Archive for October, 2010

27
Oct
10

The Ammonite Radar

Chapter 1: A Storm

It was the end of a day’s training at Lyme Regis academy for lifeguards. Eric pondered walking down to the beach and having a nice, relaxing swim in the freezing sea. His friend Johnny, decided to come with him. Eric’s black hair seemed to blend in with the darkening sky looming above him! His tall body no longer cast a shadow on the sand. A thunder storm was coming. Anyone out in a boat would be heading for disaster. He scanned the horizon. Was that a fishing boat? Yes! It was! The storm was brewing and the waves were starting to rush up the beach towards Eric and Johnny! Suddenly the boat overturned and the sailor fell into the water.

“Oh no!” thought Eric. Johnny had just noticed this as well. He just stood there motionless as waves lapped around his feet. Eric, however, was running quickly towards a moored motor boat bobbing on the waves. Johnny, seeing his friend’s daring, ran after him calling,

“Eric, there’s nothing you can do about it!” Eric took no notice! Johnny started off in pursuit. He must stop this crazy plan to rescue the shipwrecked man! Eric would only get himself killed!

Eric was already sitting in the rocking boat beckoning for Johnny to cast off. Johnny shook his head. Eric was signally wildly to him. Johnny realised that nothing would stop his friend and he pulled out a swiss army knife and reluctantly cut the mooring rope. The boat lurched forward, carried by a rushing wave and against his better judgement, Johnny jumped aboard.

A man ran to where his motor boat had been. He stared and then shouted,

“What do you think your doing, you’ll get . . .” His voice was drowned out by a sudden lightning bolt streaking a brilliant ray across the shadowy sky! Shortly afterwards, a deafening thunder roll sent the man running back to safety. He looked back. His boat was not in sight! The huge waves must have swallowed them up instantly.

Aboard the boat, Eric was struggling to control it. Johnny was bailing out water, only to have another wave splash over him, soaking him to the bone. The two eighteen year old boys didn’t have much experience of sailing, and holding the steering wheel steady was hard enough without having to keep an eye open for an overturned boat. As the sturdy craft broke through yet another huge wave, they caught a glimpse of an upturned hull with a man hanging on for dear life!

The boys slowed down and a wave bounced over the deck, momentarily blinding them. Their boat was touching the little wooden fishing smack and Eric tied them together. The man flailed his arms towards the boys, but his arms didn’t quite reach far enough. He was sucked under the foaming water and shot up again to be grabbed by Eric who shouted to Johnny,

“Help me pull him in!”

They hauled the man over the side of the boat and he lay on the damp wooden deck, gasping for breath. Eric steered the boat in a circle and headed for where he hoped the shore was. Blackness covered the sky, and waves attacked the side of the boat. Then Eric said,

“I think I caught sight of land!” At that moment an ear splitting sound reached their ears. Half of the boat splintered into pieces. Fortunately, the half with the occupants remained in tact. But inevitably, water flooded the boat turning it over, sending Eric, Johnny and the man flying into the sea.

Everything went black as Eric hit his head on a rock. . .

Eric’s eyes opened drearily. Where was he? His eyes came into focus and a rocky beach lay around him, with water splashing his body. Ah, he was on Monmouth beach. What time was it? He didn’t know. He felt hungry and decided to see if Johnny or the man were around. The Sun was rising in the east. An orangey light was cast over the deserted beach. No one was on the beach, apart from sea gulls crowing loudly. Then he saw a man dressed (much like himself) in ragged clothes stumbling across the hard rocky surface. It was Johnny! They walked towards each other, both exhausted and cuts scattered on their bodies. But at least they were alive. Johnny called in a croaky voice,

“Eric, you’re alive, thank goodness! The man is lying down in a cave. He has a broken leg, I think. I went to look for you!”

“Wow, that was a horrible ordeal!” stuttered Eric, dripping water over the grey stones. Splash.

“Eugh!” he exclaimed. “I’ve trodden in a hole where a fossilised ammonite’s been!”

