fluff of it, then took a bite, leant back and closed his eyes.
Jeremy pushed through the black curtains Mister Tremble had hung behind the door to keep the light out, and stopped in surprise. He had been in the shed a lot of times, but it had never looked like this.
“You’ve moved everything round,” he said to Mister Tremble.
“Yes,” Mister Tremble gave a naughty grin. “I’ve had to make an incubator for the eggs. If I don’t keep them warm, then I might as well boil them for my tea.”
“How long before they hatch?” asked JC.
“Any day now, I should think. This heat lamp keeps them at the perfect temperature, so I’m hoping that they all hatch.”
“Why aren’t you supposed to have them, Mister Tremble?” asked Jeremy.
“When they hatch, and grow up, these lizards will have a very poisonous bite!”
“Ooooh!” said the boys.
“Ooooh!” said the Goblins, who were sneaking around the windows of the shed and could hear what was going on inside. They exchanged excited looks.
“Right!” said the Chief Goblin to the two nearest goblins. “Go to the left,”
“I thought you said Right, Boss?”
“He did say Right,” said the third Goblin.
“I might have said Right, but I meant Left,” the chief Goblin told them, and then stopped, looking confused.
“So, right means left?” asked the third goblin, also confused.
“Is that right?” asked the second goblin, and all three sat down to think about it.
Behind the shed, other goblins were creeping about the garden in ones and twos. One goblin sneaked around a bush, not looking where he was going, and fell over Kenny’s ankles.
“Whut?” asked Kenny, waking up very quickly.
“Ow,” complained the goblin, rubbing his nose. It was a longish nose, now a little bent at the end because he had landed on it. “Ow!” said the goblin a second time, and then went to sleep.
Kenny nodded to himself, and put the glass bottle he’d been drinking from back into his pocket. Then he hid more carefully inside his bush as more goblins turned up.
“Here!” shouted the next goblin along, “It’s Drost. He’s asleep!”
“Asleep on duty? He’s for it then,” agreed the others, and they quickly tied up poor Drost and carried him away. Kenny watched them go from inside his bush.
Inside the shed, Mister Tremble was gloating over his eggs as he carefully turned them under the heat lamp.
“Look boys,” he said, “this one’s starting to show lines in it. It will hatch soon!”
Jeremy and JC crowded around the eggs. They were all so busy looking at them, that they didn’t notice the goblins slipping in through the doorway behind them.
Back at the house, Wobbles and Ellie were less noisy as they came down the stairs.
“Look!” said Ellie, as they passed the kitchen door, “I must have dropped a hairband!” She picked up the band, and twisted it around her wrist, then around her ponytail.
“I didn’t see you drop it,” Wobbles told her.
“Never mind. Unless you want it?” Ellie offered. Wobbles shook her head. She didn’t like hairbands.
“Come on,” said Wobbles, and they opened the front door, and scampered off down the path. Wobbles led Ellie to the right, and they stopped at the gate to Miss Leech’s front garden.
“Wow, it’s a bit overgrown,” said Ellie, looking all around at the garden on the other side of the gate. Above their heads, the hedge swayed slightly, even though there was no wind.
“The catch is stuck.” Wobbles was pushing at the catch on the gate as hard as she could, but it wouldn’t move.
“Come on, Lisa, let’s jump over it!” said Ellie. Wobbles was less sure, but Ellie put both hands on top of the low gate, and climbed over it. Ellie looked back. Wobble seemed to be standing in brilliant sunshine, but she was in a gloomy spot. She moved further into Miss Leech’s garden, and the hedge seemed to close in around the garden gate.
Wobbles took a deep breath, then climbed up onto the gate. Suddenly, that seemed higher, too, and her hair brushed against the hedge. Some of it caught, and she jumped down into the garden leaving golden strands of hair in the hedge.
“This is so not a good idea,” she said to herself, then hurried after Ellie, who was marching along the gravel path towards the front door. Behind her, the hedge seemed to droop until it touched the top of the gate, barring the path out onto the road.
“Lisa, it’s really dark here!” called back Ellie, as she trotted up the path towards the door. “I hope it isn’t going to rain for your barbeque!”
Wobbles ran after her as fast as she could. Several of the taller plants in the garden turned to watch her, and a few shook their stems, as their roots seemed to lift out of the ground. The flowers were black, or purple, and not very nice.
Ellie reached the Front Door to Miss Leech’s house, and turned back to look down the path. “Lisa, I don’t like this!” she called. “Why don’t we just go back to yours, now?”
