On her tenth birthday, Sophie Smith discovers something amazing – she is the Guardian of a magic gateway which stands in the middle of the creepy Shadow Woods behind her house. Through the locked gateway is the Shadow Realm, a dark, chaotic place full of horrible creatures like fog boggles, wolf trolls, ink cap goblins and icicle imps. There are just a few shadow creatures on this side of the gate here in our world and their dearest wish is to open the gateway and let the army of other shadow creatures charge in. Read all about Sophie and her best friend, Sam as they set about trying to stop the shadow creatures along with Sophie’s grumpy grandpa and a very talkative parrot called Nigel…
There’s only one girl who can save the world and her name is Sophie Smith!
Sophie has her own site on www.sophieandtheshadowwoods.com
Click on the covers to see these books in Amazon
So, what’s happened so far: Sophie and her best friend, Sam, have gone into the dark, creepy Shadow Woods to try and find out why there are lots of little spiders everywhere in their town. They are sure it is something to do with the shadow creatures but what can it be…?
The woods pressed in around Sophie and Sam. The leaves overhead blocked out the light, and they could hear strange rustlings in the undergrowth. They headed down a path, fighting through brambles and stepping over tree roots.
“How are you feeling?” Sam whispered to Sophie.
Part of Sophie’s Guardian magic meant that whenever a shadow creature was near, a tingling feeling would run through her, and she’d suddenly become super-fast and super-strong. It was what she liked best about being the Guardian. It was amazing doing the moves she practised in her taekwondo classes, but with the magic flowing through her!
“I just feel normal so far,” she whispered back.
They continued along the twisting path, looking at the stream of spiders scuttling past them.
“Maybe they’re leaving because they’re scared of something,” Sophie suggested.
“They don’t look scared,” Sam pointed out. “They’re moving quite slowly, marching almost. It’s like they’ve got a purpose…” He broke off as he and Sophie stepped into a clearing. “Wow! Look at those massive trees!”
Sophie was already staring at them. They were huge! Their trunks were as wide as a car and they seemed to reach all the way up to the sky. “I never knew there were trees like that in here!”
The Shadow Woods was such a spooky place – you never knew quite what you would find in it.
Suddenly she felt a familiar tingling in her toes. “Sam! My Guardian powers are starting!”
He gulped. “That means there must be a shadow creature around!”
Sophie looked at the trees. She felt like she was being pulled towards them. “This way!”
The tingling grew stronger as they headed in the direction of the towering tree trunks. Suddenly Sophie stopped. There was a giant cobweb about four times her height stretched between two of the trees! A row of small spiders was marching out from underneath it, heading towards the town
“Look!” she exclaimed. “I wonder what’s behind that cobweb?”
Sam looked queasy. “Um, a pretty big spider?”
Sophie lifted her chin. “Well, take cover then, Incey Wincey, here we come!”
“Sophie! Wait!” Sam clutched her sleeve as she started forwards. “It might be really dangerous.”
“But that’s where the spiders are coming from! I’ve got to find out what’s behind that web.” Sophie saw the worry in his eyes. “Why don’t you wait here if you want?”
“No way! I’m not letting you go through there alone,” said Sam fiercely. “If you’re going to be eaten by a giant spider, I’ll be eaten too!”
Suddenly there was a dropping movement from the trees behind them, and two long hisses rang out.
“Whoa!” Sam yelled as he and Sophie swung round. Sophie stared, her blood running cold. Two horrible-looking shadow creatures stood facing them. They were as tall as Sophie and Sam, had segmented round bodies, and as well as having two arms and two legs, had four other hairy limbs waving from their backs. Their skin was a mottled dark grey, and their red eyes gleamed on either side of their hooked noses. Two long yellow fangs curved out of each of their mouths.
Sophie could hardly get the words out. “OK. This is officially not good.”
Sam nodded. His face was white as paper.
The creatures shifted from two legs to eight as they scuttled closer to each other. “Humanssss!” hissed the one on the left, who had particularly long fangs.
“Just when I was feeling hungry too,” replied the one with jet-black legs on the right. He gave a rattling laugh and rubbed two of his legs together. “After a big fat bluebottle fly, there’s nothing I like better than a human, and these two look very juicccccy indeed!”
“Stay still, little humansssss,” wheedled Long Fangs, creeping closer. “We promise we won’t hurt you.”
“Much!” cackled Black Legs. “Just one bite from our fangs and then you won’t feel a thing.”
“Stay away from us!” Sophie said bravely. “I am the Guardian of the Gateway!”
The creatures’ red eyes gleamed. “Better and better!” said Long Fangs. “So we eat you and your delicious-looking friend, and then we find the gems that will help us open the gateway with no one to stop us.”
“Excccccellent plan!” hissed Black Legs. “The Spider Gnomes will be celebrated by all shadow creatures for evermore.”
Sophie’s fear faded as anger flowed through her. Who did these Spider Gnomes think they were? Glaring at them, she put her hands on her hips. “Yeah, well, there’s one problem with that…”
“And what’s that?” chuckled Long Fangs.
Sophie flicked her ponytail back. “Me!”
Running forwards, she jumped into the air, turning sideways. She kicked out hard with her left foot and then her right. Crunch! Crack! Her feet thwacked into Long Fangs’s chest and one of his legs.
“Bullseye!” whooped Sam from behind her.
Sophie leapt again, aiming for Long Fangs’s head – but as she flew towards him, the Spider Gnome tensed. The next second he was jumping high in the air.
“Argh!” cried Sophie in surprise as her feet met thin air. She fell to the ground. As the breath was knocked out of her body, she felt her arms and legs being caught up behind her. “Let me go!” Sophie struggled wildly as four other limbs wrapped around her. Black Legs’s grip grew tighter and tighter, until she could hardly breathe. All of a sudden she heard Sam’s yell.
“Die, you eight-legged mutant spider freak!”
Sam’s backpack thudded into the Spider Gnome holding Sophie. The creature hissed, and his grip loosened. Sophie’s breath returned in a rush. It was all the chance she needed.
Drawing on her superstrength, she ripped the Spider Gnome’s legs away from her and sprang free. Whipping through the air, she thwacked him solidly in the head with her foot. He screeched and crumpled to the ground. Sophie grinned in triumph. Ha! One down – at least until this one came to again!
Turning, her eyes widened in horror as she saw Long Fangs soaring through the air. “Sam! Watch out!” she shouted. Landing right beside Sam, the Spider Gnome grabbed him with his bristly legs.
“Hey!” yelled Sam.
It all happened so fast. Sophie saw the backpack fly out of Sam’s hands and on to the ground, spilling out the two mega-soakers; she saw the Spider Gnome raise his head; saw his horrible fangs flash… and watched as they sank down towards Sam’s neck…
To be continued in Sophie and The Shadow Woods: The Spider Gnomes. Read it (and the other Sophie books) if you dare!!!!!