Sion had been walking for a while, taking in this secret place. There was nobody here but it was so beautiful, so full of birdsong. He’d seen a little stream running alongside the path to his left. He’d listened to the sounds of things scuttling in the undergrowth, and seen loads of paths that he might have taken, but something had drawn him onto here. (a few other things he might have seen and explored?)
The pond. It was so beautiful. So green. He decided to have a rest. He sat down on one of the benches and looked about him. It seemed incredible to him that he could have found somewhere so secret, so amazing, and that nobody else knew about it. It was all his. Perhaps staying with Aunt Maud for a bit wouldn’t be too bad after all, if he had a whole secret garden to play in, and a pond to boot. Maybe he’d look for frogs in it. There must be some.
He was about to go down on his hands and knees to have a look when –
That’s when he heard the voice.
Sion’s heart leapt into his throat. He spun around. There, sat on the rocks by side of the pond, was a boy. A boy of about the same age as him.
“You’re trespassing,” said the boy.
“Trespassing. It means being somewhere that you shouldn’t be.”
“I’m sorry,” said Sion, feeling stupid.
“It’s quite all right,” said the boy. He had an odd way of speaking. Sort of old-fashioned. He looked a bit old-fashioned too, Sion thought. He was wearing a pair of shorts and long socks pulled up to his knees. He had a flat cap on his head, and around his neck he had on a red scarf, even though it was a warm day. He got up and came to sit by Sion. “It’s nice to have someone here. Normally it’s just me. Gets a bit lonely. I’m Cecil, by the way. Cecil Prosser.”
“I’m Sion,” said Sion.
“The Dingle’s mine,” said Cecil. “My dad made it all for me. So it’s special. And I know all of its secrets. Do you want to explore with me?”
It was true, Sion realised after a bit. Cecil really did know all of the Dingle’s secrets. He knew which trees had birds nesting in them. He knew where there were secret paths to be found winding through the bushes of rhododendrons. He showed Sion the railway cutting and the secret railway station just for the Dingle.
Why don’t you run along with them now? See if you can find any of those things for yourself?
Keep going up the path until you come to a wooden walkway.