The Moon Stealers and The Children of the Light

BOOK: The Moon Stealers and The Children of the Light
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The Moon Stealers

Book 4

 

The Children of the Light

By Tim Flanagan

 

Available from Tim Flanagan:

The
Moon Stealers and the Quest for the Silver Bough (Book 1)

The
Moon Stealers and the Queen of the Underworld (Book 2)

The
Moon Stealers and The Everlasting Night (Book 3)

The
Moon Stealers and The Children of the Light (Book 4)

The
Curious Disappearance of Professor Brown

Lawrence
Pinkley's Casebook. Vol. 1

 

Copyright Tim Flanagan 2013

Tim Flanagan has asserted his moral right to be
identified as the author of this work in accordance with the Copyright, Designs
and Patents Act 1988

Notes
to accompany Book
4
 

In
Book 1, The Moon Stealers and the Quest for the Silver Bough, we met
Steven Knight, an MI6 operative, who is sent from
London
to investigate a meteorite landing site in
Yorkshire
.
At the core of the meteorite was a bacteria that was unique and had never been
seen before on Earth. Before leaving, Steven met Coldred, an American scientist
who experimented on the bacteria and discovered that it was deadly to humans.
Aided by Georgia Brown, an MI6 field assistant, Steven's investigations
uncovered evidence that showed the bacteria was evolving into living creatures
that were rapidly becoming a threat to civilisation. Meanwhile Sir
Edgar,
a Knight from King Arthur’s time, and three children: Joe, Max, and Scarlet,
journey across
Edinburgh
,
trying to find the Silver Bough, a magical flute that opens portals to the
Underworld where they believe their friend Peter Crisp went to escape the
creatures.

The creatures coordinate an attack on Parsley Bottom
forcing Steven and Georgia to escape with Tracker, a gamekeeper, to the nearby
English country home of Butterwick Hall where they remained unharmed until the
morning.
As Sir Edgar and the children open the portal
and jump into the Underworld they are attacked by the Moon Stealers and Edgar
accidentally becomes infected with the alien bacteria.

In Book 2, The Queen of the
Underworld, Sir Edgar and the children journey across a foreign land but
quickly become wrapped up in a war against the Faerie Queen, who also holds
Peter captive. Edgar's illness slowly gets worse, whilst Scarlet learns how to
telepathically communicate with plants and animals. Separated from the group,
Max joins forces with the Green Huntsmen and leads them into battle upon the
back of a unicorn. Once Peter has been rescued, they find the nearest portal
and jump back to their own world together with Lady Flora, the mother of nature,
who vowed to help them in their quest to rid their world of the Moon Stealers.
Unknown to them, a grey hooded figure follows them through the portal.

The Everlasting Night, Book 3, picks
up the story of
Steven
,
Georgia
and Tracker who are locked safely in the servant’s
kitchen at Butterwick Hall. They hear a voice on the radio calling for
survivors to make their way to
London
and join a group that was establishing itself inside
the American Embassy. On their journey to
London
, they rescue a young girl, Annie, whose parents had
been taken by the creatures. Upon arriving in
London
, they meet Coldred once again, and discover that
Tracker is a relative of the British monarch. In his effort to control his
community, Coldred does not distribute his store of antibiotics amongst the
group, concentrating only on those that support him and can help him in his
quest for ultimate power and control. He is not pleased to see Steven again.
After a close encounter with the creatures that leaves
Georgia
wounded, they move to
Fort
Halstead
in
Kent
and begin to lay the foundations for a new community
there. Meanwhile, Coldred has moved his community to the
Isle of Wight
, together with Annie and others who are held captive
like slaves.
Steven
,
Georgia
and Tracker set off for the island hoping to rescue
Annie.

Book 4, The Children of the Light,
takes place immediately after Sir Edgar and the children jump through the
portal from the Underworld.

 
 

Table of Contents

 

Notes to accompany Book 4
.
2

1. Ingleton Forest
5

2. The Light of the
White Knight
12

3. The Grey Man
..
20

4. Invasion Plans
.
26

5. The Mind of a Moon
Stealer
.
32

6. Following the Path
of Water
.
39

7. On the Edge of the
Solent
45

8. The Italian
Restaurant
54

9. The Pendle Hill
Witches
.
61

10. Watching the world
from a distance
.
67

11. Beach Landing
..
72

12. A Frosty Visitor
.
77

13. The Forest of Dean
..
86

14. A Close Encounter
.
92

15. The Wailing Wall
100

16. Life after Death
..
107

17. Destiny Beckons
.
114

18. Across the Island
..
118

19. Obedient Migration
..
124

20. Community
Integration
..
132

21. The Checkpoint
137

22. Andromeda's
Sacrifice
.
145

23. The Trail of Blood
..
154

24. Rallying the Troops
.
159

25. The Road to Avalon
..
168

26. Across Tryfan
..
175

27. Slaves to the
Community
.
184

28. Return to Osborne
House
.
190

29. A World within a
World
..
197

30. A Choice for the
Greater Good
..
206

31. The Uprising
..
216

32. Completing the
Family
.
226

33. The Druid's Oak
.
232

34. The Final Showdown
..
239

35. The Building blocks
of Life
.
247

About the Author
.
250

 
1.
Ingleton
Forest
 

The shadows of the thick forest elm trees that bordered
the town of
Ingleton
would normally provide perfect cover for a young wild
deer to nuzzle through the decayed leaf mulch in search of food. But, this was
no longer a safe forest to live in. An uninvited guest that was deadly and
relentless had moved in.

