Here is an exclusive peek at my book BAD ELF.
A BAD ACORN
In a land far away, in a very cold place, a place colder than your fridge, far colder than eating six ice-creams in snow or even colder still than sticking your tongue to an icy pole on winter’s day, is the Surprising Forest.
In the Surprising Forest is tall oak tree after oak tree after oak tree after…you get the idea. And every Autumn the acorns fall to the ground to be picked up and stored by the Little Fluff Squirrels. Now, when Winter comes, the Little Fluff Squirrels hide away from the cold to protect their little toesies and spend their time snoring their heads off.
And when spring comes, those same Little Fluff Squirrels finally get out of bed and go get something to eat. The Little Fluff Squirrels usually find most of the acorns they have stored away in their hidey places and groggle them up. The lazy, greedy pigs! But some acorns, just a few of the special emerald green acorns are forgotten. There they lie, waiting for the first full moon of Spring. And when it arrives, reflecting its magical light onto the forest floor, little elves hatch out of the acorns like ugly chicks from eggs. But here’s the strangest thing: every single one of them is fully grown; a little man, with a long beard and everything. This is true. I swear to you, no lie.
But when the Bad Elf was born things were different. When his acorn fell, no Little Fluff Squirrels wanted to touch it – they hid from it! It lay there, in its bleak place, alone. Not a wonderful, emerald green colour but a dark, dark black. A black so dark that if you peered at it, you would feel like you were falling, down, down, down forever.
So there it lay. Untouched. Waiting.
Waiting for the moon to shine. And when it did shine, the acorn cracked open like knuckles and a dreadful smell oozed out of it, across the forest floor, turning any fallen leaves to dust and the forest to silence.
Out rose the Bad Elf, a fully grown little man, with a long beard and eyes of flame. This was the beginning of Bob.
THE BAD ELF
Once upon a time, in a land far away, lived an elf called Bob. Now, most elves spend their days happily making toys for Good Little Girls and Good Little Boys ready for Christmas. But not this elf. Not Bob. Bob was BAD (in big, bold writing, underlined a hundred times).
As everybody knows, elves dress in smart green. They wear little, green, pointed elfish hats and green, elfish clothes and little, green, pointed elfish shoes. But Bob didn’t. Oh no. He hated green. He thought it was a stupid, stinky, bogey colour like lumpy sick crusted on the tongue. He loved black. He wore a black pointed hat, black clothes and black, haRD boots. And what’s more, on Sundays, he wore a black leather jacket (with spikes sticking out) with a skull & cross-bones painted large on the back.
As everybody knows, elves love Christmas (in giant red writing with hearts drawn around) and it just so happened it was twelve days before Christmas so everyelf was immensely cheerful. Almost.
Jingle all the way…
Can you believe it? That’s the fourth time they’ve played that blodgy song in a row. Are they nuts? Bob violently slammed down his little hammer onto the small wooden wheel of a car causing the car to splinter into hundreds of pieces. He shoved them off his work bench onto the floor. Bob peered down at the pieces for a second and then ground them with the heel of his boot. That was better.
Just then, a toy steam train gave a happy toot-toot as it pulled a single, open carriage along the tiny track from the far side of the immense factory towards a centre platform. Bob eyed it with loathing as the train wound its way between the many elves at workbenches, over conveyor belts and between stacks of boxed toys. It was that time again. The little engine seemed to puff an extra cloud of smoke as it quickly rounded a corner in front of Bob’s workbench, gave a cheery toot as if to say hello, then ascended up the rail to the platform where it came to a halt. Immediately, a pair of mechanical bronze hands shot upwards, out of the platform, grabbed the single gold envelope from the carriage and opened it. The music was silenced. The gold paper from within the gold envelope was held by the mechanical hands in front of the little train’s two green eyes. A hush descended on the elves in the room. Not a nail was hammered or a screw turned. It was time.
The little engine gave two hoots of its whistle like a town-crier on his bell then said, in an annoyingly high and squeaky voice full of steam, ‘The elf who gets the honour, the great privilege of tending the reindeers is…’ there was an annoying unnecessary pause, ‘…Bob. Congratulations, Bob!’ and with that, it tooted twice and began to make its way down the platform and out of the room.
Bob was speechless. The other elves warmly patted him on the back, congratulating him on receiving such an honour. He must be the happiest and luckiest elf alive! Bob said nothing. He just stared at the cheery little thing as it made its way; watching it, intently. It came to the corner just before him..
‘STOP!’ yelled Bob, taking the train by surprise so it screeched to a halt, almost popping a piston.
‘Yes, Bob?’ it squeaked in possibly an even more annoying and squeaky voice.
‘Are you sure there is no mistake? No error? Are you certain it is me?’
‘Very certain. I read exactly what was written. Father Christmas doesn’t make mistakes. He is Father Christmas,’ it puffed.
‘It’s just that this is the fourth time I’ve been given the honour this week,’ Bob explained.
‘No mistake. You’re just lucky,’ it steamed, tooted twice and sped away.
Bob stared after the little engine as it reached the far wall and disappeared down a little tunnel made from wrapping paper. For a moment, just a brief moment, Bob’s eyes faintly burned as congratulations fell on him like heavy rain.
Bob, grumbling, pushed open the heavy, wooden factory door and made his way through the deep snow. Horrible stuff. Who likes snow? There were rumours that Good Little Girls and Good Little Boys did. That was another good reason to dislike the snotty brats. What use was this white stuff? It just made you cold and your gloves unpleasantly damp. You couldn’t build anything except snowmen and they had a bad habit of taking grotty kids on flying trips. Horrible.
A shiver ran down Bob’s spine as he arrived at the doors of a long, large rectangular building made of Suprising wood before the outskirts of the elf village. The doors were decorated with great wreathes of holly and the windows festooned with great bunches of mistletoe, decorated with garish coloured ribbons of green, yellow and orange. It was revoltingly cheery. Grumbling, he pushed open the door and looked at the brown beasts standing there.
Bob trudged into the stable and picked up the heavy shovel that was leaning against the wall. The room was filled by steam drawing little trailing patterns as it rose whimsically up in the cool air from, what looked like, misshapen hairy golf balls of soft chocolate. It wasn’t chocolate. Bob’s boots squelched on the brown balls as he began shovelling the dirty dung-decorated hay into a bin bag, all the while keeping an eye on the foul beasts. He then made his way around the back, shovelling and filling as he went. When he got half-way along, it began. At first, just a gentle flute-whiff of pine cones and oats. Then a long oboe of hay until it became a full orchestra of trombones farting digested apples, sugar lumps and something that made the hairs of Bob’s nostrils burn.
Coughing and spluttering, Bob finished the shovelling and staggered to the doors.
‘So this is meant to be an honour, is it? Taking care of YOU lot. Only that stupid fat twog would think that,’ he gasped, kicked the door open and stormed out.
As Bob walked away through the horrible, useless snow, he could have sworn he heard sniggering from the stable. For a moment, his eyes glowed like the heart of a dragon.
Out December 2021!