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The Bringals of Carly

2Today, you can still see part of the old village with its narrow windinstreets and little cottages It's in the western part of the town, on the northbank of theimes have changed in Carly It is no longer the timeless, little sea sidevillage it once was It is now a small modern town of around 100,000citizens with industry and shops and banks and traffic and hospitals andffices and all the things that progress brings You name it and carly has itIve said it before and I'll probably say it again, progress is a funny old thingLet's meet Jack McQueen He is a citizen of Carly Jack felt that things justcouldnt get better, sitting high up in the shade of his favourite tree on a hotsummer's day, watching the world go by

and this was just the beginning ofe six-week summer break from school What a great idea! Jack says outloud to himself He' s talking about the project he has chosen to do during theday How a tree affects the environment,, what a way to pass thetime on my project, lazing around in my favourite treeIt really was a wonderful tree Right in the centre of the old part of townbut so peaceful you'd think it was in the countryside It had everything thata good tree needed Those nice wide comfortable branches foplenty of space for your friends, thick foliage to hide you from nosey

What are we celebrating?" asked Laura, trying to keep up with the lightsthat were obviously in a hurry to get movingWe celebrate all the time, replied Michaels glow, And we alwayselebrate the same thingWe celebrate -Life! answered Michael "Life goes on-and so do theIt seemed like the tree went on forever too

michael led themmassive trunk, along twisting boughs and through precarious brancheHow they managed not to fall out was anyones guess, Jack and Lauracertainly didnt know! Then suddenly, they had arrived and the shadowycover of the dark, leaf canopy became immediately transformed Lightsparkes flashes and flares greeted their eager eyes and their ears werefilled with the sounds of jubilation and festivity talk about a celebrationthey'd never seen anything like it! There were no tables or chairs, nofood or drink and yet the Bringals were very evidently having the time oflives! whizzing and whooshinghitooting there was just no end to the cacophony of sound and as for thelumination well even the aurora borealis had nothithis i it wasas though an entire firework factory was exploding all at once! Of course

t was only the bringals dancing to their own tune, but the display of skyockets shooting upwards, Catherine wheels whizzing concentrically,Roman candles spluttering, star spangles descending in poetic beauty, theentire tree seemed alive with a flickering incandescent radiance

Jackand Laura could only gaze in complete and utter wondermeWould you like something to eat, "offered Ma, bearing a huge tray,almost the width of herself "We bringals don t eat your kind of food, butI thought you might like some cheese and cucumber sandwiches with aglass of milk or perhaps lemonade and as its a party, what about a jellyand ice-cream trifleThe twins looked at each other It was just what they neededThank you! they shouted above the rejoicing, and tucked into the feastThe privilege of being allowed to witness this amazing spectacppermost in their consciousnessChapter 3: The BringalsI hope you dont mind if I dont appear as a human while we talkMichael was saying, " "You see it uses up a huge amount of energy to appearin human form and I'd like to conserve my energy at the moment

I'm not surprised, you must have used up a lot of energy at that party I'msurprised that you have any left, quipped JackMichael beamed, It was fun, wasnt it? But in fact, all that dancing actuallyIncreases our energy levelsa bit like the dynamo you have on yourbikes-the faster you pedal, the brighter your lights getwhy do you need to conserve your energy? "asked LauraWell, changing our form uses up an enormous amount of energy andcommunicating with you in a manner that you ll come to understand is evenmore depleting, so just now, Id prefer not to appear in human form Theonly reason I appeared as a boy at first, was so that I wouldnt shock you toomuThat was very prudent, "said Laura We'd probably have jumped out of thetree! So can you appearYes we can but when we are in our normal state we take on this formwhich uses upminimunof our energy

We do have the ability to let thehumans see us when we want to, by taking on some form of external shapethat hihumans can see us, it's just that they dontknow its us Whenever you see a leaf, a dog, a human, a book, anythingplease treat it nicely You never knowhe laughed "it might be a

So are you like fairies? " asked JackNo, were not fairies Although we re completely different from humanseprechauns or any other spirits, though we dohave some abilities that human beings don t have We are intelligent, living,breathing, eating, sleeping, creatures We are green because of the superour bodiesWhat's chlorophyll agked jack as if he knew but had forgotteChlorophyll is the stuff that makes plants green, Michael answered

Itps the sun change water and carbon dioxide intoanIc compoand also produces energy You dont have to understand exactly how itrks right nowLaura thought about it for a moment " So are you a plant? " she askedMichael laughedWell we're notlants or animaWe are a compfe form from those that humans understand but I suppose we are whatwould call part plant and part animaLauras thoughts went off on a tangent to her bcould just imagine her teacher's face if she were to bring a specimenfingal to the lesson who knows what kind of experiments he wouldconjure up to try and establish which parts were plant and which were

animal! She really didnt like Mr Pugh very much Her mother hadntiked him very much at the Parents Evening either Her mother! Whattime was it? She hoped her mother hadnt come home to find themmIssingTalking about the way we look, only other Bringals can see bringals ashey really areHows that asked JackWell, only a Bringal can see those elements that make up a bringThats to say we see each others character and feelings and moods

