Daffodil and the Thin Place
- Daffodil and the Thin Place
- by Dawn Knox
- Genre Middle Grade Action/Adventure Time Travel
- Tags Spirits, time slip, time travel, monk, Victorian, grave robbers, church, school, loyalty, confidence, daffodils, thin place, treachery, treasure, stomach rumbling, intrigue, murder
- Cover Designer Charlotte Volnek
- Words 43990
- Pages 170
- ISBN 978-1-77127-541-5
- Price $5.50
One simple yawn is all it takes for teenager Daffodil Lane to unknowingly breathe in a wandering soul and swallow it, trapping it in her stomach. To the rest of the world, the soul sounds like a rumbling tummy, but horrified Daffodil hears a voice insistently demanding to be released.
She travels back in time more than 100 years in an attempt to rid herself of the voice and to reunite it with its body, but the repercussions of her journey reverberate through the years, affecting the lives of people in both the Victorian times and the 21st Century.
Boring, boring, boring, I thought grumpily. This wedding and in fact, the whole day, promised to be as exciting as watching ice cubes melt. I yawned, and looking back on it, that was the beginning of the whole thing. As I breathed in, I was aware of something slipping down my throat. My first thought was that I’d swallowed a fly, but I couldn’t feel anything solid. There was a fluttering feeling, which seemed to move down into my stomach where it stuck, trembling gently.
Trapped wind, I told myself. What else could it be, throbbing softly in my stomach?
And then my attention had wandered when tiny cousin George had started screaming and Auntie Gayle had grabbed him and rushed out of the church as he wailed loudly.
But trapped wind just gurgled; it couldn’t, as far as I knew, ever hold a conversation—not like the voice that had momentarily stopped the wedding.
At last, the service was finishing.
“Let us pray,” said the vicar.
I buried my head in my hands and prayed. It wasn’t something I’d had much practice at, but if there was a God, I was sure He’d recognise that I desperately needed help, especially when He saw the tears squeezing through my fingers.
“Why are you crying? I’m the one in trouble,” wailed my stomach.
I was a social nobody in fancy dress with a talking stomach. Could life get any worse?
Apparently, it could.
The voice continued to insist I let it go, although by the end of the prayer, its cries had faded to a quiet grumble. I attempted to hold the noise in by wrapping my arms tightly round my middle. Rosetta had stopped finding it funny. She had jabbed me painfully in the ribs with her elbow, demanding I stop showing her up. Now, she was ignoring me completely. That was fine by me.
Mum mistook my efforts to hold the noise in and, thinking I was cold, had placed her pashmina over my shoulders. I pulled it tightly round me. Anything to smother the gut-grumbles.
Once the bride and groom had crammed rings on to each other’s chubby fingers, I felt sure the service had finished, but no. There were more prayers, another hymn, and a talk. Would we ever get out of here?
Finally, the couple sat at the table to sign the register. It must all be over now. But no! Again we waited…and waited. How long does it take to sign a piece of paper, for goodness sake? They’d only been asked to put their names, not write a book.
I fidgeted irritably, earning another jab in the ribs from Rosetta. Pinned between the Sister from Hell and a cold wall, I looked longingly at the ancient wooden door, aching to be on the other side of it in the open air.
At long last, the bride and groom left the church to pose for the photographer. Making the excuse that I needed the toilet, I slipped away to the graveyard at the back of the church.
The yew trees were so tall and thick in the churchyard that it seemed as if someone had drawn heavy curtains, blocking out the sun and muffling the noise of the traffic on the road below to a gentle zub-zub-zub.
This would be a perfect setting for a horror film. All it needed was mysterious mist and a gruesome ghost rising up to float amongst the tombstones, wailing loudly. Perhaps even a bloodless corpse, clawing its way up from a grave with bony hands. I stood nervously with my back against the knobbly stones of the church wall—imagination in overdrive, heart thumping, and eyes swivelling back and forth, searching the silent graveyard for… Well, I didn’t know what I was looking for, but if I saw it, I was ready to run.
“Calm yourself. There’s nothing to fear, you know,” the voice said rather scornfully.
The shock of sound coming from so close made me gasp.
“Who are you?” I whispered. “What d’you want?”