As you have all been so helpful can I ask for further help. I have converted and edited the first chapter (1777 words) to read first person, present tense. All comments welcome lovely people.
Archie and the Witch’s Nanny
Chapter 1 – The BBQ
We stared longingly into the sky, a string of pork sausages, crackling and popping, whizzed through the air, the BBQ was in full swing. Green Eye looked over at me and winked. wearing a mischievous smile, he said ‘Come on Archie, let’s chase those sausages.’
Trying to keep up with him was difficult, he was a fast runner and I kept bumping into the guests and having to apologise. A big fat juicy sausage led the way and turned to look back at us.
‘Ha, ha, you can’t get me!’ he said laughing. This only made Green Eye more determined, and he ran even faster. Green Eye was my best friend, and he looked hilarious. Leaping and running at the same time and grabbing at thin air. I doubled over with giggles. I always had the best time when I was with Green Eye.
‘Come on slowcoach,’ he said as he leapt high into the air, grabbing two sausages. He tossed one over to me, it was so hot that I nearly dropped it. The sausage who had laughed earlier, tutted, and continued flying on above the guests. On a nearby table were some tasty-looking sauces and buns. I reached over but stopped just in time. Small wiggly things were poking out from the buns, they looked like worms, and the sauces were made from different types of bugs and spiders. I decided to give them a miss, plain sausage would do.
While eating my sausage, I counted the number of witches, wizards and children who were here to celebrate. There were so many, I kept losing count. More than a hundred people and as many cats, had gathered today to celebrate Nanny Porshina’s two hundredth birthday. Nanny Porshina was considered a grand witch, head of the family. Everyone had come out of respect for such a fine witch, two hundred was some age.
I smiled fondly thinking about how I had first met Ruby and Green Eye. They ran a small stall in the local market, selling potions and creams. I hadn’t been watching where I was going and bumped headfirst into her stall. She was furious. She had threatened to turn me into a pig, I was terrified. When Green Eye, her cat, started speaking to me, I thought I was dreaming. Now we are best friends, and I couldn’t imagine life without their friendship,
Nanny Porshina, mother to my friend Ruby, was always so funny and kind when I met her, we always had lots to talk about and there were never any awkward silences, despite the age difference between us.
When I’d arrived at the BBQ, she had given me a big wet slobbery kiss. I was so embarrassed; I felt my face go bright red. I was sure everyone was staring at me. While she wasn’t looking, I had to wipe the spit from my cheek. She had insisted I come to her party. So here I am. Not a wizard or a witch just an ordinary nine-year-old boy, who lives with his aunt and uncle, in an ordinary house, in an ordinary street. Being a part of this awesome group certainly wasn’t ordinary!
Who would believe a witch and a cat would be my two best friends? My brother Felix and I have recently become a lot closer, but he still prefers to be with his own gang, so he doesn’t count as a best friend. I know mum and dad would have loved Ruby and Green Eye, although it may have taken some time to get used to them. Eventually they would see what I did, friendly, caring, and loyal friends. I miss mum and dad so much. If only they hadn’t been driving that night. I pushed these thoughts to the back of my mind, I didn’t want to be sad, not today.
The waft from the meat cooking nearby made my mouth water and my tummy rumble in anticipation. ‘How do you like your steak cooked, Archie?’ called Ruby.
I thought about the steaks my aunt cooked at home, oozing with blood, almost alive. My stomach turned over at the thought of the blood.
‘Ruby, can I have it very, very well done, please’
Ruby laughed and replied, ‘OK burnt it is!’
While waiting for my steak to cook, I watched a group of children playing a game called
‘Jump the Broomstick’. It involved jumping over a broomstick which hung in mid-air. Now and then the broomstick would say something to try and put them off their jump. Whoever made the most jumps without falling off, won the game.
A scruffy looking witch hitched up her socks and was about to jump, when the broom blurted out ‘Silly Susan’s got dirty knees’.
Susan unfortunately took the bait and looked down at her knees, tripping over the broom she landed on her bottom. The broom laughed with a loud cackle. The next girl to try was able to ignore the brooms taunts of ‘Nora’s a cry baby’ and she made the jump. They all clapped.
‘Archie your steak is ready’ said Ruby.
It was cooked to perfection. Green Eye, he was tucking into a juicy tuna burger, which oozed tomato ketchup.
‘How can you eat tomato ketchup with Tuna’.
