First published in 2018 in Great Britain by
Barrington Stoke Ltd
18 Walker Street, Edinburgh, EH3 7LP
This ebook edition first published in 2020
Text © 2018 Gill Lewis
The moral right of Gill Lewis to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in any part in any form without the written permission of the publisher
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available
from the British Library upon request
I was the first one to see the wolf.
Well, Connor saw it before me, but he only saw the back of its head.
Anyway, he doesn’t count because he’s my younger brother.
So I, Izzy Jones, was the first one to see the wolf.
I was the first one to look it in the eye.
But what was a wolf doing in an old empty power station in the middle of London?
It just shouldn’t have been there.
But then again, neither should we.
We wouldn’t have thought of going to the old gasworks if it weren’t for the Skull brothers, Luke and Scott. Luke’s in Year Ten and Scott’s in Year Seven, same as me.
I’ve known them forever.
At primary school, Luke was always in trouble, but Scott was OK back then. He always did eco-duty with me and helped refill the bird feeders. We spent break time drawing animals all over the playground with pavement chalks.
But Scott doesn’t talk to me any more.
Scott doesn’t talk to anyone any more.
He doesn’t come in to school much, and when he does he sticks with Luke.
Everyone says they’re trouble. I heard one teacher say they live with their nan because their mum can’t cope with them. Luke and Scott reckon they own everything round here. They say the skateboard park belongs to them. They’ve spray-painted graffiti skulls on the concrete. It’s not much of a skate park – just a double ramp next to the small kids’ play park – but it’s all we’ve got. We’re not allowed to skate or play ball games around our estate. It’s like fun is forbidden.
Luke said no one could use the skateboard park unless they could do a flat-ground ollie. That’s when you make your board do a jump from the ground into the air with you still on it.
Asha said we needed somewhere to learn our tricks. But Luke said girls couldn’t skate anyway.
Asha was really mad at that. She said there was no way those Skull brothers were going to tell us what to do. And that’s when we went to the old gasworks. We wanted to find somewhere to practise our skateboard moves. We wanted to show Luke and Scott that girls could skate better than them.
That’s why our story really begins before we found the wolf. It begins with us standing outside the fence around the broken-down gasworks as we looked for a way to get in.
It’s a hot July day.
The roads are busy with rush-hour traffic. The air is full of dust and car fumes. Drivers hoot and toot at each other, all keen to get home. No one seems to notice us standing outside the old gasworks. I can feel sweat trickle down my back as I tug at the wire fence.
Connor pulls me back and points at a sign that says Danger – Do Not Enter.
“We can’t go in there, Izzy,” Connor says. “Mum will kill us if she finds out.”
“Well, she’s not going to know and you’re not going to tell her,” I say. “She won’t be back from work until six, which is why we’re stuck with you.”
“I’m not going in there,” he says. He folds his arms and glares at me to show me he means it.
“Well, I can always take you home,” I say.
Connor looks like he might cry when I say that, and I feel bad. That was a mean thing to say. I know he doesn’t want to be stuck at home with Dad. Dad lost his job six months ago, and since then he has hardly gone out. He sits at home and snaps at everything Connor and I do. He used to take us to the cinema and the park, but he doesn’t any more.
Asha digs into her bag. “You can have my crisps,” she says to Connor, and she holds the crisp packet up where he can’t get it. She’s known him all his life, and sometimes I think she knows him better than I do.
Connor frowns. “Can I have all of it?” he asks.