Suspicious Deliveries – Dernier Publishing

Suspicious Deliveries

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Another exciting detective story. Ravi, Debbie, Joel and Lance get into trouble again…

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Chapter One ~ The Cave

Oh no, the bike gang are coming,” Lance warned his friends, picking up his football.

Ravi patted his little black dog, Willow, then looked towards the road. Sure enough, from up there on the flattened top of the mound, he could see a group of seven or eight lads tearing towards the park on bikes. “I suppose we’ll have to move,” he groaned. “Why did they have to pick here to hang out?”

“Where shall we go?” asked Debbie, picking up the bags they had been using as goal posts, and brushing off the grass.

“Let’s go to the cave,” suggested her brother, Joel. “It’s nearly lunch time anyway – we can eat there.” Everyone nodded, and the four of them, with Willow ahead, ran to the zigzag path that wound down the mound, then joined the ornamental gardens below.

It was the beginning of the May half term holiday, and the neatly laid out lawns and flower beds blazed with colour in the bright sun. A man with a walking stick greeted them with a cheery “good morning” as they passed. A couple of old ladies tutted and pointed to the lads who were now tearing up the hill on their bikes.

“Maybe we shouldn’t run away whenever the bike gang come,” observed Ravi, throwing Willow’s tennis ball across the grass for her to fetch as they slowed to a walk.

“Get real, Rav, they’d kill us!” said Joel.

“I think Ravi’s got a point,” said Debbie. “I don’t want to get in any trouble or anything, but why shouldn’t we be able to sit wherever we want to in the park? Or play football on the mound if we like?”

“We could share it with them,” Ravi pointed out. “Nothing to stop us.”

Joel looked back to where a group of lads, several years older than them, were now throwing down their bikes, laughing loudly and lighting up cigarettes. “Hmm,” he said. “I don’t think that would be much fun.”

Lance made a face. “I heard the police were down here again last weekend. Someone else got beaten up.”

“At least we’ve got the cave to go to,” said Debbie, swinging her bag cheerfully. “We can have lunch there; best place for that in the whole park.”

“Yeah, the cave is the best,” agreed Lance, as they left the main path and approached the neglected far corner of the park, leaving the bike gang and their noise behind. “We won’t get disturbed there.”

Ravi nodded. “Nobody else knows about it except badgers and foxes. I think that’s why Willow loves the cave as much as we do. She loves the smell of the wildlife. Come on, Willow, we’re going to the cave!”

The group left the main path, and joined the Woodland Walk – a narrow, winding path which lead to the far side of the park. Here, everything was allowed to grow wild. The grass wasn’t neat and clipped; it grew tall and free. Butterflies and other insects flitted and buzzed among the seed heads and wild flowers, and the sun reached the path in dappled patches through the trees.

When they arrived at an ancient oak tree along the path, the group checked that no one was looking, skirted round the wide trunk, then squeezed their way between some evergreen bushes. One by one they parted the branches of a weeping willow tree and stepped into the cave.

Walking into the cave was like walking into another world. It wasn’t a cave made by rock, but by the spreading branches of the willow tree. The tree was enclosed on two sides by a crumbling brick wall, which might once have been a shepherd’s hut or an animal shelter. Long abandoned and left to decay, the old stones were now covered with moss and lichen. They gave the cave a solid, dependable feel. The trunk of the willow tree at the centre of the cave reached upwards like a ship’s mast, where it vanished into a sea of green leaves. Drooping branches spread out and down like expansive open arms. Bushes grew all around the outside, so nobody could see in, but the clear area inside made the perfect cave. The floor of the cave was soft and springy – the remains of years of leaf litter. Light shone gently through the branches above and there was a cool quietness. The only sounds were the cheeping of birds and the faint hum of distant traffic.

Willow ran around sniffing, as she always did when they first arrived. The others sank down onto the living carpet and breathed in deeply. “This place is almost magical!” said Debbie.

“Abracadabra,” said Joel, grinning at her as he pretended to wave a magic wand. “Ooh, look at the imps and pixies!”

Debbie rolled her eyes at him. “I didn’t meant it literally!”

Ravi looked round with satisfaction. “It might not be magical, but this is the best place in the world! Well, shall we eat?”

“Might as well, now we’re here,” agreed Joel, rummaging in the lunch bag. He came up with a large bag of sandwiches, four bags of crisps and a packet of chocolate chip muffins.

“Mm, I love picnics,” said Ravi, as Joel spread out the food on the soft ground. Willow lay down as close as she dared to the food, with her nose resting on her paws. She looked at up at Ravi with hopeful eyes, but he frowned at her, and she shuffled back a centimetre or two. Ravi grinned at the others. “Remember the time she ate our sandwiches, when we weren’t looking?”

The others laughed as they remembered the mayhem. “She was only a puppy, you can’t blame her,” Debbie excused her.

While they ate, Lance remembered something else. “Oh, I’ve got something to tell you,” he said. “You know Yasmin and Harry who live in the apartment upstairs from mine? The ones who are always throwing stuff around and shouting at each other? They’ve got their nephew staying with them for the holiday. He’s a bit younger than us, but not much. He’s called Noah. Mum asked if we’d mind taking him round with us sometimes.”

“Oh,” said Debbie. “I quite like it being just the four of us.”

“What’s he like?” asked Ravi.

“Don’t know, haven’t met him yet. He arrives tonight. If he’s like his aunt and uncle, he’ll be noisy.”

Debbie grimaced. “Is it just him, or has he got brothers and sisters?”

“It’s just him.”

“I hope he’s not like your neighbours,” said Ravi. “If he starts throwing stuff at us, it won’t be much fun.” There was an uncomfortable silence while each thought about having to drag a strange boy around with them wherever they went.

“We don’t have to,” said Lance. “Yasmin asked my mum if I’d make friends with him, as they’ll be out at work all day, but if we don’t get on, it’s not a big deal.”

Joel screwed up his face. “Why is he staying with them if they’re out at work all day? Doesn’t sound like a fun holiday.”

“His mum’s had to go into hospital for something and his dad couldn’t get the week off work. Mum says it’s a good opportunity for us to show him what it’s like to be Christians.” There was a short silence while the friends finished their sandwiches and crisps, and started on the muffins.

“Well,” said Debbie, “if his mum’s ill, he might need to know that God cares about him. And we could take him to take him to youth club on Friday. Tina’s bible talks are always good.

“We’ll check him out tomorrow,” agreed Ravi.

“Weren’t we planning a bike ride?” asked Joel. “I don’t suppose he’ll have a bike with him.”

Lance frowned. “Good point.”

“I don’t mind walking somewhere instead,” said Ravi. “It means Willow can come – bikes means she gets left at home.” He looked round at the others, who nodded slowly.

“OK,” said Lance. “We could bring him here?”

“He might be all right,” said Debbie.

Joel grinned. “If not we’ll feed him to the bike gang!”

Suspicious Deliveries


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