3: Dawn Escape

Funnily enough it was Stella who had trouble sleeping that night.  Tom, in his room next door, was out like a light the moment his head touched the pillow.

‘A boat!’ she whispered repeatedly. ‘How on earth could it have got there?  And why was Harry soaked to the skin?’ She was thinking how first thing tomorrow they would have a good scout around in the bushes when a hollow clank from somewhere outside made her sit up.  The clock at her bedside read 5 a.m. She must have fallen asleep. Still thinking about Harry she crept from her bed to her window.

The sun hadn’t risen and the garden was bathed in a grey early morning mist. Nothing. It must have been a dream. But then, as she was about to drop back the curtains, the clanking echoed again. Stella peered to the right, in the direction it seemed to have come from. A high-pitched squeak, followed by another clank. Then, through the dim half-light she spotted Harry – trotting across the lawn in the direction of The Island. The clanking must have been him trying to nudge open Mrs Moon’s patio garden gate.

‘Tom, quick, wake up!’  Stella tugged violently at Tom’s pyjamas.

‘What? Where’s the mole?  Get it off me!

‘Oh, wake up will you!’ Stella snapped in a whisper.  Tom sat up in a damp sweat. He had been dreaming that a friendly mole had just started to attack him.

‘What’s going on?’ he mumbled, as his sister’s face loomed in front of him in the dark.

‘It’s Harry! He’s gone off again – I’ve just seen him!’ Tom immediately woke right up then fell on the floor as he tried to jump out of bed in a hurry.

‘Let’s get after him!’ he squealed, diving for his dressing gown.

Moments later, they stood at the top of the stairs.

‘Quietly!’ mouthed Stella, glaring like a schoolteacher. Slowly they crept down, then put on their trainers and slipped outside into the grey morning air. ‘Come on, we haven’t got much time!’ she whispered. Stella grabbed Tom’s hand and together they raced across the damp grass towards The Island wearing only their pyjamas, dressing gowns and trainers.

‘Drat!  We’ve missed him!’ said Stella.  They had hunted around The Island for a good five minutes.  All was still and there was no sign of Harry.  But at least the log was still in place, which meant Charlie Green hadn’t noticed their digging.

‘We’ll just have to come back and have a good look when it’s light,’ she said with a sigh.  They then squelched back across the lawn, their trainers soaked with early morning dew.

It was about half way back that something caught the corner of Tom’s eye. He glanced to his right and, through the fading dawn mist, for a moment thought he saw a group of three or four moles scampering in a circle on the grass.  But when he blinked they had gone. The half light was playing tricks on him. Cold and shivering they returned to their beds and slept soundly.

~

The ring of the telephone shattered the early morning calm. ‘Hello……..Oh, no, Mrs Moon, not again. I am sorry. Yes, of course we’ll let you know if we see him.  Of course.  We’ll call you right away.  Goodbye, Mrs Moon.’

As they lay in their separate bedrooms, Tom and Stella listened to their mother’s conversation, each thinking how their earlier jaunt really hadn’t been a dream after all, and how, after breakfast, they must continue their search for Harry.

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