The Day the World Ended

By Lizzie Wilcock

Teacher’s Notes

Written by Lizzie Wilcock


“The world is going to end on the 21st of September. We know because we’ve seen it. We were there.”

Fourteen-year-old twins Mac and Annie awake one morning to discover that everyone in their town—and, it seems, the entire world—has been wiped out.

Searching for answers, the twins discover they are not alone: three other sets of twins, scattered across the planet, have survived. Given a chance to stop the mass extinction by their newfound ability to travel backwards through time and their mysterious powers over natural elements, Mac and Annie seek out these twins. Together they must solve the mystery of why the human race was wiped out, and stop it happening again.

Fast-paced, gripping adventure. Perfectly pitched to appeal to male and female readers.


Adventure/Science Fiction


Survival, End of the world, Time travel, Good versus Evil, Family

Classroom Ideas for Extinction – The Day the World Ended:


About these notes:

These activities are designed for students to use with a close reading of Extinction- The Day the World Ended. The students will have the unique opportunity to view early drafts of the novel and deleted scenes and learn about the professional editorial process. The early drafts are presented as BLMs. They can ideally be shown on the Smartboard or read to the students, rather than being printed out as a hard copy.

The accompanying activities are designed to provide a selection for students to choose from, based on their ability levels, interests and learning styles. Activities have been grouped using Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences. Comprehension questions cover Bloom’s taxonomy of thinking skills. Activities have been grouped into four sections:

1. Chapter Guides – After reading each chapter students can answer questions about the chapter and develop their knowledge of the themes, subject matter, language features and literary devices used by the author. Alternatively these questions can be explored together in class.

2. Computer-based activities – In pairs or individually students use a computer and the internet to research features from the text.

3. On-going activities – Students begin these activities and add information as they progress through the novel. Students might like to select one activity from each category, depending on ability level, interest and time frame.

4. Activities for After Reading– Students complete these after finishing reading the novel. Students might like to select one or two activities from each category, depending on ability level, interest and time frame.

 Let’s Begin . . .

Before reading the text:

  1. View the front cover. What do you see? Note the font used for the title. Read the blurb on the back. What do you think the extinction event will be?
  2. Show chn the book trailer for Extinction “The Day the World Ended”. (Type Lizzie Wilcock Extinction Series into the Youtube search box.) What literature genre(s) do you think this book is?

Chapter Guides

Chapter 1

1. Compare the opening paragraph of the book with the opening paragraph from the author’s first draft. (Display on Smartboard or read to students. “The day the world ended was not dark and gloomy. Lightning did not crack open the sky and thunder did not roar. Ravens did not screech and fly in frenzied circles and dogs did not bark. Except for Winston, the dog next door. He always barked—morning, noon and night—which made the day the world ended seem exactly the same as any other day.” Feb 2007

How are they different? Which do you prefer? Why do you think the changes were made?

2. What does Annie (pg 2) say that gives a sense of foreboding of events to come?

3. The author describes the twins (pg 2) using an extended metaphor. What does she compare them to? Re-write the description using basic language.

4. What hints do we get that Annie and Mac may have power over water (pg 3)?

Chapter 2

1. Annie and Mac are encircled by sharks but not attacked. Why do you think the author included this scene?

2. What is the similarity between the pattern of the planet’s heartbeat and the shark’s gnashing teeth?


Chapter 3

1. As the twins return home what major hint do we get that things are not right? (pg 10)

Chapter 4

1. Compare Mac and Annie in this chapter. How do their actions differ? What does this tell you about their personalities?

Chapter 5

1. Why did Mac crush the dandelion flower? (pg 17)

2. Why was Mrs Churchill’s lipstick smeared? How do you know this? (pg 19)

3. The extinction event occurred at approximately 8:30 on a Sunday morning. If it struck last Sunday, describe the scene Annie and Mac would find if they came into your house.

 Chapter 6

1. Why did “the extent of the catastrophe really hit home” after Annie and Mac found the body of Mr Cavendish, the mayor? (pg 22)

 Chapter 7

1. As the twins walk back down to the township they discuss what may have caused this catastrophe. (pg 29) Make a list of other things that may cause the deaths of billions of people simultaneously.

Chapter 8

1. Mac’s friend, Griff, and Annie’s friend, Verity died doing what they loved (playing air guitar and sleeping) (pg 32-33). How would you die “doing what you loved”?

2. Mac found a list written by Verity called “My Prince Charming” (pg 34). Imagine that you are a teenager. Write a list entitled, “My Prince Charming” or “My Cinderella.”

Chapter 9

1. Despite all that has happened, Mac tries to put some normality back in his life. How? (pg 35)

2. List the animals mentioned in the novel so far and comment on their behaviour. Why do you think this is?

Chapter 10

1. How do the twins feel when they see Doctor Sinclair dead? How has she been important in their lives? (pg 39)

2. Look back at the title of this book, Extinction- The Day the World Ended. Mac tells Annie that the world has not ended. (pg 43). Why do you think the author has used this title though?

Chapter 11

1. Look at the first draft of this chapter on the Smartboard (see deleted chapters below). How is this chapter different from the one published? Why do you think the changes were made? Do you think they improve the novel?

Chapter 12

1. How does the weather seem to respond to Mac’s words? (pg 47) Why doesn’t Mac find this odd?

Chapter 13

1. Look at the first draft of this chapter on the Smartboard (see deleted chapters below). How is this chapter different from the one published? Why do you think the changes were made? Do you think they improve the novel?

Chapter 14

1. Make a list of things that are odd at Dr Sinclair’s house (pg 53-54). How does this build up suspense about her true nature?

2. Have you ever witnessed dogs or other animals being scared of thunder? Write of this experience.

Chapter 15

1. Annie and Mac discover their first computer message from Zayne and Bothea Madkraze (pg 59). Briefly explain what happened to the human race and why Annie and Mac survived?

2. Annie’s and Mac’s reactions to this message very greatly. How?

3. How do you think Zayne and Bothea Madkraze could know Annie’s and Mac’s real names?

4. Annie and Mac find a note written by their father (pg 63). Why did he write this note? Why has the author included this small detail?

5. Annie makes a list of things to do because the world has ended (pg 64). Make your own list as if this happened to you. Make your list look like the writing pad on pg 64.

6. Why do you really think Annie cleans the garage at the end of this chapter?

 Chapter 16

1. Annie’s bedroom is described as being orderly, even though her life is in chaos (pg 65). Write a literary description of you waking up in your bedroom and gazing around. Does your bedroom match your personality?

