Rex is an ordinary schoolboy in the future when he is attacked by a beast on Bodmin Moor. Against all odds he and his best friend, Pebbles, survive the attack but they have been erased from existence.
With the help of a young priest who can see them, Rex and Pebbles race around the globe to discover the secrets of the beasts' existence and how they themselves can exist again. But they find there are more than one of the beasts, and that all around at the time of the attack must be killed for ev
Rex Dingo took a deep breath of fresh air and, even though the coldness of it seared his lungs, he felt refreshed. He took a moment to enjoy the vast countryside spread out before him like an elaborate map, allowing the cool breeze to whistle past his ears and ruffle his thick black hair, and then he sprang from the riverbank he was standing on. He stretched his arms out in front of him and his body pieced the water like a needle on skin. The teenager swam blindly down towards the river bed, some 5 metres below him, and allowed the freezing water to submerge his sleek form. Within seconds his body was numb and cold fingers crept down his spine. He reached the bottom without using too much oxygen and kicked back up to the surface and, after bursting through the surface, spat out a mouthful of water and gulped in air.
Refreshed from his swim, Rex pulled himself onto the riverbank once more and retrieved his discarded clothes; jeans, a plain shirt and a jumper. Shaking the water off of his well muscled body, Rex observed his surroundings, the one he had become so accustom too, the tall grasses dancing in the wind, trees standing proud, wildlife skipping gaily through its habitat, making the most of the scenery. He took quick dips in the river every now and again, just to keep himself fresh or too wake himself up when he was
tired. His other extreme sports included jogging at five in the morning and tree climbing by night with only the moonlight to guide him, because Rex liked to keep in good condition. With a heavy heart, he slipped his clothes back on and sighed; sometimes he wished he didn’t live in the ‘New Age’, which was more commonly known as the future. More and more buildings were being constructed and there was less and less countryside to enjoy. In fact,
Rex was standing in one of the only areas of seclusion left in Cornwall. He knew well enough that man was slowly conquering the world, cutting down trees and driving many animals to extinction. Rex could even remember that that year the last of the Siberian Tigers had been killed. There wasn’t much and on earth left where there wasn’t a building. And, to make matters worse, some historical buildings had been knocked down, replaced by newer, shinier ones. Not much was left of man’s history, it was as if all evidence of past existence was being destroyed to make way for a grander future.
The future wasn’t as fancy as everyone made it out to be, there were hover boards and new electronic devices and futuristic buildings, but life was still the same and some people lived better off than others. He himself belonged to a rich family who owned a new hover car, a sleek and smart vehicle that could lift to a height of about five metres, thanks to special pads fixed onto the bottom of the engine. Because of this, the car had no need for wheels, so looked more like a fancy boat than anything else. The car had space enough for seven people, with
room for luggage in the back of the car and a TV fixed to the back of the seats. The car had cost £5,000,000, a small price for the Dingo family, who made their living working for a famous bank. Rex was still unable to see how his parents could make so much money just from taking care of people’s money. Another down side of the future was that there was never anything for the younger generations to do throughout the day. There were no swimming pools, no parks and no shops suitable for teenagers. There was the noticeable lack of such shops, especially downtown, where the huge buildings that made up most of the rest of the town had not yet been built.
Rex smiled at the memory of visiting the new town, with its buildings reaching up high into the sky, hover cars, custom built ones that could reach much higher heights than Rex’s, zoomed around the sky, and metal flashed in the sun. It really was the picture of progress, and Rex despised it, even though he had had a good time.
Rex was aware he would have to make the most of the open countryside, because he had heard of plans to make a new shopping centre not far from where he was positioned. Staring out into the fields, the youth spied the very top of the huge church that had stood its ground for hundreds of years. It was a church of immense size and many people attended services there. It was one of the biggest Catholic churches left in England, and Rex often found himself comparing it to the Natural History Museum. It consisted of many buildings, all old and historic in their design. All of the buildings that made the church
pointed up towards the sky like pointed teeth, and the feeling Rex felt when close up was exhilarating; looking up to see nothing but church, wondering what the world looked like up there. He guessed the people gathering around the main entrance looked nothing more than mere ants. The locals were upset to find that the church may have to be moved, piece by piece, in order for the new shopping centre to be built.
