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Extract from ‘The Roar’

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By Emma Clayton

The opening of The Roar by Emma Clayton (The Chicken House, 978-1-905294-63-3)


The sun was setting over the Atlantic and as it ran like molten gold into the waves, a girl in a Pod Fighter ripped through the scene, like graffiti sprayed across a landscape painting, and for a few startled moments, the sun and the sea trembled.

Ellie flew fast and low with her eyes fixed on the northern horizon. In the gunner’s seat behind her was a Capuchin monkey called Puck, whose brows fidgeted while he ate popcorn and admired the gun controls. Puck was glad to be out of his room with new things to look at. He didn’t know they were running away or how much danger they were in. But there was no doubt in Ellie’s mind; when Mal Gorman found out they were gone, he would want to slice them like Parma ham, then mince them to space dust.

‘But I won’t let him,’ Ellie whispered. ‘And anyhow, he’s got to catch us first.’

As they flew north into darkness, leaving the warmth of the sun behind them, Ellie wondered whether her parents had kept her clothes. It was over a year since Mal Gorman had kidnapped her and she knew he’d told them she was dead.

No, she thought sadly, they’ve probably thrown them away.

For a moment she wondered whether they’d recognize her. Perhaps they’d be frightened to see her. Maybe she’d knock on the door and they’d look at her as if she was a stranger and tell her to go away. As Ellie considered this end to her journey, she felt panic rise like vomit in her throat and she accelerated until she was flying so fast she saw nothing but ribbons of half-light reflected on the water. The Pod Fighter ripped through the air, leaving sonic scars in its wake, and as she blinked away a tear, it dipped slightly to the left and a wing tip clipped the crest of a wave and reacted as if it had hit a rock boom! For a split second, she thought she had lost it as the Pod Fighter threatened to spin off in horizontal cartwheels into a megaton wall of water.

Reproduced by permission of The Chicken House. Text copyright © Emma Clayton 2008

Click here to read a full review of the book by Literacy Time PLUS Editor, Helen Watts.

‘Frag!’ she cursed, hot in the face as she struggled to correct her mistake. Another lapse of concentration like that one and she really was dead. She should know by now that crying didn’t help; she’d cried a lake of tears since Mal Gorman kidnapped her that hadn’t spirited her home, only cool logic and determination would do that.

She slowed down, exhaling her panic, and checked the coordinates in her visor. Then, with a roar that sliced chunks out of the waves, the Pod Fighter shot across the equator and into the turbulent sky of the northern hemisphere.

‘We’re going home,’ said Ellie. ‘And not even Mal Gorman can stop us.’