Welcome to the third part of ‘All The Pieces’.
It starts with a simple request – take the stone fragment to the Natural History Museum. Little does Tamsin know that carrying it to within a few metres of a hidden meteorite will cause an earthquake beneath London. She must use all her powers to avert disaster on a tube train, a dramatic event that brings her into the company of Piece Finders and their arch enemies the Stone Splitters. With the help of the pickpocket Tomas she will learn of the meteorite’s crucial role in history, and be transported back to Pudding Lane on the very day that the Great Fire of London started…
Read an excerpt here…
- The ice pool
Katie and Tamsin were actually pretty good at skating. Being quite short they did not lose their balance often, and the helper-penguins were soon discarded.
Katie’s parents had put on skates too, and they moved slowly around the perimeter holding onto the sides. As they grew more confident one or other of the adults might skate into the main flow of people, but the two children were always ahead, weaving and ducking with ease.
However, Tamsin was finding it harder and harder to stay upright as time went on. She had expected it to get easier and easier…who wouldn’t? She kept leaning over to the left and having to straighten herself up again. It was as though a weight was pulling her down. Once she slipped, and because she was holding hands with Katie the two of them toppled.
“Hey, why do you keep falling over?” asked her friend.
“I don’t know. I feel all off balance.”
“Is it your boots?”
“No. I’ll take off my coat. Perhaps it’s got wet and heavy.”
That was a good idea, but when she took her coat off it made no difference. Then she tapped her left hand trouser pocket. Could it be…the fragment?
She twirled to a stop, took out the thin black stone, and realised that it had become a lot heavier. In fact it pulled her hand down. Then it slipped. Her fingers, numb with cold, could not hold onto it any longer.
Katie did not notice (she was busy looking out for passing skaters) but Tamsin watched in fascination as the fragment fell onto the ice and sank. It melted the surface and disappeared.
Tamsin knelt down, desperate to retrieve it, but it was too late. The fragment was no longer visible.
She gave up looking and carried on skating. It had done nothing special since she had brought it home from Paris, and she had come to regard it as no more interesting than a pebble that one might find on the beach .
Round and round went the skaters. Those watching from the other side of the barriers or through the windows of the nearby cafe might have noticed that they seemed to be moving more slowly as the minutes passed. People seemed to be having more difficulty getting round the circuit.
Katie looked down and saw that water was sloshing over her toe-caps. The two girls heard a loud scream and looked across the rink. A parent and child had fallen and were struggling to get up. They were lying in six inches of water. The ice was melting!
People in the middle of the rink tried to make their way to the sides, but by the time the first of them had reached the barrier the ice had completely liquefied.
Tamsin and Katie, still trying hard to skate (or wade) to the edge, now found themselves up to their thighs in water…and the water was warm.
Parents, supervisors and passing tourists jumped into the pool to help the youngsters who weren’t strong enough to help themselves. Katie’s parents spotted the two girls and came to help them. Soon the four of them were together again, standing outside the rink. Both the girls were soaking wet, but neither of them shivered. The moisture evaporated from their clothes within minutes. The water in the rink evaporated too. There was no steam; there were no bubbles. The liquid had just disappeared.
The base of the rink was now visible. A smooth grey surface on which lay random objects – sweet wrappers, hair clips, a few coins, a single glove, a scarf, and a tiny speck of black…the fragment.
High above the now abandoned ice rink a man turned away from his window and returned to his collection of rare stones. He worked in the Natural History museum, and he had observed the entire episode with a great deal of interest.