A curly ginger boy, whose surprisingly tall figure appeared to be made solely of knees and elbows, stepped off the bus as his eye caught the sign that read NORTH HELLWITH SEWAGE WORKS. Ralph sighed in chorus with his only friend Callum. Callums frame was stout and his pale face was painted with spots and freckles. The class was approached by a man who wore an unpleasant grin.
Good afternoon children, his words penetrated like when a wooden chair is dragged across a gym floor. Ralph gave Callum a profound curious look and then turned his attention back to the leering man. I am your guide for this tour of the sewage works, my name is Mr. Red. On a closer inspection, it came to Ralphs attention that the man had a tail which spouted from the back of his trousers. Nobodies perfect thought Ralph.
It seemed that Ralph was not the only pupil losing interest on the subject of how many light bulbs were in the various rooms of the works.
Callum was trying to reach his attention.
Ralph, Im bored
Me too came the reply.
No youre not, as Ralph said this he recalled memories of Callum achieving other inappropriate feats and began to wonder if this statement would stand. Perhaps you are, but Im not.
Callum glanced around him and when his teacher had turned her back he strolled away purposefully. Ralph moaned and darted after him like a lion that had its favourite luncheon snatched from under its nose.
Ralph followed Callum into a pitch black room.
Callum, get here now!
Are you scared?
Of course not
Come on then there was a patter of feet and then Ralph heard a sudden, AAAARRRRGGHHHH. Ralph fell on the floor in terror and confusion. He began searching on hands and knees for his glasses which had fallen off his head. As he crawled he felt his hand squelch into something soft without pausing to consider what this mess could have been he scampered on with an unpleasant smell surrounding him amidst the dark.
Callum? he waited for three or four seconds to pass and then Callum? Callum? still there came no reply, Ralphs stomach slipped past his trembling knees. In a dazed panic he darted upright and sprinted for the exit to find the rest of his class. What Ralph didnt know, is that he was running the opposite way from which he entered¦.
Ralph fell with a thud and glanced back at the stairs he had fallen down. It was still very hard to see but there was an eerie red glow leaking from the walls. He began to whimper and it was not too long before his whimpers became tears.
Ralph pulled himself together and dried his eyes with a chewed sleeve. He looked up at the stairs and remembered those dark rooms, so he took the alternative route and continued along the boardwalk he found himself on; he convinced himself that he would find someone anyone to help him. But he didnt.
Finding the boardwalk spiralling downwards, Ralph broke into a sweat and started to run. A dim red glow lost itself in a mysterious humid fog. The walls began to deconstruct and develop to a cave wall.
The red glow started to get brighter and brighter still as he tunnelled further beneath the ground. After what seemed like a lifetime, Ralph gratefully found himself at the opening to a huge chamber and he could hear faint voices in the distant. The first thing he noticed about the room was the disgusting smell of raw sewage. He ran to find the owners of the voices but as he got closer he realised the talking was exceptionally deep and croaky. He launched himself round several corners to the increasingly loud sounds until,
OOOFFFFF he was stopped dead in his tracks and fell to the cold hard floor. When he opened his eyes he screamed, AAAARRRGH he was staring into the eyes of a completely red demon which had two horns and a massive nose. Ralph was tall but it towered over him; it must have been three times his size and twenty times stronger.
LOOK WHAT WE GOT ERE! the beast snarled and beckoned to others just as threatening. WHAT WE GONNA DO WITH IM? BEEN A WHILE SINCE WE HAD ONE OF THESE.
EAT IM said a second, Ralph squealed.
RIP HIS BONES APART a large drop of saliva let go of the demons face onto Ralphs leg.
NO, WE AVE TO GIVE IM TO THE KING, HED HAVE OUR TAILS IF HE EVER FOUND OUT WE ATE IM WITHOUT SHARING. Murmurs of understanding and self pity were heard amongst the gathering demons. Ralph felt himself hoisted up and they carried him off, he fought desperately with flying legs and arms.
Ralph was launched into a cave walled cell with long iron bars at the front. A rusty door slammed shut behind him. He looked around the cell and to his terror; in the shadows he saw the shape of a demon.
RELAX, it croaked, THE NAMES GODFREY, GODFREY JONES AND YOU ARE? Ralph moved across the cell so a red beam of light fell on the demons face. It looked like he had been crying and for some reason, Ralph pitied him.
Ralph Marving came the reply. And so the conversation continued for some time, of course, time was not an important factor in the demon world. Ralph became to like and admire Godfrey. Godfrey had been locked up because he was one of the rebels who did not believe in feeding and building houses out of human waste. They were living amongst the hills in caves, hiding from the regular demon society.
The deep talk with Godfrey was not to last too long, they were interrupted by the wailing of a child. Shouts and curses were heard everywhere as the boy was thrown in the cell. Ralph smiled. It was Callum. They rejoiced when they saw each other and then the introductions began.
Were getting out of here
These demons may be powerful, but theyre not likely contenders for brain of Britain.
No offence meant
Hes watching us, the huddle shifted further away from the guard standing at the door.
Callum, youre going to wind up Godfrey. Godfrey youre going to hit Callum, only youre not really hitting him. Okay?
The guard will hopefully open the door and try to stop the fight and I will hide and launch myself on his back and grab the keys from his belt.
Sounds easy enough
Meanwhile, you two run past the guard and make for the exit I will let go of the demon and run. When I get past you, slam the door shut and I will lock it, right?
Callum and Godfrey began their argument. It was clear that neither of them were natural actors. Yet sure enough, the door opened and in walked the guard. The next part of the plan, however, did not go accordingly. Ralph made a leap for the keys but the demon was too tall. It turned its unwanted attention towards Ralph, who backed off. Godfrey threw himself courageously at the demon the two of them fell plundering to the ground with a loud thud. The stout figure of Callum darted in and grabbed the keys.
YOU MUST GO! I CANT HOLD HIM DOWN
THE HUMAN WORLD IS NOT MY WORLD, GO! I BELONG IN THE HILL CAVES, Ralph would argue no more, he was grabbed by Callum and they ran and ran for an exit. He turned to look back and saw demons flooding into the cell and his heart felt heavy.
After minutes of running they were exhausted but the way was clear. Fortunately, it was easy to find their way to the corridor that led upwards. Callum and Ralph paced themselves up the spiralling corridor with the red ambience growing thinner. The shouts behind them diminished. They eventually reached the boardwalk and were too tired to continue running so they came to a halt.
What time is it? Callum lifted his chewed sleeve and his battered watch read,
Two minutes past three they looked at each other in astonishment. The six hours which had passed seemed to have stretched to days.
If were quick we may just make the bus back to school so the two of them, once again, heaved their bodies forward. When they arrived at the entrance to the sewage works, Callum heaved a sigh of relief. The air was cooler, fresher and moist, it strew itself on their faces gratefully.
They spotted the class lining up next to the bus, it was apparent that a head count was being done. They tried to mingle into the group unnoticed but Mrs. Pitt was aware of their presence.
Callum, Ralph, where on Earth have you been? she snapped.
Well -, Ralph begun, then he considered the reality of his adventure. We got lost.
The class boarded the bus and Ralph and Callum landed themselves on a tattered seat. Ralph breathed on the window and wiped it. Just for one moment, he thought he saw a distant red object, disappearing over the valley towards the hills which stood boldly above the landscape.