Dear anyone who is reading this. I wrote this a few years ago. The first book I ever wrote. All comments and reviews are more than welcome. I hope it is in the right section? I've always thought of young adults as being 10-12 onwards? It is complete but depending on popularity I will update a chapter at a time. Hope you enjoy it!

CHAPTER1 ; TIME THIEF

Prologue

Andy waited on the platform of the station. He knew his Dad was coming on the train from London. He'd never met him before. He had spoken to him on the phone of course, and even received the occasional odd present. Odd being the word. The last present he'd got had been a toy train that made a pleasant musical sound when you pushed it on the floor. All very nice you might think. He didn't. He was twelve! What had his Dad been thinking? At least he had been getting a few e-mails recently. Even if they were mainly to do with winning horses. Still knowing the winners got him popular at school, unfortunately they also got his Dad popular with the police. He looked down again at the photo he had of his Dad. Broad, cheeky smile, hair which looked like it didn't just eat combs but spit them out afterwards, and a prison uniform. Andy and his Mum hadn't needed him the past 12 years, but they needed him now. The bank were going to foreclose on their mortgage. Andy didn't know what foreclose meant, but he did know it meant they would lose the house.

The train pulled up to the platform, sparks leaping from the wheels as it ground to a halt. Andy looked up at the station board. Yep this was his Dad's train! The tannoy blared into life. "We apologise for the late running of the train on Platform 2. This was due to the drinks trolley being out of Martini's on the first class carriage and us having to find a replacement driver. On the plus side we found the original driver and what was left of the Martini's. We also apologise for his singing and would like to say that his opinion of fat and bald people does in no way represent the opinion of the railway company." Andy looked at the people leaving the train. They had the harassed and tired look of regular commuters. No sign of his Dad though. He was getting impatient now and climbed onto the train. The tannoy boomed out again. "The London train is running five minutes late. Please ignore the message board. The train currently at the platform is the delayed 7:37 to Brighton."

Andy heard the message and ran to the door, just before it swished shut in front of him.

"No!" he said. He jabbed the button with his hand. The door remained obstinately closed. With a clanking sound the train started to build up speed. With his nose pressed to the window he saw the platform disappear. He had just cost his mother his houseā€¦


Smoke.

Sparks.

Flames.

Screams

The crackle as the fire leaps a street and wraps another house in its killing embrace. Explosions rend the air spreading the flames still further. London is burning. From the dockyards to the farmyards, across the horizon, a new light to rival the sun that is struggling to peer through the black curtain of smoke. The people abandon their homes and flee; leaving plenty of time for a shadowy figure to help himself to paintings, gold, jewellery, money, antiques and anything else that would otherwise be lost for ever and is of value.

The Time Thief is at work and London must burn for it... in 1666.


Present day

Andy's knees reached to almost his chin as he raced down the road. His foot booted the football along the pavement once again and his hand moved up to give his mouth another sip of tea... What? He still had his mug! What was he thinking? His other hand gave his mouth some toast to chew over. His plate as well! That is what comes of getting up, changing, eating breakfast, cleaning your teeth and running out of the door in one minute flat. Where was his school bag? Aaaaah! His football was starting to pick up speed as it headed down the hill. Aaaaah! He quickly turned around and raced back home, spilling tea and toast crumbs with each stride.

"Mum, my school bag!" he yelled.

His Mother, used to this sort of thing, opened the window and yelled, "CATCH!" as she threw the bag out the window.

"You to!" shouted Andy and threw his mug and plate at the same time.

"AAAAAH!" they both said at the same time as they tried to catch the various objects.

The plate went skimming through the open window, knocked a bottle of milk over which gurgled its contents onto the sleeping cat below, and landed splash in the sink. The mug wasn't so lucky. It went through a window but unfortunately it wasn't open at the time.

"ANDY!" yelled his Mum as she watched her son race down the road after his football.