2. Why did Mac really drag his mattress into Annie’s bedroom?  (pg 66)

3. Why isn’t the list that Annie made on the notepad the night before there? (pg 66)

Chapter 17

1. Why do Annie and Mac consider the voice at the door to be “a horror”? (pg 68)

2. Why is the garage still filthy and cluttered? (pg 71)

3. What evidence do Annie and Mac have that they experienced the end of the world?

Chapter 18

1. Mac sank to the floor. The horrors of yesterday came flooding back. Pain and exhaustion and fear seeped into his already sunken eyes. ‘I can’t go through that again.” (pg 75) Write half a page about the worst day of your life. Why could never relive it? Is your worst day as bad as Mac’s?

Chapter 19

1. Write a scene describing how you think your parents would react if you told them that you’d experienced the end of the world and then travelled back in time with a mission to prevent it. Remember to use dialogue and words that show emotions.

 Chapter 20

1. How is Rebecca’s reaction to Annie’s story different from Daniel’s reaction to Mac’s. Write a few sentences comparing the two. How does this compare with Annie’s and Mac’s differences in personalities?

Chapter 21

1. What is deja vu? (pg 87) Use a dictionary to find the meaning.  Why does Annie say she is not experiencing deja vu?

2. Look at the deleted scenes from this chapter on the Smartboard  (see deleted chapters below). How is this chapter different from the one published? Why do you think the changes were made? Do you think they improve the novel?

Chapter 22

1. After reading the deleted scene from chapter 21, write the news report that Natasha Nolan will present on the evening news.

2. Compare your news report to the one delivered by Natasha Nolan in the deleted scenes from this chapter  (see deleted chapters below).

3. Many children have told Lizzie Wilcock on her website that they read Extinction 1 and 2 in just a few hours. They may have missed some of the subtle clues along the way about things to come. For those students who have already read Extinction 1 and 2 there is a tiny hint in this chapter about something that will be revealed later. Do not spoil it for others, but you may quietly tell your teacher if you find it.

Chapter 23

1. The message on the website reveals two important pieces of information, one good and one bad (pg 102). What are they?

2. If you could have power over one of the earthly elements, which would it be? Why? What would you do with this power?

Chapter 24

1, Mac astounds his teachers and peers with his knowledge at school because he has lived this day before. Write a scene where you astound your parents, peers or teacher with knowledge of events that occurred yesterday.

Chapter 25

1. This is the first time we meet Dr Sinclair. Do you think she is a friend or a villain or something else? Support your answer with information from the text.

Chapter 26

1. We are introduced to Rufus Keller for the first time. He wears a mask (pg 123-124). Draw a picture of the mask described.

2. This chapter reveals Dr Sinclair’s true motivations (pg 125). What are they? Why is she working for Rufus Keller?

Chapter 27

1. What ongoing metaphor does the author use on pg 127 to describe the situation between Mac and Dr Sinclair? List the words the author uses to give this image to the reader.

Chapter 28

1. Mac and Annie continue to leap backwards through time yet their bodies continue to grow and heal. How could this become a real problem if the twins continue to time leap backwards?

 Chapter 29

1. The website gives Annie and Mac an explanation of why they are travelling backwards in time (pg 147). Attempt to explain this briefly in your own words.

2. Annie and Mac get a chance to go to their school disco again. If you had a chance to relive an experience, what would it be, and what would you do differently?

3. Read the deleted scene from this chapter on the Smartboard  (see deleted chapters below). Why do you think the editors advised the author to delete it?

Chapter 30

1. Annie feels utterly alone. Describe a time when you were surrounded by people yet felt alone. Why was this?

Chapter 31

1. Why do you think Rufus Keller is so keen to have the twin’s DNA tested? (pg 161) What do you think it will tell him?

2. How is the concept of time going backwards cleverly marked in Annie and Mac’s father, Daniel? (pg 163) Where and when has this been mentioned before?

Chapter 32

1. Read the earlier version of this chapter on the Smartboard  (see deleted chapters below). What is different, particularly about Dr Sinclair? Why do you think the author changed it?

Chapter 33

1. Annie and Mac travel through a portal for the first time. What other books have you read that contained portals? How was the journey through the portal similar or different to that experienced by Annie and Mac?

2. What clues does the author give that Rhea and Douglas have had a similar experience to that of Annie and Mac (pg 174-175)?

Chapter 34

1. “We’re freaks with a mission,” say Annie and Mac at the end of this chapter. The author was considering naming the second book in the series Freaks with a Mission, instead of Extinction 2- The Explosive Conclusion. Come up with some alternative names for each book in the series.

Chapter 35

1. “Rufus Keller,” Douglas crowed. “Rufus Keller sounds like ruthless killer,” he laughed (pg 188). Authors carefully select the names they give their characters. List the names of villains from four other books you have read.

Chapter 36

1. At the end of this chapter we learn why Rufus Keller has engaged people to watch over the children (pg 194). What is the reason?

Chapter 37

1. The children’s lives are at stake, yet they have difficulty hurting Spencer. Why is this? Why has the author done this? Would you be able to seriously hurt someone if your life depended on it?

2. Why is Spencer working for Rufus Keller (pg 200)? What is his motivation? What was Dr Sinclair’s motivation? Do you think Rufus Keller has been truthful with them?

Chapter 38

1. This chapter was originally the end of book 1, so it is very suspenseful. List the elements of suspense, eg: doorbell rings indicating Doctor has arrived.

Chapter 39

1. This chapter is rich in sensory detail. List the five senses and at least two examples of things the children experience using each sense.

Chapter 40

1. Compare the opening of this chapter with the author’s first draft  (see deleted chapters below). Which do you prefer? Why do you think it was changed?

2. Why are Kyla and Jax freaked out by the Australian and English twins? What makes them begin to believe and trust them?

3. Jax looks at the Australian and English twins and can instantly guess things about them (pg 214). How does he know all this?

4. Draw the infinity birthmark that the children share. Do you have a birthmark? Where is it? What shape is it? What stories did your parents tell you about it when you were younger?

Chapter 41

1. On pg 219 the three boys use their powers. Why? Why don’t the girls use theirs too? Do you think this is really what boys and girls are like?

2. Read the earlier version of this chapter (see deleted chapters below). Why do you think that the author changed it?

Chapter 42

1. Annie solves the puzzle of the children’s names (pg 232). Explain the puzzle in your own words.

Chapter 43

1. Why doesn’t Jax and Kyla’s tutor, Mr Dirk Van Houd, recognise them (pg 237)?

2. Why is Dirk Van Houd working for Rufus Keller (pg 238)?

Chapter 44

1. Mr Van Houd marinades the children in the blood of a sheep and then leaves them at the mercy of the hungry, wild animals. Why doesn’t he just kill them himself?

 Chapter 45

1. This chapter has a cliff-hanger ending to encourage children to read the second installment. List the elements of suspense from the start of the chapter to the finish.

On-Going Activities

Select two or more of the following on-going tasks to work on as you progress through the novel:

Interpersonal Intelligence

1. Create a Character Profile of Annie

2 .Create a Character Profile of Mac

Intrapersonal Intelligence

3. Write Annie or Mac’s diary, telling briefly what is happening, but focusing more on how she or he is feeling at the end of each day.