Green Eye replied, ‘It’s delicious, do want to try some?’
I screwed up my face ‘Yuk it looks horrible’.
Green Eye shrugged, ‘Your loss.’ he said.
Biting into my steak was like slicing butter. It was cooked to perfection, tender and juicy, and thankfully no red bits.
Over in the distance two wizards played a sword game, but with a difference! They had their tongues wrapped around the handle of their swords, and their hands were tied behind their back. As they fiercely battled, their tongues extended out to around two meters, and their swords clashed together as forcibly as if they were using their arms. It looked dangerous and I could see one of the wizards had a small cut to his face. I didn’t like fighting, but my brother would have loved it.
The famous band ‘The Bogey broomsticks’ played music at the back of the garden, the atmosphere was electrifying! A drum roll sounded, and a cake the size of a house appeared in the garden. It had three tiers, each decorated in coloured crystals and different coloured icing. Small bees with jewels on their wings, flew around a posy of flowers placed on the top of the cake. The bees suddenly parted to one side, and Nanny Porshina exploded out through the top of the cake, arms up and laughing! She had on long dangling spider earrings, a red pointed hat, and a fashionable green cloak worn over a red mini skirt! I looked over at Green Eye and said ‘Wow, double cool, she’s amazing’.
He nodded in agreement. Everyone started clapping and cheering, and we all sang happy birthday. Nanny beamed.
‘Thank you all so much for coming.’ said Nanny Porshina, she blew kisses out to the crowd. Nanny looked so happy, but then a strange thing happened. She stopped, suddenly overwhelmed, and said in a demanding voice, ‘Why are you all here, what are you doing in my garden?’
There were giggles from the children, and the adults thought she was joking.
Concerned, Ruby ran forward, ‘Mum. Mum, it’s your birthday, don’t you remember?’
Nanny Porshina stood looking into the crowd, her eyes were dull, and she seemed confused. She thought for a moment or two, then said,
‘Silly me, silly me, of course. Now I want everyone to have a marvellous time, eat, drink and be merry.’
Wearing a broad smile, she climbed down from the top of the cake, but I still wasn’t convinced she had been joking. The laughter and fun quickly resumed. Ruby and Green Eye were huddled together, both with very serious expressions. There was a knowing look shared between them, one that I wasn’t part.
‘Archie come on, let’s go get some cake’ shouted Green Eye. It was a good attempt to stop me from asking questions, but I knew something was wrong. I decided not to press for more information, but I would, at a better time.
The band continued to play, and people were holding hands. They had formed a large circle, dancing and swaying together to the music. I felt a tug on my arm, Green Eye was pulling me into the centre of the circle.
‘Green Eye, dancing is not my thing, let me out of here,’ I screamed.
He wasn’t taking any notice, he just giggled and carried on without me. Watching him I couldn’t stop laughing, he was hysterically funny. Dancing the ‘Worm’ he writhed about on the floor and then followed this with ‘The Futsal Shuffle.’ Everyone in the circle shouted for more and clapped. He’s a bit of a showman, so he was only too happy to continue. I managed to slip out of the circle and made my way over to the other side of the room.
Nanny Porshina was sitting on her own, she looked lost in a faraway land, her eyes looked empty.
I approached her and said, ‘You OK Nanny?’
She thought for a few moments and then replied, ‘Is it my birthday today?’
‘Yes, Nanny it is, are you having a good time?’
She ignored my question and said, ‘Are you Davey, Wizard Peter’s boy?’
Why was she asking this, she knows my name is Archie?
‘I’m Archie, Nanny, you know, Green Eyes friend’.
She looked at me, recognition flickering in her eyes.
‘Of course, yes, you’re the friend of that pesky cat’.
‘Nanny you don’t mean that you love Green Eye’.
She laughed, and we continued to chat about some of the things we had done in the last year.
‘Well Archie, it’s time for me to see some of my other guests, you do realise it’s my birthday?’
She stood up and skipped over to join in with a three-legged race, about to start. It wasn’t like my three-legged races at school, each witch had grown an extra leg! Their three legs protruded from their long black robes; some were having difficulty coordinating. Nanny Porshina looked especially funny, her mini skirt showed so much more of the three legs, and they kept getting in a tangle as she tried to walk.
I felt pleased she had remembered me eventually, and I was pleased she was having such fun, but a deep nagging sensation gripped my stomach. I knew something just wasn’t right about her, but I didn’t know what.