One of the priests inside the church, a young one known as Father Fynn Blador had rebelled against the idea using all of his force. He hadn’t been polite and quiet about it, though, because he had started full blown riots involving sometimes thousands of people. Rex had decided long ago that he liked the priest, and if it came to it, he would assist in the riots, even though his other had always forbidden him from visiting the town when the fear of a riot was present. Whenever he asked her why he couldn’t help, she would never reply, as if she knew too well what the answer was, but was reluctant to give it.
Father Fynn was like no priest he had ever heard about, and he was liked afar by many members of the public, and he had made himself well known to just about all of the police force officers.
Bringing his mind back to the present, Rex slowly made his way along the riverbank, knowing the gushing water would lead him home. His thoughts trailed off to the subject of the new shopping centre once again. Did he really not want one, a massive shop filled with toys, books and games? Would he really not want the answer to his bore-
dom problems? Would he prefer a barren landscape and an old church?
“Yes I would” Rex said to himself, running a hand through his thick black hair, which was still wet from his dip “that church was here first and I do quite like the look of it. It makes this horrid world a little bit more bearable”
Rex himself had never entered the church, but he had heard enough about it and he had always thought that if something claimed the ground first, it should not be moved.
He often used this quote when one of his brothers had the TV remote. He wouldn’t bother either of them until they had grown bored, left the remote on the sofa unattended, and then he would take over the TV.
Rex carried on walking, keeping his footfalls cautious and quiet as not to scare off any creatures dwelling within the field. With the wind blowing in his face and the beginnings of a light shower ready to refresh him, Rex sauntered along the river, tossing small pebbles he had picked up into the deep waters.
After about ten minutes of waking through woodland, Rex saw the top of his house between trees. When he returned to his house, more a mansion than a home, he was greeted by an excited scruffy mongrel dog. The dog ran up to him joyously and bounded atop him, causing owner and canine to fall onto the gravel driveway that led to the house.
“Hiya Captain, good to see you too” Rex laughed, trying to avoid Captain’s slobbering tongue. The pair rolled around in the dirt for a moment or two, Captain baring his teeth in
a playful manner and Rex gently batting the dog’s fluffy head with his hands. With a sigh of regret, Rex pushed
Captain aside and sprang up.
“Sorry, mate. I got school tomorrow, so I need to go to bed early. I promise I’ll take you on a long walk at the weekend”
Rex told the dog, and knelt down on the floor. He took Captains’ head in his hands and stroked the dog delicately behind the ears. Rex could see a glint of happiness in Captain’s big brown eyes, but he could also see a hint of fear, a hint Rex had been able to spot every time he looked at the dog, since his adoption.
It had been a Saturday afternoon when Jackson and Jess Dingo finally gave into their sons’ pleas for a dog. They decided it would be good for their three children to get some exercise and what better way to do so than to own a dog. They all went to a Wood green Animal Shelter down the road from their town and spent ages walking along the line of large cages, seeking out the perfect dog.
Frankie, Rex’s ten year old brother, had spotted an angry looking Rottweiler and Raptor, his thirteen year old brother, had managed to find a loopy Irish setter that tumbled around its cage like a drunken man. Like dog like owner, was how the saying went, and the two dogs selected by the brothers had resonated their personalities very well; Frankie acted like a bitter thug, never showing any emotion other than anger, and Raptor was a crazy as the dark ginger dog he found. Rex had become fed up of looking at the dogs other members of his family wanted he
went off by himself and found Captain. The poor mongrel was sitting in his cage with his back turned to everyone trying to look at him. Rex tried to coax him over with whistles and gentle praises, but nothing worked. Rex waited and waited until the white haired canine turned around and faced him after everyone else had gotten bored f the motionless dog. Rex hissed curses under his breath at them, wondering in anger why they had given up hope on such a scared dog so easily.
Captain paced tentatively forward and sniffed Rex with interest. Rex avoided eye contact as he had learned any type of dog thought of prolonged staring as a challenge. Carefully, as not to startle the dog, Rex pushed his hand through the wire mesh of the cage and flicked his fingers. Captain lifted a forepaw and placed it on Rex’s hand, and refused to let go. The dog stared into Rex’s eyes, and he could see the dog had been hurt and needed a tender loving family.