Mathematical Intelligence

4. Make a time line of time leaps – do this as a rough draft first as you read through the novel, then at end of novel work out the best way to represent this.

5. Record the Recurring symbolism of the Number 8 throughout the novel.

6. The Pulse – list all of the things during the novel that make the 4,3,2,1 pattern.

Verbal/Linguistic Intelligence

1. Imagery – Find 20 examples of  similies, metaphors and imagery you like.

2. Twenty questions – Make up a quiz about the book.

Computer-Based Activities

Individually or in pairs do the following using the classroom or lab computers.

In the early stages of reading . . .

 1 .Book Trailer – Book trailers are a way of advertising books. They are made by gathering a series of images, sounds and videos from online sites and stitching them together. Text about the book is usually added over the top of the images.

Go to Youtube and type “Lizzie Wilcock Extinction Trailer” into the search engine. Watch the book trailer for Extinction – The Day the World Ended and make a list of all the images, sounds and videos shown. You may need to pause it several times. As you read through the novel, refer back to this list and tick off each thing from the trailer. Do you think the trailer is a good representation of the book? Were there any images, sounds or scenes in the trailer that were not in the book?

2. Is Ghost Crab Cove a real place? Type the name into Google. If it is not real, where do you think it might be? What clues are you given about this? Why do you think Annie’s and Mac’s home town was called Ghost Crab Cove? What sort of town does this name suggest? How important is it for a town in a novel to have a suitable name?

3. What do you get when you type “End of the World” into Google? How many results were there? What do you get when you add September 21st to this? How many results were there?  What do you get when you type in “Human Extinction”? How many results were there? How do you think Annie and Mac felt when they did this in the backpackers internet cafe?

4. The internet, fridges and CD players are still working in chapter 10? How long do you think they could continue to work? Research this on the computer.

In the middle of the novel . . .

 4. The author intertwines fact and fiction to create an adventure story based in the real world. Research the following to see if they are fact or fiction.

Octopus Eddy, Australia (pg 3):

The Indianapolis Challenge car race (pg 27):

Octavian – Neptune’s eighth moon (pg 59):

Sinoatrial node in the human heart (pg 60):

The Earthly Elements – fire, air, water, earth (pg 61):

Nereid – Neptune’s eighth moon (pg 76): 

Paraglider sucked up in thunderstorm (pg 77):

Twin Psychosis (pg 117):

Gumbuu Wildlife Reserve (pg 202):

Badger’s Ditch, England (pg 170):

Burning Hill, South   Africa (pg 202):

The Coiyani Tribe (pg 223):

Retrograde Orbit (pg 147):

Home Detention Bracelets (pg 122)s:

“Let It Be” song by The Beatles (pg 107):

5. The website (pg 101) asks Annie to name the four natural elements of Earth. Lizzie Wilcock originally had eight elements in her story, taken from Medieval Alchemy – one for each child. Go to Wikipedia and type in Classical Elements. Find the Medieval Elements in the sidebar on the right hand side of the page. What are these eight elements? What powers would the children have if the author had continued with this many elements? Design symbols for them.

At the end of the novel . . .

 6. Go to a baby name website and find out the meaning of your first name and middle name(s) and the country/culture of origin.

7. The children’s mission is to find the purest source of each of the earthly elements. The author says she used the internet to research most of the book, rather than travel the globe. She then changed the names and locations of some places, but not others. Research where the purest sources of air, water, earth and fire are. Did any of your research match the author’s?


Activities for After Reading

Choose a selection from the following activities:

Verbal/Linguistic Intelligence (Words)

1. Create an “I AM” Poem – Complete a poem about a character. Use the prompts below or create an original slideshow using PowerPoint or Movie Maker. Present your poem to the class.




I am (name the character)

I wonder (something the character is actually curious about)

I hear (an imaginary sound the character might hear)

I see (an imaginary sight the character see)

I want (something the character truly desires)


I pretend (something the character actually pretends to do)

I feel (a feeling about something imaginary)

I touch (an imaginary touch)

I worry (something that really bothers the character)

I cry (something that makes the character very sad)

I am (the first line of the poem repeated)


I understand (something the character knows is true)

I say (something that the character believes in) I dream (something the character might actually dream about)

I try (something the character really makes an effort about)

I hope (something the character actually hopes for)

I am (the first line of the poem repeated)

2.  (a)Make a list of other books you’ve read that contain time travelling. Beside each book’s title, name the “thing” that enables the characters to travel through time.

(b)Make a list of other books where the lead characters have to “save the world”. Beside each book’s title, name how the world is going to end/ends.

(c)Why do you think these themes are so common in children’s books?

3. Visit the author’s website (www.lizziewilcock.wordpress.com ). Read the blurbs about each of her other novels. Make a table showing the name of each novel, the genre, the year of publication, the age range and whether you would like to read it.

 Naturalistic Intelligence (Nature)

1. Make up a booklet entitled “Eight Places You Must See Before You Die.” Include Octopus Eddy, Compass Hut, Burning Hill and five other places from your imagination. Ensure each place is created by a natural phenomenom and involves the number 8. Write a brief description of each place and draw a picture.

Visual/Artistic Intelligence (Art)

1. Select a section of the novel to turn into a comic strip.

2. Design a new cover for Extinction. You may use draw, paint, or use computer graphics, clip art images and photographs. Do this on A3 size poster paper.

Bodily Kinesthetic Intelligence (Dance and Movement)

Design a dance or movement sequence where the six children are using their powers against each other or against a common enemy.

Musical Intelligence (Music and Sounds)

1. Compose a soundtrack using percussion and other instruments to accompany the above dance.

2. Find a selection of songs with an “End of the World” theme. Name these songs and print out the lyrics.

Intra-personal Intelligence/ (Drama)

1. Choose a scene from the story to rewrite as a play and act out with friends. Good scenes include:

Pg 105 Year 9 assembly- Begin when the bell rings and the students move off to assembly. You will need the following 8 cast members: Annie, Mac, Stuart Potter, Amelie Pike (non-speaking), Verity, Griffin, Alex Dozerman, Mr Normisson.

Pg 113 – 120  (4)Annie, Rebecca, Daniel, Dr Spencer.

Pg 130  (4) from “Stop him!” Annie, Mac, Dr Sinclair, Nurse Callie.

Pg 157-158 (2) Annie and Mac

Pg 180 – 182 (4) Annie, Mac, Rhea, Douglas, Spencer.

Pg 204-206 (4) Annie, Mac, Rhea, Douglas, Spencer.

