Monday, 21 January 2013

Mordant's men of menace - Extract from The Runaway Children 1

After their parents are arrested, Miles and Alice flee across the playing field nearby. But the menacing men in black are on the children's trail........
            "Which way did they go?" the men were yelling. "Spread out," one of them said, and Miles and Alice could only freeze at the sound of shrubs being kicked and of twigs being broken underfoot. At one point, a man came within yards of their hiding place, and was just about to find them when one of his colleagues called out, "There's a ditch to your left. Look down there!"
With the man out of earshot, Miles and Alice began crawling on their elbows, commando-style, through the prickly bushes to get deeper into the wood. Before long, they came upon a fallen hollow tree trunk which had just enough room for the two of them to curl up inside. Miles pulled a branch up behind them so as to conceal the entrance, and from their hiding place, the children squashed together, hardly able to move.
Just in time: a split second later an enormous pair of feet could be heard approaching the old tree trunk. "Stay here, Skinner." was the command. "I'll station myself at the north end of the wood, Brown will guard the west side and the others can flush them out."
"Okay, Griswold," said his companion. Once his superior was out of sight, Skinner sat down on the trunk. He was easily the biggest of the men with an unbelievably wide bottom, and as soon as he made contact with the fallen tree, it creaked ominously. All Miles and Alice could do was pray their hiding place would hold up under the strain. Moments later and to their great relief, they heard another shout.
"Oi! Skinner! Get off your fat behind and start searching! The boss ain't moving 'til we get those brats!"
Skinner leapt up, but in doing so, the weight of his bottom dislodged the tree which jolted into motion and began to roll downhill - slowly at first, then gathering speed, flattening everything in its path as the hill dropped perilously towards the river that gushed through the gully below. Miles and Alice held their breaths, unable to scream, helpless and stiff with terror. Being so tightly packed into the trunk helped brace their bodies against much of the impact, but it was still the most terrifying white-knuckle ride theyd ever experienced! (USA)

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