One Thursday night, George came home from work to his family. Nobody heard him coming through the door as everyone was asleep. They were a poor family and they had a holiday only once every decade.
"Huh," George sighed. From the corner of his eye he saw a slice of cake left over from dinner. He licked his lips and crept around the couch and into the kitchen. He laid his dirty hands on the chocolate cake, but speedily turned around to check for witnesses, then stuffed his face. After he ate he quickly grabbed a face cloth and wiped his mouth, then snuck to bed.
The following morning, the family got up for breakfast. "Auuuh!" Josh yawned as he got his cereal.
"Have you done your homework, Toby?" asked their mother Helen.
"Yeah, it's due today." Toby replied.
"I have the same homework too," said Anna, the middle child.
"NEED BREAKFAST!!!" their father, George, shouted. "I'M LATE FOR WORK!"
The broken toaster popped out some toast which landed straight into his mouth, then he was off.
"Mummy, why is Daddy running?" the youngest of the family, Bruce, asked.
"Daddy needs to go to work, honey." Helen replied. "Oo! We gotta go too! Just looked at the time - lets go kids!"
George came home early that day, unemployed.
"Why are you home early?" asked Helen.
"What ?!!" Helen screamed. "Why, how, who?"
"Today, there was a big box of money left at the office. Everyone would get a bonus. But after we came back from lunch break, it was gone. Then Mick lied about me, saying I gave it to pirates, and got me fired." George said. "I think he's bonkers, but in the meantime I'll start looking for a new job."
He picked up a newspaper and started reading the Jobs section.
"That's strange," Helen said, pointing at a picture in the middle of the jobs section. "'Win a two day cruise on Goldline Cruises' -- what would a holiday advertisement be doing in the middle of a Job section?" she said.
"I don't know, but we do know that we can't afford that," said George. He read all day through all the papers they had kept, but couldn't find a job.
At nearly midnight, the three siblings came out and lay down on the grass under the stars.
"Why are we so poor?" Anna said.
"Don't worry, Anna. Maybe someday we won't be poor." Toby replied.
Then, suddenly, a shooting star flew past.
"Make a wish!" said Bruce excitedly. "Then money will appear in the garden tomorrow!"
They all thought, and made wishes which were all the same, then they went to bed.
The following morning they raced downstairs, then out to the garden, but found only disappointment -- There was no money. They were so sad they didn't say a word. They just hung their heads down and had breakfast. But before they got to their cereal, opportunity knocked at the door. George opened the door.
"Hello, my name is Gabe and you've won a private trip on Goldline Cruises."
George’s eyebrows shot up and then he asked as calmly as he could "Are you sure?"
"Yes, it says right here that you and your family have won a trip on it."
"There must be some mistake ..... !"
"There is no mistake, Mr. Kelvin. Here are the details. As it says, I will be your tour guide on the cruise."
"This won't cost me anything will it?"
"Not at all," said Gabe, "I'll see you on the ship." The door slammed shut.
"Uhh, Helen?" George said. "We've won a trip on Goldline Cruises which is completely free."
"What? We couldn't have."
"I know, but it says specifically on this document that we won, so we have to go."
"Well, I'd better go ring up the school and tell them the kids can't go tomorrow," said their mother.
On the ship, the family was swimming in the pool after the tour had finished.
"Guys, we need to get dinner soon." Helen said. "So, I think we should go now."
When they got to their table, there were no guests at all there. They didn't think it would be this private.
After dinner, Gabe gave them a key.
"What's this?" Toby asked.
"That doesn't matter right now. Just keep hold of it and don't give it to anybody else, whatever they say," said Gabe
They went back to their room and fell fast asleep.
Half-way through the night, the cruise liner was hit by another ship.
"What the heck was that?!" said the Chief Officer.
"It appears we're being boarded," replied the Captain.
Then they got a live message from the ship : "Everybody on the ship, prepare to be boarded," the voice said. "Nobody try anything clever, if you know what's good for you."
The family heard that and got up immediately, ran to Gabe’s quarters, but found he was not there. In fact, he wasn't even on the ship anymore. He had vanished.
All the staff and crew used up all the lifeboats, so the Kelvin family was forced to board the other ship.To Be Continued….