Patter. Patter. Patter.
That’s the sound of me getting up in the middle of the night. I try my hardest to be quiet. I know, not so much from experience but from watching TV and reading lots of books, that most mysteries happen at night.
As I enter the lounge I see that Rocky, my terrapin, is wide awake. He can’t sleep either.
“Hello Assistant-Detective,” I say.
He gives me a look as if to say he is the older one, therefore I should be the assistant. I’m about to switch his light on when I hear the sound of thunder and woodpigeons. I jump. I run to the window and look out. It’s dark and thick streaks of rain obstruct my view. It’s gloomy out there, that much I can tell. The streets are deserted. The only shapes I can make out for sure are the shadows of the trees, swaying in the light breeze. No woodpigeons in sight. No lightning on the horizon. The multi-storey car park opposite my flat is as still as the still water we buy in bottles (I’ve no idea why we don’t just drink tap water?!).
He nods and carries on moving the rocks in his tank from one side to the other. I’ve no idea why he does that. He refuses to tell me. I like to think he’s looking for treasure.
As I’m turning on the tap (I do like drinking tap water) I hear the same sound again. Thunder and woodpigeons. Again, I wriggle over to the window.
My eyes have adjusted to the dark and I manage to get a clear view of the multi-storey car park (I squint really hard!).
I scan my eyes across the car park, from top to bottom, until I catch sight of a tall figure. I jump again, throw myself on the floor and fart accidentally. I turn to Rocky and mouth “Shhhh”, trying to pretend I never farted. He gives me a disapproving look. He heard me alright.
“Did it see us?” I whisper.
Rocky waves at me, as if to tell me to stay hidden. He seems to be forgetting that I’m in charge and he’s the assistant.
“No Rocky, this could be a real mystery, a real crime for us to solve,” I whisper.
Carefully, I pull myself up and peep over the windowsill. I hold my breath and tell myself that it was probably nothing (always hoping it was something!).
There it is again. The weird figure has made its way up the next level. Its unusually tall and floaty outline reminds me of a really thin giant, covered in porridge (which I hate). I look harder and notice that this figure doesn’t seem to be walking. It seems to be floating. I rub my eyes. I swallow hard.
“I don’t believe in ghosts,” I say to myself more than to Rocky. I fear he’d laugh at me if I told him that this figure, through the streaks of rain and in the pitch dark, looks a little like a ghost. Or shall I say A LOT?
The problem with ghosts is that they can walk through walls and feel your fear. I do hope they can’t smell farts. If they can, I’m in deep trouble. And so is Rocky.
I blink and I blink again. The figure is up the next level, floating around, looking for something. I try my hardest to focus my eyes and make out its face but where faces usually are, there is only more porridge. I don’t dare to breathe. Finally, it reaches the flat roof of the car park. It zooms around until it picks up a cage.
“A cage? A cage? Do you think that cage is for us?” I say to Rocky, who is now sitting on top of his rock to get a better view.
At this very moment the figure, high up on the roof, pauses. It gazes around until its gaze rests on my window. I dodge down as fast as I can. My heart beats as loud as a tapping bear would tap if it had tap shoes.
“Is it still looking?” I mouth to Rocky.
Rocky doesn’t move. I take that as a yes.
I let a few seconds pass, trying to gather my courage. I pull myself up very slowly and carefully. I take my chances and steal a glance. Nothing.
Suddenly the sound of thunder and woodpigeons returns. The figure is back, floating down the various levels of the car park.
I strain my eyes to see what’s in the cage but it’s no use. I crawl over to the cupboard and get a pair of binoculars out. I crawl back to the window just in time to see what this eerie figure is transporting in that cage and why it looks like a porridge-covered skinny giant.
“Woodpigeons. A cage full of woodpigeons, Rocky!”
Just as I brief Rocky, the figure whooshes down, level after level, until it reaches the open road. Off it goes, around the corner and into the darkness.
I stay by the window for another few minutes but nothing happens.
“Better get this report typed up, Rocky,” I say as I return to bed, relieved we’re both still alive.
The next morning I look at the newspaper. The headline reads: “Woodpigeons Abducted by Roller-Skating Porridge Fanatic!”
Over and out.