Then suddenly they heard the noise of an engine. A motor boat was whizzing along the coast. Both of the boys yelled loudly to attract the driver’s attention. He appeared to have not noticed them, when quickly he u-turned the boat and turned the engine off. He glided to a halt and the passenger of the boat got out. He wore sunglasses and a Hawaiian top, with brown shorts reaching just below his knees.

“What’s up boys?!” he said gazing in amazement at the boys tattered clothes. Then Eric said,

“A shipwreck and we have an injured man in a cave. Could you take us back to the harbour please?”

“Sure lads.”then he called to the driver of the boat, “Make sure the ambulance is ready to take the injured man to hospital.” The driver got down to business and Eric, Johnny and the passenger walked to the cave where the shipwrecked man was. The cave was gloomy and water dripped casually on to a slippery seaweed surface. They carefully made their way across, to the man. Eric and Johnny lifted him gently up with the passenger giving them directions of where to go.

Once they were back onto the beach, the injured man blinked.

“Where am I? What happened!” He stuttered uncertainly. And then he passed out again.

“Quick, we must get him back to town!” urged the stranger in the boat.

They laid the man down on a cushion against the side of the boat. The motor boat roared into life and they sped across the waves quickly. They could see people on the beach idly watching them whiz by! Then Eric saw the harbour with boats bobbing merrily on the sea. The motor boat drove in and stopped next to a green boat. A man walked out, shaking his fist,

“OI, what d’ya fink ya doin’? Making a din like ‘at. ‘Ow can an old man like me get some sleep with you yung uns playing the fool all the time? EH?” Johnny fled like the wind and Eric was soon after him. However, the driver of the boat wasn’t standing for that.

“You lunatic, are your brains in your head or they left in dreamland. We have an injured man on board. Have you heard of the storm, or were you asleep? This man was stranded and those boys you frightened, were the ones who rescued them!” Then suddenly the old man yelled,

“We got the rescuers of the ole man who fell in the sea! Get the news reporters. C’mon, step on it!”

The driver of the boat looked in bewilderment at the old man’s excited face. He told his friend,

“Let’s go and find those kids and head to the hospital. Cor, what ever will my wife say when she hears what I did. I will probably be famous! I was the guy who gave the rescuers a lift!”

However a flurry of reporters brandishing cameras banged into him,

“What were the name of the boys? Where have they gone? What’s your name?”they yelled above the noise of each other!

The boat driver pushed his way though with the help of his friend and they darted round the corner of a boat house. They saw Eric and Johnny leaning against a neighbouring wall.

“Phew!” Eric said, “I’ve just rung the ambulance, they should be here any second now.” As if by magic, a siren rang out and they could hear people moving out of the way for it to come through.

Soon, shouts of,

“Come here, he’s here in the boat!” filled the new morning air.

“Well, goodbye, and thanks for helping us!” said Eric as he and Johnny walked off back to their separate homes.

Chapter Two: Five Years Later

Eric woke up suddenly! It was the middle of the night. He felt cold. Then, what was that strange noise? A creaking. Was that a muffled shout? Then pattering feet. Suddenly Eric knew that someone was in the house. He quickly moved to the door. He peeped out. There were five men pulling someone towards the stairs. Then he realised. It was his Dad, being kidnapped for the blueprints for his experiment. Then a man with black gloves and a black hat called,

“Hey, there’s someone peeping out of the door!” All the men swung round! Eric quickly withdrew his head!

“I’ll go and see. You four carry on with the job!” muttered one of the men. Eric thought fast, then he moved to the window and looked down. The street was deserted. He could put up a fight. But this man might be armed. So, Eric jumped and landed doing a forwards roll! He stood up, recovering from his jump. Quick! Now to get to the door and lock those robbers in. Meanwhile, the man in Eric’s room looked in. And to to his astonishment, no-one was there!

“Ah, he’s gone out of the window!” He pulled out a gun and fitted a silencer on it. Then he ran to the window and gently squeezed the trigger! What a fright Eric got. He instinctively ran round the front of the house out of the view of the gunman. His enemy jumped and landed slightly more awkwardly than Eric did. Eric tried to confront him, but the man dodged and ran towards a waiting Jeep. Eric didn’t bother to chase him but went to the front door to try and stop the kidnappers. But alas, the door swung open clonking Eric on the head! He fell back dazed! Four men bundled through the door almost carrying Eric’s Father. His son could do nothing about it. The car revved off into the night.