The carpet of leaf and soil was soft beneath the deer’s
feet allowing it to tread discreetly from one shaft of darkness to another.
Even with its nose down, ploughing a trough through the mulch on its search for
fresh roots, grass and stray berries, its large glassy eyes remained alert,
watching warily for any movement. The deer’s ears twitched and jerked as it
listened to the sounds of the forest.

If it was to survive, the deer would have to use all
of its senses to protect it from the night.

The last time the deer had foraged in the forest was
the night it had first seen the strange black animal. It had been alerted by
the unhappy hoot of an owl that had been disturbed from its perch. The deer had
watched a black shadow glide above the gaps in the canopy. Although every
primal instinct told the deer that it should run, curiosity made it pause and
continue to watch. The bat-like shape silently cut through the air, moving
effortlessly from one tree canopy to another, only betraying its presence when
it landed on a branch that bowed and creaked beneath its weight. The wave of
curiosity quickly disappeared as it picked up the raw stench of fear that
drifted across the forest floor like a heavy winter fog, chilling everything in
a blanket of despair. The deer’s hooves had felt like they were glued to the ground,
fear preventing it from moving.

Then the unknown creatures had landed on the forest
floor. She remembered they had lurched across the ground, snapping at each
other with every step. They had taken advantage of the forest animal’s
confusion, attacking every thing they saw.

And they were quick.

Quick to leap onto an unsuspecting rabbit, quick to
launch into the sky to snatch a bird as it desperately tried to fly away. And
quick to survey the forest and identify prey.

Eventually instinct, mixed with the metallic tang of
blood, had spurred the deer into action. It pulled its heavy legs from the
forest floor and began to run. And it ran, faster than it ever knew it was
capable. It sprang amongst the hawthorn and ivy, dodged the tree trunks, slid
through narrow gaps, then dived into an area of undergrowth that scratched and
tore at its fur.

But, even then it didn’t stop.

Behind it came the cries of animals that were being unceremoniously
slaughtered, mixed together with the excited screams of these strange creatures.
But then the sound of a deep horn reverberated through the forest.

The deer stopped running and listened.

It had heard the call from a stag it recognised. The calling
sound of the dominant male of their herd. The deep vibrating sound ended in
fragmented breaths and was replaced by an excited chirping noise and a high
pitched scream.

The male was down. The young deer was alone.

Over the last week the deer had grown hungrier every
day. Fear kept it hidden amongst the bracken in the deepest part of the forest,
but hunger had now begun to make it desperate and reckless. Other animals had retreated
to the same part of the forest, gathered into one area that reduced their
hunting ground and made food all the more scarce. It would only be a matter of
time before the shadowy creatures explored the forest and found them.

One by one desperation had caused the forest animals to
venture out of the undergrowth in search of food. But, the deer had stayed. It
waited to see if other deer came, or even the humans, but nothing happened
except that the other animals never returned. As the days passed, the need for
food grew desperate. One occasion the deer had left the undergrowth along with
some of the other forest animals but the competition for insects and tender
young leaves was too great and fights quickly broke out. Being a young and
immature animal, she withdrew back amongst the undergrowth.

Tonight it had ventured out into the forest on its own,
the deer’s hunger finally forcing it out of its hiding place. The deer had not
seen a black shadow since that first night, but all around it could smell the unfamiliar
scent mixed with the harsh smell of blood and decay. As it pushed its velvety nose
forward once more it uncovered the half eaten remains of a fox. It jumped
nervously back, muscles tensed and ready to retreat back to its hiding place.
But the fox wasn’t going to hurt the young deer. The fox couldn’t hurt
anything, half the soft flesh from its underbelly was missing, scooped out by a
mouth whose teeth had clawed at the flesh and torn it into thin fibres. The
deer continued, nuzzling a path around the fox carcass, picking up any stray
berries it came across.

The night was silent. The lighter parts of the forest where
the quantity of trees thinned were the areas the deer avoided the most,
preferring to stay close to the trees and the shadows they cast.

It came across a small clutch of fallen berries that
had dropped from a mountain ash tree and quickly began to gather them in its
mouth. Unknown to the deer, its progress through the forest had been watched.
In the tree above, a black shadow weightlessly dropped from a high branch, its
leathery wings tucked back, making it more streamlined so that it increased its
speed as it fell. The ivory coloured hooks that protruded from its feet began
to open out ready to plunge it into the soft flesh of the deer’s neck.

