Authors: Joe Prendergast
Zombies are not well liked. Ginger Bazaar had learned this the hard way. A group of them tried to get rid of her.
But now, unexpectedly, she was sitting with one on a bench in a dark alley at midnight. The bustling sound of another night in the city was flaring all around them.
“What do you want?” asked Ginger. She leaned closer, almost touching the wretched creature.
“Help,” croaked the zombie.
“Do you know anyone who can help?”
“Me no have no friends!” he groaned. Ginger saw it in his eyes that he was about to fade away.
A scream erupted from nearby. There was a burst of yellow light that came from the roof of a building.
“Gotta go,” said Ginger to the zombie. “I'll be back. Don't wait up.” She sped out of the alley, twisting around the bins until she located where the scream had come from.
There was a young girl â mid-teens- standing next to a sorcerer dressed in black robes. The girl was lying on the floor.
Ginger Bazaar liked to help. Wellâ¦she liked to help in most situations just not when it came to sorcerers. They spoke so highly of themselves.
She sneaked up behind the sorcerer and catching him off guard pushed him into the bins before picking up the girl and throwing her over her shoulders â the girl's black hair blocked her view but she brushed it out of the way and turned out of the alley.
Running back to her car she scooped up the ailing zombie on the way and put them both in the back seat. The zombie groaned â the girl now asleep.
Ginger was a rule breaker and this night was no different as she broke every speed limit on the way to the MDH, The Magical Damage Hospital.
There was a broad guard with black hair at the door. He looked like someone who could take on an elephant and win.
“Name please,” he said in a gruff voice. Ginger tapped her feet. “Bazaar. Ginger Bazaar,” she said impatiently.
The man â who was dressed in red robes â opened the door and let her through. He stepped in front of the girl when Ginger tried to pull her through the door.
“Mortals are not permitted,” he said gravely, licking his lips.
“Oh hell,” whispered Ginger and the vampire guard lunged for her.
She was quick. She moved out of the way and got him with her red high heels. He held his face, for a second, and went for her again.
This time she was not quick enough but a passing doctor picked up the girl and the zombie and took them to the waiting room.
“I've never been one for fighting,” explained Ginger to the vampire, sending a lightning bolt his way.
There was a flash of light and the vampire was soon on the ground. Ginger took this as her cue to dash in the hospital gates, turn and run down the hallway.
The doors of the waiting room opened and Ginger burst in. The noise startled the girl.
A Doctor opened the door. “Ah, Ginger,” he said. “You do know it's against the rules to bring mortals in here. Silly girl, Bazaar, you really are. Oh by the way, you've got the job as my assistant.”
“What? Oh, yeah I remember checking out that job. Great. When do I start?” she asked.
“Right now,” said the Doctor.
Ginger's mouth dropped open.
The Bentley, with the usual crew inside, sped along at top speed â which as you know wasn't very fast but the car was nearing Richard Blake's estate on Opal Drive.
There was only about a mile left to go â about another 10 minutes, estimated Vivian from the back of the car.
As they approached the gate a figure stood in the way, blocking the drive. He had pale white skin, which is unusual for a person who lived in New York â the summer it was hot and easy to get a tan.
The man was dressed in a bowler hat, and a black suit, shirt and tie. He had black trousers with blue stripes. A small moustache curled under his nose and he looked angry. Very angry.
“Who are you?” he demanded, as Dave rolled down the window.
“I SAID, WHO ARE YOU, YOU TRESPASSER!” He was from Texas â Paolo could tell by the accent.
“Dave Brackett. You can call me Mr Brackett.”
“I will call you what I want to call you. I am the ghost of Simon Opal and NO ONE tells me what to do!” he boomed.
Paolo whimpered. He had had a fear of ghosts since he was five. To see one now was like a horror movie.
He muffled a scream. Giuseppe then remembered about his fear and went to console him. Dave was already outside of the car â he had been prepared for some sort of obstacle and was ready to take this ghost out.
“I'm already dead â you can't kill me,” said Simon Opal's ghost.
Dave laughed as Simon's bolt of lightning hit him, but it didn't make any effect.
“You also don't have any magic,” pointed out Dave, giggling.
“DON'T LAUGH AT ME!” bellowed Simon the Ghost.
But before he could say anything else Dave showed a black ring on his left index finger. Simon whimpered. He tried to run away, but he got sucked into it and as quick as he was there he was gone.
Dave strode back to the Bentley. “Ghosts,” he muttered and everyone giggled, both impressed and a little nervous over what was about to unfold.
The car drove on into the estate and pulled up at the black-painted mansion. It was a menacing looking building and perfect for someone like Richard Blake to be living in, they thought.
