A kind of music
tongue was already lapping up the
water by the time Samuel reached the
‘Ibsen, no, come on.’
Samuel pulled the dog’s collar
and caught sight of his own wobbly
reflection on the surface of the water.
He saw strange fish swim over the
smooth, polished stones. The fish
had purple scales and faces like very
sad (and very small) old men.
The dog held firm, his tongue lapping
with increased desperation.
‘Ibsen! Come . . . on. We can’t
stay here, it’s -’
A kind of music floated through the
air towards Samuel.
Music so soft, so beautiful, it seemed
to gently tickle his ears. The music
was so full of wonder that it made
Samuel forget everything the Truth
Pixie had told him. He left Ibsen
to drink from the stream, and began
walking towards the sweet sound.
As he got closer, the beauty of the
melody overpowered everything else.
The trees became nothing but obstacles
in his path, standing in the way of
this wonderful food for his ears.
He said his sister’s name to
remind himself of why he was in the
forest in the first place, but it
was no good. As the music got deeper
inside his head the only thought he
had was to get as close to it as possible.
He followed the stream towards a waterfall,
and saw rainbow colours in its spray.
Behind the falling water, sheltered
in a cave, Samuel could see the source
of the beautiful music. A woman and
a man – or creatures who looked
very similar to a woman and a man,
but taller and with longer stretched
out faces – were sitting in
a slab of sunlight on rocks near the
mouth of the cave, playing musical
instruments Samuel didn’t recognize.
He was so lost in the music that he
didn’t pay attention to why
the instruments cast shadows on the
stone, but the creatures did not.
The woman was playing something similar
to a harp, but with a square shaped
wooden frame, while the man had another
string instrument, which he played
like a violin although it was shaped
like a banjo.
Their faces were sad, and so was the
music, but it was such a sweet and
captivating sadness, a sadness that
seemed to speak of all the mysteries
of life, that Samuel’s brain
had room for nothing else.
The stream broadened out into a pool,
the surface frothing from the heavy
cascade of water. Samuel could hardly
hear the sound of the waterfall itself,
even though it was very loud, louder
infact than the music of the Froogins.
But loudness is no match for such
loveliness, and so the pounding water
was almost silent by comparison.
Samuel dropped The Creatures of Shadow
Forest by the water’s edge,
and began to wade into the pool. The
water was ice cold, but Samuel didn’t
Neither was he aware that as he got
deeper, the water whirled faster around
When it was over his belly button
it was going so fast it lifted his
shoeless feet off the polished stones
and spun him around like a piece of
washing, before pulling him under
at the deepest point.
The word came out as bubbles, and
lost his breath.
Down and down he went.
Deeper and deeper.
And still he could hear the music.
The beautiful, beautiful music, spinning
him around like an underwater ballet
He saw one of the fish.
The strange ones with purple scales
and faces like old men. This type
of fish only exists in Shadow Forest
and is called a Trunklefish. Like
the freshwater mer-people who live
in the lake, the Trunklefish is not
mentioned in The Creatures of Shadow
Forest and nor does it have a catchable
shadow. It is therefore doubly free
from the Changemaker’s influence.
‘Close your ears!’ The
Trunklefish was shouting rather crossly
at Samuel. ‘Your ears! Close
them up! That music will kill you
if you don’t put your in your
Put your in your ears, you’re
whirling up the whole pool!’
The Trunklefish didn’t know
the word for ‘fingers’,
as he generally had no reason to use
it. But Samuel was still so lost in
the music that the spaces where the
words should be made more sense than
the words themselves.
‘Put your in your ears!’
‘ fingers !’
Samuel couldn’t bear to stop
listening to the music, but when he
saw that Ibsen too was now underwater,
swirling around with his ears streamed
back, he suddenly realized what was
I am drowning.
And so is Ibsen.
He put his fingers in his ears, and
as soon as he had done so the water
calmed down and both Ibsen and himself
could swim back up to the surface.
Kicking their legs they eventually
reached the shallow water and made
it out of the pool.
‘The book,’ said Samuel
aloud. ‘How am I going to pick
it up with my fingers in my ears?’
Ibsen answered his question for him
by bending down his dripping wet head
and picking the book up with his teeth,
as if it were a stick.
‘Good dog,’ said Samuel,
as they walked back up the hill. Once
Samuel was a safe distance away he
unplugged his ears and found his way
back to the Humming Flowers. From
there he and Ibsen set off towards
the Hewlip bush, dripping perfect
straight lines of water behind them.