The very first draft of the very first chapter of the very first book I ever tried to write…….

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CHAPTER ONE

The funny old lady shuffled down the pavement, one foot in the gutter, speaking to herself. People stepped round her, not really looking at her. She paid no attention, she was used to that. She shuffled because her boots were 3 sizes too big. She moved slowly because she was watching the ground and listening very carefully.

Teddy in the bin meanwhile had no idea what had happened to him. One moment life was normal. He had been out for a walk with his little boy. The next moment an impatient cross grown up voice said….”Big boys do not need to carry teddy bears everywhere”. He was grabbed roughly by the arm and went flying through the air to land in a cold hard dark metal bin.

He was shocked. He had no idea what had happened. He was so stunned that when he opened his mouth to shout, no sound came out. He could hear his little boy crying, but Boy’s voice already seemed far away. That made things even worse. A Teddy’s job is to be there when his Boy cries. That is when he is needed the most. But Boy’s voice got further and further away until he could not hear it any more. Then it was completely quiet and Teddy was all alone in the dark damp cold bin.

A tear rolled down Teddy’s face from his one eye. He felt very frightened and alone. He so wanted to be tucked up with Boy. In the dark they snuggled close, Boy smelling of soap and clean pyjamas, Bear tucked under his chin. This place was not at all like that. Bear started to cry again and sobbing quietly he fell asleep.

The old lady knew it was long past time to go home. It was quite dark and rain was now falling in cold splats. But she thought she had heard something. She was sure she had heard a snuffling sobbing sort of sound. She knew that sound and she was not going home until she found where it was coming from. Two big rats were scarring about beside her checking here and checking there. Then all three would stop and listen again. But now everything was quiet apart for the wet swish of an occasional passing car.

Then, very faintly, she heard….sniff…..sob…..and a faint rustle. She put down her 2 carrier bags and waited. There it was again…..sob.

Teddy woke up because he thought he heard something too. What he heard was a sort of rustling scratching sort of noise. He tried to move. He discovered that he seemed to be upside down and wedged between something hard and something squidgy. He opened his eye and saw……..2 bright beady eyes staring at him. Then with another rustle and a flick of whiskers and tail, the rat was gone. Teddy was scared. He wondered if rats ate teddies.

The rat jumped out of the bin and rushed to the old lady who was still standing with one boot in the gutter, head cocked to one side, listening. The rat scampered up to her squeaking urgently. Then he turned round and ran back to the bin. The next thing Teddy knew,a big warm dry hand was wrapped around him and ever so gently the hand gripped him firmly and lifted him out.

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“Oh, you poor dear boy”, she whispered. She stroked his cold wet fur and with great tenderness she tucked him deep into the folds of her big wooly overcoat, so close to her heart that he could hear it beating. All Teddy knew was that now he was safe. He would not have to try to be brave any more and he cried and cried and cried from relief.

The old lady’s heart started to glow. She quickly picked up her two carrier bags and whispered the magic word. If anybody had been there to watch, they would have seen a shower of sparks and a puff of strange purple mist as she disappeared down a crack between two paving stones. At precisely the same moment, she appeared out of a wisp of purple mist in the Enchanted Forest.

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So there it is. Some of the illustrations are just drafts too. A real work in progress with empasis on progress. Chapter 2 is bubbling up………:-)