Em picked up her mobile and sighed.
“Emily, have you still got your light on. It’s time to drink your milk and get to sleep. I don’t want to have to come all the way up there now do I?”
“No Mama and yes Mama, I’ve had my milk and turned out the light.” She picked up the glass of milk and immediately put it back down again.
“Goodnight then and I’ll see you in the morning for breakfast.”
Em put her mobile on the bedside cabinet, switched on her torch and continued reading.
Em loved to read about fairies but her latest book was no ordinary fairy book. It was also a pop-up book. In the centre when she spread the pages a beautiful blue fairy stood up. Her wings glistening with gold and silver sparkles.
Em spent most of her time admiring the fairy and less time actually reading the story.
“I do wish I could speak with you and play with you.” Said Em.
The fairy jumped from the page, flew around Em’s head and landed on her nose. Em went boss-eyed.
“But you’re real.”
“Of course, I am. You made a wish and it was granted. I’m here to speak and play with you.”
“How wonderful and magical, I never knew that.”
“Ah, but you never wished before.”
“I’ve often wished for a playmate, but Mama says there aren’t any children within miles of The Old Manor House and besides she says she doesn’t want little kids messing up her shiny wooden floors. So, she puts me here in this bedroom right at the end of the long corridor. I’m so far away from everyone else that we have to communicate by our mobiles. She says it’s so the noises around the house don’t keep me awake at night, but there’s no-one here to make any noise. There’s just Mama, my tutor and the two ladies who work in the kitchen. The only noises I hear are the stairs and the wooden panelling creaking all night long and that keeps me awake and frightens me sometimes.
“Those noises you hear Emily.”
“Em, it’s Em.”
“Those noises you hear Em are not the stairs and wooden panels creaking but all the little creatures from all your books. They all come alive at night, but you are fast asleep and don’t know this.”
“But I never see anyone. I generally have the milk my tutor gives me and then fall asleep soon afterwards.”
“I think your tutor puts a little sleeping draft in your milk each night so that you don’t bother her and so that she can watch t v till the early hours. I’ll tell you what.”
“Tonight, don’t drink any milk. Look, why don’t you open the window and pour it out there and just pretend that you drank it.”
Em pulled hard on the metal clasp, opened the window and poured the milk into the thick Ivy leaves that clung to the outside of the building.
“Now, I will sit with you and we’ll wait and see who wakes up first.”
Em sat on her pillow, drew her knees up and wrapped her arms around them. She scanned the room with her torch.
“No, turn your torch off and wait until you hear some noises. Then you can shine a light on whatever it is.”
Em switched the torch off and cupped her hands around the backs of her ears in order to hear better.
After what seemed ages, she heard a rustling sound. She pointed the torch beam toward where she thought the sound was coming from and saw a huge Tiger. She screamed and threw herself underneath her duvet.
“It’s all right Em, you can come out, he’s friendly.”
“But he’s huge with bright orange eyes and white fangs.”
“But he’s only come alive from your book and so he’s quite harmless.”
The Tiger crept over to Em purring softly as it rubbed its face along the side of Em’s four poster bed. Em stretched out a shaking hand and stroked it’s head. The Tiger placed a paw, twice the size of both Ems hands put together, on the bed.
“Nice Tiger, nice boy.” Em said even though her voice was shaking.
Suddenly there was a scraping noise coming from outside Em’s bedroom door.
“What’s that noise Blue Fairy? Can I call you Blue Fairy?”
“Yes, of course. Shall we go and investigate?”
The fairy flew to the door and Em had to run to catch her up. Em pulled on the giant brass knob and heaved the solid oak door open. She was about to let out another scream when the fairy slid inside her mouth and almost choked her.
Em spat the fairy out.
“What on earth did you do that for fairy?”
“We don’t want you screaming and waking everyone up now do we?”
“But there’s a huge Bear ov…over th…there,” Said Em as she pointed to a giant Brown Bear who was sitting on one of her mother’s best chaise longues. Mama will kill me if he leaves a single hair behind or if he scratches anything. She’’ll blame me, I’m sure of it. Em began to cry.
