The two stone giants looked at one another, then they nodded at the same time.
Zenobius raised a huge grey arm. ‘See that building over there, through the trees?’
Normal turned to look. It was beginning to grow dark now. His first day at Guardian Grange was already moving towards its close. There was a little cottage nor far away, the lights in the windows glowed orange.
‘That’s’ where Martha and Mary live,’ said Zanufius.
‘Have you met them?’ asked Zenobius.
Normal said he hadn’t.
‘Do you like apple pie?’ Zanufius asked.
‘Go and knock on the door.’
Normal turned and took a step, then he looked back. The two grey silver giants ushered him on with waves from their huge hands.
Normal started to walk faster. The cottage was sitting in its own little garden with a yellow wooden fence all around it. There were all kinds of flowers growing there. Plenty he’d never seen before. And all colours too. Blue, silver, maroon, tartan. All kinds and shapes too. He stopped to sniff a bunch of puce daffodils, they smelt of doughnuts. He went to the bright pink door and knocked gently.
‘On my way!’ called a cheery voice from inside.
The door flew open – really flew open – as if someone was desperate to open it. The someone was a rosy cheeked, smiley faced woman. Her chin had a huge dimple and her eyes were full of twinkle.
‘Hello, hello,’ she said. ‘What have we here?’
Normal shrugged, he wasn’t quite sure really.
‘I’m new,’ he mumbled.
The happy woman laughed.
‘I was told… they said… apple pie,’ Normal muttered.
‘Oh did they?’ she said.
Normal pointed back through the trees towards the gates where he’d seen Zenobius and Zanufius.
‘I bet that was Killweavil wasn’t it? Or was it Mashdemon? They’re always pinching my apple pie,’ she said. She rubbed her dimpled chin.
‘I don’t know,’ said Normal. ‘They were giants.’
She laughed, her hands clamped on her hips.
‘So you’re a new one?’ she said.
‘Are you feeling a bit lost?’
He nodded again.
‘Come on love, we’ll cheer you up.’
He went inside and immediately smelt the cooking. In spite of the cottage being small it somehow managed to have a huge kitchen with a very large wooden table in it. Normal perched on a chair and the happy woman plonked a plate of pie and custard in front of him.
He said nothing, just grabbed a spoon and piled in. It was sweet, warm and delicious.
‘You’re good at cooking,’ he said, his mouth stuffed full of pastry and custard.
She laughed, but it wasn’t anything like the laugh of the two giants. It was a kind of jolly giggle.
‘I should be, I’m the cook love. What’s your name?’
‘Normal. Normal McCloud.’
‘Well Normal, I’m Miss Martha. And I’ll be serving up the stew, dumplings, spotted dick and arctic roll. Not all together of course.’
‘D’you live here?’
‘I certainly do, with my sister Mary.’