"SORRY!" yelled Andy. "LATE FOR SCHOOL!"

Andy licked his lips nervously. This was going to be difficult. He had already been late for school twice this term and once more meant lines or a possible detention. He could have set his alarm early, had a leisurely breakfast and then strolled to school but somehow he never managed this. He was running to school, when he saw the prefects come out to set guard on the gates and report any pupils arriving late. This was going to be tricky, thought Andy putting the football back into his bag. He hid behind an old beech tree and looked to see who was guarding the gate; it was Kenny Loach a boy who was made prefect more for his size than his brain power.

Outside Andy's house two lorries pulled up, with 'Eviction Services' painted on the side.

Andy managed to creep up to the school wall without being heard by Kenny Loach, despite crunching on leaves underfoot, as Kenny was listening to his ipod. He edged along the old wall, passed the colourful graffiti with such words as, 'Free the history detention three' and 'wHo neEdz skool?'.

"Good point!" thought Andy, for whom English Language was just something he talked in and English Literature the sports column of the local paper. He reached the place where Kenny Loach was standing. Kenny was moving in time to the music, which even Andy could hear a few meters away. When Loach started acting out a guitar solo Andy took his chance and dashed into the playground. Going to the front door of the school meant passing the receptionist on duty so he ran around the side of the school. Approaching the games changing rooms he sneaked in and ran smack into a prefect.


The school photograph was on the wall of the Headmaster's study, and it had more perforations in it than a tea bag. The Headmaster picked up a dart and hurled it at the photograph. He cackled to himself and rubbed his bony hands together with glee as he scuttled over to the picture.

"Who do we expel today?" he sniggered as he looked at who the dart had hit. "Come in Andrew Wilson, your time is up!"

The Headmaster's moustache wriggled like a mouse caught in a trap under his nose, as he laughed, giving him the title 'mousey'. He scampered over to the window and looked out, to see Andrew Wilson! Better and better! The Headmaster looked at his watch, '9:00 AM'. You could set your watch by Andy's timing, as long as you did not mind it being ten minutes late. This makes the day worth living, he thought to himself. A few lines here, a detention there, an expulsion! The highlight of his day. He watched Andy sneak past Kenny Loach and cackled to himself again.


Ah, the same old trick I see," said Mary, one of the prefects. "You're nicked me old beam of light What's your name, boy?"

"Guppy," said Andy. "I. M. A."

"Right then Guppy," said the prefect looking up from her pad. "How many times late is... Hey, come back here!"

Andy raced down the corridor with the prefect close behind him. Andy ran straight into the boys' toilets and the prefect screeched to a halt.

"Come out of there, Guppy," said the prefect. "I can wait all day."

Andy didn't mind if she waited all day for him to come out. In fact it suited him. He jogged past the cubicles and leapt up to a window at the end of the room. He quickly clambered onto the ledge and opened the window. Jumping down outside the school he closed the window and looked around. He was in the courtyard and there was only one other way into school from here. He ran onto a patio and burst through the door into the staff room. The teachers were having an early morning coffee, triple caffeinated, quadruple sugared, to prepare them for lessons.

"Who are you?" asked the gym teacher.

"Someone else," said Andy, putting his hand up to cover his face.

"Why aren't you in class and what are you doing here?" asked the music teacher.

"Trying to get into class, would you believe," said Andy, deepening his voice to try and disguise it.

"Andy isn't it?," said the gym teacher.

"No, I am an evil duplicate from the Z dimension trying to get Andy, an innocent in all this, into trouble," said Andy. "Just a minute, I can hear the Zarquostian commander." Andy raced through the other door and back into school.

"I blame these E numbers," said the gym teacher.

"I blame television," said the music teacher.

"I blame this coffee," said the geography teacher. "It's not strong enough."

Andy made it to outside his classroom and peered in through the glass door to his empty place. If he could just sneak in without being spotted! After a moment's thought Andy knocked on the classroom door and then hid behind some lockers nearby.

