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Moonlight Lifter Pink

One wintery night, a figure disarms the gallery alarms with ease and breezes through the halls ready for her mischief to begin.

This is a keyword Storywalk created for the Museum of Somerset Taunton - Making Somerset gallery. The script was designed to develop creative writing through the gallery, using an inventive narrative to encourage investigation into the artefacts, space, display and design of the building as a public space.

The narrative is designed for Key Stage 2 and 3 – focusing predominantly on pupils in years 6 / 7 / 8
Make your way to the Making Somerset Gallery and then stand beneath the cauldrons. Your key word is the first word written on the large information panel.
 
Chapter one

The Moonlight Lifter

One slow afternoon when the gallery had emptied of the hustle of school children and young families, one old lady slowly sidled into the room. Her hands strained at three bulging shopping bags as she gazed around the gallery, the attendant glanced up from his paper for a moment to see her and then instantly forgot she was ever there. It was not that she was unusual, far from it, everything about her was normal, her body shape, coat, stance all so ordinary as to be of no interest to anyone.

This was exactly as The Collector had planned, for beneath that bland coat and wired glasses were beady eyes counting camera ports, window ledges, distances from cabinets to doorways, openings, latches and scuffed door patches. She had already spotted three laser triggers, two vault doors (portcullis style to block off any escape routes and trap an intruder) as well as nine pressure pads in the carpet and a dozen other minor locks and clasps. All of this detail was noted with barely a rustle of paper from the attendant, and she walked on down the gallery invisible, noting, watching, preparing.
Chapter two

Now if

Now if you were counting you would know that she stopped exactly six times in that room and each time she placed her heavy shopping bags on the carpet in front of a cabinet or plinth and took stock of the contents. In those few moments every detail was absorbed, from the size and materials of the artefacts, to the position of locks and the worn hinges on the cabinet doors. She saw the voids behind and beneath the plinths, the spaces above and below betraying cavities where tools could be stored for later use. All of this took just moments and she drank it all in.

The attendant dropped his newspaper on his chair with the headline – Curious Counterfeiter Collector Strikes Again – more thefts at prestigious museums across Europe. He then walked down the gallery leaving the old lady alone beneath the cauldrons, this was her moment and when he was out of sight she slipped her hand into one of her bags, grabbed what looked like a potato and threw it up into one of the cauldrons overhead. Deftly she did this again and again until within a minute her bag was quite empty and nearly every cauldron had a seed, each cauldron had something hiding inside.
Chapter three

Fast Forward

Now let's fast forward to the evening, where the moon is bright across the roofs of the town and a slight figure is slipping between shadows if made from nothing more than cloth and air.

The alarms of the gallery had been set hours before and the museum was as secure as a vault, but The Collector deactivated these in a minute, breezing through the space uninhibited making her way directly to the Making Somerset gallery.

She stopped beneath the cauldrons with a sly grin playing across her face, eager to get on with the mischievous task. Before dawn there would be many subtle changes to this museum and its contents, changes that perhaps only the discerning eye would spot.
Chapter four

The Servants are Summoned

‘Now' she said in a tight squeaky voice and tapped a cauldron high up in the ceiling with her extendable walking stick followed by ‘wakey wakey little ones'

Slowly, one at a time little heads emerged from the pots overhead, these were the homunculi. They looked like ugly dolls, perhaps no larger than a two-year-old child but as thin as sticks and with weird dead eyes like cold turnip mash. Their clothes and faces glistened a fungus shade of grey and they gathered around their creator, diligent servants ready and eager, awaiting her command.
D - Find the painting of John Locke with a crooked nose. The keyword required is written in the red plaque and the last name on the plaque
 
Chapter five

The Bishops Nose

The Collector removed her tiny wire framed glasses and held up a mirror to her face, she angled it to see her profile and then compared it to the painting on the wall. Her eyes flit between the two, focusing on her nose and the Bishops as her homunculi servants tripped each other up, flicked ears and generally misbehaved about the gallery.

