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Moonlight Lifter by Parkfield School Pink

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

This version of the Moonlight Lifter story is reworked by select year 5 and 6 pupils from Parkfield Primary School at the Museum of Somerset Taunton.

Charlie, Jess, Elissia, Lillian, and Keertan March 2018.

This digital walk was created through support from The Arts Council England, Rook Lane Arts of Frome and The South West Heritage Trust.

Enjoy.

Instructions

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.
The word is on the red plaque under the cabinet named a rebellious people it is the first word on the second section
 
Chapter five

The hoard of coins

The Collector strode along to the cabinet with the painting of Edmund Wyndham in it.Then suddenly,she saw it her next prize the hoard of silver coins she looked around to see if anyone was there no,she was alone.She summoned her Homunculi to get the dirty work done...She looked around and thought "this could be to hard for my little homonculi I'm going to have to do this job myself."She removed from her hand bag a pair or rubber gloves and put them on smoothing them out on her wrinkeley hands.Then, she pressed her hands against the glass and pulled with a single pop the whole pane of glass was off the cabinet and in the collectors hands she turned around and lent the glass on the opposite cabinet.Next,she opend her hand bag and and took the coins one by one examining each one as she went.After that, she took out a handful of silver disks and with a raspy voice she beckoned to her homonculi "bite them," she ordered. The homonculi did as their mistress asked.One by one they bit the coins giving the impression they were old then carefully put them back as if nothing had happened.The collector then took the glass and pushed it back in place . Then quickly and quietly she moved on searching for her next prize...
The last word on the red plaque of the virginal
 
Chapter six

The virginals

The collector strolled over to the beautiful virginal and admired the sheer beauty of the hand crafted virginal as her longing grew and grew.She quietly shouted "Get over here you bunch of potatoes!I want you to find a way to steal this virginal without breaking it!"The humunicals rushed over and on produced a pen and started to draw on the precious glass.Where the ink made a mark the glass burned and smouldered and then in a puff of smoke the glass disappeared in a piano shaped hole.
The humunicals rushed into the cabinet and started to try and lift the virginal.At that moment The collector turned around just as the virginal crashed to the ground in a cloud of dust.The alarm went off.The collector screamed and ranted but it did her no good.
Finally she waved her hand and the world forgot it ever happened.The collector shouted at the humunicals as they picked up the pieces and put them back together.They then shrank the virginal and replaced it with an intricate replica before getting mesmerised by the wonders of putty.
The collector breathed in and out before calmly saying to the humunculi "Thank you for your support but I don't think Leonardo Divinci had an apple pie for a hand!"
"Sorry master.Can I do the card?Can I do the card?"
"If it shuts you up then yes."
The humunculi that had spoke tucked a business card just out of view in the virginal that said in delicate Indian ink: l
With compliments of The collector.
Look at the Alfred Jewel cabinet.The word is the animal of God.
 
Chapter seven

The gold ring

The collector noticed a hint of gold in the 'Alfred's kingdom ' cabinet. She turned her attention to a wonderful, priceless, golden finger ring. She thought for a moment. She heard a noise . A squelching, horrid noise. It was the Homunculi They were playing with clear, glass-burning slime. She snatched it straight from the homunculi playing with it.

She stood thinking for a while about how to retrieve this distinctive,very beautiful, golden-ring.The collecter had an idea. There was no time to lose. The master-criminal set to work. The slime was separated in half. She threw some back to the homunculi to keep him well-occupied. She kept the other half and aimed at the glass. There was a loud, belching noise. She had missed! She let out a sad, pityful cry. There was a deafening crash! She ran to the end of the room where she noticed the 'Statue of Terpsichore' in a large heap on the floor. She got rid of the mess and replaced it with a replica. She forgot all about the broken arm and bubble wrap.

She couldn't leave this place without stealing the ring now. She snatched the slime again, this time not caring about the Homunculi. She threw the slime once more. There was a splat! She had done it well. She stole the ring without thinking. She molded the slime into the glass hoping it would dry overnight . It looked perfect!
Go to the chalice display. The second word on the fifth section of the red plaque is the keyword.
 
Chapter eight

Gold, gold

The Collector walked over to the glass cabinet.Her rose scented perfume filled the air.

"Gold. My collection needs a bit more shine,"

She took out some sticky tape. Or that was what it looked like. She tested it out on a small tile that was in her bag.


"It works,"

She grinned Emily as she stuck some of it to the glass and reached inside. It was like the glass wasn't even there. Next to her a homunculis was sticking a bit of sticky tape portal creator to the ground. A homunculis on top of the cabinet somersaulted off and went straight through the floor.

"Will you stop mucking around and help me take this cup out,"

Suddenly, she stopped.

"Don't move. There is a motion sensored camera over there and it must have it's own back up power. I'll unconnect it,"

And with that,she walked over and took off a little panel and fiddled with the wires.

"It will come back on in two hours,"

She walked over to the cabinet again and took out the cup

"Fake please,"

Five homunculi came over with an exact copy of the cup and placed it in the exact same position. And underneath the cup she placed a business card. On the card, scribed with perfect handwriting in Indian Ink was the words:

"With compliments of the collector"

And with that, she and her homunculi walked off, feeling extremely pleased with themselves, considering what they should do next.

Go to the lion helmet, on the red plaque the title word beings with the letter F
 
Chapter nine

The helmet for the powerful

There it stood basking in all its glory. The helmet with multiple engraved patterns, with lions standing proudly. And it was at this that the collector stopped and traced her steps back to the glass cabinet that held the helmet with a creature so fine that she couldn't resist. The Homunculi looped around and bumped into each other.

One of the Homunculi was doing magic tricks but failing none the less. An evil grin emerged on her disguised face as she whipped from her a pocket a lighter. The failing magic Homunculi stared at the lighter and dreamed about a magic trick. Next a block wax toppled over the candle to make the flame rise. Then, using a knife she could cleverly extract the flimsy glass.

She set to work on her plan which,thankfully, went well. The Homunculi's, on the other hand were in a dreamy like trance from watching the previously failing magic Homunculi, now a celebrity among them all thanks to a single pocket lighter and a knife.

The collector however wanted the equipment back though in the process of the pocket lighter and the knife being handed back to the collector the magic Homunculi flicked the knife into the glass case which then smashed into little pieces. "Fix that while I keep the repcila in the broken case!" She whispered. Everyone set to work though the magic Homunculi made moody noises every so often.

Once everyone finished their duties the collector smuggled a business card that said in delicate Indian ink:

'With complements the collector' and with that she moved onto the next treasure waiting for her.
Go back to beneath the cauldrons for the last chapter and our story to complete. Your keyword consgists of just two letters written on the side of one of the cauldrons suspended from the ceiling.
 
Chapter ten

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 eleven

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 twelve

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 thirteen

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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