The Puppet Spell by @ELAdams12 - Contemporary YA Fantasy Adventure #excerpt

The Puppet Spell

by E. L. Adams

Cover links to Amazon


Chapter One
The Storeroom

We’d only been at our new house five minutes and, predictably, Lucinda had already run off.

Throughout the journey, she had complained nonstop about how unfair it was that we were moving again, that she preferred our old house and that she’d be going back there today whether anyone else was living there or not. I’d heard it a million times before, and even Uncle Devon turned up the car radio to muffle her complaints.

‘For heaven’s sake, Lucinda,’ he said. ‘You’re fifteen, not five. Stop being so dramatic.’

Lucinda ignored him, as usual, and continued to mutter to herself, casting dark looks at the rows of houses we passed. They looked like cardboard cut-outs, all identically tall and narrow, like lines of blunt pencils. Everything around us was grey, as if someone had forgotten to add colour to the picture. It matched Lucinda’s mood perfectly.

We drove round in circles for at least an hour before Uncle Devon finally spotted the sign that read ‘Ivory Crescent’. I felt like making a sarcastic comment as he parked the car, but Lucinda got there first.

‘Well, isn’t this wonderful,’ she said, looking around disdainfully, like a queen who’d just been relocated to the slums. ‘I thought the last place was bad enough.’

For the last couple of months, we’d lived in what you might call a ‘rough area’. It was pretty bad, even by our standards. On one occasion, someone had even lobbed a brick through our window. However much Lucinda might complain now, I knew she was as relieved as I was that Uncle Devon had announced the move. Even if it was barely a ten-minute drive away from the estate.

‘Let me guess, you’ve forgotten which one it is,’ she said, as Uncle Devon studied the row of dilapidated terraced houses in front of us. Weeds were the only plants in the run-down gardens, and rubbish bags were scattered everywhere, spilling their contents onto the pavements. The smell of rotting food pervaded the air, making us wrinkle our noses in disgust. Even the lamp-posts looked like they were wilting on the spot, drooping like old men over the cracked paving stones.

Uncle Devon fitted right in here. Even when dressed in his best he always seemed dishevelled. He had the appearance of a bedraggled mop, with his curly greying hair and narrow face, and always wore the same grubby faded jeans and a t-shirt the same colour as the pavement.

‘It’s definitely one of these,’ he said, frowning.

Lucinda gave one of her famous melodramatic sighs as I spotted our cat, Spider, sitting on a doorstep. At his feet was a chipped plate bearing the number ‘27’; it had clearly fallen off the wall.

Looking relieved, Uncle Devon pushed open the gate. Spider yawned, in a way that said It’s about time. I’ve been waiting ages for you.

‘That cat,’ I said, ‘is psychic. How many times is this now that he’s found our new house before we have?’

‘I brought him here in the removal van,’ said Uncle Devon, by way of an explanation.

I wasn’t convinced. Spider seemed to have a better memory than Uncle Devon, let alone other cats. I knew that cats could have an amazing sense of direction, but Spider’s nose was like a tracker dog’s.

At that moment a water balloon flew out of an upstairs window. It hit Uncle Devon right on the head, drenching him from head to toe, and splattering me and Lucinda. Laughter echoed from above.

Lucinda let out a shriek. ‘There’s someone already in there!’