At last she was satisfied and commanded her servants to get to work. Firstly, they hitched a large wire rope to a hook in the ceiling and then inflated what looked like a large rubber glove and tied it to the free end. The Collectors light touch on the glove sent a shudder through the material which then began to sag with new weight. Little by little the inflated glove grew heavier and heavier until finally it was as solid and as dense as an iron ball.

The workers then jumped on the new weight and began to swing it to and fro, first away from the painting then towards it again. Faster they swung in and out, plunging towards the painting then away again but gaining momentum each time.

Then finally with one huge push the servants lunge from the wrecking ball and it plunges through the picture and into the wall behind. Ball, glass, canvas and even parts of the ceiling explode with the impact and dust fills the room. The homunculi jumped about in glee at the mess they'd just made.

The canvas was wrecked, shards of glass littered the floor and the face of the Bishop was in tatters, a long gash started on his brow and then ran jagged across the face like a scar. Her servants nodded in excitement pleased with themselves, but there was no time for delay. The Collector leant in and ripped out the tattered nose section of the painting, tucking it in her pocket and slipping a calling card into the empty space before her servants began to repair the wreckage.

The business card said, perfectly hand scribed with Indian ink

'With compliments of The Collector'

Then the homunculi servants went about repairing the painting, glass and wall, their tiny hands picking up every smashed shard of wood and glass to slot back into the picture frame. When complete nobody would know the carnage The Collector and her homunculi servants had unleashed right here in the museum.
E - There is a big stone slab hoisted on the wall with a surface like smoothed butter. The keywords required is the second on the red information panel.
 
Chapter six

Bread and Butter

The little creatures are crawling all over the marble surface, tapping, knocking and sniffing about like cats, scratching at the crevices as if there was food inside which could be licked out with their tiny tongues. Then suddenly a high pitched scream was emitted by one of the creatures, the others skittered over quickly to see his hand was trapped up to the wrist inside the stone. He struggled frantically but to no avail as something suddenly yanked him inside and he was gone!

All the other creatures began to tremble looking at the crevice and the place where their colleague had been. They then turn to The Collector, terrified, their whole body postures trembling, knowing that they might be next.

‘Get back to it' The Collector shouted with a harsh voice and all the homunculi jump as if they'd been whipped with a belt.

They continue to search until finally a hairline crack is found and the homunculi work it into a hole. Bit by bit they drag the hole wider and wider, pulling it open, tearing and straining at the crease against its nature.

Torn and stretched like a terrible gash, further and further the servants strain not letting go for a second for fear of being trapped inside. Then their work approaches the edges of the slab and a curious thing happens, with their tiny grey fingers they fold the hole back upon itself and with a snap like a rubber glove the hole is turned inside out and pings off the wall!

The Collector admires the big space where the stone once stood and pops the little rubber plug into her pocket. But there is no time for delay as a second team of servants arrive with hods filled with stale bread rolls and buckets of greasy butter, it would appear they are going to build a new slab out buttered rolls!

They layer the rolls like bricks then smoothed them over with butter, The Collectors gentle finishing touches make the slab look and feel just like the original, then finally she tucks a calling card behind the newly formed stone which reads.

'With compliments of The Collector'
A - Go find the Stone heart box and type the last word from the red information plaque.
 
Chapter seven

The Stone Heart Box

The Collector stood before the cabinet looking into the glass, her feet were wide apart so she wasn't stood on a pressure pad and she had spotted a micro switch inside the cabinet which would trigger the moment the door opened. But she wasn't going to open the door, instead one of her homunculi helpers handed her what appeared to be a picture frame which she placed in front of the glass, it had suckers on the corners but no picture. Positioning this at just the right height opposite the artefact, she reached right through as if the glass from the cabinet had disappeared completely.

Gently her hand clasped the artefact, touching it for the first time was obviously a great thrill, soon this would be in her personal collection. Then gauging its weight tentatively, she carefully lifted it out through the picture frame portal and slipped it into a beautiful velvet pouch which was whisked away quietly by one of her helpers.

