At the top of the aforementioned hill stood an old house that had not been disturbed for over 60 years. Though many had stood at the bottom of the hill and gazed curiously at its large wooden door, wondering what lay behind the moss-covered walls, none had dared walk the long and winding pathway to enter the house… Until one Saturday afternoon in March.

Three boys – who went by the names Timmy, Jimmy and Freddy – leaned their bikes on the rusty iron fence and looked in awe at the possible adventure that awaited them. “You first.” Jimmy ordered. “Why me?” Questioned Freddy, the tallest of the three. “Because you’re the tallest, you can get over the easiest.” So Freddy threw his bag over the fence and then threw himself over. The other two followed in a similar fashion. And as they walked up the long and winding path, they each began to feel an equal sense of wonder and worry about what lay ahead.

As they got to the door, Jimmy suggested Freddy knock to see if anyone would answer. “Why me?” Freddy questioned. “Because you’re the tallest.” he replied. “Man, why’d I have to be so tall.” Freddy moaned as he cautiously used the untempered door knocker to raise awareness of their presence. After waiting several minutes for a reply, Jimmy – who by now had established himself as the leader/bossy one of the trio – reasoned nobody was coming and pushed open the large, heavy door, which let out a big squeak as if to say ‘oh thank god, I’ve waited years for this moment’.

The three explorers paused in the doorway, stunned at the sight that beheld them. “It’s just like how I imagined it…” said Timmy, to break the silence “… It smells awful!”

They got out their torches (it was very dark) and began their exploration. Timmy took the door to the left, which led to the kitchen, where he was not afraid to try some 60 year old cheese – a move his bowels would later regret. Jimmy took the door to the left, through which he found a library full of books he had never read – although he hadn’t read many anyway. Freddy took the second door on the left and ended up in the bathroom, which wasn’t very exciting.

After a while they rejoined in the main hall to inform each other what they had seen and show off various artifacts they had uncovered. Timmy had found a cookbook, Jimmy had a series of notebooks and Freddy presented an old toilet brush.

Although nothing had really excited them much thus far – except for a few dirty drawings in the notebooks – they were confident they would find something of interest upstairs. So they each rushed upstairs and began the hunt for metaphorical (of indeed actual) treasure, Jimmy found more notebooks in a study, Timmy played with some old toys in a bedroom that had belonged to a child, and Freddy took a keen interest in some ladies underwear in another bedroom. He discreetly hid a pair in his bag for ‘further investigation’ later that night.

But at the end of a long corridor lay what they had been looking for. As they approached, they noticed a light bulb flickering dimly. Timmy was also certain that he could hear a humming noise that he may have heard earlier. “Someone’s here.” He whispered quietly. They all did a synchronised gulp and paused, unsure whether to continue. “Come on, this is what we came for isn’t it.” Freddy asserted. “Yeah.” The others agreed. “Open the door Freddy.” requested Jimmy. “You open it you lazy git. I’m fed up of being tall.” came the reply. So Jimmy reluctantly tapped the door, which slowly opened. The humming noise stopped. “Well… I think you fixed the door.” joked Timmy to ease the suspense. And with that the three boys walked into the room, where they found…

A smiling ball of dust!

“Hey! Company!” shouted the dust ball.
The boys screamed, too afraid to run away, “No no! Please don’t scream. Why do they always scream?”

Dusty (Part 2… What, you didn’t think i’d end it there did you!)

Freddy brought in a chair from the bedroom and sat with the others. By now the three boys had calmed down and were willing to listen to the talking ball of dust to find out how it came to be. “I’ve been here for lots and lots of years…” began the dust ball, “Every now and then some humans will come to the house, but they don’t want to play. When they see me they scream and run away.” The kids were still confused. “But how long have you been here?” asked Timmy. The dust ball paused for a moment, before asking “Let’s see, what year is it?”. “2013.” replied Timmy. “Wow! Has it really been that long?! I was just a little bundle of fluff in the 60s. So i’ve been here 50 years! … man, time flies.”

Jimmy was less interested about how long the dust ball had been here, and more curious to now how it existed. “But how do you… I mean, what did you… How are you a talking bull of dust?!” he asked erratically. The dust ball paused again, this time having to try and think harder. “Well,” he eventually replied “I don’t really know. Just one day I rolled out from under that wardrobe and here I was. Over time there’s been a lot of dust in this place, and when I roll around in it I grow bigger. Cool eh?”