Chapter 3: Treasure Hunting

When Eric awoke the next morning, he was suddenly reminded of the previous night’s events by a painful throbbing feeling on his head. Then it struck him! He realised that what had taken place was serious! He had forgotten to ring the Police. Quickly, he ran to the bed side table and dialled 999.

“Yes?” muttered a sleepy voice. Eric replied,

“My father has been taken by some men. They got away in a Jeep!”

“Woah, slow down sonny, it aint nine o’clock yet!” Sgt FC Major yawned.

“What a business!” he thought. “ Kidnappers, Jeeps! Spit it out!” he called down to Eric.

“Well, it was like this. . .” came the anxious reply.

One monotonous hour later, Johnny and Eric sat bored in Carlo’s Italian diner. When would the police ring back? Then a vibration shook Eric. Ah! At last!

“Hello?” said Eric.

“Hey Jake, that don’t sound like you!”came a high pitched girl’s voice.

“Think you’ve got the wrong number!” Eric slumped back as the sound of someone clicking a phone down. He said to an expectant Johnny,

“Wrong number!”

“. . . arrrrrr!” groaned Johnny exasperated.

Soon Eric heard from the Police, but they hadn’t found the Jeep. Then Eric knew that it was his own responsibility to get his father back from these men. He said to Johnny once they back at home,

“If this invention gets out, a foreign power might get hold of it, and I don’t wanna think what might happen if it does. I have one lead to where my father might have hidden his blueprints. In the caves, on Monmouth beach. Which one is mystery to me.”

The next day, Eric and Johnny walked across a busy beach onto a slightly less-crowded Monmouth beach. The Sun shone brightly on them. It illuminated anxious faces, cracked cliffs and finally the caves. There were six or seven of them, crowded together like books on a bookshelf.

Eric and Johnny headed towards the first cave. Their torches lit up the roof of the cave. It was covered in some kind of slime. Water dripped form the walls and floor was coated in slippery green seaweed. They cautiously made there way in, making sure they didn’t fall. Somehow, it didn’t feel like Eric’s Dad would stumble across this treacherous ground to hide his blueprints. But maybe he chose this cave to discourage any unwanted blueprint takers. They searched thoroughly but to no avail, the cave was not where the scientist had hidden his blueprints. As they looked into the next few caves Eric thought about the invention. “A Radar”, his Dad had said. “One which will spot things coming before they’ve come.” He was snapped out of his dream by a shout from Johnny,

“Hey, what’d you make of this?” Eric ran over, and stared at what Johnny was pointing at. It was a box, something had been ripped of its side.

“Quick! Open it!” Eric shouted. Johnny pulled at the lid of the box, but it held fast. Then he fumbled in his pocket and brought out a little knife and tried to prize the lid open. Suddenly there came a great wrenching sound and the lid flew open sending both of the boys tumbling backwards.

They got back up and ran to the box trying not to slip on the seaweed covered floor. But to their disappointment, the box was empty.

“Maybe there’s a false back!” said Eric excitedly. But Johnny was staring glumly at two words printed on the bottom of the box. It said quite plainly:

“TESCO VALUE!”

The two boys grievously walked out of the cave. They blinked as they came into the view of the Sun’s powerful rays! There were only two caves left, one very small, and the other far bigger than any they’d searched that day.

They went into the big cave first but much to their dismay it was completely clear of seaweed and they reasoned that there would be no place that Eric father could have hidden the blueprints. But this disappointment only added to their excitement! It meant that if Eric was right about his “only lead” this final small cave one be the one they were looking for! Ironically, this was the last cave they would look in! They had to stoop low to enter this cave, it hosted the usual slippery floor but this time there was a flat rock in the middle of it. Johnny and Eric were spot on. They heaved the rock out of its place and underneath lay a piece of A4 paper in a little see-through envelope. They had found it! What they would do next, they didn’t know, but something was happening at that very moment, which would give them something to go on!