A bond had been made and Rex refused to go for any dog but his beloved Captain. Seeing the dog was placid and would need some help in regaining the confidence the young dog would have had as a carefree pup, which couldn’t have been too long ago, and they knew Rex would be the one to do so, Jackson and Jess agreed to take the dog for a walk to get used to Captain. When everything ran smoothly the dog was swiftly adopted. Rex could still
remember the journey home, and how Captain had sat on his lap and received lots of fuss and stroking from Frankie
and Raptor. Rex knew he had made a brilliant decision in
directing his siblings attention to Captain, he had never
seen Frankie quite so taken to any other animal. But at the
time Captain had been scarcely older than a pup, and he had grown somewhat since then; Frankie had lost all interest.
“Why did you go for a scared dog?” Frankie had asked.
“Because everyone, even a dog as terrified as this, should be given a chance” Rex replied. Frankie had teased Rex on his choice of words, saying his older brother was too kind and sounded like a wise old man. Rex had ignored him, knowing there was truth to his words, and that Captain could easily be made into a fun loving hound with lots of encouragement and praise.
Although the pain was still there, Rex had made sure he prevented it as much as possible. Even now, as he walked
Capitan back up the long driveway to their house, Rex knew his dog’s broken soul was healing, and that he had kept his promise to help the dog well. He still heard Captain whimper in his sleep every now and again, but as soon as Rex placed a caring hand on the trembling dog’s side, the whining stopped.
“If I ever found out who did this to you, they would be dead before they can say sorry” Rex hissed under his breath.
When dog and master reached the front door they found, as usual, that Raptor was watching television and that Frankie was talking to some friends on facebook. Rex cursed the fact he had two of the laziest brothers of all time, and was more than happy to be going to school the
following day after a boring weekend. What was more, summer was fast approaching, and Rex would be able to walk Captain for miles across the countryside, away from the two couch potatoes that sat before them.
“Look at you two, sitting on your backsides all day. You should be enjoying the countryside while it lasts. Bodmin Moor and the fields near the church are the only main open areas left in Cornwall” Rex uttered.
“What is it with you and mother nature?” Frankie muttered as he looked up briefly from typing. Raptor didn’t look away from the TV screen at all.
“Well all I can say is I’m glad school is back on and that the next time I go out, poor Captain will be coming with me.
Being cooped up here with you two is not a nice idea” Rex seethed, his anger almost getting the better of him. If there was one thing the kind-hearted Rex hated the most, it was his family’s ignorance to each other.
Upon hearing his name, Captain wagged his bushy tail with delight and the anger drained from Rex’s face. Sometimes Rex could hardly believe he was even remotely related to the duo on the sofa. They didn’t even particularly share his physical features.
Whereas Rex had a handsome face, with a well set nose and chin, and black hair that looked good spiked or neat,
Raptor possessed a nose too big for his face and a pointed chin. His black hair was scruffy at all hours of the day and he was quite agile and skinny, whilst Rex was lean and well muscled from all of his exercise. Frankie, however had longer brown hair than both Rex and Raptor put together,
and he always had it styled in a trademark ‘hedgehog’.
All three of them had piercing blue eyes, but Rex looked more like his mother than his father. Raptor was almost like a mini Jackson and Frankie was a mix between his parents. Rex was almost a year older than Raptor, but they were still in the same class at school.
Rex always boasted a lot of girls in his school fancied him, and they did, but he liked to think he had reserved himself for the one girl he thought was decent; Pebbles. Also, he had a lot of friends and, unlike some of the other more ‘in people’ he was still able to help and befriend other children.
“School is a drag” Raptor groaned from his corner of the sofa, his gaze fixed on the TV screen.
“No its not, you need to enjoy it, make friends and learn” Rex replied, as he stroked Captain’s head “although that last part may be a bit hard for you, seeing as you have the attention span of a flea”
Frankie burst into a fit of giggles and put his laptop to one side. Still in hysterics, Frankie turned to Rex and said, “Good one, I’ve spent ages trying to think of a way to insult him all day”.
