The Tick-tock Box short story competition runners-up

The Guardian-9 years before

Xlarmya took a step closer to the girls. They could see her more closely now. A big, pink dress hid half of her massive, red thighs. Green hoops hung down from her ears. Like the sort of earrings teenagers wear but a different colour. She wore big, chunky high heels in the strangest colour the girls had ever seen.

"No-one has. I invented it yesterday. My father is a shoemaker. He made me these only this morning."

"Hang on a minute. I've told you why I'm here but you haven't told me why you're here. I asked you first!" Xlarmya's face had the expression of 'I win' on it.
<...r>"We're here to check for rats. Dad heard some noises and sent my sister and I down to check for rats." Xlarmya's face looked puzzled.

"Do you know where I could find THE TICK-TOCK BOX? It has been causing havoc in my world." Xlarmya asked. The girls looked at each other. "Why don't we try upstairs?" Suggested Ava.

So the trio pushed open the cellar door and tiptoed across the hallway. Jesse hurried upstairs with Xlarmya whilst Ava checked both mum and dad were down stairs. They were. So she scuttled upstairs behind them.

First they checked in the bathroom. All they found that interested Xlarmya was dad's aftershave. She produced a big, yellow handbag from inside her dress and she popped in the aftershave. Next they tried mum and dad's bedroom. Xlarmya walked straight into the door. "OUCH!"

"SSSHHH!!" Hushed the girls. It was too late. Dad had heard the commotion and came thumping up the stairs. Jesse pushed Xlarmya and Ava inside the bathroom and told them to lock the door.

"Ava got her finger caught in the door. It's all right now." Jesse was surprised at her sudden strike of inspiration.

"I can hear it!" Whispered Xlarmya. "The noise is so loud it's terrible. They wondered towards Ava's bed. "It's so loud!" Whispered Xlarmya. Then she picked Ava's alarm clock tipping it upside down. "This is it."

Ava and Jesse laughed. "I never liked it anyway. You can have it." Xlarmya grabbed it and in a puff of smoke was gone. "That was a strange day."

"Hey! get off my foot!" squeaked an angry voice.
Jesse and Ava froze. They couldn't see anyone in the darkness.
"What are you doing here?"
Jesse grabbed Ava's arm. "You tell him" she quivered nervously.

"Ok you scaredy-cat" replied Ava, actually feeling frightened herself but trying not to show it.

Ava straightened up, her shiny golden locks swaying. Being the eldest she felt she must be in charge.

"First of all I want to know what you are doing here." Ava retorted bravely, showing Jesse how it was done.

Their toenails were as sharp as daggers and their teeth were more pointy than any other knife you could imagine.

"We are aliens from outer space and here behind us is the greatest time machine in the whole universe!"

Jesse and Ava gasped - "Wow!" the time machine was a brilliant deep red with black leather seats inside.

There were lots of interesting levers and buttons with lovely foot warmers and air conditioners.

The floor was carpeted in a luxurious emerald green material which looked as if it was as deep as the ocean.

"Climb in, it's alright" invited the head alien. Despite the fact that they were complete strangers Jesse and Ava climbed in cautiously.

"So what time do you want to go back to, hmm?" asked the second creature quite politely, settling himself down.

"What about 1961 when brave Yuri Gagarin was the first man to go into space?" whispered Jesse quietly, now feeling quite nervous.

One of the ugly creatures pulled a shiny lever and suddenly they were off on the start of their adventure.

"It is like jumping from star to star in space!" shouted Jesse now jumping up and down in excitement.

Finally the 'Tick-Tock box' landed and they were back home, but only now in 1961 – fifty years in the past.

Jesse and Ava could hear lots of cheering and dancing inside an old , large crumbly hall. The two girls went inside.

"Hey! Get off my foot!" squeaked an angry voice.
Jesse and Ava froze. They couldn't see anyone in the darkness.
"What are you doing here?"
Jesse grabbed Ava's arm. "You tell him."

Ava gulped. Suddenly lights came on. They saw a little green hand come up to their faces. They looked down and saw a tiny elf.

Ava gulped again. "We were on a school trip and and we fell through a door into this cellar. Then, when

we tried to get out, the door was locked." Then, the girls noticed the elf was standing beside a small box

which was making a "Tick-Tock" noise. Ava wanted to see what was inside it and went over to open it.

Then the girls and the elf looked around. They had landed under a palm tree. "Now look what you've

"Watch out!" shouted Jesse. They just got out of the way before the tree collapsed. When they got up

"Aaaagh! Run for your lives!" screamed the elf as the tricerotops thundered after them. Finally they got

to a tiny cave carved into a mountain. The elf ran into the cave but the girls had to crawl through. The

"Yes," said the elf. "So, let's get out of here." He opened the box but it did not work. "It doesn't seem

"Yay, we're back!" shouted the girls and they both started dancing with joy. Then Ava stopped for a moment.

"Maybe we'll see him again one day. But now, I'm going to check if the doors are open" said Ava. And

"Hey! Get off my foot!" squeaked an angry voice.
Jesse and Ava froze. They couldn't see anyone in the darkness.
"What are you doing here?"
Jesse grabbed Ava's arm. "You tell him."

"We'll grab his fancy invention." interrupted Jesse. Their mother patented inventions, and a mysterious man had brought in a large box which contained…

"Quick!" hissed Ava. "We've got to get that box before Mum gets home. Arnie, Jesse, you're look-outs. I'll nab it. Agreed?"

They nodded. Soon, they were huddled round the strange machine, and staring at a huge, temptingly red button, in the middle of a row of five.

Nothing moved, nothing crackled, or rustled. No dogs barked. The radio, which had been blaring jazz merrily, was eerily quiet. The cheerful shrieks of children playing in their gardens no longer drifted through the open windows.

Ava hit it, hard, and straight away, everything went back to normal. Until suddenly, Ava screamed with terror.

"What do you mean? It's a blimming great hairy - thing!" squawked Ava indignantly. She dropped the Tick-Tock box onto the spider, accidentally hitting a smaller, green, left-facing button.

The boys turned, and seeing a massive, drooling Tyrannosaurus Rex charging at them, shot after Ava.

They were standing on a vibrating, metal surface and suddenly found that they couldn't breathe. Seeing an iron door, they scuttled thankfully towards it. It slid open, and they fell inside, sucking in as much air as possible. Spinning round, they saw that they were in:

They did indeed look strange. Dark green head-scarves, lavender body-suits and high-heeled blue moon-boots made them look like:

"Alien hippies!" said Ava excitedly. At her words, they turned and advanced towards them, large, rainbow-coloured, metallic guns clutched in butter-yellow gloves. The three found themselves running extremely fast for the second time.

"Hey! Get off my foot!" squeaked an angry voice.
Jesse and Ava froze. They couldn't see anyone in the darkness.
"What are you doing here?"
Jesse grabbed Ava's arm.

"You tell him," whispered Ava to Jesse. Suddenly they heard a ticking sound just like a bomb from in the darkness ahead.

Without any warning, an evil grinning skeleton clattered in and chased them all around the room and back!

Ava tripped over something. It was a flash light! They used the flash light and found out that the skeleton was allergic to light. The skeleton was so hurt it ran away!

It took a long time using the flash light, but they finally found where the sound was coming from. A little box!

Jesse picked the box up in amazement. She finally opened the strange box after gazing at it for half an hour because of the puzzling patterns all over it.

Inside the box was a clock, but this was no ordinary clock, this clock had a magical bird inside it that could speak different languages.

Suddenly the magical bird sang the most beautiful song ever sung. At that moment, all the lights came on and they saw the door clearly now. They took the bird home for safe keeping.

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