James And The Giant Peach

written by Sona

James' parents died and he was adopted by his gruesome aunts. How does he escape?

Last Updated






Chapter Fourteen

Chapter 14
‘We’re off!’ someone was shouting. ‘We’re off at last!’
James woke up with a jump and looked about him. The creatures were all out of their hammocks and moving excitedly around the room. Suddenly, the floor gave a great heave, as though an earthquake were taking place.
‘Here we go!’ shouted the Old-Green-Grasshopper, hopping up and down with excitement. ‘Hold on tight!’
‘What’s happening?’ cried James, leaping out of his hammock. ‘What’s going on?’
The Ladybird, who was obviously a kind and gentle creature, came over and stood beside him. ‘In case you don’t know it,’ she said, ‘we are about to depart for ever from the top of this ghastly hill that we‘ve all been living on for so long. We are about to roll away inside this great big beautiful peach to a land of… of… of… to a land of–’
‘Of what?’ asked James.
‘Never you mind,’ said the Ladybird. ‘But nothing could be worse than this desolate hilltop and those two repulsive aunts of yours –’
‘Hear, hear!’ they all shouted. ‘Hear, hear!’
‘You may not have noticed it,’ the Ladybird went on, ‘but the whole garden, even before it reaches the steep edge of the hill, happens to be on a steep slope. And therefore the only thing that has been stopping this peach from rolling away right from the beginning is the thick stem attaching it to the tree. Break the stem, and off we go.’
‘Watch it!’ cried Miss Spider, as the room gave another violent lurch. ‘Here we go!’
‘Not quite! Not quite!’
‘At this moment,’ continued the Ladybird, ‘our Centipede, who has a pair of jaws as sharp as razors, is up there on top of the peach nibbling away at that stem. In fact, he must be nearly through it, as you can tell from the way we’re lurching about. Would you like me to take you under my wing so that you won’t fall over when we start rolling?’
‘That’s very kind of you,’ said James, ‘but I think I’ll be all right.’

Just then, the Centipede stuck his grinning face through a hole in the ceiling and shouted, ‘I‘ve done it! We’re off!’
‘We’re off!’ the others cried. ‘We’re off!’
‘The journey begins!’ shouted the Centipede.
‘And who knows where it will end,’ muttered the Earthworm, ‘if you have anything to do with it. It can only mean trouble.’
‘Nonsense,’ said the Ladybird. ‘We are now about to visit the most marvellous places and see the most wonderful things! Isn’t that so, Centipede?’
‘There is no knowing what we shall see!’ cried the Centipede.
‘We may see a Creature with forty-nine heads
Who lives in the desolate snow,
And whenever he catches a cold (which he dreads)
He has forty-nine noses to blow.
‘We may see the venomous Pink-Spotted Scrunch
Who can chew up a man with one bite.
It likes to eat five of them roasted for lunch
And eighteen for its supper at night.
‘We may see a Dragon, and nobody knows
That we won’t see a Unicorn there.
We may see a terrible Monster with toes
Growing out of the tufts of his hair.
‘We may see the sweet little Biddy-Bright Hen
So playful, so kind and well-bred;
And such beautiful eggs! You just boil them and then
They explode and they blow off your head.
‘A Gnu and a Gnocerous surely you’ll see
And that gnormous and gnorrible Gnat
Whose sting when it stings you goes in at the knee
And comes out through the top of your hat.
‘We may even get lost and be frozen by frost.
We may die in an earthquake or tremor.
Or nastier still, we may even be tossed
On the horns of a furious Dilemma.
‘But who cares! Let us go from this horrible hill!
Let us roll! Let us bowl! Let us plunge!
Let’s go rolling and bowling and spinning until
We’re away from old Spiker and Sponge!’
One second later… slowly, insidiously, oh most gently, the great peach started to lean forward and steal into motion. The whole room began to tilt over and all the furniture went sliding across the floor, and crashed against the far wall. So did James and the Ladybird and the Old-Green-Grasshopper and Miss Spider and the Earthworm, and also the Centipede, who had just come slithering quickly down the wall.
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