Granny Annie shook herself down. She felt shocked, a little sad (and perhaps the tiniest bit frightened too), but she knew she had to find Grandad. She walked up to the gates. They just seemed like ordinary gates now. The sun was shining and as she looked closely she saw they had flaky black paint peeling off them. The red-brown rust spotting the surface showed their age – these gates had been outside for a long time. The strange thing was that the gates seemed to be just suspended in mid-air. Granny ran her hands around the outside…along the bottom…up one side…along the top…down the other side – no secret wires holding the gates in place, no transparent platform to hold them up. She had seen all those TV programmes where detectives tried to find out the secret, or reveal the tricksters. She just needed a special hat and a magnifying glass and she could be Granny Annie Super Sleuth! Perhaps there was someone hiding behind the gates – she ran around the back. No nothing – but perhaps the villain was super speedy and had moved lightening-quick to the other side? She would need to take them by surprise…she started whistling and looked at her nails, then up to the sky, and then back at her nails, pretending nonchalance…and whoosh at super quick speed (well at least for a granny) she raced around to the other side trying to catch them unawares. But no, no-one and nothing to see. That’s when she realised something. When she looked through the metal bars of the gate she no longer saw her garden, but some other garden. She walked around the gates again to the back and looked through the rails. Yes, this was another garden she could see, although similar to her own. More trees everywhere in the distance, a meadow in the foreground, and she thought she could see shadows of figures in bright-coloured garments in the distant dark too. How strange, but perhaps one of them was Grandad.
How to get in? She looked at the front of the gates again. The only thing that looked new was the lock. It was shiny gold glinting in the sunlight and intricately carved. Here were two figures carved on it – boys with bows and arrows facing a figure in a pointed hat with a wand held high. Granny reached towards the lock and as she did a blue lighting bolt snaked out from the small wand of the wizard and struck her hand. “Ouch you pesky thing” she cried, sucking her fingers “It must be static electricity!”
She reached again, more tentatively this time. The blue light that shot from the wand was larger, and it wrapped itself around her wrist and gave her a little shake. She snatched her hand back quickly. “Well, I don’t think much of that” she snapped and added in what she hoped was her bossy voice and pointing her finger like her mum used to do, “And that is quite enough of that!” However, she was slightly worried as she reached again to try the lock – what if her bossy voice and pointy finger didn’t work? She closed her eyes as she reached to touch the lock, squinting with one eye to see just enough of what was happening. The blue string of light that sprang out flew into the air, twirling and whirling like a giant lasso. It made a whipping noise as it became a circle which got bigger and bigger before falling with a “plop” over Granny’s shoulders and around her waist. It pulled tight and lifted her high into the air. “Thank goodness I put on my leggings today or next week’s washing would be on show” she thought as she was moved high across the garden to be dropped unceremoniously into a chair on the patio.
Granny Annie was dazed for a moment. She felt a little sad and a lot scared, and for a moment very very alone. Her eyes began to fill with tears – she was feeling sorry for herself. She sniffed. Suddenly next to her was the beautiful sound of Robin song and Robin sat on the back of a chair next to her, with his head on one side – shiny eyes looking gently at her. She wiped away a single tear that had run down her face and onto her nose. She sniffed again. “AAAATCHOO” she sneezed – trumpeting like an elephant… just like Grandad often did. The poor Robin was blown from his perch. Granny started to smile, and then to snigger and then let out a belly-wobbling laugh, just like she often did. “Sorry to laugh Robin. You cheered me up. There is really nothing better than a belly-wobbling laugh to cheer you up! I was just so worried. Grandad has disappeared behind that blinking gate and I can’t get to him. It’s lockdown and I can’t see anyone and get help. Anyway what would the police say if I rang them and said “Well Officer, my husband seems to have been magicked away to a garden behind some gates and I got picked up by a bolt of lighting, and plonked in my chair!” That policeman would laugh his socks off and think I was bonkers. What am I going to do? We need to rescue Grandad!” Granny’s voice began to wobble a little as she finished. What was she to do?
The Robin had reappeared next to her, and was busy straightening his feathers which had been displaced by Granny’s massive sneeze. When she finished her stream of words the Robin bobbed his head once tweeting “Le-go, Le-go”. Granny sat staring out at the trees, her shoulders slumped. The Robin hopped closer again tweeting “Le-go, Le-go.” Granny looked up “This is no time for playing! We… need…to save…Grandad!” She shook her head, here she was talking to birds again. The shock had sent her completely dollaly! The Robin jumped onto her shoulder. It pecked her sharply on her ear once and then twice, before tweeting very loudly “Pock-et, Pock-et, le-go, le-go”. It pecked her ear once more for luck, deposited a little poo on her shoulder, and flew to a branch where it turned its back on her and began to sing a beautiful song.
“Ewww. That…is…disgusting” Granny grimaced putting her hand in her pocket to find a rather crumpled old tissue. Granny always had tissues in her pocket, you just couldn’t be sure how old they were. Ah well. She looked at the tissue and gave it a few licks, before rubbing it vigorously to clean away the poo. Granny called this method ‘Spit-washing’. She had only managed to leave a faint white trail, a bit like the old toothpaste trail on her front, when suddenly the beautiful bird song was replaced with a different kind. A rasping cry “POCK-ET” reached granny’s ears as a large crow swooped dangerously close to her head. As the crow flew over her, Granny’s other pocket felt suddenly warm and she carefully put her hand in. Her fingers closed over three pieces of lego, one black 8-er, and one yellow and one white 6-er. She pulled the pieces from her pocket and put them one at a time on the table in front of her. She looked sadly at the pieces, remembering the last time Joey and Ben had been to visit, and they all had a lovely time playing with the lego after Sunday Lunch. She smiled remembering the lovely thing that Joey had said that day: “Granny, playing always helps cheer you up. It can really help you when you need it too.” As she remembered she found that her hands automatically began to join the pieces together. She really did love to play. As she put one piece on another, the figure of Joey seemed to appear in front of of her, a bow in his hand. As she added the next piece Ben also appeared a bow in his hand too. Granny looked from one to the other her mouth opening and closing like a fish. As she began to faint she was heard to mutter “oh my goodness, it’s happened. Lockdown has sent me completely bonkers”.