A noise came from inside. The curtains were open â revealing a small red sofa on which Richard Blake was sitting.
He saw them and his huge frame was soon darkening the door.
He immediately released his shadows, which began circling the car, but while Daniel kept the shadows busy chasing him Rose snuck around the back of the house.
She was utterly silent as she crept along, dagger in hand, and up behind him from inside. Richard Blake whirled around and just missed her head with a shadow punch.
The dagger sunk into Blake's back before he knew it.
“Wow,” said Paolo, as they all walked back to the Bentley. “That was easy.”
“Umâ¦ Paolo, I don't think it was that easy,” said Vivian. She was looking out of the window and Richard Blake was running towards the car.
Rose kicked him in the back. “You thought you could get rid of me!” he laughed. “No one gets rid of Richard Blake.”
“Except for us,” shouted Dave, who slammed into him with the full force of his body.
“It's nine on one,” said Vivian, who kicked him.
“Not for long,” sniggered Blake as monsters began to pour out of the house at an alarming rate. The group had no choice but to fend them off but Dave never let Richard Blake out of his sight.
There were shadows circling and panic was rising at being outnumbered but the group kept their cool and sought out big toes for all they were worth. All around whoosh, whoosh, whoosh! They were gaining some ground and Blake was not happy.
He punched Dave who fell to the ground but as Blake tried to pass him he was tripped up. Within seconds Ron and Venice pounced on his back to keep him still but they were no match for the power of the grand sorcerer who rose to his feet, throwing them off.
As all the fighting was going on however Giuseppe had slipped away. He was coming through the door now, empty handed, and seemingly disinterested in doing anything worthwhile.
“The Cube!” he suddenly heard Paolo say nearby as he frantically searched his pockets. “No. No, no, no, no, NO!”
The Cube was gone.
All of a sudden he took a blow to the head and was out cold.
The girl was well awake by now. Her head was raised. She was staring into Ginger's eyes.
“Where am I? Who are you?” she asked calmly, exhaling.
“This is going to sound really stupid â but you're in The Magical Damage Hospital. The MDH Hospital is where you are.”
“What do you mean?”
“My father is a sorcerer, Bull Higgins, do you know him?”
“Heard of him about town,” shrugged Ginger.
“He got his magic from a small lake. He controls the element of water â one of only three in the world. My father is a miracle-worker.”
“I bet that's all jolly good, but who was that who attacked you.”
The girl shrugged. “He said he wanted to kill my father. He sent a lightning bolt â he broke my force field.”
Ginger's eyebrows rose. “You have magic?”
“Just a little bit. I'm only sixteen, for God's sake!”
“Who are you?”
“First, you have to tell me who
“My name's Tiger. Tiger Higgins.”
“Do you have brothers or sisters?”
“I have two brothers and a sister.”
“What are their names?”
“My sister's name is Jaguar. My brother's names are Eagle and Buffalo.”
“Did your father like animals?”
“A bit. He thought of us as his pets â animals of prey.”
“I suppose. I'm the oldest, if you were wondering. Now, tell me what's your name?”
“My name is Ginger Bazaar.”
A sudden jerk of movement on his shoulder woke Paolo. He was not dead. Everywhere hurt, his eyes were bulging and he was consumed by pain but he was not dead.
He must have been out for a few minutes but presuming him dead the monsters had let him be. The last of those were being fought off by the rest of the group, as far as he could see.
And to his right was Giuseppe â with something in his handâ¦It was the Cube!
As he lay there, not daring to move he saw his brother stride across the front yard where all the battling was going on, and run to the front door where he began to slowly, as any good magician would, unravel metres of coloured handkerchiefs from his sleeve, each one connected to the other.
âWhat on earth is he playing at?' thought Paolo. âThis is no time to try and break the states.'
But he trusted his brother and he stayed still.
After several seconds Giuseppe took an old leather suitcase out from behind the door and laid the handkerchiefs over it. With the magic wand he took from his inside jacket pocket he tapped three times on the suitcase and muttered something Paolo could not hearâ¦..was no one else seeing this?!
All around was continuing chaos. Rose was now taking on Richard Blake with Venice, Ron and Dave and while they were slowing him down they didn't seem to be winning.
Paolo turned back to look at Giuseppe just in time to see him catch his eye and give a wink. He then opened the suitcase and, just like Mary Poppins, he withdrew something it would appear could never possibly have fitted into that case â it was long and cylindrical and Paolo knew immediately what it was.
As it stood there in all its glory he took the cube from his pocket. Rays of light, blue and silver, shone everywhere and he held it over the cylinder â which picked it up like a magnet, left it floating above the top for seconds and morphed into a sphere before being sucked down.