In a small clearing to the right of the deer a small
silvery light had begun to emerge. Metallic coloured ripples or water began circling
in mid-air, expanding outward as if a large droplet of mercury had landed
vertically in the air and disturbed an invisible pool. Once the ripples reached
the edge of the pool more would follow until there was a complete disc of
silver hanging weightlessly in the air.

The creature turned to this new light, its descent interrupted.

The forest was no longer silent. The air was filled
with a sucking sound followed by a hiss as several humans stumbled through the
centre of the disc and landed on the forest floor. The deer had already sprung
back into a safer part of the forest, disturbed by the light and noise. The
black shadow pulled out of its descent. It skimmed across the forest floor, whipping
up loose surface leaves that got caught in the downdraft created by the creature's
wings. It then skilfully turned and glided in the direction of the new
arrivals. Four small humans and two adults were brushing dead leaves from their
clothes, unaware of the imminent attack.

The creature released a guttural rasp as it opened its
mouth ready to attack. It darted between the thick birch trees towards the
nearest human whose back was exposed and unprotected.

Scarlet Baxley bent down to brush the leaf mould from
her trousers.

‘Where are we?’ she asked the other humans.

‘Stay down!’ shouted an elderly man that stood beside
to her, squinting at a black shadow that seemed to be moving towards them through
the darkness.

Instinctively, Scarlet dropped her body to the ground.
Sir Edgar, King Arthur’s immortal knight, swung a white sword gracefully into
the air where Scarlet’s head had been moments before. The sword cut through the
air, but failed to contact anything. Scarlet twisted on the floor, catching
sight of a black shadow that swept up towards the higher branches of a tree to
land weightlessly on a branch. The forest was then filled with a high pitched
shrill that made them all clutch at their ears.

‘Come on,’ said Sir Edgar. ‘We need to find shelter.’
He grabbed Scarlet by her coat and lifted her back onto her feet, whilst cautiously
watching the shadow in the branches above.

‘Is it one of those creatures?’ she asked nervously.

‘Yes, and I think it’s calling for assistance.’

The other children: Peter Crisp, Max Scott and Joe
Allen, had jumped through the portal and back to their own world, but hadn’t
expected to come under attack straight away. Their world had changed since they
had left, and not for the better.

‘There is so much death and so much silence here. The
animals hide in fear, the trees are violated and dirty,’ said a lady dressed in
a mossy green gown. Lady Flora, the Mother of Nature from the Underworld,
rested one of her hands gently against a tree trunk, connecting her mind to the
soul of the forest.

‘We should move somewhere safer,’ instructed Sir
Edgar, eager to move on.

‘Wait,’ replied Lady Flora. ‘I feel something else.
Movement. There is life.’ She turned to Sir Edgar with a hopeful smile on her
face, but that smile quickly faded. ‘We run,’ she added gravely. ‘A swarm of
fear and death is heading this way.’

Edgar needed no further instruction. Behind them the
silver disc was receding, but before it disappeared another figure suddenly jumped
through and landed heavily on the ground at the human’s feet. In a suck of air
the disc vanished and darkness filled the forest once again. The white light that
pulsated from Edgar’s sword illuminated the forest in a ghostly glow.

Instinctively, Sir Edgar swung his sword towards the
intruder, not knowing if it was a deadly Donestre that had followed them from
the Underworld. But the figure was smaller and cloaked in a tatty grey fabric.
In a swift move, the grey figure lifted a huge sword from beneath his robes and
blocked Edgar. The sword was well used, tarnished and chipped with a hook at
the end. Edgar recognised it as the weapon of a Donestre and instinctively
began pulling his sword back ready to attack their pursuer from the Underworld
again.

‘I am a friend, sir,’ the cloaked man said quickly. Edgar
kept his sword raised, ready to attack if needed.

‘I mean you no harm,’ continued the cloaked man. ‘I
just wanted to get back to my own world.’ The man pulled the hood off his face.
The man’s skin looked old and weathered, his eyes tired.

‘I recognise you,’ said Max. ‘I was in the prisoner’s
carriage that was travelling the

Shadow Road
with you. You managed to escape when the Rangers
freed us.’

‘The Grey Man,’ muttered Lady Flora. ‘I thought the
stories were just village rumours and hearsay.’

‘This world is my home. I have waited a long time to
find a way back,’ replied the cloaked figure.

Sir Edgar lowered his sword, allowing the Grey Man to
stand up.

As if to remind them of the danger that was approaching,
the creature in the tree canopy released another scream that ripped painfully
through the night air.

‘The swarm is getting closer,’ warned Lady Flora. Around
them the forest was beginning to erupt in a sound that began as a gentle
distant hiss of leaves being disturbed, but quickly grew into a torrent of
breaking branches mixed with excited chirping and throaty rasps as row upon row
of creatures approached at speed, and in overwhelmingly large numbers.

Together the humans ran.

It didn’t matter which direction they went, as long as
it was away from the approaching storm of creatures eager for food.

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