Pg 230 – 235 (7) Annie, Mac, Rhea, Douglas, Kyla, Jax, Dirk Van Houd

2. Cast the novel for a movie version. Who would you cast as each of the main characters and why? You may choose famous actors or class members and friends. Present your work with photos and a biography of previous acting roles for each person, and an explanation of why this person would be suitable for the role.

Spatial Intelligence (Pictures, puzzles and designs)

1. In pairs, create a new book trailer for Extinction. Use the following website to help you.


2. In chapter 42 Annie solves the “puzzle” of the children’s names. Design your own puzzle or riddle using names of your friends, family or made up names.

3. In pairs, design a board game of Extinction. Include question/challenge cards.

Intrapersonal Intelligence (Thinking about yourself)

1. Write a first-person narrative where something awful happens (to your loved ones, to the world, to a pet, etc). In your narrative carefully select words to show your emotions and how you are feeling. What do you do? How do you react? Remember, this is the beginning of a narrative, and not a recount. Your narrative should have an orientation, and a complication, but you may not necessarily reach a resolution or conclusion. You might like to continue working on this narrative long after your class finishes their novel study of Extinction.

2. Write a book review for Extinction, telling of your thoughts and feelings about it.

3. Visit the author’s website (www.lizziewilcock.wordpress.com) and leave her a message about your thoughts on the book. Think of some questions to ask the author.


Find ten examples of similies, metaphors and imagery used by the author. Write down each example and draw a picture of the image evoked.

Deleted Scenes 

Chapter 11 First Draft February 2010

Annie and Mac blinked their eyes, trying to erase the spots that seemed to be burnt onto their retinas. When their vision returned, the computer screen wobbled as though they were looking at it under water. Then comets and supernovas flashed across the screen and a message appeared:

Imposters beware. This site is intended only for the chosen ones. In order to proceed please enter today’s date, your full name(s), dates of birth, and your country of origin.  There were eight sets of boxes. Annie began to fill in the first line of boxes with her details. Mac slapped her hand off the keyboard.

‘You don’t give those details out over the internet!’

‘Why not?’ Annie said. ‘They’re not asking for my bank account number. And even if they were, what good is money anymore?’

‘I don’t know,’ Mac said. ‘I just think we should be careful. What if this message was put on by aliens and they want to find any survivors so they can take us up in their space ship and suck our brains out through a straw? Just type in false details and we’ll see what happens.’

Annie typed in the following details in the two top sets of boxes:

Name: Bart Simpson D.O.B: 25/12/2000 Country of Origin: USA

Name: Lisa Simpson D.O.B:  14/02/2002 Country of Origin: USA

Mac grinned. ‘Christmas Day and Valentine’s Day. Nice touch,’ he said. Then he reached over and clicked on ENTER.

Annie and Mac stared at the screen. The page went black and a sand timer glowed from the middle, showing the progress of the information processing. Both twins secretly hoped that somehow, with a simple keystroke, they would turn around and the world would be back to normal.

The café would be full of busy backpackers sending news back home of their travels. But when they did turn around, the internet café was filling up with smoke.

Mac jumped up from the computer. He yanked on Annie’s arm and pulled her away. ‘I think you turned the deep fryer and the oven on, not off.’ He pointed at the kitchen.

Smoke billowed from the oven. Hot oil bubbled and then burst into flames. The flames spread rapidly along the grease-covered benches, licking at dropped dollops of butter. They leapt onto a surfboard, melting the wax, and then onto a tanned girl dripping with coconut oil.

Annie screamed. She ran over to the girl and tried to douse the flames but they were orange monsters. They reached their claws out and grabbed at her, at the curtains, at the carpet, devouring everything in their path.

‘Get out!’ Mac shouted, running for the door.

‘The computer!’ Annie said. She ran back to it. A fire erupted on the screen, but then she realized it wasn’t on the screen. It was the screen. The plastic melted from the extreme heat. The rectangular frame quickly became a rhombus, then a triangle and then a blob of twisted black goo on the desk top.

‘Come on!’ Mac called.

The twins ran, coughing and dodging leaping flames. As they fell through the door, they glanced back to see dozens of backpackers sitting peacefully in the flames, as though having a sing-along around a beach campfire.

Chapter 13 First Draft February 2010

When the twins finally reached their house they stopped. ‘I feel like I’ve been to see a really weird movie,’ Mac said. ‘And now we’ll go inside and tell Mum and Dad all about it.’

Annie grabbed her brother’s arm. ‘Can you go inside, Mac? I don’t think I can anymore. All the way up the hill I’ve been psyching myself into it. But now that we’re here, and Mum’s bras and knickers are flapping on the line I can’t do it.’

‘Then what are we going to do? Wander around town all night? I’m knackered. If I’m going to have bad dreams I’d rather have them in my own bed.’

Winston, the dog next door suddenly barked. He jumped up against the paling fence and scratched and howled. And then, from up and down the street and into the next street and the next, all the way across Ghost Crab Cove, voices could be heard. Yipping, yapping, meowing, screeching, clucking, and howling.

‘Why are the animals alive, Mac? Why didn’t the flash of light kill them too?’

Mac turned around, listening to the cacophony of animal sounds. ‘Maybe it is their turn,’ he mused. ‘Maybe the flash of light is like the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs. Our time is finished. Now it’s time for the animals to rule the planet.’

‘Yes!’ Annie said. ‘Maybe this is our punishment. The world wasn’t created just for us, yet humans were the only creatures hell-bent on destroying it. Maybe it’s time for the birds and animals to rule again.’

Annie and Mac listened to the howling, whining, cooing and clucking of the animals. ‘We’ve got to feed them,’ Annie said.

‘You’re kidding! A few hours ago they wanted to eat us.’

‘But they were the ones who could get out of their yards. It’s inhumane to leave these other ones starving in their gardens and their cages.’

Mac sighed. ‘In the morning, we’ll go around and let all of the animals out of their yards and cages. We’ll flush the fish. Okay?’

‘But they won’t know how to survive on their own. We’ve taken away their hunting instinct.’

‘If they’re hungry enough, they’ll figure it out. The birds will eat the fish. The cats will eat the birds. The dogs will eat the cats. Nature’s food chain.’

‘And when there are no more cats?’ Annie asked.

‘The dogs will eat their decomposing owners,’ Mac said. He spun around the yard. ‘Actually, that’s not a bad solution. When we let them out tomorrow, we open the houses too, so they can get in. We open every house in town, breaking windows if we need to. That would solve the pet problem and the disease problem.’

‘But not our problem,’ Annie said. ‘Because when there’re no more dead bodies, we’d be next on their menu.’


Chapter 21 First Draft February 2010

‘Hi Rebecca. Hi Annie.’ Margaret Maxwell, the boutique store owner, fluttered her false eyelashes when Annie and her mother entered the shop.

‘Hi Margaret,’ Rebecca said.  ‘I’m here to get that dress.’

‘She sold it to someone else,’ Annie whispered behind her hand. ‘She’ll try to sell you a scarlet one instead.’