“Mum told me I had to knock on the door,” replied Wobbles, panting for breath.
Ellie turned, and banged her fist twice on the door.
“Oi! Why didn’t you use me? Where are your manners!” demanded the door knocker.
Ellie was so surprised, she sat down in front of the door, then jumped up again quickly when the door mat bit her on the bottom.
“Anyone got any ketchup?” asked the doormat.
“Come on. I think we need to get away!” Wobbles said to her friend, grabbing her by the arm.
“Suits me,” replied Ellie, and the two girls turned to run back up the path.
“You are going nowhere,” snarled the letter box, rattling its hinges.
“Who said that?” asked Ellie, in a wobbly voice.
“You don’t want to know!” replied Wobbles, and pulled at Ellie’s sleeve, then started running.
“It’s dinner time!” yelled the door knocker, and in front of the girls the grass started to ripple, and several of the plants started to move.
Wobbles and Ellie were almost at the gate, when a tall plant suddenly moved to the edge of the gravel path, and waved it’s leaves in front of them.
“Dinner time – for me!” grinned the plant.
Wobbles and Ellie stopped running, and hugged each other. Even Wobbles was afraid of this plant! It had big purple flowers, which dripped something sticky and nasty. Slowly the plant moved towards them.
“Let us go!” yelled Wobbles, sounding braver than she felt. The leaves started to reach out for her, then suddenly fell back, as the whole plant shivered.
“Just run!” hissed Karl, gripping the plant as hard as he could, and winding his coils around the stem.
“Karl!” gasped Wobbles, “What are you doing?”
“What does it look like?” replied the snake.
Ellie shrank back against Wobbles. First a nasty plant, then a talking snake! It was no wonder she was very, very frightened.
“I don’t know,” answered Wobbles, who could see very little of the snake amongst the waving leaves.
“I’m saving your life, of course!” Karl hissed, quite hurt. “Do you want me to stop?”
“Er, no thank you,” Wobbles said. Then she and Ellie ran for the gate. The hedge seemed very close to the top, but the two girls squeezed over the gate, and found themselves back in bright sunshine on the road. A moment later, Karl joined them, sliding under a gap in the hedge.
“That was fun. Not.” Karl said. “Whatever did you go in there for?”
“My Mum told me to knock on the door,” replied Wobbles.
“Parents!” hissed Karl, annoyed. “What do they know, then?”
“The door spoke to me!” said Ellie, edging away from the snake.
“What did it say? Open Sesame?” sneered Karl.
“No. Dinner Time. What would a door eat?”
“Little girls, I expect,” sniffed the snake. “I’m going back to Snort’s place, to report to Rose Bush. You two should be very nice to her, sending me to look after you saved your lives.”
“Thank you Karl,” replied Wobbles. The python drew himself up on his coils, gave her a sniffy hiss, and slithered away.
“Have we just been talking to a snake?” stammered Ellie.
“Yes,” Wobbles told her. “he’s sort of a friend of mine, only not very friendly.”
“I don’t know which was worse, Lisa. That snake or the horrid garden.”
“Come on,” Wobbles said to Ellie, and dragged her friend away from the gate. The hedge went back to a normal height again, and the gate clicked its latch in a very rude way.
“Now what!” exclaimed Ellie as they reached the drive into Wobble’s house. She pointed with a shaking arm at a small man, sat beside the gate, munching on a ginger nut biscuit.
“Oh, that’s just Kenny,” Wobbles replied.
“You seem to know some very weird people, Lisa,” worried Ellie.
“Are ye calling me weird?” demanded Kenny, looking cross.
“She’s just upset. We’ve been in Miss Leech’s garden,” explained Wobbles.
“Oh, Aye, well, then.” Kenny took another bite of biscuit, and sprayed the crumbs everywhere as he carried on speaking.
“Well, you’ll be a bit upset, too. The goblins!”
“Goblins?” asked Ellie, not believing her ears.
“What about the goblins?” asked Wobbles, alarmed.
“They‘ve taken them Lizard eggs from next door, so they have.”
“I don’t care about some silly eggs,” Wobbles told him. Kenny grinned, widely.
“And they’ve tekken Mister Tremble, and that JC!”
Wobbles mouth dropped open.
“Ye’ll catch more than flies in that!” said Kenny, throwing a biscuit at the target. He missed, and Wobbles shut her mouth. Kenny picked up the biscuit, and examined it for damage.
“Och, yes, and they took yer big brother Jeremy, too,” added Kenny. “Will ye be wanting to get him back? Or can they eat him, this time?”