This is the story of 16 year-old Art Elfee, who discovers one Christmas that he may just be at the centre of one of the world’s most misunderstood legends, which he discovers is far from mythical....
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Art Elfee is in his final year of school, and whilst trying to deal with the unexpected attentions of the prettiest girl in his year, he is also hiding a huge secret; one of his best friends is a sprite, who appeared from nowhere four years in Art’s past. Art believes their very treasured friendship has remained a secret, but one Christmas, a magical Amulet transports him to a strange world, and a snow-covered village, where one of it’s inhabitants lets it slip that Art’s sprite-friend may not be all he seems...
Arthur seems like a very ordinary boy, but over the course of his fantastical journey discovers he may just be at the centre of one of the most misunderstood legends of our time, that also turns out to be far from mythical. And although he has never been anything but amazingly unremarkable, Art Elfee could just be the boy with the coolest destiny of all.
All the figures around the poorly lit stairwell were all standing stock still – like statues in the dark – and had turned their heads towards him, but hadn’t quite made eye contact. It was as if they had been paused halfway through the movement. Art slowly got to his feet, transfixed by the sight, and without thinking he left the bag on the floor and crept closer to the figures. There was complete silence, like standing in a soundproofed studio, closed off from any noise that could ever be made. He stood just a few feet away now, totally confused as to what was happening.
And then he saw it: movement from the back of the crowd. A small figure in comparison to the rest, only slightly smaller than himself, shrouded in darkness, was walking through them towards him. Art’s pulse was racing, but now out of fear and confusion, all his excitement gone.
The figure came closer and closer, making only a slight noise as his feet squashed into the floor. He passed through the crowd and Art could begin to make out his features. He was smiling ever so slightly with kind but keen eyes of piercing blue; a roundish face with a black beret pressed down to one side, his hands hanging to his sides, and a sleek but strong-looking frame. Even though he was just under Art’s height, he looked like an adult, no hint of youth in his eyes or any of his other features. He was wearing a black raincoat, tight black trousers and very small but compact boots laced halfway up to his knees. He stopped just a foot or two from Art and smiled wider still.
‘W…who are you?’ Art stammered.
The little man smiled, then laughed loudly.
‘The question that answers everything, and it’s the first thing I hear from your lips. No further proof needed. Hello, Art,’ he replied.
Art’s eyes widened when he heard his own name.
‘How do you know me?’
The man laughed again.
‘That’s really it? That’s all you’re going to ask me? Not what’s happened to all these people, or what was that bizarre noise I heard just now? Well I’ll tell you. You’ll believe me, ’cos you can see it with your own eyes. That lot,’ he pointed back to the crowd of people with his thumb, ‘are encapsulated in a small time pocket, so they look frozen to you but are actually just moving very slowly. If Pud and Jimma are right – if they can ever stop arguing – it should be roughly one minute for them for every second of ours. And that excruciating humming was the sound of space-time being forced to give up some of its laws, so that no one finds you out and so that we can have this little chat.’ He folded his arms, looking very pleased with himself.
Art looked at the people, and sure enough some of them looked like they had turned their heads a little further in the time they had been speaking.
‘Yes, that’s right, Slippy-Over-Boy, they’ll be looking right this way quite soon. I suggest we scarper, pronto!’ And he began to wind his way back through the crowd. ‘Come on, then; stop gawping and let’s get out of here, shall we?’