She laughed to herself; all that effort and all she’d managed to do was go round the building without seeing the castle side of the Home or the alternate world at all.
She popped her head into the workshop to see if Robert was able to find time to listen to her story.
To her surprise he wasn’t there at all. There were no clouds to be seen, just an old wizard sitting in one corner smoking a pipe and putting a patch on a magic carpet.
“Hello young lady and who might you be? Shouldn’t you be out there with the class practising your finger twiddles?”
“Excuse me, I was looking for Robert, or Malcolm. My name is Jennifer Jane.”
“Never heard of any of you! You are an apprentice I suppose?”
“Oh yes, I’m a special apprentice of Abigail’s”
“Never heard of her either.”
“I saw Robert in here only half an hour ago mending some clouds. He couldn’t possibly have finished them all in this length of time.”
“Haven’t had any clouds in here for ages, haven’t had any help in here for ages either come to that. You don’t feel like a nice interesting job with good prospects I suppose? You could help me mend these dratted carpets for a start.”
Jennifer Jane excused herself and went back outside feeling a bit bewildered. At least the twiddling class was still on the lawn. She could go and ask Abigail what was happening.
She stood behind the witch giving the class instructions for a moment or two. She didn’t recognise any of the apprentices and when the instructor turned to see who her class was giggling at, she didn’t recognise the instructor either.
“I’m sorry to interrupt,” she said, “I was looking for Abigail.”
“Well you’ll have to wait until class is over, come back in about half an hour.”
Jennifer Jane wandered off across the lawn. Something very strange was going on, maybe she ought to go home and come back tomorrow and hope everything had settled down in the meantime.
Things continued to get even stranger. Her canoe was no longer where she had left it. The river didn’t look quite the same either; the water level was lower than it had been when she arrived.
She distinctly remembered the lawn only being about six inches above the water level. It had been very easy to climb out of Drawrof without any help.
Now the water was about eighteen inches below the lawn! As there was nobody about to ask what was happening, she decided to go into the Home and find some one to talk to.
At least the inside of the Home was familiar, although there still didn’t seem to be any witches about. She decided to go through to the castle side, there’d have to be some one on guard duty there, who might know what was going on.
At last something went the way she expected, although she was surprised to see that the drawbridge had been raised.
The witch on duty looked round as she went into the guardroom. “You can’t go out there today,” she said, “Tornak the Terrible’s out hunting and even the senior witches don’t like going out when that’s happening.”
“Oh it’d be safe enough for me,” said Jennifer Jane, “Tornak’s a friend of mine and I know Tasmin and Cyril. Where’s my broom?”