‘Ay' she squawked loudly, her voice directed at two of her servants mucking about on top of a cabinet close by and tinkering with fidget spinners.

She said politely, ‘The replica if you please.'

The two jumped down immediately with heads bowed, and brought the replica over. The stone heart box was identical to the original, the same material, colour, weight, even right down to the centuries old dust. For a fake it was very convincing.

Threading the fake heart box through the portal she then placed it on the display just as the original had been, slipped a business card beneath just out of sight and retreated.

The business card said, perfectly hand scribed with Indian ink,

'With compliments of The Collector'

Then with a sly grin she unclipped the portal device, examined the case for any marks, none, it was exactly as she found it, perfect.

She then turned, signalled to her servants and readied herself for the next task.
Go find the Jane Tynte portrait, what was the town she was born in written on the red plaque.
 
Chapter eight

Jane Tynte Portrait

The Collecter stood before the glass cabnit, gazing at the canvas portrait. Her eyes told the Homunculi that she wanted the portrait all to herself and will stop at nothing to have it in her collection.Her pale bony finger pointed at the portrait. Instantly ordering the Homunculi to take it for there master. She instructed them to replace the portrait with a replica and immediately they got to work.

They begin to climb the rope that is supporting the lights, swinging back and forth kicking there long thin feet into the glass causing it to shake. After about a minute of doing this, there was 40 or more Homunculis swinging to break the glass. Eventually the glass shattered and fell all over the floor creating a loud clash between the floor and glass.

The replica was just a painting on a piece of paper but to make it look 3D, the Homunculi put stacks of paper behind it to make it not only look 3D, but also like a canvas.They inserted the portrait back in the cabnit and picked up shards of glass. They stuck there chewed gum between the shards and pushed them together holding them together like glue. The green gum was strongly holding up the glass and eventually the glass was nearly finished.

'Wait' she called, she quickly inserted a hand written note into the portraits hand and spat out her gum to seal the last bit of glass together. The note read ' with compliments of the collector '. She laughed an evil laugh and walked over to the next item ...
Go find the John Locke portrait at the end of the gallery, your keyword is, the place he was born in.
 
Chapter nine

Portrait of John Locke

The intellectual Collector standing beside the trip wire, staring at the artifact. Making sure that she, or any of her Homunculi, didn't set off any of the alarms, they cautiously stepped over the wire. But instead of just picking up the painting, the Homunculi helpers blew a bubble of spit, surrounding the artifact, temporarily shrinking it. They reached over the wire, grabbing the (now pocket sized) artifact, then heading off to the printer.

Expanding the artifact once again, the Homunculi made a convincing replica , using the 3D printer. Casually, they strolled back to the gallery, ready to replace the artifact. Locking it into place, the Homunculi purposely slit a line through the painting, on the collar of his shirt. Sliding into the small slot, the collector slid a small, white card into it , poking out slightly. Written on the card was ' With Compilments of the Collector '.

Pretending to be part of the public, they walked out of the museum clenching the artifact in her pocket.
Go and find the Curland Church Bell. Your keyword it the last group of letters in the Latin Prayer written on the red plaque.
 
Chapter ten

The Curland Church Bell

The cunning Collector stands before the magnificent Curland Church Bell. It is stood proudly on a worn wooden cabinet.

She smiles a wide mischievous smile and commands her Homunculi to get to work. The inscription on the rim of the church bell reads part of a Latin prayer. This is what she is looking for. Her plan is to remove it and steal it for her collection.

Right away the Homunculi produce tracing paper out of nowhere and begin to replicate the shape of each letter, carefully copying every detail to satisfy their leader. However one of the Homunculi rips their paper and with a cold stare and only a snap of the Collector's fingers the unlucky victim is gone. Vanished into thin air.

The now petrified Homunculi begin to cut out identical letters from cheap plastic to replace the original historical inscription.