Rebecca pushed her daughter behind her. Margaret’s eyes darted around the small shop. ‘We had a whole new line come in yesterday. Some really beautiful dresses by Hannah May and Bryce B. There’s a scarlet one that would look amazing on you.’

‘No thanks, Margaret. I’ll just take the one I put on hold.’ Rebecca took her wallet from her handbag and slid her credit card across the counter.

Margaret Maxwell walked to a clothing rack and rifled through the garments. ‘You’ve got to try the scarlet one on at least. As soon as I saw it I thought of you.’ She held up a long slinky red dress.

Rebecca glanced at Annie and then at the dress. It was hideous. It looked like a tomato sauce splat. ‘Yes, it’s lovely, but I don’t have any shoes to match. I’ll just take the teal-green one.’

‘She sold it,’ Annie murmured.

‘What colour shoes were you planning on wearing with the teal dress?’ Margaret asked.

‘Teal,’ Rebecca answered.

‘Teal and scarlet would look fabulous together. Contrasting colours are all the rage on the catwalks of Europe.’

Rebecca narrowed her slate-grey eyes. ‘Really? When I was in here on Thursday, you told me matching shoes, contrasting accessories. Can I just have my dress, please?’

Margaret Maxwell’s eyes filled with tears. ‘I’m sorry, Rebecca. I sold it.’

Rebecca glared at her daughter. Annie grinned.

‘But you put it on hold for me,’ Rebecca said.  ‘For forty-eight hours. Hold means you hold it for that period of time. If I’d known you didn’t understand the concept of on hold I wouldn’t have gone out and borrowed teal shoes to go with the dress!’

‘I don’t know what to say, Rebecca,’ Margaret stammered. ‘It’s not like you’re a regular customer. I have to take a sale when I can get it.’

‘Well, that’s fine for you, but what I am going to wear tonight?’

‘Try on the red dress,’ Annie said. ‘It will look fabulous and you’ll love it.’

‘How can you think this flimsy rag will suit me?’ Rebecca huffed and grabbed the dress. She closed the change room curtain and quickly undressed. She lifted the dress over her head, prepared to take it off again just as quickly. When she looked in the mirror however, she gasped. She looked as though she had been dipped and twirled in shiny scarlet nail polish. The dress was smooth and body hugging, yet hid Rebecca’s bumps and imperfections beneath its carefully designed folds.

‘See Mum,’ Annie said, entering the change room. ‘How do I know all this?’

Rebecca fumbled for the price tag. ‘It’s three times as much as the other one,’ Annie told her. ‘But you’ll get it for the same price.’

Rebecca flipped the price tag over and nearly gagged. Annie was right.

‘How is it, Rebecca?’ Margaret asked from outside the curtain.


‘Well, it is a Hannah May.’

‘I had a perfectly good Frente teal-green one for two hundred dollars less than this. Oh, but that’s right, you sold it!’

Margaret glanced around at the other customers idly flicking through her ridiculously expensive fashions. ‘Perhaps I could take fifty dollars off the price for you, Rebecca.’

‘Make her take two hundred dollars off,’ Annie whispered.

‘Two hundred?’ Rebecca mouthed. ‘That’s insane.’

‘Just do it,’ Annie said. ‘But say it loudly so the other customers hear. She’ll cave.’

‘Two hundred dollars off and we have a deal,’ Rebecca said, stepping out of the changing room.

‘I can’t do that,’ Margaret whispered. ‘What about my profit margin?’

‘Profit margin?’ Rebecca said loudly. ‘Your profit margin is already inflated three hundred percent.’

Margaret forced a smile at the women who were glancing curiously toward the change room. ‘Sold,’ she sighed, and she slumped off to the counter to ring up the sale.

Rebecca hugged Annie in glee.

Rebecca and Annie walked to The Cove Hair. ‘You should come shopping with me more often, Annie. You know how to get a bargain.’

Annie clenched her teeth. If the next few minutes at the hairdressers didn’t convince her mother that she had lived this day before, then Annie didn’t know what she’d do.

Rebecca flung open the door of the salon.

‘Helena is sick today,’ Annie whispered. ‘This is Izzy.’

Rebecca stood at the counter and waited. A bouncy girl with stripes of red, pink, gold and black switched off a hairdryer and skipped over. ‘Helena called in sick today,’ she said. ‘But I can do your hair. I’m Izzy.’

‘When did she call in sick?’ Rebecca asked, glaring at Annie.

‘About an hour ago,’ Izzy said.

‘Have the French roll but don’t let Izzy colour your hair,’ Annie whispered. ‘Or you’ll regret it.’

Rebecca looked at her daughter. ‘You can go, Annie. We’ll talk at home.’

‘Okay,’ Annie said. ‘But be careful when you reverse out of the car park. You don’t want to run into your old boyfriend’s new Porsche Boxster.’

‘Henry Youdale does not have a Porsche Boxster,’ Rebecca said.

Annie grinned. ‘We’ll talk at home,’ she repeated.

Mac opened the front door for Annie.

‘How’d you go?’ she asked, collapsing on the lounge.

‘Dad thinks I’m on drugs.’

‘Mum thinks I’m a crazy self-harmer.’

‘So what now?’

‘Well, we can wait for everything to happen and for Mum and Dad to believe us,’ Annie said. ‘Or we call TV and radio stations. We warn everybody. Sure, they’ll think we’re crackpots, but we only need one person to take us seriously and we can save mankind.’

‘But how do we save them? Only the NASA space program could do anything about the exploding moon, and I don’t think they’re going to listen to a couple of kids.’

‘And only doctors could develop a pill that would keep the human heart beating after this shockwave, but I don’t think they can do it in half a day,’ said Annie.

‘So how do we save them?’ Mac repeated.

‘We use what we know. We survived because we were under water. So we convince other people to do the same.’

‘Is that really why we survived? Think about it, Annie.  I’m sure more than eight people in the entire world were under water at the time of the explosion. What about navy submarines and scuba divers around the world? Where are they?’

‘Maybe they’re doing the same thing as us. Convincing others to get under water tomorrow. So come on. Let’s do it.’

Mac reached for the phone.

The twins spent the rest of the morning telling faceless people that they were going to die tomorrow. The faceless people didn’t seem to care. They were the weekend crew, manning the phones at radio stations, television networks and government agencies. All they cared about was their five o’clock knock off time. The less they had to do before then, the better.

Close to lunchtime, the phone rang. Mac picked it up. ‘Hello.’

‘This is Gina Hammond from Northern Network Television. Is that Mac Sword?’

‘Yes,’ Mac said, motioning for Annie to listen in on the call.

‘Mac, we’ve had to pull one of our items for tonight’s news bulletin. We now have a three minute space for your story. Would you be available for an interview this afternoon?’

