Authors: Colin Thompson
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The Floods 4: Survivor
ePub ISBN 9781864715705
Kindle ISBN 9781864717013
This work is fictitious. Any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental.
Random House Australia Pty Ltd
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First published by Random House Australia 2007
Copyright © Colin Thompson 2007
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
National Library of Australia
Thompson, Colin (Colin Edward).
For primary school children.
ISBN 978 1 74166 129 3 (pbk.).
1. Witches – Juvenile fiction. 2. Wizards – Juvenile fiction. I. Title.
(Series: Thompson, Colin (Colin Edward) Floods; 4).
Illustrations by Colin Thompson
Can you spot the 2,873 differences between the two pictures?
to find the answers.
If you haven’t read the first three Floods books, you are probably feeling like you are a complete failure, which of course you are. However, it’s your lucky day because there is a way to stop being a failure and start living a full and fantastic life. All you have to do is read the first three Floods books.
If you borrow them from a library or a friend, that’s fine – though if you go out and buy them, then you will become a totally brilliant person and are guaranteed to be a huge success, incredibly popular, stunningly rich and good looking.
Yes, it’s true, all these great achievements can be yours simply by buying your own copies of the three Floods books that came before this one.
However, if you are too poor or mean or lazy or Belgian or simply impatient to bother with the first three books, this is what you have missed…
The Floods are a family of witches and wizards who live in Acacia Avenue – an ordinary street in an ordinary town, just the sort of place you and I might live. The first Floods book is called
because it’s all about the neighbours from hell who live next door to the Floods. You will be delighted to know that by the end of the book, the nasty neighbours have all been disposed of in suitably nasty ways.
Nerlin and Mordonna Flood have seven children. The eldest, Valla, has left school and is the manager of the local blood bank, a job he got by draining the blood out of the previous manager and all the other applicants who applied to replace him.
The little number you can see at the end of the previous sentence refers to a footnote at the bottom of this page. It does not mean there is something written on your foot, though Nerlin actually does have his own name written on the bottom of his foot in case he forgets it, or worse still loses his foot. Of course, if he loses the foot that doesn’t have his name written on it, then he’ll have to hop everywhere.
The next five children go to a wonderful school for witches and wizards in Patagonia. Their school is called Quicklime College. You can read about this school, which makes Hogwarts look like
a really boring TAFE, in the second Floods book,
Nerlin and Mordonna have not always lived in Acacia Avenue. They come from a land far, far away, a dark secretive country hidden in unmapped mountains and gloomy valleys between Transylvania and the endless pine forests of deepest Russia. This mysterious place is called Transylvania Waters, and the story of how Nerlin and Mordonna met, fell in love, escaped, fled round the world, had several children and ended up in Acacia Avenue is all written down in the third Floods book,
Home & Away
Betty, the youngest of the Floods, goes to an ordinary school just down the road, like you might go to. You can read about it by turning to the next page and moving your eyes backwards and forwards until you have read all the words. Then turn the page over and keep on reading until you reach the end of this book.
Right, off you go…
When Betty Flood was born, there wasn’t a single child the same age as her anywhere in Acacia Avenue. There were some older girls who went past her house each day on their way to school, and there was a strange boy at number 27 who should have gone to school but didn’t because his even stranger parents decided they could teach him everything he would ever want to know themselves. Which they couldn’t, though the strange boy, Nautilus, did know much more about earthworms than anyone else in the town, apart from his father, who obviously knew a bit more because he had taught
Nautilus. Nautilus also knew an amazing amount of stuff about slugs, which his mother had taught him, but he didn’t know how to cover them in chocolate and turn them into delicious snacks like Betty and her mother, Mordonna, did.
Nor did Betty have any cousins to play with. In fact, she didn’t even know if she had any cousins. Her mother said Betty had an Aunt Howler back in Transylvania Waters, but Mordonna thought it very unlikely that Howler had married. If she did have children they probably wouldn’t be the sort of cousins Betty would want to play with, unless she was wearing a radioactive protection suit and enjoyed being bitten by things with green teeth. Betty’s father, Nerlin, wasn’t sure if he had any brothers or sisters because his parents didn’t like to talk about that sort of thing.
As soon as she was old enough to do stuff in the kitchen, Betty decided to make her own friends. She made gingerbread friends with currants for eyes, in a tin that had enough room to make six friends at a time. After Betty had eaten five of them, she
took the last one up to her room and, because she was a witch and could do magic stuff, she made it come to life.
At first it was great having a little friend to talk to and play with. Betty dressed it up in dolls’ clothes and the two of them ran around the garden chasing butterflies and birds, though sometimes the birds turned and chased Betty’s little playmate and tried to peck out its currant eyes – especially the magpies, which are famous for liking currants and sultanas.
The trouble was that although she had made the gingerbread friend come to life, it still smelled like gingerbread. So as the afternoon wore on and lunchtime became further and further in the past and teatime was still a long way off, Betty began to get hungry. She kept looking at her little friend happily skipping through the grass, leaving a trail of crumbs behind it, and instead of dressing it in tiny frocks and tucking it up in bed, Betty wanted to bite its head off and tuck it up in her tummy. Because she was a kind child, Betty turned her friend back into a biscuit before she ate it, but she still felt a bit miserable afterwards.
