Not sure exactly where this is going yet, though I have a vague idea, and it kind of cuts off in an odd place due to having to go on camp rather than finish it, but here we go:


When Amelia Inglefield moved into her new home, she expected to be disappointed.  She’d left her friends and her school behind, and moved from a beautiful house in the countryside to a flat in the city.  It was going to be hell.  They had to share their garden!

When the car pulled up behind the mover’s truck, Amelia refused to look out of the window.  It wasn’t until her parents opened the car door and made her get out that she first saw the house.  It was part of a long terrace of huge white houses, with ginormous sash windows and balconies.  Looking through the ground floor windows she saw the hugest room she’d ever seen.  The ceiling had to be four times her height, easily.

“This is it?” she tried to sound uninterested.  Her parents exchanged glances.

“This is it.  We’ve got the whole of the ground floor, and access to the garden out the back.  You’ll like it, you’ll see.”

“Mmm, I suppose.  Can I go explore?”

“Sure.  You can even go in the garden if you want, but make sure you don’t annoy anyone else that might be out there.”

Amelia wandered off, glad to escape the unloading.  Packing everything up had been such hard work.  She poked her head in all the rooms as she went through the house, but without furniture the only ones she could identify were the kitchen and bathroom.  There was a door from the kitchen leading outside, and Amelia opened it cautiously.

The garden was in huge! It ran all the way from one end of the terrace to the other.  Amelia couldn’t decide whether to be glad of so much space or horrified at the number of people who she would have to share with.  She set off to explore.

She was only a few houses away from her own when she caught sight of a boy sitting behind some bushes.  Biting her lip, she hovered uncertainly for a moment before going over to him.


“Shh, be quiet!  Are you trying to get me caught?”

Amelia blinked.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered, “what are you doing?”

The boy looked at her incredulously.  “I’m trying to find out what’s in Old Man Sutty’s house, what does it look like?”

“Old Man Sutty?  Who’s that?”

The boy cocked his head on one side and frowned.  “Everyone knows who Old Man Sutty is.  You’re not from around here, are you?”

“We’re moving in today.  Number 6.” She pointed back over her shoulder with her thumb.   “I’m Amelia,” she added as an afterthought.

“Tom.  Look, we shouldn’t be stood here talking about this, he might hear us, and then we’d be for it.”

Tom led her off further into the garden until they reached a bench.  He threw himself down on it and looked at her.

“So, Amelia.  Nice name.  Where you from?”

“A little village called Shawford.  It’s really nice there.  I miss my friends already.”

“Hey, it’s nice here too!  And there are plenty of people to be friends with.”

Amelia sighed.  “Sure.  So tell me about Mr Sutty?”

Tom grinned.  “It’s really strange.  He hardly ever leaves the house, but sometimes when people try to talk to him he doesn’t answer the door.  And he sometimes has the oddest things delivered.  But nothing ever leaves.  There has to be like a million things in there by now.  There can’t possibly be room for them all.  My theory is that he’s a smuggler, and there’s a secret passage that he uses to get all the stuff out through.”

Amelia was skeptical.

“So you’re trying to peer through his windows to what?  See if there are piles and piles of random things?  Why can’t he just have removed things while you’re at school?”

Tom waved a hand negligently.  “I’m home schooled.”

“Really?  That’s cool.”

Tom wrinkled his nose.

“It’s a pain sometimes.  Nobody to mess around with in lessons.  I do get to learn some fun stuff though.”