Mrs Amskey, the teacher, opened the door and looked out. She heard some footsteps down the corridor so went out to investigate. Behind her Andy ran quietly to his place and sat down smiling at his friends around the table.

"Made it!" Andy said to his friends Emma and Jack. Emma was a very neat girl with curly brown hair. Not a hair was out of place and her uniform was spotless. Even her pens on the table were neatly lined up in order of colour. Jack was a thin boy always eating something. In the same way that Emma had her pens lined up on the desk, Jack had his chocolate bars hidden in his pencil case. Every time he got the chance he guzzled a chocolate bar down. Judging by the look of his uniform he either got changed in the dark or on the run. They all looked up when Andy came dashing in. Emma sitting opposite looked very unimpressed by this display of prowess.

"Don't you have an alarm clock?" she asked.

"Yes."

"Have you ever tried using it?"

"That extra half an hour I have asleep is very useful to me. I have a very stressful life! Has the register been done yet?"

"No," said Jack chewing a fruit pastille, in-between chocolate bars. "I've got some more jokes for when I become a comedian Andy," Jack got out a pad. "Andy?" Andy was no longer at his desk.

An elongated leg shot into the room, shortly followed by its owner. A chorus of muffled squeaks came from the class. Mary was with the Headmaster. Andy was listening to this from under his desk.

"That's him, sir," said Mary, pointing at a pair of feet sticking out from under the desk "I'm a Guppy."

"Don't put yourself down," said the Headmaster. "Andrew Wilson come here."

Andy peered nervously over the top of his desk, "Yes sir?"

"How many times late is this?" His moustache wriggled like it was trying to escape from the face it had somehow got attached to.

"Late sir?" said Andy looking at his watch.

"Don't play games Wilson, I am not in the mood. I saw you sneak past the prefects."

"Three times, sir."

"Right. One hundred lines for lying to the prefect. One hundred lines for running from the prefect and one hundred lines for being late. The line is, 'I must not be late for school again.' On my desk tomorrow at 9 AM, not PM. Understand? Oh yes, your Mother 'phoned. She says you are paying for the window you threw your breakfast through."

"Yes sir," said Andy, as he calculated eight words per sentence times 300! At least it was not the time honoured 'Lateness is a discourtesy to others', thought Andy, as he always had a problem spelling discourtesy. Andy thought for a bit and then said, "Excuse me mous... I mean Headmaster, do you mind if we have a word outside?" Andy took the Headmaster by the elbow and led him into the corridor. "Back in a minute Mrs A!" Andy said as he left.

"What do you want, Wilson?" asked the Headmaster.

Andy looked around him and then said, "This 300 lines thing. Bit steep sir. You a betting man by any chance?"

"What are you on about, Wilson?" asked the Headmaster coldly.

"Well, sir, it's like this," said Andy, giving a broad wink. "The old Headmaster and I had a bit of an agreement. If I turn up late I get my old man (he runs the local bookies) to help him place some bets on some of the gee gees. Catch my drift?"

A few minutes later Andy came back into the classroom.

"How did it go?" asked Jack.

"Well, mousey caught my drift only too well," said Andy.

"What did he say?" asked Jack.

"He added 300 lines for trying to bribe the Headmaster!" said Andy. Mrs Amskey came marching over to Andy's desk.

"Homework, please?" she asked, putting her hand out.

"Yes, homework. Of course that is what you are interested in, and a good thing too. The sign of a good teacher is asking for homework." Andy got his bag out and emptied it on the desk. There was a marked absence of any homework. "Oh dear... Your not a betting woman at all are you Mrs Amskey?"

"Oh great," said Andy, after Mrs Amskey had gone to the front of the class. "Twice as much homework as everyone else... Jack! Emma! Old friends, old muckers, old... people. Fancy doing some homework and lines tonight for your old mate Andy?"