However these letters do not read the same thing which was once their before. They read one simple thing. One simple sentence, with compliments from the Collector.

And suddenly she's gone, without a trace. Her Homunculi following after in a trail. The only thing that kept you thinking she was never there was her personalised message, sitting on the rim of the Curland Church Bell.
Go back to beneath the cauldrons for the last chapter and our story to complete. Your keyword consists of just two letters written on the side of one of the cauldrons suspended from the ceiling.
 
Chapter eleven

Sleep Tight

One at a time, each of the homunculi climb back up into their cauldron, The Collector then bids each one ‘good night' before leaving herself in the same manner through which she arrived, re-arming the alarms and shifting through the shadows as if made from nothing more than cloth and air.
Chapter twelve

Morning

First light and the gallery alarms were deactivated in the usual manner, all the zones were quiet, none of the lights flashed with warnings of triggers, everything was completely normal. School children arrived and peered through the glass doors at the priceless artefacts secured within and the gallery attendants smiled as if nothing was wrong. Well nothing was wrong, everything appeared as normal, except of course that many of the artefacts were now missing, or not technically missing exactly, more switched with very convincing replicas.

Amongst that mornings visitors were a family of a father and two children, they wandered down the gallery, reading the labels, unravelling the history and enjoying the fantastic displays. Then the daughter pointed up inside the cabinet to something she could see from her vantage point low down.

'Dad' said the little girl, 'what does that say?'

She could see one of The Collectors calling cards, poking out from an exhibit.

‘I'm not sure princess.' The father said ‘perhaps the attendant can help.' As just to their side a gallery assistant was tucking yesterdays crumpled newspaper under his arm.

‘Of course, what would you like to know?'

‘Up there' said the little girl, ‘can you see.'

The assistant knelt down to gaze up at the artefact with a puzzled expression, then he saw the ticket. From that low angle he could clearly read the words on a plain calling card which read,

With compliments of The Collector, perfectly hand written with Indian ink.

'Oh no' said the attendant 'Oh no' he said again, 'I don't think that is a good sign at all!'

Perhaps his observation was a catalyst to the events which followed as suddenly one of the cauldrons high up in the ceiling tipped precariously, and out from inside cascaded a grey dollop of gloop like cold chicken soup. As it hit the floor and splattered about other cauldrons tipped in a similar manner, and their contents spilled out as well, splattering across the gallery floor and over anyone standing beneath!

It was mayhem in the gallery to say the least and wasn't long before the hall was cordoned off as a crime scene. The grey gloop was being mopped away just as the first of the reporters arrived from the press to get the scoop on the story.
Chapter thirteen

The Collectors Lair

But deep underground, across a lake of black waters The Collector stepped into her own museum archives, oil lamps illuminated mile upon mile of cavernous space, shelves and cabinets bulged with artefacts. Paintings from celebrated masters were stacked higgeldy-piggeldy here and there, musical instruments of all shapes and sizes lay on top of each other like discarded sports equipment. All these incredibly valuable items gathering dust and mould in the dark cave, it was criminal.

But in a far far corner of the cavern, where The Collector had not trod in decades a small door opened and in stole a doll like figure, perhaps no larger than a two-year-old child and as thin as sticks.

He cast quietly about the chamber unseen, just as his new master had instructed to make preparations for the un-thieving to begin.
Chapter fourteen

Questions

Here are some questions about the story, read and discuss whilst some of the other groups finish and catch up.


Q - Why was she stealing the artefacts and what would she be doing with the real items?

Q – What artefact would you steal if you were The Collector, and what contraptions would you employ?

Q – Who has just stolen into her cavern and what are they about to do?

Q - The Homunculi characters are a bit odd, how would you add more character to make them funny / creepy?

Q – Perhaps a twist in the tale is required, maybe all the artefacts in the museum were already fakes perhaps she is actually removing those and replacing them with originals? How would this change the tale, and how would you write it in to the narrative.
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