|HOLLY - The loneliest girl
in the world
has created an original and wonderful children's story that is exciting
yet wisful. A truly delightful novella for kids of all ages'. Sam
part of a ten part series - our first complete novel on-line
Mrs Reynolds raised her voice to a pitch that rattled the china dancing
figures in her neatly arranged display cabinet, but still her daughter
did not respond.
Come here please!
There was a slamming sound, and stomping feet deliberately crashing
onto each stair. Nicola Reynolds was thirteen, and was known as Nic
to everyone except her mother and father. She was irritated by her parents
almost as much as they were irritated by her.
Mrs Reynolds was stood in the window of the front room with her hands
on her hips.
Who is that? She was looking out beyond the end of the front
garden. There was a small figure, noticeable for red hair escaping from
uneven pigtails, kicking a football against the low wall which separated
the garden of the house from the pavement. She looked very scruffy.
How on earth should I know? Nic was exasperated. She had
been sent upstairs to tidy her room, and no sooner had she put her music
on at full volume had she been called down again.
I thought maybe she was a friend of yours?
I dont have any friends here. You made me come here, miles
and miles away from anyone I know, in the middle of the summer so I
cant even go to school and meet anyone.
Mrs. Reynolds ignored this and ploughed on in a determined way. She
must be from one of the nearby houses. Maybe she wants to make friends.
She looks about your age. Why dont you go out and talk to her?
She does not look anywhere near my age! Anyway, even if she is,
thats no reason I should be friends with her. If I met someone
whod been born in the Victorian age I wouldnt make you be
friends with them just because of you both being born at the same time.
Please Nicola! There was a weary desperation to Mrs. Reynolds
voice, but Nic was not about to give in and stood rooted to the spot.
Her mother clamped a hand on her
shoulder, and before she knew what was happening she had been marched
through the hall, the front door was opened and she was outside on the
doorstep. Youve barely left the house since we moved here.
It will be nice for you to play out, she was told.
Im thirteen! I dont play! Nics dark eyes were
burning with indignation, but the front door had already closed. She
turned, stared at the girl at the end of her drive, sighed and made
her way towards her.
It was a hot day, as all the days had been since Nic and her family
had moved to the small village on the coast in Devon. Not one of those
days had tempted Nic to look on her new home with anything resembling
a smile. It was not strictly true to say she had not left the house.
She had spent many hours in the back garden with only her mobile phone
and discman for company, attempting to get a suntan. She had been severely
hampered in this glamourous pursuit by her mother who insisted on pouring
factor thirty sun cream over her, and her eight year old brother Sam
who was always either using her as a target for his water pistol, or
attempting to train their cat Jenny to leap over her.
Nics sunbathing had been brought to a dramatic end two days ago
when Sam, attempting to launch the cat on the swing from the top of
the climbing frame had caused a terrified and wildly scratching Jenny
to land squarely on Nics middle. Leaping to her feet and screaming above
the squalls of Jenny, Nic had wrestled her brother to the floor and
emptied the contents of a flower pot over his face. She then ran inside,
and had been driving her mother to distraction ever since.
Nic had not noticed many other children around the area, and she did
not care. She was not shy, but she had made up her mind not to have
any friends in this village so far away from the nearest cinema, McDonalds
or shopping centre. As she was barely on speaking terms with her parents
or her brother the only communication with other people she had had
was through the emergency text messages she sent to her friends phones
in London, telling them how horrible her new home was (Her father had
banned her from using the house telephone after she had broadcast several
of her favourite CD albums through the phone to her email friend Craig
in Los Angeles last Christmas.) Nic was sure that when her mother and
father saw how miserable she was they would be sorry for taking her
away from her school and all her friends in London.
The girl did not raise her eyes from the ground and the football she
was kicking at. On closer inspection Nic thought she was probably about
ten, and not at all like any of her friends. Her hair was falling about
her face, and her shorts and t-shirt were extremely grubby. Her bare
arms and legs seemed covered in scratches and bruises, as though she
had fallen out of a dozen trees. Nic had never met anyone who she could
possibly imagine climbing a tree before.
Nic coughed loudly, but the strange girls concentration remained
unbroken. She frowned.
Ummm, is that my brothers football?
The girl looked up. She looked uncertain, and perhaps a little scared.
I dont know, I just found it. Im sorry, I didnt
Thats all right, I dont care.
A sudden and surprising smile broke out on the girls face, and
transformed it. Her nose was covered in freckles, and her eyes were
green and gleaming. There was something infectious about the whole effect,
and Nic felt herself warming despite herself.
I know. I saw you and your brother moving in here and I hoped
wed be friends. There arent many people round here I can
play with. Im Holly Denver, and Im twelve, whats your
Nic found herself replying, taken aback both by the girls direct
approach and by how young she seemed for her age. Before long the two
girls had left the football behind and were walking down the lane towards
the village green.
