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Moonlight Lifter Skye

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.
Go to the piano, your keyword is the last written on the red plaque.
Chapter five

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'
Go to font, your key word is the second word on the red plaque
Chapter six

The stone font

After successfully robbing five different items the collector was eying the stone font. Suddenly there is laughter from the Homunculi as they are passing a random bouncy ball that was found in the piano. The collectors face fills with rage and she shoutes in a low voice "stop messing around and help me get the font.

Then all of sudden two Homunculi jumped up and chiselled the stone font into font equal pieces. Then the collector pulled out four umbrella handles and put them on the pieces of the font. Then just like magic the pieces turned into umbrellas and the othe ten Homunculi dragged the replacement into place.
Go to the leather church, your keyword is the first word on the red plaque
Chapter seven

The leathermodel church

It is dead freezing and still as the night is fading. Not one single noise is heard. Then a tap, then a crack, then a clank. Up above a creaky trap door is swinging open as many minute creatures shot down. They have razor like talons on the hands of a flocculent and bristly body. The eyes have never blinked, never once. The stench of sewage pipes are filling the air as the homunculi are crawling and stalking the area of the gallery.

Suddenly they came across a brilliant sculpture of the leather model of the tower of st Mary Magdalene church. The Collecter is so astonished they almost forgot about their operation. So they started to tip toe and not one sound is made. The top leader of the homunculi is being handed a small sort of tool with an electric blade attached to the top. He begins to drag the tool along the edge of the glass cabinet as if a mechanic watching the sparks fire up. The prestine slate of glass finally falls onto four powerful, prominent and persuasive hands with gentle and soft wooden gloves. Now they place the glass slate down and replace the artefact with a replica. They then move onto their next target.
go to the staff in the long box, the key word is the place it was used
Chapter eight

Homunculi mischievous mess

After a few minutes of successful planning, one of the homunculi is landing on the drone pretending to surf, all the other homunculi erupt cheering and jumping in joy. Now the crimson drone is planting on the surface rooting itself in place. The homunculi , who now felt like the leader of his fellow homunculi, tieing string to his waist and to the drone. The drones laser was so hot the homunculi had to jump on the drone to not burn his toes but the old women is now growing impatient and raising her stick and wacking the homunculi's head and a lump blossomed from his head and the women put on a stern look then all the the homunculi went into rows of five like soilders getting ready for battle. The homunculi is lowering in the tank swinging back and forth trying to reach the staff but then the drone cut the string causing the homunculi to collide with the floor and exploding into a bunch of potato crisps and the homunculi erupt again into laughter so loud it shattering the glass and one of the staff broke but the other one was still intact so as a punishment the old women picking up on of the homunculi an dropping into a boiling hot cauldron the rest of the homunculi freezing in fear.
go to the golden plate and your key word is the third word in the name.
Chapter nine

The GoldenPlate

After they had sealed up the carbonate,a glint of gold at he's the collectors eye. She strolls over the the glossy glass and taps her long ails , that extends vertically off her boney fingers, on the glass twice. As if it was a command the Horminculi destroys the glass that surrounds the golden plate. The Collecter picks up the golden plate carefully examining it with her dead eyes. She tucks it in her right pocket, pulling out of the other pocket an exact republican and laying it on the stand. The Homunculi all at once, spit on their hands covering the gap where the glass had once filled is not engrossed with spit. Within seconds the siliver starts to dry and now there is clean gloomy glass, like it has never been touched.
Go to the painting of Jon and the key word is where he lived
Chapter ten

The John Locke Painting

On the other side of the room, three of the many homunculi are completely messing bout by throwing stones at each other. One of the homunculi launches a huge stone at the other homunculi, who is slotted directly next to a huge red button. The stone misses the homunculi and smashes right on top of the button. The homunculi next to the button suddenly screams as he swiftly drops down into a mysterious dark room.

The remaining two homunculi now have to work twice as hard since their friend has disappeared. The smaller homunculi, called James, jumps on top of the taller homunculi's shoulders. He then gains a firm grip on the painting of John Locke, who has an extremely crooked nose. The taller homunculi struggles to hold James up because he is very heavy.

After the homunculi grab the painting, to their shock, they discover a calling card, that says "Peace and love, from the 'Real Collector'" Immediately, the homunculi alert the Collector. Once the Collector comes over to the homunculi, he notices a button on the card, with the caption, "Notify me of your presence by pushing this button." Obviously, the Collector decides to press the button to see what happens.

Nothing happens for a few minutes, until suddenly policemen fully surround the collector and his creatures. The other collector slowly strolls into the room laughing, whilst the Collector is being handcuffed. They stare at each other for about 20 seconds. The stare is broken by the police, forcing the Collector out of the room.
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


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


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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