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Catch That Martha: a sequel to The Secret Key (5 March 2012)

One day someone dressed in black and yellow leather came running down Cantin Street.

“Grand Poppy,” asked Martha, “Do you know who that guy is?”

“No, I don’t know, Martha Nell,” Grand Poppy answered.

“Shall we see who that girl or boy is, Grand Poppy?” asked Martha. “Yay whoopy! hurray,” shouted Grand Poppy. “I love adventures. Lets go right now!”

And off he ran with Martha close on his heels. They turned on to Barnen Road where Bob, their buddy sat chopping wood.

“Hello, Bob,” Grand Poppy called.

“Hello, Grand Poppy and Martha,” Bob called back.

“Sorry, Bob, we have to go,” said Grand Poppy.

And off he went with Martha running beside him. They ran down Quacker Street and up Mowheep until they got to the Haunting Wood. The guy dressed in black and yellow leather was running into the wood.

“That guy must be blind or he would not go in that dark, cold wood where there are human bones and dog blood,” whispered Martha.

“Shall we keep following that guy in the black and yellow leather?” asked Grand Poppy. “Well,” he said, “We could each go different ways and see which is the best way around the wood.”

“OK!” said Martha and ran onto a path of dirt and mud. “It’s good I took my hiking boots,” said Martha as she panted up the trail.

The guy dressed in black and leather yellow was really Martha’s mother, Mrs Ceny. Mrs Ceny did not see Martha and Grand Poppy running onto the paths to find the best way around the wood. Martha ran up a steep hillside to a small clearing at the edge of the wood. Grand Poppy was nowhere in sight.
Martha sat down on a log at the side of the clearing. White clouds of smoke rose somewhere near.
Martha knew what that meant–a fire!

Martha ran and ran and ran. Out of the bushes came five black bears. Meanwhile Grand Poppy was looking for Martha at the side of a trail called the Con-Berry-Coco.

“Oh if I had only said no when Martha asked if we should follow that guy who ran down Cantin Street,” Grand Poppy sobbed. “I know Martha is just dust.”

Chapter 2
The Balloon Bunch

In which Martha finds a balloon seller, buys a balloon and flies to the city of Creem.

As the bears came closer and closer to Martha, a big fat boy holding a bunch of balloons came out of the wood. He took one look at Martha and said, “Hey, young lady, my name is Sunday. Have one of these
balloons for one of those bears.”

“Sure,” said Martha and took a nice green balloon out of Sunday’s hand.
Sunday began to sing “Fly, fly green up the sky. Night is far fly.”
And slowly getting higher every second the balloon with Martha hanging on was off. They went flying over odd buildings with windows long and thin and doors that were on the roof.

Sometimes an airplane or two would come wizzing by, dumping candy corn and lolly-pops in fresh suger snow. Now and then there would be a rain of cakes to go with the candy corn and lolly-pops. As it got darker and darker the balloon that Martha was hanging from began to lose height, until it was lying on the ground in the suger snow.

Meanwhile Grand Poppy, who was still at the Con -berry-coco was trying to find his way to a small building, which gave out cocoa and cake.

“Oh, if only Martha were here,” Grand Poppy said. “For she was the one who found the key when we went to that nice little place in the ocean.

Martha stood up from where she had been lying next to the balloon. Nine elves stood around her. They all had short red hair and they were wearing black boots, blue jeans and white t-shirts turned brown by mud.

“You must see the Queen before you enter.”

Chapter 3

In which Martha meets a bad queen, sees a ghost, and goes underground.

Martha was a little cross with the elf for it had said, “You must see the queen before you enter.”

“Well,” said Martha, “They must work for this queen and queens get they want.”

So Martha took a small path. On the side of the path there was a sign which said, “To the queen.”
As Martha ran along the path the trees grew darker and darker.

Martha said, “Do I hear hooooooooo-woooooooo-coooooooo–moooooooooo?”

Before Martha could answer herself, a huge white figure rose up from behind a tree. It had small black eyes and a huge jaw. Martha froze at the sight of it and inch by inch she began to move away. Suddenly a building rose up in front of Martha. It had smooth white walls and the door was black as night.

“Well,” said Martha, “I am very woozy. I’ll go in and have a drink.”

So she pushed open the door and ran into the house.

“Who are you?”

Martha turned around to find a tall thin women behind her.

“I am Martha Nell,” said Martha.

“Hello, Martha,”said the tall thin women. “My name is Queen Jessy.”

“Queen Jessy,” said Martha, “would you be kind enough to tell me were Grand Poppy is?”

“Grand Poppy,” Queen Jessy said, “is down on the bottom of a mine.”

“It can not be this way,” Martha shouted. Grand poppy is my only grand father.”

“Do not be so sad,” said Queen Jessy, “You can be with Grand Poppy.”

“Oh, yes, please,” said Martha.

Wish splish.

Martha opened her eyes. There was Grand poppy.

“Martha,” he gasped. “You! Here in the mine with me. Why did I not see you before?”

“Well,” said Martha, “Queen Jessy sent me here.”

“You have been with Queen Jessy,” said Grand Poppy. “She was the one who put me in this mine.”

“Why?” asked Martha.

“Well,” said Grand Poppy, “Queen Jessy hates everybody from earth.”

“Huuuuuuuuum,” said Martha, “But we are on Earth.”

