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“Do Hamsters Scream with Eclectic Squeaks?” (A Kooloo the Hamster Adventure)

written by C.G.Allan with character pictures from BBC RaW (2008) Copyright © 2011 C.G.Allan All rights reserved worldwide The moral rights of the author has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Cover design by Kit Carden All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without permission from the author. No part of this e-story may be copied or sold. NB the art of "Max & Lara's Amazing Travelling Space Circus" is used here for non-profit and the copyright of which remains with the BBC. 1

Kooloo the space hamster was a very nervous animal. And it was as much a surprise to Kooloo himself as it was to anyone else that he found himself living in the Amazing Travelling Space Circus, but he was the pet of two special children called Max and Lara, and they often needed his help, so he knew he had to stay there. Even with this in his furry little mind, it was still a big surprise to Kooloo one day when Max came to him and said with a smile, “Kooloo we need your help tomorrow because Guv the ringmaster and Mrs Spectacles are celebrating their anniversary with a one-in-a-millennia wormhole trip back to Saturn to see its rings as they get spruced up by the Interplanetary Cleaning Guild.” Kooloo just blinked and remained silent. Lara came up behind Max and added, “That’s right, we’re short of an announcer for the Big Top tomorrow when we land on Nervosa-5.” Kooloo began to rattle on a small keypad attached to the wrist of the protective spacesuit he wore and words began to appear on his helmet’s visor - ‘But I only have a squeaky voice!’ “Oh, don’t be anxious about it, you’ll do just fine,” smiled Lara. 2

“Besides, the Nervosians are a see-through species so you won’t really know they’re there anyway.” “Now, Kooloo…” smirked Max as he patted the hamster on the shoulder. “Don’t go trying to get out of this by jumping into one of the circus’s emergency escape pods. We need all the help we can get tomorrow and you’ll do just fine, OK?” What else could Kooloo do but to say he would help? But even after he took the bold step of accepting the task, for the rest of the day he paced around and around watching the tall green and red stripes of the Big Top tent, dreading the coming morning. By the evening his stomach gurgled with nerves, his legs were tired from all the walking back and forth, and his fur stuck up as he shivered with worry. Usually when Kooloo was anxious about something he’d comfort himself with a biscuit or two from Mrs Spectacles’s special hamster biscuit recipe, but since she was away on holiday and wasn’t there to make him any, Kooloo decided to go and find her secret store of biscuits for himself. He scurried into the kitchen tent and excitedly dived into the biscuit barrel. “Now, I’ll only have the one…” Kooloo quietly told himself as he crunched into a scrumptious biscuit and began to forget all 3

about the challenge of the following day. Soon, after his tenth hamster biscuit, Kooloo felt exhausted and everything began to fade….. “Crumbs!” Kooloo gasped, realising he’d finished the whole barrel. “He pulled himself out of it and dropped onto the floor feeling stuffed but still strangely hungry. “Crumbs?” he said again looking at a trail of biscuit crumbs which led out of the kitchen tent. He followed it hoping it might lead to more hamster biscuits. It led him across the main meeting square of the Amazing Travelling Space Circus and… Kooloo froze. A strange mix of opposing feelings had hit him. His stomach was still rumbling with hunger for more biscuits but he could now see that the trail of crumbs led straight into the Big Top. The orange and blue stripes of the huge tent somehow became menacing to him and he felt anxious once more. “I’ll just sneak in…” whispered Kooloo softly. “They won’t see me if I’m as quiet as I usually am. Then I’ll grab the biscuits and zoom out with the jetpack attached to my space suit.” 4

So with all of his courage Kooloo tiptoed towards the Big Top, opening his visor and sniffing the air, as well as twitching his ears along the way in case someone approached. Even though he promised Max and Lara he would help them, he now realised his worst nightmare was to get trapped in the Big Top where he would have to announce the acts to a huge crowd with his little squeaky voice. When he got to the entrance of the Big Top he peered into the tent but everything was in darkness so he leapt excitedly inside thinking nobody would be around. Kooloo landed with a bump onto something hard and cold. It felt like metal. There was a sudden clanking and then a hooter blared followed by a computerised voice which said, “Launch sequence has begun. Prepare for take-off. Emergency protocols initiated!” Kooloo flipped on a torchlight which was attached to the keypad on his spacesuit’s wrist and saw that he had somehow jumped right into one of the circus’s escape pods. Outside the small window of the craft he could see the large canvas of the tent falling down all around the pod. How foolish could he have been to have thought this was the Big Top? The stripes on that tent were red and green, not blue and orange. 5