Mac was speechless. He nodded into the telephone. Annie grabbed it from him. ‘Yes, we are available,’ she said. ‘Thank you. Thank you. You won’t regret this. In fact, you may become something of a hero.’

After getting details of the interview, Annie hung up and shook Mac by the shoulders. ‘We’re saved! We’re saved!’

Mac flung open his wardrobe. ‘What do you wear on television when you’re about to save the world?’

Mac checked his reflection in the hall mirror before opening the door. ‘Hi,’ he said. ‘You must be from the TV news.’

A young woman with tomato red lips extended her hand to Mac. ‘I’m Natasha Nolan, from Northern Network News,’ she said.

Mac shook her hand. ‘That’s a bit of a tongue twister.’

‘Where are your parents?’ Natasha asked, ignoring Mac’s comment.

‘Um . . . they’ll be home soon,’ Annie said, glancing nervously at the door to the garage where Daniel was working. ‘But can we do the story without them?’

‘We need them to sign a permission slip. You can’t be interviewed or appear on TV without one.’

Annie and Mac looked glumly at each other.

‘I think that’s Dad home now,’ Mac said suddenly, as hammering erupted from the garage. ‘Give me the slip and I’ll race down and get him to sign it.’

Natasha Nolan opened her briefcase and pulled out a three page document. ‘He’s got to sign it in the three places highlighted and date it.’

Mac grabbed the papers.

‘He really should be present,’ Natasha said.

‘He’s a really busy man,’ Mac said. ‘Does he have to be?’

‘Well, as long as he’s here in the house and has signed the waiver . . .’

‘I’ll be straight back,’ Mac said, opening the garage access door and slamming it behind him.

Annie smiled at the reporter and the camera man as she waited, trying to imagine what was going on in the room beneath her. ‘Please let it be alright. Please let it be alright,’ she silently chanted. She couldn’t let this opportunity to alert the world slip through her fingers now.

Mac burst through the door a few seconds later. He thrust the pages at Natasha Nolan. ‘No worries,’ he said. ‘Let’s get this interview rolling.’

Natasha Nolan checked each page. Annie nudged Mac. ‘I told him it was the forms for school camp,’ Mac whispered. Annie grinned.

Natasha stuffed the pages in her briefcase. ‘Okay kids, show me where this time machine is and we’ll do our interview there.’

‘Um, we don’t have a time machine,’ Annie explained. ‘We just woke up this morning and we had gone back a day. Well, really two days, because we had Sunday, so today should have been Monday.’

‘Hmm. Interesting,’ Natasha mused. ‘Well, let’s do the interview in your bedroom.’

Mac led the visitors to his room. The cameraman swept his lens around the room before focusing on the twins perched on Mac’s bed.

Natasha Nolan consulted her notes. ‘So, tell me what happened tomorrow,’ she began.

Deleted Scene Chapter 22 Feb 2010

‘Well, those TV news people didn’t think we were mad,’ Mac said. ‘Let’s watch the news. We’re sure to be the first story.’ He led a reluctant Rebecca to the lounge room.

But the twins were not the first story. The paraglider who got sucked up into a thundercloud was. They were not the second story or the third or the fourth.

‘Maybe they’ll run our story as “Late Breaking News,” Mac suggested, as the weather girl told them that a clear sunny day was forecast for tomorrow.

‘Shh, shh,’ Annie said excitedly. ‘Here we are!’

‘If you’ve got nothing better to do tomorrow morning at around eight,’ said Natasha Nolan, ‘then jump into the ocean and talk to the sharks. It could save your life.’

Annie and Mac grinned at each other. Rebecca and Daniel struggled to pick their jaws up off the floor.

‘That’s the advice from two Ghost Crab Cove teenage time travelers who claim that we’re all going to die tomorrow,’ the report continued.

‘We just came home after a swim and everyone in our town was dead,’ Annie told the reporter.

‘Yeah, face down in their bacon and eggs,’ Mac added.

‘And what killed them?’ the reporter asked. ‘Too much cholesterol?’

‘ . . . a bright light,’ Annie said, ‘ . . . and . . . an electric hedge trimmer.’

Annie looked at the television and back at her parents, her mouth open wide. ‘They’re twisting our words. I didn’t say that.’

‘The Prime Minister and the American President wouldn’t answer our calls,’ the Mac on the television was saying. ‘The . . . monster . . . must have got them too.’

Mac thumped the side of the TV. ‘I didn’t say that. When she asked if it was a monster I said it wasn’t a monster. She’s cut and pasted our words.’

‘So what can the folks at home do to save themselves tomorrow?’ Natasha Nolan asked.

‘ . . . swim . . . inside a ring of sharks,’ Annie said.

‘So there you have it.’ Natasha spoke directly into the camera. Her purple-coated lips curled down at the edges in a derisive smirk. ‘If you want to survive the end of the world tomorrow, find a school of sharks playing ring around the rosy and jump inside. Failing that, I’m sure a couple of blow-up ones from the toy department at K-Mart will do. This is Natasha Nolan bringing you more of the NorthCoast’s colourful characters.’

Deleted Scene Chapter 29 Feb 2010

Mac knew what he had to do to get ready for the disco. He ran to his room and began writing. An hour later he left the house and placed an envelope in Verity Whelan’s letterbox.

After welcoming Daniel home from hospital, the twins left their parents and went back to the school gymnasium.

‘We may as well have some fun before we do this mission thing,’ Mac said, dancing up to Verity Whelan and sniffing her hair. Annie stood back and watched in amusement.

‘I hope they play some Beatles and Beach Boys music tonight,’ Mac shouted in Verity’s ear.

Verity turned around and looked at him in surprise. ‘You like The Beatles and The Beach Boys?’

‘I love them, Verity Whelan.’ Mac grabbed Verity’s hands. ‘And my lonely heart you’ve been stealin’.’

‘What?’ Verity said, snatching her hands away. ‘Annie, tell your evil twin to go away.’

Annie just shrugged helplessly.

Verity glanced back at Mac. ‘What happened to your nose?’

‘You may think you love Stuart Potter,’ Mac continued. ‘But look at me, Mac Sword is hotter.’

Annie guffawed.

Verity stepped up and pressed Mac’s swollen nose. ‘Leave me alone. I’m waiting for my boyfriend.’

‘Who? Potter? He doesn’t care about you.’

‘He does care about me!’ Verity said. ‘He wrote me love poetry today and he’s bringing me a gift!’

‘A silver bracelet?’ Mac said. He thrust his security cuff in the air. The flashing lights danced off the shiny metal. Annie grabbed her brother’s arm and yanked it down.

Verity glared at Mac. ‘It’s you! You put those poems in my mailbox! And you promised me a silver bracelet.’

‘I . . . I didn’t exactly promise you a silver bracelet,’ Mac stammered. ‘I said I’d show you how much I care with a silver bracelet.’

