The Firestone Crystal
Agathea Fulstropp is looking forward to a luxury break in the Caribbean with her parents, but is livid when they announce that the trip has to be cancelled due to work commitments! So instead of spending six weeks sunning herself on a tropical beach, Thea – as she insists on being called – finds herself unceremoniously packed up, and sent off to stay with a grandfather she barely knows for the entire summer! But it turns out to be the best summer of her life when her grandfather has a strange reunion with a mysterious childhood friend, and she is given the opportunity of a lifetime.
To visit a world beyond the stars, and become Earth’s first student to be enrolled in an experimental Inter-Planetary Education Programme at the Firestone Academy, where lessons in telepathy, mind-reading and astral projection are the norm.
Things, however, are not as straightforward as they seem. One of her fellow students makes no secret of the fact that he despises her, and will stop at nothing to make her leave…she is having increasingly disturbing, vivid dreams…and just who is that hideously deformed cave creature, and more to the point, what does it want with her?
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“So,” remarked Annalije casually as they ate, “you’re the Earthonian who saved the Academy from a Trogaloid invasion!” Thea smiled at the thought of being called an ‘Earthonian’. In her opinion, it sounded so much better than ‘Earthling’.
“Trogaloid invasion?” she repeated curiously, around a mouthful of chips, “What’s a Trogaloid?”
“The Trogaloids,” explained Annalije, matter of factly, “are the people whose place you snatched away at the last minute, and I understand they are pretty mad so you’d better watch out.” She leaned forward, lowering her voice teasingly, “Kuldarr especially is none too happy with the situation!”
Seeing Thea’s blank look, she gave a rich purr of delight. “Oh my!” she exclaimed deliciously, “You don’t know what’s been going on do you?”
Thea, bewildered now, leaned back in her chair. “No I don’t,” she began frowning, “what do you -?”
Well, whatever else she had been about to say was drowned out by what can only be described as an inhuman roar of rage from across the room, as a hulking great figure launched itself onto their table, sending trays of food crashing to the floor. All activity ceased as everybody in the Halls of Dining watched in stunned silence.
In total shock, Thea instinctively pushed back from the table, but was unable to move any further because of the wall behind her. She found herself looking into the glowering eyes of none other than Kuldarr himself, who growled softly beneath his breath and pushed his sneering face within inches of her own. Transfixed, Thea was trapped like a frightened rabbit, unable to speak or tear her gaze away.
She was terrified…more terrified than she had ever been in her life. And he was like a wild animal! Scared as she was she didn’t dare take her eyes off him, watching in horror as those sharp teeth came closer and closer. She winced at every snap and snarl, whimpering in terror at the thought that any minute now, those massive jaws would be clamped around her throat...
She may not have the sweetest of natures, being spoilt, temperamental and often downright moody, but what twelve-year-old Agathea Fulstropp (Thea to her friends), does have is a rather unusual secret – a secret shared only by herself and her grandfather.
She is Earth’s first and only pupil to be enrolled at the Firestone Academy on the faraway Planet of Aruuliah!
Preparing for a new term, packed with the excitement of making new friends, confronting old enemies and getting to grips with alien technologies, Thea is soon to discover that being from Earth has its drawbacks as she becomes the target of a sinister plot to remove her from the Academy - permanently!
Help, however, comes from the most unlikely of places and she, unwittingly encounters a hidden realm concealed within the grounds of the Academy – a world made up of pure energy, populated with mythical creatures of legend and folklore, and whose existence remains a closely guarded secret from all physical beings, whether human or alien.
Time is running out though, as Thea, along with her best friends Jojan and Annalije, desperately try to figure out who, amongst her peers, hates her enough to wish her gone.
Can they solve the mystery before it’s too late, or will Thea, having faced mortal danger once already the previous summer, be lucky enough to escape, unscathed a second time?
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She was lying on her back on a soft bed of grass staring straight up at the night sky. The sky, however, was not the pale lavender of the Planet Aruuliah, it was a deep, burnt orange, lit by what looked like an enormous silver moon. Raising herself up onto her elbows, she saw she was surrounded by the iridescent greenery of lush plants and trees and a stunning array of colourful flowers.
But the strangest thing of all was the way in which everything around her seemed to sparkle and shimmer constantly as though alive with energy. Sitting up now, she looked to her left. Jojan was lying there on his back, eyes still closed, but murmuring to himself as, like her, he slowly began to awaken. She looked at him closely – there was something very strange about him.
Thea rubbed her eyes, thinking that what she was seeing had something to do with the fact that her vision had not yet returned to normal, but when she looked at him again, the strange phenomenon was still in effect.
Jojan’s skin was glistening, alight with sparkles, in fact his whole body positively radiated with it. She held up her own hands in front of her eyes and saw the same thing. She too, was aglow.
She looked to her left from her seated position. There were two figures hovering over her – literally hovering!
She blinked rapidly and focused her eyes once more. The two figures whispered to each other and then seemed to float gently down to the ground. Now that they were no longer airborne, Thea was able to see with perfect clarity the gossamer wings behind them. One of the figures was female, clothed in a colourful dress made from a beautiful, gauzy material and dainty shoes and a male wearing a smart tunic over stockinged-legs and sturdy boots. Fine, elfin features, characterised by pointed ears told Thea she was looking at some sort of faerie, a mythical creature which was the subject of many a legend throughout the history of the universe. Nobody had ever been able to prove or disprove their existence, and so they remained one of life’s many unresolved mysteries.
Thea continued to gaze at them, unsure whether she was dreaming or awake now. They too, had skin that glistened in the light, giving the impression of having hundreds of tiny flickering lights surrounding them...
Linda David is a single mother of two and currently work as a college lecturer in childcare. She was born in Cyprus in 1967 to parents who both hail from the Caribbean island of Nevis, and has also lived in Germany as well as St Kitts and Nevis in the West Indies.
The idea for the book, The Firestone Crystal, came about 10 years ago when she was on maternity leave, and started off as a short story that she would be able to read to her children when they were older. It continued to grow as she occasionally added a chapter here and there as the years went by, eventually turning into full-length novel.
She has always enjoyed reading and was encouraged to do so from a very early age, and that is partly what inspired her to write. Even today, she can remember the excitement and wonder she used to experience as a child when reading fantasy and adventure stories, and she hopes that through her writing, she will be able to inspire and encourage other children's interest and pleasure in reading as well.