Now Kooloo really knew what panic felt like. This wasn’t just some vague anxiety of a misfortune that might befall him if he tried to announce the acts in the Big Top with his squeaky voice, this was a real disaster happening right now and he didn’t have the first idea about how to stop it. The pod began to lift off the ground and everything shook as the rocket boosters ignited. Kooloo frantically tried to remember what he had learned watching Max and Lara pilot their ship but the control panel of the escape pod looked very different and there were so many flashing lights that he simply didn’t know where to begin. Looking out of the pod window, Kooloo could see that his circus home was getting smaller and smaller. He suddenly realised that he might never again see Baked Bean the dragon blush or witness Tiny the Strongoid’s enormous feats of strength, or even laugh at Mr Scatterbrain’s antics with his jet-powered unicorn. Kooloo frowned miserably but then a determined look appeared on his face and he turned back to the control panel of the escape pod. He began to just push every button he could see and yanked every lever possible to try and make the pod return to the circus. 6

Just when he thought this idea wasn’t going to work, he slammed a big red button and there was a sudden jolt to the escape pod followed by the computer voice which boomed out once more, “Emergency Stop activated! Free fall descent beginning!” Kooloo’s eyes widened and he rushed to a seat to buckle himself in and prepare for a crash landing as the pod hurtled back down to the circus. “Crumbs!!!” he gasped, scrunching his eyes up as he waited for the impending bump to the ground….. “There you are…” said a familiar voice, but it wasn’t the computer from the escape pod speaking this time. Kooloo felt dizzy. He peered up to see both Max and Lara standing above him. He was still inside Mrs Spectacles’s biscuit barrel which had fallen onto the floor of the kitchen tent and now rolled about as Kooloo pulled himself out of it. “You must have fallen asleep here last night,” chuckled Lara, wiping crumbs from Kooloo’s space suit. “Too many biscuits before bedtime, eh?” 7

Kooloo nodded guiltily. “They could give you bad dreams if you’re not careful!” smiled Max. “Anyway, are you ready for our rehearsal in the Big Top for the show later?” Kooloo half-smiled, still in disbelief that his ride in the escape pod had only been a dream. “Now, don’t fret about your performance,” smiled Lara. “We’ll give you a microphone, you know?” As they left the kitchen tent Kooloo looked up into the stars and felt a sudden sense of relief that he was standing safely on the circus ship once more. His ambition was to be a space pilot one day but he now knew it could wait until he had the proper training for it. What he also now realised was that announcing the acts in the Big Top that day could never be as frightening as being lost in space in a malfunctioning escape pod. “Things never turn out as badly as you might fear, you know?” said Max, patting Kooloo on the back as they approached the Big Top. 8

“Crumbs,” Kooloo gulped. The small hamster still felt a little shaky but this time it was nervous anticipation rather than dread, and he began to smile. “Don’t worry,” chuckled Lara, lifting the entrance flap to the huge Big Top tent. “You will command the audience’s utmost attention, I’m sure.” “Do you really think so?” squeaked Kooloo, opening his visor, now feeling confident enough to speak rather than type on his wrist keypad. “Of course!” smiled Max. “Besides, your name spelled backwards is ‘Oo, look!’ after all!” And with that, they walked into the Big Top, welcomed by the rapturous applause of the other acts inside, happy to see that Kooloo had finally arrived... .. -. / ... .--. .- -.-. . / . ...- . .-. -.-- --- -. . / -.-. .- -. / .... . .- .-. / .- / .... .- -- ... - . .-. / ... -.-. .-. . .- --

Read more of C.G.Allan's adventure stories "in Amazing 3-D" by exploring the desktop of his writing homepage at: And catch C.G.Allan's breaking writing news by becoming a Follower of his Twitter page which can be found at: 9

This story was entered into the BBC RaW (Read and Write) "CARRY ON THE STORY" writing competition a few years ago. It didn't get selected for the final cut but I'm still fond of it. Because it was for screen and a young audience, different rules applied like having to be able to read it aloud in a short space of time. It was also a useful exercise crafting a story using characters I didn't create originally myself, which as an amateur writer I'm not used to doing. Another rule was to include at least one character from “Max and Lara's Amazing Travelling Space Circus� (I went for all of them!) I first heard of the contest when a mysterious text message arrived from a friend that simply said: "Do U kno the BBC R runnin a kids short story comp?" and it included a link to the RaW website... 10

I love writing science fiction style adventure tales and the backdrop of a “space circus” seemed to be the perfect universe to be able to tell a real-life human story within a sci-fi setting. As a writer I love the mysteries of life and a curious thing to me has always been: “How does the food we eat affect not only our waking hours but also our dreams?” I wanted to ponder in this story what might happen if Kooloo ate too close to bedtime (could an undigested piece of cheese or biscuit give him nightmares?) Added to this, I tend to use my own life experiences in my creative scribbles and one of my greatest fears growing up (I’m still not fully grown-up yet, by the way!) has been speaking in public, in front of large audiences, so when I came to sit down and write a tale with Kooloo and his gang of space circus friends, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to tell a story of one little hamster’s brave attempts at becoming a big top announcer... - C.G.Allan


"Do Hamsters Scream with Eclectic Squeaks?"  

One day on Max and Lara's Amazing Travelling Space Circus, Kooloo the hamster is given a very important task, but can he overcome his fears...

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