Wesee each other's colours and minds and, as the humans say, inside eachothers heart Our external form and shape is not important to us and asyou know, it is normally invisible to humans Thats one reason we havesurvIvWhat do you mean? "asked JackWell human beings don 't have a very good record in dealing with formsof life that they dont understandThenot all that good with forms of life that thenderstandL:auraThats right! We prefer to let them live in ignorance of us and let us geton with what we have to do

And what's that? asked jackYou' ll soon see, answered Michael a bit mysteriously"Well if it's all such a secret from humans i dorl ly understand whyou're bringing me and my sister in onhats a good point But don't worry, I promise you' ll soon understandeverything more clearly, "Michael answeredhat wed, piped in Laura, suddenly She wasbeginning to feel as if they had taken on more than they could handle"Itall seems very strange and more than a little suspicious to meThere was a silence

Michaels lights seemed to flicker and dim a littleJack moved uncomfortablyWhy did you say that? he whispered "I think you' ve offended himLaura shrugged Michaels feelings werent her problem She was moreconcerned about their mother And what was all the mystery? They hadn'tactually even been asked if they wanted to make this ' journehad albeen taken for granted And as for that promise, she couldnt tell anyone ifd to-no-one would believe her! Anyway, she was tiredStill, when all was said and done, perhaps she had been a bit insensitiveAfter all, michael and the other bringals couldnt have been kinder It was

Where did you come from? "she mumbled in half apologyNot from here, answered a quiet MichaelWhat do you mean ' not from here? "asked Jack in a friendly toneI mean that we come from another planet, replied michare extraterrestrialsLike et?I suppose so, answered Michael a smile returning to his voice Comewith me, I have something to show you Lets go over there and I'll beginto answer all the questions that are bothering you

And I promise youLaura, it wont take more than 15 minutes " Laura smiled back shylyThank you, she whispered to her brotherChapter 4: The FlightMichael took Jack and Laura to a branch of the tree that they hadn t noticedbeforeTheir gnarled, old tree had completely changed its character What hadalways been a cosy, home-from-home, now containedmany nooks andlIest was difficult to recognize as a meretree It was more like a self-contained forest had they shr

unk ortree grown? Or perhaps they were in a different dimension! And here theywere, yet again, in a completely new part of the tree

people and best of all, it didnt look such a great tree from the outside soyou didnt get many intrudersBoth Jack and his sister, Laura, always felt happiest when passing thetime in this tree It was as if they were at home here and that the tree wasalways there waiting to welcome them back whenever they were awayfrom it They had spoken to each other of these feelings they had about thetree but couldn t really understand theAll these thoughts were going through Jacks mind as he sat there waitingra to arrive Jack was older than his sister by 20 minutes There wasanother pair of twins at school but they looked exactly alike You couldnttell one from the other

The only way to tell was to call out one of theirnames and see which one turned round But laura and jack didnt lookmuch like each other Well, first of all she was a girl and secondly, well,you dont need a secondly, looking like a girl was enough ""How can webe twins if you can tell us apart " he iust couldnt understand itJack had walked all the way from the south-Eastern side of town wherehe lived in alittle house on a small street with his mother and twosters his twin Laura and his older sister Janie his father had died twoyears ago

as Jack sat there in the tree with his eves half shut against the sun anddeep in his thoughts, a few specks of multi-coloured light seemed to danceon the branch of the tree directly in front of him and then disappear Whatwas thatk thought to himself ""Must have been the sun ""Jack leanedback against another branch and looked up at the leafy canopy of the treeWow, this really is a great tree! I wonder where Laura is "He lookeddown to see if Lid as hisdopposite branch there again he saw the flickering multi-coloured lights likea miniature firework display They seemed to be moving along the branchThe sparkling lights stopped moving and turn 90 degrees

Jack felt ashey were looking straight at him He thought he should get out of the treeas quickly as possible but somehow he just couldnt drag himself awayfrom the lightsHi Jack! Sorry I'm a bit late Lauras perky voice came from below asshe climbed up to him TheHi Laura, said Jack still staring at the place where the lights had beenWhats that? "asked Laura settling down on the branch opposI saw some sparkling, coloured lights just there, along the branch fromyou I saw them twice but they disappeared each time What do you think it

could be, the sun?”“Iddon'tknknow,” Laura stuttered,“ But lookup above you Jack looked up The higher branches had dozens anddozens of little clusters of the coloured sparkling lights moving about onWhat,s going on? Jack whisperedDon' t be afraid