“Look Em, all is well. These animals, and maybe more creatures, only come out of your books at night. They mean no harm. Have you ever seen any evidence of the Tiger or the Bear in your bedroom or anywhere else in The Old Manor House, or its grounds, for that matter?”
Em put her finger to her lips as she thought. “Well no, Blue Fairy, no I haven’t and that’s very strange. I’ve got so many books on my shelves about fairies, gnomes, dragons and unicorns and loads more about tame and wild animals. I’ve got one about a giant whale, but I’ve never seen any come to life like the Bear and like yourself Blue Fairy. What if we brought the giant whale to life Blue Fairy? That would be fun, wouldn’t it?”
And with that there was a huge splosh sound that seemed to echo throughout the whole building. Em looked over the bannister to the giant hallway below. A massive whale had filled the entire area and was flapping its tail up and down.
“Oh, my goodness Fairy, he’ll knock mum’s silver all over the place with that tail.”
“No, no, he’ll be gentle with all your mother’s fineries.”
Just as Em and Blue Fairy were climbing onto the bannister for a better view of the Whale the tutor came out of her study carrying a glass of red wine and walked diagonally across the black and white tiled floor to the corridor that led to the kitchens.
“I don’t believe this.” Said Em, “my tutor has just walked straight through the Whale. I saw it with my own eyes. I must be dreaming.”
“No, you’re not dreaming Em. These creatures are from another realm, another dimension and so your tutor does not know they exist. She cannot see them. Only we can see them.”
“Wow,” said Em. “From another realm, another dimension.”
“Come on Em, I’m going to cover you in magic dust, and we can invite the Tiger and Brown Bear to come and play with us and the Whale in your magnificent hallway, and I promise we won’t damage any silver or that beautiful chandelier.” Blue Fairy took out a miniature jar of blue dust and sprinkled it onto Em’s head. Em was about to sneeze but Blue Fairy covered her nostrils with her glittering wings.
“We can’t have your tutor, or anyone hear you sneezing, now can we?”
“No,” giggled Em.
“Come on, let’s hurry down the spiral staircase and go play with Whale, Tiger and Bear.”
Em ran after Blue Fairy, followed by the two wild animals.
“I’m going to climb on Whale’s tail and slide down his back.” Said Em.
Whale put his tail down flat for Em to climb onto and then gently lifted it up so that Em could sit on his back. Then Em slid down to the ground.
“Wheee. I want to do it again. “I’ve never had so much fun for ages.”
Bear joined in and Em and Bear spent a full ten minutes climbing onto Whale’s tail and then sliding down his sides.
“Oh, I’m all puffed out now Blue Fairy.”
“Would you like to ride on my back?” Asked the Tiger.
Em nearly fainted and rushed over to sit next to Blue Fairy.
“That Tiger spoke to me. Am I going mad Blue Fairy?”
“No, of course not. You can play with these creatures and communicate with them, just as you are speaking with me. Would you like to ride on the Tiger’s back?”
“I’d love to.” Em yawned.
“I think Tiger should take you back to bed now as you appear to be getting tired. Maybe too much excitement for one day. We will all escort you to your room.”
“But Whale is so big he won’t fit in my room.”
“Ah, but here is where the magic lies. Whale can make himself as big or as small as is necessary.”
“Em stood on Tiger’s front paw and lifted her leg over his back and hung onto his soft fur.”
The group slowly went up the winding staircase, along the dark corridor to the back of the house and into Em’s bedroom. Em’s head began to nod and her eyelids felt very heavy.
Tiger stood beside her four-poster bed and Em rolled off his back. Bear and Blue Fairy pulled up her duvet. Blue Fairy switched off her torch and mobile phone and Whale fanned Em with a warming breeze with his giant tail.
Em was soon fast asleep.
“Come on fellas, we must get back inside Em’s books. I’m sure she’ll call upon us all again tomorrow night now that she knows about the magic within herself and her books.”
“Night, night, Em.” Said Bear.
“Night, night, Em” said Tiger.
“Night, night Em.” Said the giant Whale.
Blue Fairy landed on Em’s pillow, sprinkled some more fairy dust, for good measure, blew her a kiss and with a flutter of her blue sparkling wings she vanished back inside Em’s book.