"No!" they said together. "And we are not betting people!"

A boy walked over from the other side of the classroom, "Andy!"

"Steve!"

"Laughing."

"Quality."

"Class."

"Cool," said Andy.

"Match, Andy. Park Place. Floodlit. Centre forward. Cup game. 6 PM. Be there. We are laughing they are not. We are going to score a lot. The Millingsgate High school second 11 nutters will take 'em down! See you there Andy!"

"Bit busy actually," said Andy.

"Millingsgate Nutters won't be. Understand?" Steve walked back to his seat.

"Understand perfectly. See you there." said Andy, a twitch developing in his cheek. "This has gone far enough!" He climbed onto his desk. "This is a message to everyone, to anyone who has anything else for me to do at all, ever. I - HAVE - NO - TIME - LEFT."

"If you don't get off your desk and keep quiet," said Mrs Amskey, "you will make time for a detention."

The gym teacher, music teacher and geography teacher walked in, closely followed by the Headmaster, "That's the evil twin from the Z dimension, Headmaster. You're in trouble Andy!" said the gym teacher.

"It's wasn't me," said Andy. "I wasn't in the staff room this morning. I've never heard of the Zarquostian commander. Besides that I said I was someone else anyway... Your not gambling people at all are you?"

"That does it! I'm going to send this to the Education Secretary," said the Headmaster waving a piece of paper about and jiggling about. "You're as good as expelled!"


Monty the cat was even more annoyed than his pinched Persian face was showing. He glowered at the world from beneath his bushy eyebrows causing a large Pit Bull Terrier, dragging his master on a walk, to rapidly head towards the other side of the road. Monty had been woken from his nap by a milk bottle pouring over him closely followed by a mug, several bits of glass and a deluge of water from the sink, and he was not in the best of moods. The look on his face could curdle milk at ten paces. He padded across the road, causing a car to screech to a halt and knock the wing mirror off another car, as he followed the dog. The Pit Bull Terrier saw him coming and leapt over a garden wall with his poor master in tow. The two car owners started to shout at each other as Monty padded into the wood at the end of the road. Several minutes later three roe deer and the Surrey Puma left the wood from the other direction. Monty was trotting deeper into the wood when the air around him seemed to crackle with energy. He leapt up a tree and looked around at what had caused this. The air in the hollow seemed to somehow twist and then a small black object, the size of an audio tape, appeared, covered in what looked like tiny camera lenses. This hovered in space, defying gravity, then sped quickly around the hollow and finally went back to its place of origin and disappeared. Two seconds later there was a 'whoosh' noise and an oval object about the size of a house and of dark green in colour, covered in little metal protuberance, appeared with the same air twisting phenomenon. With a terrible cracking sound the tree Monty was on was toppled by this, so he leapt onto another tree, which was pushed over by the first one, so he jumped again. "MROWW!" He bounded onto the ground and then jumped left as a tree crashed down where he had been. The object then quickly pushed itself into the ground until only the top was visible. Surrounding it was a mass of bare earth and fallen trees. Monty glared at this strange object, amongst the carnage it had caused,when a tree started to grow from under him, pushing him into the air. Within a radius of a few metres of the strange craft time sped up. Young saplings shot up to three or four metres in height next to the craft and quickly darkened and aged with the sort of speed that takes a nature documentary team 20 years to film. "MROWW!" Monty found himself five metres up in the air and still rising on a swiftly growing tree. Leaves grew on it, fell off, then grew again in a few seconds. Ferns and bushes covered the fallen trees and bare earth. Some very surprised looking birds and insects also appeared. In a few minutes the only part of the ship that was still visible was the hatchway, it was now almost completely concealed from any wandering people. The top of the tree Monty was on bent under the weight and Monty fell onto the machine. "MROWW!" Monty looked even more cross than normal, when a hatchway opened from under him and deposited him into the time machine to a final meow of annoyance and a thud. The time thief is at work!