Rex turned to Frankie and, seeing an opportunity to start an argument, took it.
“It’ll take you another year to come up with a decent insult, you thicko” Rex laughed. Although it was a cruel gesture and an unprovoked one, Rex felt it necessary to insult his younger brother. Frankie glared at him evilly for a second or two, but dropped his gaze when Rex returned it
with equal ferocity.
“Where are mum and dad?” Rex said, directing the question towards Raptor.
“Upstairs, watching TV” Raptor murmured, never taking his concentration away from the screen
It wasn’t only Raptor and Frankie that made Rex angry, but his parents never seemed to spend time with their children. Rex could not think of one occasion where they had been together as a family. They even ate dinner in separate rooms.
Then Jess would complain about the lack of family time.
It was for exactly that reason that Rex would go out on midnight walks and early dips in the river; because he couldn’t stand his broken family. It was nearly as shattered as Captain’s soul had been when they had first met him.
Rex sat down on the sofa next to Raptor and, after swiftly grabbing the controller from his brother’s lap, he changed the channel.
“I was watching that” Raptor moaned, mostly to himself.
“The news is on, I wanna see if the plans for that shopping centre have gone ahead” Rex said. After sitting through the weather forecast for the next week which was, as always, expected to be rain, and listening to some boring stories about politics, the news Rex had been waited for came on.
Plans for the new shopping centre have been postponed for another month after a riot started just outside the town a female reported shouted over the cries of the dying riot the riot was formed once again by Father Fynn Blador, a
priest at the St. Mary’s Catholic church, which will have to
be moved or destroyed as soon as building starts. The riot contained over three thousand people from this town and from neighbouring towns. Not until armed police were called did the crowd finally subside. Father Fynn was taken into police custody but later realised after not charges were pressed.
“Good on you, Fynn!” Rex shouted happily.
“That priest is stopping the development of a brilliant new shopping centre, one with books and toys and lots of play station games” Raptor countered.
“Well he, unlike you, gets out and does things. If something isn’t right, he deals with them. That is the sort of man I would like to meet” Rex replied, joyful for the delays.
“Yeah that, and the fact he’s all wise and nice. You two would make the perfect friends. Why don’t you become a priest, Rex? Channel all of that energy into causing riots. Father Rex Dingo, how does that sound?” Frankie jeered.
Rex handed the controller back to Raptor, sat up and left.
He climbed up the spiral staircase with Captain hot on his heels and, passing his parents bedroom without so much as a “hello”, went straight down the corridor into his room.
Captain followed and jumped onto Rex’s double bed without hesitation. Rex’s room was one of the largest rooms in the house; it needed to be as it was also the room Captain slept in and he had quite a large bed and lots of toys to chew.
Also, Rex owned a large amount of books arranged neatly
on a pine bookshelf placed next to the window. The bookshelf itself took up most of the width of the wall. Rex’s double bed ,which took up another three quarters of the room left, was also connected to a little office area with a computer and a desk at the far corner of the room. Whatever space remained was used by a cabinet that contained all of Rex’s clothes and a flat screen TV equipped with DVD player fixed to his ceiling. The TV would slide out of its compartment in the ceiling and could either be watched when Rex was laying in bed as it was in the ceiling, or it could be arranged to any position. One of the many wonderful gadgets of the future. But Rex didn’t like the TV. He felt it made him a spoiled brat and that others out there living on the street deserved his stuff more than he did. That was why, he had decided, he would do a bit of charity work where he was older.
His body aching from the swim and, before that, a brisk jog around the countryside, Rex decided to have an early night to refresh himself for the morning and the first day of school. After climbing the up onto the soft mattress , Rex threw himself into the bed and assisted Captain in climbing up with him.
Rex settled down next to his dog, his mouth full of Captain’s white fur as the canine snuggled up next to him, but he didn’t mind and he fell asleep almost instantly.
Awoken from his deep slumber by the continuous ring of his alarm clock, Rex managed to manoeuvre his tired body into a sitting position. Captain was still lying next to him,
fast asleep, his chest rising and falling with a slow rhythm and his dream uninterrupted by nightmares.
