Gemma had heard the story before, but she couldn't quite believe it.
A house which was there one minute and gone the next. It had been seen many times, outside the town, but no one ever seemed sure exactly where they had seen it. There had been several sightings in recent months, but it was never seen by the same person twice, so the accounts varied wildly.
It was a very old house, that they all agreed, half-covered by ivy with two chimneys and a big green dome on the top. And it was always half-hidden by mist or trees. But, after that, each tale differed. Its size varied from a cottage to a mansion. And it never seemed to be in the same spot twice. It seemed that no one ever got close enough to get a proper look before it disappeared again.
It was only the second day of her summer holiday and Gemma was already bored. She had been sent to stay with her Aunt May in Devon while her parents went on another dig – this time they had gone to Keros, a remote Greek island. She had been given the choice to stay in England with Aunt May or follow them to Greece. She had chosen the former. Although Greece was sunny, it would be no fun sitting around a dusty site watching people dig up broken pieces of pottery. Why couldn’t she have a normal family who went on normal holidays like the rest of her friends?
Luckily, she liked Aunt May who was sweet and scatty and let Gemma do more or less whatever she wanted, as long as she didn’t make too much noise and kept her company at dinner. Aunt May spent most of her time in a large shed which she called her ‘studio’. She made what she called ‘a moderate living’ out of painting members of the well-heeled families of the area.
Gemma realised she would be left mostly to her own devices. She wished she could have had her best friend Izzy to stay, but she was at her family’s villa in Spain for three weeks and had some two-week Duke of Edinburgh thing lined up for when she got back. She would miss her. The coming weeks stretched in front of her like an endless road. How was she going to amuse herself? It was a good job she’d brought her Smartphone, MP3 player and Kindle - Aunt May didn’t believe in ‘new-fangled gadgets’ and so only had one small TV in the entire house. On arrival, Gemma had been shocked to find she didn’t even have a games console or a PC!
She thought again about Aunt May’s tall tale of the ‘Invisible House’, which she’d told to Gemma for the second time over dinner on the day she’d arrived. Perhaps that was it? It might be a load of rubbish, but it would give her something to do. She would look for this mysterious house and, if she found it, she would take a picture with her phone and post it on her blog. Maybe she could even get it published in the local paper? It would make a good story – a bit like the Loch Ness monster or something. She was sure it didn’t exist, but it was an excuse to explore beyond the town.
Gemma was sure Aunt May would only worry if she wasn’t at dinner by seven, so she would have the best part of each day to explore the town’s boundary on her aunt’s rusty old bike. If she hadn’t seen anything remotely like this mysterious house by the end of the week she would just write it off and think of something else to do.