Chapter One – A Knock at the Door
There was a loud rap on the door. Evie and her dad raced across the kitchen. They had been working hard all morning in the new house and they were hungry. Evie had unpacked the plates, and Dad had put the kitchen table up, just in time for a pizza lunch.
Evie got there first. “Beat you,” she said, and pulled open the door.
It wasn’t the girl with the pizza, but a tall man with a patch over one eye, a scar down his face, a red jacket and long black boots.
“Avast!” said the man.
“Avast?” said Evie. “What’s that mean?”
“Pirate speak,” said Dad, “for ‘hey’ or ‘look ’ere ye landlubbers.’ “
“You could be a pirate,” said Evie, looking thoughtfully at the man.
The pizza girl came puffing up the path. She stopped next to the pirate, holding a flat bag in front of her. Steam oozed out of the sides of the bag.
“Hurry up and build a proper road,” she said, her face red. “I’ve had to park my motorbike all over there, and walk across this rubbly stuff where your garden’s supposed to be.”
“Mum told Dad to dig the garden,” said Evie. “She’ll be home in four hours, but he keeps putting it off because he doesn’t want to do it.”
“Would have liked to be a pirate,” said Dad. “Davy Jones’ locker and shiver me timbers.”
“Is he a pirate?” said the pizza delivery girl, looking up at the man.
“Mad Mark, Pirate Cap’n,” said the pirate. “Thar be booty.”
“Booty – that’ll be the treasure!” said Dad, winking at Evie.
“What treasure?” asked Evie.
“Arrr!” said the Pizza girl, speaking out of the side of her mouth. “Be that doubloons me hearty?”
“Aye, that it be,” said the pirate. “Parley, ye lubbers,” he added. He sniffed. “I smell dinner smells,” he said.
“Aha, he wants to talk about the treasure,” said Dad. “Come in,”
“Don’t mind if I do, I’m puffed,” said the pizza girl, pushing into the kitchen, a little rudely.
The pirate followed. Evie laid two extra places at the table and Dad set out the pizza in the middle.
“Lucky I ordered a large one,” said Dad, taking a hefty slice.
“Mum’s at work,” Evie told the pizza girl. “Me and Dad’ve been sorting out the furniture.”Dad and Uncle Robert had finished building the house on the outside two days before, but the inside was full of packing cases.
Evie didn’t mind helping, not really, but she didn’t know anyone round here. She’d like some new friends to play with, or even a pet. She’d seen some children down in the village, but didn’t know how to start talking to them.
“I won’t have any pizza – gone off it from smelling it all day,” said the pizza girl. She seated herself next to the pirate. “I’ll have some of that lemonade to cool me down.” She nodded to the cans in a box on the floor.
Dad tossed her up a can.
The pirate took a long knife from his belt. He dug it into the pizza and hacked off a raggedy-edge piece kept together by strands of melted cheese. He opened his mouth and gathering the dangling pizza between his gold teeth, chomped and swallowed.
“Pieces o’Eight,” said the pirate.
“That’ll be his parrot,” said Dad, nodding.
“Pieces o’Eight,” called the pirate, again, looking down. Evie heard a snuffling noise. A brown nose poked out of the top of his jacket, followed by two small eyes, followed by two stuck up ears, followed by…
“Spikes!” cried Evie, as a baby porcupine, with quills lying back like thick hair, wriggled out and slipped down onto the table.
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