‘Well, it’s your own fault,’ said Mordonna. ‘That’s what happens if you eat between meals.’
This went on until Betty was ten years old. One week she made gingerbread girls. Another week she created marzipan twins and then a butterscotch boy, but her favourite friend was meringue man, who was big and bouncy and full of sugar. She tried bringing jelly babies to life, but they were too small to play with and she kept standing on them.
During the summer holidays when Betty had her eleventh birthday, a new family arrived in Acacia Avenue three doors away at number 19.
Mordonna and Betty hid behind a big bush in their front garden and watched as the new family’s furniture was unloaded.
There was a man, a woman and two children and they all looked seriously old-fashioned, which is another way of saying boring. There was a baby, who was probably a boy, though it could have been either, and there was a girl who looked about the same age as Betty.
‘Look, darling,’ said Mordonna. ‘Someone
your own age to play with at last.’
‘Oh yes, wonderful,’ said Betty. ‘Mr and Mrs Nerd and their nerdy daughter.’
‘Now, now,’ said Mordonna. ‘How many times have I told you that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover?’
‘Never, actually,’ said Betty, who was not in a good mood. She’d been hoping someone her own age would move into Acacia Avenue, but now it had actually happened the newcomer looked about
as exciting as a wet fish in a bucket of mud.
‘I’m sure I have,’ said Mordonna. ‘After all, look at our family. Just imagine what people would think if they looked at us but didn’t really know what we were like.’
‘They’d probably think we were a bunch of witches and wizards,’ said Betty.
‘Well, yes, but…’
‘Which we are.’
‘Yes, I know. But people might look at us and think we do all sorts of weird and dangerous magic,’ said Mordonna.
do all sorts of weird and dangerous magic,’ said Betty.
‘Well, yes,’ said Mordonna, ‘but what I mean is, people would look at us and think we’re really evil.’
‘But we –’ Betty began.
‘No we’re not,’ Mordonna interrupted. ‘We’re
really nice. What I mean is, appearances can be really deceptive, darling. Look at your brother Winchflat. Some people would think he was terrifying, but he wouldn’t harm a fly.’
‘Well, no, he wouldn’t harm it, but he might give it an extra head or make it become a metre long,’ said Betty.
‘By the way, when did you see him last?’
‘I think it was nearly a week ago,’ said Mordonna, ‘when we had those fabulous braised maggots for dinner.’
‘I wouldn’t worry,’ said Betty. ‘You know what he’s like. He’ll be off somewhere creating some brilliant invention.’
‘I’m sure he is,’ said Mordonna. ‘But just remember him when you judge people by their looks. Things are not always what they seem.’
‘Yeah, right,’ said Betty. ‘So you’re telling me that we just look like witches and wizards, but really we’re all Sunday School teachers in disguise?’
‘Now you’re just being silly,’ said Mordonna.
‘Well, I think the new family look really nerdy and boring,’ said Betty. ‘So does their furniture.’
‘Some people like footstools, darling,’ said Mordonna. ‘Though I was never a big fan of Skivvytex myself – I find your thighs get all sweaty and stick to it.’
‘It reminds me of something,’ said Betty.
‘Yes, your grandmother’s skin.’
‘Skin?’ What skin? Where?’ said Satanella,
who had been burying next door’s cat under a camellia bush.
She looked over at the new neighbours. ‘Mmm, that baby looks nice. I love babies, they always smell great and have food down their fronts. Yum, yum.’
‘Well, I think we should go and welcome them to Acacia Avenue,’ said Mordonna.
‘No thank you,’ said Betty.
‘Oh yes you will, young lady, or you’ll be in big trouble,’ Mordonna snapped.
‘Oh, all right, I suppose a nerdy friend is probably better than no friend,’ said Betty. ‘Anyway, I can always do magic on her.’
‘No, you can’t. I absolutely forbid it. You know your magic always goes wrong.’
‘Not always, but OK,’ said Betty. ‘I’ll bake them a welcome cake, then, shall I?’
‘That would be lovely, darling,’ said Mordonna. ‘Just one thing, though. Until we get to know them a bit better, I’d leave the crystallised cockroaches off the top. Some people are a bit funny about dead insects.’
‘So no mouse ears embedded in the icing either?’
‘Probably not a good idea. And I’d leave off those little bows you’re so good at making out of rat’s intestines.’
‘OK. I’ll just do a plain old chocolate cake,’ said Betty. ‘Humans seem to like them best.’
Satanella wagged her tail at her mother. ‘Can I come with you to meet them, Mum?’
Mordonna patted her on the head. ‘No, darling, better wait till we know them a bit better before you start licking their baby.’
Over the next few days, Betty hid up a tree and watched the new girl and her baby brother playing in their back garden. The girl’s playing looked very boring, the sort of playing a nerdy girl
do. First she skipped round the lawn in one direction five times, then she skipped round in the opposite direction five times. The only time she did anything different was when she tripped on the skipping rope and fell over.