Stephanie shrunk back into the long grass.  The two figures moved out without using torches, and she soon lost track of where they’d gone until someone came up behind her.  Seeing how the house was raised up on stumps, she ducked in under the floorboards.  A torch light stabbed in around her as she bumped into some clutter.  She crawled out the other side and skirted the fence towards the road where she found her bike and hurried home, sick with worry.

     Once safely inside, there was no time to change, when a knock sounded at her door.  She flew under the covers as the door squeaked open.  When nothing happened, she threw the covers off and saw Erik standing there, dripping wet.  She jumped out, and before she could open her mouth, he put a hand up.

     “Keep very, very still,” he whispered, as he stepped cautiously over and took a ruler from her desk. “There’s a giant night spider crawling in your hair,” he explained, before flicking the creature off. “There have been too many creepy-crawlies for one night.”

     “Erik,” she cried, pulling some sticky cobwebs from her hair, “what have you done?”

     “I solved the riddle, Stephanie,” he said quietly. “Whoever wrote it is on our side—we’re not alone.  It all came to me while I was sitting on that dunny at the bottom of the river.  When I brought my compass up, it all made sense.”

Diveshop art
Fantasy illustration

For her part, Stephanie was feeling decidedly strange, although it wasn’t Tommy’s knife that was making her flesh crawl. She had sensed the evilness the moment she had entered the cave.  There were some things sinister watching her, and in the shadows, she could feel their many expressionless eyes. Dead eyes, sewn into the shapeless heads of creatures that resembled throw rugs and whose mouths were frayed like loose threads hanging from old carpet ends.

YA fiction. Peter Boey is an Australian ya author, writer and illustrator of The Voyage Series of action adventure books.  A new fantasy book 2018 "Voyage to the Bottom of the Bathtub" at

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