Have you always lived here? Nic asked.
No, only about six months. The people round here are so funny.
They still hardly speak to Claudia when she goes into the village shop.
I heard my dad say you have to have lived here hundreds of years before
they think you belong here.
How can anyone live here hundreds of years?
Oh. Holly looked confused for a moment. I mean your
family has to have been here forever,of course. They dont trust
Whos Claudia? Nic liked to ask questions. It wasnt
nosiness, she just liked to have everything clear in her head.
Holly seemed ready enough to talk, confiding brightly. Claudias
my Dads girlfriend. Shes Caspars mum, hes my
half-brother, but hes only two, just a baby, so I cant play
with him much. Claudias a model, and my dad paints her sometimes.
But mostly people just take photos of her in swimming costumes, for
catalogues. She says its a good thing they do because Dad hasnt
been selling paintings so much recently, not since, since, well, Casper
was born. People are really suspicious of us all round here. I heard
Mrs Flyte in the Post Office say Claudia walks about the house and garden
naked all the time. Of course she doesnt. People are pretty funny,
She said that in front of you? Nic was surprised, but grateful
to take the opportunity to get a word in edge-ways when Holly paused
to draw breath.
Oh, well, people dont always notice me. Sometimes I dont
want them to. It can be funny, you know, to find things out. Im
pretty small for my age.
Where does your mother live?
Oh, Im sorry... Nic was at a loss for words. She hated
feeling awkward, but the younger girls smile did not vanish for long.
Holly shrugged. I was a baby when that happened. My dad looked
after me. Then he met Claudia.
Nic looked at Holly curiously. She was surprised at how little emotion
there seemed to be in her voice. Suddenly Holly jumped up and down on
the spot excitedly. I know, I know, lets buy ice cream from the
shop. Then I can show you a secret place I found. No one knows...
She was interrupted by a shout from the top of the lane. A boy on a
bicycle was coasting down the hill towards them.
Hey, He shouted. Nic! Wait for me!
Oh no, Nic muttered.
Hi Sam, Im Holly,
How did you know...? Brother and sister spoke almost as
You told me you had a brother called Sam, said Holly.
Well, hes not a brother, really. More of a fiend from hell,
Nics eyes narrowed dangerously, and Sam wheeled back half a metre
I like your bicycle, said Holly. I havent seen
one like that before.
Sam looked at Holly warily. He was used to his sisters friends.
They usually either avoided him as if he was contagious, or they played
horrible tricks on him. Last year they had tied him up and tested out
Princess Pollys Makeup set on him. It had taken him hours to scrub
off the blueberry blusher and plum shine lipstick. To his surprise he
couldnt see any trace of sarcasm in Holly, and made the decision
to trust her. He started to tell her about his BMX, how he had wanted
one with blue wheels, but father Christmas had brought him one with
I used to have a BMX, Holly was a little wistful. It
got left out in the rain though, and they havent got me another.
For a moment Sam had a funny feeling that Holly might cry. You
can ride my bike sometimes if you like, he said impulsively.
Amazing. Nic was sarcastic. It must be love. He screams
and cries for mummy if I go near his precious bike, not that Id
Sam went red. Anyway, you have to come home now. Mum said youre
not to go far, because were going to have dinner soon. She says
youre not to have ice cream either, if you were going to the shop.
Ill tell if you do.
Nic rolled her eyes. Thats so typical. She sends me upstairs,
then wants me downstairs. She throws me out the house, and then calls
me straight back in.
Sam shrugged. He began to wheel the bike back up the hill, but he stopped
for a moment. Bye Holly, He said.
Id better go too, said Nic. Im hungry
you see, and Ive no money for ice cream. I wouldnt bother
what anyone says otherwise.
Holly just grinned. Ill see you tomorrow then.
Yeah, whatever, said Nic, already following her brother.
She was sure she hadnt told Holly anything about her brother before
Sam arrived, and yet Holly had greeted him as if she already knew him.
She must have been spying on us Nic thought. She must
have spied on the old lady in the post office too. She felt glad
she had decided that she didnt want friends in this horrible place.
The sooner I can convince mum and dad to move back home to London,
the better, she thought. Still, she supposed there had been something
very likable about Hollys straightforward friendliness, and she
couldnt help wondering about the secret she had been about to
tell when Sam arrived. Nic remembered what Holly had told her about
her family. They sounded like just the kind of people Nics respectable
parents might be nervous about. A plan began to form in her mind. She
thought that maybe she would be glad to see Holly the next day after
© Jayne Sharrat 2001
Fiction in Dreamscapes