S02 YO-HO-HO HOSANNA*

Apologies: I don’t yet have a summary of this story.

1

It was a dark grey box, like a small e-book reader. I’d set the screen to show:
Title: Treasure Island
Author: R L Stevenson
Edition: 2000
Page: 158.

In the end were two buttons. The one at the right was labelled Go. I put my finger on that. Should I press it?

The thing was an incorporator. If I pressed Go, it would take me to that place in Treasure Island. I would be there, in the story. But I wasn’t certain I wanted to be there, in the story.

For two reasons:
(1) Sherlock Holmes, the Chief Guardian of the incorporators, would be angry if he heard I’d used mine without permission. So angry that he might take it from me – for ever.
(2) Treasure Island had pirates and gun battles. I didn’t fancy getting mixed up in them.

But – I had a hundred good reasons for visiting Treasure Island. And it should be safe. The incorporator wouldn’t make me appear in front of anyone. At the first hint of trouble, I could jump straight home.

I couldn’t resist it. I took a deep breath, and pressed Go.

 2

No flash or bang. One moment I was sitting at my desk in my room: next moment I was standing in a tropical forest. I glanced around. It seemed safe. I reset my incorporator:
Title: Inside Story
Author: Jam Rodger
Edition: 2012
Page: 1.

That was the ‘story’ of my ordinary life. Now, if I pressed Go, the incorporator would take me home. Holding it in my pocket, with my finger on Go, I looked around more carefully.

Thick bushes were scattered among the trees. The rest of the ground was covered in soft grass. Parrots – green with flashes of red and yellow – fluttered around, shrieking at each other, and at me. A slight smell of rotting floated on the warm breeze that swirled round my head and ankles.

Ankles? That made me check my gear. The incorporator always gives clothes to suit the story. I had a white shirt, a rough maroon jacket, and grey breeches that reached below my knees. My shoes were black, with steel buckles.

Yeah: it was safe. When I chose that part of the book, I hoped I might see Jim Hawkins, the hero of the story, but all I could see were trees, bushes and parrots.

In the distance, I could hear the surf roaring on a beach, although I couldn’t see it. I crept in the other direction, because it should take me to the sheltered inlet where their ship, the Hispaniola, was anchored.

A faint path, maybe an animal track, wound through the forest in the right direction. I followed it, watching for danger, but everything stayed peaceful.

I hesitated at a place where the path crossed a gap in the forest, almost surrounded by bushes. I had a creepy feeling, as if I was being watched, but I couldn’t see or hear anything suspicious.

Should I leave while I was safe? I brought out the incorporator, and put my finger on Go.

But… I hadn’t really seen enough to write a good story, and that’s why I’d come to Treasure Island.

It started that morning in English. When my teacher, Miss Binks, gave me back last week’s homework, A Day with Oliver Twist, she said, “James, this is excellent.”

“Er… thank you.” It should be excellent. I’d used the incorporator to visit Oliver Twist, and got in a lot of trouble. I’d been lucky to escape.

“You described it as if you’d been there.”

“Er… thanks.” Did she know about incorporators? Was she going to accuse me of cheating?

“James, have you heard of the Axby Prize?”

“The Axby Prize?”

“It’s a national prize, to encourage reading and writing in schools. This year’s competition is to write a story called, A Visit to Treasure Island. I wondered if you would like to enter.”

I looked down. “Er… well….”

“Why don’t you try it? You’re good at that kind of writing.”

“I’m not sure. I….”

“This is a national competition, James. If you write it as well as the Oliver Twist one, you have a good chance of winning. That would bring great credit to you, and to the school.”

“Well….” It’s hard to say, “No,” to teachers, especially a good old carrot like Binky, but this was really extra homework.

She went on, “There’s a prize. £100.”

“Did you say… £100?”

“Yes. I have the details here. £100 to you, and £100 to the school. James, why don’t you try it? I’m not allowed to help you, but I’ll tell you if it’s worth sending in. Would you do that?”

“I’ll… I’ll think about it.”

So I’d thought about it – and that £100 had tempted me to visit Treasure Island.

I hadn’t seen much so far. But….

Rustling! Behind me! Slowly, I turned. The noise seemed to have come from a patch of bushes, but they looked innocent. Their leaves were moving in the breeze, but the rustling had sounded louder than that. I took a step towards the bushes, trying to peer through their leaves. Maybe it was a small animal. Yes: that was it. But… didn’t the book mention snakes? I took a step back.

More rustling, from my right. I spun in that direction. More innocent bushes. Then a scraping noise, followed by a splush.

What was that? If it was an animal, it wasn’t a small one. I tensed, with my finger on Go. But, before I pushed it, a call came from behind the bushes. “Help!”