Updated 09 July 2003, 13.53
Have you already finished OOTP? Well see what you think of this story written by budding children's author Louise Arnold.
She won BBC News Online's Are You the Next JK Rowling? competition.
This is the third part from her story The Invisible Friend - the remaining two parts will be published one a day, with the final instalment on Friday.
Missed the earlier instalments?
The Invisible Friend
Copyright Louise Arnold 2003
Continued from Tuesday....
Miranda and Mike, the Mischief Twins, were dressed from head to toe in outfits made entirely from odd socks, stitched together.
Miranda's hair was tied up in pigtails using different coloured football socks. They looked like normal children, if slightly pinker than usual, twice as dirty, and three times as mischievous.
Mike was deciding what socks they were going to steal and which to leave behind, and Miranda was trying on one of Tom's favourite T-shirts, while hiding a red sock inside a white pair of trousers.
They didn't notice Grey Arthur. But then not many people did. Not until he shouted.
"Put them back!" he yelled. Miranda and Mike froze, and turned to face him. Mike grinned, and Miranda smoothed out the creases in the T-shirt she was wearing.
We're just collecting a few socks. That's what we do. He's just a human, he won't miss them
"Grey Arthur! Good to see you! Well, most of you. Is it me, or are you getting less see-through?" asked Miranda, not waiting for an answer before carrying on. "What are you doing here, anyway?"
"Put them back! Put back Tom's clothes right now!" yelled Arthur, trying to snatch the socks back from them. Tom stirred in his sleep, but didn't wake, unable to hear any of the argument being waged over his dirty laundry.
"What? Why do you care, Arthur?" asked Mike. "We're just collecting a few socks. That's what we do. He's just a human, he won't miss them."
"He's my friend," shouted Arthur, as Miranda and Mike began filling their pockets with odd socks. "You can't steal his socks! Put his socks back right now!"
'I'm his invisible friend, if you must know!' retorted Grey Arthur, and for a moment Miranda and Mike said nothing
Mike and Miranda both stopped, and looked at Grey Arthur, who was quite annoyed by now.
"How is he your friend Arthur?" asked Miranda.
"He doesn't even know you exist," said Mike.
"I'm his invisible friend, if you must know!" retorted Grey Arthur, and for a moment Miranda and Mike said nothing. Just for a moment.
Then they burst out laughing so loudly, that if Tom had been able to hear them, he most definitely would have woken up.
'You don't get it, doofus!' gasped Miranda, in between fits of giggles
Mike laughed so hard that he forgot he was sitting on the floor, and he floated up in the air, and rolled across the ceiling, holding his sides. Miranda laughed until tears streamed down her face.
"What?" demanded Arthur. "What is it? Why are you laughing at me?"
"You don't get it, doofus!" gasped Miranda, in between fits of giggles. "Human children have invisible friends that only they can see. That's why they're called invisible!"
"You, Arthur, are a ghost," chuckled Mike, slowly floating down from the ceiling to face Arthur. "Humans can't see ghosts. He can't see you, he can't hear you, he doesn't know you're there.
"It doesn't make you his invisible friend Arthur, just because you're invisible. He doesn't know you're even there!"
Arthur stared at the floor, getting bluer by the second
Arthur suddenly felt very sad. His grey colour began to take on a hint of blue, and he sat down, cross legged, on the floor. Miranda and Mike stopped laughing, seeing how miserable they'd made him, and began to feel more than a little bit guilty.
"I'm sorry Arthur, we shouldn't have laughed like that." said Mike. "We didn't intend to be mean, its just, well, you got it so wrong." said Miranda.
Arthur stared at the floor, getting bluer by the second. They were right. His best friend didn't even know who he was. He'd been so stupid, so very stupid: a poor excuse for a ghost and a poor excuse for an Invisible Friend.
He'd been so excited to find someone who felt the same way he did that he forgot to think about all the other things that were important. Stupid see-through useless Grey Arthur.
Nobody would know they had ever been there, they were so careful to leave everything as they found it
Mike and Miranda looked awkwardly at the floor.
"Well, erm, we've got to be off now Arthur," said Mike. Arthur nodded feebly.
"Do you mind if we take a few socks?"
"Sure," said Arthur miserably. "What does it matter?"
Miranda and Mike took what socks they wanted, and carefully put all the rest back into the laundry basket. Nobody would know they had ever been there, they were so careful to leave everything as they found it, minus the stolen socks.
Mike took Tom's front door keys, and hid them underneath his shoes. Miranda left his glass of water right on the edge of his desk. She came up to Arthur just before she left, and pressed something into his hand.
With a grin, she jumped into the laundry basket and was gone
"To cheer you up," she said. In Arthur's hand was a white sock, with gold stitching, and a little emblem sown in the corner. He looked up, confused.
"She got it last week," said Mike. "We went on a trip to the palace. Hugest laundry baskets you've ever seen! That there is a royal sock, Arthur."
"A lucky sock." said Miranda. With a grin, she jumped into the laundry basket and was gone. Mike waved, and jumped in after her.
Arthur studied the sock. He turned a little less blue, but still felt down in the dumps. He put the sock in his pocket, and crawled under Tom's bed to go to sleep.
Tomorrow, he would think about whether or not they were really friends. Tomorrow, he would decide what to do.
Tonight, he just felt like curling up in a ball
Tonight, he just felt like curling up in a ball, underneath Tom's bed with the old comics and the soft toys that Tom insisted he was far too old for now (but that mum wasn't allowed to throw away).
Grey Arthur snuggled underneath the bed, and felt like maybe he could be a Sadness Summoner after all.
Missed the earlier instalments?
The next instalment from The Invisible Friend will be published on Thursday 10 July.