‘Okay, then,’ Verity said, her eyes admiring the security cuff. ‘Show me how much you care.’ She held out her wrist.

‘I can’t give it to you,’ Mac said. ‘This is one of Normisson’s home detention bracelets that he’s going to introduce soon. This shows the lengths I’ll go to impress you.’

‘You stole it?’ Verity asked, wide-eyed.

‘Ah . . . yeah,’ Mac lied. Annie punched his arm.

‘For me?’ Verity fluttered her spidery lashes.

‘Ah . . . yeah.’

Verity grabbed Mac’s arm and held the cuff up into the light from the disco ball. She examined the engraving on the flat edge. Property of G.C.C.H.S. ‘Cool.’ She smiled at Mac.

Mac’s heart did back-flips. He held the bracelet aloft. ‘As long as I’m wearing this cuff, you’ll know I’m more than enough.’

A large hand grabbed Mac’s outstretched arm. ‘Where did you get this, son?’

Mac and Annie froze.

‘Tell me, Mr Sword,’ Mr Normisson demanded, ‘how you happen to have an exact replica of one of the proposed Ghost Crab Cove High School Home Detention Bracelets?’

‘It’s a fake?’ Verity cried. She pushed Mac’s chest. ‘You’re a fake!’ She stormed off across the crowded dance floor.

‘You want to pretend that you’re on home detention, do you?’ Mr Normisson said. He squeezed Mac’s wrist. ‘You want to impress girls with your flouting of the rules? Well now you really are on home detention. Sit here whilst I call your parents.’

Deleted Scene Chapter 32 Feb 2010

Dr Sinclair and Mac strong-armed Annie into the doctor’s kitchen. When Annie saw the doctor’s black bag she shuddered and then her body went limp.

‘Please help me, Dr Sinclair,’ Annie wept, collapsing into the doctor’s freckly arms. ‘I had a really weird dream last night.’

Dr Sinclair glared at Mac. ‘A dream?’

Mac held his hands out and shrugged.

‘A dream that everyone on earth had died?’ Dr Sinclair prompted.

‘No. It was about circus clowns and crocodiles,’ Annie sobbed. ‘They had traded places. The rivers were full of snapping white-faced clowns and the crocodiles were riding unicycles.’

Annie glanced over Dr Sinclair’s shoulder to the hallway beyond. A floor to ceiling painting of Uluru stood guard in the centre. Annie jerked her head at the painting. Mac’s eyes followed her gaze. The tiny mouse gnawing at his stomach became a rat.

‘And you got a message from someone telling you that it was your mission to save the world?’ Dr Sinclair said. ‘Who sent this message?’

‘I don’t know. The dream’s becoming a bit fuzzy now.’

‘Then perhaps I can help you to remember it,’ Dr Sinclair said. ‘Perhaps I can help both of you to remember everything.’

Annie nodded compliantly. Mac looked confused.

Dr Sinclair led the twins down the hallway to the enormous canvas of the enormous monolith. ‘I have a research laboratory through here. It’s under the house to keep the equipment cool.’ She pulled the canvas to the left, revealing the swinging door. ‘Go through. You’ll have to crawl. I’ll be with you in a few moments.’

Mac crawled ahead of his sister down the tunnel. The tiny hairs on the back of his neck stood up. Something was not right. He pushed through the door at the bottom and stood up inside a small room crammed with metal and machines and flashing computer screens.

Annie looked around in amazement. ‘This is just like you described.’

The rat gnawing at Mac’s stomach became a dingo.

Annie walked around the room, touching computer screens and peering through microscopes. A large map of the world caught her eye. ‘Look at this, Mac.’

Mac came up and stood beside his sister. She pointed to Australia, positioned in the bottom right hand corner. A photograph was pinned to the east coast. A photograph of Annie and Mac Sword. It was labeled with their names and address.

‘This is weird,’ Mac said.

‘No,’ his sister answered, ‘this is brilliant!’ She began to snatch at the other photographs pinned across the map. At that moment the door opened and Dr Sinclair strode menacingly into the chamber. Annie and Mac jumped back from the map. Dr Sinclair pressed a button beside the tiny door. A rectangle of red light blazed around the only exit.

‘What’s that?’ Mac asked.

‘It’s a laser field,’ Dr Sinclair answered. ‘To prevent your escape.’

‘But I thought you were going to help Annie.’

Dr Gillian Sinclair looked almost sorry. ‘I’ve really enjoyed knowing you two, but I’ve got a job to do.’

‘But . . . but,’ Mac said.

‘No buts, Mac,’ Dr Sinclair said. ‘Just the truth now, please.’

Mac pouted at his sister. ‘I’m sorry I didn’t believe you,’ his eyes said.

Dr Sinclair walked over to her computer and hit a series of keys. She then adjusted the angle of the webcam so that it was trained on Annie. ‘Tell me about the end of the world, Annie. When does it happen?’ Her voice was gentle, almost soothing. ‘And what’s this website you’ve been getting messages from? What are these special powers you have?’

‘Do you work for Rufus Keller?’ Annie asked. Her voice was calm.

Gillian Sinclair gasped but then she quickly composed herself. ‘I . . I don’t know what you’re talking about. But I do know this. I’m Ghost Crab Cove’s beloved family doctor. Which means I have thousands of drugs at my disposal.’ From the pocket of her coat she pulled out a syringe filled with orange liquid.  ‘So you can tell me everything now, or you can tell me in a week when you’re dying of thirst and your parents have given up hope of finding you alive.’

‘Do you really think you can keep us here?’ Annie challenged. ‘Obviously you don’t know about our special powers.’

‘Powers?’ Dr Sinclair laughed. ‘What are you? Teenage super heroes?’

‘Rufus Keller doesn’t tell you everything, does he?’ Annie said. ‘Or maybe he does not even know about them himself.’

Dr Sinclair glanced from Annie to Mac and then back to Annie. ‘I know everything about you two. I have been testing every part of your anatomy since you were three. There’s nothing special about either of you.’

‘Really?’ Annie said. ‘Then maybe we should show you. Mac, you can go first.’

Mac glared at Annie, his eyebrows dancing up and down like hyperactive caterpillars.

‘A thunderstorm would be good right now,’ Annie said.

Dr Sinclair scoffed. ‘You think you can create an electrical storm? The only power you two have is power of the imagination.’

‘Do it!’ Annie ordered Mac. She knew she couldn’t. She had tried. Her powers seemed to be only over existing water sources.  Mac had the power to conjure water through weather phenomena.

Mac shrugged. ‘I hereby order a lightning strike.’ He flicked his fingers as though sprinkling fairy dust. Dr Sinclair watched in amusement.

‘Concentrate, Mac,’ Annie instructed. ‘A big bolt of lightning directly over this house!’

