City of the falling sky, p.1
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       City of the Falling Sky, p.1
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           Joseph Evans
City of the Falling Sky

  City of the Falling Sky

  The Seckry Sequence Book 1

  Joseph Evans

  Copyright Joseph Evans

  First Published 2011


  The Xinary

  “Dad, look at this one,” said Seckry. “It’s all squishy and there’s something wriggling in it!” He thrust a berry into his father’s face.

  “That’s a bad one,” said his father, Pawl. “A worm has burrowed inside.”

  “Hello, little worm,” said Seckry. “Are you enjoying some ellonberry juice?”

  “Ubberworms love ellonberries,” Pawl said. “You’ll find quite a few of them, so we’ve gotta do a good job of selecting the good ones. We don’t want any of them getting cooked in your mum’s pie. Imagine your sister’s face if she found a worm in her pudding.”

  Seckry giggled. “She’d go mad, wouldn’t she, dad?”

  Pawl nodded seriously. He picked a particularly plump berry from one of the bushes, quickly inspected it, then popped it into his mouth.

  The taste of ellonberries was like nothing else in the world. Pawl closed his eyes as the soft skin popped between his teeth and the bitter, fruity tang of the juice transformed in his mouth into a rich, sugary syrup.

  “Oh yeah,” Seckry suddenly remembered. “Mum said you better not eat them all before we get back.”

  “I won’t, I won’t,” Pawl said defensively.

  Seckry placed his basket of berries on the ground and collapsed into the grass with a sigh.

  “It’s tiring this, ain’t it, dad?”

  “It is, indeed,” Pawl said.

  “Am I doing good? I’ve got loads, haven’t I?”

  Pawl inspected Seckry’s basket. There were twelve berries in total. Seven if he didn’t count the ones Seckry had accidentally crushed whilst picking them.

  “I know I haven’t got as many as you,” Seckry said, “but for my age I’ve got loads, haven’t I?”

  “I tell you what,” Pawl said. “If I had been able to pick that many ellonberries when I was your age, I’d be the best berry picker in the world by now. Hey, I think I found a big bunch of them hidden away at the back here.”

  Pawl reached into the bush but quickly pulled his hand out.

  “Ouch!” he said, “it bit me!”

  Seckry laughed.

  “Hey! Don’t make fun of me.”

  “You’ve been telling me all day to be careful, dad. You should have listened to yourself.”

  Pawl felt his wrist swelling. He unstrapped his watch and laid it on the grass before rubbing a generous helping of cold ointment onto the raw bulge.

  As he was doing so, Seckry picked up the watch and examined it closely.

  “Dad, what’s this under here?”

  “Hey, hey, hey,” Pawl said, taking the watch from his son quickly. “You’re not supposed to pull that part off.”

  Seckry had unclipped the main bulk to reveal a disc underneath, a circle of glowing green light that was inscribed with foreign markings.

  “But look, dad!” Seckry said. “There’s something weird and green there.”

  “Yes there is. And you’re not supposed to have seen it.”

  “Why not?”

  “Because, Seckry, it’s something very important. And something that nobody apart from me is supposed to know about.”

  “What is it, dad?”

  Pawl sighed and looked at his son.

  “This will have to be a secret between us two, okay? You can’t go telling mummy, understood?”

  “You know I can keep a secret.”

  “No you can’t!” Pawl laughed. “You told your mum I had got her those earrings for her birthday last year!”

  “That was when I was five. I’m six now. I’m more grown up.”

  “Do you promise not to tell mummy?”

  “I promise.”

  “Well this isn’t just a normal watch,” Pawl said hesitantly. “It’s a very special watch called a xinary. It does something very important for me. It tells your dad that everything is okay.”

  “How does it do that?” Seckry said curiously.

  “Well, you see this secret circle that you found? You see that it’s the colour green? That tells me that everything is good, and there’s nothing to be afraid of.”

  “So what happens if it turns a different colour?”

  Pawl laughed. “Well, Seckry, you’ll be waiting a long time for that to happen.”

  “Yeah but what happens if it does?”

  “Well . . .” Pawl slapped his own leg. “It’d be the end of the world.”

  Seckry’s eyes widened for a moment, before giving his father a suspicious stare.

  “Dad!” he said. “Don’t be silly.”

  Pawl laughed and picked his son up.

  “There’d be huge explosions, like this!” He made a loud noise and lifted his son high into the air.

  Seckry screamed and then giggled.

  “No there wouldn’t!” he said. “Can I have a . . .” he struggled to pronounce the word, “xinary?”

  “No, you can’t have a xinary, Seckry.”

  “Why not? I really want one.”

  “Because in the whole of the world, only one xinary exists. This one right here.”

  “Really? That must have cost loads of money if it’s the only one.”

  “Well, Seckry, I didn’t buy it. I made it.”

  Pawl felt the slight coolness of the evening air brush against his face and the sun was now sinking into the grassy horizon behind him.

  “Come on, you,” he said, ruffling Seckry’s hair. “We better get going or your mum will think we’ve been eaten alive by these bushes.”

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