(Missed a Chapter? Click on ‘Elf On The Shelf’ on the top menu to find your place and catch up!)
“Mummy, I need it. Today’s our last recorder club before the performance and I need to show that I did all that practising so I can do the solo part. I have to have it.”
“Lola, we need to leave, you’re going to be late for school. They’ll have one you can borrow, I’m sure.” Mum battled Lola’s arms into her coat.
“It won’t be the same. I need mine! James did it. He was horrible to me when I played for him, he’s hidden it. Ask him.”
James sat down on the stairs to tie his shoelaces. “I didn’t touch your stupid recorder. It wouldn’t be worth the hassle even if it was quieter.”
“HE DID IT!” Lola burst into furious tears and launched herself at James, jolting to a sudden halt when Mum caught her bag straps.
“Even if he did, it’s too late to get it now. Out the door. Go on, out!” She hurried Lola onto the doorstep, turning to James as she did so. “I want it back in her room by the time she’s home from club.”
“I didn’t…” The door slammed. “But I’m beginning to wish I did.”
“IT’S ALL BECAUSE JAMES STOLE MY RECORDER. MADDY’S RUBBISH.”
Mum looked exhaustedly at James as she followed a raging Lola through the door. “Please tell me you put it back in her bedroom.”
“I didn’t, because I don’t know where it is,” said James, angrily. “And if I did know where it was, I wouldn’t be stupid enough to give it back until after Christmas either because then I wouldn’t have to listen to her practice all the time. It doesn’t even sound like anything. The concert’s going to be lame.”
“ONLY BECAUSE MADDY IS DOING THE SOLO! IT’D BE AMAZING IF YOU HADN’T STOLEN MY RECORDER!” Lola ran at him again, this time avoiding Mum’s grasp and barrelling into him at full speed.
“OW!” James shoved her back, not trying to catch her as she stumbled backwards over the coffee table and fell backwards.
“She bit me!”
“I don’t care. You are twice her size, you don’t just shove her around. Bedroom. Now.”
“Mum! She BIT me! I’m bleeding!”
James flew out of the room, slamming the door so hard behind him that the pictures on the wall rattled. He looked at his arm where Lola had sunk her teeth in, the little brat. Why was he always the one to blame? He hadn’t touched her bloody recorder and suddenly everything in the world was all his fault.
The piercing wail from Lola’s room was loud enough for James to hear over his headphones and alarming enough for even him to wonder if she was okay. He didn’t have time to get up from his desk however, before his bedroom door flew open with enough force to bounce off the wall.
“James Alexander Boothe, you are grounded until the Christmas holidays. No arguments. You have more than crossed the line this time. I’m disgusted with your behaviour. Finish your homework then clean the bathroom before bed.”
“Don’t play stupid, James. You can’t wriggle out of this one.” Mum crossed the room and dropped something on his desk.
It took a moment for James to take it in. He stared, dumbstruck. Lola’s beloved lime green recorder was snapped clean in two, the stupid elf looked smug again and there was another note in the usual neat block capitals:
LET’S SEE YOU FIX THIS ONE THEN.