“No,” said Grand Poppy, “we are not on Earth. We are on Kifiney.”

“Grand Poppy!” shouted Martha, “I am falling.”

“Don’t be silly, Martha Nell,” said Grand Poppy. “All we are doing is talking in this dry mine.”

However, Martha was right. Very soon she was no longer in the mine. She was underground.

Chapter 4

What’s Here?

In which Martha meets things from underground and falls into a well.

Martha said, “Hmmm is something crawling around me?”

“Yes,” said a little voice at Martha’s feet.

“What are you?,” said Martha

“I am a Gigfig,” said the voice at Martha’s feet.

“Well, little Gigfig,” said Martha, “would you please tell me your name?”

“Sure,” said the little Gigfig. “My name is Chef.”

“Oh,” said Martha. “That is a nice name.”

“Thank you for your ever so nice comment,” said Chef.

“I am so sorry, Chef,” said Martha, “but I must go.”

“That’s all right,” said Chef. “I have a wife and a child to look after as you see I am not a child. In fact I am 879.”

“Good, good,” said Martha, “And bye bye.”

And off she went hoping to find the way out .

Suddenly wish spish!

Martha looked up just in time to see herself falling down a path made of light. Martha sat up and rubbed her eyes. She was not falling on the light path and yet she was not at home. She was sitting at the side of a path that seemed to lead to a big city.

“Well,” said Martha, “I am hungry and I haven’t had a drink for an hour.” So Martha began to run and run and run.

“Who are you?” boomed a voice.

Martha looked up to see a huge man with muscles thick as a car.

“I am Martha Nell,” said Martha.

“I am Lick-Fick,” said the huge man with muscles thick as a car.

“Nice to meet you, Lick-Fick,” said Martha.

“Thank you, thank you, Martha” said Lick-Fick. “Do you want to go into the city?” asked Lick-Fick.

“Yes, please,” shouted Martha.

“Up you go,” shouted Lick-Fick.

And in no time at all Martha found herself climbing a high stone wall that led into the city. It was about noon when Martha reached the top of the wall.

“Now jump down,” said Lick-Fick from the other side of the wall.

“OK,” said Martha and she closed her eyes and jumped. Martha opened her eyes for women stood around her.

“Is she my silver?” asked one of the women.

“I do not think so,” said another of the women. “Your silver had blond hair, not brown.”

“True,” said the first woman.

“Who are you?” asked Martha.

“We are an expedition for a lost child,” said a woman with long black hair and a gray dress.

“Well,” said Martha, “if that is all, I will keep going my way.”

And off Martha ran. Martha stopped at about 2:30 by the side of a well. Martha hadn’t even sat down when a rumbling shook Kifiney. A cloud of dust and dirt flew above Martha knocking her down into the well. Martha gasped for breath before falling down to the bottom of the well.

“Who are you,” said a voice near Martha’s toe.

“I am Martha Nell,” said Martha.

“I am Lolly Tolly,” said the voice.

“Hello, Lolly Tolly,” said Martha.

“Is there anything you want?” asked Lolly Tolly.

“Yes,” said Martha. “I want to get out of the well.”

“OK,” said Lolly Tolly. And he slid a section of the well. “Climb in,” he said to Martha.

Martha hopped in.

“Thank you,” she said as she disappeared into the shadows.

Chapter 5

In which Martha finds something.

Martha walked and walked. Suddenly an eerie glow lit the tunnel. Martha stopped and stared. A glowing figure about the size of a chair stood in front of her.

“Hello, Martha Nell,” said the glowing figure.

“H-hello g-glowing f-figure,” said Martha, shaking with fear.

“My name is not glowing figure!” yelled the figure.

“What is your name then?” said Martha.

“My name is Scroogus.”

“Hello, Scroorgus,” said Martha, but there was no reply for Scroogus had disappeared.

So Martha ran and ran.

Bang! Martha crashed into a door. The door slid open and Martha tumbled into a dark chamber lit by a single lamp. Martha sat up stunned. Then her eyes opened for there on the wall was a sign that said,

“This is where the crystal ball of luck is hidden.”

“The cristel ball of luck!” cried Martha.

Martha began to look in every nook and cranny of the place. Unfortunately there was no crystal ball to be found. Martha sat down by one of the shelves and cried. Suddenly she felt her hand touch something hot. And in her hand was the crystal ball of luck.

“Yes,” cried Martha and she began to dance and dance.

Then Martha remembered something. “I have got to free Grand Poppy,” she said. So Martha said to the crystal ball of luck, “Give Grand Poppy food and drink and bring him to me.”

“Yes,” whispered the crystal ball of luck.

And in no time at all there was Grand Poppy at the side of the room.

“Martha Nell!” cried Grand Poppy. “Did you really find the crystal ball of luck?”

“Yes I did, Grand Poppy,” said Martha.

“Wow,” said Grand Poppy. “Now can you take us home?” he said.

“Sure,” said Martha. Then she turned to the crystal ball of luck and said, “Take us home.”

Chapter 6

In which Martha and Grand Poppy return home.

Suddenly Martha felt soft pads on her feet.

“We’re home,” she said to Grand Poppy.

“Yes we are,” he said.

That night Mrs. Ceny said to Martha, “Do you know who that person in the black and yellow leather was?”

“No I do not know,” said Martha.

“I was,” said Miss Ceny.

“Were you?” said Martha then she fell asleep.


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