Susan was just an ordinary eight-year-old girl. She was small for her age and wore her long, silky blonde hair tied up in a ponytail with a red bow. Her light purple cardigan with small buttons sewn on was always fastened by just the top button. She loved to read and she could usually be found, freckly nose in a book with her sea blue eyes darting left to right as she devoured the words on each page. Susan’s favourite types of book were fairy tales and adventure stories and she longed to have her own adventure one day. Little did Susan know that in the garden, one sunny afternoon, her dreams would come true.
Susan was playing in her sandpit with her cousin Tom. At the side of the long narrow garden, under the shade of the willow tree was the blue wooden sandpit filled to the brim with soft golden sand. The children had been playing there all afternoon building the most spectacular sandcastle that you could ever imagine. It was a colossal castle with sea glass pressed in for windows, tall turrets with gently curved walls and a moat filled with crystal blue water.
Whilst playing quietly, Susan and Tom could hear the gentle purr of next doors lawn mower, grasshoppers chirping and birds singing above them in the branches of the willow. It was a perfectly calm, peaceful and lazy afternoon.
Suddenly, the sand began to quiver and a small hole appeared near the bridge. In a flash, the moat had turned into a tremendously, enticing, twisting and turning waterslide which seemed to go down into infinity.
“Wow!” squealed Tom with excitement as he jumped up and down “This is way better than Crealy!”
“What an amazing waterslide. I wonder where it goes.” replied Susan nervously.
With that, Tom shouted “Cannon bomb!” and jumped straight onto the slide and went tumbling down, screaming in delight.
Gingerly, Susan closed her eyes and stepped onto the slide. Whoosh! She was off…
Whoosh! She was off…
Susan sped down the tube shaped slide. She felt like she was in a washing machine as she twirled around in the water. Her purple cardigan stuck to her like glue and her hair flew in the air, getting wetter and wetter. She felt so dizzy and just couldn’t stop! Susan felt like she was flying as she looped the loop and went round and round. “I feel sick” she shouted as she desperately looked out for any sign of cousin Tom. The twirling and swirling seemed to go on forever!
All of a sudden, Susan landed on a cold, jagged floor. She stood up and tried to shake off her dripping clothes. It was dark but something caught her eye. Sparkling jewels were all around her. She stood with her mouth wide open. Well this isn’t the garden she thought to herself as she stared at the rainbow of glittering gems. She spotted Tom on the other side of the cave, he was holding a jewel in his hand looking very proud of himself! Susan stared at the jewel and suddenly began to feel unwell.
Susan stared at the jewel and suddenly began to feel unwell. From the depths of the cave, where darkness spread, there came a muffled rumble of sound. An icy chill ran down their spines making them shudder with dread: something was in there with them.
Susan stared across at Tom who was frozen with horror; his eyes were filled with tears of worry for their safety. In his hand, he gripped an emerald jewel. On the wall was an ancient mosaic of a dragon; one eye was missing.
The darkness was swift as the two cousins collapsed into a deep slumber on the cold, jagged floor of the draughty cave.
A smell of scorched flesh awoke the children as a pungent aroma burned their nostrils. On opening their eyes, they rolled over drowsy from their unexpected sleep. Tom’s arm was clutched for comfort by Susan: one menacing eye, marked with crimson flames stared.
A rusted metal cage enclosed the children trapping them from the malice grasp. Warm breath aroused them from their paralysis. As they shifted their solemn gaze, the immense heat from the dragon’s mouth made them turn over uncomfortably. Screams choked the children as a monstrous silhouette darkened the cave. Looming over their shivering bodies, Smaug, the most feared dragon of the Archipelago, clawed the jewel which Tom had discovered at the bottom of the slide.
They both noticed that the walls of the cave were decorated by the smiling faces of other unfortunate children who had also played on the mysterious waterslide. Their faces were obscured by the thin, iron rods that trapped them. The sight puzzled the two children.
As they reached for the cage to distract the dragon’s focus, the screech of metal flooding the air sent the dragon into a frenzy: the blare burned his ears like acid. All the children’s faces, that were etched into the walls, looked triumphantly to one another as they rattled the bars that kept them locked and captive. Smaug, who held the emerald in his grip, raised his great talons to his ears to dampen the scraping of metal. Time seemed to slow as the emerald tumbled from his grasp and slid towards the cage.
Something worried Tom. Why was the emerald so important to the dragon? Tom thought and thought and thought. “The mosaic!”, shouted Tom.
“What about the mosaic?”, asked Susan. Tom quickly explained how the mosaic of the dragon was missing an eye, how the other eye was a green emerald and how the dragon was missing a green eye too. “If we replace the emerald then maybe the dragon will let us and the other children go free”, explained Tom. Susan thought this was an excellent idea but she couldn’t see a way of getting to the mosaic. All of a sudden Tom glanced across the cage and saw something glittering in the corner, buried in the dirt. Tom used his hands to dig out the mysterious object. “A key!”, he shouted. Susan was hopping with excitement because it meant they would be free. As she hopped something worried her. “How can we touch the emerald?”, said Susan. “It makes us feel unwell”.
“Your cardigan”, cried Tom. Both the children reached out to grab the green, sparkly jewel with Susan’s wet, bedraggled cardigan. He was ready! He just needed to open the cage, get past the restless dragon and put the emerald back into the mosaic. How was he going to get past the dragon? He needed a distraction. Then he remembered what happened when the dragon heard the terrible din from earlier. “When I say now, start rattling the cage”, whispered Tom. Susan nervously put the key into the lock and gave Tom a sly nod of her head. “Now!” screamed Tom. Susan thrust the door open and started rattling the cage. The other children did the same. Tom burst out of the cage and ran for his life towards the mosaic. His plan had worked. The dragon hadn’t noticed him. Quickly he placed the emerald into the empty space. Suddenly, the mosaic lit up like a Christmas tree. All the children stopped rattling the cage and looked at the dragon. He was changing. Where there was no eye, now there was another beautiful, green eye. The dragon looked at Tom and said “Thank you for giving my eye back”. The dragon then rose up into the air using his powerful wings and flew into the glowing mosaic. The glowing stopped but Tom noticed the dragon now had a smile. As if by magic, the bars holding the children disappeared and the water slide turned into a set of steps. Tom should have been pleased but he had questions he didn’t know the answers to. Why were the other children there? How long were they there? Would the staircase take them home?
All the children were free! Tom should have been pleased, but he felt confused. He had so many questions for the dragon, however the dragon was now inside the magical mosaic, beaming with delight.
They thought about what they should do. “Let’s go up the steps because we could have another adventure! “cried Susan.
“No, because who knows what’s up there?” Tom yelled.
They talked about what they should do. Eventually, Susan decided to go up the steps by herself, without Tom.
“If I get back home, I will come back and rescue you!” explained Susan.
Tom and the other children sat down to wait on the rough, rocky floor of the dimly lit cave. Tom was still eager to find out what had happened to the emerald dragon.
Susan put on her bedraggled purple cardigan and fastened the top button. Her sea blue eyes looked up at the stone steps, turning and twisting above her “Will I ever get home?” she thought to herself. Fearlessly, she placed her foot onto the first step. She was ready for another adventure!