“Someone slept well” Rex observed.
Carefully as he could, so not to wake up his snoozing dog, Rex lifted himself down from the bed and managed to slip on his school uniform. His uniform was a white polo shirt, a black jumper, a black blazer and black trousers, not exactly the most attractive uniform in the world, but still better than his first school uniform.
What is it with my school and black? Rex asked himself.
Upon finishing preparing himself, Rex spiked his scruffy hair into a style he thought presentable and slowly went downstairs.
Frankie and Raptor were at the dinner table eating breakfast and looking as miserable as ever when Rex entered the dining room.
“Hello happy people!” Rex greeted loudly. Frankie and Raptor ignored Rex’s presence and carried on shoving spoonfuls of cereal into their mouths.
“Hello Rex, nice sleep I presume?” Jess called from over the oven, all the way down the end of the long hallway
“The best” Rex replied “and what’s more I can’t wait for school. I and Pebbles have a lot of catching up to do”
Rex strolled down the dining room and accepted a plate of bacon from his mother. The bacon smelled delicious and Rex wolfed it down immediately.
“Hey!” Frankie yelled “how come Rex gets bacon and we get crappy cereal!?”
“Because Rex was up last night exercising, he needs more
energy. You two just sit there and stare at the TV” Jess answered. Rex looked at his mother in a new light, Frankie was dumbfounded.
“I’m glad someone had finally seen my point” Rex sneered, and shoved his plate in the sink “thanks mum”.
Relationships between the trio of brothers didn’t get any better during the journey to school. The whole time Rex stared out of the window, following the church as it slithered from view behind a long line of bushes, stretching out either side of the road. Rex would always look at the church on the way to school, because it was the most significant the tallest building around, and because the outside world was definitely more interesting than inside the car. Raptor, as he always did, texted random people on
his phone, the keys beeping whenever they were pressed, forming a pointless tune.
Frankie was flipping through his school diary, counting the homework’s he had forgotten.
Jess didn’t try to make the scene happy, and Rex was saddened by that. Surely a proper family would talk to one another, not sit around waiting for the destination to come into view. Rex had settled on the decision that he would never start family conversations, because surely that was the parents’ job.
When the school building did come into view, however, Rex was the only one that seemed brightened by it.
It was an old building, and typically Cornish in looks. It was made up of many small buildings, some with three storeys and many rooms. The rooms were always not very well
kept, but in a school it was the teachers that mattered, not the presentation of the room they were teaching in.
Although the building itself looked like an ugly scar on the countryside, Rex thought of it as the best place in the world, a place where he could play with friends, and not have to put up with his miserable family, and the sight of the red bricked building always made him happy.
Although Raptor was in the same class as he was, he never went around with Rex and his group of friends. Raptor had his own friends, as did Frankie. If you were to see the three brothers together in school (which would probably never happen), you would assumed they didn’t know each other, or were even enemies.
As far as his education went, Rex was a boffin. He wowed his teachers in every subject and always managed to bring home a good report, usually accompanied by a reward of some kind. What was better for Rex was that, as well as being clever, he had a lot of friends and never minded helping someone with their homework. Rex was living it large and had a perfect school life. Raptor, on the other hand, did not have it as good. Raptor wasn’t particularly stupid; he just failed to concentrate well in lessons. He failed to achieve passable grades and was bullied for it. On occasions, Rex and his gang would come to Raptor’s rescue, every time outnumbering the bullies, but Raptor refused to join his older brother.
Frankie didn’t care about friends at all. Anyone who had shown him the slight bit of friendliness would be growled at, and sympathy was even more of a crime in Frankie’s
mind. The ten year old liked to admit he had friends, but it was clear from the fact he was never seen with anyone that he didn’t.
“There are a lot of girls who think you’re boyfriend material” Rex had once said “but whenever they try to approach you, you shout at them. Frankie, man, you could have girls hanging from your arms if you were to adopt the right attitude”.
But Frankie never listened, and that was what wound Rex up the most. He was trying to help his siblings and they ignored every word he said, sometimes even shouted at him.