Everythings ok", said a pleasant voice nearby Jack andLaura looked over to where the voice came from a fair-haired boy ofd thea branch of the tree quite clWho are you? "asked Jack Where did you come fromYou can call me Michael and Ive been here for quite a long time, theboy answeredi didn't see you, said JackYes you did Jack So did you, Laura Ydidnt know itHow do you know our names? asked Laura trying to sound braveDont worry and don't be frightened Everything will soon become clearO youWhos frightened? We're not! " Laura said, defiantly, her heart poundinGood! Michael answered with a smile We've been watching both ofyou for some time and we felt that one day you should see us Now thatyou have seen us, we have a lot to tell you

6We? asked Laura looking around for the othersYes, there are many of us Youll understand soon Lets go up to thehigher branches and start our journeyourney? What journey? "asked LauraFollow me, you' ll find out shortly, answered Michael With that hedisappeared and in his place was a cluster of sparkling multi-colouredts“Fid the lights andthe treeJack and Laura looked at each other what was happening? was thisreal? Were they being abducted? would they be back in time for tea? withtheir twins' intuition, they spoke not a word

Taking a deep breath, thelooked up at the motionless lights Michael was waiting Slowly, withsome trepidation they began to followChapter 2:1Up in the higher branches of the tree Jack and Laura found themselvesrounded by hordes of the sparkling clusters of lights Michael appearedt of one of then“How’ s your kneeJack? he askeOh! Its just a graze, answered Jack in amazement I'm alright I didntrealize this tree was so tall

There's a lot you will come to realise, responded Michael " Thejourney is just beginningYou mean we havent started the journey yet interrupted Laura, herthes disheveled and leaves caught up in her hairMichael couldnt help but laugh She was a feisty little thing, this laura,but there was something very endearing about herSettling on an upper branch of the tree, Michael said,"Ok, Jack and Laura,we have a lot to tell you but first you must understand that whatever youhear and see here must be kept a secret between us You cant even tellyour closest friends, not your mother, not your teachers, absolutelynobody Can I have your solemn promise on that? Before you decide, I cantell you that nothing you will see here will be something that you feel it isyour duty to tell someone else

Do you understand?Yes answered Jack "I understand " Laura saidou agree to keep our secret? Jack and laura look at each otheWhat do you think Laura? " Jack askedI think,” laurawly, that if Michaels telhe truth andhere's nothing here we have to tell anyone aboutk If michael's nottelling the truth, then it's ok for us to break our promise, Laura answeredIs that ok with you, Michael? "" Jack asked

8It’ s fine with me” Michael answeredOk, said Jack, I promiseMe tood lauraGood! answered Michaels get on with it then We have a lot to doFirst, I'm going to try to get you to see us as we really are WatchMichael disappeared and in hiss place the coloured liareI wish hehat” said jackNid Michael,'s voice, "You can see the lights, right?d jackOk Now, the lights are the easiest part of us to see I want you to staremy lights until you can see more of me Jack and Laura stared and staredbut all they saw were the lightsood

i cant see anything else " Jack saidMy eves are achinid lauraKeep trying, it ll soon work Try to let your eyes go out of focus a littleMichaels voice They continued to stare And stare And stareAfter what seemed likng time Laura exclaimed, "Wait a minuteomethings happening I can see a green shape surrounding the lights It,sbecoming clearer i can see a sort of face with eyes and a nose and mouthWow! i can see you! I can see you

I cant see anything, complained JackLet your eyes go out of focus Laura told him Try to look at a pointthrough the lights and past them Is it working?No, I can just see theWait! Somethings there Yes, something greenYes, yes I can see a shape It looks like a garden gnome or somethingcan see it i can see itt's michahed lauThats right, said Michael "Congratulations Well done! You'reprobably the first human beings ever to really see a Bringal

Thats whatwe're called by the way We are BringalsPleased to meet you, said lauraPleased to meet you too, chuckled the glowing green Michael Nowlook around you at the other lightJack and laura looked around at the other clusters of lights and foundthemselves face to face with about 100 bringals of various sizes andhapes Each one of them was either partly or completely green and hadlight cluster inside its body Two of the Bringals approached Jack andLaura The taller one, who only came up to Jacks knee, had a large brightgreen nose while the shorter one was as wide as it was tall both had an

aura of chubby cheerfulness about them "we are the elders said the tallerone "You can call me paAnd you can call me Maid the shorter one " It's lovely to meet youPa continued, "We would like to welcome you as guests of our familyWe' ve been watching you for some time and we feel that we can trust youo keep your promise He winked at them cheekilyPa! l Ma reprimanded hThe one you know as Michael will explain to you everything you needknow

” continued pa“ WelcomeThank you, answered Jack and LauraWelcome! Welcome! cheered the rest of the bringalJack and laura were quite overcome with it all they'd never had such aJoyous reception, not even when Jack had scored theschool football-team last yearNow, said Pa, with a twinkle in his eye, I think this is a good causeCELEBRATE Come on everyoneIn a flash the lights and the bringals had goneWhat! Where is everybody? "exclaimed JackCome on, slow coaches, said Michael, "Were going to have acelebratio