Mac huffed and rolled his eyes. Dr Sinclair laughed and adjusted the focus on the webcam.

‘Don’t roll your eyes! Close them! Imagine a huge lightning strike. Hear the thunderclap. Feel it in your bones. See the bolt crack open the sky. Direct the zap at this house.

Mac glanced out the tiny window at the cobalt blue sky then squeezed his eyes shut. Behind the lids he saw a darkening sky. Clouds swooped like crows. Wind flattened trees. Rain drove at his lids like headlights on a highway. And then, as though his nose were a pencil, he drew a white zig-zag across the sky. When he dropped his head for the final down-stroke the house split open.

Machines zapped!

Computers flashed!

Laser beams flickered then died.

The room was plunged into darkness. Mac nearly wet his pants.

‘Arghh!’ Dr Sinclair shrieked.

Annie grabbed Mac’s hand and noiselessly led him behind a glass cabinet, under a metal bench, and through a maze of computer leads. She had studied the layout of the room carefully whilst the lights had been on.

‘Stay where you are!’ Dr Sinclair ordered.

Annie squeezed Mac’s hand and tugged him closer toward where she thought the tiny door was. When she felt the wood flap swing silently beneath her fingers she pushed Mac through it.

‘You have about ten seconds until the back-up generator kicks in,’ Dr Sinclair said. ‘So let’s stop playing Murder in the Dark.’

Annie counted down the seconds and squinted, preparing her eyes for the light. A loud whirring noise began and white flooded the room. Annie saw Dr Sinclair in front of her, facing the back of the room. Her hand held the syringe. Annie seized the needle and jabbed it into the doctor’s right buttock. ‘I prefer Pin the Tail on the Donkey,’ she declared.

Dr Gillian Sinclair collapsed on the floor.

Deleted Scene Chapter 40 Feb 2010

The savages were about the same height and build as the foursome. In the orange glow of the coals the children could see that they were dressed in animal skins sewn together with twine. Their hair was matted into dreadlocks. Their faces were painted in strokes of red and brown and ochre.

Douglas turned to Mac. ‘I think we’ve travelled back too far.’

The savages grunted and stamped their feet, indicating for the children to be quiet. Then they walked around the foursome, inspecting their clothing, their shoes, Douglas’s watch. Douglas loosened the band. ‘Here, he said. He held it to his ear. ‘It makes a nice ticking sound. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.’ He held it out to the savages.

The shorter one gave its spear to its companion and took the watch. It looked at it inquisitively, as a monkey would examine something new. It held it up to its ear. It then placed the watch on its wrist, adjusting the clasp expertly. It held it out and showed it to its mate. The taller one nodded and pointed the glowing ember of its spear at Rhea and made an ear-tugging motion.

Rhea reached up and felt for her diamond stud earrings. The savage nodded and held out its hand. Rhea removed the earrings and cringed as she held them out on her open palm. It reminded her of when she was younger and first learned how to give an apple to a horse. The savage snatched at the earrings then gave its spear to the other to hold. It held the tiny stones up to the moonlight, then inserted each one through the small hole in its own earlobes. As soon as it was done, the savage grabbed its spear again.

The shorter savage then turned its attention to Mac. It pointed its spear at his Nikes. ‘You want my shoes?’ Mac asked. ‘These are brand new. You’re not getting my shoes.’

The savage grunted and thrust the glowing tip of its spear at Mac. ‘Okay, okay,’ Mac said. He bent down and unlaced his shoes. He tossed them to the savage. ‘But I’m not helping you lace them up. You can figure that out for yourself.’

The savage slipped its right foot into the right shoe. The shoe fit perfectly. The savage tugged on the laces then twisted them under and over each other in a knot. It then made two loops and tied them around each other in a second knot. The process was repeated with the left shoe. The savage then jumped up, jogged on the spot, then squatted down again, testing the shoes.

‘A caveman in Nikes,’ Mac grumbled. ‘Now I’ve seen it all.’

The taller savage grunted and pointed its burning spear at Annie’s chest. It looked her over from head to toe.

‘I’ve got nothing to sacrifice,’ Annie said, ‘except this school uniform and my undies. And you wouldn’t want those cause I’ve been wearing them for a few days now.’

The two savages grunted and advanced on the foursome. Rhea, Douglas and Mac cowered behind Annie.

‘Give them something,’ Rhea cried. ‘Anything.’

As though they understood, the savages nodded and held out their hands, wriggling their fingers as they waited for their gift.

‘I have nothing!’ Annie said.

The savages thrust their fiery spears at Annie. They gnashed their straight white teeth.

‘Let’s make a deal,’ Annie said to the savages. They looked at her quizzically.

‘You can’t reason with burning spears,’ Douglas cried. ‘I think we should just run.’

Annie smiled to herself, ignoring the hissed pleas from her brother and the English twins. ‘If I can guess your names,’ she called out, ‘then you’ll put down those burning spears and let us all go. And if I can’t, then you can kill us all. And eat us if you want to,’ she added.

‘No!’ cried Mac and Rhea and Douglas.

The savages seemed to like their chances. They nodded at Annie.

‘Your names are . . . Kyla and Jax van Beuren!’ Annie declared.

The whites of the savage’s eyes popped. They began to back away from Annie, their spears dangling in the dust. Then they dropped them and ran as fast as they could—one barefooted and one in a brand new pair of Nikes—out of the ring of fire.

Rhea began to laugh. ‘Rumpelstiltskin is one of my favourite fairy tales, but I never thought I’d see it in action in the modern day. How did you know it was Kyla and Jax?’

‘I didn’t,’ Annie said. ‘But I knew they couldn’t be primitive humans. That short one knew how to tie shoe laces.’ She began to run after them. ‘Come on, we can’t let them get away.’

Mac sprinted off ahead of her. ‘Give me back my Nikes,’ he called.

Deleted Scene Chapter 41 Feb 2010

So the six children made their preparations. They were soon dry, courtesy of winds created by Rhea and Douglas, and had a roaring fire, thanks to Kyla and Jax. Mac provided drinking water and Annie got them some food. She had the worst job of all. She had to steal it from the camper’s kitchen.

‘I can’t steal food,’ she complained. ‘They’ll be hungry in the morning.’

‘In the morning those people will be back home, saving up for their holiday of a life time to South Africa,’ Mac pointed out.

Annie still didn’t feel right stealing, but she was so hungry and knew she needed strength for the long walk ahead of her. She came back to the cave with bread, ham, cheese, eggs, bacon and tomatoes. And a frying pan to cook up the tastiest omelet the children had ever eaten.

Mac, meanwhile stole some jeans and t-shirts from the clothesline outside the laundry. He also tiptoed outside tents and campervans, searching for shoes for Annie, Kyla and Jax. ‘If we’re going to save the world,’ he reasoned, then we should at least have shoes and some decent clothes to do it in.’


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