Rex spotted Pebbles standing amongst the stampede of hustling children, and he grinned. She was standing tall and proud, her long brown hair blowing gently in the wind.
Her face was the picture of health and she possessed a quite well muscled frame. Pebbles had the nicest personality of anyone Rex had ever met. On top of being kind and caring, she was funny to be with and humoured everyone. She loved adventure and the extreme sports Rex did and was always climbing trees with him. In other words, she was the perfect match for him. But both of them had sworn to stay as best friends for as long as they could; they didn’t want to ruin their wonderful connection by going out, not yet anyway.
Pebbles had been a family friend for her whole life. Rex and Pebbles had known each other from the day they were born and neither had upset the other in any way. Pebbles was the true leader of the duo and, as much as Rex liked to
argue with the fact, his gang.
Opening the door of the car hastily, Rex swung his bag onto his shoulder and ran over to Pebbles, muttering a quick goodbye to his mother. Pebbles and Rex high-fived cheerily and jogged into the school building.
The first lesson was science, a subject Rex didn’t mind, and sometimes enjoyed. Taking his place on the bench next to Pebbles, he pulled out his text book and listened to the teacher.
“Now, last lesson we were looking at the similarities and differences between mammals and reptiles, were we not?” the teacher, Mr Smith, asked the class.
The lesson went like a blur, and Rex soon found himself staring at the clock on the wall above the teachers head, waiting for the bell to ring and the next lesson to start.
“Before you go, I need to set the homework” the teacher implied, and the whole class groaned.
“For next lesson, I want each of you to have taken a picture of an animal, preferably a mammal. But, it can’t be a pet or domestic animal”.
“What about zoo animals?” someone from the back of the room asked.
The teacher replied quickly, not wanting to hold up the lesson any longer. “Zoo animals are acceptable”.
Easy homework, Rex thought to himself, not knowing it would be the homework that changed his life, forever.
Rex, Pebbles and Ben, Rex’s second best friend, were
walking along the road that ran aside Bodmin Moor, as they usually did after school. Ben was a health freak like Rex was, and was always out walking. He had a similar build to Pebbles, short, pure white hair and a love for trouble. Rex usually found himself wondering how he had come across two people such as Ben and Pebbles that were so similar to him. They could have easily been triplets, separated at a young age and reunited once more. Rex wished that were true.
“They reckon there’s a beast out there” Ben told Rex, as he stared across the vast fields of Bodmin Moor.
“I heard, I do live literally next to the moor, Ben, I hear the gossip and the beast” Rex boasted.
“You’ve heard it!?” Ben gasped, and Pebbles laughed.
“Yeah, I have. It sounds more like a big dog than a puma or a cougar or whatever they think it is” Rex explained. Ben still wore the look of shock on his face, and Pebbles couldn’t help but giggle at Ben’s gullibility.
“Seriously, Pebbles” Rex said, turning on her.
“If there really is something there, I would bet all the money in my bank that this guy could get a picture of it” Ben sneered, pointing at Rex. Rex shifted his green rucksack onto is back nervously.
“Nah, I gotta fox in my garden, it keeps bringing rabbit parts in and hiding them. I think I’ll catch a shot of that” Rex muttered.
“Just imagine all of our classmates brining in a photo of a tame lion snoozing in its cage for the homework, then you stroll in with a picture of the Beast of Bodmin Moor” Ben
smiled, the idea amusing him “you could even give it to a newspaper or something, get some quick money”.
Rex considered the idea for a second. He saw pebbles shaking her head slowly, seriously, and knew she had no faith in him getting the snap.
“I’ll do it” Rex decided.
“Great, come by tomorrow and I’ll bring some of the others” Ben jeered. Pebbles looked horrified at the suggestion.
“Ben this isn’t a cute little kitty on the moors, this thing slaughters sheep and I’m pretty sure it will do the same to Rex if he was to disturb it”.
“You watch too many horror movies, Pebs” Rex accused, growing in confidence.
“I’m coming with you though, that way if we are attacked at least you have someone to protect you” Pebbles ordered. Rex felt better by the company of Pebbles, and his confidence grew even more.
“Tomorrow, here at half three, after school” Ben declared.
“You got it” Rex whispered with determination.