Admittedly, the boys did find this concept ‘cool’, but still had questions. Timmy asked the most interesting of the questions. “What’s your name?” he asked, assuming that talking balls of dust would follow our culture in naming themselves. “Um… I don’t have a name. I’ve never had to tell anyone my name.” he replied. The kids felt sad about this, so they elected to call him Dusty. A witty, if obvious, name that the dust ball – or as he will now be known, Dusty – accepted with pride. “Wow, so I guess you guys are like my friends now?” he asked hopefully. “Um… yeah. I guess so.” they each replied, unsure as to what being friends with a talking ball of dust would do to their social status.

And so, the group of friends spent the day exchanging stories. The boys told him as many things as they could about their world and technology and music and words and food and anything and everything they could think of. Dusty found their stories very exciting and finally it all became too much for him. Finally he asked the question that the boys had not thought about when they first made friends with him. “Do you think…” he began nervously “… Do you think I could… come outside with you? It just sounds so cool and so much fun.” The kids thought about it for a moment. Could they really take a ball of dust home with them and convince their friends – and more importantly their parents – that they had found a talking ball of dust? Well… why not. “Of course you can come home with us!” agreed Timmy, much to the annoyance of Jimmy and Freddy, who were still weighing up the decision.

They grabbed their bags and led Dusty to the front door. “Wait a minute!” said Jimmy, stopping the others in their path. “What about the wind? If it’s windy he’ll blow away.” Which was true. They had not thought about the effect of the weather on poor little Dusty. They stood for a minute, each thinking how they would resolve this issue. “Ah, we’ll just hide him under a sheet.” Timmy finally suggested. So they did. They threw an old green – though it had apparently once been white – sheet over Dusty and they set off outside. The weather was quite calm, so they were lucky enough to guide him down the long and winding path, across the busy road – which took longer than expected due to having to explain the notion of ‘cars’ to Dusty – and down the road until they reached Freddy’s house. Since he lived the nearest, it made sense to start Dusty’s introduction to society there, just in case he would ever need to make a quick escape back to the old house.

Freddy opened the door, since he had the key, and they went inside. His mother was not home yet, still at work in the Post Office selling stamps to old people who had clearly only come in to get out of the house with absolutely no need for stamps. So they sat down and showed Dusty the ‘magic box’ called the television. Since he had not seen such a device before, he was happy to watch the first thing that was on. So, upon his insistence they watched the second half of Deal or No Deal. A while later Freddy’s Mother, Mrs Jones, returned home from work. Upon seeing the talking dust ball watching Deal or No Deal and eating her food, she immediately picked up the vacuum cleaner and pointed it at Dusty, demanding to know who or what he was.

“Hello Freddy’s mom, i’m Dusty.” the dust ball said cheerily. And with that, she flipped the switch and sucked him up. “Mom no! What are you doing! That was Dusty! My friend! What have you done?!” Freddy, Jimmy and Timmy all screamed at her to stop, but it was too late. Dusty was now living inside a Dyson vacuum cleaner. After quickly explaining about him to Freddy’s mother, she agreed to try and help save him, coincidentally at the same time Freddy’s father came into the house. As Mr Jones walked into the living room, Mrs Jones poured the contents of the vacuum cleaner onto the floor and started shouting “Wake up! Come on!”. Mr Jones stood in disbelief at what his wife was doing. “Joan, what are you doing?!” he asked. Mrs Jones span round and, not realising how daft the situation she was in sounded, shouted at her husband “Freddy made friends with a ball of fluff and now he’s been sucked up into the vacuum cleaner! We need to save him!”

To avoid anymore nonsense, Mr Jones turned around, left the house and never came back. Some say he now lives in the old house at the top of the hill. Others say his wife’s insanity drove him insane. But this writer thinks he went to stay with his ‘bit on the side’ who lived a few miles away. Freddy and his friends and his mother did not manage to bring back Dusty. He was gone forever the moment he went up the nozzle. The three boys still visit the old house on the hill from time to time, in hope of finding another dust ball that they could befriend. But even if they did find one… who would believe them and the crazy Mrs Jones?

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