The Visitors Move in

On Saturday morning, Billy rang Tommo. ‘Buying shoes?’ he said, horrified. ‘But we were gonna practise.’ He had been relying on Tommo to come up to the attic in case the thing-that-flipped-bottles- in-the-night was still there.

‘Mum says she needs my feet,’ Tommo explained.

Billy heard Tommo’s mum shout up from the bottom of the stairs and Tommo’s chair scrape back.

‘I’d better go, or she won’t take me to Burger Busters after.’

Billy put down the phone. He thought about the great cap-to-cap he’d landed the day before. Solid practice time – that was the answer. And it could only be found in the attic.

He took a deep breath, went up the stairs and looked in. No weird faces peered back at him and nothing was out of place. He stepped inside, surer and surer that he had imagined it all.

As he passed the wardrobe, his foot kicked the broken lock and he jumped. But it gave him an idea. If he shoved the lock and key back in place and shut the door, his parents might not notice that the key was broken if they came up to the attic.

Forty or so flips later, Billy landed a two out of three. Solid practice – that was what winners were made of. The third bottle rolled away towards the wardrobe. He picked it up, so focused on his flips that he didn’t even think about the weirdo that he might have seen inside.

He flipped again and held his breath as his number-three bottle teetered on the edge of the step.

‘What the devil are you doing now?’ Billy screamed and turned around. His dad stepped into the attic, making the boards vibrate. The wardrobe shook, the lock and key dropped to the ground and the door creaked open again.

His dad frowned and said, ‘Did you do that?’

Billy didn’t answer. He leaped forward and slammed the door again.

The rusty hinges gave a sigh of despair and the whole door dropped to the ground. Then the mirrored inlay splintered into a million fragments.

His dad stepped angrily towards the wardrobe, but Billy grabbed his arm. ‘No, Dad, honestly, there’s something in there. I saw it – it played bottle flip in the night and—’

His dad snorted. ‘Fetch a dustpan and brush and stay out of the way. You can leave me to deal with the spookies.’

Billy headed down the stairs. As he did, two shadowy figures fled out of the wardrobe and disappeared behind a stack of boxes.