Deep in the Sparkling Forest, a team of seven-year-old trainee super heroes, The Sparkles, were practising hard on their lunch break from school. There were rumours that Worst Nightmare and his army of Bad Dreams were close by and they wanted to be prepared.
Nature-Girl, the leader of the gang, watched as Bird-Boy ran towards Panda-Girl , intending to surprise her. Nature-Girl grinned, then used her magical power to move a tree root out of the ground and trip him but, instead of falling down, Bird-Boy flew up into the air laughing.
“Nice try!” he said, as he flew down and landed neatly next to Nature-Girl, looking proud.
Nature-Girl went to reply then stopped. Overhead the tree branches were rustling to get her attention.
“Did you hear that?” she asked, looking around.
“What is it?” asked Speedy, the smallest member of the team, whizzing towards her with her super-speed.
Nature-Girl used her magic to move the branches of the trees; certain something was up there.
She heard a squawk.
Speedy grabbed her backpack full of magical gadgets.
“There!” shouted Nature-Girl, pointing up into the trees as a dark green shape moved quickly through the air, hopping/leaping from one tree to the next. “A Bad Dream! Quick!”
Fast as lightning, Speedy pulled an enchanted rope from her bag and chased after the Bad Dream, as Nature-Girl moved branches in its way to slow it down. Speedy threw the rope into the treetop as the Bad Dream tried to dodge away, but the enchanted rope slithered around it and the Bad Dream fell to the ground with a thunk.
Speedy grabbed the end of the rope, digging her heels into the ground, but the Bad Dream was strong and fought against her.
“Help!” shouted Speedy, struggling to keep hold of the rope. “It’s getting away!”
Nature-Girl, Panda-Girl and Bird-Boy ran to help. The Bad Dream snarled fiercely at them. It looked like an angry tennis ball; with white horns, shiny skin and fierce white fangs. It was surprisingly strong and they struggled to keep hold of it. Nature-Girl and Panda-Girl gripped the rope with Speedy, whilst Bird-Boy jumped onto the Bad Dream and tried to hold it still.
“Speedy, get a cage!” said Nature-Girl as the rope whipped around. Speedy nodded and ran to her bag.
“It’s too strong!” cried Panda-Girl.
Bird-Boy held on tight to the Bad Dream as Speedy moved the cage ready to trap it. Together they wrestled the angry critter into the cage and slammed the door shut.
The Bad Dream snarled and raged. “Let me out!” it roared.
“If a Bad Dream’s here, Worst Nightmare must have sent it,” said Nature-Girl.
Speedy looked sternly at the Bad Dream. “Where’s Worst Nightmare hiding?” she demanded.
“And what does he want?” asked Nature-Girl.
“I’ll never tell you!” growled the Bad Dream.
“What do we do?” asked Panda-Girl nervously.
“Back to the hideout?” asked Bird-Boy.
“Let’s go,” said Nature-Girl with a nod.
The Sparkles headed towards their secret tree-house at the far end of The Sparkling Forest, with Nature-Girl leading the way, looking round cautiously in case more Bad Dreams were lurking in the shadows. They didn’t know why the Bad Dream was so close to the grounds of Miss Sparkle’s Academy for Magical Children, but they knew it meant Worst Nightmare was planning something and that meant bad news for
At the tree-house, The Sparkles climbed the rope ladder and went inside.
So…ideas?” asked Nature-Girl.
Speedy pressed a button on her magical suit which immediately vanished, so she looked like a regular kid again; a strong-willed girl with long curly hair and rosy cheeks named Boo. She placed the cage on the table, folded her arms and glared at the Bad Dream.
“We should just smack it with something till it talks,” said Boo.
“We can’t hurt it!” insisted Panda-Girl as her suit vanished and she changed back into Elsie. She tucked her long black braids behind her ears and pushed her glasses onto her face, then peered closely at the Bad Dream. It gnashed its teeth at her and she jumped back nervously.
“Why not?” asked Bird-Boy, his flight suit changing back into jeans and a t-shirt as he became Joe again. “We need answers!”
“Well,” said Nature-Girl, as she transformed back into the scruffy blonde-haired and knobbly-kneed Rose. “It wouldn’t be right to hurt it. But we do need to make it tell us what Worst Nightmare wants and why he’s here.”
“We can’t let him find out our worst nightmares,” whispered Joe, looking nervous.
Rose walked angrily towards the Bad Dream. “Tell us what Worst Nightmare wants,” she demanded. “Or we will make you drink Truth Potion!”
“Fine!” snarled the Bad Dream. “That’s your only hope of getting anything out of me!”
Rose hesitated and turned to her friends.
“Do we have a Truth Potion?” asked Joe out of the side of his mouth.
Rose shook her head. “Not exactly.”
“What do we do?” whispered Elsie.
Boo picked up a heavy stick. “Time to smack it?”
Rose frowned for a moment then looked at her watch. “It’s time to go back to class anyway, so let’s ask Mrs Martindale if she can help.”
“She won’t be happy if she knows we’ve trapped a Bad Dream,” said Joe.
“Well, we won’t tell her,” said Rose.
Elsie and Joe exchanged worried looks. Lying to a teacher was sure to get them into trouble.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” said Elsie.
“We have to,” said Rose. “Do you want your worst nightmares coming true? This could be our chance to finally stop him!”
“There’s been rumours he’s coming to the school for weeks now,” agreed Boo. “And if a Bad Dream is here it must be true.”
Elsie gulped. “I don’t know if we’re ready.”
Rose looked at them seriously. “Who are we?” she asked them.
“The Sparkles,” said Boo.
“And what do we want?” asked Rose.
“To protect people and stop Worst Nightmare,” said Elsie.
“And how are we going to do it?” asked Rose.
“Together,” said Joe.
Rose clapped her hands. “Then let’s go!” she said.
Elsie and Joe sighed and nodded. She was right.
“What do we do with the Bad Dream whilst we’re gone?” asked Joe.
“Leave it here,” said Boo. “It can’t get out.
Rose looked over her shoulder at the Bad Dream. It glared at her and blew a raspberry.
“Fine,” agreed Rose and walked towards the cage. “We will be back soon and then you’ll be telling us everything!”
“We’ll see about that!” snapped the Bad Dream, gnashing its teeth at her.
They all grabbed their coats and headed for the door. With a last look over their shoulders at the irritable Bad Dream, the team headed out of the door and down the rope ladder ready to start their afternoon classes.
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